Pro-hybrid truck bill passes in US

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill this week that would encourage the development of hybrid heavy-duty trucks.

H.R. 6323, the Heavy Hybrid Truck Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 2008, was introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.). It encourages hybrid research for trucks by offering manufacturers grants to build, test, and eventually sell hybrid heavy duty trucks. In addition, the bill encourages the Department of Energy to expand its advanced energy storage technology research to include hybrid trucks.

According to published reports, the bill would authorize $16 million a year through fiscal 2011 for the program.

During a June hearing on the bill, Sensenbrenner pointed out that delivery and utility trucks often idle for hours once they reach their destinations. A plug-in hybrid engine in a utility truck, he said, could use up to 60 percent less fuel.

"H.R. 6323 is an example of a better approach for achieving energy independence," Sensenbrenner says than the cap-and-tax programs being proposed, which he says will do little to cut global emissions. "It encourages the development of technologies that can reduce fuel consumption and emissions. These reductions will lower the cost of fuel and they can be exported, so they can reduce emissions worldwide."

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