Thursday, 17 July 2008

Carbon Footprint

Ahh, the carbon tax. A perfect way for me to make enemies of my friends and tick off everyone else I meet.

But first, a little background.

The government here in BC has decided to add a tax to our gasoline - which is already taxed - to help reduce consumption and, therefore, to reduce pollution. It also applies to home heating, propane and diesel.

The tax is stating at 2.4¢ a litre (about a dime a gallon) and will rise each year. In four years it will be about 7 and a half cents. To help compensate people during the initial phase, every person in BC recently received a cheque for $100 to make it revenue neutral - sort of a way to ease you into it.

With our gas hitting $1.50 a litre ($6 a gallon), a lot of people are mad about this.

Not me.

In fact, I wish it was more. Yeah, I know it’s an unpopular stance.

Many people will not change their driving habits or what they drive if they’re told that the environment is suffering. But hit them in the pocket book and, lo and behold, people start driving less, buying fewer SUVs, and thinking about riding a bus, taking their bike or even (gulp) buying a scooter!

I think this is exactly the kickstart that people need to make real change to our environmental challenges. The only problem I have with the whole carbon tax thing is that it’s not certain that the money will go to fighting climate change.

How about this? Add 25 cents a litre ( a buck a gallon) and put that money straight into something that will really change how we do things. Public transit, zero emission vehicles, you name it.

Did I tick you off?

I’ll get off my soapbox now....


John McClane said...

It's a regressive tax.

It taxes the poor more than the rich.

Steve Williams said...

It's hard to know what the answer to the change in energy costs will be. Certainly the market will move in a certain direction but whether it leads the change or follows it is anyone's guess.

I think about General Motor's woes and can't help but think if they would produce a 60 mpg sedan for under 20K they would sell a zillion of them. But they would have to pry themselves away from the big profit incentives on trucks and SUVs. It would change the lifestyles of dealers everywhere.

But these times they are a changing...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Baron's Life said...

Difficult to say what the answer might be to global warming...
But Politicians, seeking re-elections, and portraying themselves as the green machine cannot do a thing about it neither can taxing the people.
Cheers, Berge

Conchscooter said...

As long as our leaders make a profit by having us consume more notjing will change. When they can figure out how to make conservation and sustainability profitable everything will change, and quickly. Europeans drive fun attractive small cars that get well over 35mpg. If GM,Nissan and Toyota imported those cars people might be ready to buy them. But what do I know? I ride a motorcycle.

Bruce Fawcett said...

I am in agreement with you that higher gas prices are a motive for change. The paradox (if that is what I can call it) is that once the coming and inevitable switch to electric vehicles (EV's) develops, the demand for gas will go down - thereby lowering the price for gas (even if for a short term phase).

My point - as we switch our energy economies away from hydrocarbon based fuels, the prices will come down reducing the incentive to purchase EV's.

Will that cause gas vehicles to linger longer on into the future - probably. Oh well - by then it will be like how we view cigarette smokers now - disgusting.

Do you smoke Dave?


Dave Dixon said...

Hmm - well this brought on a few comments so far....

John McClane
It may be a bit regressive, as you say, but it also hits people who use gas the most. I'm not sure how it could be made any fairer and still be effective.

Nice photos on your blog, by the way.

Wise words, as always. It's interesting to note that in today's news Ford suffered a huge loss - biggest in history at around $4 billion while Honda posted over $1 billion profit. I think domestic car companies have to wake up.

By the way, glad to see more posts on Scooter in the Sticks.

I certainly don't like to be taxed more but what else can be done to encourage people to drive less? Or to drive smaller cars? Or drive scooters? I'd be a lot happier on my Vespa if other drivers were in similar vehicles...

I think more and more, people are beginning to get it - that driving habits have to change. A carbon tax simply gives a little nudge.

Amen to driving two wheels!

An interesting idea....

No, I don't smoke anymore, but I used to - proof that people can change!

Chris said...

It's an interesting stance. It took $4/gal. to put my pick-up in the garage as a limited use vehicle.

Dave Dixon said...

Hey. one of the overpowering reasons to buy my Vespa in the first place was the savings in gas - and that was two years ago!