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I know, you need your cars for basic tasks. To go to work, to shop. And you have no alternative.
I know, a gas tax is regressive, and hits the poor hardest.

But until gas taxes are jacked up - and continue to be jacked up regularly (Europe stopped increasing taxes in the last 90s, and we started moving towards bigger cars again soon afterwards), we'll continue to burn oil as if there were no tomorrow, and the price will be paid by random coastlines (remember the Torrey Canyon, the Santa Barbara platform, the Amoco Cadiz, the Exxon Valdez, the Erika and many more before the BP spill), and... by us as taxpayers, in the form of oversized military budgets whose purpose is largely to protect oil shipping lanes and friendly oil regimes (never mind the population of the countries variously invaded and bombed along the way).

There are viable alternatives, they are just less convenient in the short term. If we don't make the "convenient" pay the price it really costs us, today in indirect ways, and in the future likely in very direct ways. Of course, today's infrastructure and our way of life is largely organised around cheap oil, and can't be turned around in the short term. But we have to get started. And the only way is to make oil appear to be as expensive in monetary terms as it actually is.

And yes, it is possible to use the tax revenues generated to put money directly in the pockets of the poorest and hardest hit (like rural populations) AND to channel it into new infrastructure.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:03 AM PDT.

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  •  And yes I also know it's politically a killer (228+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Dark, ClaudeB, Louise, claude, JekyllnHyde, Ed in Montana, ssmt, Phoenix Woman, melo, gogol, AaronInSanDiego, miasmo, tiggers thotful spot, MarkC, alisonk, Danno11, mattman, PeterHug, Khun David, Shockwave, wu ming, leberquesgue, tacet, ericy, eeff, Mnemosyne, Page van der Linden, theran, bronte17, therion, BlackGriffen, rhp, highacidity, taonow, ceebs, equinespecter, ctsteve, splashy, NMRed, nicta, psnyder, mrkvica, Winnie, pat bunny, gmb, Drew J Jones, White Buffalo, Catte Nappe, AbsurdEyes, RebeccaG, riverlover, porsupah, Pohjola, ybruti, Wife of Bath, pat208, bibble, nailbender, leolabeth, ExStr8, maybeeso in michigan, bloomer 101, Bluesee, NoMoreLies, TexasTom, corvo, panicbean, Simplify, truong son traveler, basquebob, Dobber, trinityfly, reflectionsv37, lotlizard, Phil S 33, noemie maxwell, CWalter, wiscmass, coolbreeze, northanger, Cory Bantic, Detroit Mark, JanL, mightymouse, dancewater, Land of Enchantment, martini, sideboth, esquimaux, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, keeplaughing, Opakapaka, dharmafarmer, Ptah the Great, tonyahky, borkitekt, koNko, buckstop, deha, Magnifico, Ashaman, The Hindsight Times, lao hong han, Dauphin, bleeding heart, ER Doc, soccergrandmom, blue in NC, profh, zhimbo, shaharazade, Picot verde, Hedwig, Nulwee, DBunn, seabos84, ammasdarling, beaukitty, pgm 01, catadromous, california keefer, Margfh, Outrider, Jimdotz, Unbozo, RosyFinch, Seneca Doane, mcgee85, manwithnoname, letsgetreal, Uberbah, jnhobbs, millwood, Chung Fu, Joffan, Brahman Colorado, keikekaze, aseth, Counselor730, VA Breeze, kafkananda, Michael91, mconvente, elwior, Cat Servant, senilebiker, happymisanthropy, bluesheep, mnguy66, temptxan, SyntaxFeline, petulans, bob zimway, tlemon, doppler effect, In her own Voice, statsone, squarewheel, forgore, LaFeminista, satanicpanic, R Rhino from CT4, csaw, SciMathGuy, BerkshireDem, Florene, BennyToothpick, RNinOR, sustainable, greengemini, divineorder, be the change you seek, pvlb, nwgates, tr GW, Yalin, delillo2000, dRefractor, zbbrox, elziax, asym, notksanymore, Green Karma, jfromga, mahakali overdrive, Railfan, sneakers563, sulthernao, ppl can fly, amk for obama, marsanges, SmartAleq, gulfgal98, ulookarmless, Egalitare, NYWheeler, pateTX, wabird, Rockpopple, bicycle Hussein paladin, NC Blue, implicate order, wildlife advocate, freesia, poorbuster, BlueJessamine, dabug, thethinveil, felldestroyed, dakinishir, jgnyc, UtopianPablo, Tyto Alba, Aquagranny911, toby esterhase, siduri, blackjackal, Ezekial 23 20, RLMiller, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Reliefpitcher, jaebone, JackLord, Patric Juillet, yawnimawke, KiB, damfino, foucaultspendulum

    but sometimes you have to do what is right. And who knows, after a big enough warning signal like the current spill (or like 9/11 could have been used), enough people will understand and support it.

    Call it the "Clean Gulf Coast Contribution"

    •  Let me know when $5/gal tax is proposed (33+ / 0-)

      by someone in Congress.  As I recall, Pres. Clinton could not even get a $0.05 increase out of Congress.

      When did Congress ever "do what is right" when that would be political suicide?

          •  How can Dems tax Gas? (14+ / 0-)

            Are we not Democrats?

            Do we not champion the working and middle-class?

            Are we not aware that median income growth has stagnated for the past decade?

            And some of you want to increase the gas tax?

            Caramba!!!

            Then some of you wonder why enthusiasm is lower on our side than among GOPers.

            Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

            by PatriciaVa on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:07:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good point, gas tax is very regressive (9+ / 0-)

              Punishing the poor and working class while the rich are unscathed is very bad policy.

              •  read the last para of the diary n/t (12+ / 0-)

                why? just kos..... *just cause*

                by melo on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:25:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I just read the last paragraph, and.. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cdreid, melo

                  ...it reads...

                  And yes, it is possible to use the tax revenues generated to put money directly in the pockets of the poorest and hardest hit (like rural populations) AND to channel it into new infrastructure.

                  I ask, then, how would this work.  Would we install a device in the vehicle of every household that earns less than US$ 150K (please note that President Obama's definition of the middle-class is even more inclusive, with a top income of 250K still qualifying), and then have the government rebate them the incremental tax hike at the end of the year, based on the miles driven?

                  How much money would be raised with a gas tax levied on households earning more than US$ 150K per year, given the fact that many of these HHs are availing themselves of generous federal tax incentvies to buy 100K electric vehicles, like the Tesla.

                  Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

                  by PatriciaVa on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:31:41 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Simple (15+ / 0-)

                    Institute a brutal gas tax at the pump.  Then give a huge tax credit on paid gas tax to those earning income below a certain level.  The result is higher taxes paid by those with greater earnings.

                    Tax policy: One of the best and most logical instruments of fiscal policy around.

                    •  that would seem to pose a cash-flow problem... (14+ / 0-)

                      ...for the beneficiaries - those earning income below a certain level.

                      When folks have barely enough income to meet basic needs, how are they going to be able to pay more at the pump, and wait to get their gas-tax refund?

                      •  give the poorest more than they pay... (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        melo, greengemini, MichaelNY

                        also, I wouldn't tie it to how much gas they spend, instead just make it a lump sum that everybody gets if their income is low enough, regardless of how much gas they use (because, why subsidize gas consumption? the point is not to do that)

                        ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

                        by bicycle Hussein paladin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:22:26 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Also, reduce income taxes in general, don't just (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        MichaelNY

                        make it a tax rebate, but take less out of each paycheck. I know that even for people making less than $20/year, there is still a good bit taken out of your paycheck.

                        ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

                        by bicycle Hussein paladin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:26:58 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Simple..... (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        melo, mataliandy, greengemini

                        You give the tax credit on the tax return for the year prior to the year the tax increase takes effect, that way the higher tax is paid with the tax credit already in hand.....

                        Or something....

                        The larger point is:  Ferchrissakes give the little guy a break for once!!!

                        Liberal = We're all in this together
                        Conservative = Every man for himself
                        Who you gonna call?

                        •  You wanna give the little guy a break? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          mataliandy

                          Then fire up the top marginal rate, audit the corps that base HQ offshore while doing business through us subsidiaries, and seize every last dime from the anti-democracy warchests of goldman sachs / halliburton / BofA / Citigroup / etc.

                          There's the break for the little guy. For all the screaming about inflation, there really is only so much money to go around and the mob kingpins at the top are hoarding it to the starvation of the rest of us.

                          ...

                          I wish I could find the original quote, or the historically accurate source for this, but...

                          They think a high tax rate is class warfare? When the peasants rose up and stormed the mansion of the manor lord, put him on a spit and roasted him over the fire while doing horrible things to his family - THAT is class warfare. And the peasantry has the raw force of numbers.

                          Another point is that the old plantation mansions were built like strongholds. And no wonder, when they were essentially surrounded and outnumbered by people both stronger and filled with more motivation to kill than the 'lords' that lived inside. The rich of today should learn the lesson that either they make room for the general population to live a satisfying life, or the general populace will rise up and remind the 'lordlings' of wall street what real class warfare is.

                          Miseris Succurrere Disco

                          by JayFromPA on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:28:36 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  As I mentioned downthread (13+ / 0-)

                      The problem I personally have with that idea is that, while it's nice get to a check back from the government after taxes are done, that really doesn't help when you're barely struggling to get by day to day. This isn't a tax break for if you buy something that's a "luxury" or a "convenience." In many ways it's likes telling someone, "Well, sure, you have to pay much higher food prices, meaning you can't eat as well and maybe have some malnutrition going on, but we'll give you that many back in a year... after it's too late."

                      "You might not say Communist, but I watch Glenn Beck and he's taught me well. Progressive is the new word for Communist." --Victoria Jackson

                      by AngelCole on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:01:39 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  We can have "gas stamps" just like food stamps... (9+ / 0-)

                        ...for those we deem "economically hard pressed" - indie truck drivers, small business people, and vehicle owner below a certain income, etc. That would be more immediate than an annual refundable credit.

                        But Carbon must be taxed to reflect its REAL cost as Jerome asserts. Cheap fossil  fuel was never "our due."  We squandered the opportunity to pile up Saudi-esque trade surpluses when we were net exporters of Crude. We can suck it up and take a little pain now, or we can wait for austerity and severe rationing to be imposed upon us.

                        "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

                        by Egalitare on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:55:12 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  There's a possibility... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          melo, Dismalest Scientist

                          There's a possibility that my job can become owner/operator instead of employee.

                          Currently, fuel is picked up by the employer. Should that become my business cost I'm looking at something like 15 to 20 grand for fuel per year. That's at today's prices, and I'm probably lowballing that figure.

                          Be real damn careful of how fuel tax is thrown around. A single 25 cent hike bumps that cost another thousand bucks, minimum.

                          I'm not saying it shouldn't be done, just that if a fuel tax and a push toward owner/operator happens, that will almost surely leave me just stable with where I am right now. If not losing ground, as the other costs will add up and I bet the percentage increase I would get would not be quite enough to cover all of those other overhead costs. You see the process of cost-shifting the insurance companies have done to keep profit while making us shlubs pay more and more? Same process would be put into play with me through my percentage and my new operating costs.

                          And yet I still am not saying it should not be done - that's how much I recognize a need for a reckoning of the real costs of carbon. Just please be really damn careful, that's me actually in that crossfire, give me a path off that battlefield I beg you.

                          Miseris Succurrere Disco

                          by JayFromPA on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:42:41 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  That negates the benefits of a gas tax (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          bicycle Hussein paladin

                          We can have "gas stamps" just like food stamps... ...for those we deem "economically hard pressed" - indie truck drivers, small business people, and vehicle owner below a certain income, etc.

                          Then all businesses would just outsource all driving to small businesses and indie truck drivers.  Private drivers would switch to small limo services.

                          Actual miles driven wouldn't drop that much, cost of business would go up in the state to manage all this nonsense, and incremental revenue would be minimal.

                    •  As others have said (8+ / 0-)

                      Making the poor pay up front is taking their money from things like food, rent, utilities. Things like tax breaks, rebates, and other after the fact schemes are useless for the poor. Only people with discretionary income would think this is a good thing.

                      You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you. - Eric Hoffer

                      by splashy on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:07:05 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  British Columbia reduced income taxes (11+ / 0-)

                      for lower income persons.

                      They made their income tax more progressive. No net income change for the province.

                    •  Put high federal excise taxes on heavier vehicles (9+ / 0-)

                      that are used for personal use. Heavier vehicles are very inefficient for transporting one or two people around.  

                      Average U.S. Car Is Tipping Scales at 4,000 Pounds

                      May 5, 2004

                      DETROIT, May 4 - Detroit was recently ranked as the nation's most obese city by Men's Fitness magazine. Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that the Motor City's chief product is also losing the battle of the bulge.

                      The average new car or light-duty truck sold in the 2003 model year tipped the scales at 4,021 pounds, breaking the two-ton barrier for the first time since the mid-1970's, according to a report released by the Environmental Protection Agency last week.

                      Curbing Curb Weight

                      Oct 1, 2007

                      Nevertheless, when the final numbers are calculated, EPA projects average weight for the '07 model year to increase to 4,144 lbs. (1,880 kg), the highest ever.

                      However you slice it, somebody needs a diet. With proposed new limits on fuel economy and carbon-dioxide emissions all but certain in the U.S. and Europe mandating 30% or 40% better fleet fuel economy in as little as 10 years, it may soon hit the crisis stage.

                      Institute a graduated tax that starts to kick in when a vehicle exceeds say 3,800 pounds.

                      "These old Wall Street boys are putting up an awful fight to keep the government from putting a cop on their corner." - Will Rogers

                      by Lefty Coaster on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:54:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Don't make it proportional to gas tax paid. (2+ / 0-)

                      Distribute it as a flat dividend, phased out at higher incomes.  That way you reward using less gas while reducing the new tax burden on those that aren't in a position to cut back.

                  •  I don't think the "generous incentives" (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    greeseyparrot, shaharazade, nomadamon

                    are anywhere generous enough to take more than a tiny bite out of a $100K price tag....anyone who buys a Tesla instead of a gas-burning car that costs half as much is doing it because they believe in doing the "green" thing. Obviously a gas tax is not the vehicle (pun not intended) for taxing the rich--the way to do that is by changing the way we tax capital gains and dividends--and large financial transactions.

                    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                    by Alice in Florida on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:47:18 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The point of a gas tax is to burn less gas (5+ / 0-)

                      the point is not to tax the rich, although that can be a side benefit if income taxes for the poor are reduced  accordingly.

                      ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

                      by bicycle Hussein paladin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:25:34 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  "The Poor" don't pay income tax (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        gogol, greengemini, MichaelNY

                        though many do receive refundable credits such as EIC, which could be one model for compensating low-income workers for the gas tax...another possibility would be "gas stamps," perhaps in the form of a card like a debit card that could be issued to low income persons who drive for a living.

                        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                        by Alice in Florida on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:59:17 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I don't think they pay *none*, just not much (0+ / 0-)

                          but maybe I'm wrong? I make less altogether than what I would get from a full-time minimum wage job, and I still pay income tax (and get most of it back as tax return).

                          ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

                          by bicycle Hussein paladin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:05:17 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Depending on the definition of "poor" (0+ / 0-)

                            It's easier to be considered "poor" if you have kids, of course...but a widely-quoted figure this past tax season noted that around 47% of Americans pay no income tax, mainly because they don't make that much money and their deductions+exemptions+credits exceed their tax liability.  

                            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                            by Alice in Florida on Mon May 03, 2010 at 09:05:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  It's called "Cap and Dividend" and (0+ / 0-)

                    James Hansen wrote up a proposal that makes it workable:

                    Fee-and-Dividend's Point of Entry Fee

                    The main way of the legislation would affect the behavior of producers is by the government charging a fee on all carbon-based fuels at their point of entry, whether that point be a port, mine, or well. This means that when a carbon-based fuel, such as coal, oil, or gas, is first sold to the USA, a uniform fee is charged in dollars per ton of carbon dioxide in the fuel. Companies would pass this fee on to their customers, which would level the cost of fossil fuels and renewable energy sources.
                    The Structure of the Dividend Payment

                    The point of entry fee would be passed on to the public by the government in the form of dividend payments. Hansen suggests that all adults be paid a full "credit," and each child per household (up to a maximum of two children) will receive a half credit.

                    Those consumers who alter their behavior either by installing alternative energy sources, such as solar, wind, or geothermal, or by reducing their use of fossil fuels through efficiency would benefit the most. They would be able to pocket the difference between the increased cost of fossil fuels and their fossil fuel reductions.

            •  I always enjoy seeing people casually... (25+ / 0-)

              ....proposing to put me out of work.   I'm a 1 man delivery service barely getting by and a massive gas tax would kill my job overnight.  Off the road and on welfare and food stamps sounds like constructive policy to me.

              •  There are Dems that don't think things through... (6+ / 0-)

                I'm for renewable energy, and I applaud President Obama's loans/grants to renewable energy start-ups.

                But I adamantly oppose any effort to increase the gas.

                People who support such an increase have a poor grasp of Economics and the socioeconomic impact of a gas tax hike.

                Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

                by PatriciaVa on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:21:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Er, come again? (25+ / 0-)

                  I'm a professional economist, and I understand the demographics just fine, so what are you on about?

                  Jerome is an economist as well.

                  Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

                  by Drew J Jones on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:26:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So the point about jobs (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rockhound, Dismalest Scientist

                    How many jobs will go away based on the tax.  A number of people on the thread already stated the gas tax would hurt them big time.

                    As an economist what are the result job losses? Or even the effect of moving working people into poverty based on the increased expense whether to them personally or due to high costs of public transportation?

                    •  people seem rather unimaginative (17+ / 0-)

                      it is astonishing reading through these comments.
                      The whole point of a gas tax is to change people´s calculus. Say a factory needs x workers, and with gas price low, these workers can live spread out over radius y. Increase the gas tax, the factory will then still need the same workers, but they´ll move closer to the plant, and live in a smaller radius. Not because someone ordered them to, but because it´s their own calculus that tells them they cant afford living further away. They´ll be as rich or poor as before, only travel less (and actually gain time). They´ll be living closer together: the gas tax is an attack not on anyone´s jobs, but on what is called urban sprawl, the horrendously wasteful usage of space in America. It´s a structural matter, and can be tuned to be entirely jobs neutral.

                      What it´ll deliver in gains (for everyone) should be abundantly clear for anyone following general and recent news.

                      Ici s´arrète la loi.

                      by marsanges on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:30:35 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  What world. (11+ / 0-)

                        As I read the comments, I have ask what world do people live in really.  At least the diarist understands he is fucking over working people with the suggestion.

                        So the working poor, laborers, even middle class workers can just up and move?  Who knew.  I know people who live in certain areas because the housing is affordable but work in affluent areas, where you know, I doubt if they could afford the rent of even cheap places.

                        Now I know, your example was meant to illustrative of the point of changing people's behaviors.  But it it is an example grounded in fantasy.

                        Maybe the suggestion of a gas tax without imagination and without an understanding of the consequences?

                        •  I agree (5+ / 0-)

                          that if a radical tax were implemented overnight, the working poor would suffer the mostest (not actually the poorest). Jerome knows that as well. This thing, if its going to be done, has to be done with measure and the correct speed (in raising the gas price) so that it does change peoples behaviour, but not overloads them. However, to have a change effect at all, it must hurt. That´s so. I´ll not hide that.

                          I also will cite you a snippet out of a recent diary here on the list. Not I wrote that, but BoiseBlue, a Kossack of renowned standing who I do not think anyone would suggest holds poor peoplein low esteem.

                          I moved from a land of desolation to a place where I had opportunity- that is what Americans do. We find out niche and we move to where the money is. And I did that a long time ago. I did it as a teenager. I had doors slammed in my face. I had people snicker at me for being poor.

                          She talks about that Lucy. What did that person do, if not

                          just up and move

                          ?

                          How is that suddenly out of bounds?

                          Ici s´arrète la loi.

                          by marsanges on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:15:11 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You can't just "change people's behavior" (6+ / 0-)

                            if they have no tools or infrastructure to change it to. If there is no other alternative, they CANNOT change; they can only suffer. How about finding a way to build public transportation FIRST?

                            Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com

                            by anastasia p on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:45:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  also agreed. (6+ / 0-)

                            I do not want poor people to become poorer. I want them (and anyone else) to get off that gas habit as much as possible and as fast as possible.

                            You didnt get into this situation overnight and you arent going to get out of it overnight. I should be the last one against building public transport fast! But given the situation it will need to be subsidized (initially). How pay? by taxes. How to get people to use them if they are there? By gas taxes. How to get people to move, travel less, cluster more? By raising their gas taxes, while lowering other taxes, so that they pay more for moving, and less for working. A green restructuring of the economy is a real restructuring, not just cosmetics. But it needs get going. I did not understand Jerome so that he´d say just slap two to five dollars on the gallon and let nature take its course. (Though that would work as well!) The opposition here exclaims again and again "the system as it is would make poor people suffer under a tax" and that is the lousiest defence imaginable. Change means change! Not status quo! And people - especially those concerned for the poor - should embrace that and work to reshape the way our life´s costs are structured. Of course that takes more than just a gas tax but certainly a gas tax should be in it! And above all, what you have at the moment, is not something you should defend! Realize that what you have at the moment, is going to crash anyways (cheap oil), and a gas tax would help you lighten the pain the poor would suffer when that comes.

                            some people above complained that Public Transport is at current being still shut down in teh US. Why? because the gas prices are ridiculously low. It should be obvious that both go together. Yes of course, transport has to be (re)built. But of course, it has to be accompanied by a gas tax (if not carbon tax in the Hansen sense). Otherwise people would still not use it. But all that, of course, only makes sense if the aim is actual real change of the way people (poor and not poor) live. You may not want that, but then, the entire motivation is that the current way leads to long term disaster (for everyone). I get the sense here that many people still do not face up to that.

                            Ici s´arrète la loi.

                            by marsanges on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:00:16 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ration gas for everyone. (0+ / 0-)

                            It worked fine in World War II.

                          •  Since gas prices (0+ / 0-)

                            Are not exactly stable, and have spiked from $1.89 to up over $4, then back down under $2.50, and are now averaging $3 (and will increase over the summer) - all solely for the profits of those who would ruin the entire planet if they could wring an extra penny out of the bargain, the argument over adding a few cents at a time in taxes to fund the infrastructure that would allow people to get off of fossil fuels seems both short-sighted and pound-foolish.

                            Would I rather have all the funds come directly out of the hides of those despoiling the planet for profit? Absolutely. But we actually stand a better chance, right now, of passing a carbon tax. Between the coal mining tragedies and the out-of-control oil spill, people are primed to accept a bit of sacrifice to make it possible to escape fossil fuels.

                          •  The chicken or the egg? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            BlackGriffen, shaharazade

                            Investing in public transportation and better land use patterns is definitely a major part of the answer -- but carrot alone doesn't work any better than stick alone.  

                            The buses run, but people don't ride them because they're slower than driving their own car (especially due to the sprawly distances often involved, and having to use the same roads clogged with single-occupant vehicles).  Rapid transit is built here and there, but the money just isn't there to build it all over the place and have it still be underused because driving is often still faster, and not expensive enough for most people to care.  If driving gets more expensive, ridership will go up, and public transportation will expand (not just due to an increase in fare revenue, but increased political will to spend more tax money on it -- and a gas tax could provide that tax money).

                            There are similar issues with land use -- development sprawls because it's cheap to do so.  If driving continues to be cheap, new development will continue to sprawl even further and dig us deeper in the hole.  If driving becomes more expensive, there will be more of a financial incentive to densify existing areas (and more political will to rezone to allow it), providing a means to drive less.

                            Is it going to be painless?  No.  Change is hard, especially for those who are stuck in places that can't support a transformation into something sustainable (and we should take steps to mitigate the pain, such as subsidizing electric cars, as long as the incentives to make necessary changes are still in place).  But the alternative, doing nothing until the consequences kick us in the ass, is worse.

                            At least with a tax, we could control how slowly it gets rolled out, and do something good with the money.  Wanna bet the oil companies will do the same with rising prices?

                      •  Living closer (0+ / 0-)

                        isn't always feasible; the closer people are to jobs, the higher rents are, and usually for smaller apartments.  Rents closer to jobs are too expensive, even with a gas tax.  

                    •  People who need gas for their work (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      BlackGriffen

                      will need to raise their own fees to compensate.

                      But that's OK, because UPS will need to increase their fees as well. It's not like customers can go across the street and give their business to the guy who's not paying the higher gas tax.

                      Fees for delivery services and such things would increase across the board.

                      And I'm OK with that. And I'm broke as a joke, just in case you were wondering.

                      Plastic isn't 'disposable,' no matter what the ads say.

                      by VictorLaszlo on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:31:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  More like absence of public transport. n/t (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gogol, shaharazade

                      They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                      by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:58:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  And if you agree with Jerome, then neither (4+ / 0-)

                    of you knows what the hell you are talking about, regardless of whether or not you are economists.

                    •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)

                      I can't believe I'm reading on DK of all places, that the poorer folks can just... get up and move closer to their jobs. I'd love to live closer to my jobs.

                      It's a damned shame the house prices closer into town shoot fricking skyward rather fastly. Another 25 minutes in towards town, I'd of paid another 40K+ for my house of similar size, gotten a lot 1/4th the size, with no trees, and lived in traffic congestion, with a higher crime rate.

                      Hell another 10 minutes in, and I'd be paying another 950$ in city taxes a year I can't afford, main reason we HAD to move after the paycuts that hit after the last time oil was at 4$ a gallon.

                      Yeah. We can all just get up and move. shakes head

                      •  Do you pay more for gas than your income tax? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        BlackGriffen

                        If not, then the difference could be made up by subsidies, by making the income tax more progressive as the gas tax is increased.

                        ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

                        by bicycle Hussein paladin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:32:27 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  I know. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        shaharazade

                        I'm reminded of that moment on TV when bush-the-stupid looked at the crowd and remarked about how American it was for the lady who was holding down three jobs... THREE!

                        No. No fucking gas tax. We need revenues to put toward alternatives, then fucking tax the money back from the mob kingpins at the top of the corporations who have been socking it away in cayman island bank accounts and in getting the swiss bankers to be accessories to tax evasion.

                        There is definitely enough money out there, and if you gave me command of a dozen special forces teams I would extract all the passwords needed to transfer it all back to US accounts for proper taxation, like it should have been long ago.

                        Hard hearted? Maybe. But I'm beyond tired of seeing older people not able to properly feed themselves. Last fall a lady that could have been my mom asked for food money outside a burger king and last week I overheard a couple in front of me at the grocery store debate how the luxury of a bag of popcorn would require more days of pet food.

                        So yeah, send those blackops teams oscar mike to get our money back, and use that instead of a gas tax.

                        Miseris Succurrere Disco

                        by JayFromPA on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:08:40 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  End of cheap gas means the end of (2+ / 0-)

                        the world.

                        Oh woe, poor stupid us.

                  •  Poor = house in the sticks (6+ / 0-)

                    = long commute = really old car that gets crappy mileage because it's all you can afford.  

                    That's what it's like around here.  The mistakes in urban planning and vehicle design were made years ago and the poor have few choices.  

                    They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                    by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:57:45 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  We spent a TRILLION or 3 on a war for oil (27+ / 0-)

                  We're still pissing away tens of billions on it on a regular basis.  I can see both sides of the argument on the gas tax.  I can't see the argument against w/drawing from Iraq ASAP, scaling down in Afghanistan, and launching major initiatives on wind, solar, geothermal, and conservation at home.

                  A country that could put men on the Moon in 8 years and complete the Manhattan Project in less than 4 could tackle this project as well if there was the political will to do it.

                  Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

                  by RFK Lives on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:55:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It seems there's always (20+ / 0-)

                    money to pay for wars, but anything else has to be funded by taxing the working class.

                    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

                    by happy camper on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:59:09 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Exactly, the gating factor is the will to do it (9+ / 0-)

                    ...not the cost, benefit, ability or resources.

                    The oil, auto, and finance companies will be obstacles until they can make more money by making the transition on their terms.

                    We are not the problem, nor are our taxes.

                    We are simply unwilling to see who/what the problem is.

                    •  I have a feeling this might change things (20+ / 0-)

                      One of my coworkers, a forty something father, firmly working class, started talking to me about this spill on Friday at work.  He was devastated.  People see things like this, especially people with younger children, and wonder what the world is coming to.  

                      In my opinion Obama has a huge opportunity right now.  If he announces a project to get us completely of petroleum in ten years then I think it's completely doable.  Start switching the American car manufacturers over to mass transit and bicycles.  Americans need something big, something huge, something "impossible" to set their sights on; and this spill might be just the catalyst for such a program.

                      As to whether I think that will actually happen, well, let's just say I'm not to hopeful.  But, I pray I'm wrong about that.

                      I refuse to represent my political beliefs using numbers. It isn't accurate, nor is it helpful. But I'm around a -10 on both scales.

                      by AoT on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:54:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If the political will existed... (6+ / 0-)

                        ...yes, I agree, public support will be there. The first challenge though would be in marshaling support from the rest of corporate America to overcome oil and auto industry backlash and sabotage.

                      •  I agree. Make it part of a decade-long goal (5+ / 0-)

                        Make it like the Kennedy Man-On-The-Moon Plan.

                        Phase in the gas tax that way, as well. Imagine the way land use and development would change tomorrow if everyone knew that in ten years, there would be a $5 or $7.50 tax per gallon of gas? How would cars change?  Energy use change?

                        And think of what business opportunities and new businesses would arise from that certain financial knowledge.

                        "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

                        by Louise on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:36:08 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I don't think Congress (0+ / 0-)

                          would vote for a 10-year plan that raises taxes that much in stages. And even if it did, every year, it could be amended. So I don't think that the idea of knowing that the tax will be $5 in 10 years is really a possibility in the U.S.

                      •  Why not just go full Khmer Rouge? (0+ / 0-)

                        In my opinion Obama has a huge opportunity right now.  If he announces a project to get us completely of petroleum in ten years then I think it's completely doable.  Start switching the American car manufacturers over to mass transit and bicycles.

                        So we end up like Vietnam was 15 years ago when I first visited?  Streets and avenues choked with bicycles because no one can afford a car?

                        This is just batf--k crazy.  

                        •  I hope this doesn't mean I'll (2+ / 0-)

                          have to  leave my gated community.

                          Have you any idea what it might cost to have  a white man pulling my rickshaw?

                          •  You can get it in NYC (0+ / 0-)

                            Costs $15 to get in.  Going anywhere costs more.

                            But I seriously doubt that they will let you specify the race of the driver even if you reserve a rickshaw.

                            Might be fun to try and record the conversation to put on the Internet...

                            Hi.  My father in law is visiting from China.  He used to pedal a rickshaw in Shanghai and was alway pedaling around rich white visitors.  As a treat we want to give him a ride with a white peddler.  Can that be arranged?

                            Background:  Old man yelling:

                            Want white coolie peddle rickshaw!!  Chop chop white boy!

                  •  We could also (0+ / 0-)

                    invest money in manufacturing and developing cars and usable public transportation plus energy grids  that are not run on petroleum not own by giant entities. Reinstate the concept of public utilities. Instead of bailing out GMC and their earth destroyers we could have and still can put Americans to work producing CHEAP cars run on electricity or other fuels that are both green and renewable. The government could invest in and subsidize these new factories and technologies ones that were based here. Why are we even making these huge gas guzzling monsters. The cost of capitalization could come from taxing these corporations that now are subsidized by our government and own the place.    

                    Even Henry ford had enough sense to figure out that if his workers could not afford the products it was bad business. If gas prices were higher and the market was allowed to really be free would not people be moved by there own interest to buy cheap cars that were not earth destroyers. Maybe instead of clunkers for cash and trading your earth destroyer in for a new one a program could be set up to turn in your nasty ass SUV for a made in America electric or geothermal or water run vehicle? why do we need giant cars we don't to haul our children around in? We don't.

                    Couldn't we develop communities rather then base our lifestyles on commuting?  Other societies have, it's not like the mega corporations are going to provide jobs that are sustainable anyway . To them labor is a profit loss. Billions of tax dollars are spent on resource wars, corporations get tax breaks for outsourcing work all of these problem are connected and being sustained by the governemnt. As a society we can not afford this none of us. Other societies have structured themselves socially and economically for the common good we could too. Necessity and the fierce urgency of now demands it.  

                    If the government continues to be an ATM for the corporations and our economy is nothing more then crisis capitalism with no other goal then obscene profit were all just running on empty anyway. People are resilient and innovative. Our economy needs to work for us not just profit for the crisis capitalists. Public transportation and development of local communities along with a market that produces affordable sustainable transportation and energy and is not centralized and controlled by the corporations that own the place and are destroying us and the world. Gas should cost more and as a society, a country, a government our priorities and money should not be spent on maintaining the profits of the crisis capitalists. so higher prices alone wouldn't work but it would if our taxes and economy were geared to a sustainable and truly free market. One that produces more then debt and earth destroyers to haul your 'stuff' in.        

                       

                •  So, we should just get used to global warming (9+ / 0-)

                  Because if we don't do anything to discourage large swaths of the population from continuing to use more and more fossil fuels, those efforts to encourage renewable energy will be limited to show projects. If regular people get to keep using gas, why shouldn't the electric companies get to keep using coal?

                  Of course this shouldn't/can't be done overnight...but a stepped increase in the gas tax is needed to discourage Americans from continuing to be gasoline-hogs...which is what we are...even those of us who are not affluent.  

                  "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                  by Alice in Florida on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:01:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Truthfinder, I have more faith in you than that. (0+ / 0-)

                I would bet that you are a surviver, someone who tells themselves "there's always a way" in life.

                www.yesweSTILLcan.org

                by divineorder on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:44:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I rarely understand this (20+ / 0-)

                Its an argument put out by delivery drivers everywhere, but can you explain to me why you cant put your prices up? its not like your competitors can magically get gas that will cost just the same whereas yours will be getting more expensive so you'll all be putting your prices up.

                People will still want things delivering so why act as if the increase will be coming personally out of your pocket?

                Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

                by ceebs on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:11:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Also, change to a more fuel efficient vehicle. (16+ / 0-)

                  In Europe we pay $8 a gallon, and things still get delivered.

                  My bags are packed, I'm ready to go. I'm standing here outside the door.

                  by senilebiker on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:28:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I ask the same thing of protestors (6+ / 0-)

                    here in the UK and never and never get a sensible answer

                    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

                    by ceebs on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:34:07 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I use the most fuel efficient vehicle that.... (7+ / 0-)

                    ...will haul the loads I have.  I average 15-17mpg depending on how much weight I have.  The problem is the "lag" between cost increases and being able to raise prices.  

                    It's easier for those that live in urban/metro areas to propose huge fuel taxes, they're less affected by them.  Sort of the old NIMBY syndrome.  

                    I propose we massively increase surcharges on flying, taxis and mass transit first to raise revenue to help those of us out in the sticks that depend on cars/trucks to get us anywhere.

                    My bet is that would be as popular to urban dwellers as a massive fuel tax hike is to me.

                    •  I think that a tax on flying (7+ / 0-)

                      is a great idea, and should have been done a long time ago.  For the amount of pollution that a single plane flight produces the cost in dollars is incredibly cheap.  As for the idea of taxing public transit, that would be incredibly counter productive.  And taxis would be hit by the fuel tax just as you would, probably harder.

                      Moreover, if I were you I'd look into a new line of work, because gas prices in the U.S. and the rest of the world aren't going to be as artificially low as they are now forever.  So if high prices will kill your business then it's going to get killed, gas tax or no.

                      I refuse to represent my political beliefs using numbers. It isn't accurate, nor is it helpful. But I'm around a -10 on both scales.

                      by AoT on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:58:43 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well there goes local farmer markets. (0+ / 0-)

                        I wonder if the local farmer markets producing those organic foods so loved by the urban liberal elites will be able to afford their businesses living in the country side and hauling in their wares? Or here on the West Coast those trying to do sustainable fishing and sea harvesting.

                        Screw 'em.  Let them get other jobs.

                        •  How did vegetables get to market before autos? (7+ / 0-)

                          Or better yet, before so many autos?

                          Go back and look at cityscapes before 1925. There are trolleys everywhere. In some shots looking down Broadway, you can see a trolley car every 2 blocks.

                          There are horse-drawn carts. There are auto trucks. There are even handcarts or donkeycarts. There are all sorts of ways to get fresh fruit from growers to consumers.

                          I'm not arguing we'll go back to the 1920s. I'm saying we'll come forward to the 2020s.

                          And these new methods of transport will developed in response to changing patterns of cost.

                          "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

                          by Louise on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:43:39 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Horsecart is what, five miles an hour? (0+ / 0-)

                            What is your practical delivery radius in a horsecart?

                            Housing and feeding of horse costs what?

                            How much breeding stock is there in this country of suitable horses?

                            not so simple.

                            They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                            by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:08:00 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Trains and bicycles (3+ / 0-)

                            are far more efficient than horses even were, and they are in use in a huge number of countries around the world.  Yes, bicycles transportation require more work than trucks, but if we're worried about hard work then we've already lost.

                            I refuse to represent my political beliefs using numbers. It isn't accurate, nor is it helpful. But I'm around a -10 on both scales.

                            by AoT on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:51:57 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Profit margin on one bicycle load of produce? (0+ / 0-)

                            Your delivery radius is still pretty small.  

                            They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                            by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:55:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm talking about combining (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Louise, BlackGriffen, NoMoreLies, neroden

                            an expanded network of trains, and cargo trolleys, with cargo bicycles.  As for the profit margin, with a high gas tax you would start to see it.  Before the car, or truck, people did exactly this but with horses instead of bicycles.  Bicycles are more efficient, that means there has to be a way to make money from it given high enough prices of gas.

                            I refuse to represent my political beliefs using numbers. It isn't accurate, nor is it helpful. But I'm around a -10 on both scales.

                            by AoT on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:03:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Starting to see it.... (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Louise, BlackGriffen, neroden, MichaelNY

                            Better for local farmers by far, but places where stuff doesn't grow rapidly become economically unsustainable barring hydroponics or something.  (thinking of Phoenix etc.)

                            More expensive food, though.  

                            They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                            by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:10:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Becomes much harder (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            BlackGriffen, mochajava13

                            to deal with localized food shortages.  

                            They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                            by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:11:08 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Phoenix is unsustainable anyway. (5+ / 0-)

                            It's running out of water.  We cannot and should not try to preserve immense cities in the middle of the desert -- it's just nuts.

                            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                            by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:46:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  One way to solve this whole illegals (0+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Hidden by:
                            AoT

                            business.

                            "We're abandoning Phoenix.  Get yourself out too or die of thirst."

                          •  Has anyone posted the obvious yet? (5+ / 0-)

                            Or what seems to me to be the obvious? A high gas tax actually benefits farmers who are closer in to cities, rather than agribusiness concerns that primarily engage in transcontinental delivery from California to New York and the like. So correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that higher gas taxes are probably relatively good for smaller farmers who deliver locally, and not so good for agribusiness that sends all those huge trucks on the interstates.

                          •  Good point. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            BlackGriffen, MichaelNY

                            Also encourages a certain amount of decentralization in manufacturing.   Probably not enough to successfully compete with China though.....

                            The economies of scale get less economical.  

                            They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                            by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:38:20 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Even more obvious: land use (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT, MichaelNY

                            When gas is expensive, people will want to live closer to their place of work. Instead of covering farmland with huge houses hours away from employment, let the land actually become productive again.

                            This has been the pattern of human habitation ever since cities began: a centralized city, surrounded by a ring of housing, and surrounded by farmland. It works because it's decentralized.

                            How much are we subsidizing cheap lettuce, onions, and meat with government-supported cheap gasoline and slave-wage-paying picker remuneration?

                            "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

                            by Louise on Mon May 03, 2010 at 08:37:31 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The new Obama DOT initiative... (0+ / 0-)

                            Cargo bicycles.

                            And watch the American people laugh their way to the polls in 2010 for an electoral blow out that makes Eugene McCarthy's loss look like an even race.

                          •  Are you going to offer anything constructive (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Louise, BlackGriffen, MichaelNY

                            to this discussion? Like, any ideas of your own for how we should cut carbon emissions? I'm still waiting for your answer on what's a better than a gas tax for directly taxing carbon.

                            ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

                            by bicycle Hussein paladin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:36:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think we should take some of the money we are (0+ / 0-)

                            currently using on green house initiatives and alternative energy sources and investigate geo-engineering.  It seems like that will be the most cost effective solution to our global warming problem.

                            Then we don't have to cut CO2 emissions.

                          •  No, we just have to keep on drilling (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT, MichaelNY

                            Whaddya got besides gasoline-based transportation and all its attendant environmental and political damages?

                            "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

                            by Louise on Mon May 03, 2010 at 08:39:08 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  obnoxio, wee used to call those (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Louise, BlackGriffen, MichaelNY

                            Victory Gardens, and they were common around big city
                            apartment buildings.

                            Doesn't anyone here get tired of the oh woe is me, there's no alternative to underpriced gasoline?

                          •  Are horses more efficient carbon wise (0+ / 0-)

                            than trucks?

                            How did vegetables get to market before autos? Or better yet, before so many autos?

                            Go back and look at cityscapes before 1925. There are trolleys everywhere. In some shots looking down Broadway, you can see a trolley car every 2 blocks.

                            There are horse-drawn carts. There are auto trucks. There are even handcarts or donkeycarts. There are all sorts of ways to get fresh fruit from growers to consumers.

                            Given the overhead involved (it takes more kg of horse and cart per kg of cargo than kg of truck per kg of cargo and a horse can't be turned off when it's not in use) I would be very surprised if switching to horse transport would reduce carbon requirements.

                          •  So develop something more efficient, Scientist (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MichaelNY

                            You want a Segway-powered cart? A Battery-powered carrier that hooks up to a geothermal energy production facility every night?

                            Go to it. It's a great business opportunity.

                            My point is that produce got to the cities before autos and airplanes. It was local until 1910 that you saw ammonia-cycle commercial refrigeration on almost all food-transport trains. And it wasn't until after WWII that you saw that technology adapted for long-distance trucks!

                            The point is not that we go back to the technology of the 1920s. The point is that we should look at the transportation patterns of the 1920s - but use 2020 technologies.

                            Use train lines for long-haul. Use low-carbon-emission transport for local shipping.

                            "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

                            by Louise on Mon May 03, 2010 at 08:32:36 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  The fact of the matter (7+ / 0-)

                          is that gas prices are, in the near term, going to be increasing by an absurd amount.  Oil is not an infinite resource and the amount we get out of the ground will eventually start leveling off then decreasing.  At that point gas prices are going to start increasing drastically.

                          If you want to rant about how it's all the horrible west coast liberal's fault then fine, but don't pretend like having a gas tax is going to destroy the world.

                          I refuse to represent my political beliefs using numbers. It isn't accurate, nor is it helpful. But I'm around a -10 on both scales.

                          by AoT on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:25:11 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Gas tax will not destroy the world (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Dismalest Scientist

                            The rich and upper middle classes will be able to buy it while those in the middle and margins will not be able to afford it.  I am sure Bunning would agree with you--fuck the poor, let them get jobs to pay for the gas.

                          •  Obviously (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AaronInSanDiego, MichaelNY

                            we need to subsidize gas for the poor and middle class according to your logic.  How else are we going to move away from a petroleum based energy economy?

                            The fact of the matter is that we need to use less gas, and implementing a higher gas tax is one of the ways to encourage that.  If that money is spent on public transportation and improving walking and cycling infrastructure then the poor will overwhelmingly benefit.  More than that, the negative impacts of gasoline usage inordinately affects the poor and people of color, so reducing the use of gasoline will help them.

                            I refuse to represent my political beliefs using numbers. It isn't accurate, nor is it helpful. But I'm around a -10 on both scales.

                            by AoT on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:47:00 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Global warming *will* destroy the world (4+ / 0-)

                            Well, not the world literally, just human civilization.

                            So, given the choice, I vote to increase the gas tax and give cash payments to the poor.  They can use the cash for gas or get something else with it like a house closer to work, an electric car, et cetera.

                            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                            by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:08:01 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Diesel (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          IM, truong son traveler, neroden

                          doesn't have to have the same taxes

                          •  Everyone switches to diesel cars. (0+ / 0-)

                            Greater efficiency, sometimes markedly so, but only a partial solution.

                            Diesels tend  to spew NOx and small particulates if not designed and maintained properly.

                            Most cars SHOULD be diesel in my opinion.  Given their advantages, I'm not sure why they aren't more prevalent.  

                            They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                            by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:11:00 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Commerical purposes - trucks, delivery (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            neroden

                            like the previous poster is saying. Right now it would work for him (her).

                          •  Where's that siphon hose....... n/t (0+ / 0-)

                            They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                            by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:20:38 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Diesel isn't as plentiful as gasoline is... (0+ / 0-)

                            in America as it is a refining issue.  

                            Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but in Europe, the refineries and supply are set up to produce more diesel versus gasoline as opposed to America where gasoline is refined in greater capacity as opposed to diesel.  The refineries here in the US are waiting on Detroit to change their manufacturing habits, while the US car manufacturers state that they won't make diesel vehicles unless the refineries produce more diesel.

                            - Truly a stand off to nowhere if this indeed the case as I have heard it to be.

                            "Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value." ~ Albert Einstein

                            by LamontCranston on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:16:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But diesel can be produced from vegetables (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gogol, NoMoreLies

                            Gasoline is not so easy to produce as a biofuel.

                            Due to limitations on arable cropland, I think the vast majority of transportation should go electric, so it can be powered by solar and wind.  However, those long, low-volume rural trips, the ones where it's just not worth it to put in a train line and it's too far to go comfortably in a battery car, should be biodiesel.

                            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                            by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:40:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  That's an idiotic response. (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gogol, NoMoreLies, MichaelNY

                          Local farmers can most certainly afford efficient biodiesel vehicles to take their goods short distances to the local ELECTRIC TRAIN STATION for express shipment to the cities.

                          Yes, we have shamefully allowed our rail network to decay.  Yes, we need to rebuild it in order to increase the gas tax.

                          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                          by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:44:53 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Here in the "developing world" (5+ / 0-)

                          farmer's markets, rather than supermarkets, are where most people purchase food. They are in every neighborhood. Fuel prices here have been the equivalent of $1.00 per liter, plus or minus, for years. That's just under $4 per gallon.

                          Motor vehicles are much smaller that those in the US. "full-sized" pick-up trucks are non-existent. Small motorbikes serve many as a primary source of private transportation. Pay scales in the US are much higher than they are here.

                          People do what they have to do.

                          We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

                          by truong son traveler on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:21:59 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Farmers' markets (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gogol

                          sell a lot of very expensive produce. The farmers would just up their prices to compensate for the gas tax, and most of their customers would continue buying the products.

                      •  A tax on flying... (4+ / 0-)

                        Already exists.  Several taxes actually.  It's astonishing that you would suggest that this hasn't been implemented yet, because air travel is both relatively highly taxed, and also one of those places where you get to see the actual taxes itemized right there on your ticket receipt.

                        "They let 'em vote, smoke, and drive -- even put 'em in pants! So what do you get? A -- a Democrat for President!" ~ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

                        by craiger on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:29:58 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Clearly (3+ / 0-)

                          and gas is already taxed as well.  I meant that the tax should be increased, as the conversation is about increasing the gas tax, not implementing it.

                          I refuse to represent my political beliefs using numbers. It isn't accurate, nor is it helpful. But I'm around a -10 on both scales.

                          by AoT on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:01:52 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  the tax on flying should definitely be increased (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MichaelNY

                            one more reason to build more trains and run more buses

                            ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

                            by bicycle Hussein paladin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:34:10 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Are long bus rides (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            craiger, bicycle Hussein paladin

                            actually less damaging to the environment than long-distance flights? I'd like to see some data on that.

                          •  yes, by far... esp. flying at high altitudes (5+ / 0-)

                            In attempting to aggregate and quantify the climate impact of aircraft emissions the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has estimated that aviation’s total climate impact is some 2-4 times that of its CO2 emissions alone (excluding the potential impact of cirrus cloud enhancement).

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/... (lots of links to outside resources in there, including IPCC report)

                            Just in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, flying is comparable to driving a car with one passenger (so, much less efficient than a bus). However for high altitude flights especially, the contrails have an additional warming effect, especially at high latitudes (e.g. trans-Atlantic flights); furthermore, it is strongly suspected that contrails encourage the formation of cirrus clouds, which also have a strong warming effect. The effect of this has been estimated to be very high. I don't know if it is' but there's at least a risk that it's extremely damaging. So, overall, it's worse than driving, and much worse than a bus.

                            ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

                            by bicycle Hussein paladin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:54:56 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Worse than driving. Wow! (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Marja E, bicycle Hussein paladin

                            I realized that high-altitude exhaust releases were harmful, but no way would I have thought a couple of hundred people flying from New York to LA would do less damage to the environment than if they drove individually.

                          •  Yeah, no kidding... it's the side effect of (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MichaelNY

                            having much greater speed, and also having to get the plane off the ground and 35k feet up in the air or whatever.

                            ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

                            by bicycle Hussein paladin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:28:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, and I of course meant "more damage." n/t (0+ / 0-)
                          •  let's do it right (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MichaelNY

                            I'm fine with that as long as we do it sensibly.

                            Right now, airlines pay a tax of 7.5% of the base fare, and they also collect all the passenger facility charges, segment fees, security fees, and so forth.  It's a pretty straightforward and efficient way to collect taxes, but the airlines hate it because passengers see it on the ticket price, and as we know, the airlines want to decouple everything from the ticket prices and charge for a dozen different add-ons, to include carrying any luggage, staying hydrated in flight, and even using the lavatory.

                            General aviation pays their taxes at the pump, which is also an efficient way to collect taxes in a way that is directly correlated to usage of the various aviation facilities.  There's talk of increasing the fuel tax from 19.4¢ to as much as 70¢ a gallon, and frankly I'd be all for that, compared to what the airlines propose:

                            The airlines would have us adopt a European model where just about anything you can do with an airplane involves a separate fee.  Take off, land, park, talk to ATC, get a weather report, file a flight plan...  You name it, they want to attach a separate tax on it.  And create a bureaucracy to track and bill all of that activity.  That's nonsense.  Simply build it into the existing fuel tax.

                            And when it's all said and done, the fact is, for a lot of places in this country, it's a lot cheaper to put down and maintain what amounts to less than a mile of two-lane highway, versus building a new road or a rail line out to the same remote hamlet.  Aviation is a necessary part of our overall transportation system and not simply a milk cow to pay for urban mass transit.

                            "They let 'em vote, smoke, and drive -- even put 'em in pants! So what do you get? A -- a Democrat for President!" ~ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

                            by craiger on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:43:38 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I doubt this is true for many places (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            craiger

                            And when it's all said and done, the fact is, for a lot of places in this country, it's a lot cheaper to put down and maintain what amounts to less than a mile of two-lane highway, versus building a new road or a rail line out to the same remote hamlet.

                            Some parts of Alaska, maybe.

                            Are there really many places in the lower 48 where you have an air strip but you can't get there in a 4 wheel drive?

                          •  4WD + ferry boat in some cases :-) (0+ / 0-)

                            There may be a couple of islands in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

                            It's not that you can't necessarily get to these places otherwise, but it may be the difference between a 45-minute flight and several hours of driving.  Therefore the air link is not unimportant, particularly for medical evacuation and priority cargo.

                            Aviation users currently pay their own way to a large degree—airport facility maintenance is paid directly by a trust fund that is supported by aviation taxes.  Raiding air transportation taxes to subsidize other forms of transportation leaves aviation with a larger deficit, leading to a deterioration of secondary aviation facilities, safety issues, and eventually rural communities risk being cut off from the national airspace altogether.

                            Adequate runway maintenance is not expensive compared to road maintenance.  No one is ever going to lay track to some of these places.  But if we don't make a point of funding aviation facilities, it won't happen.

                            My perspective on this is I have flown medical transportation missions for rural cancer patients and a heart/lung transplant patient.  These folks couldn't even afford to make the long drives necessary to continue their regular treatments, and so our volunteer organization flies out to their rural airstrips and brings them to urban medical facilities and back home again.

                            "They let 'em vote, smoke, and drive -- even put 'em in pants! So what do you get? A -- a Democrat for President!" ~ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

                            by craiger on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:18:51 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If the issue is cost wouldn't it be cheaper to (0+ / 0-)

                            send a four wheel drive to get them?

                            I agree that aviation is important.

                            But saying that we need it in general because there is no road transport to many places is not accurate.

                    •  What if the tax were phased in (7+ / 0-)

                      like 2.5 cents every 6 months?  Would that kill your business? Gas prices go up every summer anyway, another thing that could be tried is to keep summer prices throughout the year, but have a portion go to increased taxes in the winter.

                      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                      by Alice in Florida on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:09:25 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Well (8+ / 0-)

                      Ive lived in Rural wales, out in the hills, with gas taxes (and real socialised medicine ;) ) and strangely people still drive cars and run delivery businesses.  and the idea that you cant plan ahead for these tax rises seems laughable. Where I was there was one of the largest Organic farm foods delivery firms in Europe, as well as several small owner/operator delivery vehicle services. If they can plan for this why can't you? Im not  an Urban NIMBY but it isnt beyond the Wit of  government to provide tax free fuel for agricultural industry (thats something else thats done in Europe)

                      Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

                      by ceebs on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:23:25 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Size of Wales vs. Oregon (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        dark daze, MichaelNY

                        Wiki says the size of Oregon is 98,466 square miles.  Oregon is actually a big agricultural state leading the way in organic farming.  

                        Wales is 8,022 square miles.  How much gas you think is required to move country-based goods to city areas in either place?

                        •  Well (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          BlackGriffen, IM, alizard, MichaelNY

                          do you only trade within Oregon? why do one states arbitrary borders matter?

                          Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

                          by ceebs on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:36:52 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Size matters (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MichaelNY

                            I get your point about Wales, but distances in American are greater and require greater cost consumptions of fuel for transport.  The qyuestion is that does the example of Wales scale to the situation in America?  

                            I can think of one example off hand.  Many farmers in OR and CA are heavily dependent on the services of OR based bee-keepers.  In the West, commerical beekeepers make their money renting out bees for pollination, and not for honeymaking--very little yields in West Coast weather.  Without the bees, man, bad news for many growers.

                            And the distances these beekeepers must travel is greater than the size of European countries.  

                            Now I don't know why in particular many growers use commerical beekeepers, but okay so they do it locally, then more and greater costs to them as they must then turn to managing massive numbers of bees.

                        •  Yea (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gogol, BlackGriffen, IM, mightymouse

                          And obviously the organic farms delivering to the Portland area are on the fucking border with Idaho.

                          Sorry, but you're just another American making lame excuses for a lifestyle that's on the verge of changes that can either be managed or chaotic.

                          You seem to vote for chaotic. Not that we don't deserve it.

                        •  isn't Oregon going to fee-per-mile driven? (0+ / 0-)

                          like the Netherlands?

                        •  Get some electric trains! (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gogol, NoMoreLies, mochajava13

                          I'm sure you can run biodiesel trucks to the train depot in Oregon.  There's no reason to be driving giant fleets of trucks to the city, however, when the goods can be concentrated at rail lines.  Which can be electrified.

                          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                          by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:41:45 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Well, the US is too big anyway (0+ / 0-)

                          Size of Wales vs. Oregon Wiki says the size of Oregon is 98,466 square miles.  Oregon is actually a big agricultural state leading the way in organic farming.  

                          Wales is 8,022 square miles.  How much gas you think is required to move country-based goods to city areas in either place?

                          Obviously as part of this initiative we must reduce the size of the US.

                      •  Why should farmers get special treatment? (0+ / 0-)

                        it isnt beyond the Wit of  government to provide tax free fuel for agricultural industry

                    •  I can't believe people uprated (0+ / 0-)

                      a call for massively increasing surcharges on mass transit. Even as snark, it's bad.

                      I don't have a problem with a surcharge on taxis, though it would affect my family (parents have poor mobility and fairly frequently need something other than a couple of buses).

                      I'd like to see the relative environmental damage of a large number of people per plane flying vs. all of them individually driving cars for long distances before signing on for increased surcharges on flying, though I have nothing against them, in principle.

                    •  Are you serious? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      MichaelNY

                      Increasing taxes on flying, sure.

                      Taxis would pay the increased gas taxes, are already a pretty expensive way to get around, and can help fill in gaps in what mass transit can do to avoid everyone needing their own car (and once people have a car, they tend to use it even when they don't need to) -- so I wouldn't be particularly thrilled with extra taxes on them beyond the gas.

                      But taxing mass transit, something which has so many benefits including reducing gas usage?  You're going to take something that is seen as beneficial enough to massively subsidize, which is used disproportionately by those with lower incomes, and tax it?

                      Shortsighted us-versus-them thinking won't help anyone.  We have problems that need solving, and part of that is that certain behaviors have to change.  Being in the sticks, and trying to live as if you were in a city, with constant, on-demand access to amenities, deliveries, etc. is one of them.  Sorry, I know it's not easy for those most affected, but that doesn't change the situation.

                      As for lag time in raising prices, we should phase in the tax increases slowly enough that the economy has a chance to respond without unnecessary chaos -- but it does have to respond.

                  •  because your countries (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dismalest Scientist

                    because your countries are god damn tiny.

                    (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

                    by dark daze on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:18:18 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  See my comment directly above.....n/t (0+ / 0-)
              •  Actually paying you not to burn gas (6+ / 0-)

                might be more valuable than keeping gas cheap so that you can continue to run your business on it. The tax could be used to fund a program to provide electric vehicles for delivery people, taxis, etc (assuming you don't deliver freight that requires a large truck)...

                "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                by Alice in Florida on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:55:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You'd pay the same as your competitors (6+ / 0-)

                And you'd have an incentive to get a more efficient vehicle. In fact you should get subsidies just for that.

                A "centrist" is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.

                by nicta on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:10:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  There's always someone put out of work by (4+ / 0-)

                changes in the economy, whether instituted by the government or not. Some policies that I advocate (not on this topic) may put my own job in jeopardy. Obviously that's not the goal, and these things do need to be considered.

            •  Are we not reality-based? (26+ / 0-)

              Are we not all aware that an individual-vehicle, fossil-fuel economy is unsustainable?

              Do we not all realize that the sooner we bite the bullet, the less pain there will be for all?

              Do we not understand that fuel prices are not the reason why median-income growth has stagnated, and that upper-bracket taxes need to return to their postwar levels?

              And some of you want to cleave to a terminal, catastrophic-fail transportation model?

              Caramba!!!

              Then some of you wonder why enthusiasm is lower on our side than among GOPers.

              •  dvx, don't progressives care about war for oil? (10+ / 0-)

                Jerome:

                the price will be paid snip

                 by us as taxpayers, in the form of oversized military budgets whose purpose is largely to protect oil shipping lanes and friendly oil regimes (never mind the population of the countries variously invaded and bombed along the way).

                www.yesweSTILLcan.org

                by divineorder on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:46:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  individual vehicles are not unsustainable (8+ / 0-)

                fossil-fueled vehicles of any type certainly are.

                However, I would prefer we invest massively in alternative energy and the infrastructure for same than taxing oil/gas.

                Use the carrot first before the stick. Get companies to see a profit margin in alternative energy and they will come. But taxing gas? Quickest way to get voted out and then the tax is rescinded and you got a gas tax for a year or two tops and Reps are in charge again.

                Then what?

                Gas tax is short-sighted IMO.

                •  a few points (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AaronInSanDiego, BlackGriffen, AoT

                  I am not at all sure that the individual vehicle paradigm is sustainable, certainly not when coupled with low-density living patterns. Biofuels, for example, "compete" with foodstuffs for highly arable land, so that their greater deployment would certainly impact food security (recall the Mexican food riots about 2 years back when corn ethanol spiked).

                  And speaking of carrots: the fastest way to make alternative transportation strategies attractive is to penalize those modes we wish to discourage. Doing this in the form of a tax would raise revenue that could be used to assist the most vulnerable.

                  And whether or not an idea is politically palatable has no relation to the question of whether or not it has merit.

                  In fact, as far as I can see, the easier an idea is to sell politically, the less intrinsic merit it has.

                  •  biofuels compete with edible crops (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    IM, truong son traveler

                    because perverse incentives including demanded by agribusiness and granted by our "bi-partisan" Congresscritters make it profitable. There are biofuel crops like switchgrass that don't require the most productive land or massive energy inputs to grow.

                    IMO, if a biofuel crop is not carbon-neutral, it should not be subsidized, and if this offends agribusinesses specializing in corn or soy, they are free to find another nation full of bigger suckers.

                    Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

                    by alizard on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:16:40 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  two points (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    gogol

                    biofuels are not the only option for individual fuels. Solar or wind generated electric power could power electric vehicles in the future.

                    There'd be nearly zero impact on the environment and it would be sustainable for roughly 5 billion years give or take.

                    In the alternative, if we could figure out fusion then again, problem solved. And hydrogen fuel cells would do it as well. Or some other tech we haven't thought of yet.

                    Point two, politics matters. An idea does not have merit if it's so politically toxic that it gets the purveyors of the idea summarily voted out before it can even take effect, and then be rescinded, and possibly worse policies put into place.

                    There have been plenty of policies that had great merit and were rather easy to sell. GI Bill is one example off the top of my head.

                    Like it or not, the political process is how us human beings do things now and, hopefully, for the foreseeable future.

            •  Sorry. (13+ / 0-)

              But energy isn't a class issue, it's a we're-going-to-end-the-fricking-world issue. You know what else'll be regressive? the catastrophic effects of climate change.

          •  Well, imagine if one state taxed (0+ / 0-)

            gas $5 / gallon.

            All interstate travel would avoid that state or fill up before driving through it.  Businesses and people would look for ways to relocated.

            Total gas tax revenue might actually drop and the state economy would crater.

        •  they are pathetic cowards who are unfit (8+ / 0-)

          to lead.

          Our energy crisis could have been solved decades ago.  

          Imagine how much more idyllic our society would be today without our addiction to fossil fuels.

        •  no reason there can't be a federal tax too nt (0+ / 0-)
      •  That's the Achilles heel of democracy (29+ / 0-)

        When did Congress ever "do what is right" when that would be political suicide?

        This is why Plato hated democracy -- the masses are idiots and don't deserve to rule themselves.  Thomas Jefferson thought that educating the masses would solve the problem.

        The problem with Plato's world is that dictators are never benevolent.  The problem with Jefferson's solution is that educating the masses seems to be a pipe dream.

        •  Enacting a $5/gal tax when people have no (15+ / 0-)

          other realistic transportation options would probably plunge the economy into another Great Recession. Walking to work is not an option for most people.

          •  And trucking makes America happen (9+ / 0-)

            if we majorly tax gas, we stop the engine that makes America work (literally and figuratively).

            One Nation, One Health Plan. Doctor and Nurse Recommended Single Payer Health Care for All! www.nurseconscience.blogspot.com

            by ludlow on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:31:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I barely have money for gas now (7+ / 0-)

            and I hardly drive anywhere. Someone hit my car last year so now I have a car payment. I made sure to get a car that had decent fuel mileage and took regular gas. My last car didn't drive right w/o premium and when  we were hit with $4+ plus pricing in 2007 and 2008, it really took a toll. I had coworkers crying because they didn't have enough money for gas. Food prices went up, have never really come back down, tho some stores have really good "sale" prices now.  It sounds good and taxing may be the solution, I don't know. I know if it goes into effect I will be hurting tho, and so will a lot of other people. If they tax I want it to at least go toward something, a green energy tax that would fund R & D of green energies. Give my pain a purpose.

            "Science is mans way of discovering what God has already created." - My Mom

            by S C B on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:42:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  omfg (11+ / 0-)

              Daily Kos: Oil spill: we are the problem. Time to tax gas. Massively

              If they tax I want it to at least go toward something, a green energy tax that would fund R & D of green energies. Give my pain a purpose.

              Jerome, maybe you should put the last para in BOLD CAPS, since people are kneejerking to their own fears, and responding without even finishing the diary.

              sheesh

              why? just kos..... *just cause*

              by melo on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:31:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Define decent fuel mileage (18+ / 0-)

              If you get less than 36 mpg for a personal vehicle, you are wasting too much. In the next two years, there will be more options than ever before. There will be no excuse for higher consumption and 36 mpg will seem profligate.

              We must consider the total cost of ownership (TCO). Plus we must consider externalized costs, which is the point of JOP's blog today. We do not consider externalized costs today and our neighbors pay $120 Billion per year for the health effects of fossil fuels alone. National Academies of Sciences Report on the Hidden Costs of Energy Production "The figure does not include damages from climate change, harm to ecosystems, effects of some air pollutants such as mercury, and risks to national security, which the report examines but does not monetize."

              How much is that? About 1.2 to 1.7 cents per mile traveled that you and I don't pay for, but our neighbors do pay for because of our use of motor fuel. The tax would have to be about 40 cents per gallon more than at present (using a fleet average of 27 mpg), just to account for direct health effects, but not mercury and national security, etc.

              Plus, when we reduced consumption by 4%, as happened during the recession, oil went from $147 per barrel to as low as $35 per barrel. With demand picking up, the price has come back to $85 per barrel. Prices will not remain low forever, as demand picks up. This is a pay ourselves now or pay THEM later. We CAN choose to act and control the consequences or we can let consequences happen to us.

              I agree with Jerome: Tax the snot out of fossil fools.

              Then, you can always rebate money to poor people, not on the basis of consumption as in the system we have now. Profligate consumption should not be rewarded with the current subsidization of externalized costs.

              Watch this space: subject to change.

              by sustainable on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:31:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Mercy. How does one say "snot" in French? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gmb, sustainable

                I agree with Jerome: Tax the snot out of fossil fools.

                 :)

                Whatever language you say it in, I agree with you both.

                We need to bite bullet (substitute gas pump) now!

                www.yesweSTILLcan.org

                by divineorder on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:53:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  this is a helpful and informative post. Too bad (0+ / 0-)

                it got off to such a rude start.

                •  Is it as rude as this? (5+ / 0-)

                  Idle Free Canada Ad h/t A Siegler

                  This is what we are doing as North Americans when we drive excessively. The oil that is recoverable is a legacy of all humans and when we are profligate; we behave as in the Calgary ad. This profligacy does not even include the health costs of what we do to our neighbors; it does not include the climate change effects that we slough onto the poorest people in Africa; it does not include the wars we wage to protect "Our Oil"; it does not include the mercury emitted from burning our fossil fuels. Jerome is just expressing how we look to the rest of the world. We are pissing on them.

                  Do you idle in the drive through? Why don't all cars shut off their engines at signal lights like hybrids do? I challenge everyone reading this to understand how we are pissing on the earth. Myself included. I am more ashamed of my participation in this profligacy than I am for the words you call rude.

                  Perhaps you can help me to be more effective at conveying the message. I am at my wits end to describe the truth effectively to my representatives and senators and colleagues in Arkansas. How would you word the truth?

                  Watch this space: subject to change.

                  by sustainable on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:25:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I can think of a really good one: (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Winnie, JanL, mochajava13, Mary Mike

                If you get less than 36 mpg for a personal vehicle, you are wasting too much. In the next two years, there will be more options than ever before. There will be no excuse for higher consumption and 36 mpg will seem profligate.

                Okay, then are you going to spring the $10k+ for me to buy a new car? The one I'm driving now is a 99 honda, and god knows I'd love to buy something more fuel efficient, but I also make about $30k a year and have a mortgage. I can't AFFORD a new car, that's my 'excuse'.

                Neither rich nor dumb enough to vote Republican.

                by Lyme on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:37:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  OK, total cost of ownership: (7+ / 0-)

                  Let's say that your 99 Honda gets 25 mpg  and you could sell for $1,500.

                  My 2003 Toyota Echo still gets 38 mpg and you could buy it for $2,000.

                  If you travel 15,000 miles per year, you would use 600 gallons of gasoline per year. The Echo would use 395 gallons. The 205 gallons difference alone is worth $512.50 per year at $2.50 per gallon. Plus, the Echo needs much less maintenance per 100,000 miles. Mine has 170,000 miles on it. It has never needed anything other than tires, oil changes, and one tune up. The tires cost less on the smaller Echo, which has a curb weight of less than 2,000 pounds.

                  Used hybrid cars are becoming more available, too.

                  This does not include the possibility of subsidizing public transportation with the fuel tax. The U.S. has 5% of the world's population and we use 25% of the fossil fuels being consumed. This is not sustainable.

                  I believe that Jerome's point is more macro: as a society, we use too much. We need to cut down; go on an energy diet. Using less energy saves money, it does not cost more. You know your situation better than I possibly could. You must come up with the form of your own energy diet. A carbon tax would just send you a more honest signal as to the real societal costs of your behavior. Then you, and others like you, could lobby our government more effectively and more honestly than we do with deceptive externalized costs that we slough onto our neighbors.

                  Watch this space: subject to change.

                  by sustainable on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:08:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Buying what is available (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden, mochajava13

                If you get less than 36 mpg for a personal vehicle, you are wasting too much.

                I assume that is freeway mileage that you're quoting, since it can't be combined (city/highway) mileage -- there's exactly one gas powered car sold in the US that would get a combined mileage of 36 mpg, and that's the two-seater Smart Fortwo.  But even if you're talking freeway mileage, there's almosts nothing available that gets that good of mileage until you start looking at diesel or hybrid vehicles. (Even my Honda Fit is only rated at 35 mpg on freeways.)

                Hybrids are expensive and mechanically complex...and there's also the environmental issues associated with disposing of the batteries.  Fuel efficient clean diesel cars are only now starting to appear in significant numbers in the US.

                So you can't really expect people to buy a product that isn't being made available to them.

                Granted, the fuel efficient vehicles are sold elsewhere in the world, and could be offered in the US.  But they mostly aren't available today -- so I don't see how you can criticize people for not buying a product that isn't even available.

                Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                by TexasTom on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:53:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Total cost of ownership. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mochajava13

                If I can get a cheap car that uses twice as much fuel as an expensive car, I often won't save enough on fuel to justify the upgrade over the expected life of the car.  Increases in fuel costs will of course, impact this situation but if I don't have the money to invest in the better car in the first place and can't get a loan, I'm still stuck driving the hoopty no matter how  much I'd like a Prius.  

                The poor often DON'T have options.  

                I know very few people who make even 40k a year.  Among my friends, it's more like twenty.  This includes not a few college graduates. I'm sure I'm not alone in this.  

                They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:19:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  We need progressive taxation (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NoMoreLies

                  Wealth redistribution from the $100-billionaires to those making less than $20K/year?  This should be supported by everyone.  It's the only way to make a stable, wealthy society.

                  -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                  by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:13:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  People don't like to see others get something for (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    neroden

                    nothing.  Read a book on this once.  I have to say it galls me too.   Sadly, in a market economy there really are only so many meaningful and necessary jobs to go around.  Many people are employed making and selling fluff.  

                    A wealthy society can be defined in a lot of ways, some of which neither of us would agree with.   Even a guaranteed minimum lifestyle wouldn't necessarily lead to stability.  People always want more.

                    They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                    by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:21:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Sort of true (0+ / 0-)

                      we have a very skewed definitions of what "getting something" and "for nothing" mean.

                      Ie - why are CEOs getting so much money when they do not work any harder, and are not more valuable to society, than teachers are?  CEOs, in my opinion, are "getting something for nothing."

                      Corporations getting away with not paying high enough wages are getting something for nothing - the difference between the amount that they should be paying and the amount that they actually are paying.

                    •  I dunno obnoxio, seems like the something (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      sustainable

                      for nothing crowd runs big time at Goldman Sachs,
                      and the boys at BP who certainly won't be paying the bill for  the cost of the total damage caused by their little gu$her.

                      Just what is the cost for the total destruction of the Gulf and Caribbean (and North Atlantic Coastal ) fishing for generations. And the higher cost of alternate food stuffs? The loss of careers, homes, futures?

                      The destructions of millions, possibly trillions of Gulf, Caribbean and Atlantic creatures forever.

                      The destruction of one of the world's major carbon sinks.

                      This is a man made clusterfuck of unimaginable proportions.

                      I really don't care if you didn't think about how destructive and expensive your car is when you were getting your mortgage.

                      You are one off the gasaholics that is hurting us all.

                      •  I'll never afford a house around here (0+ / 0-)

                        thanks to those banker assholes and outside money driving up all the prices.  I work for a living.  I got my big American car because I can't hit just one pedal on a more efficient rig with my oversized clown shoes.  Makes controlling it a little difficult not to mention I don't like getting my head crammed down between my shoulders every time I hit a bump because I have negative headroom in a more efficient rig.  Chiropractor bills are spendy.  

                        For your inflammation, I bused it for two years after the last car died.  Got this one because there's a lot YOU CAN'T DO without one in this great land of ours.  If I could park it free, I'd likely still bus it most days but because I live in an oh so ecofriendly city center, I'd get massive parking tickets.  

                        Go to a national park without a car.  Unless you've got a week to spend coming and going on your bike, you likely can't.  Sounds like a good adventure, but like I said, I work for a living and these days that means not being able to afford a vacation of that length.  

                        I wish I could live in San Francisco and have a good paying office job with lots of time off and rainbows and ponies, but that just isn't the way things worked out for me and a great many others.  Easy to do without for someone in your situation, not so easy for others.    

                        They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                        by obnoxiotheclown on Mon May 03, 2010 at 07:44:44 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Oh, the something for nothing thing.... (0+ / 0-)

                          Corporate CEO's are too high up the food chain for people to feel they can safely vent their anger against them.  "Welfare Queens" are considered safe targets.  Hopefully this is changing.

                          They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                          by obnoxiotheclown on Mon May 03, 2010 at 07:47:17 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  I bought the Echo (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gogol, S C B

                  new in 2003 for $12,500. It had many upgrades. A stripped down model would have been $10,000.

                  Few cars in the national fleet were originally just $10K or $12K. Yet it got 43 mpg (hwy) when new and 38 mpg with 170,000 miles on it. This was more than twice the mpg of the average car sold that year (SUVs and pickups were exempt from the CAFE rules). Yet, SUVs over 6,500 GVW were being subsidized by being eligible to be expensed in the first year for small businss owners (which  is worth up to a 35% equivalent subsidy). We allowed that policy to exist for decades, while Europeans paid the equivalent of $4.50 per gallon for gasoline and we were paying $0.97 at the pump (including federal and state road taxes). We are now paying the wages of sin. Can we break ourselves of what even W called an addiction to oil? W's and Dick's wars were made possible by all of us for allowing them. Something about "Our Oil in the Middle East".

                  Our mess is the result of the cumulative choices of millions of people. If 55% of new car buyers were choosing SUVs, the consequences stay with us for a decade or more. The cash for clunkers program was the first sensible national energy policy decision in a decade. Of course it made used cars more expensive. No choice is cost-free. Our society must act to reduce dependency on oil or we will suffer worse consequences soon. The story is the same for electricity use. The cheaper choice is to replace all lightbulbs with CFLs. The payback is less than one year. If the cost is too much to do all at once, start with the most used bulbs and go month by month until you replace them all. CFLs are available in multi-packs for $13 for 8-100 watt equivalents or $13 for 12-60-watt equivalents. This advice is guaranteed to save you money and reduce the heat load inside your house in the summer. With the savings I am showing you, get a cheap car that gets better gas mileage. By the way, I grew up in a house in Southern California with no A/C. We couldn't afford it. If you can afford A/C, you are richer than I was. I remember many days of over 104 F in the summer.

                  I have been in the position of only being able to afford decade-old used cars or no car. Your comment that "The poor often DON'T have options" is not true for Central American poor, who I have lived with, too. People in the U.S. have many more choices than those Central Americans. Indeed, the U.S. is where many Central Americans dream of going (ever read about Kos' story?). Everyone has options and responsibility for the choices they make among those options. Some of my friends moved to Florida to pick oranges, because that is the only work they hear about from their friends. People may not want to move, but many do via hitchhiking if necessary. As long as people are healthy, they can be mobile in the U.S. If you make $40K or $20K, it is more than I have made at times in my life and more than many people who make other choices than you.

                  I will not let you or anyone else in the U.S. who is healthy off the hook that easily. The fact that you spend time on DK shows that you can make choices and you are relatively privileged. Many in the world are much worse off than you. If you are contributing to the mess we are in (as I am), you share responsibility for the mess. Let's clean it up together. Jerome is offering one type of solution based on sound economic principles and consistent with European approaches. If that is not acceptable to you, what are you going to do to help solve the problem of the external costs of fossil fuels?

                  Also, how you drive matters to your mileage:
                  Wiki article on fuel economy maximizing behaviors

                  Watch this space: subject to change.

                  by sustainable on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:45:26 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Echo sounds good. (0+ / 0-)

                    For people quite a bit shorter than me.  Raise the roof about five inches, then get back to me.  I agree totally about CAFE standards.  

                    You talk of choices but those choices often require a radical change in peoples lives.  Fine if you're single and have few strings, but if you know the wife would walk or you'd have to give up the family home, things get a bit more complex.   Some people have a lot to lose.  Having it in the first place makes them privileged I suppose.   They would generally disagree.  

                    They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                    by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:03:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  We are losing it one way or another (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gogol

                      What do you think is happening around you as we dialog? Wars, famine, oil leaks, coal mine explosions, China installing 15 GW of wind turbines in 2009 while we install a record 10 GW?

                      The only question remaining: Are you going to choose the consequences or have them chosen for you?

                      Hybrid anyone?
                      http://www.hybridcars.com/

                      Or if you need room for the oversized penis you mentioned elsewhere, check out the Silverado:
                      http://www.hybridcars.com/...

                      Or if a Cadillac is the only thing that can fit both your thing and your ego, how about an Escalade:
                      http://www.hybridcars.com/...

                      Electric cars of all sizes are coming in the next 5 years, too.

                      Watch this space: subject to change.

                      by sustainable on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:23:47 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  I ended up getting a 2007 4cyc Hyundai Sonata (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sustainable

                it gets 21 city/30 highway, which is slightly better than my last car. I wanted to get one of the hybrids, but besides being out my price range, the interiors were not roomy enough for me to ride comfortably. My prev car was a 1995 Mazda ES. I had also bought it used in 96 or 97. I only had maybe another two good years left, but I intended to drive it until it dropped. As it so happened, it was parked outside and someone hit it (and my brothers car at the same time), AND KEPT GOING, but he only made it to the end of the block because he had damaged his van so bad. NO license. The owner of the vehicle had insurance tho, but I only ended up with 700 bucks after they totaled it out. Anyway, it didn't ride smoothly or get as good of mileage on regular gas, so I had to use prem. I often just put in mid grade or did prem every third fill up when things go tight. It was supposed to have gotten 18/24 for the gas mileage. It was the premium prices that really got to me.    

                "Science is mans way of discovering what God has already created." - My Mom

                by S C B on Mon May 03, 2010 at 10:45:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  A purpose--how about cleaning up Louisiana? (5+ / 0-)

              A priceless estuary is being destroyed that is the basis for many, many species of birds, fish, marine life, not to mention the livelihoods of fisherman, shrimpers, the whole chain of seafood wholesalers and retailers and restaurants, plus those who work in the tourist trade as sportfishing guides, hoteliers...some of those species may become endangered or even extinct, and the economies of the northern Gulf (and possibly beyond) could be crushed for years to come...

              "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

              by Alice in Florida on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:25:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Green energy and public transport (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NoMoreLies, S C B

              Target all gas tax towards those twin goals.

              -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

              by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:36:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  This oil spill will do that (15+ / 0-)

            From Texas to Florida and up the Atlantic coast, the fishing industry will be completely destroyed.  Tourism will also be destroyed.  Housing will be destroyed along those coasts.  All secondary business that is directly dependent on those primary industries will be wiped out.  When is it a convenient time to do it?  When our economy is in better shape cause I don't see that happening any time soon.

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:03:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It would plunge Ohio into a deep depression (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tmo, NoMoreLies, JanL, SyntaxFeline

            W've been in the great Recission for a decade. We spend less than virtually any other state on public transportation — our legislature, which is very rural-leaning — is hostile to urban areas, so city public transportation has been gutted. Meanwhile, we are the most heavily populated region of the country with no inter-city rail of any kind. This gas tax would grind our state to a halt. And the Republicans would blame it on Obama and use it to gain an even greater stranglehold on our state, and allocate the few pennies of public transportation money to building more exit ramps way out on the edge of urban areas and exacerbate sprawl.

            Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com

            by anastasia p on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:06:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What is *causing* the legislature bias? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gogol, NoMoreLies

              Why is your legislature so rural-leaning when most of Ohio's population is in the cities?  There have got to be city people voting against their interests, or massive disenfranchisement of city people, or immense gerrymandering, or some combination of the above.

              It's blatant that the Ohio Rail Hub plan should have been constructed a decade ago.  Instead, baby steps and the Republicans are fighting those.  How the hell do they keep getting into power?

              -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

              by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:15:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  walking is not a capital crime (5+ / 0-)

            yet!

            and if your job is in a renewable sector, you can take that new trolley car to work, paid for by the gas tax.

            i am amazed how attached to the old model people are here.

            how many more spills will it take?

            why? just kos..... *just cause*

            by melo on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:27:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  where is that trolley car? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              neroden, mochajava13, SBoswell

              Our RTA just slashed service, eliminated all neighborhood circulators, despite increase in ridership. And while walking may not be a capital crime, how many of us have the time or stamina to walk five or six miles to work each way each day?

              Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com

              by anastasia p on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:48:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                melo, gogol

                Five or six miles on a bicycle should be doable for most people.  Bet diabetes rates would drop drastically.

                No more excuses.  We clearly need a change.

                A great portion of highway funds should go to public transportation and sustainable communities.  People will gripe, but in the end it will be good.

                •  Five or six miles on a bicycle... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  neroden, mochajava13

                  ...doesn't sound so bad.

                  Until you imagine taking that bike ride in Dallas, TX in August.

                  Or in Minneapolis, MN in February.

                  Or in any city that lacks decent bicycle lanes -- which is to say, most of the US.

                  Note that I'm not advocating surrender.  Just saying that it isn't as easy as some folks might want to claim.  We have an awful lot of infrastructure building before giving up the car will be practical for large numbers of Americans.

                  Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                  by TexasTom on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:57:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Got a point. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mochajava13

                    Many places, a bike commute will likely kill you.....

                    Further, a car isn't just transport, a car is armor.  If your commute is through certain areas, you are a lot easier pickings.  

                    They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                    by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:28:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah, where's my public transport infrastructure? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    CharlieHipHop

                    If we just funded the existing rail/bus/bike/sidewalk projects in every city in the US, it would make a huge improvement.  And cost less than the Iraq War.

                    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                    by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:34:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  we're kinda screwed (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    melo, gogol, CharlieHipHop, sustainable

                    but we gotta try.

                    US has been built for cheap gas. BIG MISTAKE, GUYS!!

                    and we lucky ones inherit it.

                    It has to change. People's living habits have to change. Gas will go up, tax or no tax.

                    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

                    by mightymouse on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:04:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, we need infrastructure (0+ / 0-)

                    We need busses and trains for the three months a year that bicycling is not feasible for weather reasons in some locales.  Nine months a year (3/4 of the time) weather is no excuse for not riding a bike, even in Minneapolis and Dallas.

                    Besides which, car-based living is not at all pleasant.  Parking lots are a kind of Hell, especially in Dallas, which feels to me like one big parking lot.  

                    We'd do well to completely re-design our cities to promote life (bicycling, green space, quiet, clean air) instead of the cancerous death that is endless blacktop.

                    Cars should be a luxury -- go for a drive in the country once a month or something -- not an everyday necessity.  We've all been made slaves to cars and oil.  It's sad.

                •  I can't do a few blocks on a bike (0+ / 0-)

                  when it's snowing and/or below freezing outside.  And waiting outside for the bus for an hour in those conditions.

                  We have to improve our infrastructure before we can increase the gas tax.  

                  I say start with tolls on freeways that go to public transit.

            •  ^Gawd what a stupid ass post. (0+ / 0-)

              Let us know when you dig that thick skull of yours out of that bucket of piranhas.

          •  It doesn't have to be $5 a gallon (5+ / 0-)

            but a gradual increase (as opposed to a sudden leap in price, as happened in 2008 without the government collecting any more in taxes) could bring in revenue to help transition to a greener economy.  If the tax was raised 2.5 or 5 cents every few months, the increase could be almost imperceptible (particularly if other factors are pushing up the price of oil).

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:17:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The problem is that Jefferson didn't (18+ / 0-)

          see that there would be a whole industry dedicated to uneducating the masses, i.e. our media.  

          We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. -Stephen Hawking

          by satanicpanic on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:06:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  All systems are imperfect (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CharlieHipHop, mochajava13

          as long as humans as a whole are tethered to market economies.

          •  Ooooo~ dangerous thinking -- me likey!~ (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SBoswell

            I disagree because I think markets are inevitable -- people are wheelers and dealers by nature -- but I like the fact that you're willing to push the envelope.  A few million more like you and we might put a little fear o' Gawd into the bankers.

            •  Inevitable, likely. Natural? No. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CharlieHipHop

              "people are wheelers and dealers by nature"

              Not really true. It's difficult to fathom, but If you look back on the entirety of human history, it's still a relatively new concept. When human's were more tribal, a market did not exist. They merely depended on the land to provide all their needs, and everyone had their own roles that mutually benefited everyone else in the clan. And of course, there's plenty of live evidence today. But like a cancer, the growing economies will assimilate the remaining few remnants by force and the last reflections of a naturally free human society will be erased forever.

              •  Smaller surpluses in food and goods. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden, CharlieHipHop

                Without these, few if any  markets.

                They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:30:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Not true (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mochajava13

                I'm sorry, but I find this statement naive and a bit... patronizing somehow:

                When human's were more tribal, a market did not exist.

                First of all, what is meant by "tribal?"  I guess nomadic hunters and gatherers don't trade much, but there are copious examples of "primitive" cultures in which a great deal of wheeling and dealing took/takes place.  It's how we survive.  "Hey, I'll roof your hut if you'll give me some of the mangoes you picked."  

                Division of labor is near universal in human societies.  some people are better at roofing huts than they are at picking mangoes, but everybody wants a roof and some mangoes.

                Native "Americans" (specifically, the Inca, Aztec, and Maya) built incredible canals and roads throughout Mexico, Central, and South America.  Why?  Well, commerce of some kind seems the most plausible explanation.  The tribes of the Northeastern U.S. traded, even after smallpox had nearly wiped them out (Ever wonder why a full century transpired between Columbus and the first settlements?  It's because it took that long to wipe out most of the estimated 250,000,000 people who lived in this hemisphere at that time.)  You can bet there was plenty of market activity.  My grandmother used to tell me stories of how her father, a farmer, used to trade milk and cheese for fish and tobacco with the local Mohawks.

                I know it's tempting to idealize "tribal" cultures, but don't kid yourself:  Everybody all around the world is trying to get the best deal and they have been since at least the dawn of agriculture (and probably before).

                I understand your point of view but disagree strongly.  Most people don't want to live as nomadic hunter-gatherers, and this planet lacks the space for that in any case.

                •  I only have to look towards your answer (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  CharlieHipHop

                  "First of all, what is meant by "tribal?"  I guess nomadic hunters and gatherers don't trade much, but there are copious examples of "primitive" cultures in which a great deal of wheeling and dealing took/takes place.  It's how we survive.  "Hey, I'll roof your hut if you'll give me some of the mangoes you picked."  

                  Based on accepted research that the human race originated from Africa, well before the market economy originated from the middle east and became predominant in Europe and Asia, I would say that humans managed to survive. As far the rest of the world's native and tribal cultures go, everyone had there roles and mostly operated as a family. In your "primitive" example, we have the hut builder, the mango gatherer, the hunter, the medicine man, the fisherman, etc etc. and in most cases, they shared the fruits of their labor to benefit their community - in this case 'a big family' as a whole. I suggest you look up the history of indigenous cultures as it relates to trade and you'll be surprised at what you find.  

                  "Native "Americans" (specifically, the Inca, Aztec, and Maya) built incredible canals and roads throughout Mexico, Central, and South America.  Why?  Well, commerce of some kind seems the most plausible explanation"

                  They all had their labor roles and shared the fruits of it with others. Labor that they had to endure else they'd be shun from society and/or possibly be put to death. You talk about your granny trading with the natives, but she was of Western origin was she not? She was likely trading out of necessity more than they were. And judging by the history of the native Americans, they seemed to survive just fine before the Westerners came with their cheese and milk. Again, I suggest you look up the history of indigenous cultures as it relates to trade and you'll be surprised at what you find.  

                  "I know it's tempting to idealize "tribal" cultures, but don't kid yourself:  Everybody all around the world is trying to get the best deal and they have been since at least the dawn of agriculture (and probably before)."

                  Okay now you're starting to get smarmy, but harmless still. There's no idealization going on, just an explanation of how we got to where we are today. As further evidence of the origin of the market economy, look at the world today, and tell me who dominates the G20. If market economies were truly natural as you say they are, you wouldn't see such a imbalance at the top of the list.

                  •  Mega-market economies... (0+ / 0-)

                    ... don't work because of greed and excessive energy consumption.  I don't see that as a problem of market-based trading behavior in itself.

                    My great grandfather traded with the Mohawk not out of necessity but because they had things that he did not, prosperous a farmer as he was.  The Mohawk and other indigenous peoples have long histories of trading.  For hundreds of years in North America, tobacco was a currency, i.e., the value of everything was measured in how much tobacco it would fetch.  Tribes traded with other tribes.  Tribes traded amongst themselves.  Everyone benefits from trade so long as the production stays in balance with nature -- we get stuff that we can't produce ourselves in exchange for the things that we do produce.

                    You should read 1491 to get a handle on just how advanced indigenous Western cultures were before smallpox wiped them out.  It wasn't the hippy-dippy, lovey-dovey, "Hey, everybody, chip in for the community" world that you envision.  They had wars.  They had commerce.

                    The Inca didn't build those roads out of the goodness of their hearts.  They built them so they could get ore from the south to the north and fruit (or whatever) from the north to the south.  They had a very sophisticated market economy, though a different concept of wealth and a system of production that worked in parallel rather than at right angles to nature.

                    As I see it, the present problem has nothing to do with markets per se and everything to do with the over-consumption of energy.  Human beings have almost literally become a cancer on the planet -- we drain Gaia's energy, grow at an uncontrollable rate, and do enormous damage to the "cells" around us.  That has nothing to do with our nature as wheeling, dealing builder monkeys and everything to do with the fact that technology didn't stop developing with the invention of the bicycle (still the most energy-efficient machine, by the way).

                  •  One more thing... (0+ / 0-)

                    They all had their labor roles and shared the fruits of it with others. Labor that they had to endure else they'd be shun from society and/or possibly be put to death.

                    Most people would prefer to work for money (or something in trade) rather than to avoid being shunned or put to death. Besides which, in an industrial world like ours, this is a recipe for "work camps."  

                    Further to that, it doesn't work like that in indigenous cultures.  They trade just like we do... and around and around we go.

                    •  Missed the mark again. (0+ / 0-)

                      So you've concluded that we are where we are just by the natural evolution of trade? Give me a break. You are starting to sound like the Ayn Rand apologists who truly believe that free markets exist all by themselves, which was proven to be wrong too many times. When the Europeans settled into New World lands, there were many reported instances where the natives weren't interested in what whitey was selling or simply just didn't have any use for the goods. So what happened? The natives were subjugated by force, enslaved, and forced to pay taxes to whichever kingdom laid claim to them, to stimulate trade. If they couldn't pay the taxes they were put to death or imprisoned. So trade as you know today came about mostly through brutal subjugation unlike your lovey dovey account about how it was just a natural evolution of the free market.

                      I will concede that there were plenty of native populations that engaged in trade, but hardly any sought to use to completely dominate(or slash n burn) their "competition" like the western/asian cultures had. You did cite trade amongst native Americans in your post, and that makes sense seeing how there are many theories pointing to how they could've originated from Asia from the Arctic land bridge...And I've already stated and conceded that trade originated from the Mid East, and became dominant in Europe and Asia.

                      About the Southern American peoples, I continue to stand by what I've already stated, and I've already stated that they were forced to perform their roles and else they would be put to death and I don't see anything "lovey dovey" about that. Work, share the fruits, or else die a painful death. Difference between that and the European subjugation, was that there wasn't enslavement by an encumbrance of debt, which could be seen as a fate far worse than death itself.

              •  Really depends on the society (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gogol

                Bazaars in the Middle East have been around for a VERY long time.

      •  I think Minnesota passed a sizeable gas tax (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Winnie

        increase in the last couple of years if i recall.  even getting it through Pawlenty with a veto override.

        please correct me if i'm wrong on that.  

        •  Saw in googlenews that PA considering increase (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Louise, gogol, Winnie, gmb, neroden

          Billions urged for Pa. transit
          Philadelphia Inquirer - Paul Nussbaum - ‎12 hours ago‎
          An increase in the gas tax would be one of the biggest revenue producers, according to the report: A 10-cent-a-gallon increase would raise $620 million a ... http://news.google.com/...

          www.yesweSTILLcan.org

          by divineorder on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:59:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  good for MN and PA (7+ / 0-)

            We need more cities to upgrade and improve mass transit.

            Used to live in Portland OR where the mass transit was excellent; frequent buses, and light rail to the urban areas; lots of bike lanes. Plus the city was very walkable.

            Now I live in Lafayette LA and it would be very difficult to get along without a car. There is a bus system but the schedule is not very frequent. People would be taking their lives in their hands to try to use bicycles as regular transportation.

            •  Then Louisiana will change (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gogol, theran, neroden, divineorder

              It will either stick to the old model and grow poorer, or make conscious decisions to develop a new model.

              Besides, Louisiana is going to change anyway. This oilgusher will make sure of that. I am very sorry - there is so much irreplaceable culture about to be lost in the next few years. I would have loved to have seen it.

              You have a magnificent if horrid opportunity to start documenting it - if you can stand it.

              "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

              by Louise on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:58:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Louisiana Fiddle Gal, it was not easy to get (3+ / 0-)

              bike lanes in Austin, TX and Santa Fe, NM, took concerted effort on the part of progressives.

              Letters to the editor, asking for meetings, attending hearings, testifying, writing, even lawsuits.

              ;)

              www.yesweSTILLcan.org

              by divineorder on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:52:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  FIRST: impose safety regulations on (10+ / 0-)

      all existing off-shore oil rigs in operation.

      -Formulate new and strict regulations and impose them.

      -Punish lapses with huge fines.

      This could be done at the Federal level with no expense to the taxpayers.

      Then let's discuss the real environmental cost of a gallon of gas.

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:16:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think now is the time. The economy is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      politicalget, Late Spring

      still too fragile. It could perhaps be phased in very gently, but I don't think that would work politically.

      God has no religion. - Gandhi

      by OIL GUY on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:40:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have said this to many a friend (10+ / 0-)

      I only use my car for work, I stop at the store on the way home so as not to use the resources.  I go without plenty of times when I run out of something, oh the horror of not being gratified NOW!  Discipline is needed at first but it soon becomes habit.

    •  Thanks for wasting my diary for today (11+ / 0-)

      It's already ready to be published but has to wait until 9 PST even though that doesn't make sense...

      I totally agree with this diary, but don't stop there.

      Gas taxes are largely passed on to the consumer due to the idea called elasticity. This will not tax the companies... it will tax the consumer. It is regressive. And in this case, that's fine.

      Demand has to come down. Supply is irrelevant. Environmentalists are wasting their time on supply. Life or death battles over one new offshore well are... ultimately small in importance.

      It's very nativist to cry foul over our Gulf when not drilling here at the same demand simply means more destruction in Azerbaijan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Venezuela. And extremely short-sighted.

      This is an argument about demand. NOT supply.

      I miss Johnny Rook and Ormond Otvos.

      by Nulwee on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:58:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Diary it anyway! Yes! Fishing now banned Gulf (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gogol, gmb, neroden

        www.yesweSTILLcan.org

        by divineorder on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:11:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        It's very nativist to cry foul over our Gulf when not drilling here at the same demand simply means more destruction in Azerbaijan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Venezuela. And extremely short-sighted.

        But ultimately, we do need to place a higher value on our country and culture than we do on others for the simple reason that many other cultures do not place as high a value on the environment etc. that we do.  

        If we fall, we will likely be replaced by people worse than us in many ways.  Doesn't give us a right to be dicks about it of course.  

        Here come the flames..........

        They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

        by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:35:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What's right (12+ / 0-)

      is to tax gas-guzzling cars and stop pouring money into roads at the expense of everything  else. Here in Ohio, the amount of state dollars spent on public transportion is lower per capita than virtually any other state — and the neanderthals in our legislature want to cut it still more. Our public transporrtation here in Cleveland, never good, is now a sorry joke since it was cut to the bone last year. in addition, Reoublicans in our legislature are trying to hold up money for passenger rail which we've already been granted under the stimulus act over a $9 million study grand because they claim it would be better spent on roads! That's less than is spent annually on painting underpasses here. We are thre most populous area of the country with no rail transportation whatsoever and they are willing to let that money go elsewhere because boo hoo hoo, they can't spend it on more highways. Disgraceful.

      Until we stop defunding public transportation and rail, this is a non-starter. People making $9 a hour at the only job they can find 75 miles from their home each way cannot pay usurious gas taxes.

      Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com

      by anastasia p on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:02:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Another possibility- (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gogol, neroden, JanL, satanicpanic, divineorder

        We are the most populous area of the country with no rail transportation whatsoever and they are willing to let that money go elsewhere because boo hoo hoo, they can't spend it on more highways.

        Are they worried putting that money into other modes of transportation might attract poor people into their little world?

        -- We are just regular people informed on issues

        by mike101 on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:03:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have no idea what they are worried about (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gogol, NoMoreLies, neroden

          All they do is prattle about "spending." John Boehnhead, easily our worst Ohio congressman, no competition, whined when the idea of intercity rail first came up that it didn't benefit HIS district. 3C (Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati) creates jobs in HIS DAMNED DISTRICT, but he's still against it. They are even talking about manufacturing rail cars in Columbus. By the way, his district has lots of poor people already although they are mostly lighter complected.

          Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com

          by anastasia p on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:52:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Next you will talking about (6+ / 0-)

      Universal single payer health care.

      Sheesh!

      That's Countdown for the 2,082nd day since Mission Accomplished. You thought that would change? Are the troops home yet? Keith Olbermann January 20, 2009

      by Ed in Montana on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:47:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for having the courage (8+ / 0-)

      to write this diary.  Here in the United States we really need to re-think our energy consumption.  A high gas tax alone is may not be the only answer, but we here in the US have been addicted to cheap gas prices far below what most of the rest of the world pays.  It is time for us to be forced to make changes and perhaps your ideas are one way to get there.

      I always wondered what people did before we became so suburbanized.  Our development patterns are have made us slaves to the automobile.  

      Tipped and recommended.

      Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity! - Anon.

      by gulfgal98 on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:36:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I go into great length discussing the gas tax (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity

      as well as other alternatives to raise revenue while offsetting the problems faced by the poor in a repost of a diary I put up about a year ago on this topic:

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

    •  The problem Jerome (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse

      is that under our current system of political economy, too much power is wielded by the most backwards part of the country. Alaska - 2 Senators; Wyoming - 2 Senators; and so on. Rural interests dominate the Senate - until this changes, you won't see significant movement on any of this. The problem is not our politics - it is our constitution.

      Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

      by Benito on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:20:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Different conditions mean different needs. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        Calling some place backwards is a value judgement that says more about you than the places involved.  

        Insensitive to urban needs is more accurate.  

        They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

        by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:40:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  same difference (0+ / 0-)

          We call the 'Third World' the 'Developing World' now because it is nicer - but it is still bs which translates to 'poor, shitty place to love.'

          Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

          by Benito on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:36:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Many Alaskans have different perspectives. (0+ / 0-)

            Some moved there because they couldn't stand what the lower 48 turned into.  Same with North Dakota etc. and the more populous parts of the country.

            One mans' progressive is another mans' decadent.  

            Doesn't mean much.  We like what we like.  

            They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

            by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:45:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  You are dumbfoundingly right (0+ / 0-)

      Dumbfounding because it is so obvious yet such a non-starter.  Although that could change, and this event can help.

      http://permavore.blogspot.com/

      by nwgates on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:26:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Radio gigs for you? (0+ / 0-)

      Are you on Warren Olney's list of people to call to talk about alternative energy? From the radio show "To the Point", broadcast by PRI (and NPR). Saying this primarily in response to the article you wrote about how wind is bringing down the price of energy.

      I listened to his show today about the gulf oil spill, and there were just a bunch of ninnies on there (including the guy from the NRDC, which shocked me), saying, "Oh woe is us, we have no alternatives than oil, drill, oil oil, drill."

      Anyways, I'm sure you're busy, but I hope that you do send that "wind reducing electricity prices" article to a bunch of NPR outlets, and become someone they can call as counterbalance to all the silly pundits here in the USA.

      Separately, if you're not posting articles like that on Huffington Post, I'd advise it, a ton of people read that site now.

      And posting it to CommonDreams would get a lot more eyeballs on it, too. Doesn't take long to submit, then let them decide. Thanks!

      Thanks especially for all your work on this.

      This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

      by AllisonInSeattle on Mon May 03, 2010 at 03:17:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You have to remember that (7+ / 0-)

    we could stick all of Europe between the US's East Coast and Ohio. A gas tax would cripple the ability of people in most of the nation to get to their jobs, purchase necessities, etc. Even for our diminishing middle class. So that's just not going to work here.

    Better is to immediately change the basis of our power generation to renewables, ASAP, with a focus on generating enough to let people charge cars.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:08:13 AM PDT

    •  Electric cars, better fuel efficiency... (58+ / 0-)

      people don't need to get to their jobs in SUVs. But people still buy them, even people with long commutes.

      Nevermind that the very reason people live so far from their jobs in the first place is that gas is too cheap. We have to stop subsidizing sprawl.

      ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

      by bicycle Hussein paladin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:14:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  People aren't buying SUVs now. (11+ / 0-)

        And the idea of taxing people, like friends of mine in Oklahoma who have a 150 mile drive to work, just isn't going to do anything but hurt them.

        And we don't have much in the way of electric cars, or charging systems for same (a 300-mile round-trip means you'd have to charge your car while you work for my friends.)

        These aren't abstract pieces on a supply board we're talking about, it's literally a large part of the population. So taxing gas in this country at this time is not a smart idea. When there's a means to generate enough electricity, when there's a electric-car support infrastructure, then would be the time. But that's years away, even if we start full tilt right now.

        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:21:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Electric cars are great (7+ / 0-)

          But if you have to drive 300 miles for any reason, where are you going to charge the car once you reach your desitination?  This is why we must build an infrastructure for electric cars-charging stations in hotel and restaurant parking lots, and stations next to the gas stations right off the highway.  You also need to build them in parking garages and on sidewalks for people who live in cities.  It's not enough to just have the cars.

          "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum."

          by mark louis on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:24:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Anecdotal evidence to support the 45% figure: (12+ / 0-)

          the largest car dealership in my area, rural coastal Maine, just beefed up their year-long anorexic inventory with giant pick-ups and SUVs.

          Maybe they're pushing Focuses a little more and more of the trucks are diesels, but the lot is full of heft and it wouldn't be if they weren't selling a goodly portion.

          I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

          by leolabeth on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:31:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But those Oklahomans are a minority in the US (16+ / 0-)

          The majority population density of citizens are in urban areas and that is not in the central Plains states.

          We cannot squander resources on moving a few people from outlying areas into a workplace. They need to relocate closer. Those few should not be the drivers for an energy policy.

          <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

          by bronte17 on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:31:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So everyone from the Great Plains (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Daddy Bartholomew, Jim P

            needs to relocate to a city? And please tell me, how are our cities going to copy with the massive influx of people?? I await your answer.

            •  Why (8+ / 0-)

              not have a nation wide gas tax rate, but have a government grant back for people living in non-metro counties.  That way the burden is placed on the people for whom walking and/or public transportation should be an option instead of hitting poor rural people who don't have a choice about whether or not to drive.

              http://www.economicpopulist.org

              by ManfromMiddletown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:02:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's a good idea (8+ / 0-)

                But we'd also need to greatly increase public transportation spending and infrastructure in urban areas along with that. Even in DC, where I now live, the infrastructure is insufficient to meet the needs of all of the people who would potentially use it if it were more efficient. Case in point-there is a bus that goes to my job, but it takes almost an hour to get there. If I drive, it takes 15 min. That is just ridiculous.  

                •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  neroden, JanL

                  though I think there to need to be some incentives for development and driving patterns  to change in rural areas as well. so maybe not a 100% rebate.  

                  as for building the public transit, the large portion of gas tax which is not refunded could go a long way.

                  as for right now... I will also have a choice this summer between a 1-hour bus commute and a 15 minute drive. I plan to take the bus. That 15 minute drive would be 15 minutes spent stressing over traffic and parking and knowing I am committing a crime against humanity. I'd rather spend the hour relaxing and reading, and move my legs a little in the bargain.    

                  •  I did take the bus for a while (5+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tmo, neroden, JanL, satanicpanic, divineorder

                    then, at least 50% of the time, it never showed up! I called the Metro transportation authority a few times a week for a solid month,  the issue never got resolved, despite their assurances. I work at a job where it is essential that I be there at 9 on the dot, so I was getting in trouble with my boss for being late. I can only leave after 5, and then there wasn't a bus till 6:15. I finally said screw it and drove. It shouldn't be this hard to take public transportation.

                    •  yikes (4+ / 0-)

                      to be honest I have only tried it for errands and stuff, not relied on it for work yet. we will see what happens. however seeing as I gave up a car 10 years ago and don't currently own one, yet now have a summer job 15 miles away I am hoping for the best.

                      I do think our buses are pretty decent here in LA. as the nation's second-biggest city and largely without the civilized alternative of a subway its the least we can do.

                    •  For a while back in the 90's (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      tmo, neroden

                      I didn't have a car and relied on busses or my parents for a ride. I didn't mind the morning commute, it does give you time to relax and read and prepare for the day, but the ride home was hell for me. After working 10+ hours I had over an hour ride to what was only  really 5-7 minutes away on the freeway. It's mentally exhausting and took an extra 3 hours out my day as I had to get up over an hour early to make it to the bus stop for an hour long ride to and from work.  

                      Right now I work four 11 hour shifts, including my lunch hour. A couple of years ago I went from five 8-9 hr days to four days to save gas and money for lunch. I couldn't work the hours I work now as there are no busses that come out to my job as late as I get off. They had cut the bus route entirely, but the businesses complained and they gave back limited routes. If I were to go back to a standard 5 day, 8 hour shift (actually 8.5-9 with lunch) I'd still be forced to spend 11+ hours of my day on my job, and an extra day to boot.

                      In this economy I know I'm blessed to have a job, tho if I don't get some metrics under control, that may not be for much longer. Mass transit has its benefits, but it has a downside too.    

                      "Science is mans way of discovering what God has already created." - My Mom

                      by S C B on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:04:58 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Great, more welfare for farm states. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JanL, Kickemout, divineorder

                If the money actually went towards improving infrastructure in urban areas in exchange for higher gas taxes -- which I completely support -- I'd be a little more sympathetic to that, but I think ND and Alabama steal quite enough from New York and Massachusetts already.

                Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

                by Drew J Jones on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:21:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  The US has a huge land mass and (9+ / 0-)

              we are now in the 21st century. The fact is that people have migrated on their own to the urban centers and not to the middle of the country. No one made them do that. It wasn't forced.

              Regional hubs are the necessity for this wide swath of country.

              RRs should be hauling much of the freight and not the trucks.

              And I didn't say the Great Plains should be emptied. I simply said they don't need to be subsidized for a lifestyle that isn't conducive to longterm viability.

              Same can be said of the McMansions in the exurbs surrounding decaying city cores. It isn't long term feasible.

              <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

              by bronte17 on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:56:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The inherent problem with this is.. (0+ / 0-)

                That a large reason you have people spread out in rural america, states where people like I live, is that you have huge farm communities.  A decent size farm can be hundreds, or a few thousand acres.  Meaning, you have several in a community, you're putting it out there.

                And despite the "well, they should just move to regional centers" that philosophy doesn't work, unless you suddenly decide you would like to live next door to a pig farm, chicken farm, or slaughterhouse.

                And, you aren't really planting a few thousand acres of wheat in downtown detroit :)

                So, for the time being, as long as we eat, you know, food, there will be a need designed for people to live in areas without high population density.  Unless we want to turn over all farming to businesses.

                Having Hope and using action to give people hope are different things. Make a difference for someone.

                by Chris Reeves on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:58:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The farming demographic comprises less than 2% (0+ / 0-)

                  of our population across the entire country.

                  So, as cold as it is to say... we cannot continue to focus on building highways in the middle of thousands of miles of wheat and corn when we have densely populated urban areas that need high speed rail... like any other developed nation. Even China surpassed us years ago with rail.

                  And localized agriculture surrounding city hubs should be utilized in lieu of trucking food across thousands of miles.

                  <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

                  by bronte17 on Mon May 03, 2010 at 03:43:31 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Only sounds reasonable.. (0+ / 0-)

                    It sounds reasonable to make the contention "we can't cater to the rural.." etc.  And from a demographic and voting standpoint, maybe.

                    But, no matter how we break out the urban centers in America, we consume far more food then the urban centers could possibly produce, in forms that we demand.  So, the larger the metro, the farther your trucking in food.  Sounds terrible, I know, but there is no other logistical way to pull this off.

                    Take a city the size of Chicago:

                    A general metro population of about 7.7M (Chicago-Naperville-Joliet)

                    The US Averages says that each person consumes:

                    67lbs of beef
                    61lbs of pork
                    49lbs of chicken

                    So, let's say:

                    515,900,000lbs of beef
                    469,700,000lbs of pork
                    377,300,000lbs of chicken

                    So, no matter how you slice it, a country of any size has to have large agricultural areas with low population density in order to survive.

                    Having Hope and using action to give people hope are different things. Make a difference for someone.

                    by Chris Reeves on Mon May 03, 2010 at 08:37:12 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No one said to delete the agricultural areas (0+ / 0-)

                      My comments said the scarcely populated central states should not hold the densely-populated regions hostage and squander resources on building networks of highway.

                      <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

                      by bronte17 on Tue May 04, 2010 at 06:01:21 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  your friends in OK need to move. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          liberte, bibble, alba, Kickemout, satanicpanic

          they way they are living their lives and the excuses you are making for them are deeply immoral.

          •  Have you ever lived in rural America? (7+ / 0-)

            I'm thinking not. As I said upthread, I would have loved to have taken a train in ND when I grew up there, but it wasn't an option. What is your suggestion? That everyone in the Great Plains moved to cities?? Yeah, they would all be really equipped to handle the massive sudden influx of people! Get off your high horse and stop pontificating to people you know nothing about.

            •  Empire Builder goes through ND: NY to WA. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gogol, 350 or death

              Guess you weren't close to its route, unless you lived there before its predecessor the Oriental Limited's 1905 inauguration.

              I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

              by leolabeth on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:04:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  why did you have to go home from college so often (10+ / 0-)

              is it part of your natural right as an American to go to college in a far away place yet see your parents as often as you want as cheaply as you want?

              couldn't gas cost twice as much and you go half as often? making the entire economy / ecology healthier in the process, including of course the local economy, clubs, social scene, restaurants etc where you went to college.

              we need to wake up and consider all the options... not just defend the status quo at any cost in blood and treasure.  

              •  Again, you're confirming your ignorance (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Wamsutta, marina, Whimsical

                I guess I should thank you for proving my point? I grew up in Bismarck, ND. Because I didn't want to graduate from college with massive loans, I went to college at UND in Grand Forks. This is about a four hour drive, each way. The only decent public universities in my small, rural state are UND and NDSU, both about the same distance away. USD, SDSU, and UMN are also good schools, but they are even farther away. I had very little options in choosing a school that offered a comprehensive education without breaking the bank, but that is the reality of life in rural American. I did NOT go home to see my parents "as often and cheaply was I want."!! I went home about three times every 12 months. Once for Christmas, once for spring break because I couldn't afford to pay for rent in my dorm room over break, and once during the summer. I don't think that is excessive at all. As I said, I would have loved to have taken the train if I could have, but that is not an option in most of America. I drove a Dodge Neon, 40 miles to the gallon, BTW. It it NOT god given right to be able to drive your car anywhere you want, but because of the lack of transportation infrastructure in rural America, driving yourself is an unwelcome reality of necessity. Why haven't you suggested increasing taxes to fund more transportation infrastructure for rural states, rather than castigating us for choice of necessity?? You sound pretty high and mighty, but I'm sure you live in a big city with a subway stop right outside your door. It's always easy to blame others when you aren't aware of their situation, isn't it?

                •  consider it suggested (3+ / 0-)

                  Why haven't you suggested increasing taxes to fund more transportation infrastructure for rural states, rather than castigating us for choice of necessity?

                  Though I would suggest better public transport for all states, not just rural ones.

                  I live in the second biggest city in the country, where the monopolistic death-car companies bought up and shut down our perfectly good streetcar lines back in the 1920s or 30s. So the best we can do here in LA now is the bus which is fine if you want to sit in traffic all day long on a road plugged up with idiots in their death-cars. Mostly I ride a bike.

                •  I hear you. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fille americaine

                  I grew up an industrial city but got pretty much a full scholarship to a small school in a small farming community in the midwest.  It was hell getting back home for both the holidays and the summer as the dorms closed down.  My only option were busses and they were hit and miss, spending all night at bus stations because a bus never showed up or mine was late.  

                  The point here is that rural, small town, and even outlying suburbans need gas for living and commerce.  Jack up the prices of gas and you can will see a rural complapse that will effect everybody.

                  We need to change and need to look at other methods like first massive conservation and usage reduction, but playing this little out this little act of class war.

                  You know, I was reading about a conference setup by the lackie Podesta in which the financial elites went after social security demanding I tell you that everybody suck it up for for the common good with the inmplication of ripping social security apart.

                  And now a tax that will massively sit on the heads of the working classes when there appears to be NO creative althernatives first being proposed.  

                  You know, I am not sure were i read this, but does seem correct that way too many leftists are totally dissociated with working people.

              •  Ecology yes. (0+ / 0-)

                The economy of course, is largely dependent on people spending money on crap they don't need.

                More stitches, less riches.  

                They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:29:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Putting trains in rural America is CHEAP (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gogol, NoMoreLies, satanicpanic

              Putting the necessary trains into suburban America is actually more expensive (and more important).  Putting the trains back into rural America is trivial and could be done as soon as the passenger train cars were ordered and arrived, in most cases.

              -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

              by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:22:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Many older towns are along the rail lines. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Wamsutta

                The ones founded postwar might not be.  Further, rail lines get abandoned or turned into trails.  

                Partial solution.    People still need to travel from their homes to the station.  In the country, they may well live several miles out along roads it would be near suicide to bike.  

                They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:37:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  That's a very stupid comment. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tmservo433, jiffypop, Malumaureus

            Tell the people in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Arizona, West Virginia, and large stretches of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, Indiana, Virginia etc etc...

            Tell them you will pay for uprooting, them, their families, their jobs, and their entire everything and we'll know you are not full of shit.

            As to insulting my friends I assure you their level of morality is far far beyond what you could imagine, you selfish, self-absorbed, little twit.

            Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

            by Jim P on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:44:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm trying to believe (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jim P

              He said it in jest, because otherwise it's the most insane thing I've read in a while.  Talk about a good way to give away every vote of every person in those states ;)

              Having Hope and using action to give people hope are different things. Make a difference for someone.

              by Chris Reeves on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:59:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I agree. (6+ / 0-)

            And I grew up in a rural area, so I don't want to hear it.  150 miles is just too far.  Buy a little trailer near your work site, rent a little apartment and just come home on weekends.  Put a camper on your truck bed and takes showers at your work site.  Whatever it takes. If it's because of where you bought your house- sell it.  I add an extra hour and a half a day on my commute in the city so I can ride the bus and leave the car at home.  And I don't do it because I like it, I do it because it's the right thing to do.  

            We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. -Stephen Hawking

            by satanicpanic on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:33:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  This is NOT snark? (0+ / 0-)

            Good lord that takes the cake for pompous assholery.

            "I'm looking forward," he told the troops, "to returning to Afghanistan many times in the years to come." Obama March 2010

            by Wamsutta on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:00:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  no reason for society to subsidize a 150-mile (15+ / 0-)

          commute - that's just insane on many levels.

        •  Anyone with a 150 mile commute (19+ / 0-)

          Should seriously consider moving, changing jobs or finding a cheap room to sleep in during the week.

          That's seriously irrational.

          Wed April 21 07:49 - a moment of silence for Qinghai Earthquake Victims

          by koNko on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:59:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  sometimes, there's no choice (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tacet, gmb, MrWebster, JanL

            I almost faced that choice two summers ago when gas was at its peak and home values were plunging while foreclosures were exploding. I was unemployed, couldn't sell my home and thought about looking in Columbus, which has a healthier economy but is almost 150 miles away. "Changing jobs" at the drop of a hat is fantasy in Ohio; moving closer isn't an option if you own — nothing is selling right now for any decent price. You can't even rent your place, there are so many vacancies. And usually no one WANTS to commute that far — it's often the only job they could find. I will add that here in Ohio, many companies are moving way out to the exurbs where there isn't even a HINT of public transprtation, and homes are very, very expensive. So what do you do? This has a lot to do with the enormous unemployment rates in the inner cities.

            Stop Rob "The Job Outsourcer" Portman. Jennifer Brunner for Senate http://www.jenniferbrunner.com

            by anastasia p on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:18:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  True in many many places (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              neroden

              Tourist areas are like that.  The hotel workers, service people, restaurant workers, etc. cannot afford to live in the areas they work.  

              There has to be better ways to achieve the results of reduced gas usage--maybe like mandating some very high strict mileage standards on all cars domestic and imported as a start.

              •  Not many places outside cities. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gogol

                Tourist areas usually have cheap areas within less than 150 miles.

                When they're really in the middle of nowhere, we call them "remote attractions", and we build public transportation to them from the nearest city.

                When they expand to giant sizes encompassing a radius of 150 miles, we call them "cities", and they deserve public transportation.

                Apart from an insignificant minority of places, any places where being "priced out" extends for huge, huge distances is big enough to support a full-fledged electric rail network.  So we should build the darn rail already.

                -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:15:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Slumland rental in Columbus?? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              satanicpanic

              There seriously has to be something rentable in at least the correct metropolitan area.  At upcoming gas prices, an SRO would likely be cheaper than the commute, seriously.

              -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

              by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:11:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I faced that situation in the past (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gogol

              And the solution was what i suggested: I found a cheap rented room with 2 other collegues and went home once a month. Hardship, yes, but a practical solution and one that enabled me to save money to get out of that situation.

              As I stated eleswhere, this is the arguement for mass-transit, not an electric car in every soup pot as the diarist sems to suggest.

              I don't own a car but i'm fortunate to live in a city with mass-transit. If I had to drive, that would be the money I'm saving for my daughter's education.

              Wed April 21 07:49 - a moment of silence for Qinghai Earthquake Victims

              by koNko on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:30:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I sympathize but... (19+ / 0-)

          Daily Kos: Oil spill: we are the problem. Time to tax gas. Massively

          And the idea of taxing people, like friends of mine in Oklahoma who have a 150 mile drive to work, just isn't going to do anything but hurt them.

          I really do sympathize, but I think we would all acknowledge that this is simply not sustainable.

        •  Wow. A 300 mile round trip to work? (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ssmt, highacidity, bibble, neroden, JanL, futurebird

          maybe they should be encouraged to move closer to their job. I mean, at 60 miles per hour, they're spending 6 hours on the road...for an 8 hour shift?

          O.K., at 90 miles per hour they're still spending 4.5 hours on the road...for an 8 hour shift?

          Say their car gets 20 MPG, that's 15 gallons of gas. At $3.00 per gallon, that's $45.00 per day. That's $225 per week (assuming a 5 day work week).

          And, hey, let's say they make $20.00 an hour. They're paying over a quarter of their $800.00 a week wage just to drive to work?

          Wow.

          But a (let's just say) 5 cent per gallon gas tax is just gonna devastate them.

          Hmmm...what happens when (not if) gas hits $4.00 a gallon...or $5.00? It's all good because it's not a tax, right?

          "Not smuggling--SNUGGLING. Tea baggers love sheep SNUGGLING! Do I have to draw you a friggin' picture?" Homogenius

          by liberte on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:46:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  150 mile commute is insane (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gogol, IM, neroden, futurebird

          which is not to say some people, like your friends, don't do it, but they are at the very far end of the bell curve. Most people drive less than 40 miles total.

          I think gas tax increases are needed but should be phased in gradually, just as we should be gradually phasing in higher taxes on capital gains etc....but in fact (other than hopefully allowing the Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire) I think we all know that Congress isn't going to do either. The US is going to continue to poison itself and the world with our fossil-fuel-based lifestyle.

          "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

          by Alice in Florida on Sun May 02, 2010 at 02:37:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Can we have diesel electric? (4+ / 0-)

        Much less refining required and a multiplier effect on fuel efficiency. Our diesel Passat, which hit 300,000 miles, got 40 mpg.  A tank was good for 700 miles.

        I would love to think that adding electric hybrid to this would have been much better.

        "Never, desist till we ... extinguish this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, will scarce believe that it suffered a disgrace and dishonor to this country.

        by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:42:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Also simple fuel reforming systems (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Regina in a Sears Kit House

          that captures heat energy from the exhaust and recycles it back into the intake can be used to retrofit gasoline or diesel engines to burn less refined petroleum products and/or bio-fuels in a cleaner more efficient way. Existing vehicles could be retofitted with these systems quite quickly and would easily beat your 40 mpg with the added bonus of much cleaner emmissions. Not to mention the millions of local jobs this retrofit would create.

          Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

          by RMForbes on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:57:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thats crap (0+ / 0-)

        Nevermind that the very reason people live so far from their jobs in the first place is that gas is too cheap. We have to stop subsidizing sprawl.

        I live far, and yet still closer then most, from work because the housing prices everywhere are so outrageous. I'd take public transportation in a heartbeat if I could, but it's not an option in NC.

        •  The problem is your governments. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gogol, mightymouse, satanicpanic

          Practically everyone who "needs" to take long commutes is in a suburban area which is dense enough to support an electric rail network, either streetcars or "interurbans" or commuter rail or metro.

          And you're right, it just isn't there in most of the country.  But it could be there within five years if somebody would bother to build it.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:17:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not that simple (0+ / 0-)

            NC is trying to get a rail system done, despite the fact that everyone knows it's a total pointless waste of time.

            The urban corridors are often spaced a good ways away from the rural/suburban, there's no really good dense packed population centers, it's too spread out for public trans to work.

            With all the wetlands areas here, and eco zones, etc, you're pretty limited where you can build things.

            Charlotte has a good idea, urban, no buffer area heading into suburban, industrial ringing the outside, rural outside of that. They're only permitting development in certain areas, there were set up so it was easy to do so.

            Zebulon, Clayton, Garner, Benson, the towns folks live in, and come to Raleigh, or Cary, or Durham to work, you'll drive 30 minutes past wetlands, or farmlands that they simply can't develop.

            It's not that we wouldn't love to have say a rail system, it's that even the expert thinktanks NC gov has hired to try to figure out how to do public trans, call it a giant waste of money unless you literally force folks to give up land and order them to live in tighter groups.

            •  It is that simple. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gogol, NoMoreLies, mightymouse, Marja E

              It makes the rail system a lot more expensive for the government to operate if you have a poor land use layout.  It's less efficient if there are fewer nodes, meaning it costs the government more money.  But it's functional as long as there are some nodes, which there are (RTP?).

              Where does the gas tax come in?  If the gas prices go up enough people will change the land use layout all on their own.  Assuming you make sure the zoning laws make it legal, which is a huge problem in a lot of areas.  

              The entire housing stock rotates in a much shorter time than most people think -- about 20 years I believe (though I could be off by a decade).

              "Zebulon, Clayton, Garner, Benson, the towns folks live in, and come to Raleigh, or Cary, or Durham to work, you'll drive 30 minutes past wetlands, or farmlands that they simply can't develop."

              This one's trivial to solve: build a train station in Zebulon, Clayton, Garner, Benson, and run train lines from there to Raleigh/Cary/Durham.  People drive short distances to the train station and take the train to the city.  Trains are great for a fast 30-minute run past farmlands (perfectly uniform low density is the real worst scenario for a train route), and the ROW taking is small.  Yes, it costs money to run because Zebulon/Clayton/Garner/Benson etc. aren't dense (and it needs expensive distributors in Raleigh/Cary/Durham because THEY aren't dense yet).

              But if you put in the system and spend the money now, and you raise the gas taxes, both ends will densify.  No "forcing" required -- it's popular, which is why Charlotte had an instant boom around its Lynx light rail line.

              Which is why as I said, it's down to the government not being willing to spend the money on it.  Which is of course down to the citizens of NC not being willing to spend the money on it.

              NC is frankly a lot better about rail than a bunch of other Southern states.  But even its consultants are coming from a "cheap oil, endless roads, anti-density zoning, no money for public transportation" mentality -- certainly, as the old joke goes, "you wouldn't want to start from here", but the path is obvious and just requires lots of money.  The examples where good rail has been built prove its popularity.

              -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

              by neroden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:01:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Obama Admin 'change I can believe in' on bikes (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IM, neroden, Louisiana Fiddle Gal, Marja E

        Obama policy gives cyclists a leg up

        Yes, Mr. President, way to go! Gas tax to fund more like this, people, expecially obese children, need more exercise!

        Bikegate is not as big as Watergate, there was a little bump in his bike popularity recently in New York, where biking is surging


         New York The Biking Revolution Bring on the Bikes! Cycling Rises 28% in New York City

           * Bicycling is New York City’s fastest-growing mode of transportation.

        As Gothamist notes, the cycling boom, which is in its fourth year of growth, is largely due to the NYC government’s commitment to increasing the city’s bike lanes, with more than 200 miles of lanes installed over the past three years, including 5 miles of physically-separated lanes. Granted, there’s also the possibility that subway cuts — which mean more crowded trains and worse service, not to mention the elimination of some lines entirely — are leading more commuters to turn to biking. Still, it’s safe to say that New York is emerging as a model of how policy initiatives can drive urban commuters to switch to cycling.

        Granted, this is all assuming that "Bike-Gate," aka the recent confiscation of hundreds of bikes in downtown Manhattan as a security measure for Obama’s visit to Cooper Union, is and remains an anomaly.

        www.yesweSTILLcan.org

        by divineorder on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:23:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  America MUST get away from car dependency (27+ / 0-)

      I think the biggest obstacle the United States faces is being stuck on the idea that cars are the only way to travel.

      Gotta start thinking outside the box.  

      •  I wrote a diary about this (12+ / 0-)

        and you would think that I asked people to give up their first born son.  All the usual excuses.  But I need my car/SUV for:  work, doctor, groceries, camping etc.  Europe and the rest of the world have the same issues and still manage to carpool, bike, use alternative methods in a much better way than Americans.  Also European live in "rural" areas as well.

        •  it is a moral issue (11+ / 0-)

          it needs to be framed in moral terms.

          their problem is sloth, one of the seven deadly sins.

          every mile we drive creates disasters like this week. every mile we drive kills people in Mideast wars. every mile we drive robs our children of their economic and physical health by forcing them to live with dangerous climate disruptions.

          we MUST find alternatives. to say we cannot is sloth.

          we need total boycotting of gasoline to become as popular as vegetarianism.  

          •  You are being quite judgmental (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MrWebster, Huginn and Muninn

            and harsh. It is not the people's fault that we don't have more public transportation--the auto companies and other greedheads undermined its expansion years ago, and still fight any change that doesn't mean big money for them.  

            You cannot expect people who are already struggling, to "just move" to the cities. Will you support job retraining for relocated rural folks? And for what jobs? Will you pay for entire families to move? Would you wish them to move away from needy parents and other family, friends, schools, their own businesses, when they themselves are struggling? Do you expect aging farmers to go to work at McDonald's? Where will McDonald's get its beef, then?

            Yes, many changes must be made, and maybe the Gulf incident will cause many to relocate. But there is much that will have to be done to effect that.

            We could have a huge conservation and austerity program, blaring at us at every corner and on every tv and radio station. I would have thought it would already be so, just from a common sense point of view. But we have a whole culture in denial, and certain political elements that want to keep it that way, while they line their pockets and decorate their bunkers.

            We need to work this out together. Condemning people and pronouncing arrogantly that people should just "move with their feet" is leaving too many variables out of the equation, and will not win adherents to your better ideas.  

            •  you sound nice and well-intentioned (8+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gogol, pletzs, theran, bibble, marina, JanL, Kickemout, FinchJ

              so why don't you play good cop and I will play bad cop.

              Many people are lazy, stupid and short-sighted. including the many people on this very thread who argue against a gas tax because they believe it the God given right of Americans to tool around in 3000-lb pieces of metal and live and work wherever the hell they want at no additional cost.

              Well there are costs. There are costs to their neighbors, their fellow Americans, and future generations. They are being simply inconsiderate due to their sloth and I don't mind telling them so in as many words.

              You be nice, I'll be me.

              •  I think we've been programmed (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gogol, Alice in Florida, 350 or death

                for so long by advertising and the hypnovision, that many people have been convinced they need things that are not truly necessary. And some are very self-involved, like the Goldman Sachs crew, and can simply not even imagine doing without their favorite extravagant toys and pastimes. But these are hardly all people.

                Most people I know are fairly conscientious about waste. Many of them are as obsessive as I am. My grandparents' tales from the Great Depression made a big impression on me, to the point that I am sometimes a PITA about it.

                Now that the computer has become a vital tool, and if more people are permitted to telecommute, they won't have to waste gas. If computers are recycled, our complicity in procuring rare elements is mitigated somewhat. If the computers are recycled, even better.

                There are so many ways to roll things back to more manageable and sustainable levels. Even carpooling is a start--now if we could get businesses to allow the flexibility and scheduling to allow people to operate in more environment--and human--friendly ways, I believe most would.

                You have to wonder why we aren't being blitzed by our government to conserve, and not waste. But I guess it would put a lot of people out of work if we suddenly stopped making 67 zillion toasters every day.

                •  the DOL should go through its (6+ / 0-)

                  Occupational Outlook Handbook and figure out which jobs are telecommutable and which are not.

                  Businesses that demand people report in person for jobs defined as telecommutable should have to pay a tax for the privilege.

                  A simple form to be processed by the IRS should be available for businesses to request exemptions on a case-by-case basis where there is some reason why a worker at a specific job / company / site should report in person, and "my managerial style is sufficiently obsolete that I can't figure out how to remotely manage workers based on results" should not qualify a business for exemption.

                  Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

                  by alizard on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:23:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  You don't mind telling them, but that's because (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Wamsutta

                you yourself are incredibly ignorant and have a deeply flawed, absurdly inflated sense of your own moral superiority and understanding of the issues.

                •  I actually realize I am far from perfect (0+ / 0-)

                  when it comes to leading the life we need to live.

                  But I don't mind telling you either— at least I'm trying, rather than telling those who are trying to STFU while making excuses why I can't or won't.

                  •  Bush "tried" too; look where that got us. (0+ / 0-)

                    When one's "tries" are motivated by flawed, shabby, lazy, and unjustifiably arrogant self-identified superiority the results tend to be disastrous, no matter how well-intentioned or pure one's motives are.

                    For what it's worth, I deplore the oil-centric culture Americans live with. I just happen to take a realistic view of how quickly and under what circumstances it can change (and it should most definitely change, as fast as possible) and choose not to pretend I'm some moral giant walking amongst pigs, as some ignorant people do.

                    •  call it what you want (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      neroden

                      if you believe the one half of what you are saying — that we need to change as fast as possible — then I call the rest of it making excuses.

                      If you agree that doing something is wrong, and that what's right is to give it up for our own health and that of those around us, then not giving it up — or delaying giving it up — or making excuses for not giving it up — is wrong.

                      This is no different from a drug addiction. It's right to show the addict what compassion you can, but it's wrong to enable the addiction.

                      So no. I will not accept that it is arrogant to speak of right and wrong.

            •  It is our fault, at least a little. (7+ / 0-)

              Many of us would not elect someone who promised to vote in the legislature or Washington, DC to raise the gasoline tax. Look at the thread.

              Forty years after President Jimmy Carter suggested it, there are people, progressive lefties here on the Great Orange Satan, willing to go to the mat against it.

              I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

              by leolabeth on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:53:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  People can't do it on their own (0+ / 0-)

              but the American people are to blame for clinging to the automotive lifestyle and refusing to consider alternatives...it can't all be blamed on the automotive/oil companies any more when the American people have spent the last 30 years making things worse by buying bigger cars and houses...and becoming bigger themselves (I'll bet we'd be a lot slimmer and healthier if we we walked more).

              "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

              by Alice in Florida on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:25:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, you can see it here too (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mrkvica, gmb, sideboth, koNko, amk for obama

          People saying "NEED" in regards to their cars.  I admit I like driving too...although I only like it when I'm on a roadtrip in some scenic area.  It's going to take generations to remove the mindset that cars are necessary for basic survival.  

        •  54% of Chinese live in rural areas (2+ / 0-)

          And I'm confident at least 90% travel by public transportation when going beyond the range or a bicycle or 2 feet. Trains & buses work.

          Wed April 21 07:49 - a moment of silence for Qinghai Earthquake Victims

          by koNko on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:19:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  a big part of the problem (0+ / 0-)

          is the lack of rail.

    •  we had cheap gas just like you did (23+ / 0-)

      Now it costs triple, and our cars use half as much fuel. It takes a number of years, but it can work. what matters is the ratchet effect of regularly increasing prices. Consumers adapt, and so do manufacturers.

    •  answers (17+ / 0-)

      look at france. Smallish in your view. Even within France, people are moving out of the rural areas of the center, and into the big agglomerations, like Paris, but also Bordeaux, Lyon and others. That means: with personal transport more expensive,  people will give up space. People remaining out in the space, will reamin there on jobs that dont require long distance movements. People requiring long commutes will move to proximity of commuting stations (obviously, mass transit then, not personal cars).

      This will all not happen overnight, but if initiated by strict gas taxes, people will adjust in this way all by themselves.

      That is exactly what governments are there for: to set the incentives that get people to change their habits (and not to suck up to them).

      A serious gas tax would do you good (as it does us good).

      Ici s´arrète la loi.

      by marsanges on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:25:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  blockquote button ain't working.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo, mrkvica, gulfgal98
        "That is exactly what governments are there for: to set the incentives that get people to change their habits (and not to suck up to them)."

        While I agree with this statement, that doesn't seem to be how our political system works these days.  

        They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

        by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:45:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  instead it's been eight years of..... (0+ / 0-)

          bend over and enjoy the screwing to the point where a lot of folks, even Democrats, have developed permanently bent backs.  

          For example when I brought up telecommuting, someone replied, "but most companies won't even ALLOW telecommuting."

          F--- what companies won't allow!  Force them.  That's how we got the 40-hour work week.  Remember the 40-hour work week?   We can have it again if we demand telecommuting.  

          •  Our politicians seem to be mostly suckups (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek

            at least on the surface.  No real attempts at leadership, they bend over backwards to accommodate what they think the hoi polloi want.  

            Going through a phase......

            They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

            by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:05:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  that phase will end when... (0+ / 0-)

              ...progressives start having tea-party rallies with rifles.  No need to even use militant rhetoric.  Just a couple hundred people show up, polite as can be, with rifles and protest signs.  Do that once or twice in each state, and it will seem as if a revolt is brewing.  

    •  OK. (7+ / 0-)

      Better is to immediately change the basis of our power generation to renewables, ASAP, with a focus on generating enough to let people charge cars.

      There are around 250 million registered vehicles in the US.
      Even assuming that we could get all these vehicles switched over to something like the Chevy Volt, which has an 8 kw charge (16 kw capacity, but it will only allow half of the battery to be charged.)

      For each new electric vehicle, driving at the end of electric range (40 miles)  that's 8 kwh needed each night.  Over the course of the year that's 2925 kwh.  For 250 million vehicles, that's 730,000 Gwh.  In 2009, 3,575,450 Gwh of US retail electricity sales were made.

      So we're talking about something on the order of a 20.4% increase in retail sales of electricity in the US.  Since much of the charging will happen at night when demand is otherwise low, it can probably be done with the capacity we have now.  That might be a problem in places like California that are huge power importers, and others where the lax capacity doesn't exist.

      Bottom line though seems to be that at the moment, switching to electric cars is going to drive up electric production at existing facilities.  And, that's going to mean a lot of coal and natural gas are what's keeping those new "electric" cars running.

      http://www.economicpopulist.org

      by ManfromMiddletown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:30:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  even running on coal, electric cars are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrkvica, G2geek

        50% more energy and carbon efficient than death-oil cars. and they don't cause oil spills.  

        and unlike death-oil cars, even efficient ones, they are ready to make the switch to run on wind and solar with no mods at all.

        don't just call for a massive tax on death-gas. boycott it starting today.

        •  Have you ever seen what coal mining does (5+ / 0-)

          the local environment, not to mention power plant emissions?

          I think that extended range vehicles like the Volt are the answer.  They allow the use of the existing petroleum infrastructure while cutting down on the amount of oil being used.  But, all other things being equal, they will jack up the use of electricity from coal and gas fired plants.  There has to be an effort to build up wind energy capacity and the electric transmission infrastructure at the same time these cars are introduced.

          And moreover, there needs to be an effort to get people to walk and take the bus, instead of finding ways to sustain a car-centric planning model.  These things all need to be gradually introduced to avoid shocks, but they need to be introduced together.  

          http://www.economicpopulist.org

          by ManfromMiddletown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:51:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oil ain't exactly great either (0+ / 0-)

            and of course the amount of coal you use is less anyway, but sure, we need to switch to alternative power sources. I think the key is to just start right away doing whatever we can. Wind is already expanding, so is solar, creating more demand for electricity by putting more electric cars on the road will simply create a greater incentive to build more wind & solar.

            ORGANIZE early, ORGANIZE often.

            by bicycle Hussein paladin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:34:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  then mine THORIUM instead. (0+ / 0-)

            Thorium-fueled nuclear reactors were built in the 1960s as test cases.  They worked then, they can work now.

            Thorium is so plentiful on the surface of the ground, that three people with shovels can dig up enough of it in three hours to power a city the size of Portland for a year.  

      •  Here's the thing.... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo, mrkvica, G2geek, amk for obama, damfino

        People have an image in their mind of what an electric car is.  It's the same size and weight and has similar features to a gas car.  

        What is needed most of the time is a way to get one or two people from point A to point B safely and comfortably while keeping ones clothes clean and with a little space left over for a bag or two of groceries.  

        This does NOT require something the size and weight of an "electric car".  

        http://www.hightechscience.org/...

        Not quite what I'm talking about, but a reasonable approximation.   Anyway, the amount of energy needed to charge something like this would be considerably less and while short ranged, it would be reasonably safe in current traffic.  

        If we make reasonable accommodations for things closer to electric bicycles, we need even less power.  

        They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

        by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:02:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That would require social and cultural (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JanL, amk for obama, thethinveil

          change which is slow moving.

          Second, why try to figure ever more clever ways to sustain car-centric planning, instead of looking at shifting the setup of cities so that walking and riding public transport are and option.

          http://www.economicpopulist.org

          by ManfromMiddletown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:05:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Buildings are hard to move. (6+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            melo, mrkvica, G2geek, JanL, CharlieHipHop, Marja E

            Given a sufficiently intensive propaganda campaign, minds shift easier......

            The roads are there.  Why not find ways to help low powered vehicles use them more safely.  

            Block off certain residential streets with bollards that bikes can ride right through.  Cars enter and leave a block from one end.  No thru car traffic = nearly bike only thoroughfare.  Lower max speed on certain surface streets to 25.  This works where I live.   More bike lanes where practical.  All federal highway projects get a fat sidewalk or extra wide shoulder.  

            Mostly simple things.  Not much money required.  

            If I can afford enough solar panels for my roof to charge my car, concerns about grid generating and distribution capacity become moot.  Nationwide net metering and low interest loans for individuals to install solar systems where practical would be a good way to make this happen.  

            They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

            by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:16:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, with one slight correction (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              alizard, Marja E, thethinveil

              There is no way you would get enough energy from the roof of your car to power the car, even if it was very light.  Even at 100 percent efficiency (the best are now at about 35 percent), PV on the roof wouldn't be enough to move the average family of four and their groceries.

              •  As in previous comment, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CharlieHipHop

                One or two seat grocery getter/commuter is what I'd be after.  For those needing more, it would at least supplement what they'd get from the grid.

                Car gone in daytime?  I'd want to run a battery bank and inverter anyway.  I'd lose efficiency of course.  

                They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:04:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  and another thing, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tmo

          given the range limitations, most Americans won't settle for just an electric car.  The electric vehicle they use to commute should be cheap enough so the average person can have one in addition to a gas car.

          They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

          by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:05:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Another way of thinking about it (7+ / 0-)

          95 percent of the energy used in moving a car is used to move the car itself.  Only five percent moves the passengers and their stuff.

          Pretty damn inefficient way to travel.

      •  No (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo, mrkvica, alizard, G2geek, reflectionsv37

        Electric cars will DECREASE electricity rates.  Here's why:

        Electric Generating Units (EGU) make the same amount of electricity day or night, based on expected peak demand.  Some peaking units run when demand is really high, but otherwise sit idle waiting for need.  Overnight electricity consumption is around half of peak.  When will these cars be charging?  During the demand valley in the middle of the night.  

        Now, absent overnight demand, EGU operators just throw away (ground) excess.  With electric cars, they can SELL what they now throw away.  Some estimates are that the US would add ZERO generating capacity to operate an electric car fleet.

        Besides, lots of wind power at night with nothing to do (wind preferentially blows at night).  Even better.

      •  You've left out the electricity needed to make (0+ / 0-)

        those damned batteries.

        Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

        by amk for obama on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:17:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We can help people (0+ / 0-)

      move to electric cars, but it'll take time (at least a decade?).

      I was doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations for my country. Population 2 million, GDP/capita about 20,000€, petrol price 1,2€/litre, minimum wage 600€, average wage 1200€ net.

      We've been experiencing hefty increases in the petrol tax since the government has decided it's a spiffy way to pay for the crisis. So far, after more than a year, there has been no appreciable change in the purchase pattern of cars. People just pay more and bitch about the prices.

      So I got to thinking subsidising electric vehicles might work. 1,300,000 vehicles are on the road, and if you wanted to give a 10,000€ subsidy for each of them to be replaced by a Leaf, the government would have to fork up 13 billion in subsidies, which is nearly twice the state budget (7 billion € state budget, total budget 14 billion €). Spread over a decade that would still mean, well, a completely untenable situation.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:37:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not in favor of electic cars (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melo, G2geek, NoMoreLies, alba

      ...over building a new rail system (and upgrading the existing one).

      We need a sense of public again in this country. The dream of personalized electric automobiles, for everyone, to maintain the "American way of life" is, IMO, ridiculous.

      The "American way of life," as I understand it, is consumerism. And why is consumerism a negative? Because it allows industry to keep producing more and more and more gadgets, widgets, and other things that we just don't need. All this mass production combined with consumerism is what is raping the world. Driven by our greed for more and more goods that we don't even need.

      So, I say "NO" to a nationwide network of recharging stations if that means we do not pursue a national rail network.

      I'd rather have both, but with much more emphasis on public transport.

      To whom it may concern: I am an American citizen. Not an American consumer. I am a human being, not a variable in the capitalist system.

      by FinchJ on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:13:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  People who don't live in big cities often forget (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tmo, Daddy Bartholomew, Malumaureus

        that one important reason why people in cities need cars is personal safety.

        I can drive to many parts of this city (including my job) that I would never dream of trying to reach via public transit (at least not unless I were packing a .38, which I am not about to do).

        That would be even more true if I were female. A woman riding public transit after 10 p.m. in this town is taking her life in her hands. Too many "green" liberals simply have no clue about this.  

        We need plug-in hybrids and electric cars. Sorry if you don't understand why.

        •  Very true, many liberals in cities aware of this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gmb, Night Train

          What you say is very true and I think many liberals are aware of this, especially women who live in cities with not the greatest neighborhoods. Public safety and mass transit are very much intertwined. I can take the bus to and from work when the days are long enough to walk home when it's still light. But in the wintertime, when it gets dark before I get off work, there is no way in hell I'm walking through my neighborhood after dark. I wonder if European cities are safer so this isn't so much of an issue there?

          Californians: The Courage Campaign is working for changing the 2/3 budget rule and for ending Prop 8. Go!

          by tmo on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:38:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's partly that those cities are safer, (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tmo, alizard, Malumaureus, Whatithink

            and partly that they haven't necessarily grown in conjunction with the car culture.

            I'm all for a realistic mixture of improved mass transit with plug-in hybrids and electrics. I think both those projects should be subsidized and accelerated. Retrofitting our spread-out American suburbs to be more sustainable will be very difficult; but perhaps electric or hydrogen-powered buses can play a role.

            We can all learn to drive less, and some of us can even give up our cars. Plenty of alternatives are potentially available. But the clueless, self-righteous "green" snots who start arrogantly preaching that any American who needs a car (even an electric one) is just a lazy slob should, I think, fucking put a sock in it and make a real effort to learn something about the everyday lives and needs of people other than themselves.

            •  I totally agree... (0+ / 0-)

              not to mention that for some to even within a 10 mile radius of major cities is prohibitive in cost for many where it would take their entire income just in rent! Do they think people LIKE living so far from everything? Of course not! But they're there because they have to be in order to live so unless these self-righteous elites care about those less fortunate than them, which 'progressives' are supposed to, they should stick it!

              It's funny because when it comes to having either a more environmentally friendly world that screws those with the least or a world that's less green but helps those who need it the most, guess which way they'd rather choose? The progressive of helping the underdog goes right out the window. I don't think any agenda where we have to choose is beneficial to us. I'm all for going green but I'm not about to isolate poor rural people to do it, and some are, I guess that's the main difference on this thread.

        •  I see your point (0+ / 0-)

          but it isn't public transportation's fault.

          I live in Tampa. May not be NYC or LA, but we have our fair share of crime.

          Who says that if we expand our public transport system that we will also not continue to try to improve security?

          Sorry if you cannot understand that public transportation is not the cause of insecurity.

          To whom it may concern: I am an American citizen. Not an American consumer. I am a human being, not a variable in the capitalist system.

          by FinchJ on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:49:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't say it was public transit's fault. (0+ / 0-)

            Nor do I think that. I'm just pointing out the simple fact that cars and public transit do not exist in a social vacuum, and you don't get to pretend that they do. The arrogant refusal to accept and deal with the stubborn realities of social context is precisely what has doomed so many well-intentioned liberal social engineering projects -- like high-rise public housing, for instance, which was supposed to wipe out slums in the 1960s and 1970s, and failed miserably to do so.  

            •  What the hell? (0+ / 0-)

              You were the one who said that I don't understand why we need electric cars.

              You were the one who didn't read my post. I said that I don't support only electric cars.

              My post had nothing to do with safety, nor security.

              You brought it up and accused me of not understanding something I wasn't even talking about.

              Also, my response to you did not try to pretend that it exists in a vacuum.

              What is your problem?

              To whom it may concern: I am an American citizen. Not an American consumer. I am a human being, not a variable in the capitalist system.

              by FinchJ on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:00:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not just talkng to you. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm talking to everyone in this thread. This is not personal e-mail. It's a web forum.

                •  I'm halfway tempted to hide rate your comments (0+ / 0-)

                  you are just talking to me when you respond and say:

                  YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND

                  If you want to talk to the public, then say, "What some people do not understand" or even "I wish more people would take into consideration."

                  I know that this is a web forum. Don't use personal pronouns if you are talking to the public.

                  To whom it may concern: I am an American citizen. Not an American consumer. I am a human being, not a variable in the capitalist system.

                  by FinchJ on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:06:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You left the word (0+ / 0-)

                    "if" out of your quote.

                    •  "you" is still a personal pronoun (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      IM

                      And the phrase:

                      "Sorry if you don't understand why"

                      Is condescending. Thrown in at the end to make your point that "green" liberals have no clue. With a personal pronoun referring back to me.

                      Sorry:

                      3 : inspiring sorrow, pity, scorn, or ridicule : pitiful <their affairs were in a sorry state>

                      http://www.merriam-webster.com/...

                      All I'm saying is that if you are talking to the public, as you said later, then you should make sure not to use personal pronouns when responding to someone's comment. I'd try to be a bit more diplomatic next time.

                      To whom it may concern: I am an American citizen. Not an American consumer. I am a human being, not a variable in the capitalist system.

                      by FinchJ on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:53:32 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  hmm.. crimes rates (7+ / 0-)

          are here

          Aggravated assault is at 300/100,000 inhabitant, ie under 1,000,000 events per year. There are more car thefts than that, and 6,000,000 car accidents per year in the US.

          Cars are way more dangerous than anything else...

          •  That's only true if you spread out the sample (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            alizard

            across the U.S. as a whole. Those statistics are not relevant to the experience of someone living in a highly populated U.S. city. For example, I have a friend who tried bicycling to work. It lasted three months, despite his wife's protests. His route took him through Chicago's west side (between Oak Park and Humboldt Park, for those who know the territory). During that time he daily ran the gauntlet. At almost every corner had to deal with gang-bangers who demanded his bike, threw stuff at him, knocked him off the bike (on three occasions). Finally he got mugged; they got his wallet, credit cards, and cash. After that, his wife said she would leave him if he didn't give it up. Now he drives to work in his Honda Civic. No more problems.

            •  I should add (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              alizard

              that I once made the stupid mistake of riding to that same friend's house by public transit (bus) along almost the same route he'd tried to bicycle. (My car was at the mechanic at the time.) I suspected I'd made a big mistake as soon as I boarded the bus and noticed that the driver was protected by bulletproof glass. I made the run anyway. I saw two fistfights and many more threats in a 15-minute ride. I'm just glad nobody pulled a gun. I will never ride that bus again.  

            •  I don't think Jerome or any other (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              alizard, NoMoreLies

              proponents of mass transit are attempting to mitigate or ignore the security problems in our nation.

              Mass transit, as I see it, would be only one plank among many that make up a true progressive or social democratic party's platform.

              Increasing security by tackling root causes would be another one of those. Education, health, and decreasing the income inequality in this country would be other pillars.

              Only by combining as many of these as possible and seeing how they all interconnect will we be able to solve any problems. Mass transit alone will not solve anything.

              Your point is clear and well taken, but there are tens of millions of other Americans who do not live in highly populated areas of the country who would love to have the option of local, regional, and national transport based on an electrified rail system.

              Personally, I'd love to see such a rail system built with a "Green Deal." The way I'd like to see it play out is that these projects would be sustainable first and job creation programs second.

              I do not see anyone calling for an across the board, one size fits all policy with regards to mass transit.

              Again, I see the issue you raise. Security is one of the main reasons a lot of students here in Tampa do not take the HART line. Another is the fact that it is grossly inefficient for our needs. We need your voice about security, but let us remember that not all of us live in Chicago.

              Thanks for the discussion!

              To whom it may concern: I am an American citizen. Not an American consumer. I am a human being, not a variable in the capitalist system.

              by FinchJ on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:39:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  A lot of these same green "liberals" are also (0+ / 0-)

          very financially secure, middle-class or upper middle-class people who have literally never had to face financial difficulties--or the difficulties you describe.

          That's why I find their condescending "you're immoral to drive a car" crap so amusing.

          I pulled myself out of poverty with the help of government loan and grant programs to achieve a very high level of education. My fiancee and I together earn sufficient income to put us in the top 10% of income earners by household. I've seen both extremes of issues like these, and the casual ease with which know-it-all-know-nothings like Jerome or 350 toss about their "ideas" and moral harangues both disgusts and amuses me.

        •  packing a .38 is more sustainable than driving. (0+ / 0-)

          If more law-abiding people who drive only because they're scared of crime on public transport, would carry firearms instead, not only would our carbon footprint be reduced, but the crime rate would decline on public transport, making it safer for everyone.

          Instead, misguided fools make it illegal for law-abiding citizens to carry firearms in cities, which has no effect on criminals carrying theirs.

      •  me too but then again I was never one (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, FinchJ

        who got that much enjoyment out of driving a car, especially for mind-numbing long drives . . .I try to hop a train whenever possible, which I can do because much of my long-distance travel is up and down the eastern seaboard. But even with access to the train option, I would like to see more local public transit too.

      •  and/both. (0+ / 0-)

        Use the bike or EV to pick up groceries, take the electric bus or light rail to work & back, and take the train plus a bus to go on vacation.  

        It's not either/or, it's and/both.  

  •  I don't know if politically it's the time (4+ / 0-)

    to do this, but it is certainly a time to present the trade-offs to people and see whether the opposition to a measure that could so dramatically reduce our dependence of foreign oil is softening.  If it's softening enough, then sure.

    "So if you don't have any teeth, so what? ... Isn't that why they make applesauce?" -- GOP leader Rush Limbaugh

    by Seneca Doane on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:08:42 AM PDT

    •  it's never the right time (7+ / 0-)

      3 years ago, when the economy  was "booming" there was an election not to lose.

      2 years ago, oil prices were already to high to allow for an additional price hike.

      There will always be another election, and another excuse.

      •  I think that's too pessimistic (0+ / 0-)

        There is a right time: it's when people are not quite so dug in to oppose it.

        Given that an effort by progressives to raise gas taxes would probably fail now anyway, that statement above is good news.  It means that we should be loosening up the opposition, so that at some point (hopefully not too long or too late) they can be moved.  Your diary helps to do so, which is why I T&R'd.

        People here say that we'll never legalize cannabis either -- except that here in California we may do so this year, for the tax money, and if we do so other states and countries will follow.  One doesn't have to engage in a do-or-die effort, especially when success is so unlikely; one just has to keep on pushing and explaining why the economics of a given position make sense.

        "So if you don't have any teeth, so what? ... Isn't that why they make applesauce?" -- GOP leader Rush Limbaugh

        by Seneca Doane on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:49:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I understand your line of thought (8+ / 0-)

    But I think you should only do this if it is coupled with a massive investment in the alternatives-biofuels and an electric vehicle infrastructure.

    "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum."

    by mark louis on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:08:56 AM PDT

  •  Imagine if Americans paid our gas (19+ / 0-)

    prices Jerome. The screams would increase the Atlantic swell here on the Brittany coast

    ;-)

    Oh no, the dead have risen and they're voting Republican. - Lisa Simpson

    by LaFeminista on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:09:41 AM PDT

  •  No. (11+ / 0-)

    No, no, a thousand times no.
    Those of us who work for low wages in rural and semi rural areas would find it impossible to exist.
    Find another solution.

    Muéstreme su identificación.

    by kestrel9000 on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:10:29 AM PDT

  •  Should we tax gas (5+ / 0-)

    or should we tax vehicle weight and engine horsepower

    There have been enormous improvements in engine technology over the last few decades, but that all went into making cars larger, and engines higher horsepower.  If you taxed those things, the only place where manufacturers could compete with the mechanics of the car would be efficiency.

    http://www.economicpopulist.org

    by ManfromMiddletown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:12:39 AM PDT

    •  tax gas (6+ / 0-)

      what matters ultimately is gas use - so tax the use.

      •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

        It's so much easier, less invasive, more effective, and fairer, I don't understand why anyone wants to replace the gas tax.  You buy gas, you pay tax.  Why make it more complicated?

        The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

        by happymisanthropy on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:33:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But taxing the use (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo

        doesn't discriminate between the person who has to drive because they live in a rural area, and has a small sedan like a Pontiac Sunfire.  And, one of these jerks who for some reason drives a Hummer the half mile to the job instead of walking.  

        With the efficiency being so different, both persons may end up paying the same amount in gas tax, because they end up using the same amount of gas.  That's not a very sound political strategy for dealing with lower income voters who live outside of major metros.  Any policy needs to take into account the unique political context, and I think that the context that made a tax targeting gas in Europe in the 1970s isn't same ad the US today.

        The politics of economics matter at least as much as the economics of politics.

        http://www.economicpopulist.org

        by ManfromMiddletown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:37:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No; tax oil. (0+ / 0-)

        "Tax gas" is an intellectually lazy "solution" that ignores the immediate ramifications on those who are poor and working class in America.

    •  Gas tax versus guzzler tax (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melo, ManfromMiddletown, IM

      Should we tax gas or should we tax vehicle weight and engine horsepower

      Why is this choice mutally exclusive?  Both taxes have their place.

      While I tend to agree with Jerome that the gas tax is ultimately going to be more effective at changing behavior, I'll note that some people are not very forward looking when it comes to considering the ongoing costs of their purchases -- it's the reason why telecom providers can sucker people into expensive two year contracts in return for a "free" phone or satellite TV box.  So slapping an additional $20k of costs onto a new Escalade in the form of a weight/horsepower tax would probably have value above and beyond that which a gas tax could achieve.

      And let's face it -- looking at the budget deficits that we face today and into the foreseeable future, anyone who is not a tea party fanatic knows that we're going to have to raise taxes in the future.  And, while most of us here would agree that raising income tax rates on the very wealthy should be a major component of any tax increase, realistically, that's not enough to plug the deficit hole.  So if we're going to be looking at raising broader taxes, I would certainly favor increased gas tax combined with a tax on fuel inefficient vehicles as being a better direction to go than many of the alternatives.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:38:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't have to be mutually exclusive so I (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo

        agree with you there.

        I tend to think, however, that part of the reason that people by larger, less efficient vehicles, is because it's a status symbol.  And nothing increases the value of a status symbol like making it more exclusive.  So, I think that there are going to be people who buy these vehicles no matter what.  Why not tax the hell out of these guys, and use the funds generated in order to build public transit and renewables infrastructure?

        They want their status symbols, well why not tax their vanity?

        http://www.economicpopulist.org

        by ManfromMiddletown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:25:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  we already pay (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Whimsical

    we already pay 15 bucks a gallon, when you take into effect the money we spend on military etc to sure up the middle east, and all the other variables.

    Maybe, maybe some day a gas tax makes sense, but only and ONLY WHEN there are alternatives.

    Suck it up and be poor is not an alternative.

    (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

    by dark daze on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:16:22 AM PDT

    •  suck it up and take the bus or ride a bike (2+ / 0-)

      in an alternative. and you won't be poorer you will be richer for the money you save, the healthier lifestyle you live, the local businesses you discover and encourage to grow in your neighborhood.

      •  Not an option. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        iowabosox, NearlyNormal, BoxNDox

        I teach on an Indian reservation, 25 mile commute, no buses. Carpooling is an option, and in fact I ride with another teacher.

        But to do anything beyond carpooling is simply not an option without radical changes in structure.

        Implementing a massive gas tax would simply mean those people lose teachers. Period.

        To anticipate your reply of, "Why not live there?":

        White people living on a reservation often does not work well. Some teachers take advantage of school-supplied housing; those teachers more often than not leave within a very short time, due to the simple stress of living there.

        Every student I have has had friends and family die over the last year alone, from disease, alcohol, drugs, car wrecks, crime. When students start missing class, the first reason that jumps to mind is that they're either in jail, the hospital, treatment, or a close family member has died or is in the trauma ward.

        Do you want to live there? Raise a family there? Cultivate a richer life there?

        Want to leave them with fewer options than they have now, by finding a job in a city where you can ditch your car?

        Simple answers, such as raise the gas tax massively, are usually answers for simpletons.

        I sure wish my government gave me as much privacy as they demand I give them.

        by Daddy Bartholomew on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:50:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And it seems to me--another teacher-- (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leberquesgue, IM, G2geek, 350 or death

          that it's your/our work that could be subsidized and improved immeasurably by revenue from a gasoline tax.

          From Christian Science Monitor guest blogger Tim Kane.

          A one dollar gas tax would (ceteris paribus) yield $144 billion a year. Make it six bucks a gallon, and you could kill the form 1040 forever.

          Think what just an extra billion a year could do for education.

          I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

          by leolabeth on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:00:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So u gonna give us Texans - and all Westerners - (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            iowabosox, edrie, BoxNDox

            a huge tax break to offset the cost of travel?  I mean, in France - which is smaller than my state (actually quite a bit smaller) - its easy to say this J.  Try driving a 60+ mi roundtrip just to visit clients - which u are mandated by law to do and which the gov does not pay for (and pays a pittance as your fee to begin with).  And this is not one of freeway cities, like Dallas or Houston.  

            And remember, this is a state where Perry proudly and loudly turned down stim funds and caused taxes to replace that revenue of more than twice the amount lost, AND is still likely to ride that insane position to victory in Nov.

            BTW, if you really want to see what the political cost - and thus the long term cost for everything else - will be, why don't you just tell Democrats to commit suicide.  Same result.

            •  doncha just love the selfishness of those (0+ / 0-)

              who "blame" others for the price of oil - and tell us to "ride a bicycle" or "use public transportation".

              i'd love to plant them in the middle of kansas or south dakota (in winter) and take away all their means of transport except a bicycle, wouldn't you?

              NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

              by edrie on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:45:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I didn't say that either. J is right on the merit (0+ / 0-)

                s.  And in a perfect world we'd do exactly what he proposes.  Heck, this was practically Anderson's campaign in '80.  'Course, in a perfect world, we wouldn't have subsidized the oil and truck/car industries to destroy trolley/rail, which we have since the '30s at least.  We would have put high=speed rail in in the '70s, when the crisese that created Amtrack and Conrail erupted.  We would already have $ 6/gal gas and refunds for those of us who live in the wide-open spaces.

                But we don't live in a perfect world.  Far from it.  So we must deal with what is, and recognize it precludes sensible - if now radical - solutions like J's.  By the time we could politically accomplish them, the oil'd be mostly gone anyway.

                So, let us devote our energies to solutions that are at least politically possible without a sudden collective outbreak of suicidal altruism among D pols and making Pres. Palin - 'Let's the missiles fly, Hallijuaha!' inevitable.

              •  you missed the forest for the trees. (2+ / 0-)

                The vast majority of car trips in the US are not rural, but urban/suburban, where public transport (including private bus lines) will pick up the load.

                Jerome was clear about this: subsidize the poor and rural folks for whom there is no public transit and there won't likely be public transit.  

              •  have any better proposals? n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                leolabeth
              •  Some places shouldn't be lived in (0+ / 0-)

                Or, those who choose to live there should be willing to make sacrifices. If a gas tax is good for the planet but causes some rural people to face difficult decisions, I say we go for it. Provide support/subsidies for essential workers (medical, teachers, etc.) and force the rest to determine how much their big sky is worth to them.

                The big guy in the commercials would not approve of my use of the High Life.

                by leberquesgue on Mon May 03, 2010 at 05:30:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •   What's the average price of ... (0+ / 0-)

              a gallon of regular in your parts?

              I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

              by leolabeth on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:10:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  3.11 cheapest to 3.69 premium (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                leolabeth

                and higher... and still going up.

                my driving now consists of going out ONLY when needed - limiting trips and not driving unless absolutely necessary.  sometimes unemployment can be a blessing.

                NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

                by edrie on Sun May 02, 2010 at 05:17:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not that high yet here, but it will be as... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  G2geek

                  soon as the summer visitors start coming through the toll booths at Kittery.

                  Please know, I love Texas and love more than a few Texans, including my best friend from fifth grade. I'm from the West originally and understand the distant horizons.

                  I won't reiterate my point. Suffice to say, there must be a way to fund public transit and if a fuel tax could help, places with distant horizons might win exponentially. Think rural electrification or the telephone pioneers.

                  I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

                  by leolabeth on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:32:26 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  those prices,, btw, were as of two days ago- (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    leolabeth

                    we're going up about 10 cents a week and summer isn't here yet.  i'm expecting closer to $4 by summer, especially after the bp excuse.

                    as for public transit - for it to work, there has to be sufficient ridership to make it cost and fuel effective.  when prices go up, ridership goes down.  so, the long run is that more fuel is used to transport fewer people.

                    even natural gas isn't the solution long-term - that, too, is limited in quantity.  fuel cell and/or electric looks the immediate answer but the question on electric is how "green" or eco-friendly is the battery-life usefulness over time.  i'm still leaning fuel cell as the future.  especially with the home fueling stations that can also supply individual needs such as heat, power, etc.

                    we are on the cusp - things are developing but until that major "breakthrough" occurs, we are still limited to edison and ford's technology.  we're getting there - it's just that discovery isn't push button.  if it were, we'd have a cure for hiv by now.

                    NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

                    by edrie on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:26:02 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I maintain... (0+ / 0-)

                      that your statement:

                      when prices go up, ridership goes down.  so, the long run is that more fuel is used to transport fewer people.

                      is too general and borne of a strictly American p.o.v.

                      Money from this kind of fuel taxation would have to be funneled directly to public transportation development and support in order to avoid what you're describing.

                      It is not surprising that we can hardly grasp this concept. The U.S. has never united behind public transportation (with the exception of support for the airline industry--but let's not go there) so we have no experience with the notion, let alone the practice.

                      What Jerome suggests is revolutionary for Americans. No question.

                      I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

                      by leolabeth on Mon May 03, 2010 at 04:02:27 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  When gas went to $4 a gallon in Seattle.... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        leolabeth

                        public transport ridership increased by 30-40%. The buses were packed.

                        •  when are you folks going to quit (0+ / 0-)

                          looking at the entire country through myopic lens? the BULK of america is NOT found in cities!  i am NOT talking about local bus/public transportation - i am talking about a national network of buses (like trailways, greyhound, etc.) that no longer exists.

                          rickeagle, not meaning to direct this just at you, but this entire thread seems to have devolved into what works and what doesn't in cities.  america is not just major metropolitan areas - the country is a whopping 3000 miles across and thousands of miles north to south.  this is NOT just an urban problem!  to try to limit the discussion to what works in cities is a gross misunderstanding of how this nation moves about.

                          in california - the bay area - there is scant public transportation that works outside of a very limited area - people who work in and around the bay area do NOT have the option of public transport for the most part - those that do, use it.  those that can't would like to - but jobs, etc., do not mesh with the tracks, routes, schedules.

                          for those who drive hours a day commuting - that commute would be an addition hour or two longer for some if they tried to use public transport.

                          when it takes 35 minutes to drive to s.f. but 2 hours to go by bus and rail, which would YOU do to get to work?

                          okay - not going to get as angry as i did yesterday so i'm through trying to respond in this diary.  i hope you'll not take my answer to you personally - it is just that after beating my head into the wall around here, i'm tired.  i thought i'd at least give you a quick perspective...

                          NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

                          by edrie on Mon May 03, 2010 at 03:28:50 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

      •  suck it up? tell that to the ms patient (0+ / 0-)

        or the newly disabled vet with no legs or the very infirm or elderly.

        you can just go to....

        well, you're not worth  completing that sentence.  done with you now.

        NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

        by edrie on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:42:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  edrie, I apologized to the farm house person. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leberquesgue, G2geek

          But like I said there you and many folks here that are defending our current way of life sound very defensive. I think it might be leading you not to really follow your own sig line advice, which I think is good advice. I mean no disrespect but questions need to be asked and solutions advocated in the wake of (and in the face of) the fossil-fueled catastrophes for which we all share some responsibility.

    •  But we don't (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, mrkvica, blue in NC

      want to admit that we pay for all that stuff in income taxes!  If we paid in gas taxes, everyone'd know and it would stop in five years.  We'd find a way to survive on 8 million barrels per day of domestic production.  Or less.

    •  Yup. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, yellow dog in NJ

      Massive infrastructure needs to be in place WELL BEFORE any increase in the gas tax is even brought up.

      Otherwise it's political suicide, and we'll have thrown away any chance we have to do things that might actually work.

      Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

      by Whimsical on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:41:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  take the train is an alternative (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, yellow dog in NJ

      or, it would be, if we hadn't been playing with oil for the past 50 years.

      Check out the history of oil and tire companies buying urban streetcars and running them into the ground.

      •  but, hey - it's okay if everyone who isn't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        iowabosox

        by a rail line or physically fit enough to ride a bicycle just "goes away" (try starve to death or die from lack of medical).

        that "playing with oil" you speak of had nothing to do with the masses of people who USED to be able to take a bus (trailways AND grayhound AND local ones) to where they needed to go).  it was during the republican decimation of the middle class and the poorest that those companies were allowed to merge and merge and cut services until there was none (service) left for the average citizen.  great way to keep those pesky poor people locked into their geographical prisons, no?

        the lack of transportation isn't just a corporate conspiracy - it is a geographical nightmare for a nation this size.  europeans have no idea what it would be like to live without means to travel ANYWHERE without a car (or a horse).  which brings me to my current thought - why the hell am i even in this garbage diary.

        i thought jerome of paris was smarter than this piece of crap that he must have written in a moment of extreme delusion.

        sigh.  

        leaving here now.

        NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

        by edrie on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:49:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Grayhound & Trailways will come back bigtime.... (0+ / 0-)

          .... the moment there is demand for them, which will happen as soon as the taxes are on the table.

          Believe me there will be entrepreneurs lined up in the hall waiting to talk to investors, to start new bus lines as soon as this gets going.

          •  no. they won't. (0+ / 0-)
            my dad worked with trailways most of his working life.  that trailways paycheck put my sister and i through college!

            if anything, i know buses... and, frankly, for trailways or greyhound to return, there would need to be massive infrastructure in place, mechanics in place, drivers in place, buses purchased, terminals (which means land bought) available for terminals.

            this is not something that is financially possible as it was back in the early days where most bus companies were individually owned prior to being gobbled up by the corporate entities only interested in better stock prices.

            eventually greyhound gobbled up trailways and then started paring back service to only the most profitable routes.

            now, a bus ticket is nearly as expensive (if not more so) than driving to your destination - and teh timing is better.

            so, no, those companies will NOT rebound.  it isn't economically feasible for the large corporate owner to invest in buses with fuel prices skyrocketing and people travelling less.

            that is another myth that needs debunking.

            allowing unfettered merges in violation of the antitrust laws is partially how we ended up where we are - to resolve the problems, we need to break up the mega corporations in more than just the energy field.

            this isn't a problem with a single answer - and it may, in fact, have NO answer.  we may have just done in this nation by allowing the republicans who want to drive us back into the 20s take the wheel.  and for every democrat that loses a seat, that driver accelerates wildly on the two lane mountainous road.

            THAT is why some of us go absolutely ballistic when nutcases advocate not voting or voting 3rd party.  

            NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

            by edrie on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:26:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  no answer = we all die. (2+ / 0-)

              "No answer" = CO2 levels keep rising until we wipe out half the species on the planet, ourselves included.

              That's not an option.

              Realistically what I think is likely is that we're going to sink into a dark age for about 500 years, while global population comes down by about half in a series of famines, plagues, and resource wars.  

              This real smart guy at the Army Strategic Studies Institute thinks so too:

              (PDF warning)

              http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute...

              Dr. Phil Williams argues that we have passed the zenith of the Westphalian state, which is now in long-term decline, and are already in what several observers have termed the New Middle Ages, characterized by disorder but not chaos.

              Dr. Williams suggests that both the relative and absolute decline in state power will not only continue but will accelerate, taking us into a New Dark Age where the forces of chaos could prove overwhelming. He argues that failed states are not an aberration but an indication of intensifying disorder, and suggests that the intersection of problems such as transnational organized crime, terrorism, and pandemics could intersect and easily create a tipping point from disorder into chaos.

              •  when did i ever say "no answer" - (0+ / 0-)

                we need to be sinking funds into researching viable solutions that can be implemented faster along with instituting (or re-instituting) policies that cut pollution and waste.  after 8 years of bush stripping out the regulations on pollutants, we now have to re-institute those restrictions and fast.

                if, in my generation, we could go to the moon in a few short years, we can solve this - but not with a half-assed effort that destroys the rest of the country while doing so.  this is a complex issue that requires scientists and technicians, inventors and investors to work side by side to resolve the issue - not two bit solutinos that "sound pretty" while doing more harm than good.

                i happen to believe in science - i believe in technology - i believe that with proper funding, we CAN find a way to resolve this issue and that our best minds are working on it right now.

                example, did you happen to hear recently that the cow fart theory has now been debunked and it appears that the methane gases come from rotting cattle feed?  have you ever driven by the mountains of rotting carrots used at feedlots?  if so, you'll know it because you can smell the rotting produce a mile away!

                do you  really think that scientists and ecologists are just sitting on their hands doing nothing?  that it takes the "great minds" of a few progressives saying "everybody move to the city and get a bicycle" to fix this problem?

                what ever happened to our public education system? has it been replaced by homeschooling where each generation ends up dumber than their parents?

                it's too late tonite and i really am so tired of this - it must be masochism that makes me keep typing TRYING to get some folk to stop and listen to what they are saying...

                damn... double damn!

                NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

                by edrie on Mon May 03, 2010 at 03:31:33 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  most office workers can telework/telecommute. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies

      Anyone who works in a cubicle can do the same job from home, with a computer on a VPN, and a phone associated with the office PBX (for example using VOIP or another technique I developed 12 years ago).  

      There should be serious tax incentives around this.  

      •  you are assuming that a company (0+ / 0-)

        ALLOWS telecommuting!  and most don't.

        sorry - not a solution except in rarified situations.

        NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

        by edrie on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:30:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "allows"...? really? (0+ / 0-)

          Companies didn't used to "allow" their employees to have weekends either.  Or time off to go to funerals.  

          That's what regulation is for: to force companies to behave themselves.

          This is really simple:  five year phase-in of telecommuting for all cubicle jobs.  

          The technology exists right now.  This I know because I helped develop a piece of it.  It's simple and cheap to the point where a company can save an enormous amount of money by doing it.  

          The cost difference of setting up someone with phone at home that's an extension of the office PBX is about $150 compared to the cost of a phone in a cubicle.  Assume a similar cost for putting their work computer on a VPN from home.  Add $40 / month for broadband.  

          Now compare to the cost of renting the square footage for their cubicle, which can be $500 a month and up in some real estate markets.  

          •  some companies (0+ / 0-)

            still DON'T

            Companies didn't used to "allow" their employees to have weekends either.

            where are you people coming from?  is your world so insular that you have no idea how the rest of the world  lives?

            jesus h. christ!

            how about doing some serious travelling through the non-thoroughfares in this nation and see how the majority of the country lives.

            and, while you're at it, you might realize why this country isn't solidly "progressive" - as people in the middle of this nation have a different perspective than you do - and they DO get to vote, unless you think only people in cities should have that right.

            i am done - sorry i came back to check comments here - not just yours - but every single one that responded shows a dreadful lack of awareness of what makes up america.

            i am really disappointed to find this much ignorance about the totality of this country.

            thank YOU, jerome, for showing us how really naive the progressives are and how unrealistic their demands.  no wonder many won't take the far left seriously!

            (walking away shaking head slowly.... while channeling john murtha - rest his soul!)

            NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

            by edrie on Mon May 03, 2010 at 03:21:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  ps... mr. g2geek... (0+ / 0-)

            are you aware that major segments of this country does not have broadband, a major number of americans cannot AFFORD the internet?  

            and what happens to them? just fire'em - then they won't need to drive to work.  riiiiight!

            stop and THINK before you type - PLEASE! you make us all look friggin' stupid with ideas like that!

            NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

            by edrie on Mon May 03, 2010 at 03:23:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  sigh.. major segments do not... (0+ / 0-)

              instead of does not... grammar corrected - typing through disbelief causes fingers to sputter!

              NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

              by edrie on Mon May 03, 2010 at 03:24:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  indirect payments don't internalize costs. (0+ / 0-)

      Cheap gas and higher income taxes to pay for the cross-subsidization of the gas make the gas appear cheaper than it is.

      That's like falling for the "free" french fries when you buy the Fattie Meal.  

      Jerome is right on target:  Allocate the tax directly to the gasoline.  That will shift behavior and policies.  And then cross-subsized poor and rural people.  

      Solved.  

  •  This is the fundamental question: How fast can (18+ / 0-)

    America change?

    Because personal automobiles are KILLING us in every conceivable way.

    But we also hardwired our entire way of life around automobiles.

    I just don't know what the political answer is. But cars suck, that's for certain.

    •  Look, we can do a helluva better job (5+ / 0-)

      matching our living arrangements to our work and commuting requirements than we're doing now.

      No, not everybody "has to" live in a city, but the notion that we're somehow "entitled" to live in a suburb and commute 1 1/2 hours to our jobs in the city, and that a 1/4-acre green (water-wasting) lawn is some sort of sine qua non of the "American Dream". Commuting times keep increasing as a result, and gas consumption keeps rising.

      Every kid of driving age just has to drive his or her own car to school; WTF happened to the big yellow school bus? It's still running (at great taxpayer expense), but is half-empty.

      It was always my dream to live in the country...the really rural woods...and I just couldn't do that when the demands of my job required me to commute. So, no, even though we're Americans, we really can't have everything we want whenever we want it. I waited...and now my work doesn't require me to travel to a workplace every day. So I can fulfill my dream of living in the country; I travel less than 10,000 miles per year, and 7,000 miles of that is by motorcycle at 50 MPG. I save up errands and do them in fewer trips. It's a 15-mile round trip to a grocery store, and I plan my buying so that I only need to shop every ten days.

      It's time for each individual American to start being a little bit less selfish. We are in this together, and we need to make our choices more practical and earth-friendly. We are currently on a rapid course toward destruction.

      •  I hear you and agree 100% (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue in NC

        I have built my own life to be very light on the earth. I live in a city, in a small apartment, no car, public transport. I don't buy much and am I am increasingly morally opposed to plane travel.

        Not trying to sound great but I just try to minimize my impact because it just feels nauseating to be a consumer.

        I just wonder how many Americans can deal with this transition.

        •  It's an incredibly easy transition, really... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Blicero

          but so many Americans watch TV and they've been brainwashed into believing that they need every ridiculous product advertised thereon.

          The bigger the better...and more, more, more.

          I try to be light on the earth myself...even though I live relatively far from centers of commerce, I try to minimize travel, as I mentioned. My property is in its natural state: wooded, with just a gravel driveway, no artificial lawn to speak of. It's effectively a wildlife refuge. Herds of deer come through and nibble on the lower tree branches and ground cover, and squirrels take great pleasure in tormenting my pooties. :-D

          If I needed to be at work in an office 30 miles away, though, I wouldn't be able to justify the 300-mile-per-week commute, and I'd live in the city. It is a fact that a car really does cost ~$.50/mile to operate (it's more than just gas); 15,000 miles per year is $7,500 that would go a long way toward paying for a condo or apartment (or even a small inner-ring bungalow) in the city.

          People don't see it that way, though: they move to the suburbs for the illusion of "lower taxes" and a perception of less crime. They don't see the hidden costs of commuting. Sheesh, if a couple works in two different places, that's $15,000/yr in car expenses just for commuting.

          The real estate, homebuilding, and mortgage industries have worked very hard to convince people they're saving money, though.

  •  Bravo for posting this. (5+ / 0-)

    Let's see how the preachers react to this bitter pill of reality.

    Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

    by amk for obama on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:20:20 AM PDT

  •  uhm... NO. A gas tax in not needed when BP (4+ / 0-)

    recorded $6 billion in profits this quarter, DOUBLE what their last quarter was.
    WTF??
    They need to simply be REGULATED and forced to maintain certain redundant fail-safe safety measures and quit bitching about it! Their "fail-safe" valve in the ocean didn't work!
    Where was the back-up?
    Oh yeah.... they weren't required to have a back up.  
    Too many politicians bitching about "too much government regulation" costing industry too much money.
    Yeah?
    How's that "too much government in private businessy thingy" working out for ya?

    Now shut up and get a mop!

    "A lie repeated may be accepted as fact, but the truth repeated becomes self evident." -elonifer skyhawk

    by Fireshadow on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:20:50 AM PDT

  •  didn't carter (12+ / 0-)

    say something like this 30 years ago?

    I don't expect it to be any more popular now.

    •  ...or any less right. n/t (6+ / 0-)

      I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

      by leolabeth on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:34:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Carter also put solar panels on the (13+ / 0-)

      White House, that Reagan immediately removed.

      Prophets are rarely honored in their time.

      Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. Jonathan Swift ....Papers,please.

      by maybeeso in michigan on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:36:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Al Gore in 2000... (10+ / 0-)

      ...even though I expect to probably alienate every voter in America and endanger all of my election funding, I'm going to propose a Draconian tax on gasoline.

      We must wean America from the car and provide both investment and incentive to hasten a change to sustainable energy sources. I think I can convince you that we'll have a better world, even a better time in our cars, if we bite the bullet and innovate.

      Many will argue that a gas tax risks stalling the economy and our economic competitiveness and prosperity. This presidential candidate thinks that we as a nation will be better off for reasonable debate about this issue.

      So MANY possibilities missed when that election was stolen...

      "I don't understand how I came to use these colors in my design. It would be understandable if I had been working in the dark..." Dellia Sallo

      by trinityfly on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:59:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On the other hand (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bibble, trinityfly

        How grateful are we that Lieberman didn't end up as VP? He'd have been the presumptive nominee in the 2008 election assuming Gore was re-elected to a second term. The nomination of that sanctimonious smug prig was in retrospect a really horrible decision. The silver lining of the election being stolen is that Lieberman didn't end up anywhere near the White House and he has now been fairly well-exposed as unsuitable for it.

        Californians: The Courage Campaign is working for changing the 2/3 budget rule and for ending Prop 8. Go!

        by tmo on Sun May 02, 2010 at 12:08:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  On the third hand... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gmb, mightymouse

          Eight years of George W. Bush makes Lieberman look like he was a darn good choice in retrospect.

          Give me a sanctimonious smug prig balanced against the deciders two horrific wars, a terror attack mishandled, the patriot act, signing statements, executive privilege and economic meltdown (to name a few).

          "I don't understand how I came to use these colors in my design. It would be understandable if I had been working in the dark..." Dellia Sallo

          by trinityfly on Sun May 02, 2010 at 01:54:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  people change (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            trinityfly

            We also have to remember that the Lieberman of 2000, for all his sins was a different man than now. Not as bitter because he was refused as an presidential candidate in 2004 and Senator in 2006. Who knows what he would have done? And the Israel policy of the US is idiotic anyway.

  •  You are on target (10+ / 0-)

    Any American politician reading this will suddenly have loose bowels. No, Fireshadow, it's not just BP, a company with a track record of safety short cuts. It's the interlocking governmental corruption and the millions of Americans howling for cheap gas. How can people think long term when the media and Twitter bounce them like a ping pong game?

  •  a non-american (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winter Soldier

    advocating higher taxes on Americans, especially regressive taxes. Hmmmm.

    •  Does being non-American (24+ / 0-)

      make my argument invalid?

      And why do you ignore the redistribution bit of my proposal?

      •  the redistribution bit (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BoxNDox, Winter Soldier

        is impractical to hope for in US. Actually your whole proposal is impractical because there is no political will for it.

        •  circular argument (8+ / 0-)

          Like Seneca Doane´s above. Political will does not just magically appear from somewhere, it can and must be created by politicians or people that are dedicated to their cause because they think it´s the right thing. That is what Jerome was saying. If the political will "isn´t" there, then people, progressives at least, should get busy to create it.

          Ici s´arrète la loi.

          by marsanges on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:52:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  not every "progressive" idea (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tmo, JT88, Whimsical, BoxNDox, Winter Soldier

            is worth building political will for. I think this idea is not worth it. The prices for oil are already creeping up and many people are feeling the pain, especially in this economy.

            This idea would sound like it would be even more painful and would create a backlash in the public opinion.

          •  My argument isn't circular (0+ / 0-)

            In fact, it has a specific beginning.  Can you figure out where my argument about the effect of massive raises in gas taxes, absent even grudging public acquiescence to such a proposal, begins?  Can you figure out where it ends?

            We should get people adapted to the idea that we will have to raise the price of oil and that we can put the proceeds to good use.  Let's not kid ourselves, though, about what promoting such a proposal before we've loosened public opinion would bring.

            "So if you don't have any teeth, so what? ... Isn't that why they make applesauce?" -- GOP leader Rush Limbaugh

            by Seneca Doane on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:41:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  "Impractical Ideas" (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jerome a Paris, IM, bibble, G2geek, NoMoreLies

          Actually your whole proposal is impractical because there is no political will for it.

          Many conservative ideas that are today considered "mainstream" were once considered impractical because they were so far from the political center that they could never have hoped to pass when originally proposed.

          But the conservative think tanks spit these ideas out in the seventies, and kept pushing them until they were mainstream.  Welfare reform, spectrum auctions, and all manner of deregulation and industry consolidation fall into this category.

          In some cases, conservatives kept pushing until those ideas shot past the center and off to the other side -- consider something like the negative income tax, which was first proposed by conservatives in the late sixties or early seventies, and actually came to pass in the nineties under Bill Clinton (in the form of the Earned Income Credit).  Now, conservatives decry the concept as being "socialist" because it redistributes income...but it was originally their idea.

          Go figure.

          Meanwhile, too many on the left will scrap any idea that seems too far from the mainstream today -- but if we never voice these ideas and we don't push them, we have no chance of moving the long-term political discussion in our direction.  While I certainly wouldn't advocate that President Obama push a large gas tax increase any time soon, it certainly doesn't hurt to get such proposals into the realm of political discourse in the US.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:45:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not invalid (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wamsutta, Whimsical, gardnerjf

        but it is certainly easier to propose solutions that do not make your life more difficulty, than those that do.  I think this tax is a great idea, except that it would make my rural ohio farm house  worth even less, and I'd surely be on my way to bankruptcy.

        How about a tax solution which is not so regressive, which doesn't hit poorer people hardest?

        http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=books&field-author=Benjamin%20Gross berg&page=1

        by claytonben on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:48:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  how about you move to the city (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yellow dog in NJ

          if you are not going to farm your rural land or otherwise participate in your local rural economy?

          would that kill you?

          or do you prefer to kill us all by resisting the changes needed to avoid massive climate disruption and immediate toxic Armageddon along 1/4 of our coastline?

          •  That's probably the most (8+ / 0-)

            myopic thing I've read here. "Just move." Err... how? Living in Bucksnort does tend to make real estate cheap. Your average Joe Rural won't simply be able to sell and move to the city, especially not with credit being what it is in this economy. Finally, this suggestion depends on there being work available in the cities. Again, not a given.

            Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

            by Dauphin on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:09:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Just move" is assinine... (7+ / 0-)

            While I do support an increase in gas taxes as being necessary for multiple reasons (conservation/environment, national security, deficit reduction, infrastucture upgrades), telling folks who live in the country that they should just move to the city is ignorant at best.

            Yes, move to the city and the cost of transportation will go down.  Unfortunately, the cost of everything else tends to go up.  That's true even in the metro area that I live in -- and I live in one of the most affordable metro areas in the country, Dallas/Fort Worth.

            I've seen threads in Daily Kos where people who live in the expensive coastal cities were complaining about needing high incomes to support a "middle class" lifestyle in their city of choice.  I don't recall those folks taking kindly to the suggestion that they should just move to an area that is cheaper to live in.

            And yet it is somehow acceptable when these folks turn around and tell those in the country that they should just move.

            Really, how about a little bit of empathy for those who live in very different circumstances from what we are each personally familiar with?

            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

            by TexasTom on Sun May 02, 2010 at 11:56:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you are right (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jerome a Paris, TexasTom

              that more empathy is needed.

              just hard to have it, and easy to assume the worst when so many on this thread support the status death-quo of cheap death-gas at any cost. from war to climate change to now this disaster and yet they still defend what is frankly no longer defensible.

              I read "rural farm house" and despite appeal to poverty all I can think of is a yuppie gentleman "farmer" who refers to his exurb that way. the one who leaves his lonely useless horse to stand on a bare dirt white fence acre while commuting to some suit job in his expensive death-car. I shed no tears for the death of his way of life and would not hesitate to tell him to his face to move.

              but you are right, "just move" is not an option for all.

              maybe Leolabeth's was the better reply.

              •  No historical perspective. Europe was built on h (0+ / 0-)

                igh gas taxes (or rebuilt really), the US was built on cheap gas.  Part of it is the sheer size difference, part that oil was then much more available in the US while Europe imported almost all.  

                The most important pt, though, is that you are expecting the US to do in a few years what Europe did and has lived with over 60, and then you get mad and insult those who pt out that you can't do 60 years in 6 months, or 6 years.

                Besides, unless the US completely gave up gas and China and most of the rest of the world followed, it won't make much diff re: climate.  That cake is baked.  Disaster is coming.  The only question is can we engineer something to mitigate the scope.  Doesn't mean we shouldnot do everything we can actually accomplish politically to also reduce the cause.  But, insisting on things that simply won't happen becuase of US politics and getting mad 'cause the world isn't the way you want won't solve diddly. Sucks, but that's reality.

                •  I expect what is required and what is right. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mightymouse

                  nothing less.

                  I expect these of our country and of each one of us including you.

                  of you, less cynicism, more hope and can do attitude are what is required.

                  "unless the us completely gave up gas and the rest of the world followed"

                  It could be done in ten years. thats twice the time it took to win WWII.

                  all it needs is political will. FROM PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO NEED TO STOP WITH THE SELF FULFILLING CYNICISM THAT ITS LACKING and get on the bus already.

                  metaphorically and literally speaking.  

                  •  And thus you become irrelevant. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    edrie, claytonben

                    Politics is the art of the possible.  It took 100 years to get the Federal government to say it had a responsibility to ensure every US citizen had health care.  And even then they didn't actually do what they said they're supposed to do.

                    But you expect everyone to do 'what is right'.  'Cause 'its right.'  I'm sure they'll get right on that, right after they stop overeating and sitting on thier fat rears which after will actually kill them a whole lot quicker if they don't.

                    Realism is not cynicism.  Carter tried a very small and very reasonable effort. They call it the 'malise' speech now and laugh at him. Right after they pat each other on the back for using that/him as a launch pad for 40 years of disasterous Rethug dominance in US politics.

                    I'm not saying you should give up or shut up.  You serve a critical role of reminding us of what we should be doing.  But, you need to understand that human beings and human institutions don't just do things because they 'are right'.  Then you need to figure out arguments and marketing strategies* that will convince a majority to do that even though it will actually hurt them in the short and mid-term (and in most cases won't help them at all, but will help the next generations).

                    BTW, just what do you exepct transportation to replace gasoline with in 10 years?  If it was that simple, it would have been done already.  No one likes giving their $ to Big Oil.
                    _____________
                    ** Sorry if that sounds even more cynical, but in case you haven't noticed the only thing the Rethugs actually have majority-wise is marketing.  U have to sell the voters on doing what you and I agree would, in a perfect world, be the right thing.  Otherwise, the Rethugs will sell them on things like the Iraq war and Cheney's Let-BP-Kill-the-Gulf energy 'policy'.  Hell, they even sold them on letting the loser be pres. in 2000.

                    •  on climate, your "realism" is the art of death. (3+ / 0-)

                      other than that I have no problem with it.

                      survival now is the art of idealism.

                      just what do you exepct transportation to replace gasoline with in 10 years?  If it was that simple, it would have been done already

                      Not true. It is simple only if we are willing to sacrifice and work hard. Actually most everybody prefers to give their $ to big oil (and bitch about it) rather than sacrifice and work hard. That is what needs to change.

                      How could it be done in 10 yrs? Any of various ways could accomplish the whole thing in 10 years: you can mix and match. I will put my %'s just for kicks for what I think is most "politically realistic" and then you Mr. Cynicsm can tell my why they are wrong.

                      (1) People move closer to work, even if it means smaller houses or temporarily sharing houses while building stock is updated; or they switch to a job closer to home. (expensive and not popular -- 5%)

                      (2) People replace existing car commutes with walking, biking, consistent HOV 3+ carpooling or existing public transit (including more frequent bus and train service where infrastructure allows) (more popular, though alas not as much as it should be since it's the cheapest option by far -- 20%)

                      (3) People telecommute where they can -- 10%

                      (4) People start riding new/expanded public transit infrastructure, including rail for intercity trips (expensive and takes a while to ramp up but great for jobs, and can be funded by gas and other "luxury" taxes) -- 10%

                      (5) People drive electric cars with range of 500+ miles (remember we are talking 10 years from now; today we are at 150mi range already) fueled by massive expansion in wind, solar, geothermal and other renewables -- 55%

                      Yeah the last one looks big but it's not as big as it looks. It is no bigger an industrial effort than we had during world war II. And "people" are not standing in the way of it. The only "people" standing in the way are the "citizens united" type of "people" — the likes of BP who this week may well have destroyed all fishing and tourism along our Gulf coast for a decade or more (and done who knows what to wildlife and human cancer rates). Real "People" would much rather have a job working on a windmill than watching that garbage on the news bracketed by the constant, cynical, lying, de-motivating, self-interested advertising "sponsored by clean coal" and "the PEOPLE of America's petroleum industry."

                      OK, go to work with your cynicism. Or develop some imagination. It's your call.

                      •  U expect the entire economy to be shifted to maki (0+ / 0-)

                        ng electric cars works?  Or folks to move closer to cities just to (the wingnuts will say) 'save the whales'? Or double up and live with the minorities they left in the cities? Open their houses to strangers?

                        Can I have some of your drugs.

                        You have to learn to be realistic or you'll either stroke out or die from depression.  Sorry, but yes, this cake is baked.  Death is what we got coming.  Only the numbers are in question.

                        •  yes (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          G2geek

                          that's exactly what I expect because it is what is necessary and I will work to make it happen.

                          you sound like the one whose drugs were bad, I do not envy your resigne'd trip towards the grave one bit, and resent your trying to pull the rest of us along.

                    •  and science is the art of the real. (0+ / 0-)

                      Gravity doesn't care if you're a poet or a pickpocket: if you jump off a high place, you will accelerate at 9.8 meters per second squared until you hit the ground and splatter.  

                      The atmosphere could care less about our politics.  As the CO2 levels go up, the mean average temperature goes up, with all the consequences to agriculture and water supply, whether we like them or not.  

                      Reality-based politics means supporting policies that are scientifically sound.  Coal-fired electricity and oil-fueled transportation are like jumping off the cliff: Ma Nature doesn't give a flying shit about our excuses.  

                    •  there isn't any time (0+ / 0-)

                      we have to move on energy, the sooner the better.

                      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

                      by mightymouse on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:34:18 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  another wee little difference in this (0+ / 0-)

                  lame argument put forward by jerome ... the high gasoline prices in europe (britain, for sure) are used to subsidize universal health care.

                  we do NOT pay "lower" prices per gallon, we do not pay the taxes that are used for the betterment of the population.

                  our healthcare costs are borne directly by those who are ill.  if there were higher gas taxes that provided universal health care to all americans, i think you'd find that the "cost" per individual would be the same out of pocket expense to each individual (healthcare costs plus gasoline costs) and we would all be a helluva lot healthier.  but, hey, those taxes might be used to cover some (gasp!) BROWN people, so it would never happen here for public universal healthcare.

                  NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

                  by edrie on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:59:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  ??? Did the Romans have high gas taxes? (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  IM, G2geek, 350 or death

                  I think a lot of Europe was built before cars were invented...and if you look a little bit into history, the United States was actually around for a hundred years before the automobile was invented, and had actually become a world power before auto-suburbs became the norm.

                  "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                  by Alice in Florida on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:52:13 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Like tax increases are going to put an end (0+ / 0-)

                to Richie Richs' little toy farm......

                Like with the massive motorhomes and stinkpots you see sometimes, if you can afford the ride, you can afford the fuel.  Only poor people get priced out of the market on fuel costs.  

                That said, the rich and their toys are but a small slice  of total fuel consumption.  Pushing everyone into cities will also allow places no longer economically viable to return to a more natural state.   Basically large swaths of the interior will become ghost towns and massive factory farms.  

                Inevitable I suppose......

                They see me trollin'. They hatin' Don't make my high school civics teacher out to be a liar and expect me to like it.

                by obnoxiotheclown on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:12:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Hey: 350 or death, I did farm my land. (0+ / 0-)

            And I sold the crops from my driveway.  You think you can make a living on that?

            Part of the reason I bought that house, which I loved, is because I couldn't afford to buy a house in the city where I taught.  Some acres in the country cost almost nothing in comparison.

            Anyway, I eventually lost that job because the school went out of business and had to move to another state, so that didn't quite work out.  

            But--and I do want to be respectful--it would be way easier to converse with you, sir, if you didn't make assumptions about my life style.  

            http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=books&field-author=Benjamin%20Gross berg&page=1

            by claytonben on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:34:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  why be respectful? that poster isn't. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              claytonben

              intolerance coupled with ignorance is just plain ugly and doesn't deserve politeness.

              NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

              by edrie on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:01:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think you're right (0+ / 0-)

                but I try (and often struggle) to remember that we are allies on this site; we're all Democrats.  We got to try to respect each other here.  

                http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=books&field-author=Benjamin%20Gross berg&page=1

                by claytonben on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:11:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  don't be so sure that we are all allies - some (0+ / 0-)

                  come here to disrupt.

                  NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

                  by edrie on Sun May 02, 2010 at 04:53:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  indeed. I apologize for that. (0+ / 0-)

              Like I said your first post reminded me of another kind of "farmer." But we know what assuming makes of us. My bad.

              Also sorry that growing did not work out for you.

              My point is only that we need to remain open to creative solutions, not get defensive and try to defend lifestyles that we all know deep in our hearts are unsustainable and thus indefensible.

              •  I also telecommuted two or three days a week. (0+ / 0-)

                At heart, though, you're comment was still essentially right.  I should have lived in an apartment in the city where I taught.  That would have been environmentally responsible.  There's no point in pretending that my choice wasn't self-indulgent and not a sustainable choice, if made widely.

                http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=books&field-author=Benjamin%20Gross berg&page=1

                by claytonben on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:02:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  and what is YOUR lazy *ss gonna do (0+ / 0-)

            for food when all the farmers "move to the city"?

            who ARE you?????  

            NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

            by edrie on Sun May 02, 2010 at 03:53:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  but clatonben just acknowledged (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek

              that they do not produce food on their land.

              I would not think of suggesting that productive farmers need to move to the city. Actually I think people willing to farm should move out of cities to help the farmers be more productive with less petroleum.

              Sorry if I offended you, I don't mean to be disrespectful, I only get impatient seeing so much defense of the status death-quo on my favorite blog of people who supposedly believe in the same kinds of progressive changes as me.

              As pompous as I probably sound to you, you sound equally defensive to me. Why are you so threatened by the idea of a gas tax? There are very good arguments why it would be good for our country on many, many levels. In other areas of this thread it is being debated reasonably and respectfully how it could be done without too much impact on rural people.

              But do understand that the entire proposal is based on changing the way people live. I don't mean to be disrespectful but I will defend the need for those changes to my dying breath. If we do not change the ways we live on the land and move across it, you can kiss our civilization goodbye.

              •  okay - you asked a respectful question (0+ / 0-)

                so you get a respectful answer.

                i've lived for years in nyc and didn't have a car or a need to drive. i loved it.  when i moved out to long island, i started out on a bike - loved it. used lirr - but there came a time when a car was essential (try broken back plus purchasing items that didn't fit in bike saddle bags).

                then i moved to california.  there IS no public transportation of any merit in the penninsula area of san francisco.  to go from point a to point b takes HOURS due to poor scheduling.  i know. i tried it.  i really DO believe in alternative transportation.

                HOWEVER, the cost of said transportation coupled with the poor scheduling (try walking an hour home in the dark in a really bad neighborhood because the bus driver who sees the train pull in two minutes late looks at theose disembarking and then drive away leaving 10 of us running toward his bus.

                try service cuts - due to lack of ridership (due to poor scheduling).

                try looking at the self employed (another name for unemployed and creatively trying to survive) who do not travel during standard "car pool" hours.

                and as for changing where people live is a bit pompous on your part.  you DO realize that if everybody moves to the city, then housing costs will rise because of fewer units available.  then people won't be able to afford to rent!  and there will be less jobs available due to the massive competition of more jobseekers.

                you have not thought this out thoroughly.  you need to go back to the drawing board and look at ALL of the ramifications of what you suggest.

                like ripples when a stone is cast, there is not a single reaction to any movement or change.  look beyond the obvious.

                this is just the tip of the iceberg - there are so many deeper ramifications than i've mentioned here - but i've not the time to write the entire list.

                NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

                by edrie on S