Gas Prices - DO SOMETHING!

People, how hard is it? While candidates spew and describe the problem, people are going broke and the economy can potentially grind to a halt over gas prices! Here we are in an election and when almost every American knows what to do, our government cannot even get it together to pass initiatives and emergency legislation!

Here are some ideas to do something and do something right now!

  1. Telecommuting

    Give tax incentives, request all corporations to allow more employees to work from home. If President Bush and others encouraged corporations to enable telecommuting, this would immediately reduce demand on oil, it would put money right into the pockets of workers. With today's communications systems, working at home can be actually more efficient and certainly reduce stress on employees. Many employees already have corporate laptops and there are now many products enabling web conferencing for meetings. Demanding people sit in a drab cube simply for some sort of antiquated management reason that doesn't add up, in pure productivity terms alone, is just stuck on stupid.

  2. Make Box Cars!

    Remember all of those cheap gas efficient autos from the 1970's? How about the Geo Metro, a 50 mpg subcompact, which was discontinued? GM just closed up 4 factories which made gas guzzlers and fired the workers. Why not give tax incentives for US domestic auto manufacturing companies to retool these very facilities, keep the factories open, generate US domestic jobs and make box cars! To encourage consumers to buy the box cars, give further subsidies to consumers in the form of rebates and tax breaks to those who buy a box car and turn in their gas guzzler in trade. Give people a break, enable them to buy these and magically those little economy scooters will be very cool, very wise and very, very American.

  3. Close the Enron Loophole

    I wrote about this earlier. Professor Greenburger pointed out in his testimony that to change this loophole is literally a couple of words:

    Virtually all parties now agree the Enron Loophole must be repealed. The simplest way to repeal would be to add two words to the Act‘s definition of ―exempt commodity so it reads: an exempt commodity does ―not include an agriculture or energy commodity; and two words to 7 U.S.C. § 7 (e) to make clear that ―agricultural and energy commodities must trade on regulated markets

  4. Biodiesel Converters/Availability

    Biodiesel is simply not readily available. While there are many diesel engines that can run on biodiesel with no modifications, in some cases, a converter is needed. State and local governments should be given federal subsidies in order to make biodiesel available across the nation. Taxpayers should get a rebate for converting their diesel trucks to accept biodiesel.

  5. Increase Public Transport

    Often buses are simply not available or do not run often enough. Train routes do not go far enough or have absurd restrictions on beverages, bicycles and pets. Riding bicycles is plain dangerous along highways with no bike lanes. Governments should be given federal funds to increase more public transportation around the clock and to farther bus and train routes as fast as possible. No, one cannot build a light rail in a month, but certainly more buses, trains along existing public transport lines could be done immediately.

If I can write up these simple things in a 10 minutes blog post, why is it our government simply gives platitudes and cannot pass legislation, issue executive order to immediately act? Our economy is an oil based economy. These simple things will probably pay for themselves in stopping the incredible devastation that dramatically increasing oil prices will have on our economy. Oh yeah, it's good for the environment too.

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Comments

Contract with tour bus operators for suburban mass transit

Appropos of your last point, I don't imagine tour bus operators are doing so well these days due to the increased costs of taking a vacation.
Tour buses are the perfect mass transit vehicle for suburban commuters who don't have the option of rail transit, and aren't wooed by spartan municipal buses (that aren't in adequate supply anyway).
Arrange for a park-n-ride at popular suburban hubs, and run the tour buses from there every 15 minutes in the morning, on the dot. Run them back from downtown or a central rail station every 15 minutes in the afternoon rush hour, on the dot.
Yours truly is one of the people who would make use of one of those buses to avoid wasteful $$$$ killing rush hour traffic jams, in a heartbeat!

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park n ride

One of the problems I've seen with buses are they come too far spread apart and they have too many stops.

Park n ride is a great mention. There are places in the US where the commute into work is literally a parking lot, places like NoVA (Northern Virginia to DC). I see no reason why they couldn't set up a network of buses with shuttles from park n rides to the main express bus. I think that commute is grueling, people sit in their cars and it can take 3 hours.

Some common sense planning doesn't seem to be around much in public transit generally. Yeah, I hear ya on mentioning just some clean, nice buses. I have no idea how the tour industry is doing but it sure is a world of difference in experience between a filthy city bus versus a tour bus.

But, the main thing is our government actually knows what to do and that Enron loophole of course is something corporate lobbyists oppose in masse, so that's probably why we don't get the right thing.

Read how the Feinstin amendment claimed they closed the loophole didn't actually do anything.

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Gas Prices

Some of you won't remember but years ago when oil was regulated there was no speculation by investors - oil companies used limited partnerships to fund drilling programs and the basic sale of their product to set prices and the government told them the cap. It worked for years. Enter in speculation - which seems to grow in scope and effect on our pricing. It is not the entire reason for the cost aberrations but it is a significant contributor.

Mass transit only works in heavily congested areas - most of this country isn't heavily congested - there is a huge amount of suburbia and country. It won't work there.

I say roll back the speculation and lets face it - gambling - on the price of oil - if people want to gamble, Las Vegas and CT have some great casinos that would love to oblige them. Allowing the fruits of gambling to set the price of an item of national security is the ultimate in greed and not good for America.

I do have a question though. Oil companies have more money than God. Money runs Washingon DC. Oil companies complain that environmentalists block their drilling and building refinery efforts.I don't believe that environmental groups have even a fraction of the capital and clout in DC big oil does. It would cost billions to drill and build new refineries in the US. Oil companies complain that they only make a few dollars a barrel on refining. SO what is the motivation for oil companies to build refineries in the US, pay US worker salaries and benefits, when they already have demonstrated by using offshore facilities and buying and selling offshore oil they can make huge profits with the minimum of overhead- not to mention get the US military to protect their offshore investments. Why in heavens name would they want to take on more work and overhead doing it here? I submit to you they don't - if they wanted to drill anwar they could do it tomorrow. Money talks.

http://www.madnamerica.com

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The beatings should continue until complaining stops

Ok, here's a thought-

Tax the oil industry at whatever rate is needed to bring in revenue equal to average price on April 15 per gallon x number of people in the United States x 20 gallons of gas per week.

Then use that money to finance weekly "transportation vouchers" for each and every American man, woman, and child.

Transportation vouchers should be able to be bought and sold for cash, used to actually purchase fuel, or used to finance high-efficiency vehicles, public transportation passes, and alternative energy transportation such as solar cycles and bicycles.

Continue that until the price of gas falls due to a lack of demand and this year's vouchers become nearly worthless because the price of gas has fallen to production cost.

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Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

Mass Transit Tax Incentives

The IRS approved Employers offer of mass transit purchases for it's employees. Employees purchase their monthly mass transit ticket through their employer. The Purchase is taken from the employee before taxes reducing the employee's taxable income.
http://www.irs.gov/irb/2004-29_IRB/ar10.html

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ah

I think the routes themselves are still fairly inconvenient. I live in a rural area, so it's been awhile but in Silicon valley generally the routes and shuttles were scary because of course everyone works late.

I didn't mention immediate deployment of hydrogen fuel, for as far as I know that technology costs more in development of the hydrogen than is worth. Same with biodiesels. I should have mentioned tax breaks for used cooking oil from restaurants or biodiesels from economically viable methods.

Why I said box cars. I mean these car companies are talking 20k to 65k for new hybrids and what people need are plain super cheap little 50mpg cars.

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I was wondering about that

Since after all, box cars wouldn't work, to reach 50MPG you need light framework AND aerodynamics, OR alternative drive train.

What I don't get, though, is why we're not building hybrids based on the GE locomotive model- effectively replacing not the ENGINE in electric mode, but the TRANSMISSION in both gas and electric modes.

It seems to me, that since DC Electric motors contain fewer moving parts than a modern automatic or stick transmission, they should be cheaper to mass produce and actually CUT the cost of the hybrid vs a standard model car.

Heck, the difference should be enough to pay for the batteries....but if you did it this way, simply replacing the transmission, you could run the GAS engine as a constant speed generator., and you'd STILL see better fuel efficiency.

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Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

technology

I think that topic is worth a diary or two for I feel that the US consumer is once again simply getting squeezed for profits in terms of trying to get a more fuel efficient transportation device. I mean those subcompacts, the technology is over 40 years old, so how can it be that costly to resume production of them?

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Great summer project for teenage kids this year

After I wrote the above, I googled it. While few are actually replacing the transmission, Highway-speed EV car kits are now available in the $2500-$6000 range (depending on the power you want) and small generators are in the $500-$2500 range. Seems to me any enterprising smart young teenager could create a summer job right now looking for parked older vehicles of various types running or not, buying them up, and doing a conversion on them then selling them in the $9000 range. A kid with a high school shop available or even just a friend with a good engine crane and a few tools would be able to do one or two such conversions a day.

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Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

excellent suggestion

forget the kids, how about local mechanics? They also are squeezed to hell and I would buy some rigged up EV.

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It could really be this simple....

.....using a 'crash' Federal Program similar to TVA or other FDR era public works....

Build The Solar Grand Plan.

Then plug your all-electric or hybrid into the wall.

Totally doable...totally blocked by the political idiots we have 'running things...'

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