Mary-Ann Muffoletto – Utah State Today
One trip on I-15 along Utah’s Wasatch Front is proof enough the Beehive State’s population, accompanying energy needs and air quality concerns are growing. The Utah Office of Energy Development, created in response to Gov. Gary Herbert’s 10-Year Strategic Energy Plan, is working toward advancing all forms of responsible energy development in the state. Utah State University graduate student Blake Thomas is among the office’s energy team and helped to create the state’s new Utah Drives Electric website.
“In the face of Utah’s air quality struggles, OED has made a priority of promoting solutions that can provide positive air quality results and allow for efficient utilization of Utah’s diverse energy portfolio,” says Thomas, a master’s student in Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science and Management.
Among those solutions, he says, is deployment of alternative fuel vehicles and associated infrastructure.
With colleagues, Thomas, who joined OED as alternative transportation program specialist in September, created the new website to serve as a “one-stop shop” for information about electric vehicles. The site includes an interactive charging station map, facts and figures about benefits of the technology, a buyers’ guide with information on Utah-available electric vehicles and a savings calculator that provides information on fuel cost savings, emissions reduction and post-incentive vehicle cost.
“The savings calculator is synced to Utah’s current gas and electricity prices,” says Thomas, who earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, with a minor in sustainable systems, from USU in 2012. (…)