Brad Gerstman in Labor Press: Time for Change on the Gas Lines

By Brad Gerstman

In the wake of natural disaster we continue to struggle to rebuild what is truly a wounded tri state area. From destroyed homes to power outages, Hurricane Sandy and a subsequent blizzard have reminded us New Yorkers how much we have missed the flow of everyday life. Unfortunately, aside from our storm related hardships, the majority of us were reduced to pure savagery in our efforts to refuel.

With two hour lines and the daily rationing of station visits, New York and New Jersey residents angrily cursed state reliance on inaccessible fuel. However the ironic reality remains that a superior approach to the gas crisis does exist. So why aren’t we using it?

Recent years have proven to be a time of major advancement, as natural gas has become a valid consideration for the future of home and vehicle development. The avenues needed for us to actually receive fuel are financially excessive, time consuming, and ultimately unnecessary. With great technology knocking at the doors of thousands of empty vehicles and freezing homes, maybe it is finally time to bid adieu to needless, dangerous fumes and say hello to an opportunity for change.

Natural gas is the most prominent type of alterative fuel to exist today. Unlike conventional gasoline which must be received through a number of time consuming avenues natural gas consistently travels through pumps, eliminating the need for trucks and barges. In addition gasoline is known to easily ignite in all states at nearly any temperature. While natural gas being lighter then the atmosphere is much less flammable, and thus excessively safer. The reality is that underground pipes can provide fuel to both homes and fueling stations much more efficiently then traditional gasoline, especially in times of crisis.

Compressed natural gas or CNG is naturally dispensed through pipes and then compacted when received at CNG stations. This action allows for heightened pressure levels which are needed to instigate the movement of a car. The average cost of CNG fuel locally is about $2.60 a gallon. This is a far cry from the near $4.00 we pay for the same quantity of gasoline. Unfortunately, without proper CNG stations, no one will buy vehicles that run on alternative fuel. However, this could be a prosperous opportunity for members of the labor movement to revolutionize the fuel industry in a way that is not only environmentally sound, but economically beneficial.

Should we commit to transforming what has proven to be a failing system, we will simultaneously give birth to a new wave of employment opportunities. Aside from fueling stations this endeavor will require the conversion of entire fleets. In addition, local automobile manufacturers will have the chance to build, design, and sell innovative, CNG fueled vehicles. Moving forward, we must consider the benefits of substituting our senseless relationship with gasoline for what could be a far more advantageous opportunity.

Gerstman, an attorney, is the founding partner of lobbying firm Gotham Government Relations, which has an office in Roslyn.

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