What are the odds of finding 21 "fuel efficient" cars in a row in the United States?
Given that SUVs comprise 25% of vehicles.....
The Math: raise .75 to the 21st power....
The Answer: .23%
That is right, less than a quarter of a percent.
Yet that is the pic I just took at a neighboring condo complex.
I sit in my window all day and watch these people. I never see more than one person in a car (i.e. no car pooling). I never see anyone walking or biking. Nor do I ever see anyone get dropped off, drive to the commuter train station, or standing at the neighboring bus stops. My street is overflowing with parked cars and hardly any of them are SUVs.
So how "green" is Boston really? Maybe if these misguided environmentalists paid twice as much in gas, they would limit their driving?
If environmentalists were logical - they would insist on FUEL INEFFICIENCY.
These people are so dumb it almost makes my head explode to think of this topic.
Fuel efficiency lowers the short term demand for oil which lowers the short term price of petroleum products. But a lower oil price encourages more people to use it in the long term and stunts the development of "alternate fuel" technologies.
All fuel efficiency does is temporarily soften the demand for oil, but only so much that now someone can afford to drive in China or India.
The few environmentalists with a bit of clue on this clamor for gas taxes to artificially make driving more expensive. Gasoline taxes may be the most regressive tax on the books already, yet these "green" lobbyists are all supported by the purported champions of the "little guy" like Ted Kennedy.
SUVs are environmentalists' best friends, but they are too moronic to realize this.
If that picture isn't definitive proof of a groupthink epidemic here in Boston - I don't know what is.
(And before anyone thinks that a condo complex is not representative of the population, let me preempt that. When I lived in Charlotte, everyone lived in condos and SUVs were all over the place - so much so that sometimes my 2000 Ford Explorer was the smallest car in the lot.)
Gas taxes aren't regressive overall, and on the scale from good to bad, they come out better than property or sales taxes, which we're unfortunately using a lot of to build those suburban roads.
I read your post and appreciate your comment. For the sake of argument, I will concede your point that the gasoline TAX is not necessarily regressive.
However, the overall cost of gasoline (including the tax) represents a much larger percentage of poorer household's income than that of wealthier households.
Last year I bought 700 gallons of gas and at 42 cents per gallon - I paid $294 in gas taxes. That is a very low number, especially in comparison to the $2+ pre-tax cost of gas.
You can argue that the rich drive more than the poor and therefore the taxes hit the rich harder, but it is a tiny blow in terms of total dollars.
The point I am trying to make in my post is that anything that raises gas prices hurts the poor disproportionately. That would include more taxes and environmental opposition to energy development.
As an urban planner, you are more concerned with who pays for the costs of roads, "sprawl", etc. and how you could tinker with taxation to get a fairer allocation of taxes. Although related, this is a separate issue. (For the record, I believe in tolls and road privatization.)
Also, in your blog, you assert that the poor just don't drive that much. Well maybe the poor would drive more if the cost of gasoline were lower. Furthermore, maybe a rise in the gas tax would force more poor people off the road than it would curtail sprawl or lower the driving of the wealthy.
Tax policy is never static - it changes the way people behave. A proper study of the gas tax would need to analyze the gas price elasticity of demand for the forementioned demographics.
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