Monday, November 10, 2008

a (modest) green proposal

I don't understand all I know about such things but when General Motors comes to DC looking for a bailout/infusion of capital it seems to me like a time for a sit down on a number of issues.

I'm fine with loaning them money (or buying a piece of their action) if they will agree to a couple of things.

1. there should be a target for phasing in a requirement that a certain percentage of their production is in hybrid auto technology attaining a certain mileage standard

2. there should be a target for phasing in a requirement that the rest of their fleet attain a different but significantly higher mileage and emissions standard than is now required.

3. that the recipients of this help agree to play their part in the general proposal that follows.

The federal government will also initiate a program to underwrite providing car buyers of a certain (modest middle class) income who want to trade cars of a certain profile (non-green) in for new, greener vehicles with an "augmented" trade-in value to ease the burden of increased cost of the green technology.

The car sellers would destroy the cars traded in and certify their destruction. They would get a tax credit (which perhaps would be split with the car companies) for the documented full amount of the trade in allowance they gave the buyer.

The cost of this augmented trade-in and destroy program would be in part funded by a substantial rise in the federal gas tax and a phasing out of subsidies (direct and indirect) to oil companies.

This proposal would

a. "save" the American auto industry and put it on a sustainable footing, benefiting workers and shareholders, local governments and everyone else who rely on the cash it generates.

b. "green" the auto industry, itself, and result in a gradual increase in the number of "green" automobiles on the road and decreasing the number of "ungreen" vehicles on the road with with them.

c. allow more American consumers access to such cars by increasing production and lowering the cost to them of converting

d. lessen America's demand for and reliance on foreign oil

e. spur green transportation technology

f. decrease driving (although the price per gallon increase is recouped by those who purchase higher mileage vehicles)

I could think of many more advantages, and probably can, over time, come up with ways to hook in more strategies to move forward into the post-petroleum age.

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