Tuesday, June 27, 2006


All new innovations are too expensive for low-income people at first. But then, as technology improves, and second-hand markets get created, they become accessible.Low income people once had no telephones, refrigerators, televisions, or microwaves. Few low income people are now without these. Even personal computers are increasingly entering low income households, although they are far from universal there and far from being in a majority of their homes.In Philadelphia, many low income people can't even afford a car and rely on SEPTA. Few minimum wage workers drive cars; that is one of the reasons I am partnering with the Philadelphia Unemployment Project to help jump-start a commuter-van city to suburb worker and job seeker demonstration project.My hope is to encourage unemployed people in Philadelphia to seek and retain jobs in the suburbs, and to encourage voluntary car pooling where it makes sense for individuals.Eventually, as hybrids become cheaper with mass production, those low income people who are able to afford cars will be able to purchase them and save money on gas. It does low income people no good not to work to encourage hybrids; the more demand there is for gas, the less affordable gas is for low income people and the more restricted are their transportation options.

May 21, 2006



I am seeking co-sponsors for three bills he will introduce to promote and increase the use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Pennsylvania.

People testing plug-in hybrids have reported getting fuel economy of 100 miles per gallon, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, have the potential to reach fuel economy levels of 250 to 500 miles per gallon when ethanol or other alternative fuels are also used, with fuel economy figures at about 80 to 100 miles per gallon for normal commuting. (Source: Calcars.org)

Keystone Hybrid is a web site sponsored by myself to promote in general the use of hybrids cars within Pennsylvania and to specifically target the development of plug in hybrid electric vehicles for consumer, commercial and government use.

Plug in hybrid electric vehicles would be very similar to the Toyota Prius’ and Ford Hybrid Escapes that you see today. They would have 2 changes;1) a larger battery and 2) the ability to plug into an outlet and charge overnight.

With a larger battery, these vehicles could be charged overnight and have the first 10 to 30 miles be primarily powered by electricity. Since a great number of Pennsylvanians drive less than 30 miles to work each day, it would be possible that their gasoline usage could be significantly reduced. Experts estimate the substitute cost in electricity would be around $1 per gallon or less.

So far, Plug in hybrids have been made by converting existing Prius cars and by University of California, Davis engineering professor Andy Frank who has built seven plug in hybrids. Converted from non-hybrids, they have included a Ford Taurus, Explorer and a Chevrolet Suburban, with some of these vehicles reaching 250 mpg.

Everyday citizens don’t have the time or money to convert their vehicles today and it is not cost effective to individually convert every car to plug in hybrids. But mass produced plug in hybrids would significantly lower the costs of these types of cars.

The goal of this web site and the proposed legislation is supporting discussion and debate about plug in hybrids, demonstrating their effectiveness and encouraging our car companies to mass produce these vehicles.

Pennsylvania currently has a surplus of electricity generation and actually exports it to our neighbors. Plug in hybrids could becharged at night when generally wholesale power rates are at their lowest. Plug in hybrids raise the prospect for commuters of putting gasoline in their car only once a month. However, in case one wants to drive cross country or not plug in their car, a plug in hybrid would still operate efficiently on gasoline.

There are several different frequently asked questions pages on a variety of web sites that answer many common questions about plug in hybrids. They include: Austin Energy: Frequently Asked Questions:Plugins and Calcars: All About Plug in Hybrids.

September 2, 2005



Recent news brings more and more news reports of increasing momentum for hybrid vehicles. Toyota has stated that 100% of all of their cars in the future will have hybrid drives and Ford predicted that 50% of their vehicles in five years will have a hybrid option. Domestic and foreign car makers have been issuing press releases annoucing joint projects and intentions to make hybrid vehicles.Hybrid vehicles and the concept of Plug-in hybrids are a means to an end; less use of oil and a cleaner environment. While car makers seem to tripping over themselves to comit to hybrids, we need cleaner, gas saving cars now, not later. And increasing fuel economy 10% through some versions of hybrid technology is not enough.That is why plug-in hybrids could be important. They offer the potential of getting 100 miles to the gallon of gas using existing technology and they could make a big difference in reducing pollution and ending our dependency on foreign oil. In every new technology there are obstacles and risks. Building a selling a car is an expensive proposition and offering an automotive warranty is some calculation or way of managing risk. To get car makers to build hybrid plug-ins it make take government action to change the equations for car makers, at least in the short term. These are issues that should be discussed, examined and debated.To learn more about the potential of this technology, please go to my web site: keystonehybrid.com .

September 7, 2005


The most important danger of $75 a barrel price of oil is the uncertainty it sets for the future. Where will the increases stop? $80? $100? $200?It certainly is inflationary and dangerous to our economic health. We need strong Presidential leadership to move us in the direction of cost-effective energy independence, and we are not getting it. Ford Motor Company recently announced that it will not meet its previously announced goals for the production of hybrid cars, but will concentrate on ethanol-powered cars. Ethanol saves nowhere near the amount of consumer money that hybrids do, and there are few gas stations around today that stock the E85 gas (85% ethanol).

July 7, 2006


I have introduced a three bill legislative package that promotes use of plug-in hybrids in Pennsylvania by encouraging their manufacture here, setting up a study group of various departments to carefully monitor all the implications of their use (for instance they would likely lead to reduced gas tax revenue and increased electricity consumption), and to provide various incentives for their use. This plan has won the enthusiastic endorsement of the Apollo Alliance, a national organization focused on energy independence.I have supported Governor Rendell's pathbreaking Energy Portfolio Standards legislation, which provides for state efforts over time to boost renewable energy sources, such as ethanol, solar energy, and wind energy.I have supported efforts to encourage energy conservation by retrofitting houses to make them more energy efficient. I support the efforts of city agencies to develop green buildings as models of how to conserve energy.I do not think I or anyone else has done enough. But I do think that energy independence is achievable goal, and that by actively pushing it--including, but hardly limited to, phillyblog--I am seeking to raise its profile and expand the number of people involved in it.I have to figure out how to change the web address listed in the profile. Perhaps you can speed my learning process and tell me. My current web address for general legislative efforts is:http://pahouse.comMore information about my work on plug-in hybrids can be found at :http://keystonehybrids.blogspot.com

May 21, 2006



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