Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cleaner air in AZ

It's nice to know that there are forward thinkers in government. Arizona has just revamped its alternative fuel vehicles statute. Now, instead of bi-fuel vehicles (cars that run on gas OR an alternative fuel) being able to use the HOV/carpool lanes, only cars with a 45% or better fuel efficiency qualify. Right now that means the Honda Insight or Civic Hybrid or the Toyota Prius.

Finally we'll get the huge SUVs with single drivers out of the HOV lanes. Many people purchased these SUVs because of an ill conceived Arizona law that subsidized the purchase if you altered it to run on gas or an alternative fuel. So a bunch of people collected big subsidies to buy their new SUVs and now run in the HOV lanes even though they're burning gas. Oops! Well, that's finally been fixed and now the alternative fuels statute is a high efficiency statute.

It may be a small step forward, but it's a step all the same.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Exxon Makes $36 Billion in Profits!

The big news is that Exxon-Mobile made a $36 billion profit. There has been outcry from people all over the country that it's sick and wrong for an oil company to make that much money. Hillary Clinton was even quoted as saying that the government should take it and use it for alternative energy development. Everybody is eager blame the oil companies or "Big Oil" for all of our problems. Unfortunately, it's not true.

The problem isn't Exxon, it isn't our government, it isn't the middle east; our problem is us. We've somehow come to the belief that we're entitled to cheap oil the same way we're entitled to free speech. How is it that we blame everybody else for our problems. It's the oil companies, it's the government, etc. We're like drug addicts complaining about how rich the cartels are. We GAVE them our money!

If we want to do something about it, we need to get OURSELVES off of our oil addiction first. Sure we can't do it entirely because our economy is dependant on it, but we can do some things. We can buy cars that use less gasoline like hybrids, flex fuel cars, electric cars (and/or plug-in hybrids). We can carpool, walk, ride bikes, etc. instead of driving wherever we go. We can conserve energy, get solar panels and/or solar water heaters. We can get rid of our gas powered mowers and leaf blowers and get electric ones (or even a good old fashioned hand mower).

Not only that, we can lobby our local and state governments to improve our options. Maybe increase tax breaks for solar panels or improve the express bus system or speed up commuter rail development (I live in the Phoenix area). They could write some intelligent legislation on alternative fuels. There's a lot we can do and, if the people were clamoring for it, our government would eventually get it done. That's how it works.

Unfortunately we won't do it. After all, controling ourselves and changing our lifestyles is HARD! We want somebody else to do it. We want lower pollution, less dependence on oil, more renewable energy, etc. but we don't want to sacrifice for it. We want handed to us on a silver platter and in such a way that our lifestyle stays the same. That's why it may never happen.

If all we do is sit around and gripe about it. Well then, nothing happens. Don't just complain, do something about it. Could I do better? Sure, but I'm not the one complaining.