MAY 8, 2015 BY 

This week’s green Auto Expo and screening of the film “Pump” were all about opening people’s eyes to transportation options and new technologies. We all like our choices in organic versus non-organic foods, natural versus traditional medicines, and smart phone versus no smart phone. Transportation and fuels are other important areas where we can show our priorities by learning more about the choices available.

Vehicles at the Alternative Fuels and Gas-Saving Technologies Auto Expo at the Depot parking lot showed many of those choices, including: electric bicycles, all-electric cars, hybrid-electric sedans and SUVs, all-electric neighborhood vehicles, solar- and electric-powered utility vehicles, compressed natural gas vehicles, propane-powered school buses, and electric hybrid/diesel city buses. The owners of the Nissan Leaf all-electric and the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid held the rapt attention of attendees at the expo.

The choices that help us curtail air pollution and save gasoline don’t stop there, as outlined in the film. Fuel choices, auto options and vehicle-programming savvy allow us to use fuels other than gasoline that are much better for the air we all breathe. Steamboat Springs has biodiesel for sale currently, but ethanol and CNG pumps could happen fairly easily in Routt County with the business will and public support.

In Steamboat, drivers are already expressing their auto-technology savvy and their environmental stewardship by driving gas-saving hybrids and plug-in electric hybrids. School teacher Luanne Feldmann, who is concerned about the environment, and her husband, a car nut, recently found a great choice in a 2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid 4-wheel-drive SUV that gets 47 miles to the gallon. Feldmann  as been driving to work for three months with the same tank of gas she filled up with when she first drove her vehicle to Steamboat from Denver. She and other local owners of plug-in hybrids simply plug in their car at night via a normal plug in their garage. Extra electricity costs average $12-$15 per month. With home solar panels or a purchase in the solar garden in Craig, those owners are driving powered by the sun. Steamboat already is home to one free, public electric vehicle charging station at CMC, and two more will be installed this summer, one on 10th Street downtown and one at The Village near the Strings Music Pavilion.

Many opportunities and options are out there. Let’s consider the life-cycle costs and impacts of our driving and our vehicles as much as we consider our organic milk and meat purchases at the grocery store. Funding assistance for more efficient municipal fleet vehicles is readily available right now as well. Or if we are not in the market for a vehicle, other local options include free city transit buses, a great trail system for biking, and signing up to find partners through the Facebook page Yampa Valley Ride Share.

More information is available at websites such as:,

This event was in partnership with Bud Werner Memorial Library and Fuel Freedom. Thanks to the Steamboat Arts Council for use of their parking lot, and to Suzie Romig for the organizational lead and prowess on this event.

More photos and interviews with vehicle owners by Tom Ross and John Russell –