House Ag holds hearing on electric vehicles
The House Agriculture Committee Wednesday held a hearing on the impact of electric vehicles on rural communities and agriculture.
In an opening statement, House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott, D-Ga., said, “We are witnessing a point of major research, investment, and adoption of electric vehicles across the country and the world, driven in large part in an effort to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”
“As with so many other technological advancements like electrification, broadband, or telephone service, I want to see what can be done to make sure that rural America is not left behind. And to that point, I want to also ensure that the needs of agriculture and rural residents are being considered with these important developments.
“As anyone who lives in a rural community knows, gas stations and convenience stores are often a pillar of those communities and are sometimes the only place for miles to get food. With the ongoing investment and transition to electric vehicles, we must know what the long-term impacts to these businesses will be.
“With so many input costs fluctuating for farmers across the country, could electric vehicles provide one more stable cost on their balance sheets? And beyond that, how will this electrification of vehicles translate to tractors and other farm implements?”
A wide range of witnesses testified.
During the hearing, Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said renewable fuels are a bridge between traditional fuel and electric vehicles, as efforts to fight climate change ramp up.
“The climate is calling on us to bring down carbon emissions immediately,” said Bustos. “While the future of electric vehicles is extremely bright, it’s going to take several years before every new car coming off the lines operates electrically.“
“In the meantime, we must take action to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions from gasoline,” Bustos said. “My bill, the Next Generation Fuels Act, would decarbonize liquid fuels with higher blends of ethanol to reduce vehicle emissions, limit harmful aromatics and increase biofuels demand for our family farmers. It’s a win-win.”
After the hearing, House Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee Chairwoman Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.D., introduced the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure for Farmers Act to allow the Rural Energy for America Program to be used for installing EV charging infrastructure for light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty EV vehicles — including pickup trucks, combines, and tractors used on American farms.
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