It seems to me if a person wanted to cut fuel use all they would have to 
do is change the system of public transport.  Instead of charging a set 
amount for city busses, charge a nickel between numbered mile stops.  A 
person is more likely to run for bread in a bus for ten cents than get 
clipped for a buck or more for a short distance.  Wouldn't it be better 
to have a thousand full busses going everywhere in a town than 25,000 
cars covering the same places with constant engine starts between 
points.  Of course it wouldn't hurt to run the busses every five to ten 
minutes apart instead of  every twenty or whatever.

Keith Addison wrote:

>- 3/13/2002 -
>Debate on fuel economy standards opens, pitting conservationists 
>against soccer moms
>Wednesday, March 13, 2002
>By H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press
>WASHINGTON - One side sees improved auto fuel economy as key to the 
>nation's energy security. The other side predicts an end to 
>affordable and safe SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks.
>The debate over how best to cut the amount of gasoline consumed on 
>U.S. highways took on an emotionally charged tone Tuesday, as the 
>Senate began considering a 50 percent boost in auto fuel efficiency.
>Critics of the proposal argue the mileage requirements, which would 
>be phased in over 13 years, can't be met without making cars smaller, 
>lighter, and less safe and limiting consumers' choices on the kinds 
>of vehicles they are able to buy. They offered an alternative that 
>would require the Transportation Department to increase auto fuel 
>efficiency within two years but set no specific standard.
>This would do nothing to improve fuel efficiency, said senators 
>seeking the 50 percent increase.
>"American women love their SUVs and minivans ... because of their 
>safety," proclaimed Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who warned that the 
>wrath of "soccer moms" would be heard if the Senate approved the 
>tougher standards. Another senator said motorists would end up "in 
>glorified golf carts."
>John Kerry, D-Mass., sponsor of the fuel economy measure, called such 
>predictions "Alice in Wonderland comments" that ignore that "we are 
>going backward" in reducing the amount of fuel used by motorists. 
>"It's a scare tactic on soccer moms," complained Kerry.
>Kerry wants automakers to increase the average mileage of their new 
>fleets to 36 miles per gallon by 2015, about 50 percent from current 
>federal standards. He insists they have the technology to do it 
>without making vehicles smaller or less safe or sacrificing the 
>popular SUVs and minivans.
>Nonsense, argue his critics. In an opening salvo Tuesday, they 
>enlisted the fear of retribution from "soccer moms" and "pickup 
>pops," who they maintain, would no longer be able to buy the vehicles 
>they love. And, they argued, it would mean lost auto industry jobs as 
>U.S. manufacturers find it harder to compete with foreign producers.
>Supporters of the new measures argued that it's impossible to address 
>the broader issue of energy conservation without dramatically 
>reducing the amount of fuel guzzled on America's highways. Passenger 
>vehicles account for 40 percent of all the oil used today, they said.
>While auto fuel efficiency increased dramatically in the late 1970s 
>and early '80s, there has been no progress since 1988, when the motor 
>fleet reached a peak of just under 26 mpg. The average for all 
>vehicles was 24 mpg in 2000, about what it was 22 years ago.
>The primary reason has been the huge popularity of sport utility 
>vehicles (SUVs) and minivans, which are subject to less stringent 
>fuel economy requirements and average about 20 mpg, as opposed to 28 
>mpg for passenger cars, according to the Environmental Protection 
>Agency. These vehicles, along with pickups, now account for nearly 
>half of all vehicles sold.
>The proposal crafted by Kerry and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would 
>close the gap between cars and SUVs in addition to boosting overall 
>mileage of vehicle fleets. In an attempt to garner additional 
>support, Kerry said he is considering exempting larger pickups. "No 
>one in America will have to drive a smaller car," insisted Kerry. 
>"The technology is available today to meet the higher standard."
>Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., said larger vehicles would be 
>sacrificed. "About the only way we could get there is to put 
>everybody into glorified golf carts," said Bond. "You'd have families 
>picking up their kids in subcompacts." Bond and Sen. Carl Levin, 
>D-Mich., offered a more industry-friendly proposal that would require 
>the Transportation Department to increase fuel economy requirements 
>but would set no specific standard. It requires the agency to 
>consider safety, job losses, industry competition, and energy 
>conservation in crafting a new rule.
>As the Senate debate unfolded Tuesday, both sides cited a study last 
>year on fuel economy by the National Academy of Sciences.
>Kerry said the study concluded that significant fuel economy gains 
>can be made using current technology over the next 10 to 15 years 
>without making vehicles smaller or sacrificing performance. The 
>report also said the costs of these improvements can be recouped 
>through fuel savings.
>Levin noted that the scientists refused to recommend a specific fuel 
>economy standard and acknowledged that past increases in fuel economy 
>led to smaller, lighter cars and thousands of additional traffic 
>Copyright 2002, Associated Press
>All Rights Reserved
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