A Toyota Prius Hybrid charges on a city street. Soon hybrids might be able to charge up on Capitol Hill. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Looking for a place to recharge your electric car? Pretty soon you might be able to plug in on Capitol Hill.


A bipartisan klatch of senators is trying to tackle rising gas prices by installing automotive battery recharging stations in Senate parking lots and garages.

The group plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that Senate aides said would cost about $7,000 initially for the installation of the plugs. But they said the program would pay for itself by charging users $20 to $30 a month.

“Passage of this legislation will be an important statement of leadership from the Senate,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich), one of the bill’s lead sponsors. “It will provide an example to other employers of how they can support both the needs of their employees and our national interest in energy security.”

“We’re stuck in this crazy period where congressmen boast about bringing back plastic forks to the House cafeteria because they’re against recycling and composting,” Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said in a statement. “That’s nuts. Instead, we should be taking steps like this so Washington leads by example. The clean energy innovation we need right now will shape our global competitiveness, so let’s do the small and big things that are needed to lead.”

The bill is also sponsored by Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Sens. Alexander and Merkley own hybrid vehicles, but no word on the others or their staffers.

Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.) introduced an almost identcal measure in the House last month.

As for the Executive Branch, President Obama said last month that federal agencies will be buying only hybrid or electric vehicles by 2015. A wholesale replacement of current vehicles won’t happen by then, but the move is designed to gradually phase out gas guzzlers.

In an effort to boost the struggling American auto industry, some agencies spent about $285 million in economic stimulus dollars in 2009 to purchase more than 17,600 fuel efficient vehicles from Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.

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