December 31, 2005

More Subsidies For Hybrid Gas-Electric Cars & Trucks
— Ace

Up to $3150 for a Prius? That sounds less like a subsidy and more like a half-a-free-car handout.

But... maybe not a bad idea in principle. I always get whacked by the free-marketers when I suggest that, given that oil dependency is a strategic peril, perhaps a bit of government interference in the free market isn't a bad idea.

Unlike the fantasy solutions of solar power and wind-farms, this does seem to be a viable technology, improving in efficiency and falling in price every day, and perhaps a bit of a government-sponsored kick-start to the tech would make it better and cheaper, faster.

Still: $3150 in tax credits? What the hell?

From Insty, who has some stuff on terrorists' increasing PR problems, as well as a candidate for dumbest story of the year.

The AP, it seems, wrote a story on the NSA-cookies-scandal (I'm pretty darn sure that's an impeachable offense, by the way), and says that a website putting cookies on your computer isn't "technically illegal."

No? Not "technically" illegal? Is there another sense of "illegal," not codified and technical in nature, which I'm not aware of, thereby requiring this modifier?

Or was AP, even while grudgingly conceding it's legal ("technically" legal, one presumes), trying to insinuate that in some "non-technical" sense it actually is illegal?

The AP, I think, is not technically guilty of criminal stupidity and agenda-liberalism with malice aforethought. But who knows. There've been a lot of changes in the law.

Posted by: Ace at 11:50 AM | Comments (16)
Post contains 261 words, total size 2 kb.

1 Maybe a CYA caveat, since they and practically every other MSM organization also distribute cookies to their web site visitors - typically with expiration dates 20+ years from now.

Posted by: profligatewaste at December 31, 2005 12:07 PM (vVMP2)

2 Should I save the AP cookies on my computer as evidence in the inevitable class action law suit soon th be demanded by the MSM?

Posted by: Scott R. at December 31, 2005 02:55 PM (kipXg)

3 Heh, if it is a tax credit, then that ~$3000 turns into ~$1000 if you are in a 35% bracket, if you are in a lower bracket, it is worth less. Now if you could actually use that as a tax payment and get all of it back, it might be more interesting. The biggest problem (for me) is that even at $3k off, why should I buy a car that is too small for what I need?

Posted by: Kamatu at December 31, 2005 03:13 PM (CzVHR)

4 We should really play up "Cookie-Gate"... that will really make the media look like total asshats.

Posted by: Dave S at December 31, 2005 03:42 PM (RcK9w)

5 Hybrids are of questionable economic or ecological value anyway.

The value of a hybrid is the energy conserved during braking, minus the extra cost and weight. For people driving on the freeway (limited stops) the fuel cost is the same as a regular vehicle, minus a little bit for the extra weight.

Conservation groups have estimated that it takes nine years of driving before you start saving money. However, in most cases this does not include the cost of battery replacement, which costs thousands, and involves a disposal risk.

It is not surprising then that some hybrid owners report mpg as low as 35 which is roughly the same as a regular car, and far below the ideal advertised. I suspect that the true mpg is somewhere in between, and varies greatly with the number of stops.

The tax credit then, might be a needed incentive if more hybrids is what we want. Even with the tax credit, these vehicles are not a wise choice for many, if just economics is the consideration.

I would argue that we need to consider that efficient capital use should also be a consideration. Drivers would pay more for the cars, the government would pay billions for credits, and many drivers would not get much fuel savings from it.

The market makes better decisions. When the fuel price goes up, or when the technology gets better, people will switch.

Posted by: robert at December 31, 2005 03:47 PM (Rb4Qc)

6 We're already interfering in the oil market, and it's fairly expensive. Gulf 1 was pretty much about rolling back a very large oil grab by Iraq, and our subsequent involvement, in bases in Saudi Arabia, and yes our involvement in Iraq, have been in part driven by concern that a lot of oil might become controlled by hostile countries. Some domestic interference would be fine. Improved home insulation standards, appliance efficiency standards, auto efficiency standards etc would help a lot, and the payback for some of these would be pretty quick.

Posted by: Bill Arnold at December 31, 2005 08:55 PM (e2L+M)

7 There's a paradox involved with trying to lessen our dependence on foreign oil by trying to cut consumption -- domestically-produced oil is relatively higher cost than imported oil. Remember when oil was at its lowest price during the late 80s? Domestic oil production was at an all-time low because a lot of the marginal wells simply were uneconomic at that price.

Posted by: Simon Oliver Lockwood at December 31, 2005 11:12 PM (6krEN)

8 Bill,

It is interesting that you mention appliance standards and home insulation standards, but great gains have been made here without legislation.

The typical home furnace has gone from roughly 65% efficient to about 95% in less than twenty years. You cannot watch TV long these days without seeing a window replacement ad. Both of these have greater impact than insulation, and the market determined that. Notwithstanding, insulation protection has been trending up also, where it makes sense.

Applicances too have much greater insulation and greater efficiency as technology improves. Refridgeration efficiency gains have been fairly dramatic.

The market makes better decisions than the government. Don't forget the Carter years when he mandated 65 degrees in office buildings, 55 mph speed limits and all the rest. At Atlanta airport, planes were restricted to holding patterns on the ground instead of the air to save fuel. This resulted in massive delays that screwed up everything and cost even more fuel in the long run.

All of these things have since been abandoned, including the sealed buildings that cause heath problems.

I agree we went into Kuwait in part to protect the oil supply and in part to prevent further advances into Saudi Arabia. I do not agree that Iraq has anything to do with oil.

Even assuming your argument however, our actions had the effect of allowing the free market to continue, not tampering with it or restricting it. Notwithstanding, this is not an argument for or against hybrids.

I favor government involvement in research - as it does with hybrids - but not legislation making our choices for us. In Europe, where fuel costs are much higher, about half of the vehicles are diesels that get about 20% higher mpg. Twenty years ago turbines were considered the engines of the future.

I am not good at predicting the future and neither is Uncle Sam. The market has been a far better method in the past.

Posted by: robert at January 01, 2006 05:00 AM (Rb4Qc)

9 I don't know why anyone thinks greater efficiency would reduce energy use. The trend has been that efficiency improvements correlate with greater use of energy--and this trend goes back 150 years.

Posted by: Bostonian at January 01, 2006 06:13 AM (PamCf)

10 Have they yet developed a car that runs on delithium crystals ?

Posted by: spurwing plover at January 01, 2006 08:59 AM (JtcRt)

11 I think the "technically illegal" stuff means it violates the govt's own policies, though Congress did not pass a law making it illegal.

They aren't supposed to do it, according to their own rules. That's how I heard it.

A small thing in a sea of scandals.

Posted by: at January 01, 2006 02:31 PM (jEaIC)

12 Wind power is not a fantasy. Wind generates a lot of power in Denmark right now.

Solar power is getting cheaper and cheaper. Photovoltaic cells are being produced more economically with film deposition on glass sheets to produce tandem cells with efficiences of better than 15%, with realistic near-term potential of >20%. >25% is already achieved in lab conditions.

Lots of subsidies now to coal and oil industries. Take them away and alternative energies are already competitors in many markets.

Posted by: at January 01, 2006 04:46 PM (jEaIC)

13 How about something like LOST IN SPACE their vichle the SPACE CHARIOT a sort of comination or family van and tractor or what you might call a SUV

Posted by: spurwing plover at January 02, 2006 05:40 AM (stdEd)

14 Wind power is not a fantasy. Wind generates a lot of power in Denmark right now

Texas too. We're a net exporter of wind generated power.

If we could just figure out how to get that San Angelo dust off of it...

Posted by: Dave in Texas at January 03, 2006 04:12 AM (pzen5)

15 It is really a big news that the cars and trucks holder will get benefit of subsidies. New  they can purchase easily.

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Posted by: Embroidered shirts at September 28, 2010 12:10 AM (091lZ)

16 future is of hybrid cars just wait and watch
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Posted by: adam at June 15, 2011 11:41 AM (fzJ/r)

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