By BRAD WARTHEN
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
JOHN McCAIN and Barack Obama are lucky there’s such a thing as Republicans and Democrats in this country, because neither would be able to get the Energy Party nomination.
They’re also lucky that the Energy Party exists only in my head, because I believe its nominee could tap into a longing, among the very independent voters Messrs. McCain and Obama need to court for victory, for a pragmatic, nonideological, comprehensive national energy policy. This independent voter longs for it, anyway.
What is the greatest failure of George W. Bush as president? If you answered “Iraq,” you lose. His greatest failure was summed up well by Sen. Joe Biden, who said at the 2006 Galivants Ferry Stump Meeting, “History will judge George Bush harshly not for the mistakes he has made… but because of the opportunities that he has squandered.”
The biggest wasted opportunity was when he failed, on Sept. 12, 2001, to ask Americans to sacrifice, to work together to shake off “the grip of foreign oil oligarchs,” and “plan the demise of Islamic fundamentalism.”
Gasoline was between about $1.40 and $1.50 a gallon then. If we had applied a federal tax increase then of $1 or $2 — as voices as varied as Tom Friedman, Charles Krauthammer, Jim Hoagland and Robert Samuelson have urged for years — we’d still have been paying less per gallon than we are now, and the money would have stayed in this country, in our hands, rather than in those of Mahmoud Ahmajinedad, or Hugo Chavez, or our “friends” the Saudis (you know, the ones who underwrite the Wahhabist madrassas).
And who, on the day after the terrorist attacks, would have refused? Most Americans would have been glad to be asked to do something to fight back.
We could have used that money for a lot of things, from funding the War on Terror (rather than passing the debt to our grandchildren) to accelerating the development of hydrogen, solar, wind, clean coal, methanol-from-coal, electric cars, mass transit — on something useful. We would have started conserving a lot more a lot faster, reducing demand enough to deliver a shock to world oil prices. Demand would have resumed its rise because of such irresistible forces as Chinese growth, but we would have had a salutary effect.
But we didn’t. We didn’t do anything to defund the terrorists or the petrodictators, or to reduce upward pressure on the national debt, or to respond to rising world energy demands, or to save the planet. We didn’t do it because we can’t do it individually and have an appreciable effect — it would take a national effort, and that takes leadership. And no one in a position of political leadership — not the president, not his fellow Republicans, and not their Democratic opposition — has stood up and said, Let’s get our act together, and here’s how….
Getting our act together would require leaders who are no longer interested in playing the Party Game. In Messrs. McCain and Obama, we had an opportunity. No major Republican is less into party than John McCain, which is why so many Republicans wanted to deny him the nomination. And in Barack Obama, Democrats have finally settled on the far-less-partisan alternative.
But in the energy realm, what have we gotten? Sen. Obama generally sticks to the liberal/Democratic playbook: No drilling offshore or in ANWR. Play down nuclear, play up solar and wind.
Sen. McCain, at least, is not doctrinaire Republican on energy. For that, you have to look to someone like Jim DeMint, whose op-ed piece on our pages a week ago extolled drilling, but excoriated “cap and trade.”
Sen. McCain will at least take some items from the left (cap and trade, CAFE standards) and some from the right (let states decide whether to drill offshore), but he’s mushy about it. And any credit he gets for ideological flexibility is overshadowed by his being the author of the biggest pander on energy this year — the proposal for a “gas tax holiday.”
An Energy Party nominee wouldn’t propose to lower the price of gasoline at the pump, so if that’s what you want — and a lot of you do want that — you can just stop reading now. Making it temporarily easier to buy more foreign oil is in no way in the national interest, and a leader would have the guts to explain that.
The Energy nominee would increase domestic production in the short term and lead a no-holds-barred national effort to take us beyond major dependence on anybody’s oil. He (or she) would put America at the forefront of both energy innovation and environmental stewardship, and would not let any sort of ideology stand in the way. (We must distinguish, for instance, between an environmental goal that matters, such as global climate change, and the inconvenience of a few caribou.) The Energy nominee would, given the chance:
- Drill off our coast, something we’ve seen can be done with minimal environmental risk.
- Drill in the ANWR (which, as detractors note, would not solve the problem, but it would help, and would demonstrate that we’re serious).
- Prohibitively tax the ownership of SUVs, and any other unconscionable, antisocial behavior.
- Lower speed limits, and enforce them (use the fines to pay for more traffic cops).
- Take money away from highway construction, and devote it to mass transit.
- Build nuclear plants with the urgency of the Manhattan Project.
- Develop electric cars at Apollo speed.
We need leadership that respects no one’s sacred ideological cows, left or right — leadership that will take risks to do what works, both for the nation and ultimately for the planet.
Is that really so much to ask?
Brad, while I can certainly agree with most of the Energy Party’s platform, the “party’s” error comes in viewing ANWR or offshore drilling as somehow a partisan issue, as if the environment and the interests of the planet are a left-wing concern.
Moreover, you say that drilling in ANWR “would help…and demonstrate that we’re serious.”
Well, I’ll disagree with some of my environmentalist brethren in saying the problem with drilling in ANWR and offshore is not that it wouldn’t help, but that it WOULD(although rather incrementally). Which also means that it would show precisely that we are NOT serious about the urgency to move away from dependency on oil. It would inevitably delay and defer the moves we need to take.
Then there are the environmental costs; sure, if you compare it to the overall global warming issue ANWR may seem “relatively” small. But you know darn well that more is at stake there then the convenience “of a few caribou,” and anyway, that’s the kind of thinking that got us into the global warning scenario in the first place.
$4 a gallon gas hurts me as much as most anybody, but I think it’s one of the best things that could have happened to this country.
Lastly, on sacrifice: Jimmy Carter asked for sacrifice 31 years ago (!) and is STILL being roasted for it in right-wing circles. (Instead of being celebrated as a prophet, which he should be.) It’s sad that my granddad’s party, which once stood for limited government and individual responsibility, has exalted self-centeredness and consumerism to the point that “sacrifice” has become a dirty word in their vocabulary, offensive to the “American way of life.”
George Bush didn’t squander an opportunity to hike gas prices after 9/11. He chose not to. What else would you expect an oil man from Texas and his puppeteer Vice President with deep oil company ties to do?? Bush and Cheney will be laughing all the way to the bank over the next few years when the payback is made.
One other point – your call for:
“Lower speed limits, and enforce them (use the fines to pay for more traffic cops).”
doesn’t work in practice. Let’s assume a minimum of $100K for a state trooper with salary, benefits, equipment, etc. How many of them do you think you would need to make any impact on the number of people who would exceed the 55 m.p.h. speed limit? And let’s assume you could hire enough troopers to scare drivers to stay under that limit. Then who is going to pay for the troopers when they aren’t writing the tickets to pay for their own salaries? Hmmm… As William F. Buckley said “Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.”
It’s amazing that an idea so misbegotten and destructive as a 100 percent gasoline tax could have fixed itself so firmly in your consciousness, Mr. Warthen.
But for you to advise that the government “prohibitively tax the ownership of SUVs, and any other unconscionable, antisocial behavior” and “lower speed limits, and enforce them” to “use the fines to pay for more traffic cops” makes me worry that you and Ron Morris have caught some virus that causes men to think like little old ladies.
First Morris imitates Bob Jones and writes that Clemson and Carolina should forbid their players from appearing on Playboy’s All-America team, and now you write this testosterone-free account of how America should become a government-run monastery for the common good.
Understand this, Mr. Warthen: The more the government takes over, the less “life, liberty and tne pursuit of happiness” there is for the best of us.
Your totalitarian socialism not only doesn’t work, it’s completely un-American.
Mcfarland has nailed it. Next issue please.
Brad, let me take this one, OK? Penultimo and Richard, there’s nothing totalitarian about taxing gasoline or SUV’s through the roof. You’re still 100% free to buy as much gas or as many SUV’s as you want, you just have to pay for it. If you don’t like the system of taxation that targets gasoline or SUV’s, you vote the Energy Party out of power.
Brad, I don’t agree with you about drilling off shore or in Anwar for several reasons. First, these will not even begin to produce oil for several years. Secondly if we use the money that it will take to fund these drillings, and pour it into nuclear, wind, and solar technology, we’ll have a major solution before that. Thirdly, petroleum use is one of the major causes of global warming, and it won’t profit us one bit to have oil if we also have an uninhabitable planet. (And you can bet that China and India will be more than happy to buy that oil).
I’m also concerned about SUV’s. The darn things won’t just disappear, and probably 2% of them are actually needed by their owners. The problem is that when the rest of them are turned in, they are going to be sold to the poorer in our population (because there will be little demand for them). Those who can least afford these gas guzzlers will then be stuck with them. Maybe a high tax on those things will discourage people. I hope so.
Finally, when it comes to legislating morality, it gets very iffy. There are those who are convinced it’s their God given right to drive 80(or more)mph in massive gas guzzling behemoths, and nothing any one can say is going to make them give a hardly. Unless our future president can convince people that they need to actually help, it’s going to be very difficult to accomplish anything in this area.
If the tax had been implemented, Bush would have spent it on war. He was determined at the outset to produce a war, and 9/11 gave him that opportunity. So, any revenues that the country would have raised by hiking the gas tax would have been applied to the war effort, to support the president’s (blatantly incorrect) assurances that “the war would end soon” and “gas prices would go back down”.
Drilling for any more oil domestically only makes sense once we have enacted serious conservation efforts to reduce our consumption. Otherwise, we will only squander those reserves in a hurry.
Drilling without conserving? Bad idea.
Tack another flip-flop onto McCain’s history of flip-flops. He now supports offshore drilling for oil and ANWR. He now supports offshore drilling and ANWR.
The price of gas has risen so much that it now costs as much money to gas up our 2004 Saturn ION as it took to gas up our “work-release” van, a 1999 GMC 15 passenger van, in 2000.
Opening up the coast for offshore drilling will not help. I saw an article in the New York Times that the ships used for offshore drilling are booked solid five years in advance! Likewise, the cost of building ships for offshore drilling has skyrocketed.
NY Times Article: Dearth of Ships Delays Drilling of Offshore Oil
One other point that is rarely ever brought up in this debate. If we drill for oil in ANWR versus the Gulf, how does the resulting crude compare? The ANS crude from ANWR is a “heavy” and “sour” variety of crude. “Heavy refers to the fact that it is very dense and requires a lot of work to refine, which in turn will yield less gasoline than “light” crude. “Sour” means that it contains more sulfur, and is therefore more difficult to refine to meet pollution standards.
“West Texas Intermediate” or “WTI crude is, by comparison, a light sweet crude, that is very easy to refine, which yields a lot of gasoline. As I understand it, one of the current problems facing the industry is simply the lack of refineries who will process the heavy sour stuff.
Any discussion about drilling also needs to take into account the time involved. Last month, Florida’s Republican House Speaker Marco Rubio called McCain ‘disingenuous’ for linking drilling to gas prices.
Of course, companies backing this option already have leases to drill in the Gulf of Mexico. they just don’t want to spare the expense of drilling so deeply.
Finally, I think that the characterization that those who support alternatives are only supporting corn-based ethanol is false. We now have the ability to use switchgrass and other cellulosic, rather than food sources. Also the potential for algae fuel remains on the table:
Finally, an article written by Gal Luft in today’s WaPo “Iran and Brazil Can Do It. So Can We.” should be of interest to readers
Not only must we reduce our dependence on petroleum in the long term, we as consumers must demand more flexible options. Conservating our current sources, and diversifying our current options seem the best way to meet the challenges we currently face.
Bonus points for Zah-Z-Frah-Z — Originality of Name.
The rest of this blogging is just too deep and boring.
Ethanol is uneconomical and had its own environmental costs. It wastes the diesel fuel to plant and harvest crops which never should have been planted, and only were because of federal crop subsidies.
The power to tax is the power to destroy. Statists like Brad Warthen like to use punitive taxes to destroy free markets, because there is no demand in free markets for the silly ideology of Brad Warthen.
My driving an SUV is not only none of his business, it may actually be more economical and environmentally responsible than the old car he drives, and the tiny econoboxes driven by other socialist greenies.
I can haul more people and gear on vacation in a full-size Suburban at 20 MPG than the hippies can in two fully loaded subcompact cars, which will only get about 27 MPG. One Suburban at 20 MPG = 2 subcompacts getting 40 MPG, and very few of the do.
But do you have good gonga, Lee Muller?
“My driving an SUV is not only none of his business, it may actually be more economical and environmentally responsible than the old car he drives, and the tiny econoboxes driven by other socialist greenies.”
OK, prove your point, Lee
1) How is your driving an SUV more economical? Please show us your figures.
2) Are you saying that only socialists drive “econoboxes” (which I suppose you are using to refer to economy vehicles)? If that’s the case, given the latest consumer and manufacturing trends, then “socialism” must be taking the nation by storm. NOT!
As usual, your silly rhetoric gets in the way of making any kind of point, much less be persuasive.
Sorry, Phillip, but Mr. Warthen used the word “prohibitively” to describe his tax on the “ownership” of SUVs. That means you wouldn’t be able to afford to put your SUV on the road, so his scheme is totalitarian.
It’s also stupid. People and auto dealers are running away from SUVs like they stinging insects. Taxing what people don’t want is useless.
Mr. Warthen, until I read this (I won’t tell you what room in the house the Money&Opinion section was read in) I thought that only 536 people actually had the chutzpah to believe that things like cap and trade and CAFE were good ideas. You are now the 2nd person whose professional title isn’t Congressman or Senator to believe this methane, the other being the aforementioned Mr. Friedman, who unlike you lives in the same metropolitan area with the other goobers. When McBama takes office, what that person thinks about energy is relevant only with regards to letting us know what bills they would sign or veto. It’s the fact that congress has done absolutely nothing about energy for the past 30 years that has gotten us into this mess and no President can force congress to act and were an executive order able to do so, even the most left-wing American would have to concede that #43 would issue such an order.
Fortunately, since like most of the State’s readers you live in the real world, you understand most of what needs to be done. Of course, the answers lie not with whom the Energy Party would like to see run for President; rather they would come from the Energy Party’s congressional and senatorial candidates and state legislators and governors and city and county council members.
Is it not possible (even likely) that the reason that Columbia is not yet the Hydrogen Mecca of the world due to poor governmental laws at the local, state and national levels? Would the Energy Party candidate call for eliminating red tape before calling for unneeded taxes and subsidies? Would the Energy Party candidate understand that subsidising corn for ethanol has cost all Americans with higher food prices, that sugar cane producers get more in subsidies for refined sugar and as thus do not want to generate more ethanol, or that hemp would be the most efficient form of producing ethanol, if only it weren’t ILLEGAL? Besides, Brazil would love to ship some of its ethanol here, except not only does it not qualify for any subsidies; it gets hit with a tariff. What would happen if farmers had to choose (hopefully sucessfully) what crops to grow and consumers had the benefit of competition? Then we get to CAFE, which does nothing to make cars more fuel-efficent; rather it costs automakers money as they have to build cars no one wants to buy at any price. Besides, if you have children, isn’t their safety just as important as fuel economy? In an accident, would you rather be in a Toyota Echo or a GMC Suburban? Even at $4 or $5/gallon, some parents may side with the SUV on that one. Calling cap and trade an idea is akin to calling intelligent design a scientific theory. Let’s see, under cap and trade, companies would be allowed to pollute all they want, so long as they bought enough “pollution credits” from someone else? Either a company pollutes beyond an acceptable standard or they do not. Period. Even if this idea had merit, the commodity exchange would make payday lending look ethical and honest by comparison.
Going back to a national 55 miles per hour speed limit is something that needs to be left back in 1974. “Dream Weaver” good, making millions of Americans criminals, bad. John Warner is one of just 100 examples as to why the 17th Amendment should be repealed and we go back to having our U.S. Senators appointed by state legislatures.
Finally the terrorism angle: Oil is a commodity. Several Muslim nations have it for sale and we want to buy it. Is this any different from an African-American Catholic from New York who likes mustard-based barbeque getting supplied by Maurice? The problem in the middle east is a very simple one: Religion. Get rid of that cancer and you will cure the world of its greatest disease.
I just gave you an example of how an SUV is often more economical. Here it is in detail , for the hippies who didn’t take simple arithmetic in public school:
Smart Family of 5 travels to the beach in their GMC Suburban, getting 20 to 22 miles per gallon.
Dumb Greens family of five drives their two subcompacts, with Mom and one child in one car, Dad and two children in the other, both cars packed to the ceiling. Fully loaded, these 2 cars MPG falls from their normal 35 to 27. Their net MPG = 27 divided by 2 cars = 13.5 MPG.
Let’s say it is 270 miles to the beach and back.
The SUV uses 270/20 mpg = 13.5 gallons of fuel.
The 2 subcompacts use 270/27 mpg/ 2 cars = 20 gallons of fuel.
The SUV saved 6.5 gallons of fuel. This is not just an academic example. I got these numbers from 2 GMC Suburbans that went to the beach last month, and from another family that went with us, and drove a Toyota Corolla and a Honda Civic, using more fuel.
Not to mention all the fuel it will take to melt down the Corolla and Civic and replace them, while the SUVs are still on the road.
“Dumb Greens family of five drives their two subcompacts, with Mom and one child in one car, Dad and two children in the other, both cars packed to the ceiling.”
Needless to say Lee, such a comparison was never made in your first post. Suffice it to say that your comparison of two subcompacts cars to one SUV on a trip to the beach is well, Two apples to one orange, in a set of unique- if not extraordinary circumstances.
Obviously, your scenario is not reflective of average daily use, but trips to the beach. Would you like to recalculate those figures again using mileage of ONE of the new domestically made subcompacts on a normal daily commute?
When you do that, and the results come up the same, then you can claim that the SUV is in fact “more efficient”.
“The problem in the middle east is a very simple one: Religion. Get rid of that cancer and you will cure the world of its greatest disease.”
There’s an awful lot of Jews, Christians, Muslims (not to mention the Druze, Yezidis, Samaritans, Mandaeans, Zoroastrians, and Bahais) that you’ll need to find a “cure” for.
Aside from the practicalities, just how will such an approach ever make us energy independent?
Chinese Tallow Oil (CTO) will be the next King of the South. It was brought to the United States in the 1700s by Ben Franklin to make candles, lamp oil and soap. It will be the new feedstock for the production of biodiesel. Soybeans yield about 50 gallons of oil and 1200 lbs of animal feed a year. Soybeans have to be planted every year, and need pesticides and herbicides. The Chinese Tallow Tree (CTT) needs to be planted once, needs no pesticides, herbicides or fertilizer as it produces its own. In each acre planted, the CTT will yield about 1000 gallons of oil and 1400 lbs of feed per year for the farmer, his children, his grandchildren and etc….
If you really sit down and think about the energy situation it’s really quite simple. Simply continue with the ban on most off-shore/ANWR drilling. Eliminate subsidies for oil, including all the military-related subsidies. Provide subsidies for fuel efficient cars and renewables. And VOILA! Consumers shift to smaller cars, electricity companies invest heavily in renewables and away from coal. Public transportation thrives. Our environment remains clean, and everyone is happy as a pig in slop. Oil is really a pretty bad thing for many reasons and we need to get away from it. Now is as good a time as any.
Regarding Lee’s SUV math, he makes an excellent argument for public transportation. More people per vehicle equals less people on the road, less pollution, and more bunnies frolicking in the dew. But a socialist, totalitarian, Marxist, communist, nazi idea such as that could never, ever work.
Last month, the World Bank estimated that the food crisis has pushed 100
million people worldwide into abject poverty. The International Monetary
Fund said that nearly half of the problem results from the diversion of food
crops for use in biofuels.
The above is from an article in The State today.
How dumb can you be to turn food into fuel?
Slugger, we don’t disagree on this. Ethanol from corn is not a good idea for the reason you cite plus others. But you need to understand something. If we get away from the ethanol subsidies fuel prices will go up even faster. The pain at the pump will get just a bit worse. So if we decide to feed the poor it will come at the price of higher fuel bills. I would be ok with that, would you?
If public transportation was economical, it wouldn’t need to be propped up with government subsidizing the ticket prices by taxing those who don’t get to ride.
A friend just bought 2 Chevy HD 2500 Diesel pickups and a new Suburban for his construction business. He has to haul crews, luggage, and trailers with backhoes and Bobcats to out-of-town construction sites.
Which subcompact car would you recommend that he use to replace these SUVs which Herr Warthen wants to outlaw?
Is Mr. Warthen for making all uses of SUVs super expensive? Or would your construction friend be able to get the money spent on SUV taxes back in some manner because he’s a business.
As far as your beach trips, how economical are they when its just you running to the grocery store? (How many beach trips a year does it take for the one SUV to be as efficient as two Ford Focuses?)
What I choose to drive to the grocery store is none of your business. The fuel I buy is my fuel. If I outbid you in the market, you need to earn more money, just as you do if you want to eat better food or live in a nicer house.
Things you can’t know about the owners of big cars:
* That big Buick or Cadillac probably gets 28 MPG with 4 passengers in it, the same as a Toyota Corolla does.
* The owner might only drive 3,000 miles a year, while the Civic owner is driving 30,000.
* That Mercedes owner may walk or bicycle to the store, church and work, and just use his car for long distance.
* That big car is paid for. The $200 a month saved on ecoomy car payments buys 55 gallons of gas, propelling him over 1,000 miles. It’s his money, his gas, and his business.
I will try to give you an answer about the corn/ethanol situation.
The idea behind this was to subsidize the farmer –give millions of dollars in grants to build the ethanol plants—pass the farm bill and get the votes of all those that will financially benefit from the great plan to turn corn into “White Lightening” and pour it into your gas tank along with the regular gas.
No thought was apparently given to how much water it would take to process the corn (four parts water and one part corn) and all the energy that will be used to turn the finished product and make it ready to put on the market. You cannot haul this in trucks. It has to have it’s own pipeline.
Now. I live in a county that has received permission from the county council (with all the necessary zoning etc) to build not only one but two ethanol plants. One corn. One wood chips.
The part of the county that would have the plants gets it water from the Wateree River. We worry that we will have enough water to drink much less support two ethanol plants. We are on tight controls for water use and cannot water our lawns. The plan was to bring in the corn from out west on trains to the ethanol plants because the local farmers could not raise the amount needed locally without cutting down trees and making corn fields out of timberland.
Now we will have people all over the world starving to death because of crooked politicians giving away our tax money for their benefit.
I could go on and on because I have been kicking this horse in the butt for over a year now in our county. The only thing I can tell you are that so far there are no ethanol plants being built.
The fuel prices will go up with or without the ethanol. And by the way. There will be many people starving to death in this country before this thing is over with unless something does not change. It is a shame that those dumb enough to get us into this, is not smart enough to get us out. I will say this for Brad. He keeps us thinking.
The ethanol subsidy leglislation was put together by Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota. His wife, the highest paid lobbyist at the time, represented a bunch of agri-conglomerates, so it was a nice way to funnel federal treasury money to buy votes in SD, while fattening the Daschle bank account.
It is a shame that some heads will not roll because of this blunder.
Thanks for your naming the top dog.
Correction. I live near the Catawba before it joins the Wateree
Now now lee, I said COMMUTE, not hauling vehicles. Again, your trying to compare your apples with my oranges, and then have the audacity to tell me that my oranges are in fact apples. If you didn’t know, that’s called a red herring, Lee.
As a result, your argument doesn’t wash. When you get around to doing the math using a regular commute as the basis for your comparison, and then get back to me. Have fun tryng to justify your comparisons.
“But a socialist, totalitarian, Marxist, communist, nazi idea such as that could never, ever work.”
Tell me Jay, which members of the National Socialist Movement (a.k.a. Nazi party) arrived at the protest downtown last year using any form of public transport?
Are those who ride public transport “Socialist, Totalitarian, Communist Nazis”? Multiply that by every urban area in America, and the result is an awful lot of “Socialist, Totalitarian, Communist Nazis” running around.
Be afraid; be VERY afraid, Jay.
“The ethanol subsidy leglislation was put together by Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota.”
Lee, once again you cherry pick data to present a skewed argument. But hey, that’s now a predictable routine to be expected from you.
While I won’t deny that there are two plants in South Dakota, , if you did a little homework, you would discover that the practice of subsidizing ethanol goes back to the oil embargo, and was actively supported by all “Corn belt” states. That was during Ford’s presidency.
Then in 1978, the term Gasohol was defined for the first time in the Energy Tax Act – 10 % alcohol by volume, excluding alcohol from fossil fuels. The law amounted to a 40 cents per gallon subsidy for every gallon of ethanol blended into gas.
Reagan had no problem with subsidizing corn, as it helped consolidate support from the Farm and Agricultural lobbies.
1983- Surface Transportation Assistance Act increases subsidy to 50 cents.
1984- The Tax Reform Act increases the ethanol subsidy to 60 cents.
in 2001, (during Daschle’s tenure) Ethanol subsidy was reduced to 53 cents per gallon
Source: Energy Information Administration.
“If I outbid you in the market, you need to earn more money, just as you do if you want to eat better food or live in a nicer house.”
Just how do you propose people do that, given the shape of our economy these days?
“That big Buick or Cadillac probably gets 28 MPG with 4 passengers in it, the same as a Toyota Corolla does.”
An the source for this data is from where? To start with, add at least another 6-10 miles for a ’97 Corolla, Lee.
Someone else is reporting owning a 08 Buick Enclave CXL 4WD and averaging 14.7 MPG (both town and hghwy miles) and then 13-19 for an escalade.
Source- Real world MPG.
“* The owner might only drive 3,000 miles a year, while the Civic owner is driving 30,000.”
So what? The owner of the “big” car still gets worse mileage, meaning they consume more on average to go that far.
“That Mercedes owner may walk or bicycle to the store, church and work, and just use his car for long distance.”
No problems there. But exactly how does that affect their vehicles MPG? Not at all.
“That big car is paid for. The $200 a month saved on ecoomy car payments buys 55 gallons of gas, propelling him over 1,000 miles.”
Well isn’t that nice; unfortunately, it’s a “pie-in-the-sky” scenario. Would you mind making that argument to those who bought SUV’s within the last 5 years? Many have traded them in to pay down the loan, but the dealers only allow book value for it, which has plummeted. Check any current blue book. Many dealers won’t even accept them anymore, but even if they do, many owners still have leftover debt to pay off.
“It’s his money, his gas, and his business.”
…and those personal decisions impact the rest of us. I have no truck with those in business, but the fact remains, the consumption for private, personal use can in fact be better managed than it has been. Even for a business owner, there are larger model hybrids on the market that they can even get a modest tax rebate for buying. Many cities are switching to hybrid buses.
Now let me ask- back in WWI, when we all were forced to ration many supplies to supply the military to fight the totalitarians, was that a “communist totalitarian nazi” idea?
Not one of your comments really provides a single solution to the problems that we all face; it’s little more than insipid whining. I wonder, did people whine like that back in WWII.
Well, actually, they did. My dear, late grandmother often rued over an incident in which she dropped a costly bottle of olive oil on the floor during the war (when it was not only expensive, but very difficult to obtain), and how it all went to waste. Such admonitions were the result of the war and her depression-era experiences. They were meant to teach us youngsters how we need to consume only what we actually needed, so as never to waste. I’m certain I am not alone in having a grandparent who said as much.
What was true for them, is just as true for us today.
You must not own a car.
My examples use real cars, with real cargo, and real MPG, not your bogus internet numbers. You don’t even comprehend the examples of big cars usingn less fuel and producing less pollution than small cars in the real world examples.
Back in WWII, we had a socialist government under FDR that froze wages, rationed goods, set prices, comandeered entire businesses and industries. To keep the economy ruuning, businessmen had to devise workarounds the wage and price controls, such as company insurance and pensions, and coupons.
FDR was not a communist. He was more a fascist, like Mussolini and Hitler. In fact, he copied many of their programs.
Our enemies had even more socialism and less private economy, and they lost. The USSR was so bad the peasants ran out and welcomed the Nazis.
A USA without the New Deal would have pulled out of the Depression long before World War II. In fact, there might not have been a war, with the USA setting an example of prosperity, instead of aping European socialism.
Your answer to Zdumb in on the money.
The half-baked notions like we hear from from “bud”, “zdumb”, and Brad are an indictment of public education. No one should receive a diploma in America if they don’t understand why socialism is wrong – morally, ethically, economically, and politically.
Lee Muller, I’m not going ANYWHERE with you in your allegedly economical SUV unless you have good gonga.
AND THERE ARE MANY OF US LEE MULLER.
“My examples use real cars, with real cargo, and real MPG, not your bogus internet numbers.”
Herr Müller ( I do believe that is how your name is properly spelled in German, yes?)
The only problem with your points are that you had evaded making such a comparison in an ordinary commute- and now you’ve done so once again! Do that toe-to-toe comparison and then get back to me.
Your “real” numbers are no more anecdotal than what I pulled off the internet. The only difference it that I did some averaging from what a number of people have reported after observing the MPG of a particular model, whereas your anecdotal evidence was imprecise at best- and based on what- your “buddy”? Sorry, but when you make an inductive argument, you need a decent sample pool. My data sample pool looks to be a lot larger than yours.
“Back in WWII, we had a socialist government under FDR…FDR was not a communist. He was more a fascist, like Mussolini and Hitler. In fact, he copied many of their programs.”
Now for your genetic fallacy. Yes, FDR did have many Socialist policies (I’m not sure if they could be construed as Fascist, but that’s another conversation), but not once have you shown that the very specific one that I mentioned- the conservation of materials to support the war effort- was thus.
Is conservation of resources necessarily a “socialist” policy? If so, then describe how. Heck, it comes from the same roots as the word “conservative”. In fact making judicious use of one’s resources sounds incredibly conservative to me. In contrast, I should note that you’ve argued a quintessential libertarian view, not a conservative one. “It’s my money and my fuel in my car, dammit! The hell what anyone else thinks!”.
The only problem with your argument is that the idea of using only what you really need and not wasting your resources isn’t “socialist”; It’s practical common sense during hard economic times, and it has been thus for aeons. “Waste not want not”. Tell me, did Marx, Lenin, or any other socialist come up with that?
I can tell you that my late grandmother was no socialist and bore little love for FDR. Due to FDR’s financial policies, her father even went so far as to forbid his name from being mentioned in the house. They were Republicans long before the “Johnny-come-lately” Dixiecrats ever existed. Yet you can surely bet that they participated in the efforts to saving and recycle rubber, cans, plastics, and glass during the war years, and it had nothing to do with their feelings about FDR.
As a result, I find her admonitions are therefore all the more cogent in light of your insinuations about their being “socialist” or “facist”. In all honesty, she would have been appalled at your cavalier attitude about your right to squander our precious resources. She certainly would not have considered such views to meet her definition of “conservative” either.
Socialism is the enemy of conservation, because it set arbitrary prices on consumption of resources, and the government avoids the costs of pollution controls. Look at the nasty mess left by the Soviets in Russia and all their satellite countries. Red China is shutting down many cities weeks before the Olympics to clear the air and clean up the places.
I am much more of a conservationist than any liberal or socialist I ever encountered. They might talk a good game, but their brutish philosophy is incapable of doing as good a job as free markets.
I did not “evade” direct comparison of an SUV to a subcompact – that is only the simplistic scenario. There are many more, and I gave you several, but you don’t seem to understand that if I drive a Cadillac getting 30 mpg for 3,000 miles a year, and you drive a Honda getting 35 miles per gallon for 5,000 miles, you are using more fuel and creating more pollution than I am.
I am not the only one who recognizes the fascism in the New Deal. It was pointed out by journalists at the time. In fact, many New Dealers were openly fascist until 1940. Fascism is just a merging of the pre-WWI liberalism with the forced socialism of Eruope. The New York Times lauded Adolf Hitler. Liberals praised his “courage” for “forcing people to do the right things”.
And Hitler got is ideas of racial superiority and breeding from the liberal Eugenics Movement which began in New York, so it was a two-way street with liberalism and fascism, and still is.
What kind of car do you drive?
The last time I saw you, not so long ago, you were in a big full-size GM sedan.
GM is offering full trade-ins on SUVs, with $5,000 to $10,000 of the sticker, and no-interest financing for 72 months. Maybe it’s time for you to trade.
“Socialism is the enemy of conservation”
Then my position- or that of my grandmother- must not be a socialist one then either, RIGHT?
“I am much more of a conservationist than any liberal or socialist I ever encountered. ”
Really, advocating the driving of SUV’s reeks of conservationism!
Well, it reeks alright, but it isn’t doing a thing about conserving.
“I did not “evade” direct comparison of an SUV to a subcompact – that is only the simplistic scenario.”
There you go again, you don;t actually do the comparison, but instead dismiss it as “simplistic”. That is called “evasion”, Lee.
“There are many more, and I gave you several, but you don’t seem to understand that if I drive a Cadillac getting 30 mpg for 3,000 miles a year, and you drive a Honda getting 35 miles per gallon for 5,000 miles, you are using more fuel and creating more pollution than I am.”
Sure, but you still overlook how you are not using that fuel very efficiently.
“I am not the only one who recognizes the fascism in the New Deal.’
All your rhetoric about FDR is just a blatant red herring. If you recall, I was describing conservation efforts during the war, not FDR’s policies.
the philosophy behind “Waste Not, Want Not” has more in common with the founders and pioneers who jump-started our great nation. It includes those who once wore domestically produced homespuninstead of imported English clothes as a political statement.
Now we need “homespun” energy, but you’re moaning and groaning about how it’s your “right” to guzzle and waste gas?
And they say that only “liberals” scream about their “rights” being violated?
You were describing FORCED conservation efforts during World War II, which were unConstitutional, by a socialist administration.
Everyone has seen the obvious, simplest comparison of two vehicles with vastly different capabilities and small differences in fuel mileage driving the same distance. I am just trying to broaden your understanding of the issues.
Miles per gallon is only one element of any calculation of fuel consumption, tailpipe emissions, efficiency, and costs. Focusing on MPG alone is meaningless.
10% of our population consists of illegal alien invaders from below the Mexican border. Deporting them would clean up more pollution and save more fuel than the most extreme proposals of so-called “environmentalists”. Why don’t these pseudo-environmentalists back removal of 30,000,000 illegal polluters?
“You were describing FORCED conservation efforts during World War II, which were unConstitutional, by a socialist administration.”
WAS MÜLL! Herr “Müller”! (What rubbish!, Mr. Rubbish-hauler)
Everyone knows that food and fuel was rationed, through precisely 13 rationing programs- but they were only instituted to meet the demand of feeding and supplying the AMERICAN troops fighting overseas. So, I guess you think it was “illegal” to supply those troops? If that is the case, all of Europe might be speaking German today, Herr Müller.
That said, not everything was rationed. Recycling drives are an excellent example. Ladies wearing shoe polish on their legs instead of hose was not mandated.
Plenty of other conservation efforts were voluntary:
“Everyone has seen the obvious, simplest comparison of two vehicles with vastly different capabilities and small differences in fuel mileage driving the same distance.”
Then do the math and tell me just how “small” that difference is. Your attempts to minimize differences may be true in “Die Lee Müller Stadt”, but does not reflect a reality for many of your FELLOW AMERICANS. Your claims of being a “conservationist” are laughable.
I used one vehicle to drive to work (like many other Americans) 5 days a week. There’s nothing simplistic about what qualifies as a very common scenario. Right now, I’m considering purchasing a scooter to meet that everyday need. While I do understand needing a larger vehicle to haul kids around etc., many household do in fact own more than one.
Oh, and if you are so intent on “controverting” variables, then do consider that when I last moved a long distance, my old SUV got rather horrible MPG, as it was weighted down.
“Focusing on MPG alone is meaningless.”
Is there some other way to determine how much you are consuming, but also how much you’re spending? Please tell me one that does not involve a diagnostic lab. If you can;t manage to do that, then this common calculation bears some merit and isn’t devoid of meaning.
Your dismissive tone is only reflects your blatantly EVASIVE maneuvers to avoid providing an honest, head-to-head comparison of very common fuel consumption scenario for a lot of Americans, each and every day of the week.
“10% of our population consists of illegal alien invaders from below the Mexican border.”
Gee, another red herring from Herr Müller. Tell me, just how many illegals can purchase SUVs, let alone afford to drive them these days? You may spot them every now and then in one, but why not ask the AMERICAN employer, (who is employing them illegally- one of the main reasons that they are ere to begin with) about who provided them with that vehicle.”
So much for your pseudo- conservation and pseudo-arguments.
You don’t sound old enough to drive.
An entire equation for computing the total fuel consumption, of which MPG is only one element, is a 4th grade arithmetic problem. Do I have to spell it out for you?
No illegal alien has a right to be here, so they have no right to drive, own a vehicle, or pollute.
Conversely, my vehicle is fueled with my money, so it is only my business. Certainly my ability to outbid you for vehicles and fuel may increase the price you have to pay, but that is how the market allocates scarce fuel properly. I use 90% of my fuel for business, and I don’t drive frivolous miles – my time is too valuable to waste.
If I drive my 22 MPG SUV 5,000 miles a year, and some yuppie drives his 33 MPG subcompact car 25,000 miles a year, he is consuming more fuel and polluting more air. The use of the vehicles is irrelevant to that fact. But if he is also driving mostly to commute to an office, or for recreation, then he may be truly wasteful, but that’s his business. His extra pollution may be community business.
“You don’t sound old enough to drive.’
You sound to old to be driving.
Any more ad hominems fallacies? They only detract from and serve undermine your own argument?
“An entire equation for computing the total fuel consumption, of which MPG is only one element, is a 4th grade arithmetic problem. Do I have to spell it out for you?”
Why not then.
“No illegal alien has a right to be here, so they have no right to drive, own a vehicle, or pollute.”
Red herring… YAWN!
“If I drive my 22 MPG SUV 5,000 miles a year, and some yuppie drives his 33 MPG subcompact car 25,000 miles a year, he is consuming more fuel and polluting more air.”
More inequivalent comparisons, and I’m sorry, yuppies in subcompacts are not the only ones who drive 25,000 miles in a year.. Sorry, but the car you may drive less uses it at an INEFFICIENT RATE OF CONSUMPTION.
Do the math, Herr Müller. After all, it’s merely “…a 4th grade arithmetic problem”. Oh, but that would necessarily deprive you of an opportunity to rag on people who disagree with you.
Thought I would let you people know that there is an ethanol plant coming to Carlisle, S. C. in Union County. It was announced by the Dept. of Commerece. I hope that you know that those millions of gallons of water a day that it takes to turn the Barley (that is what is going to be used) into ethanol will be coming out of the Broad River.
We have so far dodged that bullet in my county where the millions of gallons of water a day would be coming from the Catawba (which our attorney general is suing the state of NC to prevent l0 million gallons a day coming out of the Catawba in NC before it reaches SC).
Water may become more important than oil. You cannot drink oil or eat ethanol.
In systems engineering, you learn that there are very few simple head-to-head comparisons of alternatives in the real world. That’s why engineers and economists use more sophisticated analyses to reduce the alternatives to a common basis.
The average rate of fuel consumption has no meaning by itself, but only in relation to the miles driven, time driven, passengers and cargo moved, etc.
An extreme example would be a supercharged Cord automobile in a museum, with no smog controls, and getting only 15 MPG, but never driven. It consumes no fuel and produces no air pollution. There is no owner or social benefit in destroying it or retrofitting it with pollution conrols.
Scaling up from that to modern Corvettes and SUVs getting 20 to 30 MPG, we have examples of vehicles which actually be more fuel efficient in terms of passenger miles and cargo tonnage, than some subcompact getting 40 MPG but with only one passenger.
I already gave several detailed real examples of such vehicles in application. If you can’t comprehend them enough to discuss them, there is nothing more I can do for you, but he’s another:
—- example: Suburban 3X as efficient as Civic —–
Honda Civic at 35 MPG, one passenger, Columbia to Charlotte, 65 MPH, 105 miles requires 3 gallons of fuel per passenger.
GMC Suburban at 21 MPG, 5 passengers, Columbia to Charlotte, 65 MPH, 105 miles, requires 5 gallons of fuel for 5 passengers, or 1 gallon of fuel per passenger.
Silly Herr Müller,
“In systems engineering, you learn that there are very few simple head-to-head comparisons of alternatives in the real world.”
Are you saying that a single person never drives a car when commuting to work? i see a lot of it every day, Herr Müller. Then again, maybe you don’t work?
“I already gave several detailed real examples of such vehicles in application. ”
Why, I do understand your “real examples” (source please?) yet wonder if you realize that your argument only supports carpooling, not conservation of resources by effectively consuming fuel. Resorting to your lop-sided carpool measure in your pathetic inductive argument is simply using a BIASED SAMPLE POOL, Herr Müller.
here’s another real world example for you to consider- many compact cars can fit 4 or even 5 people. Care to recalculate those MPG again using a more comparable figure. After all, it’s merely a “4th grade mathematical problem”.
BTW, bragging about being a systems engineer is not going to impress me. Writing a cogent, valid argument devoid of ad hominem, red herring, and straw man fallacies , or in this case, reasonably similar, or even head-to head figures for an inductive argument, will. Your bias doesn’t fool me Herr Müller, but it may impress a fool.
Maybe one of these days you will learn that such an approach is actually more persuasive than the rhetorical posturing that you’re so fond of stooping to?
“I hope that you know that those millions of gallons of water a day that it takes to turn the Barley (that is what is going to be used) into ethanol will be coming out of the Broad River.”
Yet other sources offer a different picture, as most of the concerns about water consumption in relation to Ethanol stem from the Mid-west, where corn is the main crop. Corn uses a lot more water than barley, and it appears that these barley plants may offer a noticeable improvement over corn ethanol:
“Officials say the plant uses barley to make ethanol because it grows in winter and doesn’t compete with food crops. Farmers could still grow crops like soybeans in the summer.”
“Modern ethanol plants have sophisticated water treatment techniques to enable recycling of water to boilers. These treatment techniques should also enable the plants to use lower quality water such as sewage treatment plant effluents and possibly even water recycled from animal feedlots.”
“”Our barley hulls represent a wonderful energy source, so we’ll actually be using the barley hulls to create the energy to make the ethanol.”
The company also plans to save energy by setting up in locations where it can get excess steam from other nearby facilities.
Osage Bio Energy will be using technology from Ohio’s Katzen International for its ethanol plants.
Using barley could be a more environmentally friendly option over corn.
“You need to put a lot of nutrients on corn to get it to grow,” said Warren.
As for barley, many farmers in the Southeast are already growing it as a winter cover crop to hold onto existing nutrients.
“They’re not harvesting it, they’re just growing it so when it rains the nutrients don’t run off into the streams and watersheds and create algae blooms.”
“The barley plants absorb the nutrients, and then you till that barley back into the soil, and those nutrients are there for the next crop.”
The company plans to use a “thoroughbred” barley that’s a little different than the barley the farmers are already using, but Warren said that if the farmers can grow the winter cover crop barley, they’ll also be able to grow the thoroughbred.”
While the potential may be there to over-harvest the barley, if done correctly, this will not be an issue. Given the level of unemployment in Union County, I think the lucky 75 to be hired will be excited to have an opportunity to work at this modest-sized plant.
Some subcompact cars can hold 4 people, but the vehicle MPG falls significantly, from the mid 30s to mid-20s, whereas adding 3 passengers to a large SUV has very little effect on MPG, because their weight is much less in relation to the vehicle weight.
Also, lots of subcompacts ARE used to just transport one person, and lots of SUVs are used to transport 4 and 5 people. That’s why the suggestion to penalize SUV ownership with taxes or arbitrary MPG standards is irrational and ineffective at reducing overall fuel consumption.
Like most Americans that constitute the ever-growing class of “disillusioned” voters, I watched the recent “town hall-style” debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. As expected, my perspective of politics and its participants remained the same: no matter how many direct questions you ask a politician, regardless of party affiliation, the answers you receive are nothing more than generalized sound bites. The New York Times described the debate as “ninety minutes of forced cordiality,” and I certainly agree. The Boston Globe reported that although the discussion was “mercifully free” of personal attacks, the discussion was also free of much of the tension that generates compelling television. McCain reiterated the value of his experience, his “stay the course” stance on Iraq, and his oil drilling policies. Obama condemned the Republican policies that he believes have led the American economy into its current recession. Based on the debate performances, we really have no concept of how either candidate would work to avoid a pending economic catastrophe. A realistic, well-thought out economic plan is what America needs. Obama’s stance on “predatory lending” – effectively sanctioning payday advance lenders – is not a legitimate solution to the real economic problems we face.
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