Jan 23, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Well-timed to contribute to the strategic discussions that will follow the State of the Union address, here's significant third-party validations of the benefits of PHEVs and confirmation of urgency of getting started as quickly as possible. It's a report from the Brookings Institution http://www.brookings.edu/index/about.htm, for 90 years one of the nation's leading research and policy think-tanks.
The report is by David Sandalow, http://www.brookings.edu/scholars/dsandalow.htm, Resident Energy & Environment Scholar at the Brookings Institution. Sandalow is also Chair, Energy & Climate Change Working Group, Clinton Global Initiative; his previous positions include: Assistant Secretary for Oceans, Environment, and Science, U.S. State Department; Senior Director for Environmental Affairs, National Security Council; Associate Director for the Global Environment, White House Council on Environmental Quality; Executive Vice President, World Wildlife Fund; Attorney, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Here's the summary we received, along with a link to the 25-page report (which includes many useful links to resources we often cite, and ones we haven't seen):
Yesterday the Brookings Institution released a paper on "Ending Oil Dependence" by Energy & Environment Scholar David Sandalow. (http://www.brookings.edu/views/papers/fellows/sandalow20070122.pdfhttp://www.brookings.edu/views/papers/fellows/sandalow20070122.pdf) The paper says "To reduce oil dependence, nothing would do more good more quickly than making cars that could connect to the electric grid."
Sandalow suggests the federal government use its procurement power to jump start the market for plug-ins, proposing that nearly half the 65,000 cars purchased by the federal government each year be PHEVs. He proposes a $6000 tax credit for purchasers of the first million plug-ins. He calls for international cooperation to speed deployment of PHEVs, writing:
"Traditional oil diplomacy is no longer adequate. Fuel efficiency improvements in China could do more to protect our national security, fight global warming and promote economic growth than additional supply from the Persian Gulf. (Fuel efficiency improvements in the United States would be even better.) We need a new 21st century energy diplomacy in the years ahead."
The paper argues that the transition away from a petroleum-dependent transportation system will be neither quick nor easy. Sandalow writes:
"Solving the problems created by oil dependence will require substantial change in our stock of vehicles (approximately 260 million cars and trucks) and fuel delivery infrastructure. It will require not just minor improvements in fuel efficiency (which are desirable), but a more far-reaching transformation so that drivers can choose between oil, electricity and biofuels to move their vehicles. It may require steps by other oil-consuming nations as well. We cannot meaningfully address the problems created by oil dependence by tinkering at the margins."
Yet this work is vital, Sandalow argues, in light of the national security and environmental threats created by oil. Sandalow believes that with aggressive policies to speed deployment, PHEVs can displace more than 1/3 of the nation's oil by 2025. Together with biofuels and conventional fuel efficiency technologies, PHEVs can transform the market for transportation fuels and, with it, the world.