Congresswoman Lois Capps will speak today at the University Center to support UCSB CALPIRG’s Global Warming Solutions Campaign and Clean Car Show.

The free public event — organized by G.W.S.C. media intern Jessica F. Eckdish and UCSB CalPIRG Vice-chairman Matt Gilliland — runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will showcase state-of-the-art electric-powered automobiles to educate people about the benefits of clean energy use. The Clean Car Show is part of a series of environmentally-themed events CalPIRG conducts throughout the state.

According to Gilliland, the campaign reflects growing political trends promoting fuel-efficient, alternative energy.

“CalPIRG is responding to President Obama’s goal of having a million electric cars on the road by 2020,” Eckdish said. “We decided we’d try and shoot for a million in California. We need to adapt to 21st century demands and environmental health concerns about gas-powered cars.”

Santa Barbara County Young Democrats Club President Hillary Blackerby, 35th District State Assemblymember Das Williams, and representatives from CalPIRG and the automobile industry will join Capps during the press conference.

Gilliland said the coalition aims to promote the viability of various clean-energy vehicle models.

“They’re not bad cars that go 40 miles,” Gilliland said. “The Nissan Leaf can go a hundred miles on one charge. … We want to show that American companies and other companies are manufacturing electric cars.”

The California Air and Resources Board will update its air quality standards this fall, Gilliland said.

According to Gilliland, electric automobiles are a step towards other fuel-efficient resources such as wind and solar energy.

“[Pollution from coal] is a concern though and we recognize that.” Gilliland said. “But the thing is, if we do make a transition to wind and solar, it would be great if we could use that to power cars. If you use solar panels or wind turbines to power a car that can be stored in a battery and used to power cars. Already Iowa gets 20 percent of its energy from wind power. It’s pretty remarkable what can be done if you just set it up correctly.”