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Obama FY2017 Budget Proposal: Sustainable Energy, Buildings, Transportation and Climate

February 12, 2016

On February 9, 2016, President Obama released his $4.15 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2017 federal budget proposal, a 5 percent increase over 2016. In his final budget request, President Obama is calling for investment into clean energy research and development to double by 2021, from $6.4 billion (in 2016) to $12.8 billion. The budget seeks $7.7 billion for clean energy research at 12 federal agencies, with the Department of Energy receiving the bulk of the funding (80 percent). The extra funding would support the development of clean, renewable energies such as bioenergy, geothermal, hydrogen, solar, water, and wind, as well as clean-vehicle technologies and energy storage. The proposed 2017 budget increases the Department of Energy's (DOE) funding by 10 percent over 2016 estimated levels, raises the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) budget by 4.23 percent, and increases the Department of Transportation's (DOT) funding by 10.27 percent.This issue brief outlines the Obama administration's FY 2017 budget request for several clean energy programs within key agencies.

Fact Sheet: Vehicle Efficiency and Emissions Standards

September 8, 2015

Transporting people and goods accounts for 1.8 trillion tons, or 27 percent, of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and approximately 70 percent of all U.S. oil use (or about 13.1 million barrels of oil per day, excluding biofuels). With the burning of gasoline and diesel accounting for 59 percent and 24 percent of the transportation sector's emissions, respectively, significant reductions in auto and truck emissions are essential to climate change mitigation efforts.Medium and heavy-duty vehicles, powered by diesel fuel, represent only 5 percent of the vehicles on the road but currently account for more than 20 percent of transportation emissions, as trucks are typically driven much greater distances than cars. Therefore, while auto standards are important because of the volume of vehicles on the road, truck standards are just as important because increasing the efficiency of one truck has a much greater impact than increasing the efficiency of a single car.The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have estimated that the standards listed in the timeline below will save consumers over $1.9 trillion at the pump, reduce oil consumption by 14.3 billion barrels, and eliminate 7.3 billion metric tons of GHG pollution by 2027. The benefits of the light-duty vehicle standards alone are the equivalent of reducing gas prices by $1 per gallon, cutting OPEC oil imports in half, and reducing emissions by more than the total amount U.S. CO2 emissions in 2014.This fact sheet will provide a timeline of federal fuel efficiency actions under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and the anticipated benefits of these measures.

Issue Brief: Federal Funding for U.S. Transit and Roadway Infrastructure

August 13, 2013

The United States' surface transportation infrastructure is funded through a combination of federal, state and local revenue. This revenue is primarily collected through transportation user fees, including state and federal taxes on fuel purchases. Federal fuel taxes on gasoline and diesel make up about 90 percent of revenue for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), the primary fund for federal investment in surface transportation infrastructure. Federal fuel taxes, which are set per-gallon fees and not based on percentage of sales, have not been changed in 20 years. As construction and maintenance costs rise, the HTF has lost significant purchasing power. Compounding matters, fuel consumption trends have cut into fuel tax revenue. Congress has shown little appetite for increasing the per gallon user fees and has opted to dip into general funds to meet HTF obligations.Infrastructure investment is no longer meeting the needs of the national transportation system, and current revenue from user fees is below investment levels. Transportation infrastructure is deteriorating as a result, putting a strain on the national economy. The nation's transit and roadway infrastructure received a grade of D in the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 Report Card on America's Infrastructure; the report highlighted U.S. Department of Transportation studies indicating a $112B annual funding gap to bring roads, bridges and transit to a state of good repair over 20 years. An increasing number of states have taken action; recently Wyoming increased its per gallon fuel tax from 14 to 24 cents. So far, the federal government has not taken similar action.