Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Feel the cost of the waste you have caused!

With cap-and-trade in the news, I have a more modest proposal to reduce carbon emissions (or at least suck in government funds by trying to do so) and discourage unnecessary gasoline consumption.

Driving home on the interstate yesterday afternoon, I had to kill the cruise control in the face of an irritating line of red brake lights. It ended up taking me 20 minutes to finally move five miles down the road and past the wreck responsible for the jam. Given the 60 mph or so traffic would otherwise have been moving at, this basically translates into 15 minutes of idling. Contingent on make and model, a rough average of one gallon per hour is burned while idling. Thus the delay cost me a quart of fuel, or about 50 cents at current prices. Crawling along, I estimated six cars per second zipping along the interstate in the other direction.

So if this wreck took an hour for tow and cleanup, it caused around $10,800 ($.50 * 6 cars per second * 3600 seconds in an hour) in gas to go up in smoke, er, C02. Slap that fine on the driver responsible for the wreck in addition to the other citation he has coming for him and hopefully he'll be more careful next time!

Let states keep half of this 'revenue' for their own purposes while remitting the other half of it to the federal government to be squandered on whatever green initiative is in vogue at the time, and we'll have a tax hike I'll gladly support.


Blode0322 said...

I've often thought that no-fault insurance may have something to do with traffic jams. People who get into accidents a lot don't have to realistically self-assess unless someone gets hurt, which is exactly the way modern civilizations aren't supposed to teach lessons.

Of course, insurance rates won't necessarily deter people, if they feel they can get away driving with no insurance. I have certainly fantasized about garnishering people's wages for rush-hour accidents.

Anonymous said...

Another tax here. We'll be lucky to have jobs to drive to after this:

See you in the streets!

Mark said...

This seems harsh. People who have been in car accidents usually have enough to worry about.

Stopped Clock said...

Anonymous wrote: yes, what better way for us liberals to demonstrate our commitment for poor Americans than to pass a huge sales tax that will hurt poor people most of all? Why, it's almost as great an idea as another $1 increase on the gas tax. I mean, sure it's unfair to rural and suburban Americans, but who really cares about those losers and their "cars" anyway? Cool people live in the cities and ride cute little bicycles or use public transportation. Also let's make cigarettes even more expensive than they are now because smokers don't have it hard enough already.

Oh, what fools you all were to think Democratic tax hikes would have to be based on income! The possibilities for screwing you taxpayers to pay for our liberal Candyland dreams are absolutely endless.

silly girl said...

"Bogus claims that are quantifiably refutable need to be refuted."

I was wrong.

There were nine million fewer children in 2005 than in 1990 in the 0-4 age group.

1990 0-4 636 867k
2005 0-4 627 035k

silly girl said...

Sorry, you can't link directly to the table.

You have to select variables from the panel.

Audacious Epigone said...


Yes, the the disincentives do not make sense.

If the federal income tax was replaced by a national sales tax with a monthly (or annual) prebate up to the poverty threshold (this would also allow for deadbeats who owed money to other entities for this reason or that to have some amount easily 'garnished' each month), would that assuage your concern about the regressive nature of sales taxes or VATs?


I wish the VAT would be compared with a simpler, more transparent national sales tax. But I understand your resistance to either without the repeal of the federal income tax.


I posted with the frustration still fresh in my mind. Maybe the fine should be one-tenth of the estimated gas-loss costs. Slapping the person at fault with a $1000 would not be financially devastating, but it would still be punitive enough to get the message across.

Sill girl,

Well done. Pete Murphy got what he asked for :)

silly girl said...

I guess I wasn't that far off.

According to the UN, there were 1,854,577k children under 15 in 2000, but only 1,847,488k in 2005.

That is about 7 million fewer children under 15 in 2005 than there were in 2000.

Actually that is a faster rate of decline than what I had first said. I originally said 6 million fewer over about 10 years, but really its 7 million fewer over 5 years. And birthrates are falling all over the world. Mexico recently hit 2.0.

Only countries in the developed world have below replacement birthrates. So that tells you which kids are represented in the 7 million figure.

Do you think they will lower our gas taxes since we are culling ourselves to reduce future oil consumption?

Will we get a reward for our behavior?

Will our few children get a reward?

Anonymous said...

--Will we get a reward for our behavior?

Will our few children get a reward?--

Yeah, sure. Actually, the state and federal gov'ts are looking to raise taxes on gas because (Surprise!) with more fuel efficient cars and lower demand, they aren't pulling as much cash in. But we were told for years we need to use less gas and get more efficient cars, right? People did, the bastards! Now look what's happened. The taxation is never going to stop, it is always more, more more...No reward, only an open palm for more money and a middle finger in the face. The voice over: "Fuck you, pay me..."
Take a look around. This will end badly.

Commodore said...

Wouldn't this be a tax that falls unfairly on women and minorities?

Audacious Epigone said...


Men are more likely to get traffic tickets than women are. I presume, too, based on insurance rates, they are more likely to get into wrecks. I am not sure about racial disparities.