Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Open Topic Tuesday

Ready, Set, Go!


  1. I was doing business at the Target in Manahawkin and noticed that they have special 'green' parking spaces for car pool or fuel efficient vehicles. These spaces were next to the handicapped (physically challenged?) spaces. So if you drive a gas guzzler or come alone, you will need to park further from the store.

    I don't own a gas guzzler by any stretch, but just a few short years ago, these were a staple of a successful lifestyle. Now people who drive them are heavily frowned upon for single handedly destroying the environment. But honestly, what are they supposed to do with this vehicle they purchase a couple years ago when they were all the rage? Throw it in a landfill to rot and decay and polute our water supply? Honestly, get over it already!!! Global warming is not even a proven phenomenon.

  2. just a few short years ago, [...] they were all the rage

    How about they are still all the rage. Here's the top 20 best selling vehicles from 2008.

    Ford's F-Series Pickups & Chevy's Silverado were 1 & 2 in sales. The Toyota Camry, Honda Accord & Toyota Corolla round out the top 5.

    With the Dodge Ram at #9, that places three pickups in the top 10. The GMC Sierra is #14 - meaning there are 4 pickups ahead or the 15th rantked super-green Toyota Prius.

    Throw in the Toyota Tundra at #19 & 5 of the top 20 vehicles are pickups. Add the Honda CR-V @ #11, the Ford Escape at #16 & the Honda Odyssey @ #20, that places 8 trucks, SUV's & vans in the top 20 selling vehicles of 2008 - all this after a summer in which gas prices rose to their highest levels pretty much ever.

    However, that won't stop the nonsense idea from Congress & the incoming administration that Detroit is in trouble because they failed to embrace green vehicles.

    It what way would it make sense that throwing out their top selling vehicles - which are in fact the top selling vehicles in the nation - is going to save Detroit?

  3. All that said, I don't fault Target (or any business) for embracing symbolic greenery.

    While it does nothing at all in terms of our climate, they know that there are scads of customers who get all warm and fuzzy by "saving the planet".

    Green parking spaces are just a way of sucking up - it's business.

  4. UPDATE: in November, light truck sales captured 52% of the market in the US.

    Further evidence that turning their truck plants into Volt plants will make GM instantly profitable...

  5. The new Target neighboring the evil empire of the Ford Motor Company uses rain water in the toilets…. how nice! I am not against conserving energy and reducing emissions; those are all good things to do. Just don’t tell me what I can and can’t do. I would love to have a geo-thermal furnace and sun/wind supplemented electricity, but I will not pay forty grand to have it. As for vehicles, I have a guzzler and a sipper. I added the more fuel efficient car for our solo driving. I didn’t do it for a parking spot, I did it for $ reasons. I think most of the nation would follow my thinking; I am willing to go green if it saves me green.

    Wouldn’t the huggers want to park as far away as possible to save minute amounts of gas?

  6. Is this yet another topic that I don’t agree with you on? Burning billions upon billions of gallons of fuel a year can NOT be good for the environment. Is it catastrophically bad? I don’t know if it is that bad or if it can even get that bad, but why advocate continuing at the current levels of consumption? It is wasteful. Since when is waste good? Since when is wasting something being a good steward? Since when is hogging something a Christian concept?

    If you disagree with the hippies' granola philosophy, fine. We should worship God, not His creation. Great. That's not a reason to do the wrong thing, though. . .

    Preferred parking at retail establishments is a little silly, especially when it isn’t even policed. IKEA has preferred parking for families. Whatever. My BF and I were there the other day and he was wondering where the gay family parking spots were -- all the symbols painted in the family parking spots showed a man, a woman, and a couple of kids. I guess if you’re perfect, you can park closer than the scumbags. . .

  7. Or better yet, ride a bike!!!

    I don't fault target either, but i do begin to wonder how many spots will eventually be taken by one group of people or another. For example, they already have pregnant mother and mothers with kids parking spaces. Now they have green parking spaces. Whats next? Sooner or later I will be parking in the next county over b/c there won't be a parking space designated for successful, hardworking, people who pay their taxes and don't bother anyone.

  8. NTOA:
    I don't believe that anyone said that gas guzzling was good. It is just that individuals with large SUVs were an example of something to aspire to a few years ago, now they are spat upon for causing global warming. Like I said earlier, let's just throw all the SUVs in a land fill and get the green weenies off our butts. Oh, no, that will cause an even worse problem that the fictitious global warming issue.

    Further, as anonymous above points out, when do the designated parking spaces end? As you stated, where are the gay family parking spaces? By singling a group of people out, they are discriminating against another group. Even the mothers with children spots... what about the fathers with children? Are they not entitled to a special spot as well?

  9. Doing the right thing isn’t always that which costs the least.

    Fortunately enough for me, sharing my daily commute has been the cheaper thing to do. Over the last 10 or so years I’ve shared the ride to work well over 95% of the time. It has saved me both time and money. If there is ever a time when fuel is rationed, I should be closer to the front of the line than some jerk that has a history of hummering a bunch of fuel away.

    I am a huge advocate of consolidating commutes. I think it is one of the easiest ways to eliminate wasting fuel, but I guess most would rather be the ones in control of the radio. . .

  10. I don't think it is all about the radio. Not everyone lives in an area where sharing the commute is an option. Especially if you work for a small business.

  11. NTOA: none of us here are in favor of wasteful behavior. We are in favor of policies that make economic sense.

    Right now, the alternative fuel technologies don't make sense. There is a reason why it costs $40,000 to install wind or solar at a residence. The cost reflects the energy and materials used to produce them.

    Why should I sink $40K into something that by the time it pays for itself I need to repair or replace it - even using the supplier's claims which are usually overly optimistic.

    Materials for batteries, wind mills or photo-voltaic's don't magically appear out of the air.

  12. Puffdobert: Wouldn’t the huggers want to park as far away as possible to save minute amounts of gas
    That makes sense - the green parking spots should be close to the parking lot entrance - not the store.

  13. Yes... very funny. Better yet, the green spaces should be the bike rack!

  14. I pass thousands of people everyday on the highway where it is all about the radio. I estimate that at LEAST 20% to 30% of the US population could share their daily commute. Where ever there is a high-capacity highway clogged with cars everyday, there is opportunity to share -- let’s start with the 163,000,000 people that live in these CMSAs or MSAs of 1,000,000+ people:

    New York--Northern New Jersey--Long Island, NY--NJ--CT--PA , Los Angeles--Riverside--Orange County, CA , Chicago--Gary--Kenosha, IL--IN--WI , Washington--Baltimore, DC--MD--VA--WV , San Francisco--Oakland--San Jose, CA , Philadelphia--Wilmington--Atlantic City, PA--NJ--DE--MD , Boston--Worcester--Lawrence, MA--NH--ME--CT , Detroit--Ann Arbor--Flint, MI , Dallas--Fort Worth, TX , Houston--Galveston--Brazoria, TX , Atlanta, GA , Miami--Fort Lauderdale, FL , Seattle--Tacoma--Bremerton, WA , Phoenix--Mesa, AZ , Minneapolis--St. Paul, MN--WI , Cleveland--Akron, OH , San Diego, CA , St. Louis, MO--IL , Denver--Boulder--Greeley, CO , San Juan--Caguas--Arecibo, PR , Tampa--St. Petersburg--Clearwater, FL , Pittsburgh, PA , Portland--Salem, OR--WA , Cincinnati--Hamilton, OH--KY--IN , Sacramento--Yolo, CA , Kansas City, MO--KS , Milwaukee--Racine, WI , Orlando, FL , Indianapolis, IN , San Antonio, TX , Norfolk--Virginia Beach--Newport News, VA--NC , Las Vegas, NV--AZ , Columbus, OH, Charlotte--Gastonia--Rock Hill, NC--SC , New Orleans, LA , Salt Lake City--Ogden, UT , Greensboro--Winston-Salem--High Point, NC , Austin--San Marcos, TX , Nashville, TN , Providence--Fall River--Warwick, RI--MA , Raleigh--Durham--Chapel Hill, NC , Hartford, CT , Buffalo--Niagara Falls, NY , Memphis, TN--AR--MS , West Palm Beach--Boca Raton, FL , Jacksonville, FL , Rochester, NY , Grand Rapids--Muskegon--Holland, MI , Oklahoma City, OK , Louisville, KY--IN

  15. As far as parking spaces go, I really couldn't care less what they put. I may roll my eyes, but bottom line, they can do whatever they want - it's there business. If they feel "green" spaces attract more customers than will be turned off by them, go right ahead.

    Mothers w/ small children does kinda make sense (and I doubt anyone would make a stink if a father w/ small kids parked there). From a safety standpoint, the shorter distance decreases the likelihood that they will get hit by a car.

    Personally, I drive my wife crazy. I always grab the first spot I can get regardless of how far away it is. I figure by the time I've circled the lot 8 times looking for the closest spot, I could have walked across the lot & been half way done my shoppng.

  16. NTOA: I believe car-pools and public transit have their place. For some it is more convenient. For others the cost of waiting for trains or picking up riders makes their commute longer.

    I always take the train to the airport when I have business travel - for me, even though it takes a bit longer, I enjoy not having to drive into Philly & find parking. However, for my daily commute to work, arranging for a carpool would be difficult since I don't always go in at the same time.

  17. John: I am puffdaddy, not Puffdobert. I am so disappointed in you.

    Just so everyone knows; When I need to take my family of five to the cottage, we load up in the 15 mpg suv. Does anyone reading this blog think I am doing something wrong by owning the 15 mpg vehicle?

  18. That's what they're for. I have a 25mpg Kia that I drive to work every day, but take the 13mpg F150 Supercrew whenever I'm with my family, stop by home depot, go on vacations.

    Then again, I wouldn't think you were doing anything wrong if you drove a 4 mpg DeLorean by yourself to work every day.

    The thing that makes me shake my head is that many of the same folks who feel that rant at the "religious zealots" for pushing their morality on others when it comes to abortion, have no trouble turning to legislation when my car violates their moral standards.

    I doubt our vehicular emissions are killing anywhere near 1.37 million per year.

  19. I can understand the desire for cleaner energy, but the fact is we have to go with what we have now. Gas guzzling suv's may not be the best for a persons wallet, but our mode's of transportation have done very little to have an effect on the environment or the atmosphere. Global warming is a joke. Just look at New Orleans, LA where it had snowed. That itself makes me want to look these global warming fanatics in the eye, and laugh right in their faces.

  20. I think we need to do more than laugh in someone’s face. America has been talking about energy problems for 30+ years and has always come to the conclusion “we have to go with what we have now.”

    Energy waste and dependence on foreign sources are a major drag on our economy. Most of the energy sources we use contaminate the environment that you and I live in.

    Being complacent about the situation is not going help. Saying everything is OK because you don’t believe in some hare-brained theory doesn’t change the fact that we’re pigs using up way too much resources.

    Have we lost the idea “Waste not, want not?”

    I understand that not everyone can make solar cells out of 6-pack yokes and broken bottles. I know we need more than our own feces to keep warm in the winter. It has dawned on me that most of us don’t have the time or the stamina to bike 50 miles a day. I get those things. Please understand that I’m talking about reducing waste. Reducing waste by just $10 per person per year will save $3 billion a year. That’s money that can be used to jump-start programs for transportation alternatives which will create even more savings. Let’s get the ball rolling. . .

  21. NTOA:

    I'm thrilled to help reduce waste in whatever way I can. But I just don't have the finances to do it the way we are told we have to in order to be good citizens.

    I recycle. Both with whatever I can on my own as well as through the municipality's recycling programs. I do everything I can to reduce and reuse so as not to be a waster. My family lives as economically as possible. Our motivation has been financial initially, but the results have been enlightening as far as teaching us to be wise with what we have. I think that wastfulness is unwise, thoughtless, poor stewardship. I'm all about being healthy and careful with what we consume.

    But I'm not for all of these government regulations that force me to reduce on things that I simply cannot. We have to eat. And food has to come in packages. We can't afford to remodel and rebuild aspects of our home which are energy inefficient. Yeah, we know the investment would save us in the long run. But we can't invest what we don't have to start with. I think folks who throw good money into windmills that will cost more to keep up in the long run than will actually save them on energy in the first place are foolish. If we could figure out a way to build windmills safely for smaller costs, then maybe I'd change my mind and get one. I think solar panels are at best an eye sore, and at worst, inefficient energy sources. But if they were actually cost efficient, I'd figure out a way to put one on the roof and make it look nice somehow.

    I think that the whole global warming fight is a senseless battle anyway. After all, one or two volcanic erruptions produce more pollutants in our atmosphere than man has ever managed to put out. But somehow the earth and its atmosphere cleans itself up anyway. The science just doesn't add up. I really don't believe mankind's wastefulness is really causing so much trouble as all that the media suggests it is. I think this has much more to do with the big dogs getting more money and power for themselves than we little guys realize. Not that I'm just buying into a conspiracy theory. But it's a fad. And folks are trying to cash in on it. Plain and simple.

    It's not that we don't think we shouldn't be wise and would rather laugh at the situations. It's that we don't see wise alternatives and can't believe that folks don't understand that we are making fools of ourselves just for the sake of making ourselves feel better individually.

    The energy sources that we have found which are, in fact, cleaner and more economical, have been outlawed by ridiculous beauracracy. Nuclear energy is a great idea! It's safe provided it is properly maintained, clean, and very efficient. And it puts science which has otherwise been destructive, to good use. But it is now an unavailable resource in most places because of beauracracy.

    Ethanol, which we are told is cleaner, is expensive at least. And it is putting strain on the economy both here and overseas due to food shortages caused by the redirecting of corn comodities away from people's mouths and into ethanol plants. The whole deal is causing more and more problems the more we use it.

    Electric mowers, cars, etc. aren't really saving us anything on the energy front since the power plants providing the electricity are generated by pollutant fuels.

    And as for other environmentalist bandwagons, I don't believe in destroying plants and habitats and animals for destruction's sake. But if some animals go extinct accidentally because man is trying to better his standard of living . . . well, environmentalists are generally evolutionists. And isn't that just to be expected based on the evolutionary laws of natural selection and survival of the fittest? If man is the fittest, then other species must make room for him. The whole thing just doesn't make sense from anybody's standpoint in my estimation.

  22. BTW, my husband and I got some good deals on energy saving florescent light bulbs a few years ago and replaced as many bulbs in our house as we could. So far, they haven't lasted as long as they said they would. They get dim really fast, interfere with radio signals, flicker and give headaches, and they break easily. The breakage is a big one. That is a lot of pollutant material being spilled into the environment . . . and my house! It's a hazard for my kids!

    Just one more example of the frustration and irrationality this argument relies on. "Climate Change-ists" don't mind preaching at us and telling us we are shameful and wickedly wasteful, but nobody has a good solution yet. What is a person to do?

    I guess the best idea so far is to sterilize ourselves like those folks in Australia were doing. Gotta destroy the source of the problem. The human race just can't get it right; so, out with them.

  23. NTOA: I agree that laughing in someones face isn't a good debate tactic, but I believe Joshua was referring to the scare tactics employed by Al Gore & his disciples - who are seldom (if ever) open to debate in the first place - in spite of the fact that there is less particulate matter in the air now than in the 70's and that the mean surface temperature of the earth is cooler now than when Bush 43 took office in 2000.

    You certainly seem fair minded and I see where you are coming from in regards to waste, but that we've been just "going with what we have now" for decades is misguided. We've been throwing Federal dollars at wind & solar projects for decades. Without these subsidies, it would fail as an industry (all the while we refuse to use nuclear technology which has proven it can stand on it's own). The reason we are still "going with what we have now" is because wind and solar are not reliable energy producers.

    As far as mileage, most people are of a mindset to save. If they have more than one vehicle, one is usually a sipper and the other provides the utility they need. Families that can only afford one car, usually need the utility. The best way we can conserve is to make our nation wealthy enough to do so. There is a reason things like the environment are high priority to wealthy folks - they have their basic needs cared for and can afford to concern themselves with other things.

    To hear the media talk, you'd think President Bush was personally bulldozing wind farms & smashing solar panels. Bush has continued federal support for alternative energy sources - even going so far as to (foolishly IMO) declare CO2 a pollutant.

    I'm all for research and investment in new technologies that will make us more efficient, but by asking the government to make the decisions about what technology is the best is bound to fall short.

    As far as the $10 per person per year - if you take that savings away from them to focus on clean energy, they won't have any incentive to save the $10 in the first place.

  24. "As far as the $10 per person per year - if you take that savings away from them to focus on clean energy, they won't have any incentive to save the $10 in the first place."

    That's the reason we need government action. I don't like it when we do need it, but sometimes someone has to establish and enforce policies for the greater good. I consider rampant waste of resources one of the things that need addressing. You may disagree or you may disagree about the solution(s), but it's my opinion and I'm going to push for it.

    Notice that I haven't talked much about pollution, alternative energies, climate change, global warming, etc.

    Those things are extraneous to my argument, which is: America wastes a lot of fuel on a daily basis by not taking advantage of opportunities to share a commute and/or reduce traffic congestion thru use of carpools, vanpools, buses, light rail, alternate work schedules, etc.

    If you live in the boondocks and/or don't travel along essentially the same significantly long route as 1000s of other people by yourself everyday at 5 miles an hour, my argument isn't against you. Realize this though -- it happens everyday to millions of people for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening at (most likely) the list of population centers I referred to above.

    If transportation alternatives don't exist for you, let's create them. We NEED policies and systems that will eliminate that waste. Here are two possibilities:


  25. Notice that I haven't talked much about pollution, alternative energies, climate change, global warming, etc. [...] Those things are extraneous to my argument, which is: America wastes alot of fuel

    If you set aside the things you mentioned, then there is no reason to enforce your morals on others (your moral value judgment that other individuals are being wasteful). Basically, then it boils down to the fact that you don't like how other people use the resources they have purchased. So the only recourse is to coerce them to live your preferred lifestyle by force of law.

    Most people in the environmental movement realize this - which is why we see all the scare tactics about pollution and climate change. They realize that without resorting to wild claims about the earth being destroyed, they have no claim on the liberties of others.

    I have nothing against trains or other mass transit (Hoverport & Ultra looked pretty cool) - what I am against is coercion.

    I will say that as far as clogged highways, from an economic perspective, we have a excess demand on a limited resource (in this case road space). This tells me that the cost of driving those roadways is to low.

    I never understood why major arteries jammed with traffic leading to & from major cities (like those around DC) aren't toll roads.

    Tolls would allow the roads to be "priced" at the most efficient level.

    Cities address there parking congestion by charging for parking, seems that tolls would be an effective way of managing the busiest roads.

  26. I find it pretty odd which moral standards you do and do not advocate enforcing. My standard is this: Limit freedoms only if not doing so causes harm.

    In the case of fuel consumption, I do think there is harm in using "too" much, and the harm is both economic and environmental. Of course, the point where something becomes waste instead of necessary is subjective. I've pinpointed a clear-cut case though.

    I'm glad that you support tolls on clogged highways. Regarding tolls -- anywhere there is a daily problem of congestion there should be a variable toll. The toll varies based on the amount of road space available at the time of use. The toll amount would be set to encourage ride sharing and the money would be used to subsidize the ride sharing alternatives. An example could be: A person could spend $4 at 8:00am to use the highway, or $0.50 to take a bus. (If everyone would opt for the 50-cent bus-ride in this example, but there isn't bus capacity, then the prices would obviously need to be set in such a way to fit the specific situation.) A person could wait to go to work at 9:00am when the toll is typically $1.50, or go in at 5:30am when the toll is typically $0.75.

    Also, I support a federal tax on transportation fuel. The tax would be imposed at a certain threshold of fuel consumption. If you use less than X gallons a week, you pay no tax, but if you go beyond that limit you will be taxed at a certain rate per gallon. The thresholds, the number of tiers and the tax rate would be based on fuel consumption goals and could vary by location, job type, etc. The tax would be used to subsidize alternatives.

    My goal is to allow people to waste if they want to, but make them pay for it -- then use that money to give people a way around that extra cost.

    I think the tolls and taxes could be set in such a way to curb waste and give people alternatives as well as still allow them to their current lifestyle choice. Underneath it all, what I see happening is that the cost of fuel will go down because the demand will go down. Hopefully, the tolls and taxes won't be more than the decrease in fuel cost so the net result on a person is $0. I doubt that would be the case, but I wonder how close it could be. Either way, I think we could end up with a much more efficient transportation system which is better for everyone.

    I can't wait to shoot a letter to the tax-thirsty Obama. . .

  27. "Also, I support a federal tax on transportation fuel. The tax would be imposed at a certain threshold of fuel consumption. If you use less than X gallons a week, you pay no tax, but if you go beyond that limit you will be taxed at a certain rate per gallon."

    How would you police this? Whatever you come up with will end up costing money to implement. Money that could be used for alternative research.

    "Limit freedoms only if not doing so causes harm."

    Who is being harmed? How is another person's wastefulness harming me? The only thing I can think of would be the gas prices that result when the supply < the demand. But that is simple economics. If I don't want to pay the price, then I can seek alternatives. When gas was higher, I eliminated several frivolous trips to the store and did a lot of errand consolidation. Now that gas is cheap again, I don't necessarily have to do that anymore.

    Would I say that I was harmed by the gas prices? No, it just led me to seek alternate solutions. But until there is a viable fuel alternative, I don't think you can force fuel frugality on everyone. I think of when ethanol was consided the savior of our dependence on foreign oil sources. Now there is a serious food shortage that impacts the entire world. I would rather 'waste' petroleum based fuels and risk unproven global warming than force starvation on the world.

  28. I find it pretty odd which moral standards you do and do not advocate enforcing. My standard is this: Limit freedoms only if not doing so causes harm
    For one, everyone (including your) is selective about what moral standards they wish to see enforced. If you are referring to abortion, I would think you would at least understand why we believe it causes harm. If you are referring to prop 8, as I stated before, it placed no restrictions on any individual behavior - it made a prohibition on the state of California.

    For another, the only "harm" I see in your statements is the issue of clogged roads - which as I stated earlier, is not an issue of under-regulation, but an issue of under-pricing of a resource.

    You stated that "waste" is a subjective term & yet you expect a small group of individuals to make the determination of what entails waste for millions of people.

    If a resource is being wasted (or running out), the price will reflect that without the government intervention (as it did this past summer) and people will choose alternatives of their own. The fact that the price is down now, means either oil is more readily available now in which case drivers are not wasting something that is about to run dry OR people are already cutting back on their own - in which case it would be inappropriate to penalize them OR (most likely) people are cutting back on consumption because MONEY is the scarcer resource now - in which case adding additional taxes would only exacerbate the problem.

    As far as tolls go, I would prefer to see the proceeds go to the maintenance public facilities such as roads, railways, etc rather than subsidizing particular alternatives for this reason: subsidies of all kinds again cause a relatively small group of people to decide what are the best ideas for everyone rather than letting the market (made up of millions of individuals) decide the best alternatives - for many that may be telecommuting, for others, it's mass transit, still other carpooling, for others, it may be ideas that haven't been encountered yet but may turn out better than what we have. Forcibly hitching the entire populace to some bureaucracy's pet project prevents the best ideas from coming to the surface.

  29. dayzee: ethanol is a perfect example of my point on subsidies. When PE Obama appointed Tom Vilsack as Ag Secretary, he came with the promise to continue subsidation along with mandates to use ethanol blended fuel.

    The federal government has backed (and continues to back) the wrong horse. If ethanol was truly a viable alternative to petroleum based gasoline, it would be able to stand on its own w/o help from the government.

  30. When I said "subsidize" I meant something like buy a bus, build a railway, fix a subway tunnel, create hoverports, build ULTra tracks, etc. The number one reason, that I've heard, that people don't take public transportation is that it doesn't exist in a way that is convenient to them. Creating such a system will cost money, but there isn't any because there isn't any demand because the current system can't create it. Sounds like we need a public good which is exactly what the government is good for.

    Regarding harm:
    Let's say I'm a person with a zillion dollars. On a whim, I buy all the petrol that I can get. I amass as much as I can and just throw a match to it. KABOOM! It's gone. I don't care that the petrol that I couldn't get my hands on cost everyone else $10, $20 or even $100 a gallon. It's my freedom to do what I please so don't bugger me about it. I don't care that your environment, as my neighbor, has become hot, greasy, and smoky. I don't care that you can't get to work or the store or that the food you buy now costs a lot more. I don't care that you now have to opt for nutritional wasteland at McDonald's to eat because it's cheaper than the fresh food at the super market. I don't EVEN care that you can't get to Grandma's for Christmas. Nope! I don't care that you have to spend your money on fuel instead of Christmas presents, entertainment, cars, food, toilet paper, water, and whatever else that makes your economy go 'round. Don't talk to me about harm because it's just the economy doing its thing.

    And then I reveal my face. Surprise, world! I'm the cows of the USA!

    As for enforcement:
    I know that I am selective, but my selection criteria seems to make more sense than yours.
    *I agree with you on abortion. Murder is harmful
    *I agree with you on tolls. Gridlock is bad.
    *I don't agree with on marriage. No one has proven the harm there.

    As far as backing which idea is best in using the road toll and fuel tax I proposed:
    *telecommuters benefit by having lower priced
    *carpoolers benefit because they are sharing the toll and tax and a subsidized carpooling system (free website to arrange rides, park and rides, etc.)
    *people on buses and trains benefit because they have a subsidized ride (free park and rides, lowered fare, etc.)
    *the rest benefit because the gridlock is eliminated so that the roadway can be used efficiently saving time and fuel.

    I see the toll and tax as paying people to get out of the way. I'm sure there are values to put on the toll and/or tax that we create a nice balance.

  31. You sound just like every other USA hater out there. How are we a bunch of cows glutonizing a resource that we have always used as part of our growing economy? Agreeably, we should be using our own resources instead of those in the middle east, and exploring alternative options, but this should be left up to the free market. Gas prices went up because there was a higher demand on oil from the oil producing countries both by the US and other countries.

    I agree with John. The alternatives should be explored as a part of a capitalistic society, not something that is mandated by a government who decides what option is best for everyone. What if back in Alexander Graham Bell's day, the government stepped in and said that they were going to subsidize cups and string so that people could communicate with each other. Once upon a time, that may have seemed like a great idea, and with government subsidy of that 'technology', we very well could be talking on cups and strings instead of cell phones today. Leaving freedom to run its course allowed Bell and others to invent commodities that do us a great deal of good today. Who's to say that ethanol, wind, & solar power are the best solutions to the problem? Let companies do the research and come up with the best solution.

    To further address the US cow comment, I believe it is far more egregious to take food out of the mouths of the hungry, than to utilize petroleum based fuel in order to perform the tasks of every day life. To me, utilizing corn based fuel exhibits far worse gluttony than the alternative. People are starving to death in other countries and we are wasting valuable food in an effort to 'save the earth'. Ask them if they care if they have food in their mouths or gas in their cars. How is this justified within the scope of the 'greater good'? Who is benefitting from these alternative fuels other than us American cows?

  32. NTOA: First of all, people don't get "a zillion dollars" by purchasing valuable commodities & setting fire to them.

    Second, you are now bringing pollution into the equation (which you previously stated was not part of your argument). In this case, we already have laws in place to address pollutants. Our hypothetical zillionaire would be prosecuted for creating a fire hazard and for polluting. None of us here believe that indivuals should be able to willy-nilly pump soot into the air - I don't think anyone has stated as such.

    Third - if his action caused the price of fuel to jump to $10/gal, you'd have Europe - where prices are close to that due to taxes. Sounds to me you'd be getting what you want. In fact, many liberals already propose that we should tax fuel so that it never drops below $4/gal

    I understand your subsidy comment a bit better - more like an infrastructure investment - which really isn't a subsidy any more than road improvements are subidies to cars.

  33. Please realize that I never said that we should use ethanol, wind or solar energy. I'm talking about building mass transit in various forms and utilizing existing roadways in an efficient manner. Nor have I suggested banning the use of new technology that a free market can develop and use to transport workers (either in body or spirit) to where they need to be in a more efficient manner.

    How is using existing fuel (gasoline or diesel) more efficiently a bad thing? If you are a solo driver where transportation alternatives exist, or where they could exist, you are contributing to wasting a natural resource which ONLY has negative effects. I am primarily talking about daily commutes to and from work in areas where lots of people travel along essentially the same path during their commute.

    Most large cities have public transportation systems with major gaps. Filling the gaps and utilizing the resulting system would actually create a large enough shift in demand of fuel that everyone would see a good difference at the pump.

    I'm not a bad guy here to say that gridlock causes a significant amount of waste.

    The food shortage caused by using corn for fuel is definitely more harmful than a fuel shortage, but we have to realize that fuel is a big part of the foundation of an economy that affects the availability of food.

  34. The subsidy comes in creating a mass transit system where fares are reduced. If the practical cost of a fare is X, the people using the system pay less than that. The difference is made up by the solo driver using the roadway next to the bus or train or whatever -- essentially the solo driver has paid, in part, a person or people to take the bus and thus get out of his or her way.

    America has a zillion dollars and has not gotten there by the most efficient means. The market does not necessarily create the most efficient use of a resource -- people sitting in traffic for times that are 2 or 3 times that of a non-gridlock time is proof enough of that.

    Pollution is not part of my argument -- only using a natural resource inefficiently. Pollution is a component of using fuel, so it is naturally mentioned.

    If a tax on fuel is not used to provide alternatives to its use at a certain level, then I don't see efficacy of said tax. The goal is to use less fuel, but achieve the same end.

    There are plenty of zillionaires around. Why haven't any of them seized the opportunity to create mass transit systems? Why are they forgoing making such a pot of money?

  35. Using public funds for construction of mass transit is one thing, subsidizing fares is another. If the roads were priced correctly, then there would be no need to subsidize fares for riders. The reason Amtrak and other mass transit needs subsidies to stay afloat is because the potential riders are making use of an artificially cheap resource (the roads).

    Second, people sitting in traffic is not an example of the free market - it is a perfect example of how the government does a lousy job of managing resources - a major reason why I'm not in favor of them controlling more resources.

    No private business would charge nothing for a heavily demanded resource.