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California Government Seeks New Ways To Screw Public Using Energy Concerns


By Marc J. Rauch
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher

          Originally published February 4, 2015

AUTO CENTRAL - CALSTART is a California based organization of more than 140 firms, fleets and agencies who are supposedly dedicated to supporting a growing high-tech, clean transportation industry that cleans the air, creates jobs, cuts imported oil and reduces global warming emissions.

Yesterday, the president and CEO of CALSTART, along with the president of the Advanced Biofuels Association issued a joint news release titled "California should stay on track with standard on cleaner fuels." (You can read the entire release at

If I was to write a kindly response to this story I would say, "Shucks, looks like they missed the mark again."

The problem with that response is that I would be dishonest. The honest response is to say that once again the California government and it's self-interested appointee organizations are about to level another scam that milks and bilks the working public of its hard-earned income.

If CARB or CALSTART really had any interest in low-carbon fuels; freeing us from foreign oil dependency; and trying to make the environment healthier; they would have long ago mandated the use of the two fuels that are available to do the job. These two fuels are compressed natural gas (CNG) and ethanol. Instead, they continue to favor electric power, a solution that won't be affordable and in meaningful availability for 2, 3, 4, 5 maybe 6 decades from now.

CNG and ethanol is available right now - today - and can be used by the overwhelming majority of passenger vehicles that are currently on the road; and in the case of ethanol, these vehicles would not even require any engine conversions to use the fuel. Starting immediately we could make an enormous reduction in harmful emissions, while saving the public billions of dollars.

Nearly three years ago, to the day, California’s Air Resources Board unanimously approved a package of new emissions rules that they claimed would save drivers money, create jobs, and cut smog and greenhouse gases under what was labeled “The Advanced Clean Car Program.”

This program only referred to electric. They never talked about the contribution that ethanol and CNG could make. What was particularly ironic was that the report from CARB stated that they relied in part on Ron Cogan and his GREEN CAR JOURNAL to help them make their decision to support their electric car program. But there was a problem with this: they never consulted Ron Cogan, and Mr. Cogan was not in favor of CARB's program. I know this because my business partner and I discussed it with him at the Los Angeles Auto Show that convened a few months later.

Even more interesting was the fact that just prior to CARB unveiling this program, Mr. Cogan had bestowed (once again) his company's Green Car Of The Year Award on the Honda Civic GX, car powered exclusively by CNG. Honda won this award for virtually the same vehicle just a few years earlier.

    • To read the reply I wrote 3 years ago CLICK HERE

In addition, although CNG has received great press in the past couple of years, California continues its refusal to allow existing gasoline-powered passenger vehicles to be converted to CNG. If you purchase a vehicle that was legally converted to CNG in another state, and bring it into California, you can not register the vehicle. CNG conversions are performed everyday around the rest of the world. If there was a danger in doing so, we would be hearing terrible stories about this everyday, rather than the terrible stories we do hear everyday caused by people who are supported by oil dictators.

Moreover, although today's CALSTART article finally does mention CNG, they never said anything about the dearth of available new CNG powered cars. For the past several years only Honda is regularly producing CNG-powered vehicles - that is, if you can describe annual production runs of about 2,000 vehicles to be regular. The auto manufacturers make more electric vehicles per year than that, and that low number is just totally meaningless. If California (and the EPA) removed their unjustified restrictions on CNG conversions, at least millions of cars could be converted even if there is no increase in the production of new CNG vehicles.

Not only is the number of electric cars being produced meaningless, they are too expensive: for the consumers and for the auto manufacturers. Consumers who purchase an electric car are paying a significant premium over the true value of the car, and auto manufacturers lose thousands of dollars on every electric car they sell. Sergio Marchione, CEO of Chrysler-Fiat said it best when he described his company's electric Fiat 500 as great, but asked that people don't buy them because Fiat loses too much money.

Added to the cost and availability problems with electric cars is the fact that battery production makes us dependent on China. At present, there's little to suggest that reliance on China is any better than reliance on foreign petroleum oil.

Incidentally, 100% of our CNG and ethanol supply is produced domestically, and none of the ethanol producers are owned by foreign or terrorist controlled regimes. No American serviceman or woman have ever been killed defending the domestic production and distribution of ethanol.

So when CARB, CALSTART, Jerry Brown and the California Legislature say "Let's Keep Going," what they mean is let's keep milking and bilking the working public; let's keep padding our staffs with additional friends, relatives and campaign donors.

I recognize that a number of alternative fuel producers and organizations have signed on to this effort. However, I am certain that they have done so only in the hope that the California politicians and appointees will throw some crumbs their way. They know, as I know, that all previous efforts to get California to act like the "green" concerned state that people assume California to be have been exercises in futility.

    • SEE ALSO: The Ethanol Dividend

    • SEE ALSO: Electric Vehicles - Solution or Diversion?