Up until about 4 years ago, the USA had a program to develop ultra-high mileage vehicles. The goal of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) was to produce full-size passenger cars achieving 80 miles per gallon. Prototypes such as Chrysler's ESX-3 were achieving 72 MPG at a projected cost premium of roughly $3500. Delivery of the first production models was set for 2008-2009.
This program, on which about a billion dollars had been spent, was cancelled by the Republican majority. As a consolation prize, we got... another research program, but aimed at hydrogen vehicles. This effort is not projected to yield cost-competitive vehicles for another 15 years or more, and the viability of hydrogen vehicles is questionable when natural gas (the cleanest feedstock) is plummeting in production and skyrocketing in price.
There ought to be a groundswell of support for bringing back the PNGV. Amazingly, there are people involved in the energy discussion who have never heard of it
. This boggles my mind.
The PNGV could have been a strike, but it was mis-thrown by the right and wound up as a gutter ball. Is it time for a letter-writing campaign to our legislators, newspapers, and others to at least try for a spare?
Labels: petroleum dependence, PNGV