Policy, Implementation, and Infrastructure: Flex-fuel Fleets are 1 for 3

November 26th, 2008

Posted by: admin

While I’m driving to my Thanksgiving destination, it seems appropriate to note the policy of expanding federal flex-fuel fleets.  Over the last several years, billions of dollars have been invested in alternative-fuel vehicles.  Unfortunately, the investment hasn’t exactly panned out, as the Washington Post reported in its November 23 edition.  It’s a great description of flex-fuel fleet policies and history, and a strong example of good policy implemented badly with no apparent considerations of infrastructure.  In short, purchasing flex-fuel cars across the country isn’t as effective when flex-fuel stations aren’t as widely available.

As this country moves forward with other alternative energy scenarios, the underlying infrastructure, whether we’re talking about fuel stations, electric grids, or some other support systems, will have to change before the new energy source can be successfully implemented.  Let’s remember the failures of the federal flex-fuel fleet.  The Post article suggests that the government approached this as a purchasing decision rather than as an investment decision.  Perhaps a tradeoff where fewer cars were purchased and the additional funds were used to invest in flex-fuel infrastructure could have helped avoid a situation where 92 percent of the fuel used in the flex-fuel fleet isn’t alternative fuel.

2 Responses to “Policy, Implementation, and Infrastructure: Flex-fuel Fleets are 1 for 3”

  1. stan Says:

    I’m shocked, shocked to find poor planning and general stupidity in a government decision. Having lived in Europe and experienced the “benefits” of national health care there, I can’t wait to see how much money we save when govt makes these type decisions in the USA for our health.

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  3. jfleck Says:

    In my experience with this at the local level (I wrote earlier this year in the Albuquerque Journal about the city of Albuquerque’s use of flex-fuel vehicles) the problem involves the incentives and motivations of government decision-makers. In our case, the government made grandiose public claims based on the percentage of its vehicle fleet that was alternative-fuel capable. That’s what the bureaucrats got their brownie points for.