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Federal gov't unveils plan to greatly expand EV charging stations across U.S.

New electric vehicle charging stations are seen in a parking garage at Union Station in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 2021. The plan announced on Thursday aims to greatly expand a national network of EV charging stations. File Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI
1 of 3 | New electric vehicle charging stations are seen in a parking garage at Union Station in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 2021. The plan announced on Thursday aims to greatly expand a national network of EV charging stations. File Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The federal government on Thursday gave states the go-ahead to build a national network of electric vehicle charging stations, with $5 billion in federal funds from the bipartisan infrastructure law that Congress passed last year.

The Transportation and Energy departments announced the measure, which will make the federal funds available over five years. The move is part of President Joe Biden's aim to increase electric vehicle use and decrease carbon emissions.

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As the United States and other countries that depend on fossil fuels make the transition to EVs, exactly where drivers can recharge along their journey remains a key issue -- as gas stations still dominate the landscape and charging stations are still difficult to find in most of the United States.

Officials said the new National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program will spend billions over the next five years to help states create or expand a grid of EV charging stations along designated "alternative fuel corridors" -- particularly along the Interstates.

The government's plan aims to expand a network of charging stations across the United States by providing states billions of dollars from now through 2026. File Photo by James Atoa/UPI

"A century ago, America ushered in the modern automotive era; now America must lead the electric vehicle revolution," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.

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"The president's bipartisan infrastructure law will help us win the EV race by working with states, labor and the private sector to deploy a historic nationwide charging network that will make EV charging accessible for more Americans."

States will be able to tap into $615 million that will be available this year by submitting a detailed plan. Later this year, the government will detail a grant program that's part of the expansion effort.

Texas is being allocated the largest chunk of funds this year, more than $60 million, followed by California ($56.7 million), Florida ($29.3 million) and New York ($26 million).

"We are modernizing America's national highway system for drivers in cities large and small, towns and rural communities, to take advantage of the benefits of driving electric," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

Vice President Kamala Harris charges an electric vehicle during a visit in Brandywine Md., on December 13, 2021. There, Harris announced the Biden administration's Electric Vehicle Charging Action Plan, which established a joint electric vehicles office between the Departments of Energy and Transportation. File Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI

"The bipartisan infrastructure law is helping states to make electric vehicle charging more accessible by building the necessary infrastructure for drivers across America to save money and go the distance, from coast-to-coast."

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Stephanie Pollack, deputy federal highway administrator, said that making sure drivers can find charging stations will play a vital role in turning the corner from gasoline-powered vehicles to EVs.

"The new EV formula program will provide states with the resources they need to provide their residents with reliable access to an EV charging station as they travel," she said in a statement.

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