A couple of heavy-duty energy wonks from Carnegie Mellon have this to say:

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce is considering enacting policies to subsidize the production of transportation fuel from coal-to-liquid projects. Tepper School of Business researchers determined plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are a far better and less costly choice.

— Generating electricity from coal with carbon capture and sequestration and replacing the fleet with plug-in hybrid vehicles could enhance energy security by reducing 85% of motor vehicle gasoline use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle travel by 70%.

— Even the most carbon-intensive scenario using plug-in hybrids has substantially less greenhouse gas emissions than the best possible coal-to-liquids case.

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— Nearly three-fourths of the existing light-duty vehicle fleet could be accommodated as plug-ins without requiring additional power plants through off-peak charging.

What strikes me is that I’ve never heard anyone not in the employ of the coal industry dispute these points. There doesn’t seem to be any legitimate argument on behalf of CTL, just slogans meant to distract attention from old-fashioned big-money lobbying. A damn shame’s what it is.