August 13 2012
With the price of gas constantly on the rise, drivers are looking for ways to stretch their dollars. Public transportation, carpooling and riding a bicycle are all great options, but sometimes you need to get from one place to the next more quickly.
And it's possible to drive an automobile while remaining environmentally conscious.
"We'd really like to see Milwaukee become a true top-ten city in terms of sustainability in the U.S., and I think we've got all the assists in place to be able to do that ," said Matt Howard, Director of Sustainability for the City of Milwaukee.
While gas gets more expensive, the price of electric vehicles is slowly starting to fall. Admittedly, at a much slower rate, but Howard says those efficient green vehicles have potential to change the way we think about getting from place to place.
We met up an electric vehicle charging station just off Brady street.
"There's the connection of moving away from foreign sources of fuel. But we really like that local environmental impact and the emission impact, especially on these summer days [to keep] any smog and pollution out of the air," Howard said.
The Brady street location is one of four charging stations in the Milwaukee area, with a fifth in the works. The EV charging stations are positioned strategically around the city, located near attractions or common tourist stops. Users pay a flat rate (significantly cheaper than a gallon of gas ), which covers parking and an hour of electric charge.
To see the station in action, Howard drove the city-owned Chevy Volt, a gas-electric hybrid, to our interview. It's a shared fleet vehicle, and employees can check it out for business around town. The Volt has been in use for about eight weeks, and Howard says it's a model of efficiency.
"We've filled it up with gas once. We've calculated that the average miles per gallon is 186 miles per gallon"
"I think if people want to talk about fuel economy and fuel efficiency, this is already making the case for that," he added.
The charging stations were installed in March 2012, and they're just one part of a long term plan for sustainability in Milwaukee. Funding for the project came from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the city plans to evaluate the program in 2022.
To locate the closest charging station to you, or to check station availability, visit the Department of Sustainability's official website.