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How Will Global Warming Concerns Change The Vehicles We Drive?

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  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    hpmctorque,

    I honestly really do respect your opinion. I am a enviromentalist, but I'm also not some wack job either. We have to be sensible and smart about how to solve this problem without hurting domestic issues such as job by doing finacial harm to our automobile injustry and business's that use oil based substances for energy. I love cars very much and I'd say I like cars more than trucks or SUV's. I however do like some Trucks like the GMC Sierra Denali that's fixing to come out sometime the end of this month or next. I also like some SUV's and having a wife and 2 kids a Truck or SUV makes sense for most when you factor in all that they can provide to a family. Angus McKenzie a very well known Motor Trend staffer/editor brought up the idea of "number of people per mile"

    I having a family of 4 including myself often will sometimes take my MIL a long on a trip to the store, etc but if her and someone else goes we have to take a 2nd car. What problems does that create ???? Well in short you have "2" cars running, "8"-wheels on the road, "2" engines running, "2" engines using oil, and "2" cars using gas, and "2" cars getting wear and tear and that's not counting the loss finacially. If I owned a Full-Size SUV, I could stuff grandma, and 2-3 other passengers in the back. This isn't including the increased cargo capacity these vehicles provide. This especially becomes a problem when 2-3 members of my family comes from michigan and we have to take a 2nd car. Well it was September, and my father wanted to buy my kids a bike or motorized "electric" car for kids. Well my grandfather has a 7-passenger Saturn Relay minivan and he came down with my brother and father so we were at max capacity as far as having enough seats "7". Well stuffing my wife and I's butt in the far back wasn't fun. Both of my kids are in car seats ages 3 and 1 thus they had to use the 2nd row to put car seats in their because you would have to be a gymnist to get car seats out of the 3rd row becase the 2nd row doesn't "fold and stow" ;)

    My father mentioned at that time he wished we had a Suburban, and I kidded with him and said "why doesn't grandpa buy his grandchildren a Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Edition" ? :P "He goes yeah right" :D He did however acknowledge and understood why family's own them for situation like ours. So we got to Toys R' Us and my son found a motorized "electric" batman car he wanted. Well do to the size of the product we couldn't fit it in the minivan thus my son Brock, couldn't get his car. Well grandpa bought him and my daughter each a bike instead.
    Well we said to my father just order it on-line and we will pick-up his batman car within' the next month or so. Well my step-mom tried to do that and the popular batman car he wanted was discontinued.

    I know this is my short story but my point to this story is we have to be sensible about making radical decisions about changing the cars we drive or punishing the drivers that choose to own these cars. I could of used a SUV that day and it sure would come in handy for the snowy weather, cargo capacity, the amount of people you can transport, and is a safe vehical for so many family's. ;) Like Angus McKenzie says people often over look "The people per mile" equation and if my memory serves me correct he said it he was getting something like 80 miles per people? on his trip. It was some math equation of the number of people x mpg=PPM ;) I might have it messed up but you get my drift. :)

    I also hear so much negative talk directed torwards SUV/Truck owners. What about those high performance sports cars like Ferrari's, Lambo's, SLR's, or the not fuel efficient passenger cars like Mercedes Benz S-class's, AMG's, Maybach's, Jaguar's XJR's, BMW 750 iL's, Aston Martin's, Rolls Royces, are they excluded because rich people own them ????? :confuse:

    You also are forgetting this. The cheaper the oil the more the Chinese are going to buy and expand their country. They are building their economy also on oil. There automobile market went up 35% from last year and will surpass ours easily by 2011.

    I tend to agree with former General Wesley Clark on the issue. I actually have felt this way about this issue and founf out tonight he feels the same as I do. I have written him several times talking about GW, the automobile industry, jobs, healthcare. Wes Clark, like I've been saying for the last few years believe we need to invest the R&D in alternative fuels. He proposes a Multi-billion dollar investment in alternative energy's industry. What he is saying is we need the infrastructure to support it. We need to give the Big 3 real money to operate with and get their already advanced programs out on the market. Perhaps we could give the Big 3 a account and ask the CEO's to all work togeather in R&D and create a long lasting battery system that has the capacity to go long intervals without needing to be recharged. That my friend is the kind of R&D that needs to happen. It's not going to take a few million like president bush has proposed but rather several billions to hire and attrack the brightest minds to invent these new technology's. Just dialing back the faucet won't solve the problem when other buyers are out there ready to buy. The only way to get that to work is every industrialized country would have to be united and tell its citizens they can't own a SUV or other gas guzzling cars. I however could see the political backlash and those politicians wouldn't be re elected next term. ;)

    I also will comment on Ethanol. Corn isn't the best crop to get Ethanol from. It's a hoax. Corn, uses a lot of energy to grow. It requires huge sums of water, thus many farmers are forced to irrigate. My FIL is a 5000+ acre farmer and we often have discussions about this subject. He says milo/maze is one of the best crops one can grow for Ethanol. He said the problem is most yankees won't grow it because all they know how to grow is corn because that's what their daddy taught them. Well as sarcastic as that sounds their is a lot of truth in his words. Farmers are having razor thin profits because this president cut farm subsidize thus most farmers aren't willing to risk growing crops they aren't experienced with. The high prices of irrigating over the last couple of years (last year excluded because we had a wet summer) have put farmers in the red. My FIL, says he's still living off the money he made in the Clinton years. Willy, was a farmers president. ;) My FIL does see potential for bio-diesel from soybeans and animal sources and see's a future there.

    Rocky
  • "We have got to demand an end to oil dependency." Good thought; but first you have to have the people really want that. On my way to work (sharing a ride) the other day, on a short stretch of roading leading into town I counted 56 out of 59 vehicles with only a driver.
    Not much point screaming at the government for change until WE change!!! :confuse:
  • Unfortuantely for the collectivists, the real history of railroad building was exactly the opposite: the publicly funded railroads faired very poorly whereas the privately-built ones did much better financially. Why? Take for example Jay Cooke's Northern Pacific, due to public funding, the project was bulit on cost-plus basis, the higher the cost the higher he could bill the taxpayers; needless to say the result was shody workmanship at ridiculous cost (shody because he wanted it done quick, so he could get paid). Whereas the competing private railroads were built with much more care. Eventually all the major publicly funded railroads went bankrupt. Almost all railroads were eventually nationalized due to national security concerns (at the instigation of public railroad operators who could not compete with private railroad operators) not financial reasons.

    Enormous volumes have been written on the railroads, while this is not a railroad board, it's rather galling for anyone to completely rewrite the history for the exact opposite of the historical truth.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Whether or not they were eventually absorbed by other entities, the fact still remains that the infrastructure was created in majority part at public expense.

    Further, even the private charters were usually given vast real estate subsidies in the form of either outright ownership or easements to establish their right of ways, in many cases key to creating a large part of the vast wealth realized by their principles.

    There is an angle to everything.

    Like interstates and railroads, a new energy infrastructure will require tax and regulation participation to come into being, let alone fruition. Basic market influences alone aren't enough, even historically.
  • the fact still remains that the infrastructure was created in majority part at public expense.

    That's just patentedly wrong. The railroads that were built at taxpayer expense and government loans were largly bankrupt by 1873. The private railroads were the prosperous ones. If someone wants to cite history to prove something, at least get the historical facts right.

    Further, even the private charters were usually given vast real estate subsidies in the form of either outright ownership or easements to establish their right of ways, in many cases key to creating a large part of the vast wealth realized by their principles.

    Once again, you are making things up as you go. What you described was a major part of the Jay Cooke scheme; that and massive government loans. His company went bankrupt in the 1873 panic because it became a land speculator; railroad just became an excuse to seize land after he was able to receive government support for his quasi-public railroad company as he was the man who financed the Civil War for the North and well connected in DC. The really successful private railroad companies ran their business based on railroad traffic not land speculation.

    Like interstates and railroads, a new energy infrastructure will require tax and regulation participation

    Then it will be just as bankrupt as the publicly-sponsored railroads, and as fleecing as the interstates the construction of which have long been paid off yet with tolls still being collected.

    Basic market influences alone aren't enough, even historically.

    Basic market influences persist regardless whether we call something "public" or "private." "Public" does not talk or walk or make decisions on its own because it's an artificial entity. It always a bunch of insiders making decisions in the name of "the public" for their own private benefits. The choice is really between whether we want a playing field where everyone is equal in opportunity or some players are endowed with co-ercive powers in the name of the government for their own profiteering endeavors. Selfishness and consequently basic market influences do not stop, or even pause, when the robe of officialdom is placed on a person.
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    I will have to use my a/c more?
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    brightness, You are very intellegent but my brother it's not 1873, pal.

    I from my own experience think the government in many cases today can do the job faster, with more quality, and is cheaper. The private sectors today will skimp on quality to save an extra buck. They also will try to bend safety rules to get the job done quicker to receive bonuses. So why pay a outsider millions if not sometimes billions of dollars and compromise quality, safety, cost ? If the private sector fails he walks away or needs more money to complete the job. That is what I've seen in my lifetime being employed with the government. Contractors are a waste of tax payer money IMHO. ;)

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    I guess you are being sarcastic. Actually we all need to get Ventilated seats because you use less A/C from a independent study reported several months ago. It was something like 800,000,000 gallons of gasoline would be saved a year if every car has A/C seats. :surprise:

    Rocky
  • Human nature has not changed since 1873, or even since 1774, when the country was founded to be independent from government tyranny. Do not for a moment believe that we have created a new breed of Socialist New Men.

    Of course the private sector tries to save a buck whenever possible; that's what the consumers demand. The governments' deafness to that demand is the problem because the government is the ultimate monopoly. The pair of choices that you mentioning, that between government agency vs. contractor, is a false one: in most cases, government has no business handing out that contract or providing that particular service to begin with. The choice you are mentioning is between handing out coercively collected fruits of people's labor to politicians' friends who are robed in bureacratic uniforms vs. to friends who are not. It's a false choice because either way friends of politicians are receiving monopolistic power and get paid with coerced money; in normal day to day human interactions, that would be called robbery.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    The pair of choices that you mentioning, that between government agency vs. contractor, is a false one: in most cases, government has no business handing out that contract or providing that particular service to begin with.

    I guess you have prior experience granting contracts from the government to contractors ????? Interesting... If you have such experience then please explain to me why I've witnessed so much waste ???? In my field the government has to have "X" amount of security escorts via federal contractor to watch the contractors of the federal contractor work and that doesn't include a hour or two it takes for them to get through security because the workers aren't cleared. If the Feds would just assign and hire full-time qualified plant employees to do the jobs we wouldn't have to escort them around and it would be cheaper than hiring some outsider and paying them millions to do the jobs. The man hours to complete the job is wasteful. I have seen them screw up jobs and thus need more money or they will walk away. I might tend to be liberal on some issues brightness, and yes it gives our department more jobs but when I see waste as a tax payer I will make remarks.

    In my experience in most cases it would be cheaper for the government to just do the work themselves using the federal contractor, instead of having the federal contractor hire contract work to outside entity' s. This has been brought up in the past. I guess since you have previous knowledge and are a expert on the subject you can give me a rational answer ? ;)

    Rocky

    P.S.

    I drove my first flex-fuel E85 Ethanol Silverado last week at work and noticed no horsepower loss. I was actually quite impressed. :shades:
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 8,287
    We are not here to discuss government contractors or any of the other tangents that keep coming up. This discussion is supposed to be able changes that might or might not occur to the vehicles we drive.

    Please pay attention to the discussion titles. Off topic posts are simply going to be removed. We cannot veer off into anything, anytime, just because you find it interesting.

    Let's stick to the automotive please.

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  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I from my own experience think the government in many cases today can do the job faster, with more quality, and is cheaper

    That may or may not be true but I don't think that is the main issue when you're talking about global warming. The question is, does the government provide any worthwhile services that wouldn't otherwise be provided because they don't fit into a business model? Look at space exploration, gps and weather satellites. I guess you could argue that this was a total boondoggle but if you believe it has some merit then ask yourself, how would this have come about without government involvement. Look at the EPA. Private corporations have repeatedly demonstrated that they will dump their toxic waste into the rivers, ground, atmosphere because that is the cheapest way to get rid of it. So does the EPA provide a valuable service by preventing this? Every county has a planning and zoning commission. Another service provided by government that requires funding but doesn't generate income. While the defense industry has certainly become big business would it exist at all without government funding? I've already mentioned law enforcement and schools.

    My point isn't whether or not the government operates efficiently. I personally think that it doesn't. It's whether or not they are the only mechanism for achieving certain objectives? I think that they are.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I'm for a gradual increase in the gasoline tax, say 15 cents per year, and a corresponding decrease in the income tax. This would dampen demand for gasoline, while being revenue neutral. It would provide an incentive for buying fuel efficient cars, including hybrids and diesels, and reduce unnecessary driving.


    I agree completely. A fuel tax attacks the consumption issue from all angles. While I believe a revenue neutral tax is possible there are some that think it isn't. Okay, for the sake of argument I'll agree.

    Let's say I currently burn 600 gallons of gas a year, the national average. With your plan it would cost me $1,350 in the first 5 years if I chose to not alter my driving habits. Not a huge amount. What if the market conditions created by this tax result in electric vehicles (EVs) or plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) being available a few years earlier. It won't take long to recover that $1,350 with one of these vehicles. So it comes down to the question of whether you believe this policy will expedite alternative vehicles and whether you believe in long term financial planning.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Not to keep rolling off-track (sorry sneaks, I couldn't log in all day yesterday), so to speak, but the idea that the common carrier railroads, or any other major infrastructure since for that matter, were somehow the result of simple private capital investment and development is indefensible; the worst of historical revision, IMO.

    Even the earliest of permanent American railroads (not to be confused with small gravity lines, street lines and special purpose lines, etc. from the 1700's to 1830) were established as common carriers by assistance of public funding. The B&O was in part funded by the state of Maryland; an investment for which the state received 25% of the gross passenger receipts (certainly not the lion's share, or rather freight receipts, but it was off the top). The B&O was also the first line to grow into a major line, rather than being absorbed by some other entity, as was most common in early railroading. Perhaps I should have used the word investment, as see the use of public funding on such things indeed as investments in our future.

    Even in absence of public money participation of one form or another, railroads, most dramatically from 1862 forward when it in fact became an "infrastructure", were almost uniformly given limited right of eminent domain as part of their charter. To characterize much of the real right-of-way construction of the system after 1862 as not being part of a giant land-snatch is ludicrous. That legislatures were involved in making the roads possible is simply an historical given. The Santa Fe's black ink started coming in shortly after 1859 from the company's ability to set up real estate offices and sell farm land from the land grants they got from Congress! The newly settled farms and ranches were supposed to spur the need for the transportation of goods and people to be provided by whom? Why, the Santa Fe of course!

    Only one major road, the Great Northern, was able to avoid receivership during the depression of 1893-1897, and it was, in fact privately funded down to it's ballast. Hardly an indicator of the system in general or how it all came to be, but perhaps that is from where this impression of bold, independent American capitalism comes. I think it is a myopic view at best, though, specifically with regard to the railroads, and as it relates to real-world infrastructure development.

    The railroads were again bankrupted later on by a subsequent public works project and its associated by-products. That would be the Interstates. Once constructed, again, at substantial public expense and by right of eminent domain, the new infrastructure prompted investment in trucking and eventually reduced rail from premier to nearly dead status, with nationalization of passenger service and incredible carnage in freight services.

    The movement now, with and without public sentiment, in energy is to find alternatives to burning hydrocarbons. IMO, this is akin to the quest for a faster way to move goods than the canal (genesis of the railroads), or IOW a better way to drive our machines than oil or coal. In order to achieve this, and make it cost effective to the consumer, public funds will have to be spent along side private investment, and legislation will have to be enacted to enhance the prospects of new technologies. This is a fact of the industrial age and beyond.

    The legislation part is already underway in CA and other states, with emissions restrictions (or consumption curbing, more to the point) and last year, attempts were made, again in CA, to fund new energy development at the expense of, and through taxation on, old energy. It appears quite certain this avenue will be pursued again, not only in CA, but in other states that seem to routinely follow suit.

    The idea of an equal playing field seems romantic at best, and it takes a huge stretch to think it has been the overall development landscape of this country.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    I agree with at least a couple of posts back up a ways that ethanol is in part a scam. Frankly, I think the intent is nothing other than to line the pockets of major players like ADM...
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    wale_bate1: The railroads were again bankrupted later on by a subsequent public works project and its associated by-products. That would be the Interstates. Once constructed, again, at substantial public expense and by right of eminent domain, the new infrastructure prompted investment in trucking and eventually reduced rail from premier to nearly dead status, with nationalization of passenger service and incredible carnage in freight services.

    The railroads were declining long before the Interstate Highway Act was passed in 1956. They began declining during the 1920s, and were saved by the temporary boost of World War II (driving restrictions for the general public; the government used railroads to move the troops). After the war, they resumed their decline.

    Today freight rail service is actually healthy and expanding. It is expanding, ironically enough, because it has learned to work in conjunction with trucking companies to ship goods.

    Passenger rail service WOULD be healthy, except for government intervention that keeps unprofitable routes open. Politicians demand that unprofitable routes stay open (and receive a government subsidy) to appease constituents.

    It's one thing to say that government was needed or helped in one area, so therefore ALL government intervention or regulations in a totally venue also make sense. Through eminent domain and taxation, government paves the way for roads; I don't want government making the vehicles. If we think the Pontiac Aztek, made by a private corporation, was an ugly clunker...

    It's the same with mass transit - government may run the system, but private companies supply the equipment.

    (Whether government should run these systems is another matter - most urban mass transit systems started as PRIVATE companies, and were profitable, until local governments started interfering with their rate schedule to appease voters. The systems fell into the red, and then the local governments took them over, with the goal of keeping rates low while simultaneously appeasing labor unions - another block of voters - by signing off on generous wage and benefit agreements. So in areas where mass transit makes sense - large urban areas - and would be profitable, it continually loses money, and not because riders aren't demanding the service.)
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    wale_bate1: I agree with at least a couple of posts back up a ways that ethanol is in part a scam. Frankly, I think the intent is nothing other than to line the pockets of major players like ADM...

    Which is exactly why lots of us are suspicious of using government money to "help" certain technologies. It usually ends up "helping" the connected constituents of powerful politicians. And it isn't usually big-business Republicans or free-market types who end up obtaining these subsidies for the "public good." Trust me... ;)

    Even some of those with the best of intentions end up supporting boondoggles. The road to hell...

    THAT is what libertarians (rightly) fear. And the idea that environmentalists or liberal Democrats will be more pure, is, quite frankly, enough to make even the receptionist in our office laugh hysterically.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    G: good point on freight currently. I didn't go there because the post was already a novella.

    I don't need the goverment making the vehicles either, but I have little difficulty with mandating some minimum standards with regard to their production and sale via the legislature. And this as a former GOPer who came of driving age in the mid-seventies!

    I won't argue on whether or not goverment should run certain companies; I've seen it work both ways, and I can't summarily dismiss goverment operation as being uniformly inefficient, and neither can I categorically deny that private operation can often be advantageous. As far as union appeasement goes, how many non-goverment entities have shot their own toes off in that regard? GM and United just slop up to the front of the mind somehow! In general, I prefer the government to stay out of the operation of most business ventures, but I have to recognize the role of regulation in this age as necessary to varying degrees.

    I do believe, though, that to establish any national infrastructure for a key deliverable, goverment involvement in its creation is not only unavoidable, but vital.

    I also see having alternative energy development goaded by various legislative steps as a good thing for the US from economic, ecologic and foreign policy standpoints, even without regard to a discussion on GW.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Here's a thought that should've hit before, G:
    Weren't most, if not all, passenger routes profitable only because US mail service contracts were part of the bottom line? Was there ever a major passenger route that was truly in the black?

    Seems to me I remember something like that for early air routes as well...
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    wale_bate1: As far as union appeasement goes, how many non-goverment entities have shot their own toes off in that regard? GM and United just slop up to the front of the mind somehow!

    Yes, but GM and United and their workers are paying the price, not the public as a whole. (Unless the public is on the hook for the pensions if United went bankrupt. ERISA laws are an example of goverment intervention that is having an unintended consequence. ERISA safeguards often give workers LESS incentive to reach a compromise with the employer, as they don't have much to lose if the company does file for bankrutpcy. I can't remember whether United did declare bankruptcy.)

    In GM's case, it is undergoing a wrenching restructuring while working with the UAW to bring down labor costs.

    Government involvement or ownership usually means that, instead of the entity undergoing the necessary restructuring, it demands another bailout from the taxpayers without making any real changes in methods of operation (or making largely superficial changes).

    wale_bate1: I also see having alternative energy development goaded by various legislative steps as a good thing for the US from economic, ecologic and foreign policy standpoints, even without regard to a discussion on GW.

    But I was seeing higher energy prices (particularly higher gasoline prices) spur the same things, and many of those on the national stage who are now demanding that we "do something" were the same ones acting as though $1-a-gallon for unleaded is a constitutional right, and spinning all sorts of conspiracy theories regarding higher energy prices.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    I don't know about the old days, but I've heard that passenger rail service in the Northeastern Corridor (New York-New Jersey-Philadelphia-Washington, D.C.) is profitable today, or would be profitable if left to stand on its own, apart from the rest of Amtrak.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    "But I was seeing higher energy prices (particularly higher gasoline prices) spur the same things, and many of those on the national stage who are now demanding that we "do something" were the same ones acting as though $1-a-gallon for unleaded is a constitutional right, and spinning all sorts of conspiracy theories regarding higher energy prices..."

    I saw the same thing you did, but this harkens back to dependence, IMO and my memories of the 70's (the ones I still have). A group only need manipulate production or rather availability to revise the appeal of the product. Price goes too high, serious efforts begin to develop alternatives, and producers up production or simply release reserves, a la OPEC. Product goes cheap (relatively) again, and interest in moving forward (as I see it) dries up fast. I think that's a problem; I think we need to have the next great energy widget in our back pocket, and I believe whole-heartedly it'll require tax money and phony market pressure to get there before we hit some economic tragedy.

    Most recently, I think speculation had as much to do with sustaining prices as plain old normal supply and demand or even manipulation...
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Ahh, but corn subsidies as pertains to ethanol? I think these things may start off as aimed at independent farmers, and get usurped by hook and crook by agri-monsters who figure out how to bypass loophole security. I don't know enough about it though to really hash through.

    Seems that good regs can be turned to ineffective or even bad by determined parties, says I, and the bigger the more capable. Lotta sentiment that CAFE is ineffective, with which I agree in part, but the problem isn't the reg, IMO, but rather the gaping loophole in it that was intended to protect people who use trucks as workhorses, and instead gets used to mushroom a whole class of basically big station wagons that can skip the red tape.

    The problem doesn't seem to be the regulation, to me, but rather failure to tighten it up. YMMV (and probably does!). ;)
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I think we need to have the next great energy widget in our back pocket, and I believe whole-heartedly it'll require tax money and phony market pressure to get there before we hit some economic tragedy.


    I agree.

    I believe that a managed transition from our oil dependence will be less painful and disruptive than one that is achieved through a lot of false starts caused by volatile price swings? A nice thing about a fuel tax, in addition to its simplicity, is that it could conceivably generate more revenue than it takes from the taxpayer's wallet. How is this possible? Let's say a $1/gallon tax effectively curbs consumption by 5%. We have effectively added 1 million barrels a day to the global market. Should have the same impact on prices as OPEC deciding to pump 1 million barrels a day more. If this could drive down the price of oil by $10/barrel that should result in a 25 cent per gallon savings at the pump. So the government is collecting $1/gallon but it is effectively only costing us 75 cents a gallon.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    wale_bate1: Ahh, but corn subsidies as pertains to ethanol? I think these things may start off as aimed at independent farmers, and get usurped by hook and crook by agri-monsters who figure out how to bypass loophole security. I don't know enough about it though to really hash through.

    That's the problem with subsidies - the intended beneficiaries and the actual beneficiaries are often entirely different parties.

    Especially with "independent farmers" - a group that usually exists more in the popular imagination than actual fact. The brutal truth is that farming is now a business - a BIG business.

    Modern-day Eddie Alberts and Eva Gabors aren't going to grow corn for ethanol production just for the fun of it, or to earn pin money. Archer-Daniel-Midlands is going to grow that corn, and get those subsidies.

    The independent farmers tend to be what we call "gentleman farmers" around here. They do it as a hobby (or tax write-off), often because one spouse - or both - wants to "live in the country." This usually lasts for less than a decade.

    wale_bate1: Lotta sentiment that CAFE is ineffective, with which I agree in part, but the problem isn't the reg, IMO, but rather the gaping loophole in it that was intended to protect people who use trucks as workhorses, and instead gets used to mushroom a whole class of basically big station wagons that can skip the red tape.

    CAFE is a good example of problems with the regulatory approach - government is never going to close that loophole. It may be tweaked, but that's it. Too many people want SUVs and trucks, and are going to continue to buy them for personal use. They vote, and legislators know it.

    It's like the speed limit. If the government wanted to, it could simply require all cars to have governors that set the maximum speed at 75 mph. That would end the speeding "problem" (at least on limited access highways).

    Government won't do this because it knows that people regularly drive faster and want to continue driving faster. If anything, this approach could spur a backlash against speed limits and ultimately lead to their repeal, or at least lead to raising them to 100 or so mph in several states.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    "The independent farmers tend to be what we call "gentleman farmers" around here. They do it as a hobby (or tax write-off), often because one spouse - or both - wants to "live in the country." This usually lasts for less than a decade..."

    LOL!

    On CAFE, now I think we come full circle in this riddle. The votes are now there to force this effect without federal consent; in fact, voicing (IMO) common sentiment to overthrow Washington.

    CA's law (and I believe NY and WA, for starters) will affect auto mfrs on a national level with regard to emissions restrictions (or as we all know consumption curbing). The blanks will get filled in...
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    That's why the founding fathers of this republic were cognizant of the need to guard against big government

    Well the Constitution does recognize the government's role to provide common defense and promote general welfare of the US. It's not a stretch to say that energy self sufficiency would fall under both categories.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    There are two problems:

    One, there is a very real question as to whether California has the authority to do this. The lawsuit filed in response to California's action raises a genuine question of law.

    Two, if Californians are concerned about global warming, they must not remember that when they buy a new vehicle, as I was stunned by the number of big SUVs and pickups I saw when visiting the Bay Area (2003) and Los Angeles-Santa Monica-San Diego (2006). Far more than around here - even taking into account the smaller number of vehicles in this area. There seems to be some sort of disconnect...
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 8,287
    While a discussion about railroads might seem "on track" (feel free to groan) let's try to stick to the automotive as much as possible. Thanks!

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  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    I think the railroad analogy "ties" in quite nicely and had a full head of "steam" Certainly, my "train" of thought was "coupled" to the subject, and inspired "railings" in dissent. Okay, I get the "signal" and will "switch" my "freight" to a more dedicated "line"...
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