AT&T moves on Obama's call for more CNG vehicles
Brad Plumer’s story in the Washington Post expresses serious misgivings about whether this approach could reduce our dependence on foreign oil. While he is right to doubt the impact of CNG on passenger cars, much of our oil consumption goes into the delivery of goods and services, where fleet vehicles can have a major impact – as another story in the Kansas City Star by Steve Everly readily illustrates.
AT&T has just announced its fleet of alternative powered trucks has reached 5,000 electric, hybrid and CNG vehicles – most of which use the natural gas solution. The company intends as many as 15,000 alternatively fueled vehicles by 2018 generating a savings of up to 49 million gallons of gas.
“In a short period of time, with the support of community leaders all over the country, we’ve invested in the deployment of thousands of advanced technology vehicles that promote cleaner air, use less fuel and help AT&T lower its operating costs,” Jerome Webber, vice president of AT&T’s global fleet operations, told the KC Star.
The Post is correct in pointing out our considerable reserves of natural gas could be better used to generate electricity for the charging infrastructure necessary before the rank and file will begin to adopt electric cars. Modern gas-fired turbines are much more efficient means of converting the power of the gaseous substance than a combustion engine.
Right now, the price of natural gas has bottomed out, causing producers to cut production in an attempt to stabilize value. They report there are large reserves available once the demand goes back up again.
So here are a few energy policies, we’d like to suggest just for the sake of this discussion…
Empower the conversion of fleet vehicles to electricity and CNG.
Focus on converting coal-burning power plants to CNG and building the EV charging infrastructure.
Invest in America’s railroads to move more goods quicker and more efficiently via the rails.
Convert to alternative fuels and reduce the overall number of long-haul tractor-trailers on our nation’s highways.
It is very possible the U.S. made a big mistake by not updating the railways after WWII and before building the Interstate Highway System. Modern trains can go as fast as airplanes, be built with out crossing roadways, reducing costs and boosting competition on both the land and in the air.
Eighteen wheel trucks destroy our asphalt highways with their inordinate gross weights and collectively we spend millions annually to undo the damage they do to our roads. Not only that, passenger cars make the road more dangerous for them and tractor-trailers add to the risk, not to mention the level of stress, of those driving passenger cars.
Are they pertinent to the discussion?