Nat King Cole sang it first. Depeche Mode sang it New-Waviest. According to the lyrics of the famous Bobby Troup-penned song “Route 66,” which turns 70 this year, it was the best highway around, and people could get their kicks on it. But did you know the iconic highway is going green?
Spanning two thousand miles, Route 66 might have once been the nightmare of range-anxiety-ridden electric vehicle drivers, but that should no longer be the case. A movement to electrify the road is taking form. Funded by BMW, Mitsubishi, and Nissan, electric chargers are slated to be implemented in eight different cities along the highway, with every city also home to a fast-charger.
The electrification process began in Illinois, with the state putting in charging stations between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. In addition to adding more chargers along Route 66, the project also aims to add other green options along the highway. In Albuquerque, plans are in place to purchase a fleet of electric buses to be used along the road. Other green projects in the process include the installation of solar panels to power rest stops.
Although all these efforts are great, it seems unlikely that in the near future we will be able to electrify enough highways to placate EV drivers who are, irrational or not, plagued by range anxiety. The national highway system includes a whopping 163,000 miles of highways, which means we won’t be seeing completely outfitted electric roads anytime soon.
So what can we do in the meantime to lessen our dependence on oil, and help reduce emissions? The answer is already on the road: There are about 19 million lucky flex-fuel drivers on the road who can fuel up on any combination of ethanol and gasoline, up to E85 (85 percent ethanol). While a completely electric society is still on the horizon, flex-fuel vehicles are ready for use now.
Not sure if your car, truck or SUV is flex-fuel? Use our handy tool to find out if you’re one of the lucky 19 million.