Adding to President Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy approach to curbing gas prices, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced earlier this week a $5-million initiative “to help expand the use of alternative-fuel vehicles, including electric vehicles (EVs), in cities and towns across the country.” The taxpayer-subsidized funding will finance 10 to 20 projects that “address barriers to the adoption of these vehicles” and “drive market development” to broaden fuel station access for alternative fuel transportation.

“This funding opportunity does not provide for the purchase or installation of vehicles or infrastructure,” the DOE stated. Conversely, the money is intended to “help consumers understand the economic and environmental benefits of alternative fuel vehicles and choose the right vehicle for their needs.” In short, the initiative states:

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is seeking applications that address and assist in reducing multiple barriers to alternative fuel vehicle adoption and use. Overall, this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), issued on behalf of EERE by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), aims to decrease the nation’s dependence on petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by accelerating the deployment of alternative fuels. Efforts should focus only on the alternative fuels defined by the Energy Policy Act of 1992, as amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and further augmented by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Expanding the use of energy-efficient vehicles while producing alternative vehicle fuels, the agency claims, will “create and retain jobs, stimulate and support domestic economies, and help protect the environment.” The DOE’s Clean Cities program is focusing on four areas to “help overcome” the obstacles that are now “discouraging” the use of alternative fuel vehicles: 1) Polices, 2) Barrier Reduction, 3) Safety and Training, and 4) Market Development/Outreach.

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