Time to make consumers responsible for their actions?
Since the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, pundits on both sides of the aisle have been trying to spin what this landmark ruling means, not just for healthcare, but in terms of the power of government. According to Republicans, the federal government now essentially has complete power to force Americans towards, or away, from a particular behavior through the power of taxation.
Thus, for instance, rather than giving tax credits to Americans that drive hybrid cars, the government could instead tax those Americans that don’t drive hybrid cars. Read more…
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) foresees $57 billion gas tax shortage
There is no doubt greater fuel efficiency is a good thing, but there are unanticipated consequences. One of those is a loss of gas tax revenue, and the CBO is forecasting that greater fuel efficiency caused by new fuel economy requirements will decrease gas tax revenues by $57 billion through 2025.
To offset the problem, the CBO suggests a $.05 gas tax increase and a VMT tax on plug-in cars. Read more…
But billions more securing OPEC shipping lanes
I believe in the theory of free market capitalism. Ultimately, if not free markets, then it’s a handful of people dictating life for the rest of us. Unfortunately, today’s free markets aren’t very free and for the most part, a handful of people are dictating life for the rest of us. Nevertheless, I understand the end all tax subsidies argument, just as I empathize with the need for tax subsidies counter-argument.
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Major changes in policy and industry support, plus a much better understanding of consumer behavior needed
While I am a big fan of plug-in cars, I’m a bigger fan of US energy independence, especially finding a way to end OPEC dependence as quickly as possible. In theory, plug-ins offer a great way to overcome this challenge. The real world, on the other hand, is a far more difficult place.
It’s not that plug-ins don’t have an extremely important role to play, it’s just that much more needs to be done — and should have already been done — along the path to the plug-in revolution. Like it or not, however, but the auto industry and policy makers have used plug-ins as an excuse not to do more. And the latest Oxford plug-in study, unfortunately, supports this position. Read more…
What if every automaker sold as many hybrid vehicles as did Toyota last month?
Yesterday was an interesting day. Turns out that hybrid cars are more green than plug-ins in a majority of American markets. And, even where plug-ins offer a significant green advantage, range anxiety and costs remain huge obstacles to widespread plug-in adoption. Unfortunately, those costs and that range anxiety probably won’t be resolved until sometime in the next decade according to another study released yesterday. Even then, the improvements might not be enough for all out mainstream plug-in penetration.
Quite simply, plug-ins have a long journey ahead, but for Toyota, mainstream hybrid cars are already here. Read more…
Even without a strike on Iran, is OPEC dependence already crushing the US economy?
How much does US foreign oil dependence cost? According to the latest estimates, simply protecting US oil shipping lanes — to import foreign oil — costs the US at least $80 billion per year. But that’s not even the worst of it, President Bush’s income tax cuts, as well as President Obama’s payroll tax cuts — both meant to stimulate the economy — were wiped out by the rising costs of oil to the tune of $212 billion.
$80 billion lost every year on oil lanes, $212 billion lost on economic stimulation efforts, extra military costs, plus just spending hundreds of billions every year on foreign oil. Is there really anything more important to the economy than oil? And is there anything more dangerous to the 99 percent of America struggling to get by than OPEC dependence? Read more…
America, we have an energy problem. It’s called Americans
These days Republicans talk about taxes — as in no new taxes – yet they have no problem buying gas guzzling pickup trucks subsidized with Fed funny money, which is increasing both US debt and foreign oil dependence, while becoming an indirect tax upon America’s future. Similarly, Republicans have no problem creating pollution, causing wars — all things that require massive clean up programs, military spending and, again, result in indirect taxes. Ultimately, Republicans love being the stupid monkey that doesn’t see or hear all the evil around them — that they help create.
But Democrats aren’t much better. In fact, they might even be worse. They yell Union and America, but buy imports. They call cars like the Honda Civic hybrid and the Nissan Leaf two of the most intelligent purchases available in America. They know why you should buy such vehicles. It’s what a real Democrat should do – reduce personal foreign oil dependence and CO2 footprints — but they can’t actually get themselves to pull the trigger. They won’t put their money where their mouths are.
Yet, we wonder why there is an energy problem in America? Hello!? Both parties suck in the real world. It’s all just stupid hypocrisy. Read more…
The right mix of cost and fuel economy
So, you need a new ride and cost-effectiveness is your key benchmark. That means long term thinking. The only way to squeeze the most out of an automotive purchase is to think long term, and if you’re going to think long term, then you need to factor in long term costs of ownership.
Thus, the best two cars for higher gas prices, with long term cost-effectiveness and cheap upfront costs as the key metrics, are the Mitsubish i and the Toyota Prius c. Read more…
Trying too hard to turn electric cars into something they are not?
Aside from costs, an undoubtedly huge issue, electric cars make much more sense than most consumers believe. Still, EVs require managed expectations. Today and well into the future, most electric cars are pure commuter cars.
Consequently, does the electric highway, set to stretch from Canada to Mexico along the West Coast’s Interstate 5 change that, at least in that neck of the woods? Read more…
Mitt Romney attacks “gas hike trio”
For a long time I was a big advocate of the gas tax. Higher gasoline prices seemed the only way to push consumers towards embracing fuel efficiency. However, it’s obvious that gasoline taxes are a combustible political issue, and just not the path to energy independence. Voters just won’t allow it.
And Mitt Romney is trying to use this reality to attack the Obama administration over higher gasoline prices and related rhetoric, but should gasoline prices be the focus of energy policy? More to the point, is cheap gasoline, or energy, synonymous with energy security and US energy independence? Read more…