As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Fossils Addicted To Fossil Fuels

The short-sighted American auto industry is still claiming that increased fuel efficiency will cost them jobs, as opposed to, you know, being the only thing to save the entire industry from complete and utter destruction. Nobody wants to buy their gas guzzlers anymore. How long is it going to take for them to figure that out?

Schmucks. Never mind the fact that radical climate change is a fact of life and 100 years of chomping on fossil fuels has put us in a predicament where saving "part" of our ecosystem is the only future option. But on strictly an economic basis, cars that don't stretch the fuel dollar won't be sold. Period. People already have cars that get shitty gas mileage and they're not going to upgrade to something worse. There's enough competition in the market, and more coming on line, that automakers with a 1956 way of thinking about auto efficiency will be crushed like a bug.

The killer app that could wipe out these jokers completely is better transit. Ben Cardin is a national leader on this front, and I encourage you to read this interview. An excerpt:

Grist: You authored the transit portion of the Climate Security Act. Clearly this is a priority issue for you. What role do you think transit policy should play in climate legislation?

Sen. Cardin: A huge part. [The transit portion called for] $171 billion over the life of the bill. That's big money. That can make a major impact. It can make a huge difference in the capacity for transit programs. We are in desperate need of significant transit improvements. We've got to have the facilities and we don't today, and then we need the fare-box and economic policies that reward people for taking public transportation. Some try to say that it should be "self-sufficient" or have a certain percentage return through the fare-box. We don't do that on our roads, and public transportation is much better for so many reasons -- not just the environment or the quality of life. We should be providing much stronger incentives for people to use public transportation, but first you need to have the facilities.

I'm a big, big supporter of dramatic change in public transportation. It includes more than just the bus and rail systems in our urban areas. It includes a commuter rail and inter-city rail -- the whole gamut of services that get people out of their personal vehicles. I don't want people driving their personal vehicles the way they are today.

He's absolutely right about this. Reality is coming to the transportation sector and they can climb aboard or get out of the way. The time for backward thinking is over.

UPDATE: Harry Reid is completely right, by the way. Coal does make us sick, and furthermore the real cost of using fossil fuels is almost never addressed. We built the public infrastructure through taxpayer money. We spend hundreds of billions on defense to ensure safe passage for oil. The real cost of gas is at least double what you pay, and more if you factor in the lung disease and sickness associated with refining and rendering and smog and pollution. Coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick. It's time to get off them.

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