Americans expect to be able to hop in a vehicle and drive without any thought of running out of fuel. In a gasoline powered vehicle, that worry-free fueling expectation is met by 180,000 gasoline fueling stations with about 2 million fueling pumps.
By comparison, America has about 1,000 CNG stations, of which about half are public, and will have approximately 5,000 public EV chargers by the close of 2011. This year has seen EV stations jump more than six-fold from just 750 at the beginning of the year. The states of California, Washington, and Texas are national leaders in EV deployment, but Pennsylvania lags with just 29 as of November.
While 2011 has been an encouraging year for EV charging deployment, it would take 40 to 50 years at the 2011 rate of deployment for EV chargers to be as ubiquitous as gasoline fueling stations. More must be done more quickly.
CNG fueling station deployment is not keeping pace even with the quickening but inadequate rate of EV charging installations and is making glacially slow gains.
Without worry-free fueling for EVs and CNG vehicles, the growth rates for both will be hurt, with plug-in hybrids best positioned to cope with inadequate fueling infrastructure.
What will it take to have worry-free fueling infrastructure for natural gas and electricity vehicles on a schedule that can break Uncle Sam's addiction to oil before he is hit with $150 oil? Smart policy and the involvement of the nation's gas and electricity utilities in building the fueling infrastructure is needed. ASAP.