Wyatt McGhee, who for the past eight years has been a staff member of the Planning and Development Services Department for the Upper Coastal Council of Governments, presented an overview of North Carolina’s Clean Fuel Advanced Technology to the Rocky Mount Kiwanis Club on June 26 at Benvenue Country Club.
McGhee’s agency provides planning and community development services to local governments in a five-county region that includes Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash, Northampton and Wilson counties. It is one of six Education & Outreach Partners with the N.C. Solar Center designed to promote the CFAT program. This program is funded by the N.C. Department of Transportation with federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds. The focus of the program is to reduce transportation-related emission in North Carolina counties with air quality concerns.
Nash and Edgecombe counties are considered maintenance areas for ozone pollution. Ozone is beneficial in the uppers layers of the atmosphere – but at ground level, it creates respiratory problems. Ozone is created by emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors and chemical solvents. The other concern for the two counties is particulate pollution, such as that which results from forest fires.
Because of the increasing demand for fuel, with 40 percent still coming from the Middle East, it is more and more important to develop efficient ways to have clean transportation. The federal standard is 32 miles per gallon, and by 2025 the standard will be 55 mpg. Vehicles powered by natural gas, propane, ethanol, bio-fuels and electricity are being developed.
In the meantime, there are things all drivers can do to increase fuel efficiency. Reducing speed is one because for every five miles one goes over 60 mph, gas efficiency is reduced by 7 percent. Carrying around excess weight also requires more fuel.
Before assuming his present position, McGhee had 16 years of land use planning experience in communities in this region, including the city of Rocky Mount and the town of Nashville. He also is a certified floodplain manager.