Have you ever not bought a green product because you just assumed it would be more expensive? As Americans we are so entrenched in our car culture that we fill ‘er up with regular because it’s the regular thing to do. But with gas prices skyrocketing, dependence on foreign oil growing and environmental concerns becoming more apparent, it’s time to be wiser consumers. It’s time to turn away from preconceptions and prejudices and learn about the options available -- run the numbers, learn the facts. In my personal experience, fueling in a different way isn’t so difficult.
It doesn’t feel so…alternative.
My husband Darin and I have been driving a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Honda Civic for more than 8 years. And our choice to drive an alternative fuel vehicle has been nothing but efficient, economical and environmentally friendly.
We just wrapped up our second day at the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, Calif. and I’m increasingly thrilled by the landscape of alternative fuels and the cars they power. More than ever, I am encouraged by the future of natural gas. See below for my key takeaways so far.
When we bought our Honda Civic GX four years ago, we received $5,000 off our taxes that year. In the near future, that number could be growing. Both the Federal government and state governments are expressing interest in creating or expanding tax incentives for purchasing a natural gas-powered vehicle. You can learn more by visiting your state page
Even though we are paying less than half the price at the pump, our neighbors are not. We run a small business and when our neighbors are hurting financially inevitably there’s a trickle-down effect. When everyone's expendable income is being poured into their gas tanks, money is being sucked out of the local economy. If our neighbors weren’t pouring every last dime into their tanks to get across town, imagine how businesses would be thriving. Imagine how many jobs would be created.
One of the most powerful speakers so far has been General Wesley Clark. General Clark unequivocally stated that energy independence is the key to our future. I think we can all agree with him on that. Revolutionary changes in our economy could be made if we were to source our fuel domestically. Over $300 billion dollars leaves our country each year, almost ten million barrels of oil are imported every single day and at least 20 million Americans are currently looking for work. Keeping $300 billion in our economy would undoubtedly go a long way toward reducing unemployment and our national debt.
It’s time for change. And while the car manufacturers gather their numbers to see if production of these alternative fuel vehicles is economical for them, we must remember that ultimately the consumer is in the driver’s seat.
We have natural gas right here in America and we have lots of it. It’s already being piped to homes all over the nation. That looks like infrastructure to me. It may be an interim step, but natural gas is ready right now.