MendoCoastCurrent, January 29, 2009
At his first White House press conference, President Obama declared “the days of Washington dragging its heels are over” and ordered an immediate review of the Bush administration’s refusal to give California authority to enforce tougher emission and fuel efficiency standards on gas and diesel automobiles.
For more than two years California Governor Schwarzenegger has sought to impose stricter standards on automobile manufacturers in an effort to spur adoption of plug-in electric cars.
President Obama’s order may signal his interest in granting California’s request in a matter of weeks. Eighteen other States, representing nearly half the nation’s population, have indicated they wish to follow California’s lead, calling for the establishment of a national electric car-charging network.
President Obama’s push for electric cars is closely linked to his $11 billion high voltage “superhighway” that was passed last night by the House included in the $819 billion economic stimulus.
The newly-chosen, Acting Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Jon Wellinghoff, is calling for regulators and automobile manufacturers to plan integration in the car-charging networks for electric vehicles into the national power grid. “If you’re an automobile company, you’d better get on the bandwagon…because there is definitely going to be a move toward electrification,” said Wellinghoff. Chip manufacturers and power companies may also wish to jump in.