Elections have consequences. The Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives last fall is putting the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, a Bush-era program between the Energy Department and the Detroit Three in danger. The Republican proposal would cut $200 million from the program, which makes up most of the DOE's $333 million vehicle research budget (2009 figure), according to The Detroit News.

FreedomCAR's long-term vision is for a "clean and sustainable transportation energy future," and that includes four "Freedoms" goals:
  • Freedom from dependence on imported oil
  • Freedom from pollutant emissions
  • Freedom for Americans to choose the kind of vehicle they want to drive, and to drive where they want, when they want
  • Freedom to obtain fuel affordably and conveniently
It's worth noting, though, that the other main partners in the program are major oil companies: BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Shell. As the group's 2009 Highlights of Technical Accomplishments (PDF) shows, FreedomCAR works on hydrogen, advanced combustion and plug-in vehicle technologies.

The question, then, becomes: what is the alternative? Is saving $200 million now worth it if it means we will just need to keep sending more and more to other countries? After all, according to the Pickens Plan, the U.S. sent $337 billion on oil imports in 2010. That's awful close to a billion dollars a day ($923,287,671, to be exact), and that makes cutting $200,000,000 from an annual budget seem kind of small.

[Source: The Detroit News, Hybrid Car Blog]

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