QUOTE(Just Leave me Alone! @ Mar 11 2005, 06:46 AM)
Sure not everyone is going to buy a hybrid, but more people certainly would. This is basic free market stuff here Cube. You have $10. $2 goes to food, $5 goes to rent, $2 goes to gas, and $1 goes to beer. If the price of gas goes up to $3, are you going to stop drinking beer? Some people would, but others find the beer more important than driving everywhere and would change their behaviors to keep spending just $2 of $10 on gas.
So in doing that you are going to spend a minimum of $5,000 more on your car than you normally would? Or better yet, you have a paid off car and you are going to buy a new one just so you can get a hybrid? That doesn't make sense. As it stands right now, buying hybrids is largely a political statement and a statement of your values. Because they cost so much more than a regular car right now, the price of gas would have to go up a lot higher than it is to make them cost effective.
But the point in all of this is that it doesn't consider the people that will be hurt by something like this the most - the lower and middle class of society. Any time we start talking about a consumption tax of any kind, these people are going to be hit the hardest no matter how the tax is structured.
QUOTE(Just Leave me Alone!)
What city is going to support building a public transportation system that no one needs? Spending the tax revenue gained from the tax on public transportation is not a bad idea. That way you are creating a need and simultaneously offering more options to filling that need.
Seeing as how I work in the transit industry currently I can guarantee you that the city does not build public transit because the people want it, they do it so they can receive funds for the government and create jobs. Public transit funds are not based on supply and demand, in fact they don't even factor into the equation.
As an example, Dallas, TX has been building a light rail system called DART for several years now. I lived there for several years and extensions of the system were never once put to a community vote indicating the city wanted feedback on the system. In fact I don't believe the citizens were ever even asked if they wanted it in the first place. The city acquired some funds for it, thought it would be a good idea and they went for it.
As to the other part of your response - what government agency in the history of this country has ever
spent revenue from a tax on the things it was supposed to be spent on and only the things it was supposed to be spent on? Ever since I have been of voting age numerous taxes have been passed, some of them are sold to voters as being for a specific project. In the end it always works out that the project gets underfunded because the tax money was spent on some other crisis.
If your solution requires the good faith of the government to spend taxes on certain projects then you are going to be in for a rude awakening there.
QUOTE(Just Leave me Alone!)
I could not disagree more with the implication that there are no alternatives or ways to do the right thing. Driving a car with better fuel millage, taking a bus, walking or riding a bike, get a motorcycle, carpool, consolidate trips. There are tons of things that we can do right now. As SWC pointed out it absolutely does follow that society will slowly change to use less fuel if fuel is more expensive. Same basic free market stuff discussed above.
I'm not saying there are not alternatives right now, I'm saying there are not desirable alternatives for the majority
of the country right now. Those things would have to be in place for something like this to even be considered.
Better fuel economy - ok, so how do you propose we do this? Should everyone just write a letter to GM and ask them pretty please with a cherry on top to make SUV's with better fuel economy? Currently, the only way that increases in fuel economy happen are due to government legislation requiring them. If by this you mean that everyone should start driving smaller cars well good luck getting people to do that. Try selling that message in Texas where almost every car in the parking lot at the super market is a pickup truck or an SUV. It is a huge cultural change and people will be very resistant of it in many parts of the country.
Taking a bus - This goes back to my point on public transit. 1) Many cities do not even have public transit systems. 2) Many cities do not have good
public transit systems and 3) In a lot of areas of the country there is a huge social stigma attached to riding the bus, it is for poor
people. In the vast majority of America public transit is non-existent or very poorly implemented.
Walking or riding a bike - This assumes things about city infrastructure that just doesn't hold true for the majority of American cities. Here in San Francisco virtually everything I need is within 8 blocks or so and I can and do walk to get it most of the time. But try telling someone that lives in the suburbs of Houston that they have to walk to the grocery store - depending on what area you live in that could be miles
. Better yet, try telling them to do that in August (or really most of the year with the exception of about 3 months) when you walk outside and feel like you just stepped into the shower because it is so hot and humid. Most inner cities are not set up to be very walkable, almost without exception suburbs are not meant to be walkable.
Regarding bikes - most cities also do not have dedicated bike lanes and drivers are not accustomed to giving bikes the right of way. In other words it simply isn't safe to ride. I'm an avid cyclist and even here in San Francisco where we have fought for years to get dedicated bike lanes and drivers are pretty aware of cyclists it is still very dangerous riding in the city. By simply getting out there you accept a lot more risk than your average driver.
So, in summary, none of the things above are impossible to accomplish. They will however take a lot of work, desire, time and money to accomplish - some of them are even pretty big cultural changes. These are not alternatives for everyone and until you have reasonable alternatives for everyone, implementing some sort of tax like this would be folly.
QUOTE(Just Leave me Alone!)
Please define "better". I think that your method alone takes longer, is more expensive, does not address the issue in rural America at all, and certainly does not guarantee a change in people's behavior unless the public transportation is much less expensive than driving yourself(making it even more expensive).
Ok then, please explain how your method meets those criteria. I have shown you in the parts of my post above that it doesn't.
The method I proposed does address rural america because they could certainly take advantage of public transit projects, higher mileage cars and alternative fuels.
Public transportation is always less expensive than driving because it is generally partially funded by the government. Plus it is a very easy sell in areas where traffic is bad because it allows people to relax on their commutes home and read a book or get more work done. It can be sold to people by offering things like wireless access and cell phone service on board trains.
Yes this will of course cost money, lets not be naive here. If we are talking about getting off of oil in our society this is not a small change and it is of course going to cost a lot of money to do this. The tax proposed here doesn't address any of the underlying problems with moving off of oil around the country.