Bipartisan sanity? Bills re plug-in hybrids …

Perhaps we need to rub our eyes, but it looks like there are outbreaks of bipartisan sanity emerging on energy issues.  A just introduced bill to promote plug-in hybrids is a poster child of sane policy concepts.

From co-sponsor Orrin Hatch (R-Utah):

“With the rapid industrialization of countries like India and China, the demand for gasoline is unprecedented, and that’s translated into higher costs at the pump,” Hatch said. “We’re already feeling the pain of that, and it’ll get worse unless we start shifting our transportation sector away from liquid fuels and on to electrons. The best way to motivate that shift is with these market-based incentives, rather than Federal mandates.”

From co-sponsor Maria Cantwell (D-Wash):

 “Our transportation system in this country is out of date,” said Cantwell. “We need to take advantage of new technologies to bring our cars and trucks up to speed, save consumers money, and diversify our country off of fossil fuels. We produce enough extra electricity right now to power most of the cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs on our roads. It’s time we made plug-in hybrid technology available to more Americans.”

Bi-partisan sanity?  Wow, need to rub my eyes again …

And, from that minor politician, Barak Obama:

“Developing environmentally friendly fuel alternatives for vehicles is a critical step we can take to reduce America’s consumption of foreign oil and combat global climate change,” Obama said. “The technology to produce energy alternatives exists, and we must provide the appropriate incentives to encourage consumer and manufacturer use. Supporting energy efficient technology and electric vehicles would also help the American auto industry regain its competitive edge.”

They have a “three-pronged strategy” when it comes to Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicles (PEDVs) (okay, yet another term for me), which includes all forms of plug-ins (including plug-in fuel cell vehicles):

  1. Tax credits for PEDV purchasers (up to $7,500 per vehicle, based on kilowatt hours of the car’s storage capacity). (And credits for people who convert existing vehicles to PEDVs.)
  2. Tax incentives for US production of PEDVs and PEDV parts.
  3. Incentives for utilities to support PEDV introduction.

On the last, interestingly, “These incentives would be scaled in a manner that would provide the largest incentives to utilities producing the greenest energy.”

Now, what is the title of this act:

Fuel Reduction using Electrons to End Dependence On the Mideast Act of 2007, or the FREEDOM ACT

As Orrin Hatch argued,

With it, we hope to initiate a shift in the transportation sector away from liquid fuels and toward the greater use of electrons. As most of you know, electricity can be much cheaper and cleaner than petroleum, and electricity can be generated domestically and independent of the global oil market. We believe that the United States is in a unique position to take the leadership role in developing the market, the technology, and the domestic production capacity for this dramatic shift in the transportation sector.

When it comes to moving to Energize America toward a prosperous and sustainable energy future, there is so much that can be done that is just common sense, that screams for bi-partisan cooperation.  Let us hope that this is an indication of even more bi-partisan sanity when it comes to energy policy.

2 responses to “Bipartisan sanity? Bills re plug-in hybrids …

  1. Raymond Newberry

    I am kind of messed up on the whole hybrid idea as well as gas guzzler ideas but let me pass this by.

    When I watch car commercials, there seems to be a chosen number (in gallons)that seem to be the acceptable norm. 40.
    It is like 40mpg has been the breakthrough for a long time now. SUV’s are on the verge of braking the 40mpg barrier.

    So, when I see a commercial for the cooper that can’t weigh more than my Harley, well, maybe slightly more, and they boast a 40 mpg on highway rate, I look at that tiny suitcase called a cooper as a gas guzzler. Am I wrong to think that?

    In addition to my rant, we have what is know to Californians as rolling blackouts. Basically there is not enough juice to power the population. Having said that, I wanting to save the world would love to buy an electrical vehicle.

    So I buy an electrical vehicle to do my part to save the planet, I plug that bad boy in when I pull in for the day, I wake up to find out we had one of those blackouts and my car did not charge during this catastrophe.

    The good news is that I can call a cab!!!

  2. The charge you got the night before should get you home if your plug-in hybrid has a decent battery. In fact, part of the issue is ‘decent’ batteries for hybrids that have higher energy density than NiMH batteries (the squirrels of NiMH?) and don’t have the explosion hazard of lithium batteries.

    The idea is that cars charge at night when AC loads are lower, there is even some talk of using the cars’ batteries as peak-load enhancements, charging your battery at night and discharging it a little back to the grid during the day to deal with peak-demand issues. Like most things in America, California has plenty of electrical power, they just have a distribution problem. At 4am they’re flush with electrons, at 4pm, not so much. Using the batteries of millions of PHEVs as buffers (and paying you for the privilege) would be a good way to ameliorate that issue.

    Besides, if it’s a plug-in hybrid, it’s still got an ICE. Fire up that bad E85-powered boy and drive home yourself.

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