Mini E.Photo by Sara Barz.

Last Thursday, the UK government announced it would offer British citizens subsidies of 2,000-5,000 pounds ($2,900-7,500) for electric vehicles. To facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles, the government will set aside 20 million pounds ($30 million) to invest in electric-vehicle charging stations in city centers and high-traffic regions.

This is welcome news for many enviros and electric car manufacturers who lobbied hard to include electric-vehicle subsidies in the U.K.’s green recovery plan.  But from the perspective of U.S.-U.K. relations, doesn’t it seem a little like an anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better gesture? President Obama announces a plug-in hybrid tax credit of $2,500-7,500, and two months later the Brits see us and up the ante with EVs. Maybe Gordon Brown is still miffed about the DVDs…

In other green auto news …

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• The EPA found that greenhouse-gas emissions pose a danger to the public and need to be regulated. Considering the automotive sector accounts for 20 percent of GHGs, the struggling industry will almost certainly be targeted.

Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said in a release that the automakers are willing to work with Obama, but he added one dig with respect to their distaste of multiple emissions standards: “We are hopeful that the Obama Administration can find ways to bridge state and federal concerns, and move all stakeholders towards an aggressive, national, fuel economy/greenhouse gas emissions program administered by the federal government.”

• What do you get when you combine a Vespa with an old VW bus? A Thai motorized hauling tricycle that will soon be carrying goods and people around the Americaninterstate system. Tuk Tuk North America just announced it has received DOT and EPA approval to bring its 55-mpg, three-wheeled scooter-van (scootan? vanooter?) to the U.S.

• When it comes to clean vehicle R&D, the Obama administration has little patience with the Chevrolet Volt, but it is more than willing to throw $41.9 million at hydrogen R&D.

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• Chrysler’s restructuring plan indicates that the Dodge Circuit will be the company’s first EV vehicle in production.

• Amory Lovins’ research organization, the Rocky Mountain Institute, held a three-day design confab on improving the efficiency of long-haul trucking.  Increases in transportation-sector GHGs can largely be attributed to the trucking industry, but there are many technological and regulatory obstacles — 14, according to RMI — that get in the way of improving efficiency.

• According to the New York Times style section, we should all go (like the) Dutch, and accessorize for the Great Downturn with a “glossy black Dutch bicycle.”

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