The use of locally produced and environmentally sound energy sources for our transportation needs is a bipartisan issue. For the past four years, I’ve driven my electric vehicle (EV) for many good reasons, including that its EV usage is better for national security, zero air and water pollution and nearly 100 percent of the electric energy consumed is made right here in Washington state. Although EV’s pay an extra annual road usage fee of $150, the energy cost to drive one is around 80 percent less than a standard gasoline or diesel fueled vehicle. With no oil changes, there are almost zero maintenance costs.
America’s transportation sector is dominated by the need for a steady supply of oil. Our dependence on this fuel source exposes us to the whims of the global oil market. Fortunately, the American story is defined by revolution and innovation. Today, cutting edge technology in alternate fuels to power cars, trucks, and aircraft are a reality in our daily lives. While we’ve made strides in reducing the demand for foreign oil through improved vehicle efficiency, more can be done.
Republicans, Democrats and Independents are all interested in reducing our exposure to the volatile and easily manipulated global oil market. It does my patriotic heart good not to send more money overseas to foreign oil suppliers. Electric cars put people in the driver’s seat with 100 percent of their fuel bill reinvested locally. Along with the cost-savings of electricity versus the gas pump, all the money for fueling my EV reinvested in the local utility market.
Electric vehicles are better for the environment than gas-powered ones. Electricity is cheaper and cleaner than diesel. While it’s true that electricity from coal-fired plants may cause more pollution than diesel, the reality is our electric grid is made up of a variety of energy sources, not just coal.
But, this goes beyond saving money. It’s about actively engaging in environmental protection in our daily lives. I’m a strong believer in free enterprise, but I also believe we need to do all we can, for us and generations to come, to live in a pollution-free environment. These two things come together beautifully in EV usage.
What are the challenges ahead for EV’s? We need to build the right infrastructure now to support the use of EV’s. The great thing is we already have electricity serving our homes. We don’t need to build vast amounts of infrastructure. But, we do need to be thinking about a new way of “filling-up” and EV public policy.
In 2015, I co-sponsored legislation, signed into law by the Governor, aimed at “priming the pump” for a cleaner environment and energy independence. The measure gives a financial incentive to utilities to invest in and build infrastructure necessary to power charging stations for EVs, helping to increase the number of stations in Washington.
As a Republican, environmental advocate and “City Captain,” I will be helping with the 4th annual National Drive Week in Steilacoom Sept. 9. Hosted by Plug in America, The Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association, event organizers hope to bring more awareness about the benefits of EV’s. In 2016 we had 40 vehicles and more than 100 people in attendance. Come and join me and your neighbors, and learn more about EV usage in our state.