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Oregon Governor Creates Infrastructure Working Group for Electric and Alt Fuel Vehicles

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has signed Executive Order 08-24, creating the Governor’s Alternative Fuel Vehicle Infrastructure Working Group. The group is charged with developing the policies and alternative fuel infrastructure for Oregon to attract car manufacturers seeking to bring the next generation of electric and alternative fuel vehicles to market in North America.

In order to prepare companies and help Oregon citizens move to an alternative fuels transportation system, the executive order establishes a working group that will develop a plan to work with the private sector to build alternative fuel stations in Oregon by October 2010.

The group will also provide a forum for Oregonians to make sure alternative fuels work for their communities, including establishing standards for residential charging infrastructure, and implementing a public awareness campaign to educate Oregonians about how to incorporate alternative fuel vehicles into their daily lives.

The workgroup will consist of 11-13 members appointed by the Governor who have expertise in alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure, and who represent the transportation and utility industries, state and local government, the business community, the energy efficiency and conservation community as well as members of the general public. The workgroup will provide written recommendations to the Governor on or before December 31, 2009.

Our reliance on foreign oil and our emissions of greenhouse gases come from dependence on gasoline powered vehicles. We have to move away from gasoline powered vehicles and move towards alternative power sources such as electric, natural gas and fuel cell vehicles—and Oregon is positioned to be a national a leader for this next generation of vehicles.

As the private marketplace transitions to new technologies, it is critical that the state, local partners and private companies work together to build a consistent and reliable refueling infrastructure so consumers can make the switch to new, greener vehicles.

—Governor Kulongoski




Good idea. But I wonder if Ted means the State will help build new biofuel/electric recharge stations? It would be interesting to see the State support independent recharge islands, pedestals, parking facilities with grants and or tax incentives. That is what's needed considering the foot dragging oil companies who will string us on gas sales as long as possible.

Henry Gibson

All politicians want to parrot the comforting words alternate fuels, fuel cells, alternative energy, wind, solar: without knowing the costs and realities. For lowest cost and highest security of supply use nuclear power plants. New ones only refuel every two years. But the politicians only want to be re-elected not solve any real problems or obey many laws of physics and others. Nuclear and Plug-in-hybrids are real working words with no need for much new infrastructure. ..HG..


He is already courting BYD.

michael Bryant

all politains will talk about atl fuel vehicles. I think well should build more hydrogen stations. Hydrogen has the advantage to come from biomass and electric generating sources. We just need to jet Internal combustion engine up to 80% efficiency and promote natural gas car and also require natural gas cars to compatible with burning hydrogen.


I would agree with the natural gas, but not the hydrogen. I do not even know if it is technically possible to get the internal combustion engine 80% efficient. You might get an SOFC with gas turbine and heat recovery organic rankine up to that efficiency, but that is a ways away.


Governor Kulongoski;

Yes, please, by all means facilitate the growth of an alternative fuels infrastructure in Oregon. But if all you do is help the oil companies build biofuels stations (with taxpayer money? Unacceptable.) you are missing a chance to remake Oregon's economy and foster economic democracy on a scale that--if others were to follow our example--could change the world.

If we leave biofuels to the oil companies they will truck biomass thousands of miles to a few large refineries, and truck the refined fuels back, wasting fuel and adding to both the cost of the biofuels and the atmospheric carbon load. Biofuels are a natural for smaller-scale local production; refine fuels where the biomass is produced, and as much as possible, use them locally.

Logging slash, mill wastes, grass-seed straw and other farming wastes, sewage and animal manures, garbage and yard debris are all biofuel feedstocks available to us right now, from which we could make fuels using existing technologies such as biomass gasification and Fischer-Tropsch, methane digesters, or alga fertilization--without using one additional acre of farmland. Local ownership--or biofuels co-ops? PUDs?--and local jobs would keep wealth in the community and in the state, instead of transferring it to oil companies that demand--and get--18.5 billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies even as they make the most obscene windfall profits in the history of obscene windfall profits. Why shouldn't we keep that money and those jobs in Oregon?

We need biodiesel and biobutanol now. Ethanol is a lousy motor fuel, methanol worse. Butanol works in many unmodified gasoline engines, like the millions in which Americans have already invested, that we can't afford to throw away.
And for some time to come it may a good thing if your vehicle can burn butanol or gasoline interchangeably--you may find one, but not the other when you need fuel.

Does Oregon have incentives in place to encourage local production of biofuels? The right biofuels?

Are Oregon's universities researching biofuels? If Oregon held the rights to an efficient, clean, low-cost third-generation (post biobutanol) replacement for both gasoline and diesel, the royalties might fund Oregon's entire educational system, K through PhD., for a very long time to come.

Please ask the EPA for me why I can't buy a Fiat Panda 1.3 Liter turbodiesel in this country? Four passengers in safety and comfort, Euro 5 compliant (or Euro 6, now? Ahead of what's required), 99 mph, 0 to 60 twice as fast as my Toyota pickup--and seventy-six highway miles per gallon. Use a smaller diesel and make it a plug-in hybrid, and you've easily got a 100 mpg vehicle. The only reason the American auto makers can't make something like that for us right now is that they don't want to--it is as if they work for the oil companies, rather than their customers.

If Detroit won't make cars like that, why shouldn't Portland?

Or Coos Bay?

Please remember that a good deal of Oregon's electricity is made by burning coal and natural gas. Before we promote electric cars and plug-in hybrids, we need a million solar roofs, solar highways, and many more wind farms. Or perhaps we should face the reality that you do not always have sun or wind when you need electricity; remember that Oregon has abundant geothermal resources; research claims that life cycle costs of geothermal power plants are now competitive with coal; and invest in technology that can always produce power on demand.

Coal-fired power plants of the Boardman generation are typically ~40% efficient. The turbodiesel used in the Fiat Panda turns 45% of the heat energy in its fuel into BHP. And as bad as oil is, coal is worse--less hydrogen, more carbon per pound. So a small, modern, clean turbodiesel puts less carbon into the atmosphere than an electric car, if that electric car is powered by a coal-fired power plant. And a diesel can run on biodiesel--potentially, no net carbon. We need better sources of electricity before we promote electric cars.

The kinds of alternatives fuels we chose to promote is important. Ethanol from corn has raised my weekly grocery bill 30 or 40 percent, over the last six months. I wonder how many more millions of third-world children starve for every 10 percent increase in my grocery bill? Putting food in fuel tanks in a hungry world is obscene.

If we turn our wastes into fuel first, then farm algae--which requires far less land than "dirt" crops--for the rest of our biofuel needs we'd harvest both biodiesel (up to 44% of the algae by weight) and a remnant (the other 66%) that we could either ferment into biobutanol, or feed to livestock--it's mostly protein and carbohydrates. And doing that, we might free up grain for hungry people, instead of burning it.

Many algaes make good human food supplements, too. Food and fuel from the same crop? Rather than one or the other?

Regardless, it's important to pick the one or two best biofuels technologies, and promote them, rather than throwing money at every technology that comes along. Jimmy Carter made that mistake, and set alternate fuels research back 20 years.

In summary, sir, we need to make our own biofuels, not just provide the oil companies with infrastructure; we need to keep the jobs, tax revenues, ownership and investment income from fuels used in Oregon in Oregon; and we need to chose the technologies we invest in very carefully, using sustainability, cost, efficiency, local feedstocks, and economic democracy as our guidelines.

Thanks for listening.

John O.

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