The U.S. House of Representatives adopted an amendment authored by U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., that would allow RVs in addition to medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to qualify for new Department of Energy (DOE) research and development grants created by H.R. 3246, The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act of 2009. The House adopted the amendment by a vote of 369 to 62 and subsequently passed the bill, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

“The RV industry plays an important role in north central Indiana’s economy, and these vehicles are used by many families across the country,” said Donnelly, who represents the 2nd District in northern Indiana. “By explicitly including RVs in DOE research and development under The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act of 2009, federal researchers will be put to work devising new technologies to help make RVs more fuel efficient. Doing so will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help protect RV owners and makers from the impact of rising energy prices. With both government experts and RV makers working to usher in a new generation of fuel-efficient vehicles, we can help to ensure the industry’s continued competitiveness and success.”

H.R. 3246 authorizes DOE programs that examine technology solutions to increase a vehicle’s fuel efficiency, reduce its emissions, and improve its safety. In addition to research and development by the DOE for passenger vehicles, the legislation will also set aside funding for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Donnelly’s amendment includes RVs as another category of vehicles that are eligible for grants in addition to medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

“A comprehensive federal vehicle research and development program is critical at a time when the RV, automotive, and commercial trucking industries have limited resources for increasingly expensive research and development,” Donnelly said.

Reps. Mark Souder, R-Ind., and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., co-sponsored Donnelly’s amendment.