When the US Senate signed off on a budget agreement to (at least temporarily) avoid the so-called "fiscal clif," it stirred up plenty of debate among Democrats and Republicans. It is doing the same among those eying the biofuel industry. Here's how the green vehicle scene shakes out for now, including support for some electric vehicles.

In the agreement, many of the biofuel initiatives from 2008's Farm Bill were extended another year to the end of 2013, causing biofuel advocates to say that the budget agreement will save jobs and continue to help lessen dependency on foreign oil, Biofuels Digest reports. Specifically, this week's agreement, which the US House passed by about a 3-to-2 margin, extends the $1.01-per-gallon production tax credit for cellulosic biofuel by another year to the end of 2013. It also retroactively enacts a $1-a-gallon production credit for biodiesel (which ended in December 2011) through the end of the year. Cellulosic biofuel producers will also continue to be able to depreciate 50 percent of their capital costs during the first year of production.

Of course, few federal government budget agreements pass without vocal opposition.

Of course, few federal government budget agreements pass without vocal opposition, and in this case, the Union of Concerned Scientists used the occasion to vent its own frustration. Justin Tatham, senior Washington representative for UCS's Food & Environment Program, called the Farm Bill extension "a disgrace," adding that "Republican leadership copped out at the last second" by continuing to subsidize large agricultural production instead of "smart, sustainable farming practices."

On the electric vehicle front, tax credit worth up to $2,500 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for some two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles was extended.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      The $2,500 Tax credit may help struggling EV two-wheel manufacturers, like the excellent independent Scooter maker from Ann Arbour, Current Motor Company of USA. All over the US technology being developed to solve the problems associated with the causes of problems within the US economy. Even if a small percentage of these emerging technologies develop to full potential , coupled with US energy self reliance, will guarantee that the 21st century, is not 'the Asian century', but the American century !
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marcopolo
        It's going to help struggling scooter manufacturers, in China.. Or local companies that import and 'americanize' Chinese scooters. Current motors? do they even manufacture their own scooter? if so, how many of the parts come from America?
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          2 wheeled menace Sure they manufacture their own scooter ! You should check out the website, or contact Current Motor Company,4355 Varsity Drive, Ste C Ann Arbor, MI 48108. info@currentmotor.com You will find the companies founders, like John Harding, very approachable. ( I wish Vectrix had possessed such talent ! ).
      • 1 Year Ago
      By e-scooters, you mean 218 mph rockets like the Lightning motorcycle.... right?
      mylexicon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Congress knows they can't close the budget deficit b/c we have issues with the money supply contraction. Taxing the wealthy is precarious. Taxing the middle class is out of the question. They have to convert deadweight loss entitlements to efficient production. For instance, cutting the pork out of social security and medicare by placing income controls on benefits and adjusting the eligibility age, then converting the savings into collegiate-level education entitlements so America's youth isn't digging themselves out of risky educational debt. Better yet, Congress should work 24/7 on getting Americans back to work so they pay taxes rather than receiving unemployment checks. Congress knows they can't convert deadweight loss to productivity so they resolve to do nothing. Even when they try to fix the problem (e.g. Obamacare), they end up making things worse.
      bluepongo1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Two sides same coin, or maybe fire fighters who set fires for: job security, overtime, and to look like heroes.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bluepongo1
        Right, like after 9/11, how we needed homeland security and the TSA. And to justify their existance, the FBI even set up fake terror plots by selling fake weapons and grooming certain young impressionable people into terrorists so that they can say they caught one every other year. ( there are at least 5 instances of this that the media has reported on. ) If there isn't a crisis to justify the growth of the federal govt's size, they'll create one. If there is a crisis, you can bet they'll capitalize on that too. But people continue to vote in favor of it, like frogs that don't know that they're being boiled.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Kicking the can down the road again. Obama even signed an executive order that ended up giving congress a ~1% raise before this negotation was made.. they also decided to keep military spending at the same level. Gee, you'd think that our leaders weren't aware that we are 16.5 trillion dollars in debt by now. Practice your fiddling skills; you don't want to be out of practice when Rome burns ;]
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Meh. Adjusted for inflation, we had an equivalent of 18 Trillion modern US dollars in debt under Ronald Reagan. Adjusted by both inflation and population growth (debt per person instead of total debt regardless of population) Reagan had the equivalent of 23 Trillion of debt. The world didn't end. We didn't become Greece. We didn't default. Our credit rating didn't drop. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about the debt, and it certainly needs to be fixed. But all this overheated rhetoric like "Rome Burning" is actually causing more damage to our economy in the short term and delaying our recovery than the debt itself. In 2008 our economy didn't crash because of our debt, it crashed because of an under-regulated market bubble. The US economy is still way more susceptible to a crash due to under-regulated market bubbles than due to default on our debt payments. Our Treasury Bond rates reflect this. The biggest lesson we all should learn is this: Once the economy is strong again and we have a budget surplus, and some idiot says we should hand out tax breaks with the budget surplus dollars instead of paying down our debt, run them out of town at gunpoint. It's not "your money" until after all of your bills racked up in your name over your life are paid off.
          Actionable Mango
          • 1 Year Ago
          @raktmn
          As the interest payments start to approach half a trillion dollars a year, imagine what we could accomplish today if we if were not saddled with all that debt. Half a trillion would pay for a lot of things. And instead of paying down that debt, we just add to it.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @raktmn
          arg. I repeatedly put Trillion instead of Billion in my last post. I hate that. Basically every time you see a 3 digit number, I should have put in Billion instead of Trillion. I've been typing Trillion so much lately that my fingers type the word by themselves.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @raktmn
          Half a Trillion? Are you talking about the $359,796,008,919.49 that all levels of federal, state, and local governments paid in interest in total for 2012, down from each of the last 7 years? Down nearly $100 billion from the 2008 high of $451,154,049,950.63 under the previous administration? Yes, that is a lot of interest, but we've been paying interest in the 300's and 400's every year for almost 2 decades. Interest rates are very low. New bonds are actually costing the gov't less in interest than the old bonds that are being retired every year. Our interest payments will actually go down even as our national debt goes up. Under Reagan it was $240 Billion. When you adjust for population growth, that is the equivalent of $311 Billion on a per-person basis, and the nation didn't die back then. And you do realize that number includes every little bond issued every time a new subdivision gets a new set of sewer pipes and roads and sidewalks, right? When you exclude the State and Local bonds (SLG's), the actual national debt interest payments are about $220 Trillion. Still a big chunk of change, but nowhere near half a Trillion. And we've been paying somewhere around $200 Trillion in national debt interest every year for more than two decades. Hardly something to justify shutting down the government over all the sudden right now, when we payed almost that exact same amount during each of the 8 years under the previous administration and nobody talked about shutting down the government over interest payments back then. We paid $169 Trillion under Ronald Reagan, which is the equivalent of $218 Billion when adjusted for population growth. No different than today, and the nation didn't crash under Reagan. Like I said, it certainly is something we need to get under control. Let's turn it around and fix it where it wasn't fixed in the last three decades. But we've been doing this for decades, there is no justification for the current doom and gloom irrationality that comes with comments like "Rome Burning" in reference to the end of the Roman Empire all the sudden now. The United States isn't at anymore risk at coming to a crashing halt today due to the interest payments we make on our debts than we've been at during any time since Ronald Reagan was president. You would agree that the over-the-top rhetoric certainly hasn't helped us solve anything, right?