10 Electric Car Charging Stations Open in Hawaii

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"Another 130 stations will be publicly available next year, and the number of electric vehicles in the state is expected to jump."

Ten electric vehicle charging stations opened Tuesday at a Waikiki hotel and in downtown Honolulu, forming the foundation for a charging network planned to spread throughout the Hawaiian islands.

Charging station company Better Place launched its initial Hawaii locations as a test run for another 130 stations to be made publicly available early next year.

The $1.1 million project, which gets $500,000 of its funding from the government, will initially be open for use by the Sheraton Waikiki and utility company Hawaiian Electric.

Federal funding for the charging station project came from an earmark approved in 2009 before Congress swore off the practice this year. The money flowed from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture. Private funding came from Better Place, Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts and Hawaiian Electric.

Hawaii gas prices were the highest in the nation Tuesday at an average of $4.49 per gallon of regular unleaded, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report.

"Today the people of Hawaii are required to live in a lifestyle formula that goes something like this: Arab crisis equals oil crisis equals $4.55 a gallon," said Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. "Today we will take the first step to change that policy so that we can be driving around at something like a dollar a gallon."

There are currently only a handful of publicly available charging stations and around two dozen highway-capable electric vehicles on the state's roads. Most electric vehicle owners install personal charging stations in their homes.

The number of electric vehicles in the state is expected to jump into the hundreds over the next few months as more arrive in auto dealerships.

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