So President Obama has announced that milage standards for new cars will reach 39 miles per gallon and 30 miles per gallon for new light trucks by 2016. This will an impact on consumption, but a generation will pass before a significant number of lower mpg automobiles are replaced by new higher mpg vehicles. If the goal is reduce oil consumption and pollution (I’ll leave congestion, vehicle collision deaths, wasted time spent driving and the unsustainable infrastructure of our auto-dependent society alone for the moment) what else could we do that would benefit far more people and have a much greater impact?
- Fund mass transit expansion, providing alternatives to driving
- Incentivize mass transit passes instead of parking spaces for businesses
- Build, paint, designate bicycle paths and routes and provide for bicycles on mass transit
- Pay-per-mile auto insurance, removing some of the sunk cost in car ownership and more accurately expressing insurance cost
- Increase the gas tax and index it to the price per gallon