Notice how all that talk of global warming and energy independence goes away once price of gasoline goes up? The real policy, and the real values, may be found when scarce resources are being allocated, not when politicians are just talking — or pretending unlimited money can just be borrowed and never paid back. The policy is to discourage conservation, alternative energy, and domestic fossil fuel production and make energy imports more affordable – by cutting the gas tax. And to defer the cost of this, along with the cost of everything else, to a point in the future when today’s Generation Greed decisionmakers won’t be around anymore.
Ignore global warming if you want. The economic and national security consequences on our dependence on the global fossil fuels market has reared its head repeatedly for five decades and is now coming home to roost again, as the autocrats and dictators who control those resources (and hold our ever-growing debts) hold them over our heads.
In addition to what is being done, there is what is not being done. I already pointed out that anyone could cut the cost of gasoline per passenger in half almost immediately by carpooling. This post is about two more things that could be done in the intermediate term, but probably won’t be. Using some of the increasingly less valuable central business district office space for bicycle and e-bike parking. And expanding the rail system into a national conveyer belt, with platoons of self-driving flatcars with containers on top, powered by electricity from a third rail, circulating between intermodal terminals. Where trucks could pick them up and drop them off without having to drive long distances, solving a labor shortage and job quality issue in addition to an energy issue. These could be self-funding private initiatives with a little public help (or even just no excess bureaucratic hassle and tax burden), but that means there would be no special interest group cashing in. Therefore, there is no interest.Continue reading