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USA: White House release on Obama’s visit to Gaston

President Barack Obama is greeted by North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue upon his arrival at Charlotte Douglas International airport in Charlotte, NC., Wednesday, March, 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama Announces $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to spur deployment of clean, advanced vehicles and expansion of advanced vehicle tax credit

During the State of the Union Address, the President laid out a blueprint for a new era of American energy – an economy fueled by homegrown and alternative energy sources that will be designed in America and produced by American workers. Today, the President will visit Daimler Trucks North America Mt. Holly Truck Manufacturing Plant in Mt. Holly, NC to deliver remarks on American energy. While at the Daimler Plant, the President will tour the assembly line, see several of the alternative fuel models built there, and discuss the importance of taking a sustained, all-of-the-above approach on energy, responsibly expanding domestic production of natural gas and oil, which is currently at an eight year high, improving the efficiency of our cars and trucks, and making the long-term investments in alternatives to oil to provide American families the choices we all deserve. This strategy is a win for the economy, a win for energy security, and a win for national security.

In Mt. Holly, the President will announce a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to spur deployment of clean, advanced vehicles in communities around the country. The President will also announce a set of incentives to help consumers and businesses purchase new, advanced cars and trucks, including increasing and expanding the current tax credit for advanced vehicles, from the $7,500 credit that currently exists up to $10,000, while allowing the credit to be applied to additional types of technologies, not currently covered. In addition, the President is announcing a new research challenge that invests in breakthrough technologies to make electric vehicles as affordable and convenient to own and operate as gasoline-powered vehicles by the end of the decade.

Today the President will also highlight Daimler’s commitment to increasing fuel economy standards and manufacturing vehicles that will increase fuel economy and reduce oil consumption. Taken together, the Obama Administration’s standards for cars and light-duty trucks span model years 2011 to 2025 and represent the first meaningful update in over three decades. Under this program, average fuel efficiency will reach a performance equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 and will save consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump overtime – or roughly $8,200 per vehicle and slash oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day by 2025. The Administration has also finalized the first-ever national fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for heavy-duty trucks, vans, and buses spanning model years 2014-2018, which will reduce oil consumption by over 500 million barrels, and save truck owners and operators more than $50 billion in fuel costs.

Daimler Trucks North America is a partner in the Energy Department’s SuperTruck initiative, which is focused on increasing the fuel efficiency of long haul trucks, or 18-wheelers, by 50 percent by 2015. While long-haul trucks represent only 4 percent of the on-road vehicles in America, they are responsible for almost 20 percent of the country’s on-road fuel consumption, with this class of vehicle currently consuming more than 30 billion gallons of gasoline a year. To achieve this goal, companies like Daimler are developing and improving vehicle technologies in engine efficiency, aerodynamics, waste heat recovery, and hybridization, among other approaches. Through these types of improvements, the Energy Department estimates fuel economy increases could save long-haul truckers more than $15,000 per truck per year in fuel costs.

The President’s New Initiatives to Support Advanced Vehicles

Launching a “Race to the Top” challenge for communities to encourage advanced vehicle adoption: The President is announcing a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to catalyze up to 10 to 15 model communities to invest in the necessary infrastructure, remove the regulatory barriers, and create the local incentives to support deployment of advanced vehicles at critical mass. This proposal embraces a strategy similar to that outlined by Senators Merkley and Alexander in their Promoting Electric Vehicles legislation. This proposal, however, would be ‘fuel neutral’, allowing communities to determine if electrification, natural gas, or other alternative fuels would be the best fit. Deployment Communities would serve as real-world laboratories, leveraging limited federal resources to develop different models to deploy advanced vehicles at scale. The program would also support the development of up to 5 regional Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) corridors where alternative fuel trucks can transport goods without using a drop of oil.



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