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Posted: Wednesday, June 25th 2014 at 12:20pm

Alternative Fuel Vehicles...and opinions...visit Gainesville

By Marc Eggers Staff
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(L-R) Lee Hawkins, Carl Rogers, Tim Echols
GAINESVILLE – The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Roadshow made a stop at the Brenau Downtown Center Wednesday morning, the seventh destination of eight scheduled statewide in this fourth annual effort by the Georgia Public Service Commission to promote fuel sources other than petroleum based ones.

The goals of the roadshows as highlighted in their news release are simple: to offer visitors the opportunity to interact with alternative fuel vehicles and to hear from clean fuel experts and vehicle manufacturers.

Some of the alternative fuel sources being promoted at the Gainesville roadshow for vehicle use include biodiesel and ethanol, propane, hydrogen, natural gas and electricity from various sources.

District 27 State Representative Lee Hawkins of Gainesville said it succinctly, addressing the overflow crowd at the onset of the seminar, “As we look into the future we realize that the price of gasoline as we have known it…will never be the same. As much as we do in all our foreign affairs we’ve not been able to bring those prices down, so alternative fuels are really the way for the future for the American public.”

A statewide effort to promote AFVs, brought to a local venue, confronting a national problem linked to foreign affairs: all bases touched. What starts abroad affects wallets in small town America.

District 29 State Representative Carl Rogers, also of Gainesville, agreed with Hawkins, “Every month when I pay my gas bill (it) continues to get higher and higher…it’s almost as much as my mortgage. It is a concern.”

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols said, “I think businesses are very interested in knowing, ‘Can I save money?’.”

“Especially with the trouble in the Middle East, in Iraq right now, with gas going up,” Echols continues, “(businesses) are thinking, ‘Is there something else that I can do that can help me keep a little more money in my pocket?’.”

A while there is movement in the public sector towards AFVs, Echols said that he has seen resistance from the petroleum industry.

“These (AFVs) are a threat to them; for every gallon of ethanol that I put in my state car that’s a gallon of unleaded that I didn’t buy,” Echols said. “They’ve been very hostile towards E85, and E85 is a Georgia-grown product. It’s sold in Georgia and then consumed in Georgia, yet you never hear about it.”

Echols pointed out that the Georgia Road and Tollway Authority has a program in place promoting travel by AFVs.

“Folks that go from Hall County into Atlanta can ride in the Peach Pass Lane using ethanol and have all of your tolls waived. No one knows about this and the oil-industry certainly doesn’t want you to know about it,” Echols added.

State Senator Butch Miller had come to the Roadshow to speak on AFVs, but he stopped briefly to visit with some of the sales staff surrounding a pair of AFVs on exhibit from the dealership he owns.

Asked what his insight was regarding AFVs (since has the unique perspective on the issue as an elected state legislator and a private business owner who sells both gasoline and alternative fuel vehicles), Miller said, “Much of the technology and development is all geared around tax credits.”

“And tax credits are a temporary thing. Really and truly it should be the marketplace that determines the final outcome,” Miller explained.

“As long there are tax credits involved there’s going to be a false sense of security, or a false investment. We need to make sure we’re choosing a long term fuel that we have an abundance of.”

Georgia Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow Director Joy Kramer said that a synopsis of topics covered at the roadshows, as well as valuable links to AFV providers, will be available in July at

Associated Categories: Homepage, Business News, Local/State News, Politics

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Gainesville, GA 30501
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