In an effort to share information and ideas on using electric, natural gas, propane, ethanol and solar-powered vehicles, the Buckhead Coalition collaborated with the Georgia Public Service Commission at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business to host the second Georgia Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow Monday in Buckhead.
“Such an educational program is consistent with our mission to nurture the quality of life for those who live, visit, work and play in the community,” said Buckhead Coalition president Sam Massell in a news release.
They featured 12 alternative-fuel vehicles, including a CODA, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Roadster and Prius Hybrid cab at the Macy’s parking lot at Lenox Square.
“There’s no silver bullet for this,” said Tim Echols, chair of the Georgia Public Service Commission. “We need as many people educated and involved doing whatever it is they can do to help us save energy and it helps all of us.”
Echols said he hopes for consumers to become more aware of the energy they are using in day-to-day life.
For example, there are 18,667 Toyota Priuses registered in Georgia while California has half a million, which is half of Toyota’s collection in the country, Echols said.
“If we increased our Prius inventory to a quarter million, just half of what California has, we would save an addi-tional 70 million gallons of gasoline the state of Georgia, just using the Prius technology alone,” Echols said.
“The price of fuel is not coming down. It’s only going to continue to come up,” said Don Francis, Clean Cities Atlanta executive director. According to www.atlantagasprices.com, the cheapest gas in metro Atlanta Monday was $3.20 at the Costco at Cumberland Mall near Vinings.
According to Metro Plug CEO Greg Crittenden, electric vehicles are 70 to 80 percent less expensive to charge than filling up traditionally. He said it costs about 3 cents per mile to re-charge an electric vehicle, as opposed to 10 cents per mile for gas.
Additionally, Crittenden said there is a federal tax incentive of up to $7,500 for electric cars and Georgia residents can save up to $5,000 in tax credits if they buy an all-electric vehicle, like a Nissan Leaf as opposed to a hybrid like the Toyota Prius.
Traditional gasoline is a primary source of energy wasted, according to Public Service Commissioner Chuck Eaton, who said the “high-peak period” when energy is in the largest demand occurs when people come home from work, and the lowest peak period is overnight.
“If there’s a way to push something off to a low-demand period, that’s a win-win for everyone,” Eaton said. “Excess energy is being wasted in the middle of the night. That’s why we’ve won with electric vehicles; they create a more efficient use of resources.”
Coalition Director of Community Development Garth Peters said Monday’s turnout of more than 100 attendees indicates people want to learn, listen and be a part of the alternative-fuel discussion. He said now that more developers and businesses are responding, there will be an increase in the availability of alternative fuels throughout the area.
“Buckhead is the most central point in metro Atlanta, so clearly we have a great opportunity to provide and be at the center of this evolution to alternative fuels,” Peters said. “This whole thing has to reach a tipping point, so if we can reach it between availability of alterative fuels, and then the production and purchase of alternative vehicles, then we could be in a very good place for a long-term approach to clean air and a healthier Buckhead community.”