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Roland Hwang’s Blog

Broad coalition shows electric cars can bring relief at pump

Roland Hwang

Posted March 13, 2012 in Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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With gasoline prices already exceeding $4 gallon in some parts of the country, American drivers need more than ever choices to relieve their pain at the pump. One of these most promising solutions is the electric car which has the potential to deliver the equivalent of $1 gallon for the life of the car.

But ensuring that every American can have this choice is far from ensured.

The policy road map is clear, thanks to the new Center for Climate and Energy Solutions’ Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electric Grid.

Unfortunately, the political road map is not as clear with ideologues in Congress unfairly attacking electric cars like the Chevy Volt, questioning government support for clean energy manufacturing and working to undermine the historic proposed 54.5 mpg standards

But by working together on implementing the Action Plan, we can ensure opponents of electric cars do not succeed in holding us back from moving beyond oil.

The text of my full remarks at the launch of the Action Plan in Washington D.C. is below:

 

REMARKS BY ROLAND J. HWANG

TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM DIRECTOR

FOR THE NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL

AT THE RELEASE OF THE

CENTER FOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY SOLUTIONS REPORT

AN ACTION PLAN TO INTEGRATE PLUG-IN ELECTRIC VEHICLES

WITH THE U.S. ELECTRICAL GRID

MARCH 12, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C.

 

GOOD AFTERNOON.  IT’S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE AT THE LAUNCH OF THIS IMPORTANT REPORT. IT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE THAT MA NY ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS, LIKE THE NATURAL RESOURCE DEFENSE COUNCIL, STRONGLY SUPPORT ELECTRIC CARS AS A CRITICAL STRATEGY TO CURB AIR POLLUTION AND CUT OUR DANGEROUS DEPENDENCY ON OIL.

BUT I ALSO WANTED TO HIGHLIGHT OTHER WAYS ELECTRIFICATION CAN HELP MOVE THIS COUNTRY FORWARD.

FIRST, ELECTRIFICATION IS ABOUT REAL SOLUTIONS TO HIGH GAS COSTS. AS MANY ENERGY EXPERTS HAVE NOTED, THE U.S. HAS 2% OF THE WORLD OIL RESERVES SO WE CAN’T MAKE A MEANINGFUL DENT IN WORLD OIL PRICES. INSTEAD, THE REAL SOLUTION IS TO CUT OUR APPETITE FOR OIL BY PROVIDING CONSUMERS REAL CHOICES.

AT TODAY’S AVERAGE ELECTRICITY PRICES, ELECTRIC CARS ARE THE EQUIVALENT OF FILLING UP ON $1 A GALLON A GASOLINE FOR THE LIFE OF THE CAR. THAT’S A POWERFUL CONSUMER VALUE PROPOSITION.

HOWEVER, AS THE C2ES ACTION PLAN POINTS OUT, WE NEED A CONSISTENT REGULATORY STRUCTURE TO ENSURE THAT THIS LOW-COST CONSUMER VALUE PROPOSITION IS REALIZED WHILE MAINTAINING THE RELIABILITY OF THE ELECTRICITY GRID.  ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT WAYS TO DO THIS IS FOR UTILITIES TO OFFER RATES THAT DISCOURAGE CHARGING ON-PEAK AND ENCOURAGE CHARGING OFF-PEAK WHEN THERE’S PLENTY OF EXISTING SPARE CAPACITY.

SECOND, ELECTRIC VEHICLES ARE ABOUT INVESTING IN AMERICA.  BY PUTTING MILLIONS OF ELECTRIC CARS ON THE ROAD, WE CAN AVOID SENDING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OVERSEAS TO IMPORT OIL,..OIL THAT IS GETTING COSTLIER, RISKIER AND DIRTIER.  INSTEAD, WE CAN KEEP THOSE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN THE U.S. AND INVEST IN MANUFACTURING CLEAN ELECTRICITY AND ADVANCED VEHICLE TECHNOLOGIES.

TO ACCELERATE THIS TRANSITION, WE SHOULD BE INVESTING OUR PUBLIC DOLLARS IN MAKING ELECTRIC CARS MORE AFFORDABLE AND UBIQUITOUS.  AND WE SHOULD END THE $4 BILLION IN TAX SUBSIDIES TO AN OIL INDUSTRY THAT MADE $137 BILLION IN PROFITS LAST YEAR.

MY THIRD AND FINAL POINT IS THAT ELECTRIC VEHICLES ARE ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER  ACROSS PARTY AND IDEOLOGICAL LINES TO MOVE AMERICA FORWARD. ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE THINGS ABOUT ELECTRIC VEHICLES IS THAT IT BRINGS TOGETHER A “BIG TENT” OF STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS, AUTO MAKERS AND ENVIRONMENTALISTS, BUSINESSES AND LABOR, CONSUMER GROUPS AND ENERGY SECURITY GROUPS.

BUT LET’S BE FRANK. THERE ARE SOME FOR WHATEVER REASONS APPEAR TO BE ROOTING FOR THIS TECHNOLOGY TO FAIL.

WE SIMPLY CAN NOT LET THIS HAPPEN. ELECTRIC CARS ARE TOO IMPORTANT TO OUR NATION’S FUTURE. AS THE CEO OF GM, DAN ACKERSON, SAID IN RECENT TESTIMONY IN FRONT OF CONGRESS, GM “…DID NOT ENGINEER THE VOLT TO BE A POLITICAL PUNCHING BAG.”

BUILDING THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE MARKET IS A HUGELY CHALLENGING TASK. THE C2ES ACTION PLAN IS A ROADMAP FOR SUCCESS. BY WORKING TOGETHER, WE CAN CUT CONSUMERS FUEL BILLS, CREATE THOUSANDS OF NEW JOBS, AND CURB EMISSIONS OF DANGEROUS CARBON POLLUTION.

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Comments

AlexMar 13 2012 11:06 AM

Once again, I must point out how many Volts were sold in the past two months. Nobody wants these PC mobiles. Gearheads are being cut out of this conversation, and it makes me sad.

Jimmy YoungMar 13 2012 05:53 PM

Fantastic Mr. Hwang. Hang tough.
Small minds always find change the most difficult.
Mr. Gearhead... don't be sad. Your opinion counts... even if you don't understand the science of humanity, evolution, geology and anthropology. Facts don't hurt so much if you take the time to learn them.
FACT: there are hundreds of ways to generate the flow of electrons.
FACT: burning oil for energy is dirty and can not last forever.
Don't be sad! Be glad that there are enough brave people willing to be "first" even when economies of scale have not brought prices down to "oil" levels. Personally... I grew tired of waiting for an affordable e-towncar so I'm building my own!
www.68sparkfire.blogspot.com

Paul ScottMar 14 2012 01:08 AM

Great speech, Roland! You touched on several important things. I'd like to add to the economic argument. We're talking about a huge river of money going to the oil companies, at least half out of the country, and it leaves our communities and states billions poorer. Californians spent about $55 billion on gas and diesel last year. Some 90% of that money left the state for good. Every year we lose 50 billion to people whose political leanings are diametrically opposed. They use that money to thwart any decent energy legislation from Congress.

Stop giving them your money.

Full disclosure, I sell the Nissan LEAF. I've sold more than anyone in the country because this technology, combined with solar, will eliminate most of the daily pollution for which you are responsible. And it will allow you to redirect your money from the oil companies to something you like such as the NRDC or Planned Parenthood.

You get to keep about 80 cents on the dollar what you used to give the oil companies. Instead, you'll give about 20 cents to your utility (or amortize a solar array!), the rest you get to keep. You'll spend most of that money on local goods and services, generating jobs for your friends and family.

Every member of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and every other environmental organization, should not buy a new car unless it has a plug on it.

NO PLUG, NO DEAL!

The right wing is being successful in slowing sales of plug-in cars, I've experienced the slow down personally. But it's easy to turn that around in a hurry. If you need a new car, get any one of several EVs and plug-in EVs on the market and many others coming to market. It would only take about 3% of you to order these cars and sales would double.

Show the right wingnuts that we are willing to walk the walk.

Once you get one of these cars, it will change your life. Go take a test drive, you'll see.

Paul ScottMar 14 2012 01:22 AM

Love this quote:

"AT TODAY’S AVERAGE ELECTRICITY PRICES, ELECTRIC CARS ARE THE EQUIVALENT OF FILLING UP ON $1 A GALLON A GASOLINE FOR THE LIFE OF THE CAR. THAT’S A POWERFUL CONSUMER VALUE PROPOSITION."

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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