By on August 31, 2009

Huh. And there I was thinking that The New York Times was pro-Cash for Clunkers. Now that all’s said and done (well, done), the paper slates the government program as . . . wait for it . . . inefficient. (Well, they did call for a “well-designed” program.) Post-mortem, the Gray Lady does the math. “On average, cars are driven 12,000 miles per year, according to government statistics. Considering that the traded-in clunkers had an average fuel economy of 15.8 m.p.g. while the new ones deliver 24.9 m.p.g., a swap saved some 278 gallons of gas per year — which would have released almost 2.8 tons of carbon dioxide when burned. Assuming the clunkers would have been driven four more years, the $4,200 average rebate removed 11.2 tons of carbon from the atmosphere, at a cost of some $375 per ton. If they would have been driven five years, the carbon savings cost $300 per ton. And if drivers drive their sleek new wheels more than they drove their old clunkers, the cost of removing carbon from the atmosphere will be even higher.” So how does that compare with the Times’ new red-headed, planet-cooling stepchild?

To put this in perspective, an allowance to emit a ton of CO2 costs about $20 on the European Climate Exchange. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that a ton of carbon would be valued at $28 under the cap-and-trade program in the clean energy bill passed by the House in June.

TTAC’s tackled this issue before (coincidentally enough), but it’s news to the Times. And rather than crunch some more numbers, the paper calls for a national gas tax—again, still—and calls it good.

The best tool to induce Americans to drive more fuel-efficient cars would be a gas tax that provided rebates for low-income drivers. Another, though inferior, alternative — if Congress couldn’t face the political risks of a gas tax — would be a program that provided a rebate for drivers of clean cars while imposing a fee on drivers of gas hogs.

In any case, as environmental policy, it’s just too expensive to buy clunkers to take them off the road.

So now you tell us.

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47 Comments on “New York Times: Gas Tax Better than Cash for Clunkers...”


  • avatar
    gslippy

    I guess the high gas taxes already in place are insufficient?

    Cap-and-trade will bankrupt the US (and the world) faster than universal healthcare will, and does elsewhere.

    Man-made global warming is a power-grab hoax.

    Most of the efforts to ‘help’ the environment have little to do with the environment, and much to do with grabbing more money and centralized power.

    Are there any environmental proposals that don’t involve more taxes and power grabs?

  • avatar

    It would cost a lot of money, but perhaps it would be worth it to send all the people who categorically deny the idea that humans can have quite a bit of impact on the environment, especially those that call global warming a ‘hoax’ to Jupiter. Then they can finally see what greenhouse gasses can really do. Of course no space suits should go with them, they should be able to breathe just fine since gasses don’t have anything to do with any environment.

    I, personally, am open to the idea that maybe things are as bad as they say. Because, you know, it’s better safe than having an uninhabitable planet because of your ignorance and closed-mindedness.

    Proof. One way or the other, without killing our ecosystem, that’s what we really need.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “I guess the high gas taxes already in place are insufficient?”

    You must be joking about that “high” part. The federal gas tax has been stuck 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. Regular gas sold for $1.08/gallon including that tax in 1993. Today that same gallon of gas costs almost three times as much, but the gas tax portion is still 18.4 cents. No wonder our national highways and bridges are falling into disrepair. The gas tax is the primary means of paying for them and it hasn’t kept up with inflation.

    This blog entry left out the opening paragraph of the Times’ editorial:

    “The $3 billion cash-for-clunkers program that ended last week worked well as a jolt of economic stimulus. Nearly 700,000 people used the rebate to buy new cars in July and August — adding about 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points to economic growth in the third quarter, at an annual rate.”

    I’m getting tired of repeating this, but here we go again: C4C was primarily designed as a short term economic stimulus for an industry in free fall. As such, it worked. The environmental benefits were an added bonus feature, not the main event. Nobody who proposed or supported the program ever said that it was the most cost effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Times, contrary to the implication of this TTAC piece, has not changing its stance on C4C. It merely reiterated that by far the most efficient way to reduce fuel consumption is to increase the taxes on said consumption and advocates doing so.

  • avatar
    NN

    some simple math:

    10 cent federal gas tax raise, every year, for next five years (2010-2015, ending at $0.50/gallon additional tax in 2015). That allows people to adjust to the rising price. The result, based on 270 million drivers, 12k miles/year, 20mpg average:

    year 1: $16.2 billion
    year 2: $32.4 billion
    year 3: $48.6 billion
    year 4: $64.8 billion
    year 5: $81 billion

    Over a 15 year period, it raises over $1 trillion in tax revenue (read: how to pay for a stimulus package).

    Not to mention, the effect on the oil market of the announcement of such a tax and the implications allows for a chance that oil prices retract in response. Meaning that the consumer, in the end, may not be shouldering all of the tax penny for penny.

    This is so easy, it’s just that we don’t have enough politicians with the will to sell such a tax to the public.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Global warming? Chicago just had the coldest july in 67 years (!).
    I believe there were no days that we hit 90 and only 13 that we hit 80+

    I left for work today (note:today is end of august) and the outside temp according to accuweather.com was 48F!

    Perhaps all those people who think global warming is more important than everything else should give up all their cars, electricity, gasoline usage as well as anything else that gives off co2 and truly live the “eco” lifestyle…..oh wait, doesn’t breathing give off co2?

  • avatar
    texlovera

    @SexCpotatoes – Wow. Do you condemn all who disagree with you to death? Just askin!

    BTW, I don’t categorically deny that man can have an impact on his environment. As a Civil Engineer, I see it every day. I will even admit that he might have an impact on climate. But many, many reasonable people disagree with the assessment that man-made global warming (or is it climate “change” now? – so hard to keep track) is a) a fact, b) significant, and c) worthy of a huge government-produced “solution”.

    @NN – A gas tax increase or revision may be in order. (I think it’s the only tax i know of that has a set dollar amount, rather than being a percentage of the sale amount.) But it would have to be dedicated to infrastructure, not a “stimulus plan”. However, IMO there is very little “chance” that oil prices themselves will “retract” in response to the tax. Besides, the end user will pay all of the tax, regardless of gas price.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    OK, I can deal with paying more in gas taxes to fix roads and bridges, but doing so to encourage conservation is a spectacularly bad idea.

    Has the Times heard of a little thing called “inflation”?

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    You need to be burning more oil, Robstar. You’re slacking off!

    If humans cause global warming, then what happens if we stop our normal activities? The globe cools? What if it cools too much…shall we then burn a few forests to keep it at the right temperature?

    And do tell us, what is the “right” temperature? And where will we measure this “right” temperature…behind the exhaust of a jet, or maybe right in front of a parking lot made of black asphalt?

  • avatar
    jaje

    The previous and current wasteful and illogical (mainly to save politicians careers – note SUV sized loopholes or that most of them still drive big guzzlers) efforts to alter demand by forcing supply to change is asinine and always has been.

    A gradual gas tax that increases over time to hold prices artificially high will do in short time and much cheaper than any other gas conservation program combined. It will actual change demand – supply will react (that is the nature of supply and demand – more proper is demand and supply).

    A gas tax will have little effect on inflation so it is a moot point. Inflation is more critical to where money is overproduced and gov’ts use their treasury depts to pay their way out of deficits – devaluing their currency in a global market. We’ve had 10 years now of this ideal and why the US $ has lost value – and worse for other currencies based on the US $.

    And for those who think global warming will mean it is hotter everywhere all the time don’t understand the concept. Global warming’s biggest problem is erratic weather and more extremes – Chicago is having one of its coldest summers on record which is erratic and extreme for that time of year.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    gslippy :
    August 31st, 2009 at 9:49 am
    Most of the efforts to ‘help’ the environment have little to do with the environment, and much to do with grabbing more money and centralized power.

    Are there any environmental proposals that don’t involve more taxes and power grabs?

    Well, considering that the current oil economy is only sustainable via massive military expenditures, alliances with disgusting regimes where women are stoned to death for having sex, and the occasional “invasion and regime change” war – all of which, last I checked, involves both taxes AND power grabs – I’m not sure what your point is.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    texlovera :

    @SexCpotatoes – Wow. Do you condemn all who disagree with you to death? Just askin!

    Thank you for your reasoned response. I was about to say something similar, but my response may have violated the TTAC terms of use!

  • avatar

    Robstar: Just because where you live had more pleasant temperatures doesn’t mean that your weather cured the horrible droughts the southern states (Georgia and others) are experiencing, nor does it rule out the contributions such climate flux could be having on helping bigger, badder, deadlier fires out west.

    texlovera: Sometimes extremes are the best way to make people sit up and take notice. I was joking of course, the immense gravity of Jupiter would tear whatever space vessel was cobbled together completely asunder and smear their puny meat bodies completely across the middle atmosphere of the planet (probably).

    Gas tax is good, let’s do that, as long as the funds are completely dedicated to ROADS/Infrastructure (as well as higher/no speed limits and raising the alcohol limit back up to .1, etc).

  • avatar

    Just look at John Horner’s comment (third from top). I don’t need to put it in my own words, or repeat it. (Thanks, John!)

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    SexCpotatoes :

    Gas tax is good, let’s do that, as long as the funds are completely dedicated to ROADS/Infrastructure (as well as higher/no speed limits and raising the alcohol limit back up to .1, etc).

    I’ll agree to “x” if the UN/Congress/the President agrees to “y”.

    I’m not so naive as to really trust these people to have our best interests at heart. Most of them are motivated by power, money, or both; and nothing more.

    Besides, we simply cannot afford the cost of these programs.

  • avatar
    slateslate

    ****Global warming? Chicago just had the coldest july in 67 years (!).
    I believe there were no days that we hit 90 and only 13 that we hit 80+****

    Seattle had its hottest summer in decades. It normally barely gets above 80 in the summertime.

    *sigh* …the greenies should be calling it “global climate change” not “global warming”.

    When the media/greenies calls things “global warming” anyone can point to local cooler temperatures and say that the cooling “proves” that there is no effect on the environment by CO2.

    And IMO all pistonheads should be in favor of higher gas taxes as roads/bridges in almost all states need upgrading. And every person who decides to take public transit for a trip means less congestion on the highways for his neighbors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality

  • avatar
    Robstar

    I’d be in favor of higher gas taxes for road reconstruction, if they could be GUARANTEED to be used ONLY for the originally stated purpose.

    just to let you guys know, I’m in illinois, home to the Daley political machine as well as numerous governors in prison due to corruption.

    I’m sure you can probably guess that I trust our elected officials as far as I can throw them.

  • avatar
    texlovera

    @SexCpotatoes – “Sometimes extremes are the best way to make people sit up and take notice.”

    Yeah, you just described the tactic too many global warming proponents have been using for years.

    It’s also the best way to get people to be skeptical of anything else you say.

  • avatar
    JTParts

    Funny how most posters on this topic are not regulars. I tend to look at taxes as a package deal. Here in CA we just had the largest state tax increase in the history of the US. Sorry if I am not hopping up and down to chip in some more to the government coffers.

    And since my cars may or may not meet someone elses standards of economy, it’s ok to force me to buy a new or at least different vehicle or punish me? My newest car is a 1994 model. By not buying a new car, and using what I have, am I not being responsible? I keep my cars in good running condition they pass the smog standards easily, and the largest engine is a 2.5 6 cylinder.

    I agree with the above poster, if you see this as such a problem, get on your bike, get rid of your TV and computer and all that goes with it. But leave me alone.

    Also, what about CHINA and INDIA, we could completely stop all CO2 emmisions in the US today and that will not really put a dent in what is happeing there…

  • avatar
    colin42

    Compared the the alternatives being put forward, I think that everyone would be in favor of a reasonable increase in gas tax.

    The CAFE standard is going to drive up the vehicle cost and limit the range of vehicles i.e. No more pick up trucks to drive to and from the office! No more Muscle cars (even if you only want to drive less than 5000 miles per year) Hardly a consumer drive market!

    Cap & Trade will drive up the cost of energy (the same as a gas tax) but without any of the benefits i.e. It would cost money to run the scheme and increase the opportunity for corruption.

    But in contrast a gas has a direct impact on consumers behaviour (as seen last summer) without restricting supply – i.e. You can still drive you pick up to the office but now you may decide that an ecobox would be better, for a daily commute and leave the pickup at home for weekend trips to Lowes.

    It would also generate funds which could be used to improve transportation systems (roads & public transport) but also perhaps help reduce the national deficit

    The general public seems to forget that the current US lifestyle is economically & environmentally unsustainable

  • avatar

    JTParts,

    U.S. CO2 emissions are still far ahead of those in India and China. So eliminating them would do far more than put a dent in the total. Not that this is possible.

    As I understand it–and I haven’t done a lot of research on climate change–the key thing to watch is seawater temperatures.

    It’s also likely that once we’re sure something is happening it’ll be too late to avoid some harsh consequences.

    Then again, the Catholic church has been using similar logic for 2,000 years, yet I’m not Catholic.

  • avatar
    George B

    I suspect that the NYT greatly underestimates the cost of CO2 reductions under CARS. The vehicles destroyed appear to be mostly secondary vehicles in a multicar household that would be driven much less than the average 12,000 miles per year.

    Regarding raising the gasoline tax, all states can raise their state level gasoline tax independent of the federal government if that state feels undertaxed. States can choose to use the extra tax revenue to upgrade bridges and roads. There is no reason that the federal government needs to impose a one size fits all higher gasoline tax on the whole country.

    http://www.api.org/statistics/fueltaxes/

  • avatar
    kamiller42

    @John Horner, “I’m getting tired of repeating this, but here we go again: C4C was primarily designed as a short term economic stimulus for an industry in free fall. As such, it worked. The environmental benefits were an added bonus feature, not the main event.”

    If not, then why the MPG restrictions? If this was about economic stimulus, then remove all restrictions. Encourage all car buying. Does this mean less efficient cars would have been sold? Sure, but that’s okay because gas producers and stations would be making more money. We have economic stimulus!

    @Michael Karesh, you really need to bring religion into this? If you have a beef with the Catholic Church, take it to a Catholic forum. I am sure you will find reasonable points.

  • avatar
    WildBill

    So what is wrong with climate change? If you look back over the earth’s history, it is nothing but “climate change”. I remain unconvinced that mankind has any more that a small effect on it. Cooler than “normal” in Ohio this year… SO WHAT! It may be hotter than hell next year.

    A gas tax will have two effect in my mind 1) enrich an already over reaching government to waste even more money to the enrichment of a few 2) keep us in a low state of economic growth while the rest of the world out bids us for oil supply, thus fueling their growth and stalling ours. I firmly believe that part of our latest recession was caused by the last spike in gas and diesel fuel cost.

  • avatar
    geeber

    George B: Regarding raising the gasoline tax, all states can raise their state level gasoline tax independent of the federal government if that state feels undertaxed. States can choose to use the extra tax revenue to upgrade bridges and roads. There is no reason that the federal government needs to impose a one size fits all higher gasoline tax on the whole country.

    You’re entirely correct, but you are missing the point, at least from The New York Times editorial board point of view.

    Some states – say, Montana or Wyoming – may decided that discouraging the purchase of certain vehicles is not the state’s job. This, of course, drives The Times editorial writers right around the bend, because, as we all know, everyone either lives in an area like New York City, or should.

  • avatar
    colin42

    So what is wrong with climate change? If you look back over the earth’s history, it is nothing but “climate change”.

    It’s not so much that the climate is changing but more the rate of that change that is concerning.

  • avatar
    Corky Boyd

    For the NY Times:

    If you live in a tin house, don’t throw can openers.

    Newspapers are among the most profligate carbon wasters in the world. Their basic feedstock is newsprint which is almost totally wood fiber. In 2005 about 10 million short tons of newsprint were used by the newspaper industry which equates to 18 million tons of CO2 that is not sequestered. In addition, delivering the product to distribution points uses motor fuel as do the carriers who use their own cars.

    Why not a federal tax of say $100/ton on newsprint to encourage electronic delivery of the paper.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. NY Times, take a good look at yourself!

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “If not, then why the MPG restrictions?”

    The MPG restrictions were part of parcel of the environmental secondary benefit. Had there been no deep recession there would have been no C4C program.

  • avatar
    geeber

    John Horner: The MPG restrictions were part of parcel of the environmental secondary benefit. Had there been no deep recession there would have been no C4C program.

    If the real goal was to stimulate the economy, then the program should have been broader.

    My wife and I own two cars – a 2003 Honda Accord EX four cylinder and 2005 Ford Focus SE – with 120,000 miles and 92,000 miles, respectively. But we weren’t eligible for the program, because our cars are too new and too efficient.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    @FreedMike:

    Well, considering that the current oil economy is only sustainable via massive military expenditures, alliances with disgusting regimes where women are stoned to death for having sex, and the occasional “invasion and regime change” war – all of which, last I checked, involves both taxes AND power grabs – I’m not sure what your point is.

    My point involved environmental proposals (CFC, gas tax, etc), not wars or the oil economy. CFC was a tax, a gas tax is a tax, and cap-n-trade amounts to a tax managed by a huge bureacracy which will limit economic growth for negligible environmental benefit.

    “Normal” fuel price fluctuations already affect car-buying behavior; there is no need to tax fuel further, unless you just want to increase the prices of every manufactured, grown, or transported good. Cap-n-trade will do this in grand fashion.

    I am no fan of widespread regulation, but stricter pollution regulation at least addresses the problem directly, without attempting behavior control through taxation.

  • avatar
    Kman

    I was about to type up a reply, then saw that John Horner had already done mine.

    So, ibid what John Horner said. C4C was an economic stimulus that worked, and had the brilliance to include a positive environmental side-effect.

    There are enough things broken in our society that need tending to, we should relish those things that worked (C4C) and not play “I’m an analytical intellectual” for nothing.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    So all those commenting here about how we need to increase the sales tax on gas… please tell me something. Tell me about any government programs where dollars were specifically earmarked for a particular use but then got diverted into a general fund or siphoned off to some other use.

    Fellas, you need to realize that what is in political favor today will change, and when that happens, so do the “earmarked” funds from prior years.

    Social Security’s pending insolvency is a tragic example of this.

    As for climate change, I would assume those most passionate about this issue are vegans. If not, that fog I thought this morning was instead a pretty thick layer of hypocrisy.

  • avatar
    JTParts

    Michael Karesh:

    Here is a link to a 2007 article stating that China had surpassed the US alone then, not including India’s emmisions.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/jun/19/china.usnews

    That and the fact that the Co2 emmisions from China area growing in conservative estimates at 5% a year seem to cast doubt on your assertions.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    By my calculations it takes about 114 gallons of gasoline to produce a ton* of C02.

    *metric = 2204 pounds.

    so in very round numbers, a current price of an EU carbon permit would be about $0.20/gal. I don’t think that small a tax increase would have much effect on US gasoline consumption.

  • avatar
    JTParts

    A vehicle at 15 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 800 gallons a year of gasoline.
    · A vehicle at 25 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 480 gallons a year.
    · So, an average clunker transaction reduces U.S. gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year.
    · The total is about 700,000 vehicles – so that’s 224 million gallons / year.
    · That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil.
    · 5 million barrels of oil is about ¼ of one day’s U.S. consumption.
    · And, 5 million barrels of oil costs about $350 million dollars at $75/bbl.
    · So, we all contributed to spending $3 billion to save $350 million.

  • avatar
    tirving

    To all of the not-so-smart people supporting the idea of an increase in the gase tax: Don’t forget that the federal gas tax is the Highway Trust Fund. It funds/subsidizes important things like (sarcasm alert) bike trails, and commuter trains, so that commuters can avoid paying the cost of their commute, while the roads/bridges that need maintenance are ignored.

    NEVER TRUST A TRUST FUND. Don’t give them another nickel. They’ll only waste it. Further the tax takes money from the tiny free economy we have left.

  • avatar
    tced2

    I have no problem with considering a tax increase on gasoline.

    But I must know two numbers. The number of dollars collected on gasoline. The number of dollars spent on roads / bridges / tunnels.

    There has been “borrowing” of the “surplus” in the highway funds in the past. This is District of Control accounting at work. And then I hear about shortages of road money.

  • avatar
    wsn

    gslippy :
    August 31st, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Most of the efforts to ‘help’ the environment have little to do with the environment, and much to do with grabbing more money and centralized power.

    ——————————————–

    That’s true. But, a gas tax can do more than ‘helping’ the environment, like reducing foreign oil dependence.

    Gas tax as a centralized government action is still more efficient than other centralized government actions such as CAFE or C4C.

    But anyway, C4C was never intended to ‘help’ the environment. The best way to ‘help’ was to have fewer cars produced and operated. C4C aimed to have more cars produced.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    Wow, the NYT supports a tax on something. Could someone tell me why this is news? This is tantamount to stating that pedophiles like children.

    The best tool to induce Americans to drive more fuel-efficient

    Blow me, NYT. I don’t need to be induced to do anything. Last I recall, our country’s forefathers hacked, slashed, and shot a group of people that believed Americans should be induced into doing things they didn’t want to do.

  • avatar
    G.D.

    Last I recall, our country’s forefathers hacked, slashed and shot groups of people so that they could be induced into doing things they didn’t want to do.

    But hey, why let a few things like facts get in the way of a good rant? No need to go against the usual grain of commentary and posters here, right?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    *sigh* …the greenies should be calling it “global climate change” not “global warming”.

    Greenies do. The media calls it “Global Warming” because it’s simpler to explain. You try explaining chaos theory and how is applies to climate science on page three of a daily paper whose purpose is to sell space for mattress merchants and used-car dealers

    The oversimplification of AGCC has really been it’s downfall. Skeptics have made hay debunking (and I use the term loosely) specifics while utterly failing to address the general (eg, that the climate is changing very rapidly, that temperatures are going up lockstep with industrialization, and that the change stands a good chance of carrying a high social and economic cost).

    Blow me, NYT. I don’t need to be induced to do anything. Last I recall, our country’s forefathers hacked, slashed, and shot a group of people that believed Americans should be induced into doing things they didn’t want to do.

    What, you mean like giving up slavery?

    Sometimes you need to be progressive in order to do the right thing. If Americans listened to knee-jerk, do-nothing-until-it’s-too-late conservatism, we’d still have slave states, no sufferage and would have handed the Nazis all of Europe.

  • avatar
    obbop

    If a couple bucks per gallon tax was implemented (designed to fall if gas prices increase)I would support said tax since it would reduce the unnecessary driving of the local semi-brain-dead well-tattooed mullet-wearing slack-jowelled local yokel hillbillies who revel in constant cruising while blasting their BOOM BOOM BOOM bass producers that intrude through solid walls from two blocks away.

    Of course, the cruising is never-ending even when the majority are trying to relax in their one refuge from the world, inside their home.

    2 pm or 2am, it’s the same for the non-thinking anti-social vermin of the world.

    Add in the un-muffled exhaust combined with a constant acceleration/deceleration so as to maximize exhaust noise… again, at all hours.

    Let those gas prices soar, with tax or by market forces.

    It would be a small price to pay to reduce the vermin’s driving.

    The “sounds of silence” would be worth the extra price I would have to pay.

    Or allow citizens to toss molotov cocktails at the offenders.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    Last I recall, our country’s forefathers hacked, slashed and shot groups of people so that they could be induced into doing things they didn’t want to do.

    And? That gives our current leaders a good enough reason to force a tax on us most of us don’t want, how? A little irrelevant if you ask me, but who am I to take away a guy’s oppurtunity to take a potshot at our founding fathers?

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    Nobody wants to pay taxes, and nobody wants to deal with the fact that pollutants do not ‘help’ the planet in any way…like smoking cigarettes does not ‘help’ the body in any way.

    How many ‘ostiches sticking their head in the sand’ does it take to guarantee our roads, bridges and infrastructure continue to crumble, and to ignore that pollution does damage our environment, and if unchecked, could be a threat to the continued survival of our species in the long term? Our planet’s ability to heal and self-cleanse is amazing, but not absolute…we have created enough dead zones, ecological nightmares, and if scientists are even half-right about global warming, future generations are gonna be pretty pissed (dancing on our graves?) about our mismanagement, ecological greed, and short-sighted approach to the care of our planet.

    Seriously, bitch about how bad taxes are, and how great it would be if we didn’t have to worry about future generations’ survival on the planet…but then ya better HAVE SOME SOLUTIONS to solve the problems we face…’cuz only an ostrich could see our roads, and ignore the environmental damage we’re creating, and claim ‘really, everything’s great!’…sorry, but wake up people!…denial is not the answer.

    How do we then fix our roads, and protect the planet?

  • avatar
    Robstar

    @obbop>

    I’m all for that! I ride a motorcycle that requires revving to really get any power (max torque 7k rpm, max hp 14.5k rpm) and I _still_ shift at low speeds (4-5k) to try to keep from bothering people in my neighborhood when I leave for work at 5-5:30am. I also make sure that when I get back into our subdivision I drive at or below the speed limit because there are usually kids riding bicycles around.

    I’m all for the Molotov cocktail idea as long as I can do the same to cage drivers who:

    * throw lit cigarettes at me (had it happen twice in 30 minutes the other day on the way home)
    * cut me off
    * don’t accelerate to highway speeds to merge (right lane is going 60-65 and you are going 40 = A LOT of danger for me if I’m stuck behind you)
    * almost/sideswipe me due to lack of attention
    * don’t bother to respect my lane (the full lane is mine even if you _can_ fit into it next to me)

    @all:
    Also: Due to me spending a lot more on gasoline on my commute, I have mostly switched to motorcycle commuting (except for the 1-2 days per week I carpool with the wife) due to my combined 43.8mpg average vs 24mpg average in my car.

    If gas prices went up, wouldn’t more people switch to scooters/motorcycles? Wasn’t this happening when gas went to $4.50’ish/gallon? Don’t scooters/motorcycles give off 5x-10x the co2 that autos do ?

    Wouldn’t forcing people to “drive more fuel efficient vehicles” possibly cause MORE co2 (at least until all motorcycles have cats/emmissions specs?)

    So far this year I’ve commuted probably 60 days by train, done 3500 miles on the motorcycle and 2200 miles in my car.

  • avatar
    geeber

    psharjinian: Sometimes you need to be progressive in order to do the right thing. If Americans listened to knee-jerk, do-nothing-until-it’s-too-late conservatism, we’d still have slave states, no sufferage and would have handed the Nazis all of Europe.

    Slavery would have fallen of its own weight within 50 years, as it held the South back economically and socially. Even southerners such as Hinton Helper recognized this in the 1850s (read his book).

    Incidentally, many of the tactics used by Lincoln to stifle dissent and hold the border states in the make anything George W. Bush did look like child’s play.

    It was the “progressive” Europeans who sat on their fannies while Hitler rearmed and began issuing ultimatums and threats to grab territory from other countries. Conservative Winston Churchill was the lone voice warning of the dangers of this approach.

    The U.S. wasn’t directly involved until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Germany declared war on us the following day – and we had no business getting involved before that point.

  • avatar
    geeber

    psharjinian: …that temperatures are going up lockstep with industrialization, and that the change stands a good chance of carrying a high social and economic cost).

    No, they are not moving upward with industrialization. Temperatures have varied widely throughout the earth’s history.

  • avatar
    G.D.

    geeber:

    Not sure where you are getting your facts, but it is scientifically incontrovertible that industrialization has pushed global temperatures up above the expected trend.

    Check these graphs:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/warming/etc/graphs.html#2

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