Siri called me last night. You know, the voice of Apple on the iPhone. She had come down from the satellite for a breather. She was upset at the NY Times blog suggesting she might have outlived her usefulness. She wanted to vent. I told her not to worry. Her service to America and the world was recognized by most, and nobody is above criticism.
We got to talking about Joann Muller’s blog of July 16 on the Forbes Magazine site. It was titled “Governors Press Detroit to make Natural Gas Vehicles.” I told her to add it to her crib sheet because she may get questions about it from callers. The article focused on Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper’s (D), and Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin’s (R), bipartisan efforts to encourage U.S. automakers to produce more natural gas vehicles. They, apparently, have lined up at least 13 states to purchase thousands of natural gas vehicles for their fleets. With the combined purchasing power of 13 states, Fallin and Hickenlooper believe Detroit will respond and produce CNG automobiles.
Everyone will come out ahead! Car makers will have the economic incentive to turn out natural gas-fueled vehicles, states will gain lower operating costs, and the nation will add jobs, enhance the environment and reduce dependency on oil. Consumers will have at least a limited choice of fuels. Over time, they would secure a net savings, because of the cheaper cost of natural gas compared to gasoline.
I told Siri that I was proud to know Governor Hickenlooper as a friend from the days when I was a Dean at the University of Colorado and directed the Wirth Chair (1981-2004). Hickenlooper is an outstanding guy and an effective leader.
I bet the Fallin-Hickenlooper initiative will grow much larger and encompass more states. I indicated to Siri that I had only a few suggestions for the two governors. Simultaneously with moving ahead with their exciting effort, they should push for removing unnecessary restrictions on the production and use of ethanol fuel and methanol derived from natural gas. Similarly, the Governors should ask Congress to enact open fuel standards. If they respond favorably to these options, their actions, including the natural gas initiative with the states, would help remove the barriers to competition in fuel markets, that limit the choices of consumers at the pump. The end result would be lower costs for fuel, a reduction in gasoline price spikes, and a healthier environment. Siri, who, except with friends, speaks only when spoken too, had only one word: “Nirvana!” Thanks Apple. Eat your heart out New York Times.