Obama’s Inaugural Address contained some great hints about what the Alternative Fuel industry can expect with his presidency.
At the forefront, the single phrase, “We will not apologize for our way of life…” says to me that Obama will work to enforce America’s status quo. For this article I will focus on the quo of car culture.
Faced with dwindling cash reserves, several states are considering raising their Gas Tax. Those with efficient vehicles will come out ahead. Low income families, the trucking industry and the alternative fuel industry will finish last.
Now I am all for taxes – there are many essential services that the government performs and they need money to do this. Most often, gas tax goes directly into maintaining and repairing roads and highways – a costly endeavor – but absolutely essential to keep our country alive.
What I’m specifically concerned about is how this will affect three groups: those with low incomes, the trucking industry, and the alternative fuel industry.
A North Carolina Parks Department has bought three electric cars as a way to lighten their impact on nature preserves.
Custom Solar Array
Two of the vehicles charge by plugging into the wall. The third has been specially retrofitted with a solar array over its flatbed, freeing it from the grid and allowing it to charge while in the field. The vehicles, which all have small flatbeds, will be replacing ATVs and trucks for hauling maintenance and landscaping materials. The Mecklenburg County Department of Park and Recreation bought the three GEM vehicles (Global Electric Motorcars – a Chrysler company) with help from the Solar Center at North Carolina State University.
As the NY Times reported, Chrysler and GM have been closing production facilities left and right across the country; the latest closures have all been SUV facilities. What does this mean for the future of this American icon?
Editor’s Note: Sasha is one of the newest additions to the Gas 2.0 writing team. Welcome Sasha!
North Dakota’s fund for helping ethanol producers hedge against fluctuating corn prices is about to run out, and the producers are getting worried.
The fund, paid for in part by farm vehicle registrations, was drained by high corn prices earlier this year, according to the Bismark Tribune. Ethanol facilities operate on very slim margins, amplifying the effect of market turbulence. The goal of the fund, run by the North Dakota Commerce Department, was to create a safety net — $1.6 million per year to be exact — for existing ethanol production facilities and to draw new facilities in as well. Now the fund only has $2.4 million left.