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RELEASE: Rep. Khanna Introduces CHARGE Act to Expand Access to Electric Vehicles for Government Employees

September 8, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced the CHARGE Act (Charging Helps Agencies Realize General Efficiencies) in the U.S. House of Representatives in an effort to incentivize government agencies to purchase and utilize electric vehicles in their work.

“Clean energy is the future of the American economy,” said Rep. Khanna. “Air pollution from vehicles and smokestacks cause 200,000 early deaths every year in this country. The United States Government should be taking every opportunity to support green technology, starting with its own travel policies. This is a simple but effective fix to support American factories, health, and innovation. I’m proud to partner with Senators Peters and Portman, as well as Representative Gonzalez, to keep the government on track for a greener future.”

Currently, the General Services Administration (GSA) provides Fleet Services Cards to federal agencies as a way to pay for the refueling of government vehicles. However, these payment cards cannot be used to cover the cost of electric vehicle charging. This means that the government’s electric vehicles can only be charged in an agency’s garage, and not at any charging station. For perspective, the equivalent would be like if gas-powered government vehicles could only refuel at a gas station located in the agency’s garage, rather than at commercial gas stations.

The GSA is the mandatory source for all non-tactical vehicle purchases by the federal government, and all federal purchases are generally required to buy American-made products. The CHARGE Act directs the GSA to issue guidance allowing for Fleet Services Cards to be used for electric vehicle charging.

By making it easier for the government to operate electric vehicles, it would also incentivize the purchase of additional EVs and boost American electric vehicle manufacturing.  

Khanna’s bill is a companion measure to S. 2193, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), that passed the Senate by unanimous consent in November 2019 and is awaiting action in the House. Joining Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) as an original cosponsor is Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).

“Electric vehicles have the potential to be more energy efficient and more cost-effective than gasoline-powered vehicles,” said Sen. Peters. “This legislation, which I was proud to champion in the Senate, will help ensure the federal government can help save taxpayer dollars by taking full advantage of electric vehicles as they become more readily available. I thank Representative Khanna for leading this effort in the House, and look forward to working together to get this commonsense bill signed into law.”

“Innovation in government processes is key to advancing policies that propel our nation forward,” said Rep. Gonzalez. “The CHARGE Act will update federal government policy by making common sense changes that encourage government innovation and bring our operations further into the 21st century. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will help modernize and improve our government.”

You can read the full bill text here.

 

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About the Office

Congressman Khanna represents the 17th District of California, which covers communities in Silicon Valley. Visit his website at khanna.house.gov. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @RepRoKhanna.