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Nation
of_thisnation
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« on: September 15, 2004, 05:58:20 pm »

I would like to take the time and introduce this bill for debate in the senate.

National Energy Act

1. The responsibility for the approval of oil refinery construction shall be
taken away from the Environmental Protection Association and given to the
Department of Treasury.

2. The environmental regulations shall be eased to allow for easier approval of
refineries.

3. Gasoline formulation requirements shall be altered to abolish regional
differences in gasoline formulas, thus establishing a Uniform Gasoline Standard
equal to the more stringent quality regulations.

4. Sport Utility Vehicles shall not longer be classified as light trucks for
purposes of CAFÉ standards.  They shall be classified as a sedan.

5. CAFÉ standards shall be altered to strengthen fuel efficiency by increasing
fuel efficiency by 2 miles per gallon across the board.

6. The Federal Gasoline Tax shall be reduced from 18 cents per gallon to 9 cents
per gallon.

7. The ethanol tax credit shall be doubled.

8. $1 billion per year shall be allotted for research on hydrogen fuel cells.

_______________________

I'd like to hear opinions on this -- thanks.
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StevenNick
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2004, 06:21:35 pm »

Over all I think this is a very good bill.  This bill definately contains some measures that will lead to lower gas prices.  However there are some pieces of the bill I would like to see removed.

Section 3 would take away regional rights to regulate gasoline formulas and may disrupt regional economies as most regions will have to adhere to stricter quality regulations than they do currently.

I strongly oppose Section 5 of this bill.  Any across-the-board increases in fuel efficiency standards will likely lead to deaths on the road as car manufacturers are forced to produce lighter, and therefore less safe cars to meet the standards.

The rest of this bill is absolutely stellar.
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The Duke
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2004, 06:26:50 pm »

Over all I think this is a very good bill.  This bill definately contains some measures that will lead to lower gas prices.  However there are some pieces of the bill I would like to see removed.

Section 3 would take away regional rights to regulate gasoline formulas and may disrupt regional economies as most regions will have to adhere to stricter quality regulations than they do currently.

I strongly oppose Section 5 of this bill.  Any across-the-board increases in fuel efficiency standards will likely lead to deaths on the road as car manufacturers are forced to produce lighter, and therefore less safe cars to meet the standards.

The rest of this bill is absolutely stellar.

The administration supports this bill and both the President and I were integral to authoring it.

As to section 3, the regulations in question are not regional regulations.  They are regulations set by the Federal Government under the Clean Air Act.
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NYGurl
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2004, 06:39:32 pm »

This bill is an ecological and financial nightmare.
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The Duke
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2004, 06:54:40 pm »

This bill is an ecological and financial nightmare.

Please elaborate.
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Akno21
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2004, 07:38:51 pm »

Why should we strip the EPA of some of its power, and then give that power to the Treasury, which doesn't know as much about Oil Refinery Construction as the EPA.

For us, oil that is too expensive would be classified as about $2.25. In Europe, a good price is $5.00. We have it easy. Just because gas is expensive now, we shouldn't make it cheaper at the expense of the environment. We should learn to get by on less oil, we will be forced to do it soon, we should learn how to now.

This is bill only focuses on the short term, it doesn't take into account the long term picture. (Yes, I know you included the billion for research, but as far as oil is concened, this bill does not take into account long-term effects)
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2004, 07:42:28 pm »

I would like to take the time and introduce this bill for debate in the senate.

National Energy Act

1. The responsibility for the approval of oil refinery construction shall be
taken away from the Environmental Protection Association and given to the
Department of Treasury.

As a non-american, i'll have to sorta play this by ear a little bit; I believe that this would be acceptable.

Quote
2. The environmental regulations shall be eased to allow for easier approval of refineries.

I won't support this; we shouldn't be encouraging more refineries by easing restrictions; the current restrictions are doing at least part of the job that needs to be done towards a cleaner future for all atlasians.

Quote
3. Gasoline formulation requirements shall be altered to abolish regional differences in gasoline formulas, thus establishing a Uniform Gasoline Standard equal to the more stringent quality regulations.

I completely agree with this; it is important that the nation has a secure and similar system especially after events in Texas over the last few weeks.

Quote
4. Sport Utility Vehicles shall not longer be classified as light trucks for purposes of CAFÉ standards.  They shall be classified as a sedan.

But they are NOT sedans; how could they possibly be classified as sedans? Either create a new catergory for them, or leave them in light trucks; that is where their petrol usage, size and history fits best.

Quote
5. CAFÉ standards shall be altered to strengthen fuel efficiency by increasing fuel efficiency by 2 miles per gallon across the board.

I agree with this, but I would propose:

5. CAFE standards shall be altered to strengthen fuel efficiency by increasing fuel efficiency 5% a gallon every 5 years across the board.

BTW, as a non-american-whats CAFE?

Quote
6. The Federal Gasoline Tax shall be reduced from 18 cents per gallon to 9 cents
per gallon.

Why? I believe that if we kept the same amount of tax and recquired the states to use the extra 9c on Public transport, we'd significantly reduce car usage, and the people would be better off-their taxes aren't higher but they have better services.

Quote
7. The ethanol tax credit shall be doubled.

Absolutely agree. We should focus heavily on expanding into ethanol; not only does it help the environment but it halps ur struglling sugar farmers as well.

Quote
8. $1 billion per year shall be allotted for research on hydrogen fuel cells.

I agree, and believe that is a good amount, but I stll consider ethanol should be our first priority in developing clean fuel because of the sugar farmers.
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Jake
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2004, 08:45:34 pm »

Good bill, I like the ethanol tax credit.
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StevenNick
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2004, 09:25:43 pm »

Over all I think this is a very good bill.  This bill definately contains some measures that will lead to lower gas prices.  However there are some pieces of the bill I would like to see removed.

Section 3 would take away regional rights to regulate gasoline formulas and may disrupt regional economies as most regions will have to adhere to stricter quality regulations than they do currently.

I strongly oppose Section 5 of this bill.  Any across-the-board increases in fuel efficiency standards will likely lead to deaths on the road as car manufacturers are forced to produce lighter, and therefore less safe cars to meet the standards.

The rest of this bill is absolutely stellar.

The administration supports this bill and both the President and I were integral to authoring it.

As to section 3, the regulations in question are not regional regulations.  They are regulations set by the Federal Government under the Clean Air Act.

Gotcha.  I hereby remove my complaint in regards to Section 3.
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The Duke
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2004, 09:47:52 pm »

Senator hughento,

As to your concerns.

Regarding Section 2, the reason we want to ease these regulations is that the US hasn't built a new oil refinery in 28 years.  We have old refineries operating at 96% capacity, when the average factory only operates at about 75% capacity.  We need new refineries, and industry experts tend to agree that the reason new refineries aren't being built is that the red tape and environmental regulations are too stringent.  The lack of refineries has created a bottleneck on getting oil to the market in gasoline form.

Regarding Section 4, our effort to reclassify SUVs is an attempt to make the vehicle fleet more efficient.  People are buying more and more SUVs and it is driving up demand for gasoline.  I am open to amending the bill to create a new SUV category, but it should require more efficiency than the current light truck category.

Regarding Section 5, CAFÉ is the US fuel efficiency standard at the Federal level.  As to your proposal, I can't foresee it being possible for automakers to adjust so dramatically every five years into perpetuity.  It would put a tremendous burden on them.

Regarding Section 6, the tax in question is a Federal only tax, the states already have their own gas taxes, so I don't think placing new requirements on states to conform to a new federal mandate is a good idea.  As to the reason the gas tax should be cut.  The consumer is being squeezed by high gas prices, which result from the $63 a barrel oil, and this would help offset the new cost on their end of things.  It will also offset the cost they would otherwise pay for the new more stringent fuel quality standards.

Senator Akno,

Under the division of labor Ernest, Niles, and I talked about, there is a consensus that the role normally played by the Department of Energy is played by the Department of Treasury here in Atlasia.  This is why DoT would get responsibility for the refinery approval process, since they have the biggest hand in energy policy.

I think if you look again at the bill, you will also see provisions for energy conservation (new CAFE standards) and environmental protection (new fuel quality) featured prominently.  Also are the long-term provisions for new energy infrastructure like new refineries.

Senator StevenNick,

I understand your concern about vehicle safety, but at the same time we must find ways to conserve energy.  Since cars account for most of our country's oil consumption, we felt we had no choice but to directly address this issue head on.



Senators generally,

There will be things in this bill you don't like.  That is inevitable.  But this bill has solutions that are liberal and conservative, some that are short term and some that are long term, some that are supply oriented and some that are demand oriented.  No one will be 100% happy with this bill, but it does directly address in a comprehensive way the energy crisis we now face.  I urge the Senate to pass this bill.
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StevenNick
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2004, 12:19:16 am »

I am fully willing to vote for this bill even without the revisions I have proposed being enacted.  I feel that the content of this bill will go VERY far toward lowering gas prices and by giving us a greater ability to refine gas here at home, our dependence on foreign refineries will be greatly diminished.

Of course, all of this is sure to have positive affects on the economy.
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Platypus
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2004, 12:45:12 am »

If we were to vote on the bill exactly as is, I would probably support it, but the fact remains that this bill is certainly not all that is should be.

I strongly suggest that my fellow senators continue the debate on the bill. I am willing to support the cut in petrol taxes, but solely due to the fact that Sen. Stevennick is able to support fuel efficiency.

John D. Ford-I think that whilst my proposal for section 5 is quite strong, I also feel it is the best way to prevent this crisis reoccuring, and to protect the enironment. The 5$% can be a gradual process over the years; 1% a year is certainly achievable with the right attitude, funding and industrial and governmental support to do so.
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2004, 01:25:16 am »

I would like to take the time and introduce this bill for debate in the senate.

National Energy Act

1. The responsibility for the approval of oil refinery construction shall be
taken away from the Environmental Protection Association and given to the
Department of Treasury.

2. The environmental regulations shall be eased to allow for easier approval of
refineries.

3. Gasoline formulation requirements shall be altered to abolish regional
differences in gasoline formulas, thus establishing a Uniform Gasoline Standard
equal to the more stringent quality regulations.

4. Sport Utility Vehicles shall not longer be classified as light trucks for
purposes of CAFÉ standards.  They shall be classified as a sedan.

5. CAFÉ standards shall be altered to strengthen fuel efficiency by increasing
fuel efficiency by 2 miles per gallon across the board.

6. The Federal Gasoline Tax shall be reduced from 18 cents per gallon to 9 cents
per gallon.

7. The ethanol tax credit shall be doubled.

8. $1 billion per year shall be allotted for research on hydrogen fuel cells.

_______________________

I'd like to hear opinions on this -- thanks.

I would favor 3,5,7, and 8.  Why Number 1?  I would think the EPA would be better for refineries.
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Akno21
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2004, 10:16:58 am »

I think numbers 3,5,7, and 8 are good.  

However, the basic problem I have with the bill is the general idea that we need to make oil easier for people to get and cheaper for them to get. What we need to do is get people off oil. Not just middle eastern oil, but oil in general. There is not enough oil to go around, and soon we will realize this the hard way.
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The Duke
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2004, 10:57:53 am »

I think numbers 3,5,7, and 8 are good.  

However, the basic problem I have with the bill is the general idea that we need to make oil easier for people to get and cheaper for them to get. What we need to do is get people off oil. Not just middle eastern oil, but oil in general. There is not enough oil to go around, and soon we will realize this the hard way.

This is why we have the ethanol tax credit expansion and research for hydrogen fuel.

Whether anyone likes it or not the world is dependent on oil for now.  We better make sure that its price doesn't cripple our economy or we'll never be prosperous enough to develop new ways of doing things.
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Akno21
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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2004, 05:35:53 pm »

I think numbers 3,5,7, and 8 are good.  

However, the basic problem I have with the bill is the general idea that we need to make oil easier for people to get and cheaper for them to get. What we need to do is get people off oil. Not just middle eastern oil, but oil in general. There is not enough oil to go around, and soon we will realize this the hard way.

This is why we have the ethanol tax credit expansion and research for hydrogen fuel.

Whether anyone likes it or not the world is dependent on oil for now.  We better make sure that its price doesn't cripple our economy or we'll never be prosperous enough to develop new ways of doing things.

Western European countries live and prosper with oil at $5.00 per gallon, why can't we?

We can't keep adjusting our laws to make it easier and cheaper to get gasoline just because it may be a little expensive at this time, eventually the oil will run out, and then our economy will suffer a huge blow. When that time will be, no one can say for sure, except that it will come soon, and it will come.
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The Duke
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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2004, 05:47:24 pm »

I think numbers 3,5,7, and 8 are good.  

However, the basic problem I have with the bill is the general idea that we need to make oil easier for people to get and cheaper for them to get. What we need to do is get people off oil. Not just middle eastern oil, but oil in general. There is not enough oil to go around, and soon we will realize this the hard way.

This is why we have the ethanol tax credit expansion and research for hydrogen fuel.

Whether anyone likes it or not the world is dependent on oil for now.  We better make sure that its price doesn't cripple our economy or we'll never be prosperous enough to develop new ways of doing things.

Western European countries live and prosper with oil at $5.00 per gallon, why can't we?

We can't keep adjusting our laws to make it easier and cheaper to get gasoline just because it may be a little expensive at this time, eventually the oil will run out, and then our economy will suffer a huge blow. When that time will be, no one can say for sure, except that it will come soon, and it will come.

Europeans live a different style of life than we do.  They have more condensed communites, for starters, making auto travel less necessary.  How would someone in Los Angeles make a living with gas at $5 a gallon?  There is no meaningful public transit, and even if there was busses run on gasoline and rising gas costs will drive up bus fare.  In Europe, and even on some East coast cities, subways and walking are reasonable.  However, in the suburb heavy sunbelt, this is impossible.  Cars are a necessity.

There is nothing that a reasonable person could say beyond that point.  I have allocated over a billion dollars for alternative fuel research and tax credits.  25% of this bill is provisions for weaning us off oil in the future (ethanol and hydrogen) and another 25% (the CAFE provisions) is a conservation effort.

What would assuage your concerns?  Subsidies to companies or localities that build windfarms?  Tax credits for individuals that install solar panels on their houses to heat their homes?  Name something we can add to get your vote, because I think a bill with either of those amendments would easily get signed.  But this bill does no good if it doesn't give consumers direct relief (in the form of the gas tax cut) and long term relief (in the form of new regulations) for high gas prices.
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Akno21
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2004, 06:17:02 pm »

I think numbers 3,5,7, and 8 are good.  

However, the basic problem I have with the bill is the general idea that we need to make oil easier for people to get and cheaper for them to get. What we need to do is get people off oil. Not just middle eastern oil, but oil in general. There is not enough oil to go around, and soon we will realize this the hard way.

This is why we have the ethanol tax credit expansion and research for hydrogen fuel.

Whether anyone likes it or not the world is dependent on oil for now.  We better make sure that its price doesn't cripple our economy or we'll never be prosperous enough to develop new ways of doing things.

Western European countries live and prosper with oil at $5.00 per gallon, why can't we?

We can't keep adjusting our laws to make it easier and cheaper to get gasoline just because it may be a little expensive at this time, eventually the oil will run out, and then our economy will suffer a huge blow. When that time will be, no one can say for sure, except that it will come soon, and it will come.

Europeans live a different style of life than we do.  They have more condensed communites, for starters, making auto travel less necessary.  How would someone in Los Angeles make a living with gas at $5 a gallon?  There is no meaningful public transit, and even if there was busses run on gasoline and rising gas costs will drive up bus fare.  In Europe, and even on some East coast cities, subways and walking are reasonable.  However, in the suburb heavy sunbelt, this is impossible.  Cars are a necessity.

There is nothing that a reasonable person could say beyond that point.  I have allocated over a billion dollars for alternative fuel research and tax credits.  25% of this bill is provisions for weaning us off oil in the future (ethanol and hydrogen) and another 25% (the CAFE provisions) is a conservation effort.

What would assuage your concerns?  Subsidies to companies or localities that build windfarms?  Tax credits for individuals that install <a href="http://www.srch-results.com/lm/rtl.asp?k=solar%20panels" onmouseover="window.status='solar panels'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">solar panels</a> on their houses to heat their homes?  Name something we can add to get your vote, because I think a bill with either of those amendments would easily get signed.  But this bill does no good if it doesn't give consumers direct relief (in the form of the gas tax cut) and long term relief (in the form of new regulations) for high gas prices.

There is a chance I would vote for this. I agree with Hughento that we should keep the tax at 18 cents, but require states to use 9 cents of that to fund public transportation, which in many states is a mess. Before I vote to slash that tax, I want to know what that 18 cents goes to, and whether only giving 9 cents would hurt some vital social program.

I can live with the rest of it, except #2. I think it is a short-term action that will endanger the environment. I would consider supporting it, if the regulations were to be put back in place at a set date, maybe in a few years when the current oil crisis abades.
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« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2004, 06:33:12 pm »

I dislike article 1 the most.  I think the EPA is best equipped to handle it.  I don't like article 2 either, but I would compromise if there was a harsh punishment for going under the lowered standard.  I also disagree with clause 6.  I believe the gasoline tax should remain at 18c, and that money should be delegated to the regions for road repairs, which is a big problem both in MS and elsewhere.
Articles 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 are acceptable, and article 2 is liveable, provided that violators will be punished.  I highly wish for articles 1 and 6 to be stricken.
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« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2004, 06:45:34 pm »
« Edited: February 15, 2005, 09:25:42 pm by John Ford »

Here is a version of the bill with your suggestions on CAFE included, and with another provision for reducing fossil fuel use, and a softening of the gas tax question.

This bill, like the other, will lower energy prices, improve environmental protection, and lessen use of fossil fuel.

I'd wonder if anyone is open to including a provision to open up national parks for exploration?

National Energy Act

1. The responsibility for the approval of oil refinery construction shall be taken away from the Environmental Protection Association and given to the Department of Treasury.

2. The environmental regulations shall be eased to allow for easier approval of refineries.

3. Gasoline formulation requirements shall be altered to abolish regional differences in gasoline formulas, thus establishing a Uniform Gasoline Standard equal to the more stringent quality regulations.

4. Sport Utility Vehicles shall not longer be classified as light trucks for purposes of CAFÉ standards.  They shall be classified as a sedan.

5. CAFÉ standards shall be altered to strengthen fuel efficiency by 2 mpg in 2005.

6. The Federal Gasoline Tax shall be reduced from 18 cents per gallon to 12 cents per gallon.

7. The ethanol tax credit shall be doubled.

8. $1 billion per year shall be allotted for research on hydrogen fuel cells.

9. There shall be a tax credit of $500 per year to an individual who installs solar panels to provide energy to their own home, or to an individual who purchases a hybrid car.  The solar panels must be able to provide enough heat to warm an Olympic regulation size swimming pool.
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« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2004, 07:37:55 pm »

1. The responsibility for the approval of oil refinery construction shall be taken away from the Environmental Protection Associationgency and given to the Department of Treasury.

2. The environmental regulations shall be eased to allow for easier approval of  refineries.

I can see why at first glance these two clauses would seem reasonable, but, the lack of new refineries being built has more due to the fact that improving existing refineries has been able to largely keep up with demand and that the uncertain future of US petroleum consumption has made the large investment needed to build a new refinery unattractive given the added costs of the infrastructure needed to connect a new refinery to the existing pipeline network than restrictions added by environmental regulations.  In addition, to reduce transport costs, it makes more sense to build refineries near the wellheads and US oil production is declining not increasing.

Quote
3. Gasoline formulation requirements shall be altered to abolish regional differences in gasoline formulas, thus establishing a Uniform Gasoline Standard equal to the more stringent quality regulations.

Not all regional gasoline differences are due to EPA regulations.  Altitude and climate also affect gasoline formulas.  This should be reworded so that this doesn't prohibit these differences.

Quote
4. Sport Utility Vehicles shall not longer be classified as light trucks for purposes of CAFÉ standards.  They shall be classified as a sedan.

5. CAFÉ standards shall be altered to strengthen fuel efficiency by increasing fuel efficiency by 2 miles per gallon across the board.

A modest but doable increase, altho I would prefer a larger increase, but phased in at say the rate of 0.4 mpg for 10 years.  (A small improvement would be to give a small prod to metrification by expressing the CAFE standards in metric units.  Such a prod would not be unduly confusing as the CAFE standards aren't part of everyday commerce.)

Quote
6. The Federal Gasoline Tax shall be reduced from 18 cents per gallon to 9 cents per gallon.

Actually, I'd favor a small increase with the increase being used to fund transportation infrastriucture (primarily, but not exclusively roads, but no mass transit operating costs, altho new trains and buses would be OK).  Better roads reduce commuting times (an effect which is to some degree offset by their also making longer distance commutes feasible) and thus save time and fuel consumption.

Quote
7. The ethanol tax credit shall be doubled.

8. $1 billion per year shall be allotted for research on hydrogen fuel cells.

Based on past performance, I strongly doubt the ability of government to predict which technologies will prove to be useful in the future.  Anyone else here remember the oil shale debacle of the early '80's?  The ethanol tax credit makes more sense as a farm subsidy than an energy policy, but I'd prefer that a biodiesel subsidy also be included, if Atlasia is going to further subsidize ethanol ptoduction.
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« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2004, 07:48:16 pm »

Ernest,

I disagree with your analysis on oil refineries.  There is a reason that refineries operate at 96% today, but at 76% twenty-eight years ago.  The reason is we need more refineries.  Improvements to current refineries can only go so far and has a diminishing marginal return, since many of the old refineries have had to shut down they're so old.

Good catch on climate and altitude chagning the gas standard.

I agree we should add a biodiesel component to the tax credit.

We ought to keep the gas tax going down and find another way to fund road construction.  We need to get gas prices down, and this does it.
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« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2004, 08:52:51 pm »

Ernest,

I disagree with your analysis on oil refineries.  There is a reason that refineries operate at 96% today, but at 76% twenty-eight years ago.  The reason is we need more refineries.  Improvements to current refineries can only go so far and has a diminishing marginal return, since many of the old refineries have had to shut down they're so old.

I agrre that 96% is too high, but 76% was too low and contributed to the lack of new US refineries being built.  I don't deny that we have a pinch in refining capacity at the moment, but I am confident that the market will swing the pendulem the other way regardless of where the environmental standards are set.  The long lead time in refinery construction causes me to believe that this will not serve as a solution to our short term energy crunch.

Quote
We ought to keep the gas tax going down and find another way to fund road construction.  We need to get gas prices down, and this does it.

With approx $60/bbl oil in Atlasia, gasoline is probably around  $2.50/gal on average in Atlasia.  A 3-4% reduction in gas prices will have a very minimal effect in the short term, one that I don't feel is worth either cutting the transportation budget in half or severing the link between gas taxes and transporttation infrastructure.  Once that link is cut, one could possibly see undera future administration an increase in the gas tax with the revenue going into the general fund instead of funding transportation.  I am very leery of severing what has proven to be a very useful arrangement with the gas tax in America.  I can understand not increasing the gas tax during the current oil crisis, but I don't see a reason to cut the tax either
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« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2004, 09:46:08 pm »

I can vote for this bill.
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Platypus
hughento
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« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2004, 01:46:20 am »

I think numbers 3,5,7, and 8 are good.  

However, the basic problem I have with the bill is the general idea that we need to make oil easier for people to get and cheaper for them to get. What we need to do is get people off oil. Not just middle eastern oil, but oil in general. There is not enough oil to go around, and soon we will realize this the hard way.

This is why we have the ethanol tax credit expansion and research for hydrogen fuel.

Whether anyone likes it or not the world is dependent on oil for now.  We better make sure that its price doesn't cripple our economy or we'll never be prosperous enough to develop new ways of doing things.

Western European countries live and prosper with oil at $5.00 per gallon, why can't we?

We can't keep adjusting our laws to make it easier and cheaper to get gasoline just because it may be a little expensive at this time, eventually the oil will run out, and then our economy will suffer a huge blow. When that time will be, no one can say for sure, except that it will come soon, and it will come.

Europeans live a different style of life than we do.  They have more condensed communites, for starters, making auto travel less necessary.  How would someone in Los Angeles make a living with gas at $5 a gallon?  There is no meaningful public transit, and even if there was busses run on gasoline and rising gas costs will drive up bus fare.  In Europe, and even on some East coast cities, subways and walking are reasonable.  However, in the suburb heavy sunbelt, this is impossible.  Cars are a necessity.

There is nothing that a reasonable person could say beyond that point.  I have allocated over a billion dollars for alternative fuel research and tax credits.  25% of this bill is provisions for weaning us off oil in the future (ethanol and hydrogen) and another 25% (the CAFE provisions) is a conservation effort.

What would assuage your concerns?  Subsidies to companies or localities that build windfarms?  Tax credits for individuals that install solar panels on their houses to heat their homes?  Name something we can add to get your vote, because I think a bill with either of those amendments would easily get signed.  But this bill does no good if it doesn't give consumers direct relief (in the form of the gas tax cut) and long term relief (in the form of new regulations) for high gas prices.

In area, Melbourne Australia is thw eorlds' fifth largest city; a sprawl of suburbs that houses 5 million people. In Australia, petrol is expensive-about $A1.00 a litre-i'm not sure how that equates to gallons, but I know it is more expensive then in the US.

But this doesn't cause any problems, because despitrem ourm huge size, we have an efficient public transport system of trains, trams and buses, as does Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and all the other major Australian cities.

Petrol (gas) can be expensive and not cause major problems, as long as you use some of the money from petrol taxes etc. on tings like public transportation; one of the few areas the federal government legisltaes where money must be spent is on public transport (state governments can spend above this of course, however). Because Melbournes' system is now privatised, we get less ederal funding, but the fact is that the federal funding set up the system that can get me from my house in the inner south of the city to the outer west in 40 minutes; the outer northeast in an hour and a quarter, and my school in 45 minutes, all by cheap bus, tram or train-$A3.00 for a daily ticket.

Considering the size of Melbourne, and the price of petrol, I'd have to say your arguments don't fully fit, John. The 'car culture' isn't only around because of the sprawls in cities like LA; it's around because nobody does anything to change it like they did here.
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