And in the "one hand didn't know what the other hand was doing" department, we have this. Lithium-ion battery-pack maker A123 Systems received almost $1 million in federal funding the day it filed for bankruptcy, Reuters reports, citing a letter the company sent to Republican Senators John Thune and Chuck Grassley.
Toyota is facing further fallout from its recent unintended acceleration debacle, with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to reopen its investigation into the situation that led Toyota to recall some eight million vehicles. According to TheDetroitBureau.com, Grassley has written a letter to NHTSA director David Strickland, stating in part, "Key questions about the cause of unintended acceleration remain unanswered."
Up for vote in the U.S. Senate is a deficit-cutting bill already passed by the House of Representatives that will curb federal spending by $60 billion this year while also preventing the EPA from increasing the percentage of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent and handing out subsidies for gasoline stations being retrofitted to sell the E15 blend. The combination is creating some interesting political conflicts.
General Motors didn't use another government loan to pay off the much-celebrated $4.7 billion portion of its federal debt. According to a spokesperson with the Treasury Department cited by Bloomberg, the Detroit-based carmaker properly used funds from an escrow account to do the deed. The funds were available for the automaker to use in the event that it ran across any extraordinary expenses, but since the manufacturer decided it didn't need the money, it paid it back.
According to the real-time counter on the homepage of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), it's been 108 days since the $1.00 per gallon biodiesel tax credit expired. With an entire industry stalled and no clear end to the biodiesel purgatory in sight, more and more groups are petitioning their legislators to bring the tax credit back. Most recently, the National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO) added its voice to the growing roar of angry alt-fuel proponents.
The Bush Administration will release its 2009 budget to Congress Monday and one of the expected changes will be to the ethanol tariff, currently set at 54 cents for each imported gallon. The groundwork for this change was set by Energy Secretary Sam Bodman. According to Domestic Fuel, Bodman said, "I would just say I think that there are advantages to having had the kind of both subsidies and tariffs that have helped protect this industry. I believe that, the best I can tell, this industry is pr