Judge rules U.S. violates alternative fuel laws

A federal judge ruled that the Bush administration is violating a 1992 law aimed at increasing the country’s use of alternative fuel vehicles.

The Department of Energy has ignored a requirement to set long-range goals for converting a percentage of the nation’s cars and light trucks to natural gas, ethanol, hydrogen and other nonpetroleum fuels, U.S District Judge William Alsup said in a ruling this week.

Anne Kolton, a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy, said Wednesday the department had no comment since litigation is ongoing.

Two environmental groups sued the Bush administration last year for failing to comply with the law.

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 was designed to reduce air pollution, global warming and the country’s dependence on foreign oil. The law required the Energy Department to consider imposing alternative fuel vehicle purchasing requirements on private and municipal fleets.

Judge Alsup ordered the agency to revise the law’s petroleum reduction goal to an achievable number, then decide whether to impose purchasing requirements on the fleets.