"Green Freeway" Would Help Eco-friendly Cars Drive From British Columbia to Baja

By Rachel Cernansky | March 11, 2009 2:23 pm

i-5.jpgThe governors of Washington, Oregon, and California are considering plans for a “green freeway” that would see alternative fueling stations implemented along Interstate 5 from Canada to Mexico. As the plan stands, motorists eventually would be able to pull off at I-5 rest stops for more than a cup of coffee and roadside relief: They also would be able to charge, or swap out, their electric-vehicle batteries or fill their tanks with biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen or compressed natural gas [The Seattle Times].

Opponents to the plan say it would compete with private businesses, but Jeff Doyle from Washington’s Department of Transportation said the state wouldn’t want alternative-fuel stations to disrupt rest-area traffic, so contract companies would have to provide small, low-profile setups. Doyle added that rest-stop fueling sites would be self-service and likely to have little or no on-site staffing [The Seattle Times]. While the plan is facing many rounds of approval before it can become a reality, it does fit into the new administration’s push for green jobs and it would most likely qualify for stimulus money that would get the project going [EcoGeek].

If approved, the green highway could begin as early as this summer, and would mark the first time US drivers could travel a long stretch of freeway with easy access to alternative fuel…. The fuelling stations and battery swap-out docks would be the first businesses allowed by US west coast states to operate at rest stops, Doyle said. To help companies with their initial costs, they would not be charged rent until they started turning a profit, he said [The Seattle Times].

A plan announced in 2003 for a similar project in California, however, is already behind deadline and has now been called overly “optimistic.” Shortly after taking office, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger promised a “hydrogen highway” that would provide all California drivers with access to hydrogen fuel by 2010, a plan that now looks to be a failure. “Vision 2010″ called for 150 to 200 fueling stations to be opened along the state’s highways, approximately 20 miles apart. But the program has fallen short of expectations. With less than 10 months until the end of the decade, 24 hydrogen fueling stations are operating in California, most of them near Los Angeles…. The state’s hydrogen-highway experience points to a fundamental question confronting any effort to build an alternative car market, be it powered by hydrogen or electricity: What comes first, the vehicle or the infrastructure? [The New York Times].

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Image: Flickr / richardmasoner

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Technology
  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/ UncleAl

    it would compete with private businesses

    Who investing their own money would be that stupid? “Roadside relief” must be collected and fermented to methane to be sustainable. Urine will be separately collected, ISS FUBARized, and recycled to make the coffee. No incremental carbon footprint! Let’s see an Enviro-whiner drink the first cup as he pedals away on his H*Y*D*R*O*G*E*N moped.

    But the program has fallen short of expectations.

    A eunuch in a brothel, a capon in a henhouse, a steer amidst cows; a stot, a gelding, a barrow, a gelt, a havier, a gib, a lapin, a seg, a hog, a wether… Thermodynamics can be legislated, but it won’t cooperate.

  • Marcus

    This needs to be supported by private business. Self help stations at rest stops would be subject to vandalism, and it’s still illegal to have self-service in Oregon.

    But it’s a start.

  • http://www.greenteadietsecret.com/ Marcus

    This needs to be supported by private business. Self help stations at rest stops would be subject to vandalism, and it’s still illegal to have self-service in Oregon.

    But it’s a start.
    P.S. – Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

  • YouRang

    In general, it isn’t clear to me how they plan on handling exchanged batteries. i.E. batteries have a limited number of charge/recharge cycles; so what they do about the relative age of the batteries?

  • http://www.geddongear.com TeflonBob

    All in all green is good. Just dont tax us when we save fossil fuels! For pete sake sometimes it feels like you can’t win. In any case, this is the perfect super-slab to utilize the fully green, burnen clean Tax Free Vehicle!

    http://geddongear.com/TaxFreeTransportation.aspx

    God Bless America!

  • Lou Dube

    Why alternative fueling stations? Highways already have service stations where cars can be refuelled; why not simply add alternative fuels distribution to the already existing facilities.
    Why can’t a service station add a meter to sell electricity to recharge the cars batteries while the passengers use the facilities as usual. With the new fast charging batteries that should be a problem. In sure the owners of the existing service station would be happy to be keeping the business.

  • http://landscience.com Elliot UK

    Yeah, why alternative stations? There must be plenty of existing premises out there, such as diners, private filling-stations, people with land needing to branch-out given the current economic situation… all of whom might be willing to take part in such an experiment (for a share of the profits)… why ever not? and how the hell can it cost so much to do that…

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