The network will help drivers find alternative fuels and vehicle charging stations across the country
Fifty-five routes will provide the basis for a nationwide network of "alternative fuel" corridors reaching across 35 states, announced the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
The network is now 85,000 miles long, and even more miles will be added as more fueling and charging stations are built to accommodate electric, hydrogen, propane, and natural gas vehicles.
"Alternative fuels and electric vehicles will play an integral part in the future of America's transportation system," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We have a duty to help drivers identify routes that will help them refuel and recharge those vehicles and designating these corridors on our highways is a first step."
Secretary Foxx called in July for states to nominate national plug-in electric vehicle (EV) charging as well as hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling corridors along major highways. Congress named the specific fuels in the FAST Act.
Back in 2015, the U.S. took a pledge to lessen greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent or even more by 2050. Alternative fuel corridors will help reduce such emissions from transportation, the leading source of the U.S. 's emissions. New FHWA data indicates that drivers in the U.S. consumed almost 72 billion gallons of gas during the first half of 2016, an increase of three percent over the same time period in 2015 and the biggest percentage increase in almost 20 years. They drove more than 3.15 trillion miles in 2015.
"Identifying where alternative fueling stations can be found will help the public in many ways," said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. "This initial designation sets the stage for the next round of nominations early next year and begins a conversation with stakeholders about developing and implementing a vision to enable coast to coast travel using alternative fuels."
A list of the new corridors ready for signs can be found here.