Town Square

Post a New Topic

Paying the Price for an SUV - Ira Ruskin creates a great gas hog disincentive

Original post made by Bill Boland on Apr 10, 2007

Web Link

Ira Ruskin shuold be praised for introducing this bill - let's hope it passes.

Comments (76)

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 10, 2007 at 6:15 am

Why not do away with the stupid and ineffective California botique gasoline mixtures and the absurd ethanol denaturing that reduce all California mileage 10 to 15%?
SUVs, unlike Ruskin, serve a function.


Posted by ten18, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2007 at 7:34 am

More lefty nuttiness - he claims it's "market based" - more like "market manipulation." Drivers of larger vehicles are already paying a disproportionate share of fuel taxes. I thought Democrats were "pro-choice"? This isn't choice - this is redistribution of wealth - stealing from one person's pocket and putting it into someone else's. Most of this money will end up in state coffers, and we all know how well the state manages our hard-earned tax money! I hope this piece of socialist garbage (bill) gets flushed - I'll certainly be voicing my objections. Of course it'll pass - there's no representation in this state. And Arnie's such a "greenie" now - he'll sign it. Oh well, everyone will "feel good" about it, without actually knowing if they're "doing good." More doom for Kahlifornia.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 10, 2007 at 7:34 am

Actually his bill is a gas guzzler tax, it is not focused on SUVs, but fuel inefficient vehicles. It apparently uses the revenue from the tax to discount fuel efficient vehicles. I could not get Bill's link to work without a login, so here is an alternate.

Web Link


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Apr 10, 2007 at 8:32 am

lighten up walter and ten18, this is a conservative move--a personal repsonsibility bill. You know "you break it, you fix it" or "you pollute, you pay to clean it up". Nobody forces anyone to buy an SUV.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 10, 2007 at 8:41 am

Circumstances dictate a vehicle choice. If we had a sane energy conservation policy vehicles would be rated on a ton/miles/gallon so that cheapening up and eliminating safety cushions would not benefit the makers. When you consider that it is the auto that makes our economy possible, dismissive shots are cheap shots. The benefits of individual transportation so far outweigh the price as to render most criticisms fatuous. Of course fatuous is Ruskin's stock in trade.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 10, 2007 at 8:45 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Apr 10, 2007 at 9:12 am

Walter, I agree autos are important, which is why is it also important that drivers are aware of the costs of their actions on the rest of us in terms of fuel efficiency and global warming. Then they can make informed choices.

But mainly I was wondering why you are now against personal responsbility.

As to your "main point" my reading of your postings is that your big idea is to denigrate your Assembly representative. My response is that is a cheap shot and not relevant at all to whether an SUV tax is appropriate. I am not sure whether I support the bill either at this point but it is a relevant idea to discuss.

I am not sure about ethanol either but am sure that public action to create incentives to reduce fuel use and emissions IS appropriate.


Posted by TedM, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 10, 2007 at 11:06 am

My issue with this bill is that I think it is inherently dishonest. If the goal is to get people to produce less pollution, penalizing them for buying a large vehicle doesn't make sense. The appropriate thing to go after is gasoline . The mileage of any given car is irrelevant -- the amount of gasoline it uses is the source of the pollution. This bill penalizes people not for creating pollution, but for buying a car that could potentially produce pollution...but the problem is that _all cars_ fall into that category.

The "correct" way to penalize people for polluting is a consumption tax on gasoline. But Ruskin realizes that doing so is politically unsavory, and instead goes for the easier target of "big ugly SUVs" (which are cousins of the "big ugly McMansions" that lots of folks find morally repugnant).

I haven't seen the specifics of the bill, but just off the top of my head, I'm guessing this bill gives people yet another reason to buy cars in other states. You remember car dealerships, right? We used to have them in Palo Alto...


Posted by In Menlo Park, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 10, 2007 at 12:30 pm

This proposal is ridiculous.... If I have a vehicle that uses more gas per mile then I pay for it. They are not factoring in the number of miles driven. Cosnider the fact that I drive 50 miles a week and my coworkers who live in Livermore are consuming much more gas even if they are in a little box car.

Also, I think that it is funny that you think that this is a conservative issue. Who drives the pick up trucks and utility vans? Contractors, farmers, etc....blue collar workers that can't fit a piece of drywall in a Civic.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 10, 2007 at 2:27 pm

It is not a function of government to punish people for actions that are legal.The impact of autos on air quality is insignificant compared to their importance. If the interest is in improving milege, then pay attention to what I said about the destruction of mileage caused by silly additives and by the stupid traffic jams at bridges to collect tolls. You want fuel economy? open up the field of after market devices and see if Iskey and Eddlebrock can do as much for economy as they did for horsepower.
Economy is an engineering function, not a legislative one. And Ira is on a par with Box-o-rocks, our flighty senator.
Let Ruskin debate me here so we all can bask in his aura.


Posted by Nathan, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 10, 2007 at 10:50 pm

"I use the local communal swimming pool as my personal lavatory, but it's okay because I pay a little more than everyone else." Are you joking? Please, SUVs are very necessary for certain lifestyles, but not for yours with your tailored suit, low fat latte, and silky smooth hands.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 11, 2007 at 6:22 am

If someone had said, 30 years ago, that you could get people to pay more for a cup of coffee than for a shot of whiskey they would have put him away.
I no longer visit construction sites so I no longer own a pickup, With the exception of uniforms I have owned perhaps 3 suits in my lifetime and the only thing silky smooth about me is my approach to a lovely woman. And I never block driveways. I am meticulous in adherance to small laws.


Posted by gordon, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 11, 2007 at 8:07 am

ruskin is on the wrong track. why not tax people for eating beef products instead? the beef-production industry is worse for the planet by far than the auto industry.

eat a hamburger, go to jail.


Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 11, 2007 at 12:40 pm

I will never forget the day some idiot was posting a "Red Alert" sign on my SUV about how wasteful it was, how irresponsible "the owner" was etc.

Luckily I caught him, and informed him about the 6 people this truck totes to vacation at 25 miles per gallon, and asked him if he would rather we use 2 smaller cars to tote all of us around? And, while he was at it, would he care to figure out how to put the wheelchair in a hatchback, along with the 6 people?

I agree with Walter...go after the true culprits. He knows of what he speaks.

Be careful whom you judge.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 11, 2007 at 12:50 pm

Americans love their cars, and trucks, almost as much as the
right to bare arms....woe to him who dare to take these beloved
items away....


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 11, 2007 at 1:42 pm

Sorry Phil, but love of a car is no word for it. Need is. I have sought in vain to have DOT develop an algorithm to objectively evaluate schemes for car pool lanes and mass transit based on how far someone can be reasonably expected to walk from home to a transit stop and from a transit stop to a job or shopping center. Believe me if such a formula supported more transit they would have been on it like a hop toad on a Junnie Bug.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 11, 2007 at 2:11 pm

Your'e right old sport, Americans need guns and cars much more than they love them....


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 11, 2007 at 2:34 pm

Draw the Line,

I'm curious what SUV do you have that gets 25 MPG, seats 6 and can haul a wheel chair?

keep in mind that Ira's bill is tied to fuel consumption, not vehicle type, so your vechicle as described is not the bills target.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 11, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Back to the start, if it is about fuel consumption, go to Federal gas for 10 to 15% better milage and go to ton/miles/gallon standards for a true efficiency measurement. This is strictly a stick it to the redneck measure.
And, Phil, Google "Dial 911 and die."


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2007 at 2:50 pm

The bill only affects the initial purchase price. I'd rather see a $1 gas tax or a carbon tax. Those who really need a gas guzzler will just price it into their costs. The reason California leads the nation is energy efficiency is because energy costs more here. If gas costs more, we would figure out how to thrive with higher price fuels.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 11, 2007 at 3:23 pm

Anonymous,

I sort of see a use tax as being more logical too, but what if Ira discovered that a tax at the time of purchase has more of a deterrent factor, or that getting a up front credit produced more of an incentive to consider something that got better mileage.

I have heard a number of people that lamented their vehicle choice because of the gas costs, 6 months after they bought it. You would think they could do the math up front, but when you watch the advertising for vehicles, they seldom push funtionality as an incentive to purchase. The ads push cars as lifestyle choices.
They push, you will look cool in this, or affluent in this, or this will take you to scenic places. They typically sell fantasy, not the vehical's real funtionality.

So maybe this is why Ira tied it to the purchase because the average person does not plan to the reality of ownership, but the fantasy of ownership and maybe seeing

Gas Guzzler Tax $xxxx or Gas Saver Rebate $xxxx

on the sticker will influence them more than a gax tax that comes around after they own it.

Just speculating as to his thinking


Posted by ten18, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2007 at 3:23 pm

Not only am I opposed to this measure, I'm also extremely opposed to the idea of an additional gas tax or "carbon tax." Why should we give any more of our hard-earned money to a government that can't properly manage what we have already given them?

I'm sure I'd be classified a "denier," although I don't deny that climate change is happening. I just think that the anthropomorphic element is overstated, and is being used as a platform by climate change religionists seeking control over the masses, and who also see this as an opportunity to extort money from the taxpaying public.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2007 at 5:23 pm

Gasoline is going to become more expensive in the long term because we are finding new more expensive oil reservoirs at about 1/4 the rate we are pumping known reserves. It doesn't matter if we change the formula on gasoline or pump every drop of domestic oil. It's just a matter of how fast you want to "burn" through it and how you want to use the resource. I would prefer to transfer less funds to oil producers and produce less greenhouse gases. We could accomplish this by increasing the price of gasoline or oil through a tax on consumption. It is true that cheap oil has made the "American Way" of living possible. It is also true that other countries have much more expensive fuel and their economies are still growing.

I'd rather give my gas taxes to the local, state and federal governments than to the Saudi's, Venezula and OPEC. That's where a fair percentage of your gas money is going now.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 11, 2007 at 6:18 pm

An alternative would be to make more fuel efficient cars that performed the same functions. Its not like the technology does not exist. I'd like to own a carbon fiber car instead of steel. The weight reduction should net a big fuel savings.


Posted by ten18, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2007 at 7:11 pm

Anonymous - you make a good point re funding oil producers, especially the Saudis. To me, that means we should be exploiting domestic energy sources, but of course, that's taboo. OK to buy oil from people that hate us, but not OK to drill in our own backyard. Alternatives must be developed, but in the meantime, oil is desperately necessary. Most people do not understand how dependent our entire existence is on oil, and it's been that way for almost a century - that's not going to change overnight. We still need oil. I just returned from a trip to Alaska - that North Slope oil is a vital part of their economy, and it's transformed the state. They love that pipeline. It really pains me to hear people rail against drilling in ANWR; most of whom have never been there; will never go there, and don't understand what's there. Another trendy thing to oppose.


Posted by michael, a resident of Southgate
on Apr 11, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Here's the real story.

Nowhere in the United States has there been an atomic power plant built in the country, due to the sole influence of the democrats. France's (of all places) power system is completely based on nuclear energy. So anyway, we have wasted tons and tons of oil and coal and put a crudload of CO2 in the air. Now the Democrats are complaining again about global warming, but if 30 years ago nuclear energy wasn't looked down upon so severly, we probably wouldn't be worried about what kind of car people want to drive. We should convert to nuclear and atomic energy. It's much cleaner, and makes us less depnedent on oil. Furthermore, buying a hybrid car or choosing a higher mile per galloon vehicle is so infinitesimal on the large scale that all this bickering and SUV-hating is ridiculous.

For the record, I get 28 miles per gallon in my volvo xc-90.

by the way, RS, is a carbon fiber car as safe as a steel car? For me, the 3 major reasons i have the car I do are: curtain airbags, big safe car, transport of many people and big objects.


Posted by Phil Lanthrop, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 11, 2007 at 9:08 pm

great idea michael, although you failed to mention where were
going to store all the nuclear waste...just a minor omission....only takes a few million
years to break down....perhaps we could ship it to some desperate third world nation where the regulations don't exist [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Curious, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 11, 2007 at 9:31 pm

Michael:

How do you make a Volvo XC90 get 28 mpg?
I assume you have the V6, not the V8.
Only driving downhill doesn't count.



Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2007 at 10:05 pm

ten18,

The initial estimates of the potential reserves in ANWR are much higher than now currently believed by the E&P community. It's just not as rich as the North Slope. There is probably more oil off the East and West Coasts and it would be cheaper to exploit than ANWR. In the long run, I think the country will explore and develop all of its oil reserves. It's just too valuable to leave in the ground. It's just a matter of when and at what price. (I personally oppose granting any new leases to the current lease holders for deep water drop their claims to special discounts which were available when oil was under $35 barrel.)

There are lots of interesting uses of oil which do not involve burning it at cheap prices. The future domestic oil discoveries need to be exploited with some forethought because oil is only going to become more expensive and controlled by foreign entities which might be even more hostile to the US. Solving a short-term shortage may worsen future oil shocks.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Michael,

Demonizing the democrats for the lack of new nuclear power plants is counterproductive. Just as oil companies have not invested in new refineries, electric utilities have not invested in new nuclear power plants because they did not make economic sense. To my knowledge, there is not now nor has there even been a U.S. ban on new nuclear power plants. Part of their cost is regulatory because of the extra safety measures after Three-Mile Island but part of it is also because it took less investment to build a coal or natural gas power facility with a faster return.

France has a very highly regulated nuclear power infrastructure and the French Government imposed standardization on the designs of their nuclear power plants. France has also not had as cheap prices of oil as the U.S.

With oil consistently over $65/barrel, there has not been a rush to build new nuclear power plants because they are still one-off massive projects with long time lines and enormous costs. Time, cost, and safety need to be addressed for new nuclear plants. I don't think any solution will safely contain nuclear waste for eternity. But we could contain it for 10,000 years pretty easily and that's about as long as mankind has had civilizations. It's not an insurmountable problem. I would easily trade 3 degrees C in global warming for 10,000 years in Yucca Mountain.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 12, 2007 at 12:20 am

michael,

Actually carbon fiber can be made safer than steel.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2007 at 6:18 am

After 700 years, the radioactivity of nuclear "wastes" is lower than the natural deposits from which it came. Deposits that occur randomly.
"Wastes" would not be nearly as plentiful had Dumb Carter not halted the reprocessing that reduces the waste and enhances energy recovery for progressive nations like France and Japan.
And there is a law that prevents constructioon of nukes in California, just recently endorsed by our G'ment.


Posted by michael, a resident of Southgate
on Apr 12, 2007 at 6:22 am

I apologize if my previous post came off rude.

BUT, which is hte more immediate threat- figuring out what to do with nuclear waste with hundreds of years to try and figure it out or rapid global warming?

Phil, I do'nt give up on them, but so far all those options make such a miniscule impact on the greater problem, I'm just trying to present some ideas that everyone fails to look at.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Phil, I'm just curious what kind of energy bill you're running with how many people you have in your family, and what kind of cars do memebers of your family drive?


Posted by ten18, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2007 at 7:15 am

It is interesting though that all of the emphasis re "man's contribution to climate change" in the media and in many forums like this is on automotive transportation. Not much is said about the many coal and natural gas burning power plants in this country. I did read recently though that ocean going ships are now considered to be a greater source of toxic pollution and CO2 than all land-based transportation combined.

I think that all stationary power production should be nuke or hydro, saving precious oil for transportation uses. OK, wind and solar too, but those are really small contributors. I realize that there are market forces at work, but this seems like a reasonable arena in which to apply regulation, rather than taxing the crap out of some poor sap who wants something other than a whirring transporation appliance.


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Apr 12, 2007 at 7:48 am

We know that cars are a major source of oil use and a major source of emissions--local and global. We have had a long policy of rules like smog control devices and incentives to stop cars from imposing costs on other people. Our gasoline taxes are tiny compared to those in Europe.

It makes a great deal of sense to have people change their behavior or pay a cost if they impose costs on others. We don't allow smoking in public places for that reason and impose taxes on tobacco products.

Ruskin may or may not have the details right but the idea that American car owners should face incentives to conserve fuel makes sense to me. Nuclear power may be worth reexamining but that provides no excuse to avoid reducing auto fuel use now.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2007 at 9:27 am

The wild exagerations of the so called adverse effects even of coal fired generators, like the terminally false statements about radioactivity are both tools of the Luddite and the haters of the corporate structure. The tax we pay directly to governments is nothing compared to the stupidity tax we pay to the increase in costs of everything we consume because of the ignorant haters and of the opportunists who see in this ignorant hatred a vehicle of profit. We obviously must use best technology to reduce pollution, but the decision of best should be an objective, technically derived determination, not a vote sucking populist grandstand.


Posted by Milton Friedman, Jr. II, a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2007 at 3:03 pm

Note that California has cut its emmissions considerably over the last 30 years - all this while doubling its economy. All those who think that environmental controls hurt us shuold look at the success of Arnie's trip to China. The Chinese are impressed with the California record; Ruskin's idea is just one more nail in the CO2 coffin. Of course, we need more, like someone suggested above, an absolute gas tax, etc.

Go, Ira!


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2007 at 6:12 pm

90% of the emission control was achieved years ago, but like any bureaucracy it is never enough. Much of what has been done in recent years has, like the MTBE and the air stripping of groundwater, made pollution worse. Ethanol buys votes but cuts milage thus requiring more transportation polution, and raises the cost of food. When standards are set by people who gain status by increased regulation, the need for the independent validation of those standards is obvious.


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Apr 12, 2007 at 6:33 pm

I think we are talking about two kinds of emissions here--smog and emissions related to global warming, but I will let the scientists among us clarify.

Re smog most of California still fails to meet federal and/or state standards. We have been far tougher on industrial smog than on vehicles, despite considerable technical progress there.

However you cut it cars create external negative effects on local and global conditions and we have every right to regulate cars including incentives to reduce fuel use. Finding the best way is nto always obvious but there should be no confusion about the legal or moral obligation not to harm others.


Posted by Oliver, a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 12, 2007 at 7:03 pm

Smaller vehicles on the road result in more deaths on the highways. This cost must be considered when mandates are discussed. So far, I have not heard any discussion of this death cost on this thread, unless I missed it. Arguing to the extreme, if everyone drove a Hummer, the highways deaths would be WAY down; if everyone drove a compact, the deaths would be WAY up. Just think about a car hitting a power pole....

If this thread is, primarily, about global warming, then the thrust should be to get away from carbon-based fuels. Ethanol is a carbon-based fuel. Ethanol is not the answer, for a variety of reasons. Plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles are better, but they produce CO2 at the electricity source, unless hydro/solar or nuclear is the source of the power. Only nuclear could produce the amount of electricity to support an enormous number of electical cars.

This does not seem to be a well-thought-out proposal. People who use the most gasoline are already paying the piper.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2007 at 10:05 pm

The standards refered to are arbitrary standards that are related to population more than to technology. Very few people dropped dead the other day when smoke far worse than the compliance level came South, and the smoke from fireplaces and barbeques also seems survivable, so perhaps we will be better served concentrating on meteor deflection and other real threats.


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Apr 13, 2007 at 5:11 am

I disagree that people who are using the most gasoline are "already paying the piper". Our gasoline taxes are very low compared to other develeoped countries. Gasoline taxes have not even kept pace with inflation in the past decade.

The state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has argued for years that CA should raise the gas tax to pay for roads and transit. Reducing fuel use is another reason to consider a sharp increase in the gas tax as are other incentives to use less fuel.

And, Walter, the clean air standards are not "aribtrary standards related to population". They are scientific standards based on the relation between pollutants and health effects. No relationships are known perfectly but these are based on the best scientific evidence available.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2007 at 5:50 am

The standards ar mostly set by asking "what is the level now?" and then saying "Cut it in half."
My regard for scientists who testify before government panels has gone way down.


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Apr 13, 2007 at 8:12 am

Interesting theory about the standards, Walter. But it is not true.

The air quality standards have been pretty much the same for many years. What is happening is that as the deadlines for compliance approach, regions are often being given more time to comply. So the standards are, in practice, loosening.

As far as national fuel standards, they are also mostly unchanged from 20 years ago despite major advances in technology.

Amd low-income families can be given tax credits if people think imposing higher gas taxes or fuel standards are unfair to low incmom families.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2007 at 11:43 am

The air quality standards were arbitrarily set, just like the mandate for electric cars. In many cases they are unattainable as a matter of physics, and the relaxing is just an admission that little science went into their initial setting, but many jobs depend on the regulations. Good, high pay jobs.
The national fuel gives better milage than the California mixtures, and with no significant increase in emmissions. The addition of ethanol harms everyone but farmers.
And I'll let you explain to the guy who will have to pay the doubled price of fuel your mandate would cause that in a year he can take a tax credit. That will be a comfort. Except he doesn't make enough to pay taxes now.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 13, 2007 at 2:30 pm

Oliver says: "Smaller vehicles on the road result in more deaths on the highways. This cost must be considered when mandates are discussed. So far, I have not heard any discussion of this death cost on this thread, unless I missed it. Arguing to the extreme, if everyone drove a Hummer, the highways deaths would be WAY down; if everyone drove a compact, the deaths would be WAY up. Just think about a car hitting a power pole...."

------
Sorry, Ollie - no cigar.

"Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA, said that the growing disparity in the size of vehicles was also increasing the severity of crashes because there was now a greater risk of a small car colliding with a larger one.
Web Link

btw,, in case you didn't know, the irresponsible auto manufacturers, years ago, took a loophole in the law that permitted "working vehicles" to have a bumper height of more than 9" from ground (working vehicles need ground clearance, as they were orininally thought of a 'off-road')).

This violation of the spirit of law resulted in untold thousands of deaths, and irresponsible gas use. Look at the psychologiucal profile studies of those who prefer large cars and trucks. there might be a clue there.

The monstrosities that the auto manufacturers have built by flouting legal intentions is pathetic. People should go to jail for what has happened to road safety, the environment, and the genreal sense that "anything goes" on the American Highway.

Last, Hummers have been in the past rated as the MOST unsafe vehicle. That may have changed, but why was it a fact for even _one_ year. It just goes to show how ego can make a consumer a sucker, because there are a lot of suckers out there on the road, driving cars that they thing makes them more important (in some warped sense of importance), yet they're driving a loaded gun - endangering themselves, and others.

American auto manufacturing executives shuold be doing jail time.


Posted by Philcantspell, a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2007 at 2:51 pm

Americans love their cars, and trucks, almost as much as the
right to bare arms... Posted by Phil Lanthrop

I agree, especially in the summertime.


Posted by ten18, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2007 at 3:11 pm

Mike - I drive a large Suburban that I just love. I guess I'm just an egomaniacal psychopath, eh? People should go to jail for what the auto manufacturers have been producing? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] You want to take away people's choices, lower their standard of living, and tax them into poverty, based on your own values. Check the thread on meat production. That'll be next right? Chances are there's a few people out there like you who will advocate that everyone go vegan, for "the sake of the planet." I just hope the population wakes up before it's too late, and everything really is controlled by "Big-Brother." It's not that far fetched, given what I've read here.

BTW - I also drive a little CNG Honda Civic that's cleaner than any hybrid on the road. It's cheap to drive, but I don't like it. It's about as exciting as a toaster. It cost as much as my Suburban.

When my Suburban's used up, I'll probably buy another one. The Civic? Not so sure.


Posted by ten18, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2007 at 3:17 pm

. . .as a little followup - I made a conscious decision to purchase my Suburban, and that decision didn't include an EIR. I wanted a big, safe four-wheel drive vehicle to in which to carry my family around. A minivan probably would have been functional, but I didn't want one. While I'm certainly using more fuel in my Suburban than I would in the minivan, I doubt seriously that the Suburban's environmental impact is much greater. As for the Civic - I bought it because it was a nice, safe vehicle for my kid to drive. The fact that we can drive solo in the commute lane was just a bonus. And it wasn't a "hybrid."


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 13, 2007 at 4:51 pm

ten18,

I'm curious about the Honda.
I assume you got the home appliance to refill, does that work well?
Also, what kind of range are you finding the car is capiable of?

thanks


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 13, 2007 at 5:10 pm

One more question, where did you get the Honda? The Honda web site lists availability starting October 2007


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 13, 2007 at 5:22 pm

ok, I think I figured out one of the answers myself apparently the Oct 07 is for the current model year, there have been previous model years.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2007 at 6:03 pm

People who condemn the US auto industry for their failure to produce an economy car don't know what they talk about. Domestic manufacturers produced several economy lines and were rewarded with no sales. The only reason the Bug made it was the exotic of a foreign car. The Henry J was a disaster. The "Business Coupe" was a disaster. The Powell didn't get off the ground. Even the King Midget and the Crosley [with its' Cobra engine] went South.


Posted by ten18, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2007 at 7:39 pm

RS - we actually bought it in 2005 - didn't purchase the Phill home refueling appliance, as the installed cost was about $5K. We've had pretty good luck filling it up at local PG&E facilities, as well as at airport locations. I was able to find a couple of old commercial-grade home refueling appliances, and I'm going to have one of them rebuilt to install at my home. Once that's done, it's going to be one convenient beast.

I'm surprised that Honda is showing Oct 07 availability, as I've seen some 2007 models running around town already. You might want to give SF Honda a call - they're the biggest CNG dealer that I know of.


Posted by ten18, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2007 at 7:43 pm

Oh, and the range - well, it's about 160-200 miles, depending on who's driving. I'm tempted to see if I can have another CNG cylinder installed in the trunk, since the trunk is pretty useless (I've heard of this being done by others). That would extend the range to 300 miles or so. Once we became used to the shorter range, and the idea that we have to pay attention to the fuel level - it really hasn't been that inconvenient in the almost two years that we've owned it.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 13, 2007 at 9:17 pm

thanks for the info, ten18. I'm not that close. My current car is running well, but at 12 years/162,000 miles, I want to have some of my learning curve taken care of just in case something major fails.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 14, 2007 at 12:32 am

ten18,

People's "choices" (as you put it) are not rights. We're going to find out in this country the hard way. There is no one nation more dependant on the automobile than America. There is ialso no one place with as much disposable income. That will not be lost on fuel providers.

America is one of the world's major polluters. THAT was a "choice", wasn't it? We've made some wrong choices in the way of our automobile enterprise. We've been suckered by Detroit marketers.

Honestly, when I see people driving a gas hog, there is simply no way to think that they are somehow not very smart. That's not meant as an insult; it's meant as a descrption of a first impression. That impression is becoming more and more the norm. Remember what happened to the image of cigarette smokers? the same is going to happen to gas hog drivers.

We're also driving more gas hogs than the rest of the world combined. When gas goes to $5 per gallon, or higher, I want to see what tune the gas-hog lovers sing. If the market wasn't rigged, we'd be paying $7 per gallon. YOu're riding on borrowed time, and dollars. Let's see what that gas hog Suburban isi worth on the used market in 5 years. The bet is that it will be sold for scrap.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2007 at 7:45 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2007 at 12:58 pm

I am disapointed that Mike's jeramiad against America was left up and my reasoned response was removed.
The American auto is designed for the needs of our market. Foreign makers become more successful as their cars come to resemble domestic products more.
"when I see people driving a gas hog, there is simply no way to think that they are somehow not very smart." sounds a lot like road rage to me. This ability to better determine what someone should spend his own money for than he is is a form of arrogance that can lead to worse.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 14, 2007 at 2:12 pm

Walter says "The American auto is designed for the needs of our market."

Walter, who shaped those needs?


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 14, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Walter says: "This ability to better determine what someone should spend his own money for than he is is a form of arrogance that can lead to worse."

Walter: Would you authorize the sale of bazookas, dynamite, cyanide, and old surplus land mines? Civilization is about imposing rational control. What do you think the Law is?

Libertarianism is a nice living-room and online forum exercise; it's good for a few laughs and poking fun at, but in reality, it just doesn't work.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2007 at 9:43 pm

Mike. did you know that a bazooka does not go whoosh when it is fired? it goes bang. Actually you can buy dynamite subject to safety regulations, and there are cyanide compounds that don't even require permits. There are no second hand land mines for sale. If I needed one, or a Claymore or a bangalore torpedo I could make do. C-3 will make a cast iron stove glow bright red.
An auto is a useful tool, and different folk have different needs. Calling someone's car a gas hog is a value judgement that is perilously close to road rage.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2007 at 10:46 pm

Could you two take it outside and settle your differences there? The discussion was on whether Ira Ruskin's vehicle registration tax made sense.


Posted by DonImus, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Apr 14, 2007 at 10:53 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2007 at 8:09 am

In case you missed it, the Bush administration has bought in to global warming, renewable and alternate energy, disincentives and almost all the rest of the Luddite Malthusian pseudo science. They and our Governor are tragically and expensively wrong.


Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 15, 2007 at 1:01 pm

To RS:

I really appreciate your tone etc. Nice posts.

Finally got back to this thread..I see that you asked me what kind of SUV I have that gets 25 MPH,..and the answer is I don't. In the heat of my remembered fury at being judged by someone who had no clue about my life, I wrote 25..that is from my VOLVO which we use we don't need the Suburban ( which we use for big trips). THAT gets 15 MPH. So, sorry, I lied ( not really, i just screwed up).

We also have a toyota we use when not all of us are going somewhere.

There are definite trade-offs though, environmentally, in owning the "extra" car ( the Toyota), since the EI of simply making a 3rd car for us to own probably way offsets the savings in gas from using it when we can. But, we are muddling along the best we can.


Posted by AlGore, a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2007 at 4:21 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Censor, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 15, 2007 at 5:18 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2007 at 8:02 pm

When I speak ex cathedra [about engineering] everybody else IS wrong. If they were not wrong I would not say anything. In my previous life I was known as Marmaduke Surfaceblow, and before that the dour Scots engineer. Just a perpetual Son of Martha.


Posted by AlAndArnieTheGreenTeam, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 15, 2007 at 8:08 pm

WEW:
"When I speak ex cathedra [about engineering] everybody else IS wrong. If they were not wrong I would not say anything. In my previous life I was known as Marmaduke Surfaceblow, and before that the dour Scots engineer. Just a perpetual Son of Martha."

Walter, please translate the above (which is evidently written in "engineering") to English, so that you might "enlighten" us, the ignorant masses.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2007 at 8:17 pm

Please read the article about web etiquette in
Web Link.

The first rule is "Don't feed the troll." The Palo Alto Online Staff need to implement some of the other rules...


Posted by Don't feed overactive imaginations, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2007 at 11:36 am

Anonymous, the Weekly's moderators do a fine job of editing comments that occasionally go to far astray. I doubt they need your advice. So far, the only trolls in this forum are the ones who arew claiming others are trolls. How about a substantive comment on this thread, for starters? Your "troll" accusations are little more than trolls, themselves.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2007 at 3:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by CanYouRead?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2007 at 4:29 pm

Let's try this again.

You have the discussion forum you deserve.


Posted by Paly Student, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 19, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Draw The Line-

Are you serious? you're complaining because someone said your SUV pollutes? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
These discussions are exactly what we Palo Alto high school (gunn too) students make fun of about Palo Alto. Everybody driving an SUV and complaining that somebody's complaining about them. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] You can find a 6-person car that gets better mileage than an SUV. we don't need better types of gas, we need SUVs off the road and more people driving better-economy cars. (and we need a car manufacturer to make a good-looking hybrid, i'm sick of those ugly lines.)

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Personally, I drive a volvo, and i get pretty good gas mileage. Not only is my car cleaner than your 10,000 lb, useless SUV, its much safer.

while i'm ranting, all you good-fuel-economy people who drive hybrids should watch "who killed the electric car?" its a very stirring documentary about how automakers teamed up with big oil companies to stomp out the electric car. it also shows sad footage of pro-electric-car owners being shunned at a CARB meeting. absolutely sickening.

basically, get rid of your 5 mpg suv. get a hybrid. and stop complaining, or go somewhere else. I personally am very glad that i am moving to the University of Oregon, where they actually care about their air.


Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 19, 2007 at 8:27 pm

Paly Student,

I have seen the Paly parking lot many times. It is full of gas hogs, including the Volvo models. Many Paly students just drive to school for the status of being seen. Very few Paly students need to drive to school, yet they do - including you, apparently.

The EV-1 (all-electric car, shown in the movie you cite), was an interesting developmental project, but it was a dog in the real market. See the GM response for a counbterpoint ( Web Link ).

If electric vehicles are the wave of the future, where will all those electrons come from? If you think it is just about plugging into the closest outlet, then I suggest you take a physics course at Paly and memorize the Laws of Thermodynamics. Energy does not come for free. Milk does not come from cartons, either. A massive development of nuclear power plants will be necessary to support the plug-in vehicle.

Hybrids still use carbon-based fuels, thus they produce CO2. One of the main elements they offer is regenerative braking, something developed by GM with the EV-1.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Scottís Seafood Mountain View to close, reopen as new concept
By Elena Kadvany | 12 comments | 3,701 views

Who Says Kids Donít Eat Vegetables?
By Laura Stec | 9 comments | 1,888 views

Breastfeeding Tips
By Jessica T | 11 comments | 1,698 views

How Bad Policy Happens
By Douglas Moran | 20 comments | 1,196 views

The life of Zarf
By Sally Torbey | 8 comments | 814 views