Energy Department offers $730 million loan to Michigan auto company

“The Severstal project will help make American automakers more competitive as demand for lighter, more fuel efficient vehicles increases,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement. 

“By manufacturing more advanced high-strength steel here at home, we rely less on imports and create thousands of new jobs that get people back to work,” he said.

Here’s a summary of the project from the Energy Department:

The facilities will produce a wide range of advanced high strength steels, which will enable manufacturers to reduce the weight of steel components used in vehicles, creating a 10 percent reduction in total vehicle weight while meeting increasingly stringent safety regulations. Severstal’s AHSS project has the potential to reduce petroleum-based fuels consumption by nearly 30 million gallons annually, and thus avoid over 260,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The financing is part of the Energy Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program. The program has provided over $9 billion in loans to companies including Ford, Nissan and Tesla Motors, according to the department.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who faces reelection next year and helped shepherd the auto loan program through Congress, applauded the new loan. “In Michigan we certainly welcome this announcement that will put so many people back to work,” she said in a statement.

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