President Biden is throwing more money at EV chargers.
The Biden-Harris administration has committed another $2.5 billion to fund EV and alternative fueling stations across the country. The new Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) discretionary grant system was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), signed by President Biden on November 15, 2021. In total, the BIL will provide $550 billion, which already started in 2022 and will eventually end in 2026.
In June 2022, the Department of Transport and Department of Energy announced the first round of investments worth $7.5 billion. The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program received $5 billion to establish a wider charging network by giving states money to expand charging networks. An additional $2.5 billion was set aside for grants to private companies like Tesla and its famous Supercharger network.
The new CFI moves away from a state-level funding campaign and will be available to applicants like cities, counties, local governments, and Tribes. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), it's a crucial step toward President Biden's goal of building 500,000 public EV charging stations across the US, hoping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 50% by 2030. These charging stations will be accessible in urban and rural communities.
Recent reports show that America's heartland is still reluctant to purchase EVs because of poor infrastructure, the high cost of EVs, and a lack of consumer awareness. The average price of an EV is still much higher than the national average of a new car, and the segment for affordable EVs is shockingly tiny. It's basically the Chevrolet Bolt, and that's it.
The $2.5 billion will be split equally between two programs. The Community Program will build publicly accessible EV and alternative fueling stations on public roads and other publicly accessible locations like parking, schools, and parks. The Corridor Program will do the same along official alternative fuel corridors, more commonly known as the national highway system.
"FHWA is committed to helping towns and cities, large and small, build modern, sustainable infrastructure that promotes equity and opportunity for their local economies and net-zero emissions for the nation by 2050," said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. "By encouraging the adoption and expansion of EV charging and alternative fuels, CFI Program investments have the potential to significantly address the transportation sector's outsized contributions to climate change."
As we touched on, the program mentions alternative fuel, too. For an answer as to what that means when converted from political speak to everyday conversational English, we delved into the Alternative Fuel Corridors on the FHA's website. The Designation of Alternative Fuel Corridors memorandum filed in July 2022 only mentions EV charging, hydrogen, propane, compressed natural gas, and liquid natural gas. There is no mention of synthetic fuel, which is a massive oversight considering recent events.
The leaders in synthetic fuel development recently announced that it will build its first industrial-scale facility in the USA, and it will be operational by 2027. It is the most sustainable solution known to man, yet neither NEVI nor CFI currently acknowledges it as an alternative fueling solution.
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