On March 30, 2009, then-U.S. President Barack Obama issues an ultimatum to struggling American automakers General Motors (GM) and Chrysler: In order to receive additional bailout loans from the government, he says, the companies need to make dramatic changes in the way they run their businesses. The president also announced a set of initiatives intended to assist the struggling U.S. auto industry and boost consumer confidence, including government backing of GM and Chrysler warranties, even if both automakers went out of business. In December 2008, GM (the world’s largest automaker from the early 1930s to 2008) and Chrysler (then America’s third-biggest car company) accepted $17.4 billion in federal aid in order to stay afloat. At that time, the two companies had been hit hard by the global economic crisis and slumping auto sales; however, critics charged that their problems had begun several decades earlier and included failures to innovate in the face of foreign competition and issues with labor unions, among other factors.
President Obama’s auto task force determined that Chrysler was too focused on its sport utility vehicle (SUV) lines and was too small a company to survive on its own. In his March 30 announcement, Obama gave Chrysler a month to complete a merger with Italian car maker Fiat or another partner. Shortly before its April 30 deadline, Chrysler said it had reached agreements with the United Auto Workers union as well as its major creditors; however, on April 30, Obama announced that Chrysler, after failing to come to an agreement with some of its smaller creditors, would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, then form a partnership with Fiat. The merger was complete in 2014.
As for General Motors, according to the conditions Obama announced on March 30, the auto giant had 60 days to undergo a major restructuring, including cutting costs sharply and getting rid of unprofitable product lines and dealerships. Over the next two months, GM said it would shutter thousands of dealerships and a number of plants, as well as phase out such brands as Pontiac. Nevertheless, on June 1, 2009, GM, which was founded in 1908, declared bankruptcy. At the time, the company reported liabilities of $172.8 billion and assets of $82.3 billion, making it the fourth-biggest U.S. bankruptcy in history. GM returned to profitability in 2010.
Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry
The Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry was an ad hoc group of United States cabinet-level and other officials that was formed by President Obama to deal with the financial bailout of automakers Chrysler and General Motors.
Based on an assessment that automobile manufacturing was a critical sector of the economy providing 3 to 4 million jobs for Americans, that liquidation was imminent for two of the three major U.S. automakers, and that the break ups would devastate the U.S. economy, the U.S. government became involved in the day-to-day management decisions of Chrysler and General Motors through the Task Force.   
The Presidential Task Force formed and started holding meetings in February 2009.   It reviewed financial and operational restructuring plans submitted by Chrysler and General Motors (GM) and made its own specific recommendations at cabinet level meetings to the President regarding the restructurings and the requests for funds from the companies.  Recommendations also included directives on improving wage and benefit structures, and developing competitive fuel efficient cars for the future. In March 2009, the Task Force recommended up to $5 billion in support for automotive industry suppliers,  and by late May 2009, following the recommendations of the Task Force, the U.S. government had lent approximately $25 billion in total to the companies. At that time, it was estimated that GM might require $30 billion more to emerge from bankruptcy.  By mid-July 2009, both companies had restructured and emerged from bankruptcy. The Task Force was scaled back from "day to day" involvement to periodic "monitoring". 
According to an April 2014 report of the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the U.S. government had lost $11.2 billion in its rescue of General Motors. The U.S. government spent $50 billion to bail out GM, meaning it recovered 77.6 percent of its investment amount. 
Obama shakes up GM, Chrysler
President Barack Obama announced an extraordinary bid to remake the ailing U.S. auto industry Monday, saying he would withhold long-term federal aid to two carmakers unless they make sweeping changes to ensure their survival.
In blunt terms, Obama said his vision for reshaping GM and Chrysler would be painful to the companies and their workers, but insisted the strong medicine was the only course to saving them – while also leaving open the possibility they could fail.
And he spoke directly to auto workers and communities who rely on the plants, saying, “I will not pretend the tough times are over. I cannot promise you there isn’t more pain to come. But what I can promise you is this – I will fight for you. You are the reason I am here today.”
“These efforts, as essential as they are, will not make everything better overnight. There are jobs that cannot be saved. There are plants that will not reopen. . . .”
Obama also took the dramatic step of putting the federal government fully behind the two companies’ products – saying the United States would back the warranties on their cars for the rest of the years, in hopes that consumers wouldn’t shy away from the battered companies.
In the case of GM, Obama sought the resignation of CEO Rick Wagoner, and Wagoner complied by stepping aside. Obama gave GM 60 days to restructure and sounded optimistic the company could.
In the case of Chrysler, Obama was much more pessimistic – giving them only 30 days to cut a merger deal with Italian automaker Fiat. If they merged, he offered $6 billion in new loans. If they don’t, Obama said they would get no more federal aid – and likely be forced into bankruptcy.
“Year after year, decade after decade, we have seen problems papered-over and tough choices kicked down the road, even as foreign competitors outpaced us. Well, we have reached the end of that road,” Obama said. “And we, as a nation, cannot afford to shirk responsibility any longer. Now is the time to confront our problems head-on and do what’s necessary to solve them,” Obama said.
“But I am confident that if we are each willing to do our part, then this restructuring, as painful as it will be in the short-term, will mark not an end, but a new beginning for a great American industry an auto industry that is once more out-competing the world a 21st century auto industry that is creating new jobs, unleashing new prosperity, and manufacturing the fuel-efficient cars and trucks that will carry us toward an energy independent future.”
The White House first floated its plans Sunday, saying it had concluded that neither GM nor Chrysler as they now exist deserve more federal bailouts – and demanding dramatic steps by both companies to show they can survive.
“The pain being felt in places that rely on our auto industry is not the fault of our workers, who labor tirelessly and desperately want to see their companies succeed. And it is not the fault of all the families and communities that supported manufacturing plants throughout the generations. Rather, it is a failure of leadership – from Washington to Detroit – that led our auto companies to this point,” Obama said.
The administration found that both carmakers had failed to prove their “viability” as required under the terms of the massive government loans they’ve already received, and determined that neither should receive another bailout without making significant changes.
“We have unfortunately concluded that neither plan submitted by either company represents viability, and therefore does not warrant the substantial additional investments that they requested,” a senior administration official told reporters.
Obama also made clear he feels confident GM can turn around, but he isn’t so sure about Chrysler. “Chrysler is a more difficult situation,” the official said. “If [Chrysler and Fiat] cannot come to a satisfactory agreement … and if no other viable partnership emerges for Chrysler, we will not be able to justify investing additional American tax dollars into Chrysler.”
But Obama’s announcement already is running into resistance from Michigan lawmakers, who said it doesn’t go far enough. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said GM’s CEO Wagoner was being made into a sacrificial lamb.
The shove to Wagoner, a 30-year GM veteran, came from the Treasury-led Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, which Obama named in February in lieu of a “car czar.” It is the most vivid example so far of the extraordinary new role that the government, as controller of the bailout purse strings, is playing in American business.
GM and Chrysler have almost used up the $17.4 billion in combined federal aid they took in since December. GM has asked for up to $16.6 billion more, and Chrysler has requested another $5 billion.
The warranty program, a surprise offering, is designed to encourage consumers to buy cars without having to worry about whether or not the manufacturer will be out of business by the time something breaks. The administration is promising to “stand behind new cars purchased from GM or Chrysler during this period … of uncertainty.”
“No American should worry in buying a car from Chrysler, GM over this next period of time,” said the official, who added that the administration has no cost estimate for the “Warranty Commitment Program.”
The administration also announced that to help the affected communities, it is naming a Director of Recovery for Auto Workers and Communities. The post will go to Edward Montgomery, a labor economist and former Deputy Secretary of Labor, whose job will be to “work to leverage all resources of government to support the workers, communities and regions that rely on the American auto industry.”
In stark language, the administration’s five-page “Determination of Viability” for GM spells out the harsh findings: “General Motors has not satisfied the terms of its loan agreement. … It is strongly believed, however, that … a substantial restructuring will lead to a viable GM.”
Officials made it clear that Chrysler is much worse off than GM.
“If you even look at Chrysler’s own viability submission, you’ll see that based on their own assumptions, they kind of eke it along,” the official said. “They really never generate positive cash flow. They’re never in a position, really, to pay down their debt. It’s not … a very realistic or workable place for a company to be.”
“If you look at things like Consumer Reports’ ranking of cars, you’ll see very great differences between those two companies,” the official continued. “General Motors' Malibu won the car of the year award last year. Chrysler has zero cars – no cars – that are recommended by Consumer Reports.”
The official added: “There are certainly lots of fine Chrysler cars out there and we’re not trying to dissuade anyone from buying them. But we are attempting to make these viability assessments.”
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President Obama Announces Historic 54.5 mpg Fuel Efficiency Standard
WASHINGTON, DC &ndash President Obama today announced a historic agreement with thirteen major automakers to pursue the next phase in the Administration&rsquos national vehicle program, increasing fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. The President was joined by Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo &ndash which together account for over 90% of all vehicles sold in the United States &ndash as well as the United Auto Workers (UAW), and the State of California, who were integral to developing this agreement.
&ldquoThis agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we&rsquove ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,&rdquo said President Obama. &ldquoMost of the companies here today were part of an agreement we reached two years ago to raise the fuel efficiency of their cars over the next five years. We&rsquove set an aggressive target and the companies are stepping up to the plate. By 2025, the average fuel economy of their vehicles will nearly double to almost 55 miles per gallon.&rdquo
Building on the Obama administration&rsquos agreement for Model Years 2012-2016 vehicles, which will raise fuel efficiency to 35.5 mpg and begin saving families money at the pump this year, the next round of standards will require performance equivalent to 54.5 mpg or 163 grams/ mile of CO2 for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. Achieving the goals of this historic agreement will rely on innovative technologies and manufacturing that will spur economic growth and create high-quality domestic jobs in cutting edge industries across America.
These programs, combined with the model year 2011 light truck standard, represent the first meaningful update to fuel efficiency standards in three decades and span Model Years 2011 to 2025. Together, they will save American families $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and by 2025 result in an average fuel savings of over $8,000 per vehicle. Additionally, these programs will dramatically cut the oil we consume, saving a total of 12 billion barrels of oil, and by 2025 reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day &ndash as much as half of the oil we import from OPEC every day.
The standards also curb carbon pollution, cutting more than 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas over the life of the program &ndash more than the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States last year. The oil savings, consumer, and environmental benefits of this comprehensive program are detailed in a new report entitled Driving Efficiency: Cutting Costs for Families at the Pump and Slashing Dependence on Oil, which the Administration released today.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have worked closely with auto manufacturers, the state of California, environmental groups, and other stakeholders for several months to ensure these standards are achievable, cost-effective and preserve consumer choice. The program would increase the stringency of standards for passenger cars by an average of five percent each year. The stringency of standards for pick-ups and other light-duty trucks would increase an average of 3.5 percent annually for the first five model years and an average of five percent annually for the last four model years of the program, to account for the unique challenges associated with this class of vehicles.
&ldquoThese standards will help spur economic growth, protect the environment, and strengthen our national security by reducing America&rsquos dependence on foreign oil,&rdquo said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. &ldquoWorking together, we are setting the stage for a new generation of clean vehicles.&rdquo
&ldquoThis is another important step toward saving money for drivers, breaking our dependence on imported oil and cleaning up the air we breathe,&rdquo said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. &ldquoAmerican consumers are calling for cleaner cars that won&rsquot pollute their air or break their budgets at the gas pump, and our innovative American automakers are responding with plans for some of the most fuel efficient vehicles in our history.&rdquo
A national policy on fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas emissions provides regulatory certainty and flexibility that reduces the cost of compliance for auto manufacturers while addressing oil consumption and harmful air pollution. Consumers will continue to have access to a diverse fleet and can purchase the vehicle that best suits their needs.
EPA and NHTSA are developing a joint proposed rulemaking, which will include full details on the proposed program and supporting analyses, including the costs and benefits of the proposal and its effects on the economy, auto manufacturers, and consumers. After the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register, there will be an opportunity for public comment and public hearings. The agencies plan to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the end of September 2011. California plans on adopting its proposed rule in the same time frame as the federal proposal.
Given the long time frame at issue in setting standards for MY2022-2025 light-duty vehicles, EPA and NHTSA intend to propose a comprehensive mid-term evaluation. Consistent with the agencies&rsquo commitment to maintaining a single national framework for vehicle GHG and fuel economy regulation, the agencies will conduct the mid-term evaluation in close coordination with California.
In achieving the level of standards described above for the 2017-2025 program, the agencies expect automakers&rsquo use of advanced technologies to be an important element of transforming the vehicle fleet. The agencies are considering a number of incentive programs to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies that represent &ldquogame changing&rdquo performance improvements, including:
FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces Federal and Private Sector Actions to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption in the United States
The Obama Administration is taking responsible steps to combat climate change, increase access to clean energy technologies, and reduce our dependence on oil. That is why, today, on the heels of the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) first-ever Sustainable Transportation Summit, the Administration is announcing an unprecedented set of actions from the Federal government, private sector, and states, as well as a new framework for collaboration for vehicle manufacturers, electric utilities, electric vehicle charging companies, and states, all geared towards accelerating the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and putting more electric vehicles on the road. The collaboration, forged by the White House in partnership with DOE and the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Airforce and the Army, and the Environmental Protection Agency, and is centered on a set of Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure that nearly 50 organizations are signing on to today.
By working together across the Federal government and with the private sector, we can ensure that electric vehicle drivers have access to charging stations at home, at work, and on the road – creating a new way of thinking about transportation that will drive America forward. Today’s announcements include:
- Unlocking up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees and inviting applications to support the commercial-scale deployment of innovative electric vehicle charging facilities
- Launching the FAST Act process to identify zero emission and alternative fuel corridors, including for electric vehicle charging across the country, and standing up an effort to develop a 2020 vision for a national network of electric vehicle fast charging stations that will help determine where along the corridors it makes the most sense to locate the fast charging infrastructure
- Announcing a call for state, county, and municipal governments to partner with the Federal government to procure electric vehicle fleets at a discounted value
- Leveraging the power of data and hosting an ‘Electric Vehicle Hackathon’ to discover insights and develop new solutions for electric vehicle charging
- Publishing a guide to Federal funding, financing, and technical assistance for electric vehicles and charging stations and
- 35 new businesses, non-profits, universities, and utilities signing on to DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge and committing to provide electric vehicle charging access for their workforce.
Today’s announcements build on a record of progress from multiple programs across the Administration that are working to scale up electric vehicles and fueling infrastructure, including at the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Defense, and at the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, in the past eight years the number of plug-in electric vehicle models increased from one to more than 20, battery costs have decreased 70 percent, and we have increased the number of electric vehicle charging stations from less than 500 in 2008 to more than 16,000 today – a 40 fold increase.
UNPRECEDENTED ELECTRIC VEHICLE COALITION FORGED AMONG NEARLY 50 VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS, ELECTRIC UTILITIES, ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING COMPANIES, STATES, AND ORGANIZATIONS TO INCREASE ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE
Today, in collaboration with the Administration, nearly 50 industry members are signing on to the following Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure. This commitment signifies the beginning of a collaboration between the government and industry to increase the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Building on existing partnerships among federal government, states and communities, electric vehicle and charging infrastructure manufacturers and retailers, electric utilities, national laboratories, universities, and nongovernmental organizations, we endorse the following guiding principles to enhance electric vehicle use and create a national, household, workplace, and urban charging infrastructure that is available to all Americans:
- Drive the market transformation to electric vehicles by making it easy for consumers to charge their vehicles with grid-connected infrastructure that is accessible, affordable, available and reliable, and interconnected with other low-carbon transportation options where feasible.
- Promote electric vehicle adoption by increasing access to charging infrastructure and supporting the development of plug-in electric vehicles that are as accessible, available, and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles.
- Promote a robust market for vehicle manufacturers, utilities, equipment service providers, and support industries that ensures a consistent user experience, customer choice, and allows for a streamlined permitting process.
- Enhance American manufacturing competitiveness, innovation, and the development of advanced technology.
- Attract and leverage private, State, and Federal investment in electric vehicle deployment, infrastructure, research and development, and education and outreach.
- Enable smart charging and vehicle grid integration through solutions such as demand response, and other energy storage and load management strategies.
Signatories to the Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure include the following industry members, agencies, organizations, and states:
- Berkshire Hathaway Energy
- California Air Resources Board
- Consumers Energy
- Con Edison
- Connecticut Green Bank
- Dayton Power & Light Company
- Duke Energy
- Edison Electric Institute
- Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA)
- Eversource Energy
- Florida Power and Light Company
- Georgia Power
- General Motors
- Hawaiian Electric
- Hawai`i Electric Light
- Maui Electric
- Indianapolis Power & Light Company
- Kansas City Power & Light
- Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities
- Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC
- National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)
- National Grid
- NextGen Climate America
- New York State
- Orange and Rockland
- Portland General Electric
- PPL Electric Utilities
- Pacific Gas & Electric
- PNM Resources
- Puget Sound Energy
- Southern California Edison
- Southern Company: Alabama Power
- Southern Company: Georgia Power
- Southern Company: Gulf Power
- Southern Company: Mississippi Power
- State of California
- TECO Energy
- Westar Energy
EXECUTIVE ACTIONS TO INCREASE CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE
Providing Financing to Scale Up Charging Infrastructure
Unlocking Up $4.5 billion in Loan Guarantees and Inviting Applications to Support Innovative Electric Vehicle Charging Facilities: Today, the DOE’s Loan Program Office (LPO) issued a supplement to its Title XVII Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy (REEE) Projects Solicitation, clarifying that certain electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities – including associated hardware and software – is now an eligible technology under the solicitation. The solicitation can provide up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to support innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the United States. Loan guarantees can be an important tool to commercialize innovative technologies because these projects may be unable to obtain full commercial financing due to the perceived risks associated with technology that has never been deployed at commercial scale in the United States. The DOE’s LPO supports a large, diverse portfolio of more than $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments to approximately 30 closed and committed projects nationwide, including leading edge renewable energy projects, advanced technology vehicle manufacturing facilities, and two of the first new nuclear reactors to begin construction in the United States in more than three decades.
Publishing a Guide to Federal Funding, Financing and Technical Assistance for EVs and Charging Stations: DOE and DOT are publishing a guide to outline specific examples of funding programs, financing incentives, and technical assistance to help advance the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security, through the support of EVs and charging stations that reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. It will also list current tax credits and incentives applicable to EV charging. The DOE’s Alternative Fuels Data Center provides a comprehensive database of federal and state programs that support EVs and infrastructure.
Supporting the Development of Electric Vehicle Charging Corridors
Launching the Process to Designate Alternative Fuel Corridors as Part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act: Today, the DOT is soliciting nominations from State and local officials to assist in making designations for alternative fuel corridors. Section 1413 of the FAST Act requires that the Secretary of Transportation designates national EV charging, hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling corridors, and the nomination process will ensure that the corridors proposed for designation will create a national network of alternative fuel facilities. In designating corridors, the DOT will (1) consider the nominated facilities, (2) incorporate existing corridors designated by States, and (3) consider the demand for, and location of, existing fueling stations and infrastructure. DOT will also evaluate applications based on their ability to reduce emissions and collaborate across the public and private sector. Details on this program can be found here or here.
Developing Criteria and Proposing a Plan for a National Network of Fast Charging Stations for EVs: DOE and DOT have agreed to partner on the development of a 2020 vision for a national network of fast charging stations for EVs in order to facilitate coast to coast, nationwide zero emissions travel. Building upon DOT’s planned designation of alternative fuel corridors under the FAST Act, DOE and DOT, in cooperation with the DOE National Laboratories, DOT Volpe Center, and other government and industry stakeholders, will commence efforts in fiscal year 2017 to develop criteria that will help identify specific locations for siting fast charging infrastructure adjacent to the DOT-designated national and community corridors. The proposed effort will address four key areas important to evaluating the potential for a national network for fast charging including: (1) siting criteria for charging locations (2) charging and utility infrastructure needs and cost assessment (3) impacts of electric demand charges to consumers and utilities and (4) potential longer-term innovations including evolution up to 350 kilowatt (kW) fast charging. The partnership will address these questions to provide the necessary information for the basis of a dialogue with stakeholders to help define public-private partnerships, funding, and financing models for implementing a national fast charging network. Along those lines, the DOE and DOT will be convening stakeholders this fall to identify critical needs for a national network of fast charging stations.
Expanding the Electric Vehicle Fleet
Inviting State, County, and Municipal EV Fleets to Join Forces with the Federal Government in EV Procurement: The Office of Federal Sustainability is inviting State, county and municipal government fleets to join forces with Federal agencies to maximize their collective buying power, and aggregate their EV and charging infrastructure purchases. In doing so, governments at all levels can lower their procurement costs, expand technology availability, and increase automotive manufacturers' demand certainty. The Office of Federal Sustainability will partner with government and agency fleet purchasers to coordinate and aggregate the purchasing of EV fleets, with distinct acquisition procurement strategies to be determined. Alone, the federal government plans to purchase more than 500 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) or EVs in fiscal year 2017.
DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will be Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the American Public Power Association (APPA) to Collaborate on Municipal Fleet Electrification: Through this agreement, EERE and APPA will ensure collaborative efforts to enable electrification of personal and fleet transportation in municipalities throughout the United States. EERE and APPA will provide information to increase education and awareness of the benefit of EVs to public power utilities and local officials, and develop a community action plan focused on smaller communities with fewer than 200,000 electric customers. The partnership will also work to enhance workplace charging efforts at public power utilities, study the impacts of EVs in public power communities, and share insights regarding infrastructure installation and EV interaction with the modern grid.
Driving Technological Innovation and Increasing Access to Data
Leveraging the Power of Data through an ‘EV Hackathon’: Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is announcing that they will host an EV hackathon this fall. Hackathons are events that bring together coders, data scientists, topic experts, and interested members of the public to discover insights and develop new solutions. The event will take place in concord with the release of anonymized data on EV charging stations to the research and software development community. The ‘EV Hackathon’ represents a unique opportunity to bring together the EV and software communities to collaborate to enhance EV deployment.
Conducting a Technology Study to Explore the Feasibility for Fast Charging, up to 350 KW, for EVs: DOE will partner with industry, the National Laboratories, and other stakeholders to develop a study that will examine the vehicle, battery, infrastructure, and economic implications of direct current (DC) fast charging of up to 350 kW, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. A 350 kW charging system could charge a 200 mile range battery in less than 10 minutes. The implementation of DC fast charging has the potential to impact many technology areas and tackle key technological barriers associated with high rate charging (50 kW and above), and fast charging increases the utility of EVs, aides in their adoption, and helps enable widespread use of EVs.
Announcing that the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will Lead Research to Achieve the Strategic Battery500 Goal: A multi-partner team, led by PNNL as part of the Battery500 research consortium, will receive an award of up to $10 million per year for five years to drive progress on DOE’s goal of reducing the cost of vehicle battery technologies. Battery costs exceeded $500/kWh when President Obama launched his EV Everywhere Grand Challenge goal of making EVs that are as affordable and convenient for the American family as gasoline-powered vehicles, and low-cost, high performance batteries are a key component of the strategy to attain the President’s goal. The Battery500 Consortium aims to triple the specific energy (to 500 WH/kg) relative to today's battery technology while achieving 1,000 electric vehicles cycles. This will result in a significantly smaller, lighter weight, less expensive battery pack (below $100/kWh) and more affordable EVs. The Battery500 consortium will include four DOE National Laboratories and five universities in an effort aimed at achieving revolutionary advances in battery performance. Consortium partners include the following:
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (research partner and advisory board)
- Brookhaven National Laboratory
- Idaho National Laboratory
- SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
- Binghamton University (State University of New York)
- Stanford University (research partner and advisory board)
- University of California, San Diego
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Washington
- IBM (advisory board)
- Tesla Motors, Inc. (advisory board)
Increasing Charging Infrastructure in Our Homes and Workplaces
The Standard for High Performance Green Buildings Will Consider a Revision to Encourage EV-Ready Building Practices: By employing EV-Ready building practices, multi-unit dwelling and commercial building developers can prepare a facility with electrical infrastructure to accommodate a future charging station installation, resulting in significant cost savings for building owners and tenants. To encourage more EV-Ready development in cities and states across the country, an EV-Ready building code measure has been introduced to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 189.1, a standard for high performance green buildings that in 2018 will become the basis for the International Green Construction Code. Through the adoption of this EV-Ready building practice, cities and states can align with the EV building strategies identified by Federal agencies in the 2016 Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings.
Expanding DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge to Include 35 New Businesses, Non-profits, Universities, and Utilities: DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge encourages America’s employers to commit to providing EV charging access for their workforce. Vehicles are parked at homes and workplaces most of the time, making the Workplace Charging Challenge a significant opportunity to expand our nation’s charging infrastructure. In fact, charging at work can potentially double an EV driver's all-electric daily commuting range. Participating employers include organizations that are assessing their employees’ need for charging to those who have successfully launched workplace charging programs. DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge has grown to more than 350 partners since its launch in January 2013, and is on track to meet its goal to partner with 500 United States employers by 2018. The 35 new partners announced today include:
- Bates College
- Berkshire Hathaway Energy
- CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
- City of Seattle
- Clean Future, Inc.
- Confluence Environmental Center
- Con Edison
- Duke Energy Carolinas
- Duke Energy Florida
- Duke Energy Indiana
- Duke Energy Kentucky
- Duke Energy Ohio
- Duke Energy Progress
- Eugene Water & Electric Board
- Fresh Start Detail Co.
- Hawai`i Electric Light Company
- Hawaiian Electric Company
- Joseph Hughes Construction
- Maui Electric Company
- Morris Energy Consulting
- NIKE, Inc.
- North American University
- North Coast Electric
- Olympic College
- Orange and Rockland Utilities
- Southern Company: Alabama Power
- Southern Company: Georgia Power
- Southern Company: Gulf Power
- Southern Company: Mississippi Power
- Southwest Clean Air Agency
- Sustainable Future LLC
- The Valley Hospital
- University of Oregon
- Utah Valley Hospital
PRIVATE SECTOR COMMITMENTS TO INCREASE ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE
Twelve utilities and charging companies are announcing commitments to increase deployment of EVs and charging infrastructure, and to use the Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure to work together to accelerate EV deployment.
- Avista commits to install electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) in its Eastern Washington service territory, as part of a two-year pilot program recently approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. Provided full participation levels, Avista expects to install a total of 272 EVSE connection ports in approximately 200 different locations: 120 in residential homes, 50 at workplaces, and 30 in public locations, including 7 DC fast chargers to enable regional EV travel.
- Florida Power and Light (FPL) is committed to the mass market adoption of EVs by working with local, state, and federal stakeholders on initiatives that will help drive EV adoption. FPL will continue to educate and support residential and commercial customers on the benefits of EVs and work with them to remove barriers to adoption. FPL also commits to continue to place EVs into its fleet when possible.
- The Hawaiian Electric Companies have committed to work with all stakeholders to support EVs as part of reaching the islands’ goal of 100 percent renewable energy for electricity by 2045. The Hawaiian Electric Companies will continue to install more DC fast charging stations, research demand management and demand response strategies in EV charging and seek new policy and infrastructure opportunities to provide reliable, clean power for EV charging.
- Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) commits to continuing its leadership and support of the electric transportation market by deploying 10 percent of its Clean Charge Network in underserved and low-income areas of its service territory. KCP&L believes that charging infrastructure should be available and accessible to its customers of all income levels.
- National Grid commits to help accelerate EV and EV charging market growth in the Northeast, by bringing forward regulatory proposals for new EV charging infrastructure development and consumer education in the territories it serves. These initiatives will build on the company’s planned efforts to demonstrate new technologies such as DC fast charging, expand workplace charging for employees, and increase plug-in vehicles and technology deployment within the company fleet.
- Portland General Electric (PGE), Oregon’s largest electric utility company, commits to engage stakeholders and submit a proposed plan to Oregon Public Utility Commission in 2016 defining the utility role in transportation electrification, pursuant to recently passed Oregon legislation, which identifies transportation electrification as key to meeting Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions targets. PGE also commits to work with Federal partners, including DOT and DOE, and the Edison Electric Institute in appropriate leadership roles to continue to advance transportation electrification. PGE will spend 5-10 percent of its corporate fleet budget on electrification, and commits to encourage and incentivize PGE employees to acquire EVs and serve as ambassadors for electrification.
- The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) will provide the associated infrastructure to the City of Albuquerque for their purchase of an all-electric bus fleet for the soon to be built Albuquerque Rapid Transit system. The project is the first of its kind in New Mexico and the first all-electric Bus Rapid Transit system in the United States.
- Southern California Edison(SCE) will collaborate with stakeholders to develop plans to meet California Senate Bill 350 requirements for on-going, comprehensive utility programs and investments to accelerate widespread adoption of transportation electrification. SCE’s plans will complement stakeholders’ efforts to expand available charging infrastructure, deliver effective market education and outreach, encourage incentives, and improve customers’ experience. SCE will also launch its Clean Fuel Reward program in 2016 to provide incentives to residential EV owners using proceeds from California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program.
- Southern Company and its electric-generating traditional operating companies – Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power – have been and will continue to be leaders in the advancement and promotion of the electric transportation market. Southern Company remains active in both the on-road and non-road markets, working with industry, municipalities, government, and the military to further the use of electric transportation and to ensure the development of necessary charging infrastructure. Southern Company is committed to consumer education through social media outreach and community charging programs as well as special concierge events provided through the REVolution program. The Southern Company Energy Innovation Center, meanwhile, continues to facilitate and encourage industry research aimed at improving the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of EV technology.
- TheEdison Electric Institute (EEI) will work with its member electric companies and their associated state regulatory commissions to a) provide the charging infrastructure needed to scale electric transportation, b) develop measures that support the market while controlling costs and ensuring benefits are shared by all customers, and c) engage in direct outreach and education to customers.
- ChargePoint commits up to $20 million toward the deployment of a national network of high-speed charging stations as part of public-private partnerships. This includes research and development investments, site identification, smart city deployments and DC fast charger corridors. ChargePoint will work with the DOT, other Federal, State, and local government agencies, and private entities to determine the optimal location for such high-speed charging stations, and to secure financing from private entities and through public-private partnerships. In order to future-proof the network, ChargePoint is committed to developing a line of high-speed DC fast chargers with 125-350 kW charging capacity. ChargePoint commits to work with the broader industry to develop the standards necessary for interoperability, allowing drivers to use one account to charge at stations manufactured by multiple vendors. ChargePoint commits to make access to its high-speed network simple, accessible and convenient through industry-leading driver services and mobile applications. ChargePoint commits to work with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to make data available to help optimize their vehicle programs and better understand driver behavior. ChargePoint commits to work with utilities to make data available to help improve vehicle grid integration and better understand driver behavior.
- EVgo commits to invest $100 million in EV infrastructure over the next 5 years to expand its nation-leading charging network. This investment will focus on providing customers with access to high-speed charging at charging rates significantly faster than what is available on the market today.
BUILDING ON PROGRESS
The above-mentioned private sector commitments announced today build on a history of progress to increase EV adoption and promote EV charging infrastructure, which is illustrated by the following:
On January 16, 2009, the Treasury Department approved a $1.5 billion loan for Chrysler Financial. The interest rate for the loans was one point above Libor. In return, Chrysler Financial promised to pay the government $75 million in notes and reduce executive bonuses by 40%. As a result, car buyers got zero-percent financing for five years on some models.
Chrysler received $4 billion of the $7 billion bridge loan it originally requested. In return, its owner Cerberus vowed to convert its debt to equity.
Chrysler had also asked for $6 billion from the Energy Department to retool for more energy-efficient vehicles. Chrysler wanted the Big Three to partner with the federal government in a joint venture to develop alternative energy vehicles. That didn't happen, and Chrysler didn’t get the loan from the Energy Department. Instead, it pledged to debut an electric vehicle in 2010 and ramp up its production to 500,000 by 2013.
On April 30, 2009, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner agreed to lend it $6 billion to fund operations while in bankruptcy. It emerged as a new company, 58.5% of which automaker Fiat S.p.A. of Italy now partly owned. This Fiat-Chrysler merger created the world's sixth-largest automaker. The rest is owned by the United Auto Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. Chrysler closed underperforming dealerships as part of its bankruptcy proceedings.
In May 2011, Chrysler repaid $11.2 billion of its outstanding $12.5 billion in TARP loans six years ahead of schedule. The total cost to taxpayers was $1.3 billion.
In 2013, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne announced plans to take Chrysler public on the New York Stock Exchange. This allowed Fiat to purchase the rest of the company and merge the two into a more competitive global automaker. In October 2014, it was listed under the ticker symbol "FCAU." The new company was called Fiat Chrysler Auto Company N.V. Its 2017 market capitalization was $17 billion.
In 2016, Chrysler spun off its Ferrari division. In 2017, there were rumors that Chrysler might sell its flagship Jeep brand to a Chinese automaker. The company also switched its U.S. plants from cars to trucks and Jeep sport utility vehicles. There are no plans to build electric or self-driving vehicles.
Daley Stepping Down in Rare White House Shake-Up
WASHINGTON — President Obama announced Monday that the White House chief of staff, William M. Daley, was stepping down, jolting the top ranks of his administration less than a year before he faces a difficult re-election. Mr. Daley will be replaced by Jacob J. Lew, the budget director and a seasoned Washington insider with ties to Capitol Hill.
Mr. Daley, a fellow Chicagoan who was recruited by Mr. Obama a year ago to help strike bipartisan legislative deals, struggled to find his footing in a ferociously partisan Washington and failed to help his boss broker a huge budget agreement with Congressional Republicans last summer. His departure interrupts a run of good news for the White House, with tentative signs of life in the job market, victory over Republicans on the payroll tax and Republican presidential candidates assailing one another on the campaign trail.
It was a distracting shake-up in a White House that has prided itself on a lack of internal drama, with a tightly knit circle of loyal senior advisers playing a steadying role. Mr. Obama said he asked Mr. Daley to reconsider his decision — made after a holiday respite from the capital — but Mr. Daley, a 63-year-old member of a Chicago political dynasty, was determined to leave.
“Obviously this was not easy news to hear,” Mr. Obama said in a brief appearance in the State Dining Room, flanked by Mr. Daley and Mr. Lew. “In the end,” the president said, “the pull of the hometown we both love — a city that’s been synonymous with the Daley family for generations — was too great.”
Mr. Lew, known as Jack, is a mild-mannered and steady technocrat with long experience in the White House and on Capitol Hill, having served two administrations and a speaker of the House, Thomas P. O’Neill. He was also a deputy to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, coordinating the “civilian surge” in Afghanistan, which Mr. Obama said would equip him to deal with foreign policy issues.
A major question, though, is whether Mr. Lew will be any more successful than Mr. Daley in establishing himself in the president’s inner circle. It was not yet clear, for example, whether Mr. Lew would share some of his duties with Pete Rouse, a low-key former Congressional aide who is close to the president and was assigned some of Mr. Daley’s responsibilities after the failed budget talks.
That move last fall, though portrayed by the White House as sensible sharing of the burden with an adroit colleague, ended up being seen as a very public rebuke of Mr. Daley, one that undermined his standing. Administration officials said Mr. Lew and Mr. Rouse would work out those issues between them, though one said Mr. Rouse was likely to remain influential.
Mr. Lew, however, has a broader web of contacts in Washington than Mr. Daley, a former banker and commerce secretary in the Clinton administration. He also enjoys support on Capitol Hill, where Mr. Daley was criticized for not adequately cultivating leaders like Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader who bristled last year when Mr. Daley seemed to blame Democrats as well as Republicans for lack of progress on Capitol Hill.
In a statement, Mr. Reid lavishly praised Mr. Lew, calling him a “consummate professional with intimate knowledge of Congress.” He gave credit to Mr. Daley for seeing through “a tumultuous year in which Republicans’ unprecedented obstructionism turned every issue into an all-or-nothing battle.”
Mr. Daley handed in his resignation to Mr. Obama last Tuesday after discussing it with his wife on vacation in Mexico during the Christmas holiday. In a resignation letter that was long on praise for Mr. Obama’s accomplishments, Mr. Daley did not cite a specific reason for leaving, beyond declaring, “It’s time for me to go back to the city I love.” He declined further comment.
“It’s been a pretty frenetic year,” said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity so that he could discuss private conversations. “He felt like it was a propitious time.”
Mr. Daley, the son and brother of legendary Chicago mayors, proved to be an awkward fit on the Obama team. Chosen largely for his deal-making skills and ties to the business world, he failed to strike a “grand bargain” on the federal debt and deficit with the Republican speaker of the House, John A. Boehner — a setback that left him and other White House staff members stunned and bruised for weeks.
Mr. Daley instituted a more button-down style at the White House, after the more temperamental style of his predecessor, Rahm Emanuel, who left to run for mayor of Chicago.
The news of Mr. Daley’s departure was first reported by The Tribune Company newspaper chain.
That Mr. Daley was frustrated by Washington was no secret. In October, he told a Chicago television station that he planned to leave the White House in January 2013, at the end of Mr. Obama’s first term. In an interview with The New York Times in September, he dwelt on the failed budget negotiations, and evinced little appetite for the cut-and-thrust of partisan combat that followed them.
“The nation is being pushed into that, by the Republican primaries, by the type of ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ language in Congress,” he said.
Mr. Obama praised Mr. Daley for his role in shepherding trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. He also helped design the president’s $447 billion jobs bill, which — with the exception of a short-term extension in the payroll tax waiver and a few other odds and ends — was stymied in Congress.
While the president said he asked Mr. Daley to reconsider his decision, he did not apply the kind of pressure he brought to bear on Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who has for several months been eager to return to New York.
Administration officials said Mr. Daley would play a role in fund-raising for the Obama campaign, probably with the title of campaign co-chairman. With his family pedigree and Wall Street connections, he is likely to remain a force in Democratic politics. Mr. Obama said in his statement that he planned to consult Mr. Daley regularly.
The president also said that Mr. Lew, 55, had been Mr. Daley’s choice as his replacement, and the “one clear choice” for the job. Mr. Lew worked alongside Mr. Daley in the effort to strike a budget deal with Republicans.
“Jack’s economic advice has been invaluable and he has my complete trust, both because of his mastery of the numbers, but because of the values behind those numbers,” Mr. Obama said, noting that Mr. Lew, who had served in the administration of President Bill Clinton, was the only budget director in history to preside over budget surpluses for three consecutive years.
Mr. Lew, who divides his time between New York and Washington, has built a reputation as a pragmatic liberal who believes Democrats must compromise with Republicans on long-term deficits in order to forestall draconian cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Before joining the Obama administration, he was a banker at Citigroup, helping run a division with esoteric investments in real estate and construction — a connection that was criticized by liberal groups on Monday. No successor as budget director to Mr. Lew was announced, but his deputy, Heather Higginbottom, and Rob Nabors, currently the Congressional liaison, were considered contenders for the post.
Obama: Auto industry "leading the way" in America's comeback
Before a speech touting the productivity of the big three auto companies, President Obama admired the handiwork of a bright red Mustang, the latest iteration of Ford's iconic muscle car: "This is an American car right here, this Mustang," he said, as he stood next to the car. "That's beautiful."
"Joe Biden saw this and he flipped out," said Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford, as he showed Mr. Obama around the Detroit facility.
"Yeah, yeah, I know," the president replied. "He got his aviator glasses on?"
The President traveled to the heart of the American auto industry on Wednesday to lay out an optimistic message ahead of his State of the Union address later this month, pointing to the performance of U.S. auto companies as evidence of America's broader economic rebound.
"Thanks to the hard work of people like you, America's coming back," Mr. Obama told employees at the Ford plant.
The president said the auto industry and the broader manufacturing sector are "leading the way" in the longest stretch of uninterrupted job growth in American history.
"You're helping rebuild the middle class for the 21st century," he said. "Because of you, manufacturing has a future in this country."
The president's remarks previewed a central theme of his upcoming State of the Union address, which he will deliver before a joint session of Congress on January 20.
"Now that we've got some calmer waters. if we all pitch in, then we can make sure that this rising tide is actually lifting all of the boats, not just some," he said. "That's going to be the focus of my State of the Union in a couple of weeks: building on the progress that we've already made."
The factory the president spoke at is the first of its kind: a flexible manufacturing facility that produces both gas/electric hybrid vehicles and plug-in electric cars. The president said such technological advances - and the skilled workers to take advantage of them - could lay the groundwork for more prosperity to come.
He cited the expansion of apprenticeships in the year since his administration announced a $100 million apprenticeship grant competition designed to expand the most successful worker-training programs.
He also hailed the official end of the auto industry bailout, a costly endeavor initiated during his first year in office to pull General Motors and Chrysler back from the brink of potential liquidation.
"Last month the rescue of the auto industry officially came to an end," he said. "The auto companies have now repaid taxpayers every dime and more of what my administration invested. you paid the taxpayers back with your hard work, with your dedication."
The president said the auto industry bailout was "not popular," recalling polls taken at the time that gauged public support for the rescue plan at around 10 percent. But he argued it was worth saving the companies, despite public opposition. "The auto industry has proven that any comeback is possible," he said.
During a press gaggle on Air Force One en route to Detroit, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the president's remarks weren't intended to be a "victory lap," but merely an opportunity to highlight some good economic news.
"I do hope that this is a useful opportunity for us to highlight the momentum of the American economy," he said.
Earnest also rebutted concerns that pending free trade agreements could undermine the competitiveness of the auto industry. He recalled that people voiced similar concerns about a free trade agreement with South Korea that was ratified in 2011, but said the auto industry has only gotten stronger since that time. In negotiations over the transatlantic and transpacific free trade pacts, Earnest said, Mr. Obama would again insist on a deal that protects American workers and manufacturers.
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The U.S. Treasury lent money to and bought stock in GM and Chrysler. It provided incentives to spur new car purchases. In effect, the government nationalized GM and Chrysler, as it did Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the American International Group.
In all, the federal government extended nearly $81 billion to bail out the auto industry in a rescue effort that began under Bush’s watch and ended in December 2014, well into Obama’s second term. The effort cost taxpayers $10.2 billion.
On Nov. 27, 2018, President Donald Trump threatened to cut off federal subsidies to GM in retaliation to its planned cutbacks in the Midwest, the politically sensitive region in which Trump had promised a manufacturing rebirth during the 2016 campaign.
Trump unloaded on Twitter a day after GM announced it would shut five plants and slash 14,000 jobs in North America. “Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan, and Maryland” while sparing plants in Mexico and China, Trump tweeted, adding: “The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!”
Buyers of electric vehicles made by GM and other automakers get federal tax credits of up to $7,500, as an incentive to get more of the zero-emissions vehicles on the road.
Turning the other cheek, GM said: “We appreciate the actions this administration has taken on behalf of industry to improve the overall competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing.”
SOURCE: “This Day in Presidential History,” by Paul Brandus (2018)
All News Releases By Date
President Obama Announces National Fuel Efficiency Policy
Release Date: 05/19/2009
Contact Information: THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary 202-456-2580
WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today – for the first time in history – set in motion a new national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States. The new standards, covering model years 2012-2016, and ultimately requiring an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg in 2016, are projected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program with a fuel economy gain averaging more than 5 percent per year and a reduction of approximately 900 million metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions. This would surpass the CAFE law passed by Congress in 2007 required an average fuel economy of 35 mpg in 2020.
“In the past, an agreement such as this would have been considered impossible,” said President Obama. “That is why this announcement is so important, for it represents not only a change in policy in Washington, but the harbinger of a change in the way business is done in Washington. As a result of this agreement, we will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in the next five years. And at a time of historic crisis in our auto industry, this rule provides the clear certainty that will allow these companies to plan for a future in which they are building the cars of the 21st century.”
This groundbreaking policy delivers on the President’s commitment to enact more stringent fuel economy standards and represents an unprecedented collaboration between the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the world’s largest auto manufacturers, the United Auto Workers, leaders in the environmental community, the State of California, and other state governments.
“The President brought all stakeholders to the table and came up with a plan to help the auto industry, safeguard consumers, and protect human health and the environment for all Americans,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “A supposedly ‘unsolvable’ problem was solved by unprecedented partnerships. As a result, we will keep Americans healthier, cut tons of pollution from the air we breathe, and make a lasting down payment on cutting our greenhouse gas emissions.”
“A clear and uniform national policy is not only good news for consumers who will save money at the pump, but this policy is also good news for the auto industry which will no longer be subject to a costly patchwork of differing rules and regulations,” said Carol M. Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. “This an incredible step forward for our country and another way for Americans to become more energy independent and reduce air pollution.”
A national policy on fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas emissions is welcomed by the auto manufacturers because it provides regulatory certainty and predictability and includes flexibilities that will significantly reduce the cost of compliance. The collaboration of federal agencies also allows for clearer rules for all automakers, instead of three standards (DOT, EPA and a state standard).
“President Obama is uniting federal and state governments, the auto industry, labor unions and the environmental community behind a program that will provide for the biggest leap in history to make automobiles more fuel efficient,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This program lessens our dependence on oil and is good for America and the planet.”
View selected historical press releases from 1970 to 1998 in the EPA History website.