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Monday, May 15, 2006
In Too Much of a Hurry to Stop Guzzling Gas
Starting today, New Jersey, as a kind of a thank-you to drivers of hybrid cars, is letting them use HOV lanes up near New York City. Meanwhile, Texas wants to boost the speed limit on a couple of highways to 80 m.ph. These contradictory-sounding moves have one thing in common: The government fiddles while gasoline burns. Brazil already has so many ethanol-burning flex cars, it needs no foreign oil. Why can't we take more drastic actions? Tax breaks for companies for every employee who works at home? A switch to a four-day work week? No highway or bridge tolls for cars that need no imported oil? Tax deductions for commuter bicycles? (A rush-hour race in town this afternoon, by the way, pits a bike against a car and mass transit. It's part of Bike Week.) But, one suspects, those are just meager starting points, not incentive enough to trigger significant change in a pampered affluent leadership-lacking society loathe to sacrifice short-term comfort and convenience for long-term gain. What do you think needs to be done?