Being the car tech geeks we are around here, we’re genuine fans of EVs, alternative fuels, and fuel efficiency technologies. Apparently, so is President Barack Obama, who in his State of the Union address Tuesday called for a trust “to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good.”
According to Automotive News (subscription may be required), the implication behind Obama’s speech is that federal government support of EVs and biofuels would be “redoubled” in the President’s second term, after a first term that saw the President pushing tax credits and government funding to make the vehicles and fuels more appealing to consumers.
The Hill says the proposed trust, which would require approval from Congress to become reality, would siphon royalties off oil and gas drilling and place them into research funding for alternative fuels. Those royalties are currently split between the federal Treasury and the states.
Obama said the trust would lessen dependence on imported oil by kick-starting investments in electric car technologies, biofuels, and natural gas-powered cars, according to the Hill.
If the trust idea were approved and worked as planned, the next question would be what states would do to keep up with highway maintenance and construction when fewer motorists would be paying the motor fuel taxes drivers of fossil fuel-powered cars pay on every gallon of fuel they purchase. Some may do as Washington has done, instituting an additional fee on licensing for EVs or other vehicles that don’t require taxed fuels. Other popular discussion has revolved around pay-per-mile schemes that may require allowing the government to track how far a car is driven each year– an idea that gets a lot of people yelling about privacy concerns, of course.