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How to shift to greener cars

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Mar. 29th, 2003 | 11:33 am

A few days ago I figured out how to kill the SUV.

It's relatively simple, and I think would work. Some time ago I learned of a program idea called a "fee-bate", a fee is charged on an undesirable good, and the resulting money is then paid to lower the cost of a desirable good.

For instance one idea to reduce CO2 emissions would be to implement a carbon fee-bate system where fuels with a high carbon content would have their price raised, while the greener fuels would have their price lowered. So in an ideal world the consumer would then follow the price signals of the marketplace and shift to greener fuels.

I realized however the reason SUVs are popular is they're cheap to produce and can fetch a premium price, creating a large profit margin for automobile manufacturers. Because of this profitability, those companies manipulate the population using their fears to believe that the SUV is the safer vehicle, not necessarily on the vehicles own intrinsic merits.

So to get rid of the SUV, implement a fee-bate system, but instead of giving the money to the consumers, award the collected money to the auto companies in another despicable case of corporate welfare.

If one structured the fee-bate system to be awarded using some scoring system based on safety record, efficiency, and greenness of fuels. If the the system was enough to make a small car more profitable for an auto manufacturer than an SUV, I suspect they could change the fashion to smaller cars.

Sick, twisted, and likely to work.

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Comments {11}

(no subject)

from: ex_ex_tchar
date: Mar. 29th, 2003 11:47 am (UTC)
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Good idea. But try to apply the same scheme to the gas/oil prices.

Gas is what drives the auto companies.
SUVs consume more gas, therefore auto companies are oriented (by somebody) to produce SUVs, not small cars.

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Mar. 29th, 2003 08:44 pm (UTC)
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I also remember reading that the profit margin on an SUV is quite large as well. According to some sources on the order of $10,000-$20,000 (pretty good on a product that costs $30k-40k)

I currently suspect the auto and oil industries are closely allied, but like most good capitalists they'd probably be willing to sell the other out for more profit.

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adrienne

(no subject)

from: sapience
date: Mar. 29th, 2003 01:12 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, neat concept!

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Mar. 29th, 2003 08:48 pm (UTC)
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The reason it feels more like corporate wellfare was the idea was to send the cash directly to the corporations instead of a rebate to the homeowners who are installing solar.

Though the addition of idea to award extra to a company based on how well it's doing at implementing the green requirements does take it out of the realm of pure welfare. I think also whatever standards are worked out should have some inertia as well. (Most of the research I've read on corporations suggest they really dislike change).

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Usqueba

SUVs

from: usqueba
date: Mar. 29th, 2003 07:57 pm (UTC)
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AH, but some car manufacturers are developing Fuel Cell and Hybrid SUVs. I'm waiting for them to get their butts in gear (pun intended) and make them! Ford is bringing out a hybrid SUV in 2004 (it's the cousin to Mazda's Tribute. I can't remember what the Ford equivalent is named), Honda is testing a version of the CR-V in Japan and I understand Toyota is making a RAV4, tho I don't know when it's due out. Toyota used to make an electronic version of the RAV4, but it discontinued it.

One problem with fuel cell vehicles is that they don't have a mass way to get the hydrogen (I think) to the masses. For the most part, they're selling those vehicles to companies (as "company cars") who do can easily refuel the cars/trucks.

As a commuter, I can't wait, but I'm not holding my breath

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Diane Trout

Re: SUVs

from: alienghic
date: Mar. 29th, 2003 08:51 pm (UTC)
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Hmm... so they can have relatively green large vehicles. Hmm... that's frustrating.

I might (as a defensive manuver) have to take over more of the road as a cyclist. There was a recent case of a bicyclist being killed near pasadena by getting nicked by some SUV being driven by some old guy. I'm betting he misestimated the amount of clearance because of the size of the SUV.

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Usqueba

Re: SUVs

from: usqueba
date: Mar. 29th, 2003 10:54 pm (UTC)
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Uh, I think the key phrase here is "some old guy". It's not the kind of vehicle that was the problem. He might had misestimated distances in a smaller car too.

I work around a lot of "old guy"s and gals. The old grey mare....

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Diane Trout

Re: SUVs

from: alienghic
date: Mar. 30th, 2003 08:10 am (UTC)
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I was theorizing that since a modern SUV takes up nearly all of the travel lane, while a smaller car leaves some space for maneuvering. So an impaired older driver, I'm guessing, would be able to hug the opposite side of the lane and not hit the bicyclist since the clearances are much greater.

At this point I can also bring up a completely different argument against our auto-centered transportation system. Since our transportation system is designed in such a way that the automobile is virtually the only practical way to get anywhere, loosing ones drivers license is tantamount to loosing ones ability to participate in society. So you end up with old drivers who shouldn't be driving struggling to continue because they fear the isolation that will descend upon them if they stop.

However if we lived somewhere were one could reasonably get around without using a car, (such as london, new york, boston, washington d.c.) it would be easier either for the impaired driver to willingly drive less or for the state to strip their driving privileges from the especially stubborn.

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Usqueba

Re: SUVs

from: usqueba
date: Mar. 30th, 2003 01:27 pm (UTC)
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So an impaired older driver, I'm guessing, would be able to hug the opposite side of the lane and not hit the bicyclist since the clearances are much greater.

IME, impaired drivers hug the right side of the lane... the one closest to the curb, so the cyclist (in the bike lane) would get it anyway.

At this point I can also bring up a completely different argument against our auto-centered transportation system. Since our transportation system is designed in such a way that the automobile is virtually the only practical way to get anywhere, loosing ones drivers license is tantamount to loosing ones ability to participate in society. So you end up with old drivers who shouldn't be driving struggling to continue because they fear the isolation that will descend upon them if they stop.

Don't even get me started. I work around the elderly. They are fiercely independant. Tell them they can't drive and they flip out. I don't blame them. Some cities have transportation for senior citizens, but you have to call waaay in advance to reserve an appointment. Some cities have good bus transportation *with in the city limits* or to neighboring cities but that's it.

I'd LOVE to take the train to work. That would mean a 2 hour commute (at least), tho. I can get to work in about an hour (or 45 minutes if there is no traffic) driving my truck. Part of that is there's no direct (or even semi direct route). I'd have to zig and backtrack thru Los Angeles to get there. I'm hoping they'll expand. What I wouldn't give to be able to READ on the way to work! The train station is w/i walking distance of work. Ah, not to get stuck in traffic jams!

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Usqueba

PS Re: SUVs

from: usqueba
date: Mar. 30th, 2003 11:55 pm (UTC)
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Since our transportation system is designed in such a way that the automobile is virtually the only practical way to get anywhere

I did a search to see how long it would take for me to get to work on the Metro - about 2 1/2 hours, with several transfers (transfers being the least of my worries). The train doesn't stop at the near-work station until about 9:30 (I have to be at work by 9). It also doesn't have a pick up from that station untill 8:30pm, putting my arrival time well past 10:30pm ::sigh::

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Diane Trout

Re: PS Re: SUVs

from: alienghic
date: Mar. 31st, 2003 10:32 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I think LA will have a workable metro system around 2040.

It can work nicely for someone trying to go to downtown LA, but that's about it so far.

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