CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - New signs are being placed along I-26 aim to promote the use of alternative fuels, putting the Lowcountry in the new Alternative Fuel Corridor.
The corridor is part of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, aiming to create and expand a national network of alternative fueling and charging infrastructure and signage along National Highway Systems (NHS) corridors, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.
So far South Carolina is the second state to place these signs, 35 states will be a part of this corridor, including along I-26.
Senior Energy Specialist Maeve Mason with the Energy Office at the Office of Regulatory Staff said the goal is to raise alternative fuel awareness.
"The signs represent the alternative fuel corridors that were designated by the federal highway association. We submitted an application along with several other states for certain corridors or interstates to be designated as alternative fuel corridors with idea being those corridors would designate area where alternative fuels could exist and would traverse areas of the country to connect and identify to drivers were alternative fuels may exist," said Mason.
Ultimately this would raise awareness to a new concept of fueling.
"To promote the awareness of alternative fuels for where they can exist across the state and country," Mason said.
Mason said Charleston is a prime place that EV, electric vehicle charging, and propane fueling facilities can continue to develop. Propane is used to fuel vehicles and also known as liquefied petroleum gas. Electric vehicles or EV are also becoming more popular, and allows you to plug your vehicle in to charge it.
"Currently there are a good number of vehicles that area running on propane but we hope that these signs, and placing these signs will promote the awareness that will bring additional cars that are fueled on these fuels," said Mason.
Putting these signs up is the first step, "I think we would like ultimately to see that more stations are built along the corridors and the corridors themselves are expanded and more people are generally aware of the alternative fuels that are available in the state," said Mason.
These corridors are being into place all across the country, with signs already up in Minnesota.
With more of these charging and alternative fuel stations it means people driving alternative fuel vehicles could road trip across the country without fear of having a place to refuel.
"It's first to designate the corridors themselves and the second would be to deploy stations along the corridors with the ultimate outcome of increasing people use of alternative fuels and allowing them to traverse the country and state easily," said Mason.
Mason said this could mean people could road trip in their alternative fuel vehicles all along these corridors and not have the fear of finding a place to refuel their vehicle that doesn't use gas.
The signs that are being placed along the highway are not indicative of a fueling station being at that exit, but rather being placed within the corridor, which will eventually be home to many of these alternative fueling stations.
"Those signs would let people know where those corridors exist and where they could potentially fuel up as stations are built along the corrodes," Mason said.
You can see where the signs will be placed across the country HERE.
SCDOT has put the signs up, and South Carolina is signage pending for hydrogen and natural gas facilities as well, meaning we could see more of these fueling stations and vehicles in the future.