Electric car charging stations: more pie in the sky

by NW Spotlight

There is an emerging split in the classes of car owners – where electric car owners have subsidized fuel, don’t pay for roads, and aren’t covered by Oregon’s ban on self-service fueling.

Oregon’s Department of Transportation is seeking public input on locating fast charge stations for electric vehicles, claiming that electric vehicles help create a “sustainable transportation system”. Oregon is one of seven test markets selected by The United States Department of Energy. The project is funded by $130 Million of federal stimulus money.

Let’s look at the economics. The ODOT communication refers to imported fuel, yet if obstructionist environmentalists would get out of the way, there is more oil in eastern Montana and North Dakota than we’ll use in 100 years. Additionally, drilling and refining that oil creates jobs, which creates taxable income.

The next issue is: Where does the electricity come from to recharge those electric cars? In the Northwest, it is hydroelectric. Yet with two local dams being breached this year, where will the additional electricity come from to recharge these electric cars? Do we really have an excess capacity of electricity?

Next is the safety issue – electric cars are too quiet; pedestrians often cannot hear them and as a result there have been several close calls already in downtown Portland.

Finally, and this is the most important, the Federal government should not be subsidizing new technology. It needs to stand on its own. Did the Federal government subsidize “filling stations” 100 years ago, as cars replaced horses as primary transportation?

With the Federal government in search of cost cutting, number one on that agenda needs to be the elimination of pie in the sky programs like subsidizing electric car charging stations. If the demand is there, let the private sector fill that need.