TO THE EDITOR:
I applaud Keith Crain’s “Don’t invest in steam engines” (Jan. 15) for pointing out the deficiencies of electric vehicles regarding the inability of the battery to store sufficient energy and long recharging times.
Even with mandates and subsidies — which cost taxpayers billions — the EV is proving incapable as the sole solution for achieving government objectives.
The problem is larger than most are aware. Light trucks are 64 percent of annual vehicles sold, and with lower fuel economy and more miles driven, account for the lion’s share of fuel consumption and pollution. Moreover, they lack a commercially viable EV solution.
Plug-in hybrids, which replace a mere gallon or so of gasoline from a single full electric charge, are also eligible for incentives. Not only does this loophole provide little, if any, benefit, it is a waste of taxpayer money.
The government picking of winners and losers is exacerbated by calls for the demise of the internal combustion engine and will only compromise dealers, manufacturers and customers.
There is a viable alternative: Natural gas is a cheaper, cleaner and domestically abundant fuel. It is a pathway to ultraclean renewable natural gas from agricultural and similar facilities, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, for which it is an ideal feedstock.
Natural gas bi-fuel vehicles would maximize government objectives of clean air and reduced petroleum, and they are directly aligned with job creation, economic growth and trade deficit reduction, while supporting the needs of dealers, manufacturers and drivers without compromise to the vehicle’s utility.
HARVEY LAMM VNG, Blue Bell, Pa. The writer is the co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Subaru of America. He also is the co-founder of VNG, a natural gas fueling services provider.