The Party is about Over for Hybrids.

April/11/2010 16:36PM
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Our government has put the emphasis on electric cars. Like most plans designed by our government it has serious flaws. It’s cash for clunker all over again.

First, most of our electricity comes from coal. In California, first in LA, they are finding alternative energy from solar and wind is too expensive. The utilities in LA can’t recover the cost in their rates. So, they are withholding the payments to the City of LA. California is about to scrap the big cap and trade plan and scale back the ambitious plans for getting to 40% of power from green energy.

The entire electric car plan is based on green energy fueling the cars. Won’t work.

Natural gas makes more sense. We are discovering huge new sources of natural gas in the lower 48. But, the idea of running cars on electricity is too far along to scrap.

Then there’s the little matter of gasoline taxes that fund highway construction and repairs. Cities, states, and the Feds get zero road taxes from electricity.

CBS news ran a special on that problem recently.

Officials in car-clogged California are so worried they may be considering a replacement for the gas tax altogether, replacing it with something called “tax by the mile.”

Seeing tax dollars dwindling, neighboring Oregon has already started road testing the idea.

“Drivers will get charged for how many miles they use the roads, and it’s as simple as that,” says engineer David Kim.

Kim and fellow researcher David Porter at Oregon State University equipped a test car with a global positioning device to keep track of its mileage. Eventually, every car would need one.

“So, if you drive 10 miles you will pay a certain fee which will be, let’s say, one tenth of what someone pays if they drive 100 miles,” says Kim.

The new tax would be charged each time you fill up. A computer inside the gas pump would communicate with your car’s odometer to calculate how much you owe.

The system could also track how often you drive during rush hour and charge higher fees to discourage peak use. That’s an idea that could break the bottleneck on California’s freeways.

“We’re getting a lot of interest from other states,” says Jim Whitty of the Oregon Department of Transportation. “They’re watching what we’re doing.

“Transportation officials across the country are concerned about what’s going to happen with the gas tax revenues.”

Privacy advocates say it’s more like big brother riding on your bumper, not to mention a disincentive to buy fuel-efficient cars.

“It’s not fair for people like me who have to commute, and we don’t have any choice but take the freeways,” says Just. “We shouldn’t have to be taxed.”

But tax-by-mile advocates say it may be the only way to ensure that fuel efficiency doesn’t prevent smooth sailing down the road.

Won’t this be fun. All you hybrid owners will lose all the incentive you gained by buying the car.

Plus the cost to equip all cars with the big brother computer system will require money no one has.

Don’t you just love the government?

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