Monday, December 02, 2002

Since some of what I write will seem outrageously left wing to many, I thought it would be more interesting to start out with something more towards the right. If you use google to search the web for comments on stricter automobile fuel standards, one of the ideas you will find again and again is that many mothers who would have bought station wagons for their families bought larger SUV's instead as Detroit improved the average efficiency of the fleet of passenger cars in part by building fewer station wagons.

Some people like to talk about this because they consider it a classic example of how government regulations are always counterproductive - but those who believe some regulations are more effective than others must still talk about the problems if there is to be any hope of rational improvement. In this case it's hard to avoid the conclusion the critics are at least in part correct - I've heard SUV commercials geared towards people uncomfortable climbing into and driving SUV's. I haven't seen many station wagons on the road lately. Although I'd be interested to see any market study data on the demand for station wagons, I'm ninety nine percent convinced, and have begun to think about what could be done if this was confirmed.

Classifying station wagons as light trucks wouldn't help - it would improve the average fuel efficiency for light trucks, making it possible to produce more of the worst monsters. Instead, maybe station wagons could have a class of their own between passenger cars and light trucks. Failing that, maybe we could trade off, allowing slightly worse milage for passenger cars if the lobbyists yielded a bit on the light trucks.

I also did a search to see what my fellow bloggers were saying about global warming, but the results werent too encouraging for me. I found a couple of people with fun blogs who didn't believe in global warming at all, despite the fact that even the scientists funded by the oil and gas industry who oppose the Kyoto protocols (such as Robert Balling) agree it exists. Look at this entry of Greeblie blog and if you follow the main link you'll see he's a human being with a family and friends and a cool blog, not a fanatic. Other blogs such as Newsrack blog are big on seeding the ocean with iron to get biomass to remove carbon from the atmosphere - even though it turns out most of the carbon seems likely to return to the biosphere as the plants complete their life cycle. It is an interesting idea and a fun blog though. Vegan blog is an exception to the rule - and a great blog - but it seems to be the product of a group rather than an indivdual blogger, and some of the news seems culled from other sources.

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