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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Mar 8, 2012

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Carbon Motors Corp., a business who had the intentions of creating fuel-efficient diesel police cars, is the most recent applicant to be rejected by the Department of Energy (DOE) for an auto loan to fund their production.

The DOE is sitting on a mountain of money meant for retooling the auto industry into a more energy-efficient production line. Under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program created in 2007 and funded by congress in 2008, the DOE has a total of $25 billion in energy auto loans to hand out to manufacturers it deems suitable.

This recent denial of $310 million has left Carbon Motors fuming.

“We are outraged by the actions of the DOE and it is clear that this was a political decision in a highly charged, election year environment. Since Solyndra became politicized last fall, the DOE has failed to make any other loans under the ATVM program, has pulled back one loan that it previously committed and, as of this month, the DOE has pushed aside the three remaining viable loans under active consideration, said William Santana Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Carbon Motors, in a press release.

Carbon Motors, along with several other manufacturers, have spent millions of dollars and years of time trying to win the auto loans available from the DOE. Some have accused the Obama administration of intentionally restricting the auto loans over fear that a decision to administer money to a company that may struggle would look bad in the upcoming election.[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”1264″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”319″,”style”:”padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; margin-left: 5px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; float: right; width: 299px; height: 199px; “,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”width”:”480″}}]]

The company wanted to use the auto loans to fund its production of the “E7,” a new law enforcement vehicle that already has received 20,000 reservations from over 500 agencies across the nation. The E7 is meant to increase fuel efficiency by up to 40 percent, which would equate to a substantial sum of money given the rising cost of fuel.

Despite the nation’s interest in Carbon Motors product, and despite the fact that the DOE never told Carbon Motors that the application was lacking in any way, the DOE continues to sit on the pile of money meant to be handed out as energy-efficient auto loans.