Tag Archives: carbon emissions

Prolonging the pain at the pump: keeping a gas guzzler

I have a 1998 Toyota Sienna Minivan.

It’s not a hip car, but it’s a great car. 120,000 miles and nothing has ever broken on it.  It’s comfy, quiet, and useful. It’s the best car I’ve ever owned.  My poodle Molly and I traveled 10,000 miles across the US, up and down the eastern seaboard and back in it in 2001, right after 9/11 (“Travels with Charley” redux).

Poodle and Packed Minivan

Poodle and Packed Minivan

It also gets a sucky average of 19 mpg.  The price of gas is bad enough, but the fact that my carbon output is twice as high as it could be bothers me even more.

So like many others, I checked into down-sizing my ride. hahaha.

What I suspected is true.  The NY Times has an article today about whether this is a cost-effective plan. In the article is a link to a website where you can calculate how soon you’ll break even if you trade in your gas-guzzler for a more fuel-efficient model. I did the math:

My car’s trade-in value is $4,100.  A used 2005 Honda Civic hybrid is $19,200. Not counting sales tax, license fees, etc – and if gas stays at $4/25 a gallon – I will break even in a mere ten years!

The Sienna stays. I have to figure out how to rely on it less.


Pander: to cater to or exploit somebody’s weaknesses or questionable wishes; to pimp.

If he were the last candidate on earth I would never vote for John McCain, but Hillary took a plunge down to his level when she joined him this week in suggesting that Congress give us a summer moratorium on the 18.4 cents a gallon gas tax.

Talk about pandering to the electorate!

This is wrong in so many ways I don’t know where to start. In no particular order:

  • It is an insult to our intelligence that they would offer such an irresponsible idea and hope that the voters would buy it and vote for them.
  • At a time when we absolutely must cut carbon emissions, they’re saying “Drive on, maties; we totally support your gasoline addiction.”
  • At a time when we’re hemorrhaging money in the Middle East and our national debt is in the stratosphere, they’re saying, “No problem, we’ll just borrow more money from China.”
  • At a time when the public is crying for a leader with big ideas to help pull us out of a recession and find new ways to develop clean energy, they’re throwing out a liver treat.
  • At a time that could be a teachable moment for all of us, only Barack Obama has said, “Houston, we’ve got a problem. It’s time for us to tell the truth about conserving energy.”

Thomas Friedman wrote today:

This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.

When the summer is over, we will have increased our debt to China, increased our transfer of wealth to Saudi Arabia and increased our contribution to global warming for our kids to inherit.

No, no, no, we’ll just get the money by taxing Big Oil, says Mrs. Clinton. Even if you could do that, what a terrible way to spend precious tax dollars — burning it up on the way to the beach rather than on innovation?

The McCain-Clinton gas holiday proposal is a perfect example of what energy expert Peter Schwartz of Global Business Network describes as the true American energy policy today: “Maximize demand, minimize supply and buy the rest from the people who hate us the most.”

Good for Barack Obama for resisting this shameful pandering.