There have been several threads about how to reduce fuel consumption recently. As I read them, most seem to be repeats that might be a good idea, but never made it to prime time.
I suggest that a better approach is simply to let the market provide the incentive. Rather than a law requiring X % of this or that alternative, but rather add a tax. 100% of that tax could be used to provide incentives and alternatives.
For example if gasoline and diesel had an increase in tax and all of that increase was used to provide alternatives like better rail and other public transportation and incentives to build "clusters" at the train stops (note train is just an example others may well be better)
In the end we could have many of our people living in clusters, close to by not in the city. Each cluster could have the services, entertainment etc. most people would like.
I am sure there are many other similar possibilities.
Yea, I know most people would hate the idea simply because it was "different" and because not matter how you would package it and allow opt out options. It has no chance of ever being implimented , but if given a chance and the time to work it out, I do believe it would work and would save huge amounts of fuel and other cost.
55mph speed limit should be brought back. It will increase safety, increase mileage, and decrease reliance on foreign oil.
Increase rail traffic and decrease truck sizes and weights. That way, roads and bridges will be cheaper to build and maintain.
Mandate a maximum of horsepower/torque per ton of vehicle weight on new vehicles.
Get rid of ethanol subsidies to corn growers and use the funds to research other alternative fuels which do not monkey with the food chain.
The only “tax increase” I would ever be in favor of would be a “gas guzzler” tax on new vehicle purchases or a “luxury tax” on status-symbol vehicles.
Years ago, home heating costs was approached the same way with rebates and other incentives from tax revenue given back to the home owner to insulate and use passive solar. The problem; it worked too well. The oil lobby and all of it’s monies used to control congressional votes, never gives long term support. Programs like this do show great initial benefit then fall by the wayside when the prices of fuel are temporarily dropped enough for people (mainly politicians) to “forget” what it was like.
Any worthwhile plan is now under the control of unlimited campaign contributions from corporations, one of the worse anti democratic moves ever. Right now, govt. inaction and stagnation in using worthwhile market place incentives has reaped it’s rewards. The corporations show record profits while the rest of us support their funding. Change that one law and we will have a chance to consider your ideas.
A national candidate declaring corporations are “people” with little pugnacious response except from the most progressive when all, conservatives and liberals should be aghast, tells you everything right there.
Everyone has good ideas and your’s is one. Unfortunately, it has to pass through the corporate controlled congressional filter. What are the chances ? None ! The 55 mph speed limit is another simple, elegant solution…that will never see the light of day either. One of “mleich” excellent ideas.
“55mph speed limit should be brought back.” Ugh. No. Why not abolish the internet too? Just think of all the energy those server farms are using…
I do agree with removing the subsidy for ethanol though. Whoever thought that using something for a fuel that takes more energy to produce than you get out of it was either mad, or a government worker, or both most likely.
My gas guzzling 21mpg SUV at 70 plus mph becomes a 27 mpg compact at 55 mph. It’s a no brainer. I would do it all the time but must keep up with the leap frog speeders who want to run you over and gain little in actual travel time. Just when our infrastructure is deteriorating, we increase speed limits for what ? Travel times are minimally affected for long trips and survival rates in crashes decrease dramatically. Long haul truckers are the only gainers, then at the cost of road maintenance and safety to the rest of us.
I absolutely loathe the idea of effectively letting the government dictate what you can drive via taxes. Sorry, but I don’t want to legislated into driving a diesel hatchback in order to subsidize mass transit. But I do agree that the ethanol subsidies aren’t needed.
The best, and most effective way to reduce fuel usage is to buy the right car. Once you’ve bought a gas guzzler, there is very little you can do, other than driving less, to reduce fuel usage.
When someone starts a thread, or calls Tom and Ray, and says something like, “I want to get better fuel economy with my Ford Focus,” I am happy to come up with suggestions, but when someone wants better fuel economy while driving a Ford F250 with a lift kit, or a Chevy Suburban, I think to myself “You must be crazy,” especially when there is no good reason for driving a vehicle that large. Usually, when I ask the question, “Why do you drive such a large vehicle?” the answer is something like, “It makes me feel safer” or “I need to tow a large camper two or three times a year.” If the answer is something like “I need to tow my 20,000 pound boat,” it makes me wonder, “How is it you can afford a 20,000 pound boat, and fuel for it, but you can’t afford fuel for your truck?”
I am tired of hearing about the hardship of those who drive huge honking gas guzzlers, and want econobox fuel economy. If you want econobox fuel economy, think ahead when you are car shopping, and buy a fuel efficient econobox. V8 power and econobox fuel economy are mutually exclusive.
While I don’t want European-style $3/gallon taxes, we must raise them to the point where we can maintain and improve the roads. About $0.15/gallon would do it (with annual increases for inflation and higher fuel economy cars), but ther’s no apparent leadership to make this happen.
I think we pay a pretty good amount of taxes on fuel now. It’s on every pump, how much tax per gallon we’re spending. The question is where does it all go? I see constant work on the roads around me, and almost all of it seems to be patchwork, with very little real, tear it down, and rebuild it repair. The projects (granted I don’t know all of them) that are actually upgrading roads, or making them better all seem to be funded with Federal $$$. With both local and Federal taxes on fuel, where does the local tax go? I pay a huge amount to live in my house, and that mostly goes to the schools. OK, I can live with that. Surcharges on food also go to take care of local projects in some cases. I’m sure there’s a plan, but expecting the Fed to pay for all the real upgrades seems foolish to me, and not very productive.
Given the amount we already pay in taxes, I don’t think we need more tax on gas. I do think that a lot of people could change driving habits on many levels, from better trip planning to better on-road habits. I know people who drive as if they think it is essential to be stepping on a pedal at all times. How much gas would we save if people weren’t in a race to be the first to stop at the red light?
“Any worthwhile plan is now under the control of unlimited campaign contributions from corporations”
dagosa. I wonder why we allow anyone to make a contribution to any political party or politician. Why do we allow people or groups who are not citizens, to vote or contribute to political parties.
OK, This is my last comment on this line. Now back to cars.
We do need higher fuel taxes, but I think you are too ambitious, Joseph. Fuel taxes have not been raised for a long time, yet CAFE is up dramatically, and will increase significantly in the next decade. We need the higher revenues just to keep even. I suggest that we use the money to repair and improve existing roads. It would take all the new revenues to do just that, and we will probably still fall short.
Stop ethanol subsidies now - 2 years ago would be great if we could turn back the clock.
Jos. "I wonder why we allow anyone to make a contribution to any political party or politician. Why do we allow people or groups who are not citizens, to vote or contribute to political parties. "
Voting they can’t do, contribute they can. That’s more valuable as it reaches and sways more votes then the individual vote a person has. Why ? We value profit more than empathy and would rather make a buck then worry how it affects our fellow human beings.
We actually vote for people who ran “successful” corporations under the false assumption that our govt. should be run like one…instead of a TRUST which it is instead.
I don’t remember the constitution saying “by the people and for the people; as long as we can turn a profit”.
Now back to cars !!! Down with ethanol subsidies. It’s killing my lawn mower, generator, weed whacker and outboard motors.
Whitey…“Once you’ve bought a gas guzzler, there is very little you can do, other than driving less, to reduce fuel usage.”
I agree with you 100 % on that and your other comments. My gas guzzler 2004 SUV has less then 70K miles for that reason and my econo box many more. I don’t complain…I drive less, park my motor boat and go sailing. That’s why I want a cheap EV. So I can keep my SUV for occasional use and not feed the Middle East terrorist. I feel intelligent use of each is the way to the future. There will never be an EV to long haul in my life time. I think hybrids yes, are the way to the cheaper, not cheap truck/SUV future.
There are more important things in life than always striving for the best fuel economy possible in every waking moment. I was very happy when the antiquated 55 MPH limit was lifted. It was more a product of politics than anything else. Cars today are a lot safer than 1970s-80s cars, and if you want to still go 55, that’s what the slow lane is for.
If you want to make a difference, work to develop alternative fuels and power technologies, not take the joy out of everyone else’s life and add hours to long commutes.
Lowering the speed limit to 55 won’t save as much fuel as you think. Most of our traffic is on roads that already have speed limits of 55 or lower. Thus, your 22mpg gas guzzler will still get the same gas mileage you have always been gettin when you drive through your neighborhoods and are stuck in rush hour gridlock.
What percentage of your daily driving is done on 70 mph highways?
Finding solutions for gridlock and traffic jams would save more oil than making the cars on rural highways go 55 will in my opinion.
When the MPH was raised from 55 to 65…cars around here speed didn’t change. They were all doing 70+ anyways.
That was your state’s prerogative, not to enforce the speed limit. The fact is 55 mph does make a significant difference in fuel savings. Whether it is actually realized, depends upon state co operation and national compliance. If you can’t get it, no reason to put it on the books. It’s time then to educate people. The biggest difference are made by CAFE standards. Much higher mileage for all vehicles is well within our reach for very little additional cost IMO.
That was your state’s prerogative, not to enforce the speed limit. The fact is 55 mph does make a significant difference in fuel savings.
I don’t doubt that at all…but the fact of the matter is…in practice it didn’t matter one bit.
The biggest difference are made by CAFE standards.
Again I agree…Companies have proven time and time again they are unwilling to do any MPG improvement unless they are forced to by the Cafe’ standard.
The 55 mph limit was the prohibition of that era. Lots of good reasons to do it, but the majority of people rejected it, and made law breaking a pastime. Not a good idea, it turned out. Wouldn’t be a good idea today, either.