JAGGED LITTLE PILL 2
What’s wrong with petroleum consumption?
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Fri, Apr 27, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
In Jagged Little Pill 1, MIT economist Christopher Knittel says subsidies for hybrids and electrics, raising fuel economy standards, and biofuels are a waste of money. His solution to lowering our dependence on petroleum is to raise the price of gas. Automotive historian Harold Osmer has a slightly differing point of view: What’s wrong with petroleum consumption? By Harold Osmer That the U.S. consumes more petroleum based products than any other country is a good thing. The U.S. is also the largest producer of goods in the world, the freest nation in the world, and the most sought after nation by immigrants. So by what measure is petroleum use bad? Pollution. Okay, but take a look at the efficiency of a gasoline engine today versus fifty, forty, or even ten years ago. The same Chevy 350 V8 makes more power now with fewer emissions than it did in the way-back days. Greenhouse gases. Are we still tied to the outdated, tired, and wrong assumption that humans are killing the planet? I challenge anyone to go back to the 1970s research and look up "Global Cooling", "Population Bomb", "Food Shortage Looming", etc. Then look to the recent interview with "Gaia" theorist James Lovelock who now says "The problem is we don¹t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books mine included because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened. The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now?” CAFÉ standards. Sure, let's legislate technology. By forcing the automakers to build cars that people don't want, we will win! It's for the children! That's B.S. in a tin can and we all know it. Why did we buy that minivan? Because we had three kids to haul off to school, soccer practice, and the like. Why don't we have one now? Because the kids grew up and out and haven't started plunking out their own mini versions of themselves. People grow, needs change. Just because you don't need the extra room of a minivan or SUV, that doesn't mean I don't. Nuclear power. The US Navy has nuclear reactors aboard much of its fleet. You could, in effect, tie any given ship up at the dock, plug it into the city, and power the thing from here to forever. They make their own electricity, water, and subs even make their own air. Why not do that with American cities? Political power and control. I understand the queasiness about nuclear accidents. Tell me, then: When was the last U.S. Navy nuclear incident? Which brings me to USA. Land of the Free? Not when I can't buy a minivan whenever I choose to. Not when I can't drive a truck I've had in the family for fifty years. Not when I am forced (excuse me), coerced (excuse me), encouraged to drive a TardCar (excuse me again, Smart Car) around town. They have Tard Cars on Catalina Island. About five of them. Wanna know why they don't have more in that seemingly perfect environment for them? It's because a golf cart can be recharged by plugging it in as opposed to filling with gas, a cart carries more people (at least four compared to two), and a cart is about 20 percent the price of a Tard Car. Since America is larger than Catalina, the island solution does not apply. Should the USA copy Europe? Which brings us to the Euro-model. America is larger the Europe. Really, I'm a geography guy, I've looked these things up. Why don't Americans speak multiple languages like they do in France and Germany? Simple, when we cross the nearest border, those guys over there speak the same language we do here. We can drive for 3000 miles and not miss a syllable. Why emulate Europeans when even their physical situation does not reflect ours? Living and driving in L.A. is different from living and driving in San Francisco and we're only 350 miles apart. How can you get that idea yet not the larger scheme? Perhaps Europe should follow the USA? Why must we pay the same as Europe for gas? Why not do them a favor and let them pay the same we do? I have a hunch that gas taxes have a lot to do with it. Ten percent sales tax on a $2 item yields twenty cents to the state. Same gallon of gas at $4 brings in twice as much. Ever wonder why Europe is failing as a collective? And closer to home, we all know why they don't outlaw cigarettes. Panzy-assed sissified tap-dancing do-gooders are oh-so quick at deciding what's best for the rest of us aren't they? We can't eat fats, salt, sugar, meat, and whatever the hell an inorganic vegetable is. I can tell you why: because life is good in America. Too good, perhaps. In America, we have more food than we can eat. We make so much that we can feed the entire world ourselves. So why are there starving people out there? It's political power struggles. We have the stuff, we have the people, we have the resources. We lack the will. Drill baby, drill. Which brings us back to petroleum. Want to stop fighting wars in the Middle East over oil? Drill baby, drill. The U.S. has more than enough known oil reserves within its boundaries to supply the current need for the next 100 years. That's just with what we already know. Some people like to think electric cars, alternative fuels, and some wonderful technology will magically appear. Hundreds of people before even Henry Ford experimented with steam, battery, kerosene, and who-knows-what-all before deciding that gasoline was the most stable, reliable, inexpensive, and available fuel to power the automobile. And when it gets down to it, how come no one takes their car in for holistic muffler repair? Because we know it's a feel-good scam. So why fall for this other stuff? Why mess with tax credits, subsidies, and zero-interest loans for pie-in-the-sky crap? If you built an electric car in your garage that could perform well enough, don't you think people would line up to buy them? Those same people would then finance your company and you'll be rich, the world will get clean, and all the problems will be solved. Not so fast. You don't have an electric car in the garage. Neither does anyone else. It's a scam of major proportions and no one wants to say it out loud. Well, I will. Green car guys keep harping away for the same reason global warming guys did. Whiners get funded. Trouble is, they get funded with tax dollars. Since the U.S. government doesn't produce anything to sell, all those tax dollars come from you and I. Do you realize that the 5-cent CRV (California Redemption Value) you pay on a soda can is taxable? It's just one more drain to the hole that is government spending. So who's responsible for me being late to the shop this morning? I am. Yes, it is that simple. Harold O. To view the original "Jagged Little Pill" article, click here