Electric cars, the price of fuel and gas taxes

|  May 29, 2009 |

This article about what the auto industry is looking at regarding the future of the electric car brings up several interesting items, including the realization that 240-volt or even 480-volt household systems would recharge electric cars much quicker.

The author doesn’t attribute his assertion that in the next five years emissions regulations and other government choke holds may make gasoline too expensive for the average consumer to use in a daily commute. But that’s certainly in the realm of possibility.

If that is a likely scenario, what needs to be discussed is what will happen to the price of diesel for construction equipment and trucks. If diesel prices rise this much the price of building a school, library or even a park, or biodiesel plant will likewise become too expensive. At that point the construction industry as we know it will be finished. So a discussion needs to start right now about how much as a nation we’re going to let regulation and government imposed price pressures to inflate the cost of construction.

The other big topic that needs working out is what are we going to do about gas taxes if 50 percent of the miles driven in the future are driven on electric power, rather than gasoline.  Regardless of how many electric vehicles hit the roads in the next five years, the number of miles we travel isn’t going to go down anytime soon. But the gas taxes we collect now barely pay for highway upkeep and maintenance. Cut that in half and our transportation infrastructure will quickly deteriorate to third world levels.

As the article makes evident, engineers and auto company execs are hard at work on their portion of these issues. I hope our politicians,  policy makers and industry groups are doing their share of the planning. Five years isn’t a lot of time to reconfigure the industrial revolution.

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