Davis explained. “It is not just about manufacturing something and throwing money at the problem. We also want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can from a technology standpoint.” The agency also has been working with modeling “to help make sure we succeed,” he said.

The overarching goals of the Vehicle Technologies Program are reducing petroleum dependency and mitigating carbon, Mr. Davis explained. The Recovery Act “layered on top of that the idea that we are trying to stimulate the economy and domestic jobs, and to do it pretty quickly,” he said.

Two-thirds of petroleum used in the U.S. is in the transportation sector, Mr. Davis noted. Consumption in that sector has grown from around 7 million barrels of petroleum per day in 1970 to around 14 million in 2010. Use is projected to near 17 million barrels in 2035. He presented a chart showing that petroleum use for air, heavy trucks, light trucks, and cars all are projected to keep rising. However, U.S. domestic production of oil has dropped by more than 40 percent, to less than 8 million barrels per day, since 1970, and is not expected to increase by much.


FIGURE 1 U.S. Petroleum Production and Consumption, 1970-2035.

SOURCE: Stacy C. Davis, Susan W. Diegel, and Robert G. Boundy, Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 30, Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 2011.

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