Podesta, Weiss propose detailed oil reform agenda

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"Podesta, Weiss propose detailed oil reform agenda"

How to reduce oil dependence and move to a clean energy economy

Below is a column from CAP’s John Podesta and Dan Weiss, “America Needs an Oil Reform Agenda.”  It is followed by “Powering an Oil Reform Agenda,” that provides details on each proposed measure.

Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner observed Sunday that the BP oil disaster is “probably the biggest environmental disaster we’ve ever faced in this country.” Americans watch helplessly as millions of gallons of oil gush from the ocean floor every day, causing a growing stain that now covers an unconfirmed 9,100 square mile area and is contaminating our shores. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on May 31 extended the fishing ban to one third of the Gulf of Mexico.

Americans are intently focused on the BP disaster and overwhelmingly favor solutions to reduce oil use. A May 20-23 survey by the Pew Research Center found that “Americans stayed focused on the unfolding oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last week, while the effort to cap the underwater well and limit the damage was one of two stories that dominated media coverage.” Nearly half of the respondents named it as the “story as most closely followed,” with the economy next at 15 percent.

Americans understand that this unfolding catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is but one symptom of our oil dependence and the need for an aggressive transition to cleaner energy. Recent polling by USA Today/Gallup shows that “Americans’ support for increased offshore drilling has declined significantly since April.” A May 4-5 Benenson poll at the same time found that 61 percent of 2010 voters support a comprehensive clean energy bill “that will limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean energy.”

The public is hungry for a direct, bold response to the oil disaster””one that clearly reduces American dependence on all oil, regardless of origin. President Barack Obama and Congress should dramatically cut our oil dependence by adopting administrative and legislation measures that increase vehicle efficiency, raise revenue to invest in cleaner alternative fuels and transit, provide additional environmental safeguards for oil and gas production, and enforce real accountability for bad actors.

President Obama has already taken some steps to reduce oil use. The administration recently finalized a one-third improvement in fuel economy for cars and light trucks. This will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of cars built from 2012-2016. The president also signed an executive memorandum on May 21 that directs the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency to further improve efficiency standards for these vehicles and establishes the first-ever fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy trucks.

These efforts are an important start, but an oil reform agenda must make additional progress. It could include the following measures, many of which the administration has the authority to adopt or have already been already introduced as separate bills in Congress.

  • Eliminate the liability limit for offshore oil disasters””current law caps oil spill liability at $75 million
  • Require BP to put $5 billion””its first quarter 2010 profits””into an escrow fund to ensure prompt payments for clean up and compensation
  • Adopt the recommendations for offshore oil well safety in the Interior Department’s “Increased Safety Measures for Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf” report, including better back-up systems and more complete inspections
  • Implement fuel economy and alternatively fueled vehicle measures that will produce a 7 million barrel per day reduction in oil use by 2030 with interim reductions, and empower the president to implement these measures to reach that goal
  • Significantly reduce oil use from vehicles by establishing 40 mile per gallon fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks by 2020, and establish the first fuel economy standards for trucks
  • Power trucks and buses with natural gas by enacting the NAT GAS Act
  • Power cars with electricity by enacting the Electric Vehicle Deployment Act
  • Eliminate taxpayer subsides that benefit big oil companies
  • Invoke the Trade Expansion Act to levy a fee on imported oil, and use revenue from this fee to invest in public transit, high-speed rail, and infrastructure for electric and natural gas vehicles

The transition to a clean energy economy and reduction in oil use will benefit all Americans. It would save families money, enhance national security, create jobs, and protect public health by making pollution reductions.

The horrible BP oil disaster has reminded Americans that we must reduce our oil use. We share the view that this presents an unprecedented opportunity to take bold action to achieve this goal.

This column is reposted from the Center for American Progress where John Podesta is President and CEO and Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy.

What follows is an excerpt from the CAP website by Daniel J. Weiss and Susan Lyon, a Special Assistant for CAP’s Energy Opportunity team. Many of these ideas were developed in collaboration with the Alliance for Climate Protection, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Union of Concerned Scientists.

Congress and the president should collaborate on the following measures going forward so that we can make the goal of reducing our oil dependence a reality.

Implement offshore oil production safeguards

Raise the liability limit under the Oil Spill Prevention Act from $75 million to at least $10 billion. It is simply unconscionable that BP could only be on the hook for $75 million when it has caused the biggest oil disaster in history. BP has said that it will honor “all legitimate claims,” but that is a slippery standard that enables BP to evade paying for long-term damages. Exxon fought claims and penalties for years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill rather than settling them.

The Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act, S. 3305, sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Bill Nelson (D-FL), would accomplish this objective. Its House companion, H.R.5214, is sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and cosponsored by 35 other House members.

Require BP to put its first quarter 2010 profits of $5 billion into an escrow fund to ensure prompt reimbursement of federal clean-up costs and compensation to harmed coastal residents. Exxon fought payments for years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Eight thousand claimants died while waiting for compensation by Exxon while the company made a $3.8 billion profit in 1989 and $5 billion in 1990. We can’t allow that to happen with this much worse disaster.

Promptly implement and enforce Interior Department recommendations issued in the “Increased Safety Measures for Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf” report. President Obama ordered the Department of Interior to conduct a prompt assessment of the BP oil disaster on April 30. He requested that the report examine what, if any, additional precautions and technologies should be required to improve the safety of oil and gas exploration and production on the outer continental shelf. The report included a number of recommendations that require swift action, including new, enhanced inspections of blow-out preventers and other back up systems, with the reports made publicly available; new safety features for blow-out preventers and other safety equipment; new design, testing, operations, and training procedures for casing and other elements of exploratory wells; and enhanced management requirements for offshore rigs.

Establish new, permanent protection zones for the most fragile parts of our coasts. President Obama has announced that there will be a six-month time-out on new offshore oil drilling permits, but when that expires, current law will allow oil drilling three miles offshore and beyond. Based on the Deepwater Horizon Commission’s findings, the federal government should establish new, permanent protection zones for the most fragile parts of our coasts, and enable potentially affected states to veto offshore drilling where an accident could affect them. This provision is already in the draft American Power Act for areas that are 3 to 75 miles offshore. The bill is sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

Establish an oil-reduction policy and adopt measures to achieve its goals

Establish an oil use reduction target of 7 million barrels per day by 2030. This is one-third less than current oil consumption. Congress should also make interim targets of reducing consumption by 1 million barrels per day by 2015 and 3 million per day by 2022. It should also provide the president with the authority to require such reductions. This is modeled on an oil savings proposal made by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in 2003.

Continue efforts to increase vehicle fuel efficiency. The Obama administration used its existing authority to establish a 35.5 miles per gallon average fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for cars and light-duty trucks built from 2012 to 2016. This will save 1.8 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles. President Obama launched the process on May 21 to adopt still more efficient standards for model years 2017 to 2021, which should be at least 40 miles per gallon by 2020. The president also ordered the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency to develop the first-ever fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for medium- and heavy-trucks. This is particularly critical because they use 20 percent of all oil used for transportation.

Promote the purchase and use of natural-gas-fueled medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The federal government should use its purchasing power to buy natural-gas-powered medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses for federal fleets. Congress should also establish incentives for the private purchase of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, buses, and fleet vehicles powered by natural gas. This should include incentives to develop the infrastructure to fuel these vehicles. Such provisions are in the NAT GAS Act, S. 1408, sponsored by Senatos Menendez, Harry Reid (D-NV), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Its House companion is H.R. 1835, sponsored by Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK), John Larson (D-CT), John Sullivan (R-OK), and 141 additional representatives.

Analysis by Center for American Progress found that “deployment of 3.5 million of these natural gas vehicles by 2035 would save at least 1.2 million barrels of oil per day compared to business as usual, which is more oil than we imported from Venezuela last year.” Natural gas can be a bridge fuel to clean fuels of the future, but additional safeguards for shale gas drilling are essential to ensure that increases in gas production do not create environmental hazards. The American Power Act includes CAP’s proposal to require natural gas producers to publicly report on the toxic chemicals in their drilling muds.

Spur production of vehicles that significantly exceed fuel economy standards. A Center for American Progress, United Auto Workers, and National Resources Defense Council report recommends that “reengineering the U.S. automobile fleet to use energy more efficiently” is essential to both revitalize our labor force and reduce our oil consumption and pollution. The federal government will need to rethink incentives for manufacturing facilities to accomplish this transition, for example by providing grants or revolving loans to automakers and suppliers to aid in retooling their manufacturing operations to produce advanced vehicles and associated components.

Eliminate subsidies to big oil companies

Save billions of dollars by stopping subsidies to big oil companies. The big five oil companies””BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell””made $876 billion in profits from 2001 to 2009. Yet they continue to receive tax breaks and other federal benefits worth billions of dollars annually. President Obama’s 2011 budget proposes to eliminate nine different tax expenditures that primarily benefit large oil and gas companies. Cutting these special tax deductions, preferences, and credits would save the government about $45 billion over the next 10 years. These highly profitable companies can do without this taxpayer largess. The federal government could invest a portion of this revenue in programs for cleaner fuels or public transportation.

Levy a fee on imported oil for clean energy investments

Adopt a modest fee on the nearly two-thirds of U.S. oil imported from other nations, with the revenue to fund oil reduction policies and rebates to consumers””a $2 per barrel fee would raise $9.5 billion annually. The Trade Expansion Act gives the president authority to levy a fee on imported oil if such imports threaten national security. President Gerald Ford invoked this authority in 1975 to levy a $2 per barrel fee on imported oil (equivalent to $8.10 today). The United States imported 37 percent of its oil back then. President Ford proclaimed “it necessary and consistent with the national security to further discourage importation into the United States of petroleum”¦ to create conditions favorable to domestic crude oil production needed for projected national security requirements; “¦and to encourage the development of other sources of energy.” Ford noted that levy would provide revenue for investments and rebates. He said “those dollars would remain in this country and would be returned to our economy.” President Obama should follow President Ford’s lead by adopting a very modest fee on imported oil to raise revenue to invest in reducing foreign oil use.

Invest in electric vehicles and transit

Invest in electrification of light-duty vehicles and infrastructure to support them. The bipartisan “Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act”, H.R. 5442, sponsored by Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA), Judy Biggert (R-IL), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), would boost the production, purchase, and use of vehicles partially or completely powered by electricity. This includes funds for additional incentives to purchase such vehicles; research, development, deployment, and manufacture of electric vehicles and the infrastructure essential for their operation; and pilot programs in five communities to deploy 700,000 vehicles there by 2016. Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced a very similar bill in the Senate, S. 3442.

Invest in public transit, including high-speed rail. Congress should provide revenue for state and local transportation projects that reduce oil use. It can also establish a goal of doubling transit ridership in 10 years. The draft American Power Act, sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), would invest billions of dollars annually in such projects.

Reduce oil pollution

The Senate should join the House by passing a declining limit on global warming pollution from oil-based fuels, among other major pollution sources. It could resemble the “reduce and refund” provisions in the American Power Act that require big oil companies and refiners to purchase a quarterly, market-based fixed price for pollution allowances that reflect the carbon pollution content in particular oil-based fuels. A portion of the revenue from these allowances would be returned to people, with another portion invested in public transportation and clean vehicles.

Conclusion

It appears there is little that President Obama and Congress can do to stop the torrent of oil coming from the ocean’s bottom. But they can attempt to prevent future catastrophes by adopting the aforementioned precautions and safety measures for offshore oilrigs….

A comprehensive program to slash oil use and invest in cleaner vehicles, fuels, and transportation would reduce the likelihood of a future BP oil disaster. This program should include a small levy on imported oil to raise revenue to invest in electric cars, natural gas trucks, and high-speed rail. And oil production and reduction reform would include establishing a declining limit on the carbon pollution that comes from oil and its fuels. The American people look to President Obama and Congress for this leadership.

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10 Responses to Podesta, Weiss propose detailed oil reform agenda

  1. “Invest in public transit, including high-speed rail.”

    And change zoning laws to allow development of walkable neighborhoods around the transit stations.

    There is talk that there might be incentives for this sort of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in the next revision of the federal TEA law.

  2. Leif says:

    Lets do the math. Estimated area affected, ~9,000 sq. miles. That is close to the area of Lake Erie or twice the area of Connecticut. ~40 days! Estimated stop date??? My guess is we have much more grief in store.

    It is good warmup for when climatic tipping points manifest themselves.

    Be humbled or be mad…

  3. Michael Tucker says:

    All excellent ideas! We need to begin using natural gas for transportation and I am glad to see it mentioned.

    I would suggest that we require that a relief well be drilled concurrent with any new undersea drilling operation. Accidents will happen. Laws do not prevent accidents (even if the President thinks they do). If an accident occurs, it would be nice if the relief well could intersect the leaking well in a few days time instead of 3 (or more) months.

  4. Chris Dudley says:

    Banning deep water drilling and eliminating any expansion of offshore drilling should be made permanent. We should use easy oil only where environmental risks are less.

    The President is about to promote natural gas and nuclear power is a speech. This is a mistake. Natural gas can be a transition fuel but it is not a goal. Nuclear is a wrong turn. His policy direction may do us a great deal of harm.

  5. fj2 says:

    http://fastlane.dot.gov/2010/06/dot-bicyclepedestrian-policy-gets-thumbs-up.html

    “DoT bicycle-pedestrian policy gets ‘thumbs up'”

    This comes from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood:

    ” . . . making walking and biking safer and more accessible is relatively inexpensive. For example, we could upgrade the entire 2,250 mile East Coast Greenway for only one-fifth the cost of a single recent I-95 bridge over the Potomac.”

    Taken to the logical conclusion, quick-build industrial design and development of highly modular lighter-than-human-weight vehicles for use on-and-off systems would likely produce low-cost hybrid human-electric distributed on-demand transportation and transit with environmental footprints less than one percent of transportation systems based on cars with extremely short times for return-on-investment and extremely large energy production equivalences based on energy savings; all based on existing technology.

    The estimated cost for industrial design and development is $1 billion which is about the cost to develop and bring to market the latest Volkswagen Beetle; time for return-on-investment is about a year since the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) goes through about $9 billion per year.

  6. Jeff Huggins says:

    Good, And …

    Thanks for this very, very helpful post. I agree that MUCH should be done!

    I just have a few quick things to add — or at least to ask about:

    First, a quick correction, I think: If we are basing numbers on the 20,000 bpd figure that is often mentioned, then 20,000 bpd is not quite “millions of gallons” per day. Yes, 20,000 bpd is Terrible, and mustn’t be diminished, but we shouldn’t be lax with the nums if we want to retain cred, so to speak.

    (If your “millions of gallons per day” is based on knowledge of a higher daily bpd figure than the 20,000, please let us know so we can understand the basis. Thanks.)

    Next, what about a “price on carbon” or (of course) a price on CO2 emissions? Although I read quickly, it doesn’t seem that you mention the need for an actual price on CO2, as in the various proposed climate bills or, ideally, even a better one (if that were presently possible). Have you (somehow?) come to the view that a price on carbon is not essential, or do you just see that topic as beyond the scope of the present post, or was that omission an oversight, or did I miss something by reading too quickly?

    Finally, just for “fun”, consider this: Did you know that the new Chairman of General Motors is also on the Board of Directors of ExxonMobil? Just think about that. Of course, in an ideal world (in other words, in a world other than the real world) one could argue that the Chairman of General Motors would “speak truth to power” and tell ExxonMobil that GM will be dramatically increasing fuel economy and, also, shifting to electric vehicles and so forth. In other words, in an ideal world, the Chairman of GM could tell ExxonMobil that they’d better change, or else. But, is that really what will happen, do ya think? Or, will ExxonMobil and GM both be arguing for slow change, making excuses, resisting needed legislation, and so forth and so on? In my view, that’s the more likely scenario. Indeed, that is what has been happening all along, since the 1970s. So, what is this about the new Chairman of GM being on the Board of ExxonMobil? Give me a break. He’s on there, now, with an economist from Stanford’s Hoover Institution who is the second-longest-serving of all of ExxonMobil’s Board members, and with a Prof. from Harvard Business School who has also been on the Board for a long time, and none of those folks have altered ExxonMobil’s determined path. I think, at this point, we should bring more of these things “to light”.

    Overall, a great post. Thanks, CAP, for great stuff.

    Be Well,

    Jeff

  7. Karen S. says:

    This would be a great start. (If someone can convince Lisa Murkowski not to oppose the cap legislation again.) But the perks, incentives and gifts offered by oil companies to regulators to relax or ignore the law have been too tempting, and will be again–the recent investigation of MMS proves this–unless real, meaningful consequences exist. Criminal prosecution and hard time. My beef is this: why has Gale Norton’s name never come up in any discussions on responsibility and accountability in government? Salazar may own some of the blame, but by far most of the damage was done by Norton and her staff.

    During her time at Interior, she oversaw massive relaxation of rules permitting oil and gas development, and allowed the Bureau of Land Management to speed up leasing in all kinds of formerly off-limits areas all across the West and in Alaska, that were very controversial because of their other attributes. Through her Special Assistants in Alaska and Washington DC, Norton required the Fish and Wildlife Service to send its draft comments on impacts to wildlife and habitats to MMS, BLM, and the oil & gas and mining industries for “editing,” and then required the FWS to “revise” its comments to incorporate industry edits. There was no reciprocity–FWS never received draft comments from other agencies for consideration. In Alaska, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s regulatory section was run de facto by BLM’s aggressive state director, who, if FWS employees refused to alter scientific documents, would do it himself.

    The Minerals Management Service waived royalty payments assessed against private oil companies in the Gulf for two years in a row. These were royalties that were owed the U.S. government on federally permitted leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The lost royalties amounted to $900 million according to MMS, but a GAO report said the actual amount cost taxpayers $10 billion. Norton declined to correct it. Shell is one of the largest operators down there. Norton quit her post abruptly during the Abramoff scandal and immediately went to work as a lawyer for Shell. She violated the required “cooling off period” before a regulator can go work for the industry she regulated. She’s still there. So how many laws did she break? Why is nobody looking back that far? The seeds for this catastrophe may not all have been personally planted by Norton, but she coddled and nurtured the industry she loves until it grew too big to fail. Now we have a failure of planetary magnitude. I would just like to see the people who colluded with the oil industry illegally when they regulated it, who went to work for the oil industry before the cooling off limits expired identified, investigated, and brought to justice.

  8. alexy says:

    Certainly the proposed actions are a good start. However, I feel there should be stated in the context of overarching strategic goals such as: 1. eliminate 75% of imported oil by 2025; 2. limit consumption of fossil oil to 50% of today’s level by 2035.

    To the specific actions proposed I would add:
    1. Encourage elimination of “all” oil fired electricity generation. Such plants are generally very inefficient and emit more pollution than natural gas fired units. Further, oil is more expensive than natural gas. Further still, many of these units are used for peak generation. As such, they could also be “replaced” by demand response systems, or improved energy efficiency. Such an action has the further benefit of being achievable this decade. Hawaii and Puerto Rico could be “perfect” test cases.
    2. Ensure that royalties paid the USA for fossil fuels produced on government land are comparable to (or higher than) royalties paid in other countries.
    3. Enact a transportation fee to counteract a drop in fuel taxes collected due to higher vehicle efficiency. Without such a fee, funding for transportation projects will plummet later this decade.
    4. Establish a program to replace oil based residential heating.
    5. Establish a program to develop a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. Such reactors appear to have multiple significant benefits over existing (and next generation) reactors. Initial application for this project is “all” naval vessels equal to or greater in tonnage than destroyers.
    6. Require all cars, gasoline & diesel, to be truly “flex-fuel” capable including dynamically adjusting engine operation based on fuel characteristics to “eliminate” fuel penalty.
    7. MIT recently introduced 2 aircraft designs that may reduce fuel consumption as much as 75%. Aggressively fund these, and competitive designs, with a target flight date of 2025.
    8. Require all “large” ships to be “cold ironed” in US ports or to use “biofuel”.
    9. Require all commercial aircraft in US space to use “biofuel”.
    10. and more

    I would amend the proposed actions as follows:
    1. Structure the Natural Gas Act to emphasize converting local and regional truck and bus fleets. Converting long haul trucking is less cost effective and can still be performed “later” if appropriate. With increasing federal budget issues, we must be more cost effective in our programs.
    2. Increase new vehicle fuel economy to 45 mpge by 2020 and 75 mpge by 2030, with appropriate intermediate goals. Available technology already achieves better than 40 mpge (e.g. Prius, Jetta, Fusion Hybrid, etc.). Technology in development with possible near term commercial availability seems likely to cost effectively support much higher fuel economy. Two notable examples (of several) are: Transonic supercritical fuel injection which may cut fuel consumption dramatically (50%+) even for otherwise standard gas engines; Axion which may provide advanced batteries that enable “low cost” mild hybrids and may provide performance similar to the Prius but at lower cost. See too some of the “radical” designs being evaluated in the X Prize competition which targets 100 mpge.
    3. De-emphasize adoption of pure electric vehicles at this time. Near to medium term battery production is limited and can be more cost effectively used in hybrids. Pure electrics can be encouraged “later” as appropriate.

    Finally, I would suggest that the proposed actions be scrutinized for unintended consequences. For example:
    1. Ensure that the fee levied on foreign oil does not: 1. result in retaliatory protectionist action; 2. result in retaliatory debt funding action; 3. cause WTO sanctions; etc.
    2. Ensure that the removal of tax subsidies does not encourage USA corporations to re-domicile overseas as has been done by numerous companies, notably Transocean.

  9. Dana Pearson says:

    I will continue to harp on the need for a NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY BANK which would make zero interest loans, like the fed does to our banks, to anyone wanting to install photovoltaics and conservation measures in their homes, utilities wanting to expand renewables, and industry wanting to do the same…make this also available for financing a rapid shift to electric cars.

    States have been flooded and overwhelmed every time they’ve offered incentives. I see the REAL financial roadblock to a rapid shift to clean energy as the capital constrained system spending all of its capital on credit default swaps and other non-productive gambling en devours.

    In light of the recent advances and studies showing we can ramp wind up quick and other opportunities, SOMEONE needs to seriously examine the impact of automatically funding these opportunities would have on shifting our system to a more sustainable model.

    It seems to me that the impact on JOBS and SECURITY, not to mention HOPE and environmental SANITY would be huge…

    While the fed is giving money to the mega banks, why not require it to capitalize our NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY BANK with one of it’s trillions?

    This, to me, seems easily doable and quick-starts the ramp up we so desperately need.

  10. Solid post and many solid ideas in the comments. I’d like to tweak a few of them:
    I am happy to see, “Invest in electrification of light-duty vehicles and infrastructure to support them.” included, but wish to add that any realistic scenario that relies on new vehicles will take 2-3 decades to produce major results. Conversions of gas guzzlers into PHEVs, and in some cases BEVs, could save at least a decade. Though too expensive in today’s one-off quantities, altellc.com, hevt.com, rev.com, and brightautomotive.com are among companies working to make en-masse plug-in conversions effective and economical. And the manufacturing energy needed for a conversion is 1/5 that to replace a vehicle early: 8k vs. 40k miles for the added fuel efficiency to reach break even. See http://www.calcars.org/ice-conversions.html .

    Dana Pearson #9’s bank idea is worthwhile, and the stimulus fund is already providing some of that financing, but what will really cause serious financing to appear very quickly is when we manage to put a price on carbon emissions and/or fossil fuels that makes alternatives clearly and consistently competitive.

    About how alexy #8 “would amend the proposed actions as follows”:
    Point 1. Emphasize converting local and regional truck and bus fleets, rather than long-distance fleets, to CNG. I disagree. Local and regional fleets can best be converted to BEVs and PHEVs (except maybe at first in states that have mostly coal-based electric generation), thereby utilizing a medium (electricity) that in many states already has a lower carbon footprint than CNG and, unlike it, can and will get cleaner and even renewable over time. Use CNG for long-distance fleets that cannot yet be effectively electrified.

    Point 3. No need to de-emphasize vehicle electrification, as Li-ion battery factories can now go from funding to production in a single year, many are poised for construction or expansion with investors waiting only for known demand. Various industry analysts at last month’s Advanced Automotive Battery Conference were actually worried about an oversupply in the next few years.