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Summary:

The LA Times story that knocked the green halo off T. Boone Pickens’ head, with its spotlight on Pickens’ funding of California’s Prop 10, generated a lot of heated comments from readers. This morning the Wall Street Journal takes a crack at the story and points […]

The LA Times story that knocked the green halo off T. Boone Pickens’ head, with its spotlight on Pickens’ funding of California’s Prop 10, generated a lot of heated comments from readers. This morning the Wall Street Journal takes a crack at the story and points out some more interesting details.

The Prop, which would gives thousands of dollars in rebates to natural gas vehicle buyers, as well as spending on R&D, will supposedly cost California $9.8 billion over 30 years and would come from taxpayer money. The WSJ says, if the prop passes, it could lead to a million natural gas vehicles for California; if the Prop is defeated then natural gas vehicle backers will have to compete — against cleaner alternatives like electric vehicles — for the $840 million in funds under law AB 118. In a vacuum natural gas cars sound OK, but it’s hard to justify spending on dirtier-burning natural gas vehicles when those funds are directly competing with “zero emission” alternatives, like electric cars powered by a solar grid.

So, the biggest issue with choosing to fund natural gas vehicles or not is the questionable emissions benefits. Yes, there is a national security and supply issue that is answered by natural gas vehicles, but the WSJ quotes a California Energy Commission study: When natural gas replaces gasoline, greenhouse gases are reduced by just 20 to 30 percent. When natural gas is used instead of diesel in trucks, greenhouse gases are reduced just 10 to 20 percent. If diesel is almost comparable, then it makes more sense to fund that as a stop gap as that infrastructure is already in place. The article also points out that the natural gas vehicle benefits over gasoline have dropped over the past two decades as newer internal combustion engines have become cleaner and more efficient.

The WSJ says together Pickens and Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon have spent $3.7 million supporting the proposition. Previously Pickens had been isolated as the only backer of the prop. Chesapeake Energy’s claim to fame is that it’s the “third-largest overall producer of natural gas in the U.S” — so it’s not surprising that the firm would invest to get this passed. Earlier this week it also came out that Pickens is getting into natural gas vehicle development, too. Pickens and the natural gas distribution company he founded, Clean Energy Fuels, joined with the Perseus fund to invest $160 million into building a natural gas vehicle.

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By Katie Fehrenbacher

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  1. I also just read an article in the WSJ on how people were ditching fuel oil furnaces for nat gas because of prices. If we go CNG then people will ditch Nat-gas for wood stoves. CNG cars arn’t that much more impressive than electric cars to warrant all the $$. Plus the biggest thing is that nat-gas supplies are going to run out a few more years after oil runs dry. Same problem in the long run!

    Go electric and where you get the power is irrelevant. You can have a mouse in a wheel powering your electric car (it would take alot of mice)

    I would like the idea though of a hybrid electric/nat-gas car. It could be just the trick for getting off of oil, getting cleaner, and the range.

  2. Right on! the distributed renewable energy model in which everyone has electric cars that they are powering from the solar / wind powered homes and businesses make most sense. Why is t-boone pushing so aggressively for natural gas!?! How does it help America become energy independent when the natural gas reserves are controlled by the middle east?

    Same old oil tycoons are trying to lead the general populace down the wrong path once again unfortunately.

  3. When all is said an done, no ome is looking out for us. They only look to where their next $$$ are coming form. Before voting on anything look into who’s hands the money is going, then and only then do you know why someone whats a prop passed.

  4. Pelosi Invested $50K to $100K in T. Boone’s Clean Energy Fuels « Earth2Tech Monday, August 25, 2008

    [...] that would benefit increased use of natural gas. But the real question would be, has Pelosi been an advocate of California’s Prop 10? The ballot measure is backed by Pickens and would give thousands of dollars in rebates to natural [...]

  5. Politicians are bedfellows of big money from both sides of the aisle. Pelosi is just another human who has no problem using her position to better her own economic security. She owns roughly 10,000 shares of CLNE so why not back a stopgap prop that makes her look like she’s helping CA. It’s not like we havn’t been hosed before.

    Yes, I live in LA and have been through the Gray Davis crap, I’ve been brutalized by the energy fiasco, the insurance scandals and whatever else has been shoved down our throats as Calee-fornians. This reeks of the GOB Network and insider scandal.

    Same old same old, IMHO

  6. i want to make a test comment

  7. Deep Patel — I’m sure you’ve heard it by now. Explorers and drillers are quickly turning America turning into the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. We do not need to import the stuff. Converting gas burning autos to nat gas burners is a relatively simple affair, and the new fuel burns cleaner. Until we can build out the technology and infrastructure for electric transportation, nat gas seems a relatively clean bridge fuel with decades of guraranteed supply.

  8. IMPOSITIONALISM: T. Boone Pickens’s and Aubrey McClendon’s agenda to stay rich at the expense of taxpayers and the American people « The Conservation Report Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    [...] about emissions? From Earth2Tech: Yes, there is a national security and supply issue that is answered by natural gas vehicles, but [...]

  9. NGV is the way to go. I have driven the same Honda Civic GX since 2001 and still going strong. As of today Natural Gas is only $2.18 per gallon while gasoline is at $3.59 per gallon. Plus if you get the home fueling station, the price comes down to only $1.00 gallon. It is worth it.

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