The US Energy Department will award nearly $300 million to a clean cities programme to help communities buy alternative-fuel vehicles, Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu have said. The funding from the US Government's economic stimulus package is designed to encourage states and cities to reduce dependence on oil by helping pay for more than 9,000 alternative-fuel and energy-efficient vehicles, the Energy Department said. It will also establish 542 fuelling and recharging stations for the vehicles. One project will complete a 700-mile regional liquid natural gas (LNG) fuelling corridor connecting infrastructure in Southern California and LNG fuel stations being developed in Utah. The corridor will be along one of the nation's busiest trucking routes.