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In Chicago yesterday President Obama asked Congress to set aside $2 billion over the next decade for research, including electric vehicles, batteries, compressed natural gas and biofuels.

Obama had first proposed the idea in his State of the Union address last month, when he called for taking a share of revenue from oil and gas leases on federal lands and placing it in an "Energy Security Trust" fund.

According to the AP, The White House said the "funds would be set aside from royalty revenues generated by oil and gas development in federal waters of the Outer Continental Shelf." The administration would fund the program as "revenues are projected to increase over the next several years..."

The trust "is designed to invest in breakthrough research that will make the technologies of the future cheaper and better — technologies that will protect American families from spikes in gas prices and allow us to run our cars and trucks on electricity or homegrown fuels," the White House said.

It appears that the "White House' focus remains on investment in select technologies and the hope that resulting vehicles would be attractive enough to commercial and private end-users (U.S. motorists) to prompt their purchase.

AP says that "Obama faces a difficult climb convincing Congress to put more money into vehicle research in the face of disappointing sales of electric vehicles. To try to win support, Obama has broadened his proposals to include vehicles that run on compressed natural gas in a bid to win support on Capitol Hill.

For several years, Obama has urged Congress to dramatically boost funding on vehicle research, but Congress hasn't shown any interest. Last year, he called on Congress to approve $650 million in battery and vehicle research, and Congress approved only $330 million, according to the Energy Department's website."

AP adds that "Obama has shifted his efforts on electric vehicles and now embraces subsidies for a broader range of advanced vehicles. He has proposed boosting the tax credit for electric vehicles to as much as $10,000, up from the current $7,500, but the proposal hasn't been approved."

Obama will resurrect a proposal he made in March 2012 to boost the sale of trucks that run on compressed natural gas. Obama has called for a new tax incentive for commercial trucks that provides a credit for 50 percent of the incremental cost of a dedicated alternative-fuel truck, including trucks powered by natural gas or electricity, for a five-year period.

Additionally, the news service predicted that Obama will resurrect a proposal he made in March 2012 to boost the sale of trucks that run on compressed natural gas. Obama has called for a new tax incentive for commercial trucks that provides a credit for 50 percent of the incremental cost of a dedicated alternative-fuel truck, including trucks powered by natural gas or electricity, for a five-year period.

Is this the best approach, or should government invest more in public transportation infrastructure and create incentives to drive alternative fuel availability?