72% of US oil consumption is used to power cars and trucks.  The US Department of Energy says this has to stop.

Today the Department released its 168-page Quadrennial Technology Review  which says that too much emphasis is placed on transportation technologies like hydrogen that are “multiple generations away from practical use.”  The department instead needs to focus on electric vehicles, building and industrial efficiency, and technologies that can provide a more immediate payoff for the US economy.

The Energy Department will put more resources into transportation, which this year accounted for about 26 percent of the budget.  Instead of hydrogen, it will focus on expanding the fleet of hybrid vehicles as well as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which are already served by a fueling network that includes 2,449 public stations, according to the report. There are only some 60 hydrogen fueling stations to support fuel-cell electric vehicles, creating an “extremely limited” network for those autos.

The report also says the Energy Department has spent too much time and money on stationary energy issues, including energy efficiency, the nation’s electric grid and electric power.  Going forward, the government should spend more effort boosting technologies “that significantly reduce oil consumption and diversify fuel sources for on-road transportation.”  This includes research aimed at making vehicles lighter and boosting the power of the internal combustion engine, as well as electrifying the nation’s cars and trucks and increasing the development of domestic biofuels.  Increasing motor vehicle efficiency is the easiest way to reduce oil consumption in the short- and medium-terms.

Finally, modernizing the U.S. electric grid to improve access for renewable energy sources, increasing alternatives to petroleum, and producing more “clean” electricity would also improve U.S. energy security and competitiveness.

 

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