Thursday, April 05, 2007

Reducing CO2

The recent Supreme Court ruling requiring the EPA to regulate CO2 is welcome news. The Tribune article covers the basics pretty well. A couple of industry people need some spanking though.

First, Exelon CEO John Rowe: "Climate change is an issue that can't wait. Exelon has been an early and vocal advocate for regulation of carbon dioxide."

Excellent John! Glad you are on board. But could it be that you want CO2, the by product of coal buring power plants, regulated because your company is the largest producer of nuclear energy? Just wondering.

Second, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz: "Anyone who thinks the auto industry can invent something to make CO2 go away is just dreaming."

Bob, Bob, Bob. You and the car industry still don't get it! Now I'm a car guy. I love high performance cars. But there are pratical limits.

I saw an ad on TV last night for a Lexus that had 400+ hp. I think that anyone who has driven a Lexus will quickly realize that they are semi-luxury cars for families. No need for that kind of power. Scale it back to the low to mid 300s and you save fuel, ergo produce less CO2. Do pick up trucks really need similar power bands? That is way beyond what it takes to pull the boat and RV. No one pulling a trailer needs to be considering their 0 to 60 time. That's just a safety issue.

And let's talk about all that luxury. Who really needs a 16 way power seat? I've never adjusted a seat more than 3 ways (four if you count a bolster). All those electric motors add weight. Weight means more gas burned. More gas burned means more CO2.

Now I know that consumers want a lot of these things. But the reality is that the price of gasoline does not include the true costs of consumption. Those costs include not only CO2 pollution but also other air pollutants that damage the environment and human health. So instead of requiring higher mpg there is one other option, we can institute a carbon tax. On gasoline, lets say a $0.50 to $0.75 per gallon. That will bring down consumption. Customers will start demanding higher mpg. But a carbon tax is probably not politically viable. So, Detroit, get to work and make higher mpg cars. We're going to demand it.



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