Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is no fan of the loan program for energy efficient vehicles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
One way or another, the Energy Department’s direct loan program for fuel-efficient car manufacturers looks destined for the chopping block.
Once viewed as a lifeline for Detroit’s “Big Three” manufacturers facing economic headwinds even before the onset of the Great Recession, the program is now little more than a kitty of untapped funds appropriated a decade ago. The last major Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program loan was approved conditionally in 2015, but Arconic Inc., whose former parent Alcoa secured the loan to produce lightweight vehicle materials at its Tennessee plant, turned the money down last year.