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New signs coming to Missouri highways will point the way to alternative fuel stations

A Nissan Leaf getting charged up in a parking lot.
A charging Nissan Leaf.

Motorists in Missouri will soon see new signs pointing to alternative fuel sources along interstate highways. The signage is part of a recently announced Federal Highway Administration effort to create 85,000 miles of alternative fuel corridors across the country.

The signs aim to ease "range anxiety," or motorists' worry that they will run out of fuel, for those who drive cars that run on electricity, propane, natural gas and hydrogen. The initiative could encourage such motorists to travel further.

Spporting the use of low-emission vehicles could help the nation reach its goal of cutting at least 80 percent of greenhouse gases by 2050, the FHA officials say.

Missouri has over 1,400 registered electric vehicles, according to the Missouri Department of Revenue. More than half of these vehicles are based in the St. Louis and St. Charles areas. 

"The last thing a driver wants is to be near 'empty' and struggling to find where to fill up, so the signage will indicate along major corridors that it is certainly available to them," said Kristy Manning, head of the Missouri Department of Economic Development's Division of Energy. The state division applied to be one of 35 states included in the new alternative transportation network.
Mark Nealon, who heads a pilot project to install electric vehicle charging stations along Interstate 70, said most electric vehicle drivers depend on online registries to find charging stations. 

"A lot of these drivers, depending on where they go and how far they go, rely on knowing exactly where these things are," Nealon said. 

Ameren Missouri had planned on providing similar signage to help direct drivers to the charging islands. The company sought to build its first charging island by the end of the year, but the Missouri Public Service Commission recently delayed the project.

Follow Eli Chen on Twitter: @StoriesByEli

Eli is the science and environment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

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