Forget The Planet: Electric Cars Are Energy Security, Lobbying Group Says

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'Oil Barrels, 2008' (detail) by Chris Jordan

'Oil Barrels, 2008' (detail) by Chris Jordan

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Fresh off our piece yesterday looking at different motivations for buying plug-in cars comes more proof that it's not just early adopters and uber-greens who think driving electric makes sense.

Industry trade journal Automotive News (behind a paywall, unfortunately for our readers) has published a feature-length profile of Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE).

It describes the lobbying group as "little known outside the Beltway" (the ring road around Washington, D.C.) but "highly influential" in D.C. political circles.

Among other credentials, the group helped found the Electrification Coalition, a group of business leaders advocating for electric cars and associated infrastructure. It also advocated for the highest possible 62-mpg alternative for 2017-2025 fuel economy rules.

SAFE's mission is three-fold: Increase domestic oil drilling; conserve oil, especially in vehicles (which consume 70 percent of the U.S. total); and convert the United States to an "electric transportation infrastructure."

And how do electric cars increase the country's energy security?

Not only does it take less overall energy to drive a mile on grid power than it does on gasoline, but electricity can be made in many different ways--or what the industry calls "multiple pathways."

Much U.S. electricity comes from coal, true, but it also comes from other sources, including natural gas, hydropower from dams, cogeneration, solar, and wind.

"Electricity is the best alternative to petroleum," SAFE's retired Navy Admiral Dennis Blair, former director of national intelligence, told Automotive News.

And the distribution infrastructure is already mostly in place, unlike both ethanol and hydrogen (which have other challenges as well). It's why we suggested that the two fuels of the future are gasoline and electricity.

So perhaps energy security is the hidden "aha" moment for potential electric car buyers?

According to the article, when GM surveyed buyers of its 2011 Chevrolet Volt electric car, it found that "reducing dependence on foreign oil" was the number-one reason for purchase--above even the environmental benefits.

And that's what you might call a win-win scenario for the future of electric cars.

[Automotive News (subscription required)]

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