Park-In to Drive Down Pain at the Pump

Environment Colorado

Denver, CO— Surrounded by hybrid and alternative fuel car owners staging a park-in, Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center released Beyond Oil: The Transportation Fuels That Can Help Reduce Global Warming, a report outlining policies that will wean the United States from oil to cleaner, more secure alternatives.

“So far, the debate about lowering prices at the pump is missing the point. Congress and Colorado legislators are talking about drilling the Roan, opening the Arctic, and melting oil from Colorado shale. These are not sensible solutions to high energy prices,” said Keith Hay, energy advocate at Environment Colorado. “Getting power from renewable resources will be cheaper, cleaner and politically wiser.”

The report, Beyond Oil: The Transportation Fuels That Can Help Reduce Global Warming, evaluates the leading contenders in the alternative fuels race, with a specific focus on their impact on global warming and the environment.  It shows that the best solution to lowering emissions from vehicles is to combine the approaches that offer the greatest environmental benefits. For example, an efficient plug-in hybrid vehicle operating on electricity and cellulosic ethanol made from crop waste has emissions that are at least 70% lower than gasoline.

“We need smart solutions to our energy crisis, and here in Colorado we are building one of them—a smart electrical grid that will allow hybrid owners to plug in to Colorado’s abundant wind and solar resources.” said Carl Lawrence, CEO of Hybrids Plus Inc., a Boulder based company that is working with the Governor’s Energy Office and Xcel Energy on implementing vehicle-to-grid technology in Colorado.

While there are siren calls in Congress for a quick fix, the report makes it clear that during the current energy crisis public policy should be supporting transportation fuels that are clean and have a long-term potential to replace gasoline. A low carbon fuel standard that moves us toward electricity from renewable resources is a key in meeting that goal.

While most Coloradans are feeling pain every time they stop at the pump, hybrid and alternative fuel car owners highlighted their savings at a time of rising fuel costs.

Golden resident Steve Stevens, the owner a hybrid Toyota Prius commented, “My slogan is ‘To zero and beyond.’ Once I switch to plugging the car into some of the surplus output of my solar panels, it might actually cost me below a penny a mile.  However, this isn’t about cheap fuel. Making the switch will mean that my lifestyle goes below zero in global warming pollution. I have grandkids and want to do what I can to reduce the threat that we face from global warming.”

The report makes a number of recommendations to local, state and federal policymakers for achieving large reductions in global warming pollution from cars and light trucks and reducing our oil dependence; including:

  • Adopting a low carbon fuel standard that will help open a market for plug-in hybrid vehicles.
  •  Requiring that by 2020, all new vehicles are capable of using lower carbon fuels, whether electricity or bio-fuels.
  • Supporting additional research into advanced technologies such as batteries, cultivation techniques for cellulosic feedstock and into technologies for converting cellulosic feed-stocks, especially waste, into fuel.
  • Improving vehicle fuel economy and pursuing measures to reduce total driving.
  • Amending the recently passed federal renewable fuels standard to require that all ethanol sold be subject to a low carbon fuel standard.