Archive for the 'Car-less Society' Category

Dream on: Obama’s high-speed rail lines

April 16, 2009

CNN reports,

President Obama unveiled his administration’s blueprint for a new national network of high-speed passenger rail lines Thursday, saying such an investment is necessary to reduce traffic congestion, cut dependence on foreign oil and improve the environment.

The greens oppose transmission lines for renewable energy projects. So let’s just say that I’m a tad skeptical of them allowing new rail lines to be constructed. Remember, the greens don’t want you traveling; they want you locked in your planned community box. And remember the green whose idea of travel was staying home and exploring yourself?

New climate victims: Road and bridges?

April 16, 2009

Carbon Control News reports that:

The Department of Transportation is developing a risk assessment tool for local planners to estimate the vulnerability of roads and bridges to climate change effects as well as steps policymakers can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While bad weather can certainly impact roads and bridges, “climate change” is most certainly a stretch.

The money line is:

The risk analysis will be included in an upcoming study that will likely be used by local highway officials to argue the need for federal [greenhouse gas] standards… and to establish a new $100 million Transportation and Land use program to plan for future growth and reduce energy consumption.

Bottom line: The Obama administration will be paying budget-hungry local highway bureaucrats for their support in enslaving us with greenhouse gas regulation.

Obama steers carmakers down wrong road

April 10, 2009

The Washington Post reported today that,

President Obama yesterday announced plans to buy 17,600 American-made, fuel-efficient cars and hybrids for the government fleet, the White House’s latest gambit to steer aid to the nation’s beleaguered automakers.

A few thoughts:

  • In 2007, U.S. car makers sold more than 16 million cars.
  • In 2009, cars sales are project to be less than 9 million.
  • Obama’s purchase of 17,600 cars is obviously a drop in the bucket compared to the kind of sales increase that is needed.
  • Cars sales will pick up when the economy recovers, provided that carmakers are making cars that Americans want and that are profitable — that is, SUVs and light trucks.
  • But Obama wants the Big Three to make and sell econoboxes that Americans don’t want.
  • Not only are econoboxes small, dangerous and incapable of pulling/carrying large loads/groups of people, Obama plans to tax drivers by the mile they drive — thereby erasing any economic benefit from fuel efficiency.

Bottom line: Obama’s plan is a stick in the eyes of carmakers, workers or consumers.

Greens oppose ‘cash-for-clunkers’

April 6, 2009

The New York Times reports that the greens oppose government programs that encourage drivers to trade in older cars with higher emissions for newer cars with lower emissions (a.k.a. cash-for-clunkers) because:

For starters, some environmentalists have worried that these programs could distract attention (and funds) from investments in public transport. And other critics say these programs could push people to drive more than they might have done otherwise.

The Vine blog at The New Republic suggested that such programs could end up generating more emissions from increased car manufacturing — and some critics have raised concerns that a “cash for clunkers” program in the United States would allow tax deductions for very heavy passenger vehicles that are made in America – like the Hummer and the Ford Expedition.

In one of his most recent articles, George Monbiot, an environmental campaigner, academic, and columnist for The Guardian in Britain, suggested that such programs have little to do with carbon-dioxide reduction, and amount to little more than “hand-outs for the car firms, resprayed green to fool the incautious buyer.”

Steve Milloy’s new book, Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them, spotlights what the greens are doing to achieve a car-less society.

Toyota: Trucks profitable, hybrids not

April 6, 2009

As pointed out by George Will in his most recent column,

In February, Toyota sold 13,600 Tundra and Tacoma pickups and 7,232 Priuses. It sells the Prius at a loss, which it can afford to do because it makes pots of money selling pickups.

Read Steve Milloy’s Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them to find out how long it took the Big Three automakers to figure out that trucks and cheap gas were their keys to survival.

Obama backs off Bush mileage standards

March 30, 2009

Citing economic concerns, the Obama administration has issued federal gas mileage standards that are less stringent that those proposed by the Bush administration.

As reported by Carbon Control News,

The combined standard for vehicles and light trucks will be set at 27.3 miles per gallon (mpg) and the passenger vehicle standard is expected to be set at 30.2 mpg. The Obama administration standard will strengthen the combined vehicle and light truck standard from the current 25.3 mpg, as well as the current passenger vehicle standard of 27.5 mpg. But the final standard is weaker than what the Bush administration proposed last year—a combined 2011 CAFE standard of 27.8 mpg and a passenger car standard of 31.2 mpg.

Carbon Control News reports that the greens are unhappy with the decision but that they have

refrained from faulting the decision too harshly.

A spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists told Carbon Control News that,

“The Obama administration had its hands tied. The 2011 rule is based on fundamentally flawed methodology and data held over from the Bush administration, so it’s no surprise that it isn’t that much of a boost.”

The greens hope that Obama will issue a “more robust” standard in future years.

Click here for the final rule.

Tesla Motors: Sporty green welfare queen?

March 27, 2009

Tesla Motors is expecting $700 million in loans from taxpayers so that it can sell its pricey electric cars to the public: a $109,000 Roadster sports car and a $49,900 sporty sedan (Model S). The actual price of the Model S is $57.400, but taxpayers will be paying an additional $7,500 per car (over and above the loans) to reduce the price to under $50,000.

Tesla Motors, of course, will have to sell tens of thousands of these cars to pay back taxpayers. So far, only 300 of the Roadsters are on the road.

The Model S will “only” take 45 minutes to recharge enough to provide 300 miles of driving — and, depending on the source of the electric power, with more CO2 emissions than from conventional gasoline.

What’s not to like?

Click here for the New York Times report on these sporty “green” welfare machines.

New green target: Car colors

March 23, 2009

California is working to reduce your choice in car colors in the name of green.

Carbon Control News reported today that California regulators have proposed that car makers use so-called “cool” paints to reduce the interior temperature of cars, thereby reducing air conditioning use and, consequently, improving gas mileage.

Automakers say such a regulation would:

  • Eliminate a significant number of vehicle colors (e.g., black paint and dark metallic colors would essentially be banned, representing 40 percent of sales for some manufacturers);
  • Raise costs for manufacturers and consumers — about $1.2 billion annually; and
  • Increase CO2 emissions because of forced changes in the painting process and increased vehicular weight.

You may only be able to buy white/light-colored cars, but what about Al Gore (check out this video) and the other green elites?

Michigan jobs: Wind no substitute for cars

March 12, 2009

The Financial Times reported today that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants to,

transform Michigan from one of the Rust Belt’s bleakest corners to a mecca for green industries as the state loses tens of thousands of jobs in the car industry.

But Granholm acknowledges that alternative industries will only create about 109,000 jobs, compared to the 400,000 jobs lost in carmaking.

Wayne State University professor Jack Lessenberry observed,

“Windpower… will never employ people in the numbers needed.”

Maybe Granholm should lobby for expanding the supply of cheap gasoline so that people go back to buying Michigan’s most profitable product: the SUV.

‘Heroic’ hybrid drivers

March 12, 2009

Honda is introducing the first under-$20,000 hybrid, according to the Financial Times.

Honda is trying to drawer buyers away from the Toyota Prius. It hopes to accomplish this with the Insight — a less expensive, but smaller and less efficient car than the Prius.

The Financial Times noted that,

Even at the peak price of more than $4 a gallon, a Prius buyer would have to have driven a heroic 200,000 miles to earn back the price difference with the Insight through better mileage alone.

Take action:

Buy an SUV.