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Reasons for Electric-Car Fans to Celebrate, Final Transportation Bill

2015-12-24

Electric-car advocates can end the year on a high note, thanks to several provisions in the final Federal transportation bill approved earlier this month.

The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) was signed by President Barack Obama on December 4.

It authorizes funds for highway construction and maintenance and public transportation, but also includes a few provisions that should help promote electric cars.

Electric-car advocates can end the year on a high note, thanks to several provisions in the final Federal transportation bill approved earlier this month.

The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) was signed by President Barack Obama on December 4.

It authorizes funds for highway construction and maintenance and public transportation, but also includes a few provisions that should help promote electric cars.

Another infrastructure-related measure authorizes the General Services Administration to install charging stations at its facilities for use by its employees and those of other Federal agencies.

These stations will be made available for charging privately-owned electric cars; the people using them will pay for the electricity used.

Electric-car drivers will have to pay fees substantial enough for the agencies to eventually recover the costs of installing and operating the stations.

An additional measure extends provisions related to carpool-lane exemptions to plug-in electric cars and alternative-fuel vehicles through September 30, 2025.

And beyond the measures related to electric cars, there were a couple of other noteworthy items related to reducing transportation emissions.

The bill also calls for the establishment of fuel-efficiency standards for passenger-car tires by December 2017.

There is also a provision calling for "regulatory parity" for natural-gas vehicles by 2016, rather than 2019, as previously discussed.

One of the expected outcomes of this measure is a new method for calculating fuel economy for natural-gas vehicles that allows more direct comparisons with gasoline and diesel cars.

For now, though, Congress does not appear ready to approve a tax credit for natural-gas vehicles similar to the one already available for plug-in electric cars.


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