September 25, 2017

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 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul released his latest Waste Report, an ongoing project cataloguing egregious examples of waste within the U.S. government. 

Consumers decide to buy alternative fuel vehicles for all sorts of reasons, but how much does the location of refueling stations play into their choice? While this sounds like just the sort of question a private company or trade association would want to answer, the National Science Foundation has made a choice of its own: to put nearly $270,000 of taxpayer funds into researching it. 

You can get the full story in this week’s Waste Report HERE or below. 


For most people, when a car’s gas warning light comes on, there is a moment of fear, even if only for a split second – where is the nearest gas station? Fortunately for most people, a gas station is usually never more than a few miles or even a block away. But for the driver of an alternative fuel vehicle, the low fuel light can mean serious trouble.

Apparently, this is also of some concern to the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is spending nearly $270,000 to research how the availability of alternative fuel affects a person’s decision to buy or lease a vehicle that runs on something other than gasoline.[1] 

Reason for Concern

Electric refueling locations are by far the most prominent of all.[2] Yet it is estimated Tesla alone needs to spend $8 billion “to add about 30,000 new chargers to compete with the network of gas stations across the country. …”[3]

Other alternative fuels are even harder to find. There are only about 197 biodiesel, 953 compressed natural gas, and 40 hydrogen refueling stations in the entire U.S.[4] 

Someone considering buying alternative fuel vehicles has to wonder: “Where will I refuel? How will this affect my travel habits and daily life? Is this worth it?” 

These are the questions researchers at Arizona State University are seeking to answer. Their study will explore topics including how current owners of such vehicles in Southern California have already adapted and how potential buyers in Connecticut use refueling station maps to inform their decisions. Investigators will also conduct a “hands-on workshop” with stakeholders to discuss refueling network design.[5] 

Concern of the Taxpayer?

It is not that this research has no value; in fact, it is certainly of great value to the companies producing and selling alternative fuel vehicles. However, they should be the ones funding this study, not the taxpayer.  

Certainly GM, Nissan, Ford, and Tesla, either themselves, or through trade associations like the Renewable Fuels Association, Natural Gas Vehicles for America, or CNG Now, could pony up the money for this study.