electric cars

Ryan Block / Flickr

The federal government and many states have offered car buyers incentives to venture into the electric car market. But now some states are going in a different direction -- they’re charging owners more.  Idaho recently approved one of the country’s highest fees for electric cars.

We know it's illegal to park in a disabled parking spot if you don't have a permit. Now, some Oregon lawmakers want to make it a costly infraction to take a spot reserved for electric vehicles.

A coalition in Oregon and the Democratic governor of Washington want to juice sales of electric cars by providing more state incentives.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

  In all three West Coast states, transportation accounts for the largest share of climate-changing greenhouse gases. And all three states are trying to boost the number of zero-emission vehicles on their roads. This week, California passed a milestone toward that goal; 100-thousand electric cars sold in the state since the end of 2010.

Portland General Electric

The electric vehicle industry is looking for new ways to pay for public charging stations as federal stimulus money runs out. That was one of many issues addressed at the Future Energy Conference in Portland Tuesday.

The slow uptake of electric cars by Northwest drivers is prompting calls to extend a tax break in Washington state for new vehicles powered by alternative fuels.

Just like consumers who postponed buying new cars during the recent recession, government agencies also put off vehicle replacements. But now procurement officers are getting busy again.

FinalDoom

The Columbia River hydropower system is full of dams that were built over the strenuous objections of Northwest tribes. Now, two of these old projects are changing ownership -- one in Western Montana and another in central Oregon. And it’s the tribes that were once powerless to stop them, that are becoming the new managers.

Imagine paying less than a dollar per gallon for your commute, compared to today's statewide averages of $3.84 in Oregon and Washington and $3.80 in Idaho for a gallon of gas. Eighty-four cents in Idaho and Washington -- or 96 cents in Oregon -- per gasoline gallon equivalent is how much the US Department of Energy figures it costs to recharge an electric car in each state.

The agency's assistant secretary David Danielson announced an online cost comparison calculator Tuesday for what he calls the "eGallon."

A couple of years ago, Democratic politicians at the state and national levels set heady goals for battery powered cars. For example, in his 2011 State of the Union speech, President Obama said, "With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015."

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