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For Immediate Release: July 26, 2007
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Praises
Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle Research on UC Campuses

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today praised a public-private partnership at two University of California campuses that will evaluate a variety of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle impacts. The partnership, between Toyota Motor Corporation, UC-Berkeley's Institute of Transportation and UC-Irvine's Advanced Power and Energy Program, will study the economic benefits of plug-in hybrid vehicles to both the consumer and the electricity grid. Funding from the Energy Commission and the California Air Resources Board will assist the schools in their research endeavors.

"Plug-in hybrids offer a viable approach to reducing the state's petroleum consumption," said Energy Commission Vice Chair James Boyd. "California is the second largest consumer of gasoline in the world, which is why, in 2003, the Commission put forward a goal to reduce consumption by 20 percent over the next 20 years. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technology brings the state one step closer to achieving this objective, using even less gasoline then the current hybrid vehicle technology."

The partnership reiterates the Energy Commission's support of developing new, cleaner technologies to reduce the state's dependence on fossil fuels. Reducing gasoline use not only limits dependence on oil, but also decreases greenhouse gas emissions. Forty-one percent of all greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change come from the burning of fossil fuels in the transportation sector.

In December 2006, the Commission awarded $3 million to UC-Davis to fund a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) research center. The purpose and goals of the center are to enhance the commercial viability of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; provide timely and valuable information for policy makers, industry leaders, consumers, and the environmental community on strategies for PHEVs to address California's transportation energy challenges; and support PHEV demonstration and related efforts in California. The funds will be allocated over three years and be based at the UCD Institute of Transportation Studies.

The PHEV Research Center also meets several strategic objectives for accomplishing a clean and diverse transportation system in California by addressing the need for improving transportation efficiency; supporting the development of alternative transportation fuel supplies; and developing the knowledge and analytical tools for a comprehensive transportation policy benefitting California's electricity system.

The Energy Commission's funding support comes from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. The PIER program, the largest in the nation, awards up to $84 million to conduct energy research annually. The program supports energy research, development and demonstration projects that improve the quality of life in California.

Created by the Legislature in 1974, the California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The Energy Commission has five major responsibilities: forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency through appliance and building standards; developing energy technologies and supporting renewable energy; an planning for and directing state response to energy emergency.

Members of the Energy Commission are Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel; Vice Chair James D. Boyd; Commissioners Jeffrey Byron; John Geesman; and Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld.

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