Hawai'i Chamber of Commerce Transportation Summit: Electric Vehicles

This story appeared in the Hawaii Public Radio on Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Chamber of Commerce of Hawai’i hosted a Transportation Summit today focusing on fossil fuel consumption for ground transportation.

There are more than one million gasoline and diesel passenger vehicles in Hawai’i. That, according to the Blue Planet Foundation. Chief of Staff, Melissa Miyashiro, says that number adds up to a lot of miles and fuel.

“We drive about 26 million miles daily in Hawai’i. And, that’s approximately enough for 55 round trips to the moon and that’s every single day. That translates to over one gallon per person per day.”

Miyashiro says electric vehicles or EVs would dramatically decrease the use of fossil fuels. Hawaiian Electric Company general manager for electrification of transportation, Brennon Morioka, says EVs already save money, even with Hawai’i’s high electricity rates.

“There are some studies that show if you look at an average car, which gets about 25 miles per gallon in terms of fuel efficiency, if you drive an EV in Hawai’i, in order to find an equivalent gasoline car that gasoline car has to have a fuel efficiency of 38 miles per gallon or more.”

Morioka says half of the vehicles in Hawai’i will be EVs by 2045. Hawai’i’s four counties adopted policy of 100 percent all-green vehicles in 20-30 years. State Energy Office Systems and Planning Branch Manager, Christopher Yunker, says government can lead the way.

“The state has roughly 13-hundred light duty passenger vehicles, the counties have roughly 17-hundred. So, for the Hawai’i State Energy Office, what we’re looking at is a study looking at procurement guidelines for vehicles and making sure that the guidelines we have in place are effective to get to a hundred percent renewable in 2045.”

But, Blue Planet Foundation’s Miyashiro says more charging stations in condominiums and workplaces are needed now to take advantage of solar power during daylight hours. The goal, she says, is to lower the state’s carbon footprint.

“A huge chunk of our carbon emissions come from our ground transportation sector so it’s about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide and that’s actually more than emissions from the entire country of Iceland and Paraguay with a population of 7 million.”