Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pay the Real Cost

The current story about the EPA cutting the amount of sulfur in gasoline is a perfect example of externalized costs. Big oil hates the new standards and says they'll raise the price of a gallon of gas 6 to 9 cents.

Well, so what, big oil? The cost of more pollution in the atmosphere is borne as health care costs by all of us, including those who don't drive at all. Why shouldn't the person who gets the benefit of driving pay for that cost instead?

And on a similar topic... the New York Times reports that traffic delays in U.S. cities are increasing, which they report as a good thing because it means the economy is improving. Their graphs show data from the Gridlock Index. Clearly, wasteful idling is up in L.A., San Francisco, Honolulu, and particularly New York. It's not up in Washington, D.C., though, which is reported to have had the most consistently strong economy. Congestion is down in European cities, reflecting, it is said, their lack of recovery.

Free public transit with expanded bus routes would cut down on both congestion and pollution, gutting not only the oil companies and but also our CO2 output. So many things to recommend it, but it's never even discussed.

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