Merkley, Alexander Introduce Bill to Jump-Start Electric Vehicles

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today introduced the “Promoting Electric Vehicles Act” to provide temporary encouragement for the development and use of plug-in electric motor vehicles nationwide.

The bill would create limited, short-term “deployment communities” across the country in order to help jump-start the market penetration of electric vehicles by allowing the deployment communities to serve as models and help determine best practices for the nationwide use of electric vehicles. The bill would also create a competitive grant process for companies to electrify their fleets and make it easier for the federal government to acquire more electric vehicles.

“With gas prices again surging, every American understands all too well the price we pay for our addiction to imported oil,” Merkley said.  “A third of all oil is burned in cars, so the rapid deployment of electric vehicles can be a major tool in breaking that addiction. We win three ways: by strengthening our national security; by keeping our energy dollars at home creating American jobs; and by improving our environment.” 

“Electrifying half our cars and trucks within 20 years would reduce our dependence on oil by about a third, from about 20 million to about 13 million barrels a day, and would give people who drive them the patriotic pleasure of not sending money overseas to people trying to blow us up,” Alexander said. “Electrifying half our cars and trucks is the single best way to reduce our dependence on oil, and if enough Americans drove them, it would also be the single best way to avoid $4-a-gallon gas.”

In March 2011 alone, the United States spent $39.3 billion on oil imports, an 18 percent increase from the prior month.  Pushed up by higher prices and greater demand, the figure was at the highest level in nearly three years. In March, net oil imports made up 65 percent of the trade deficit.