Monday, May 26, 2014

I've Been Saying This For Years

Hybrids won't save you much money, not even at the gas pump.  First, they're so expensive that you're essentially paying up front for the gas that you save, and second, if there were too many high-mileage cars out on the road, the government would rake in less in gas taxes.  The suits don't care about the first problem, because that's your problem.  The second one, though... :
The rise in both the fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks and the popularity of hybrid vehicles threatens to eventually undermine the effectiveness of the gas tax, some transportation officials and lawmakers fear, forcing them to search for novel ways to pay for the escalating cost of caring for the state’s roads and bridges.

One Republican lawmaker has proposed an additional registration fee for fully electric vehicles. Some officials suggest looking at charging all motorists per mile traveled; others say more tolls are the answer.

They all contend that with revenue from the gas tax expected to taper off in coming decades, it’s time to end the free ride for some motorists.

“That person who switches to an all-electronic vehicle, they’re paying nothing for the benefit of the upkeep, maintenance, and filling of potholes on the roads,” said Representative Bradley H. Jones, who earlier this month unsuccessfully pushed an amendment for the new registration fee. “The issue is really one of equity.”
"(N)ovel ways to pay for" means "new taxes".  And Mr. Jones is saying that you Prius drivers aren't saving the environment, you're cheating the government out of its fair share of your money.

Bottom line is, whether you have a carbon-spewing internal combustion engine or an ecologically-friendly electric, you're going to pay.  How, then, should you make your decision when buying a car?

We've got to pay for this, too, if it's as good as the video says it is.

Update, 6/3/14: They're making progress:
The concept of using roads as solar cells seems like a great idea until you start considering all of the damage that streets regularly have to handle. From freezing water to overloaded vehicles, the nation's highways take a lot of punishment. However, that isn't stopping Solar Roadways from refining its concept for a sun-powered surface that you can drive on. ​It's latest big step is raising over $1.5 million in a crowdfunding campaign on the website Indiegogo that ends on May 31. We think the energetic solar freakin' roadway video (available below) had more than a little to do with attracting attention to the project.


maxutils said...

I find it hilarious that when a tax is placed on something we want to have used less, when it works, we're disappointed. One more reason why the only tax that's relevant should be on income.

allen (in Michigan) said...

It is pretty funny, if you ignore the inevitable damage that occurs from the failure to consider consequences, but I find it gratifying because it folds neatly into my lefties-as-emotionally-immature hypothesis.

Without exerting myself unduly I can find some pretty hefty rocks to throw at this sovereign remedy.

For instance, what happens when the sun goes down? Does every panel contain some sort of electrical storage capacity? Oh, and about those two channels that run alongside every roadway, parking lot, sidewalk, driveway, tarmac, bike path and outdoor recreation surface, do they spring into existence as if by magic or do they have to be excavated, cast, provisioned and sealed by paid-by-the-hour human beings?

Also, these panels don't appear to sit on the existing surface. It appears that some sort of purpose-specific surface has to be laid down to accommodate the SOLAR FREAKIN' ROADWAY which, of course, adds another element of cost.

Speaking (writing) about costs, what's the cost of the damned things? Covering every, or any, roadway, parking lot, sidewalk, driveway, tarmac, bike path and outdoor recreation surface with SOLAR FREAKIN' PANELS is going to cost a few bucks so why can't our over-caffeinated announcer take a breath and give a figure?

Maybe I'm cynical but my guess is that any remotely reasonable cost estimate results in an involuntary intake of breath which makes selling the concept substantially more difficult. Who needs that?

None of that really matters of course because it's SOLAR FREAKIN' ROADWAYS and anyone who won't get on board the bandwagon must be in the pay of the petroleum industry or stupid.

Hybrids are an example of the same phenomenon in that they're an announcement of your nobility and morality without much regard to future consequences. Their significantly higher initial cost and complexity ensure that if they're ever economic, i.e. pay for that price differential, it'll be a good, long while and maybe never. But none of that matters on the showroom floor. On the showroom floor you get to imagine how fine it'll be to motor up to some school function in a car that nails down your eco-cred.

All the other kids will be so jealous.

Darren said...

Roads eventually have to be resurfaced or completely replaced; I assume SOLAR FREAKIN' ROADWAYS would happen then, that roads wouldn't arbitrarily be replaced just because.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Roads do eventually need to be replaced but the eco-nobility won't want to wait for that. They're saving the planet you, you, you vile conservative! We have to do everything we can RIGHT NOW! Don't you care about the future?! Don't you care about the children?!

Politics and human nature dictate that if you can get the money to start ripping up roadways tomorrow you have to do it, costs be damned.

To get back to my lefties-as-emotionally-immature hypothesis doesn't the idea, along with its presentation, simply reek of juvenile enthusiasm? The sort of romantic excitement at an idea that, because it appeals to you, can have no shortcomings?

Maybe I'm missing something obvious to others but the more I consider it the more the resemblance to children recommends itself.