54.5 Miles Per Hour Is Great — But What About Electric Cars!

Recently, the Obama administration adopted a new gas mileage standard for cars made in America — 54.5 mpg by 2030. That’s a big jump. The most recent figures — 2009 — show that average gas mileage for American cars manufactured in that year was 33 mpg.

Well, the new standard is good for reducing dependence on foreign oil and good for our pocket books — it’s supposed to save us $45 billion annually at the gas pumps. It’s probably also good for American competitiveness in export sales — people in other countries seem even more concerned about gas mileage than we have become. The 2009 cars we imported got 35 mpg, 2 miles better than American-made.

Most Americans support the idea of upping gas mileage. Consumer Reports found in a recent survey that 77% of Americans feel that Detroit should produce more fuel-efficient cars and the government should increase mileage standards. So, everything’s good….

BUT wouldn’t it be better to run our cars on ZERO gasoline? Wouldn’t it be better to go electric? I’m not talking about the government telling Detroit to manufacture only electric vehicles (EVs). But when we buy our next car, if we made it electric or hybrid, we would be asking Detroit to manufacture the kind of cars that emit zero pollution and don’t eat any Middle Eastern oil.

You might be thinking — yes, but where does the electricity come from? That’s a good point, but here’s the neat thing about electricity — it can come from clean sources. In Los Angeles, 40% of the electricity supplied by the Department of Water and Power is generated from coal — not clean. But that means that 60% is generated from cleaner sources like natural gas, hydropower, nuclear, geothermal, wind, and solar. DWP expects that by 2020, 0% will be generated from coal and 40% will be generated from renewables. Those are the facts about electricity in L.A. — and, I assure you, my being an electrician doesn’t give me any bias on the subject!

My next car will be an EV. In the meantime I’m lending my support to the cause by installing EV chargers for those in L.A. who are beating me to it and have already bought their electric cars.

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