I-5 highway sign

Rocket scientists Governors Gregoire, Kulongoski, and Schwarzenegger are supporting a brilliant idea to grab some of the stimulus funds. From a Seattle Times article that garnered 140 comments:

The three governors envision a series of alternative fueling stations stretching from the Canadian border to Mexico, creating what has been dubbed a “green freeway.” They also would be able to charge, or swap out, their electric-vehicle batteries or fill their tanks with biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen or compressed natural gas.

Here’s what supporters are saying:

… the plan would fit with the nationwide push for green jobs and alternative-energy development, and put the states in line for some of the $15 billion in federal stimulus money dedicated to energy-related programs.

Somebody please send these people copies of the following three lay press articles published last year by Time, the New York Times, and Newsweek, respectively: “Biofuels Deemed a Greenhouse Threat,” “The Clean Energy Scam,” and “Doing it wrong.”

And since you can’t trust anything in the lay press, also send them a copy of this link which collects the actual studies that show today’s agriculture-based biofuels exacerbate global warming.

Include a link to this graphic showing that one-third of global warming is caused by the direct destruction of carbon based lifeforms (exacerbated by biofuels) and a copy of this easy-to-comprehend graphic showing why taxpayer money should not be spent propping up hydrogen for transport (300 percent more expensive than other options). Alright, so much for the ethanol, biodiesel, and hydrogen pumps.

That leaves natural gas and electric. I’m a big proponent of further electrification of transport. But I have to say that building charging stations along an interstate is the ultimate case of putting the cart before the horse (and one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard).

Jeff Miller, who works in global development at Better Place, said that if the company were hired it would build charging stations in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and battery switch-out stations at rest areas about every 40 miles along the I-5 corridor. Electric vehicles, he said, have a battery life of about 100 miles.

So, assuming you were leasing one of their electric cars, you would have to stop and swap batteries roughly every hour (because the 100-mile claim is almost certainly BS at highway speeds). Electric cars are a long way from being used for long distance interstate travel. That is what plug-in hybrids are all about. You use electric power for shorter, lower speed missions, and use the engine for rarer long distance trips.

The natural gas pumps suffer a similar problem as electric vehicles in that their range is very limited, not to mention there are almost no cars running on the fuel.

God save us from our politicians and the dolts advising them.