Washington state legislature considering electric-vehicle fee

posted at 12:15 pm on April 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Somewhere in this tale, a lesson awaits to be learned — by legislators about the laws of unintended consequences, and by taxpayers about government interventions.   The state of Washington, which has pushed its citizens to buy electric vehicles through tax breaks and public-relations efforts, not to mention a tax on gasoline that is among the highest in the country, may slap owners of electric cars with an annual fee:

Drivers of electric cars may have left the gas pump behind, but there’s one expense they may not be able to shake: paying to maintain the roads.

After years of urging residents to buy fuel-efficient cars and giving them tax breaks to do it, Washington state lawmakers are considering a measure to charge them a $100 annual fee — what would be the nation’s first electric car fee.

State lawmakers grappling with a $5 billion deficit are facing declining gas tax revenue, which means less money to maintain or improve roads.

“Electric vehicles put just as much wear and tear on our roads as gas vehicles,” said Democratic state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, the bill’s lead sponsor. “This simply ensures that they contribute their fair share to the upkeep of our roads.”

Ah, their fair share.  Perhaps that would have been less had the state legislature not set up tax breaks for people to buy those cars in the first place, nor spent money on PR campaigns to do so.  Unlike internal-combustion vehicles that require a specific and unique fuel, electric cars can get charged anywhere, which removes the government intervention and taxation on the process — even if it doesn’t actually do anything to reduce pollution, as most electricity gets generated through burning fossil fuels in conditions no more efficient than a modern internal combustion engine [see update below].

Now taxpayers in Washington who bought the government’s line about electric cars being a better deal will have to pay the state a unique penalty for complying, if the state legislature gets its way.  That’s on top of the penalty of still paying too much for the class of car purchased, and the penalty of the eventual battery replacement and disposal costs that will make the resale value on their vehicle something close to nil.

So what’s the moral of this story?  Beware of bureaucratic geeks bearing gifts.  Or if you prefer it more NSFW (language warning!) and classically cinematic, let Otter explain it to you:

Update: Actually, according to the EIA, hydroelectric supplies almost three-quarters of Washington’s electricity now.  However, when car start plugging in rather than filling up, Washington’s going to need a lot more electrical generating capacity, and it’s doubtful it will come from hydro.  (Do you think environmentalists will cheer the building of new dams?  Neither do I.)  Unless they start building nuclear power plants now, they’re going to have to burn more coal to meet the increased demand.

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NSFW (language warning!

Happy Easter, Ed.
BTW, your wife writes a great column every week.

itsnotaboutme on April 23, 2011 at 12:18 PM

The unintended consequences of Socialist-Progressive central planning causes problems, who would have thunk it?

Chip on April 23, 2011 at 12:19 PM

There won’t be push back. The people that can afford these cars will have no problem with an annual $100 fee.

solidaction on April 23, 2011 at 12:20 PM

unintended? somewhere in a university or think tank a would be central planner smiles as their theories get applied.

rob verdi on April 23, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Drill, baby drill.

OmahaConservative on April 23, 2011 at 12:25 PM

The legislators in my state are flat-out stupid. They really are.

nickj116 on April 23, 2011 at 12:26 PM

There won’t be push back. The people that can afford these cars will have no problem with an annual $100 fee.

solidaction on April 23, 2011 at 12:20 PM

I don’t know about that. The people in this area freaked when they proposed a tax on coffee drinks some years back. This is the land of Tulley’s and Starbuck’s, and people around here cannot live without their lattes.

as most electricity gets generated through burning fossil fuels in conditions no more efficient than a modern internal combustion engine

Most if not all energy in this area is produced by hydroelectricity.

theotherone on April 23, 2011 at 12:28 PM

What’s the problem? All good progressives want to own electric cars and to pay lots of taxes for the right to do so.

Really Right on April 23, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Being right with one’s self by not driving the ultimate producer of emissions certainly far outweighs all the economic encumbrances associated with operating it. It’s honorable, the same was as you should wash out and peel the labels from cans of cat food before you recycle them.

ericdijon on April 23, 2011 at 12:29 PM

unintended? somewhere in a university or think tank a would be central planner smiles as their theories get applied.

rob verdi on April 23, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Hmmmm, maybe that should be:

The unintended Hidden consequences of Socialist-Progressive central planning causes problems, who would have thunk it?

It seems like we are always coming back to the question of whether or not the Socialist-Progressives are just incompetent or their true intentions are to Muck up society.

Chip on April 23, 2011 at 12:33 PM

If there were a 100 million of these things being charged on the grid, the grid couldn’t handle it. The taxes levied to upgrade the grid would be enormous. Battery-powered transportation is asinine.

keep the change on April 23, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Somewhere, somehow there has to be a libtard thinking “Maybe our WHOLE way of thinking is wrong…”

Naaaahhh…nevermind.

winston on April 23, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Most if not all energy in this area is produced by hydroelectricity.

theotherone on April 23, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Liberals don’t consider hydroelectric a renewable resource. Makes no sense but what in la-la land does?

slickwillie2001 on April 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM

I spend a fair amount of time in the Seattle area, and I am always shocked by how down-trodden and poor the average folks are. Maybe its the rain, or maybe its the eco-hippy, socialist, “Liberal” attitudes of many of them….but Seattle is one area I could really be perfectly happy to never see, hear from or deal with again.

Really.

KMC1 on April 23, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Liberals don’t consider hydroelectric a renewable resource. Makes no sense but what in la-la land does?

slickwillie2001 on April 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM

In every instance I’m aware of in which hydroelectric dams were constructed, many thousands of acres of land had to be seized to do it. It’s not a painless process.

gryphon202 on April 23, 2011 at 12:40 PM

libtard politicians – it worked like a charm! stupid sheeple…

ladyingray on April 23, 2011 at 12:40 PM

And once the tax is in law and the mechanism to collect it is in place, the next step is to charge hybrid owners a portion of the fee too since they don’t use as much gas as a regular car.

SPCOlympics on April 23, 2011 at 12:42 PM

This is old news…Heard about this 3 years ago…..Next.

hawkman on April 23, 2011 at 12:43 PM

And the gas taxes go to pay union workers to repair state roads. And the unions then collect dues and give it to the democratic party.

You bet there will be a fee.

Revenant on April 23, 2011 at 12:44 PM

The costs of roads are part of having a modern society. Same as having a fire dept and police dept. There’s no reason to give the government anymore power over individuals under the guise of some lame taxation scheme. Set the income tax at 15% for everyone and count road maintenance as part of the budget. Period.

KMC1 on April 23, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Ah, the old plug in and pay to play routine. This is but just one of the many “after effects” of being suckered into leftism that the useful idiots have brought upon us all.

Wait until they consolidate power a bit more and …the guns are gone….then we’ll see that we’ve bought into the trap they have set for us with free cheese -free lunch, free sex, free everything -the price will be our free-dom.

And so the long cycle will have to begin again.
Freedom gives itself away to tyranny, tyranny brings a new revolution, revolution brings freedom etc.

Maybe the eco-fools are right: that there is little difference between man and the cockroach – except the cockroach is a better survivor. Hmmmm?

Don L on April 23, 2011 at 12:50 PM

I spend a fair amount of time in the Seattle area, and I am always shocked by how down-trodden and poor the average folks are. Maybe its the rain, or maybe its the eco-hippy, socialist, “Liberal” attitudes of many of them….but Seattle is one area I could really be perfectly happy to never see, hear from or deal with again.

Really.

KMC1 on April 23, 2011 at 12:38 PM

I had to read your comment twice to catch the word “average” there, as Seattle is also full of stinking rich liberals. But I agree; the average joe is kind of a miserable person–especially in outlook. This is where grunge originated, after all. Portland is just as, if not more so depressing. And Olympia–the capitol of Washington–it’s where the real liberal crazies live.

Tacoma is nice. It’s more of a blue-collar town, and juts out on a hill overlooking Puget Sound. Spend more time in Tacoma when you visit; you might find it more enjoyable.

I avoid MOST of Seattle whenever I can.

theotherone on April 23, 2011 at 12:51 PM

KMC1 on April 23, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Too simple. You’d have to lay off greedy union government workers, and that would trim the coffers of the democratics. Not going to happen.

slickwillie2001 on April 23, 2011 at 12:51 PM

According to http://www.washingtongasprices.com/tax_info.aspx
State of Washington residents pay 44¢ tax per gallon of gasoline (State tax plus sales tax). $100 then is the equivalent of taxes on 227 gallons of gas. If you use more gas than that, then this is a good deal.

‘Course, this doesn’t look at the jump in electricity costs for the owners, or how that compares with gasoline prices sans taxes. But the government fee component by itself ain’t bad.

BTW, there is $140 annual fee on LP vehicles in Washington, plus a $5 handling charge.

ss396 on April 23, 2011 at 12:53 PM

The fiddler wants his money and the fiddler must be paid.

A word to all you greenie freaks lording it over everyone with your electric car pomposity: It takes loads of oil to create and maintain roads.

Bishop on April 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM

But shouldn’t they be given a “global warming” rebate for all the C02 and other polluting gases they won’t be spewing?

albill on April 23, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Most if not all energy in this area is produced by hydroelectricity.

theotherone on April 23, 2011 at 12:28 PM

With some subsidized wind thrown in.
Speaking of which, there was some stool on Lars Larson earlier in the week saying that wind companies expect to be paid for electricity they produce whether it is used or not.

darwin-t on April 23, 2011 at 1:00 PM

However, when car start plugging in rather than filling up, Washington’s going to need a lot more electrical generating capacity, and it’s doubtful it will come from hydro. (Do you think environmentalists will cheer the building of new dams? Neither do I.)

America is tapped out hyrdo-wise. No more dams can be built.

Aquateen Hungerforce on April 23, 2011 at 1:13 PM

It takes loads of oil to create and maintain roads.

Bishop on April 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM

And electric cars

darwin-t on April 23, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Another example of they get you coming and going (even in an electric car).

Herb on April 23, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Somewhere in this tale, a lesson awaits to be learned — by legislators about the laws of unintended consequences, and by taxpayers about government interventions.

I doubt that the consequences were unintended. The aim of the modern technocrat is to change behavior, not to solve problems. If a policy has negative consequences but changes behavior for the putative better, it is successful in the eyes of the technocrat.

Bill Ramey on April 23, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Who decided $100 was fair? Why not make it $200 to make it more fair. Why not a tax on electricity for battery car owners. After all, it may be rich people buying those cars and they should pay more because they can afford to. Help a state out here, guys.

Kissmygrits on April 23, 2011 at 1:32 PM

This is one reason I am not totally against mileage tax, to tax the electric cars for using the roads.

Bottled Water
Ethanol

WoosterOh on April 23, 2011 at 1:33 PM

However, when car start plugging in rather than filling up, Washington’s going to need a lot more electrical generating capacity, and it’s doubtful it will come from hydro. (Do you think environmentalists will cheer the building of new dams? Neither do I.)

The enviro-harridans will have to come up with a way to recharge the cars using a windmill installed on the roof. No other form of energy production is acceptable. (And believe me, if someone pulled off a miracle by figuring out a way to generate enough windmill-generated electricity for Americans to live a normal American lifestyle, the Gaia-worshippers would find a reason to attack that too.)

Cicero43 on April 23, 2011 at 1:38 PM

wind companies expect to be paid for electricity they produce whether it is used or not.

darwin-t on April 23, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I’m not sure what this means. If electricity is produced it is used somewhere, since we don’t have any method for storing AC. So if it’s produced then of course they should be paid for it.

Oldnuke on April 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Glad to see your update Ed. Washington, Oregon and Idaho, all benefit from the cleanest source of energy – hydroelectric power plants. Nuclear is the second cleanest – of the on demand, not event provided – sources. Yet all the greenies are dead set against further utilization of either. What they incessantly ignore is the fact that until energy storage technologies e.g. batteries, vastly improve, wind and solar will have to be backed up – 100% – by a hydro-carbon driven system.

bains on April 23, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Amended to include Arizona, Utah, and Nevada as large beneficiaries of hydroelectric energy sources.

As an avid river runner (white water kayaking and rafting)I hate dams. Yet unlike the AGW crowd, I realize that our energy needs must be met by current technology. If a clean environment is what they really seek, then submerging good swaths of land is unavoidable.

Alas, cognitive dissonance seems a defining characteristic of many on the left.

bains on April 23, 2011 at 1:54 PM

What they incessantly ignore is the fact that until energy storage technologies e.g. batteries, vastly improve, wind and solar will have to be backed up – 100% – by a hydro-carbon driven system.

bains on April 23, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Not to mention that sooner or later all of those batteries will have to be dealt with—as toxic waste.

Rovin on April 23, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Yeah, and wait until they have to buy replacement batteries. Better yet, wait until they see the disposable fee for getting rid of a bad battery. Another good one will be the fine-print on battery warranty.

Karmi on April 23, 2011 at 1:56 PM

laws of unintended consequences

The electricity used to charge those cars… wind, solar, nuclear, coal, oil, fairy dust?

Kini on April 23, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Only $100 dollars a year now will be $1000 in a few years

borg on April 23, 2011 at 2:08 PM

I brought up the point of people driving purely electric vehicles on public roadways not having to pay the excise taxes and other taxes attached to consuming gasoline a long time ago, and that while they were still causing ‘wear & tear’ on our public roads just as any other combustion engine vehicle does that they would not be contributing to the maintenance or repair of those same roads via those taxes. I also said that the Government would eventually impose a separate tax and/or fee for purely electric vehicle owners as the trend to buy and own them rose and the Government coffers suffered for it.

To be honest, it is and always has been the right thing to do although they should have done it from the very beginning.

However, I assumed at the same time that hybrid vehicle owners would not be subjected to the eventual separate tax and/or fee since they still would be purchasing gasoline at the pump like everyone else driving purely combustion engine vehicles even though it would be much less gasoline usage. To top it off, though, I also claimed that the excise and other taxes attached to gasoline purchases would be increased for everyone to make up the difference and perhaps even to up the Government take if they increased the taxes beyond just ‘breaking even’ in the effort to make up the losses to hybrids which I believe will be the actual case when the taxes are inevitably increased. I don’t trust my government farther than I can throw them.

That has yet to happen here in California but I’d bet the farm that it will be done soon… just not until soon after the 2012 elections.

FlatFoot on April 23, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Thank goodness my car runs on happy thoughts.

John the Libertarian on April 23, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Somehow I don’t think declining revenue from the gas tax is because too many people rushed out and bought electric vehicles. I’ll wager there are more golf carts at one course than electric cars in the whole state. So they won’t close any “gap” with this tax, but it’s good to see liberal suck-ups to the “geen movement” pay more to their beloved bureaucracy.

It seems like we are always coming back to the question of whether or not the Socialist-Progressives are just incompetent or their true intentions are to Muck up society.

Chip on April 23, 2011 at 12:33 PM

The true believers intend to undermine society. Their cover is “useful idiots” and incompetence.

cartooner on April 23, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Somewhere, somehow there has to be a libtard thinking “Maybe our WHOLE way of thinking is wrong…”

Naaaahhh…nevermind.

winston on April 23, 2011 at 12:34 PM

All that matters is if they had good intentions.

PatMac on April 23, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Most if not all energy in this area is produced by hydroelectricity.

Apply some logic here. So why not ‘all’, maybe hydro is producing all it can, then that means any more has to be supplied from a different ‘fossil fuel’ source because if they are now producing any from fossil then that means there is no additional hydro available. therefore ALL additional consumption has to come from fossil. I’d call that an ‘intended’ consequence.

Redteam on April 23, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Say NO! to big Hydro!!

Caper29 on April 23, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Once a critical number of these electric toys get into used the obvious result will be grid crashes between brown outs. Impossible to generate the new current needed given that one can’t do hydro since that harms those endangered fish; wind is killing off the protected birds; gas is still a hydrocarbon; nuclear and coal will soon be regulated out of existence. With limited supply the electric companies will start charging astronomical fees for those electric car owners. The big question is who will get us back to the 7th century first, Islam or our own government.

Annar on April 23, 2011 at 2:51 PM

OK, let’s tax everyone that touches a road. That would be pedestrians using traffic signals to cross and the spandex pixies on bicycles who feel the need to demonstrate once a month by creating traffic jams to protest their need to use the roads.

seatacus on April 23, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Progressives are always asking for their taxes to be raised. This sounds like a great way to do it.

Go Blue States!

/

Kafir on April 23, 2011 at 2:55 PM

It’s too bad people have such short memories, 60′s 70′s, that was the boom of the new all electric clean energy homes, happy happy days until the $50 month electric bills started moving up and up and up, now for this great new all electric home you are now paying $300 to $400 or more a month.

SAME GAME DIFFERENT BALL.

concernedsenior on April 23, 2011 at 3:29 PM

So, when all these cars become a strain on the electric grid, and people can’t charge their cars properly…does that change the definition of a rolling brownout?

Or in the case of the car, a non-rolling one?

JohnTheBuilder on April 23, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Washington is a good example of the consequences of Progressivism. Its sad to see what it has done to my beautiful state.

The best way for Conservatives to battle against the Progressive agenda is to be organized and active. If any Washingtonians are interested in being a part of organize4palin you can contact the Washington state coordinator at o4pwashington@gmail.com
Meetups are planned in several areas of the state, including one next weekend in Kirkland.

manajordan on April 23, 2011 at 3:44 PM

now for this great new all electric home you are now paying $300 to $400 or more a month.

SAME GAME DIFFERENT BALL.

concernedsenior on April 23, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Nope, I live in an all electric home and either my heat or A/C is usually on depending on season and I fork out $184 a month. There are also two TVs and two computers running most of the time too. Electricity in my area is very competitive. That price is typical for all electric homes in my area too. The only people paying what you posted are those whose homes are not well insulated.

Oldnuke on April 23, 2011 at 4:00 PM

There won’t be push back. The people that can afford these cars will have no problem with an annual $100 fee.

solidaction on April 23, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Welcome to 1939 and the NFA.

fossten on April 23, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Washington is a good example of the consequences of Progressivism. Its sad to see what it has done to my beautiful state.

The best way for Conservatives to battle against the Progressive agenda is to be organized and active. If any Washingtonians are interested in being a part of organize4palin you can contact the Washington state coordinator at o4pwashington@gmail.com
Meetups are planned in several areas of the state, including one next weekend in Kirkland.

manajordan on April 23, 2011 at 3:44 PM

O4P are having meetups in Kirkland on April 30th, and Tri-Cities on May 14th. Also anyone living in Idaho, there is a meetup on May 21st in Boise.

TeleL on April 23, 2011 at 4:32 PM

listen to what they say here in Washington. And then try to wrap your mind around the fact that we are to believe that Trump is an unserious cadidate.

AntonDomi on April 23, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Ummm, how many pure, electric-only cars are there in the state of Washington anyway?

xblade on April 23, 2011 at 4:38 PM

I think the way this works is, paying more taxes is patriotic, and so is buying an electric car. So this extra fee is like, uh, an INCENTIVE! Yeah, that’s it.

manwithblackhat on April 23, 2011 at 6:13 PM

if someone pulled off a miracle by figuring out a way to generate enough windmill-generated electricity for Americans to live a normal American lifestyle, the Gaia-worshippers would find a reason to attack that too

Heah! They already have the pushback – bird kills:

Bird kills force NextEra to remove Californian wind turbines
Windpower Monthly, 08 December 2010, 9:16am

UNITED STATES: Owner-operator NextEra Energy Resources must take down all its wind turbines in California’s Altamont Pass in the next five years, in a settlement brokered by the state attorney general.

The company also must pay $2.5 million in mitigation fees, according to the agreement reached with environmental groups and the state over the issue of bird kills.

Under the settlement, NextEra will replace about 2,400 turbines over the next four years, and shut down all existing turbines by 2015.

Then there is:

Wind Power Buildout Could Kill Millions of Birds, Conservation Group Says

We need more data, the American Bird Conservancy said, adding that environmental oversight or assessment can help developers be certain that significant numbers of birds will not be harmed.

* Feb 07, 2011

The animal rights people go to argue that a significant number of the birds are on the “endangered species list”, and the windmills degrade needed “critical environments” for those endangered species of birds. The double whammy of actual deaths PLUS critical habitat damage – an EPA two-fer.

in_awe on April 23, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Most if not all energy in this area is produced by hydroelectricity.

theotherone on April 23, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Hydroelectricity. That’s dams, right?

Wait until one of your local Greenies discovers a 2-inch long fish that’s being inconvenienced by a penstock, and you’ll see how cheap hydroelectricity is.

warbaby on April 23, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Hydroelectricity. That’s dams, right?

Wait until one of your local Greenies discovers a 2-inch long fish that’s being inconvenienced by a penstock, and you’ll see how cheap hydroelectricity is.

the Mississippi has lock and dams all along it for navigation, a city wanted to put up a generator plant next to one of the dams the environmentalist went nuts.

RonK on April 23, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Never worry. I’m sure the people of Washington state won’t mind paying it. Afterall, it’s the patriotic, and right, and fair thing to do. They do vote liberal , don’t they? They must do so, for a reason. Right?

capejasmine on April 23, 2011 at 8:40 PM

What they incessantly ignore is the fact that until energy storage technologies e.g. batteries, vastly improve, wind and solar will have to be backed up – 100% – by a hydro-carbon driven system.

bains on April 23, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Wind or solar need a 90% of full load backup system or there will be power outages. The greenies are already trying to use masses of batteries to shore up the system in some areas. The problem with this scenario is that batteries are nowhere near 100% efficient; if you put batteries into a system you lose overall capacity. As demand increases that shortfall continues to grow. Adding more batteries only makes it worse.

mad scientist on April 23, 2011 at 10:43 PM

Electric vehicles put just as much wear and tear on our roads as gas vehicles,” said Democratic state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, the bill’s lead sponsor. “This simply ensures that they contribute their fair share to the upkeep of our roads.”

Wrong. Haugen’s argument is shallow. Her flat tax “fair share” proposal wrongly assumes that everyone who owns an electric vehicle puts the same amount of wear and tear on the roads. Obviously this is not true, as anyone who spent more than 10 seconds thinking about the issue would conclude.

LASue on April 24, 2011 at 12:02 AM

I vote for the installation of a meter at every charging station for an electric vehicle, so that taxes commensurate with gasoline taxes can be collected from every electric vehicle user, regardless of where the electric power comes from — sun, wind, rain, or petro. We must make sure that as we transition to new technologies, the Government can determine exactly how many pints of blood it needs from us every hour.

unclesmrgol on April 24, 2011 at 2:10 AM

What they incessantly ignore is the fact that until energy storage technologies e.g. batteries, vastly improve, wind and solar will have to be backed up – 100% – by a hydro-carbon driven system.

bains on April 23, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Not to mention that sooner or later all of those batteries will have to be dealt with—as toxic waste.

Rovin on April 23, 2011 at 1:55 PM

There are non battery energy storage systems that are more efficient as well.

Slowburn on April 24, 2011 at 2:32 AM

This article is more proof that the Electric Car, first discredited 100 years ago…BECAUSE OF THE SAME PROBLEMS WE STILL SEE TODAY…is NOT a “solution” to anything.

The government and leftist smarter-than-you crowd slept through physics class*: otherwise, they would have learned that electricity is merely a transmission mechanism, and NOT an energy source.

Successful vehicles need a PORTABLE ENERGY SOURCE, so all the silly attempts to create vehicles which do not need fuel will ultimately fail…just like they did 100 years ago.

(* it is also possible that they attended public schools staffed by liberals)

landlines on April 24, 2011 at 2:58 AM

There are non battery energy storage systems that are more efficient as well.

Slowburn on April 24, 2011 at 2:32 AM

True: like gasoline, coal, and various chemical and nuclear substances….which store energy very densely in various light-weight, PORTABLE forms.

Short-term energy storage in hydraulic systems, as used for decades in construction equipment and vehicles, is also much more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective than any battery technology available.

landlines on April 24, 2011 at 3:06 AM

Actually, according to the EIA, hydroelectric supplies almost three-quarters of Washington’s electricity now. However, when car start plugging in rather than filling up, Washington’s going to need a lot more electrical generating capacity, and it’s doubtful it will come from hydro. (Do you think environmentalists will cheer the building of new dams? Neither do I.) Unless they start building nuclear power plants now, they’re going to have to burn more coal to meet the increased demand.

Time to dig WPPSS out of mothballs.

This is old news…Heard about this 3 years ago…..Next.
hawkman on April 23, 2011 at 12:43 PM

This is very old news – it was proposed when I left in 2003.

Wait until one of your local Greenies discovers a 2-inch long fish that’s being inconvenienced by a penstock, and you’ll see how cheap hydroelectricity is.
warbaby on April 23, 2011 at 7:11 PM

In WA, those fish are called salmon smolts… and they have already taken out one dam “for the fish!” Of course, the irony of the dams on the Columbia River is to make hydopower in the first place, they had to exterminate the world’s largest run of sockeye salmon…

Back in the day, the only Greenies were the commercial fishermen who fished the Columbia, but, in his vast wisdon, Our Thrice Great Leader, FDR, determined the fishermen stood in the way of “progress” and were, therefore, evil – a condition which endures to this day, having been adopted by our modern Greenies.

I’m sure the modern Greenies, who decided it was “for the best” to use food for fuel to “save the environment,” will also decide in the same sagacious tradition the the vast plains of Eastern WA are best used for wind farms and not for wheat – which generates no electricity to power their “eco-friendly” vehicles.

/s

Friendly21 on April 24, 2011 at 7:59 AM

If anybody thinks they are saving money driving a hybrid, wait until you need to replace the battery. I’m a Honda Technician at an independent repair shop, we’ve done a few hybrid battery replacements. $4500.00 for the battery, plus labor…
One customer thought that is was an even trade off because an engine replacement would cost about the same. I told him that he was indeed correct, but he has one of those too, and a rather expensive generator/transmission assembly. Honda and Toyota hybrid systems have been very reliable, but they are far from inexpensive when something fails.

M-14 2go on April 24, 2011 at 8:22 AM

I wonder if they’ll start charging people who ride bicycles an annual fee also? Sure, they don’t tear up the roads nearly as bad as a car and they can’t ride on the highways; but that doesn’t mean their immune from pulling their fair share.

mizflame98 on April 25, 2011 at 12:46 AM

Unless they start building nuclear power plants now, they’re going to have to burn more coal to meet the increased demand.

Not necessarily, Ed.

With the Environazis, there’s always a third option to address impending human misery caused by their tactics.

That option is turning to the aforementioned about-to-be-inflicted and saying “Tough $h*t. Mother Gaia’s more important than you. Now you’ll have to walk, sucka.”

VelvetElvis on April 25, 2011 at 8:41 AM

This is rich. Caesar IS going to get his.

abcurtis on April 25, 2011 at 6:11 PM