Gasoline Conservation Never Considered

March/26/2012 21:03PM
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When the government discusses fuel conservation it’s always in the form of regulation. Higher mileage requirements on new cars. Solar and wind requirement’s for power companies. Ethanol in gasoline. No Keystone Pipeline. No drilling on government lands designed to keep prices high and demand down. Cap and Trade. On and on, never anything the government can do without you paying a dear price to dampen demand.

The USA Today ran an article documenting facts that show 1.9 billion gallons of gasoline is lost annually in traffic on congested roads. This costs drivers $100 billion annually. So, in typical government fashion, the solution is to spend tax dollars to fix the problem.

If the government does spend $109 billion, as the White House proposes, to fix roads to remedy congestion, what will happen? First of all billions of those cones and barrels will go up on roads all over America. They will go up when every project starts and never come down until every project is done. This will raise, not lower, the $100 billion now spent due to the congestion for the duration of the construction. The government exerts zero influence on those cones and barrels. There is never the slightest effort made to force contractors to minimize congestion during construction. The only exception I know of is in Michigan. The tourist business in upper Michigan was dying due to the congestion. So, contractors were required to remove the barrels on weekends where no work was being done. Seems to work pretty well. How much gasoline do you think we would save if this were done across America?

How much is spent idling at red lights when no traffic is coming? Far more than from congested roads. Here’s an idea that costs nothing. Begin taking red lights down instead of putting up more. Go to more four way stops where congestion is minimal.

At night, put in flashing red lights all across the country. Billions in gasoline could be saved with zero cost. Traffic studies should be done with conservation in mind. Safety should not be ignored, but we all travel neighborhoods at night where cars sit at red lights while no traffic crosses the intersection.

Intelligent fuel consumption coupled with traffic flow could do far more than the proposed billions in road construction will do to save fuel.

Why won’t this happen? It costs nothing and the political capital is low. Simple as that. In Washington and statehouses around the country, those are deal killers. No votes for doing the smart thing.

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