U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today in an address to the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce predicted that within five years 10 percent of Tennesseans will be driving cars and light trucks that will be powered by electricity, instead of gasoline.
"Within five years, tens of thousands of us will be driving plug-in electric cars and trucks, some of which could be made in Middle Tennessee – saving money on fuel, making the air cleaner, and reducing the number of dollars we send overseas to countries funding terrorists who are trying to kill us," Alexander said. "And within 15-20 years, half of our cars and trucks could be powered by electricity without having to build one new power plant."
Alexander said that Nissan's announcement that it will start selling electric cars and trucks that will travel 100 miles without needing a charge means that Nissan may quickly become the world leader in producing plug-in vehicles. He said General Motors, Toyota and Ford all will offer electric hybrid vehicles by 2010 and that FedEx in Memphis is already using electric hybrid delivery trucks.
“This will all be possible,” he said, “because TVA – like most utilities – has plenty of unused electric power to sell at night. It should be possible to electrify half the U.S. fleet of cars and light trucks without building one new power plant if we plug in at night.”
"Nissan's decision paired with TVA's announcement that it will work with the Murfreesboro Electric Department and the Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation to make sure residents can cheaply plug in their cars at night means that Rutherford County will be at the center of this switch from gas to electric power," continued Alexander. "Everyday 101,245 people in Rutherford County on average spend 27 minutes commuting to work each morning and then 27 minutes again to get back home at night – and that uses a lot of gas. Plug-in electric cars and trucks are about to give Big Oil some real competition."
Alexander also said that finding more American energy, as well as using less, is the bridge to energy independence.
"I voted against adjournment because the Senate should never have gone home without dealing with $4 per gallon gasoline prices. The sooner we authorize offshore oil drilling to find more American energy, as well as encourage the development of plug-in cars and trucks, the sooner gas prices will go down."
Alexander has joined other senators in introducing the Gas Price Reduction Act (S. 3202) which would support energy production like offshore drilling and nuclear power while promoting less reliance on foreign oil though the development of plug-in cars and trucks. Specifically, the bill would:
• "Find More" – increasing American oil production by one-third through offshore exploration and western states oil shale (3 million new barrels a day).
• "Use Less" – reducing imported oil by one-third by making it easier for millions of Americans to drive plug-in electric cars and trucks (4 million barrels of oil savings a day). The bill also encourages the government to increase its purchases of electric vehicles.