December 31, 2005
— 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?
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?
Posted by: profligatewaste at December 31, 2005 12:07 PM (vVMP2)
Posted by: Scott R. at December 31, 2005 02:55 PM (kipXg)
Posted by: Kamatu at December 31, 2005 03:13 PM (CzVHR)
Posted by: Dave S at December 31, 2005 03:42 PM (RcK9w)
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)
Posted by: Bill Arnold at December 31, 2005 08:55 PM (e2L+M)
Posted by: Simon Oliver Lockwood at December 31, 2005 11:12 PM (6krEN)
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)
Posted by: Bostonian at January 01, 2006 06:13 AM (PamCf)
Posted by: spurwing plover at January 01, 2006 08:59 AM (JtcRt)
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)
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)
Posted by: spurwing plover at January 02, 2006 05:40 AM (stdEd)
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)
Posted by: Embroidered shirts at September 28, 2010 12:10 AM (091lZ)
Posted by: adam at June 15, 2011 11:41 AM (fzJ/r)
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