Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Alternative Fueling Station Race Has Begun: California And Texas Charge Ahead But Pennsylvania Lags Way Behind

With already the nation's worst bridges and roads, Pennsylvania is falling behind in another critical piece of infrastructure--alternative fueling stations. As states like California and Texas charge ahead, Pennsylvania is now a laggard in the number of electric vehicle, natural gas, and bio-diesel fueling stations that are open to the public.

This emerging alternative fueling infrastructure gap means Pennsylvania's families and businesses increasingly are at competitive disadvantage.  The lack of alternative fueling stations means that Pennsylvanians must use vehicles that run on expensive gasoline, while in California, Texas, Washington, Oregon and other states cheaper electricity or natural gas vehicles are becoming a practical choice for the motoring public as more and more alternative fueling stations open.

Here are the devastating alternative fueling infrastructure numbers for Pennsylvania. We have just 281 of 18,524 public electric vehicle charging outlets; 44 of 1240 CNG stations; and 7 of 740 bio-diesel stations.

By contrast, California has 4,778 public electric charging outlets; Texas 1,583; and New York 620. Those driving on electricity are paying the equivalent of $1.14 per gallon.

In terms of CNG fueling stations, California, Texas, and even New York, where there is a moratorium on shale gas production, are all far ahead of Pennsylvania's pathetic 44. California has 253, New York 110, and Texas 62. This week natural gas has cost as little as $1.50 per gallon.

The states that first create an effective alternative fueling infrastructure that free their families and businesses from expensive gasoline will have a large competitive advantage over those states that do not. Gasoline costs often consume 5% to 10% of the after tax income of median income families, but natural gas and electricity can slash those costs by 50% or more.

In the coming decade, states will win or lose jobs in part by whether or not they are first to create a true public alternative fueling infrastructure for their families and business.  Though Pennsylvania ranks third in gas production, exports large amounts of electricity, and is a top bio-diesel producer, Pennsylvania already is behind in that race and will be victimized by a growing alternative fueling infrastructure gap.

That's why I have proposed an aggressive plan to install within 5 miles of every Pennsylvanian  by 2023 a public natural gas and electric vehicle fueling station.  For more discussion, see my jobs plan at:

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