Fuel for Thought

  • Rolling Stone: “No combination of alternative fuels will allow us to run American life the way we have been used to running it, or even a substantial fraction of it. The wonders of steady technological progress achieved through the reign of cheap oil have lulled us into a kind of Jiminy Cricket syndrome, leading many Americans to believe that anything we wish for hard enough will come true. These days, even people who ought to know better are wishing ardently for a seamless transition from fossil fuels to their putative replacements.”
  • ZDNet: “The company has spent millions of dollars persuading people that hybrid electric cars like the Prius never need to be plugged in and work just like normal cars….But the idea of making hybrid cars that have the option of being plugged in is supported by a diverse group of interests, from neoconservatives who support greater fuel efficiency to utilities salivating at the chance to supplant oil with electricity. If you were able to plug a hybrid in overnight, you could potentially use a lot less gas by cruising for long stretches on battery power only.”
  • Reuters: “U.S. President George W. Bush’s proposed 2006 budget calls for much lower funding for Amtrak, and the Secretary of Transportation has said that Amtrak’s funding should be overhauled. It’s not clear how much support the railroad will have as it goes through the Congressional budget appropriations process, S&P said.”

Ed Ideas (Which Will Never Be Adopted):

1. Limousine/Cab Tax Rate
2. Gasoline Tax of $1.50 Per Gallon; All Revenue Going to Public Transportation
3. Tax Breaks for Those Who Don’t Own Cars
4. Rental Car Tax
5. Mandate That 65% of All Operational Vehicles Become Hybrids Before 2008
6. Overhaul of National and Local Rail Systems Before 2010
7. Transcontinental High-Speed Rail System to Replace Airports: San Francisco to New York in Less Than Ten Hours at 300 mph by High-Speed Rail. Complimentary Drinks to All Passengers.
8. Ban on SUVs, Hummers and Fuel-Deficient Vehicles for Public Use
9. Those Who Use Public Transportation on Regular Basis Get Free Sex

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  1. Here here to all your suggestions. But I might add just a couple:

    1. Increased hours of operation for bus services, 24 hour service if possible. (When I rode the bus from Citrus Heights to Roseville, I found impossible to agree to do any overtime work for my job because the last bus left a scant 15 minutes after the end of my shift.)

    2. Government supported or guarenteed low-interest loans for low-income people who want to purchase 0 emission vehicles.

  2. Apropos #9, CalTrans should start sponsoring mixers on certain BART trains in the pm. You know, dim the lights, add a DJ, free drinks . . .

  3. I think that people who avoid the train don’t realize how comfortable and wonderfully social it can be. I’ve had many interesting conversations on trains and there was a hell of a lot more leg room than the Southwest Flying Sardine Cans.

    And, Rasp, I used to live in Sacramento. So I truly feel your pain. The bus system up there is a joke (one bus an hour for some lines).

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