Majority of voters favor gasoline-car phaseout. But all-electric goal faces tough opposition.
The following letter was published by the Washington Post, a newspaper in which the president routinely grants column space when he doesn’t have good news to report:
June 11, 2012
By the time you read this, President Obama will have begun a series of steps to phase out the use of fossil fuels in the economy through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Action Plan.
The plan is divided into three phases. Phase one will bring electric vehicle technology and infrastructure to a scale that, according to the president’s advisers, is “large enough” — if not “very large” — enough to lead to the mass adoption of more-efficient vehicles and electric car batteries.
On the day that President Obama announced the plan, the president told reporters, “At no point in history do we need to make these transition decisions as a country.”
Yet, as the president’s advisers say, “we don’t yet have a viable model from which we can derive a roadmap to get this done.”
I am all for energy conservation and efficiency. The president is right that we don’t need to make these transition decisions as a country.
Yet, to get this project done, many Americans need to come to a full stop. This is the challenge that the president’s advisers have set for themselves.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently held meetings of the nation’s leading electric car companies. The head of the Chevrolet Volt, which promises the fastest-available zero-emissions vehicle, told me that he was disappointed by the limited progress the administration has made. The president’s plan, he said, is “fantastic,” and yet, at their own pace, it won’t be ready for market by the end of this year.
I understand that these companies must work under a timetable that doesn’t include the president’s, and I appreciate that they are trying to meet their goals, but I don’t understand why they think they can manage all that without the president’s full help.
The president is doing everything he