Lawmakers to introduce 'electrification' bill

The support would come in the form of tax credits to develop better batteries, loan guarantees to retool assembly lines, point-of-sale tax credits for buyers of electric vehicles, and yet more tax credits to make up 75 percent of the costs to construct public charging infrastructure.

Crane said the bill is being supported by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

It isn't clear what support the bill will provide, but it is not expected to be as ambitious or as expensive as the Coalition's roadmap. 

The goal is to displace 75 percent of gasoline-fueled “vehicle miles” by 2040. That would reduce oil demand from 9 million barrels a day to around 2 million barrels a day, Crane said.

The coalition is making its case more on the benefits to national security than the planet. A disruption in the flow of oil would have a devastating impact on the nation’s economy, Crane said. So reducing the risk is a worthwhile pursuit.

Crane admits the coalition’s wish list is long and expensive.

“Electrification is not free,” he said.

But the coalition compares the $120 billion favorably to hundreds of billions spent annually to purchase foreign oil.

Plus, the subsidies will provide a, uh, jolt to the economy. Crane released a study showing a variety of economic benefits.

Switching to electric vehicles would create 1.9 million new jobs by 2030 and save the average household $3,687 (in 2008 dollars) on annual energy costs.

The U.S. trade balance would improve by about $127 billion, according to the Coalition’s study, which was conducted by the Interindustry Forecasting Project at the University of Maryland and Keybridge Research.

This post was updated at 1:53 p.m. on Friday.

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