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Energy Update, August 22, 2008

In The States

CO/CA – Governor Ritter, in coordination with Governor Schwarzenegger of California, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and National Automobile Dealers Association, has issued a packet of information to help vehicle owners to become more energy efficient when driving. The goal of the release is to reduce demand for gasoline – and save consumers money. "The cheapest gallon of gas is the gallon you never buy,” said Governor Ritter. Helping drivers shift to greenDenver Post

CT – Connecticut is on track to become a major producer of hydrogen and fuel cells. Proponents of hydrogen-powered automobiles say that consumers could be driving them in two to seven years, and companies within the state should be producing the hydrogen and the fuel cells that power those cars. The industry is pushing the State to provide some incentives to help it grow. Earlier this month, Governor M. Jodi Rell announced $250,000 of the state’s money would be used to build the state’s first hydrogen fuel station. State may play role in advancement of hydrogen vehiclesNew Haven Register

MD – Governor O’Malley told the Maryland Association of Counties that brownouts and blackouts in the state are imminent unless something in done to reduce the demand on the electrical grid. He called for more renewable energy in the form of offshore wind farms, more government regulation of the utility industry, more local electricity production, smart meters, and encouraging residents to use electricity in off-peak hours. Critics say that government regulations will not help and that the plans may cost more for consumers. Energy gets top billing at O’Malley’s MACo speechThe Gazette

ME – Just off Maine’s shore is the potential for 45 times as much wind-generated electricity as Maine consumes at its peak. Blue H has developed a way to create wind energy in deep waters out of sight of the shore, which is easier to set up, lighter, and more efficient than previous offshore wind turbines. Company officials, some of whom have met with state officials including Gov. Baldacci, say that not only is Maine rich in wind energy, but in skilled labor (such as shipbuilders) who can build the massive structures necessary to harness it. Wind power firm eyes MaineBangor Daily News

OR – A debate is already brewing for next year’s state legislature: whether to repeal the requirement that all gasoline sold in Oregon is a 10% blend of ethanol. The Governor has said repeatedly that he does not favor a repeal; lawmakers from both parties (though mostly Republicans) say the law drives up food prices and may cost consumers more at the pump if they don’t get as many miles per gallon as regular gasoline. Republicans join call for biofuel mandate repealOregon Public Broadcasting News

WV – Two groups of advocates are attempting to move West Virginia in two different directions. The Coal Forum, which includes Governor Joe Manchin, Senator Jay Rockefeller, and Representative Shelley Moore Capito is advocating more coal power; the Coal River Wind Project is promoting wind power as an alternative to coal, including new wind turbines in the state which will power 150,000 homes. Dueling PR campaigns compete for coal’s fateCharleston Gazette

National news

Due to historically high fuel prices, car use in the United States has declined significantly over the past year. Americans drove 12.2 billion miles less in June 2008 than in June 2007. In just the first quarter of 2008, Americans used 400 million fewer gallons of gasoline and 318 million fewer gallons of diesel than in the first quarter of 2007. Although these developments are positive for the environment, they are also negatively affecting the federal Highway Trust Fund, which finds highway and bridge projects, and for tourism, as families are venturing out less due to the high prices. More Americans keep their cars parkedABC News

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