G. David Felt - Editorial
Staff Writer Alternative Energy - CheersandGears.com
What will it take?
Oil started the year at over $100 a barrel and now hovers around $94 a barrel. Oil may fluctuate but continues to stay close to $100 a barrel. Refined Gas production being sold overseas keeps the average consumer paying $4 plus a gallon and people continue to complain about Green House gas emissions and the lack of being able to afford the gas cost.
Natural Gas on the other hand continues to increase in production keeping prices right at $4 per thousand cubic feet or about 30 cents per gallon before government tax's giving one a range from a low of $.60 a gallon to $1.85 per gallon. As one who fuels at his own house and pays 85 cents per gallon this does make one wonder "What will it take?" What will it take to get people to switch to CNG or Compressed Natural Gas? What will it take to get someone to consider buying a CNG auto? What will it take to make a dynamic shift in the type of fuel people use in the US?
In today’s news there has been states making huge moves to incent residents to change their autos. Perfect example is Colorado that just renewed their credits of $6000 to go on top of the federal government’s $7500 credit. This give a resident of the state of Colorado a $13,500 rebate off the price of a all-electric, plug-in hybrid or compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
Dealerships in Colorado are heavily advertising this with clear signs of let our finance department get you your rebate on your new car.
According to the State of Colorado:
“With the tax credits available (through 2015 currently), Coloradans would pay an additional $275-$2,400 for a PEV instead of a comparable internal combustion vehicle (ICE). By 2017, the price difference without taxes is expected to be $3,600-$11,000. The tax credit defined in this bill helps consumers to purchase cars they otherwise might not. As a consequence, they can recoup the savings on gasoline by approximately $1,319 per year, and a savings of $244 per year on maintenance costs. According to one survey, if the PEV purchase price were the same as a comparable ICE vehicle, 60 percent of consumers would consider purchasing the PEV. When that purchase price is higher, only 26 percent would consider purchasing the PEV.
The financial impact for the new Colorado incentives from the tax credit extension is estimated by the state at $2.4 million in fiscal year 2012-13, $5.2 million in FY 2013-14, and $5.9 million in FY 2014-15.”
Is this a wise use of state tax dollars? With 27 states and Washington D.C. offering some form of incentive, should the local governments be doing this to push consumers towards the Green revolution of autos?
With North America having the largest natural gas reserves in the world, should we shun the rest of the world and make the full switch to CNG as a stepping stone to a greener country and towards pure electric auto’s some day?
Currently Colorado, California, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington State provide some form of rebates, credits or exemptions. Nine other states offer non-financial incentives for hybrids or alternative energy auto’s.
As a person who sells Fuelmaker Home (CNG) compressed natural gas fuel systems, I do have a financial interest in seeing things move to natural gas. Not only is CNG 50-75% less greenhouse gas producing. It allows auto’s to still cover long distances something a pure electric auto is incapable of. They burn so clean that the engine itself has a much longer life give one to have to change oil less often, the maintenance is much lower on a CNG auto. I do admit the upfront cost tends to scare some with the basic home fueling system running about $5000 installed. Yet with 257 million auto’s on the road with average age of 11 years, one looks at close to $30,000 in fuel cost over 11 years versus $4000 for natural gas based on an average 15,000 miles driven.
So is the estimated $21,000 dollars savings not a good enough reason to move to natural gas on top of the up to two thirds less greenhouse gas production?
So this comes back to my original question, what will it take to change America?
Sound off on your thoughts about this area of the auto industry?