Business Leaders Agree that Electrification of The Transportation Sector is Critical

Today, a coalition of major leaders from industry -- including PG&E, Nissan, and FedEx -- released a roadmap outlining how to significantly reduce our oil dependence by electrifying the transportation sector.  The Electrification Coalition - comprised of thirteen heads of companies including automakers, utilities, battery producers, investors, and infrastructure providers -- make the case for electrification and call for the deployment of 200 million plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) by 2040.  The roadmap shows that failing to invest in large-scale deployment of PEVs will mean even a greater cost to the U.S. in terms of exposing our economy to further oil market volatility and undermining our national security and climate goals. The damage to our economy from oil markets alone totaled nearly $600 billion in 2008, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Energy. (See page 32 from the Coalition's report).

As my colleague Deron Lovaas has shown in our annual Fighting Oil Addition report, our addiction to oil continues to threaten not only our national security and global environmental health, but our economic vitality as well. What's unique is that it's not just environmental groups, national security groups, and the government carrying this message any longer. The Electrification Coalition represents major companies who also voicing the need for electrification as a strategy to reduce oil dependency. As they put it:

"Oil dependence weakens our national security, threatens our economy, and degrades the environment." (p. 22, Coalition report)

Clean Energy and Climate Legislation Will Help Get Us There

Vehicle electrification will be a critical pillar in the strategy to reduce oil dependency and reduce global warming pollution. One of the most important steps to moving the U.S. down this path will be ensuring that the U.S. passes comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. As my colleague Luke Tonachel discussed in an earlier blog (April 6, 2009), the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) passed by the House in June includes major elements to help us move in the right direction --  providing revenue for clean vehicle investments and specific targets that will ensure reductions in oil and global warming pollution.

First, ACES ensures that the transportation sector is included under an overall economy-wide emissions cap. Second, it directs the President to establish clean vehicle performance standards (Section 221) that will help drive clean vehicle technology over the long term, including plug-in electric vehicles. Third, ACES includes a package of incentives that will increase the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles, including support for electric vehicle infrastructure (Section 122), regional large scale deployment programs (Section 123), and plug-in electric vehicle manufacturing incentives (Section 124). Earlier this month, similar provisions to those contained in ACES emerged from the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee with the passage of the Clean Energy Jobs and America Power Act (S. 1733). This historic action clears the way for full Senate action on clean energy and climate legislation.

We support the goal of increasing transportation electrification as a critical strategy to reducing our oil dependence and ensuring our climate security. The passage of clean energy and climate legislation is one of the largest steps we can take to get us there.