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View Poll Results: Could you car pool?
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:47 AM
 
3,908 posts, read 5,748,169 times
Reputation: 1529
Central planning is pretty tricky and it includes all the incentives etc to drive behavior one way or the other. Without data to say what is the cheapest way to reduce oil consumption people are selecting the things that are emotionally satisfying not necessarily logical.

The best way to reduce our dependence on oil is to begin increasing taxes on it. This will spur the free market to figure out which is the most cost effective alternative energy technology (no one knows so it would be wrong for the govt to emphasize one over another).

With that money, the government could sponsor contests similar to the x-prize. When contests like this are held, private industry throws in about 10X whatever the government puts up. This way the government doesn't have to pay for a lot of failures, the market will do that. If the govt puts up 10B, private industry will put in about 100B. The government should keep the targets to $/watt on technology or on distribution infrastructure.

Finally, cities are all competing as well, the fed govt could give out similar prizes for cities to compete against each other to create laws, zoning or whatever to help to reduce oil consumption. However they should relate to total oil consumed/capita not # of ppl taking public transit or # of plastic bags reused. Each city should be able to figure out its own combination of oil saving techniques to reduce the amount of oil used per capita.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Austin
542 posts, read 822,452 times
Reputation: 160
The Capitalist side of my brain:
Maybe instead of increasing taxes, we figure out ways to just really charge people more of the external costs associated with the product.
We require oil companies to carry insurance to cover damages related to oil products (this means harm caused by leaks, spills, other pollution).
We do not allow any limit on the liability that an oil company can be held responsible for.
We then let the insurance industry figure out the risk (they are good at that).
I believe that this will push the cost of oil up enough, to make other forms of energy cheaper than oil.

But I do like the contest idea.

The Socialist side of my brain has a different ideal.
Since oil is a limited natural resource (and the externalities of its use effect the entire planet in a negative way), I have no problem with using a socialist model to mange it.
(I am very capitalist related the value-added component of the marketplace, but tend toward socialism for natural resources).
Rationing.
Each person is alloted so many oil consumption points.
Then each time an oil related product is purchased, not only do we pay money (for the value added component of the product), we pay some of our oil allotment points as well.
But while I like this idea, I am not sure how to measure and implement it.
It might end up costing more to implement, then any sort of value it adds.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Holly Neighborhood, AUSTINtx
2,504 posts, read 2,677,535 times
Reputation: 1210
Quote:
Originally Posted by eileenkeeney View Post
The Capitalist side of my brain:
Maybe instead of increasing taxes, we figure out ways to just really charge people more of the external costs associated with the product.
We require oil companies to carry insurance to cover damages related to oil products (this means harm caused by leaks, spills, other pollution).
We do not allow any limit on the liability that an oil company can be held responsible for.
We then let the insurance industry figure out the risk (they are good at that).
I believe that this will push the cost of oil up enough, to make other forms of energy cheaper than oil.

But I do like the contest idea.

The Socialist side of my brain has a different ideal.
Since oil is a limited natural resource (and the externalities of its use effect the entire planet in a negative way), I have no problem with using a socialist model to mange it.
(I am very capitalist related the value-added component of the marketplace, but tend toward socialism for natural resources).
Rationing.
Each person is alloted so many oil consumption points.
Then each time an oil related product is purchased, not only do we pay money, we pay some of our oil allotment points as well.
But while I like this idea, I am not sure how to measure and implement it.
It might end up costing more to implement, then any sort of value it adds.
Even if the first set of ideas you outlined were implemented it would still be a big step forward that would cause a lot of people to prioritize and minimize their usage.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
11,998 posts, read 11,499,807 times
Reputation: 7246
Quote:
Originally Posted by eileenkeeney View Post
The Capitalist side of my brain:
Maybe instead of increasing taxes, we figure out ways to just really charge people more of the external costs associated with the product.
We require oil companies to carry insurance to cover damages related to oil products (this means harm caused by leaks, spills, other pollution).
We do not allow any limit on the liability that an oil company can be held responsible for.
We then let the insurance industry figure out the risk (they are good at that).
I believe that this will push the cost of oil up enough, to make other forms of energy cheaper than oil.

But I do like the contest idea.

The Socialist side of my brain has a different ideal.
Since oil is a limited natural resource (and the externalities of its use effect the entire planet in a negative way), I have no problem with using a socialist model to mange it.
(I am very capitalist related the value-added component of the marketplace, but tend toward socialism for natural resources).
Rationing.
Each person is alloted so many oil consumption points.
Then each time an oil related product is purchased, not only do we pay money (for the value added component of the product), we pay some of our oil allotment points as well.
But while I like this idea, I am not sure how to measure and implement it.
It might end up costing more to implement, then any sort of value it adds.
I'm afraid I don't have a socialist side in my brain. But I generally like your ideas on the capitalist side.

Although I detest the idea of using taxes to modify behavior - it would be crazy simple to steadily increase gasoine taxes.

Your second set of ideas would be crazy complicated to administer. I would hate the idea of the IRS running it. The growth in federal employees could be staggering. The IRS is adding 16,000 employees to handle the impact to taxation of the health care changes passed recently. I imagine there would be many opportunities for fraud and loopholes.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Broomfield, CO
1,448 posts, read 1,642,461 times
Reputation: 851
I think the city of Austin can reduce it's emissions by buying a new fleet of Chevy Tahoe/Yukon Hybrids for city employees use. I hear they get 20 MPG on the highway AND in the city!! That would be a big step toward reducing our consumption. The city needs to take that step forward.
Forget those dorky smartcars--Austin thinks BIG.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
I'm afraid I don't have a socialist side in my brain. But I generally like your ideas on the capitalist side.

Although I detest the idea of using taxes to modify behavior - it would be crazy simple to steadily increase gasoine taxes.

Your second set of ideas would be crazy complicated to administer. I would hate the idea of the IRS running it. The growth in federal employees could be staggering. The IRS is adding 16,000 employees to handle the impact to taxation of the health care changes passed recently. I imagine there would be many opportunities for fraud and loopholes.
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
6,779 posts, read 10,050,361 times
Reputation: 2876
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepstein View Post
I think the city of Austin can reduce it's emissions by buying a new fleet of Chevy Tahoe/Yukon Hybrids for city employees use. I hear they get 20 MPG on the highway AND in the city!! That would be a big step toward reducing our consumption. The city needs to take that step forward.
Maybe if the city leased 200 Smart cars (41 mpg) instead that would help:

Oh wait, they did.

car2go smart cars and City of Austin Team Up For On Demand Mobility - CleanCarTalk
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:43 PM
 
2,158 posts, read 2,466,439 times
Reputation: 1012
The best thing that parents (and teachers) can do is to teach their children, both in words and by example, of how they can save energy and resources every day. That means you have to think about it all the time, but that's the way it has to be. Teaching the next generation to live differently from the way we have is going to have the most impact of anything we can do. Admitting that we, as Americans, have cultivated a wasteful lifestyle and that we can change it is something that will make a difference.
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Holly Neighborhood, AUSTINtx
2,504 posts, read 2,677,535 times
Reputation: 1210
Speaking of kids I think its good for them to walk or bike to school instead of being chauffeured back and forth. Plus it will reduce the likelihood that they'll grow into overweight adults with high blood pressure, diabetes, and bad knees. For security have them walk/bike with a friend or non-working parent to school.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:34 PM
 
3,908 posts, read 5,748,169 times
Reputation: 1529
Quote:
Originally Posted by G Grasshopper View Post
The best thing that parents (and teachers) can do is to teach their children, both in words and by example, of how they can save energy and resources every day. That means you have to think about it all the time, but that's the way it has to be. Teaching the next generation to live differently from the way we have is going to have the most impact of anything we can do. Admitting that we, as Americans, have cultivated a wasteful lifestyle and that we can change it is something that will make a difference.
The thing is there is no point in conserving something that there is an abundance of. Why is there an abundance of it? Because it is cheap. The best way to get people to conserve is to raise the price - period.

The other way to conserve is to force me to behave a certain way by restricting the rights of others. I like this way a lot less as the first way will work extremely well and doesn't have much downside at all.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:48 PM
 
656 posts, read 711,307 times
Reputation: 573
The only time I saw any noticeable change in driving behaviour was when the price of gas went to over $3 a year or so ago. Personally, I think about those oil-covered birds when I am tempted to do something unnecessary or wasteful. As long as we keep building more and more roads, the driving continues. Unfortunately, it will take something really drastic to change behaviors quickly. I guess this isn't drastic enough.
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