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Bike lanes and bailouts December 9, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in attitude, bikes, politics.
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First, I must admit I’m surprised to see gasoline under $2 a gallon. I never though I’d see that again. I’ve seen gas here in Dallas for less than $1.60 per gallon. Just a few months ago it was $4 a gallon. I have trouble believing that demand has decreased enough, or supply increased, or some combination of the two, to account for a 50% price reduction. I’m not normally a conspiracy guy, and I do pretty much subscribe to the notions of Peak Oil that are so prevalent, but I can’t help but think the oil industry was taking advantage of the last days of the Bush administration to squeeze a few last megaprofits out of us.

During the campaign, Obama was talking about putting windfall profits taxes on the oil companies. Then he gets elected, and suddenly prices go down?! I think they saw the writing on the wall and lowered prices before Obama got all up in their faces.

So it looks like the “happy motoring” (Kunstler’s term) program continues, at least for a while. We’re going to bail out, or at least give a lot of money, to the Big 3 auto companies to keep them on life support. Normally I would say to hell with them, but I don’t think we need to add all those jobs to the “jobs lost” column right now. Although Robert Reich notes that even though we are supposedly doing this to save jobs, they will probably cut massive numbers of jobs anyway.  At any rate, I’ll be surprised to see them make any real changes to car design or quality, which is fine. I advocate a slow death for the auto industry, or at least a slow down-scaling of the industry. We just don’t need that many new cars on the road every year.

Infrastructure: Obama is proposing a massive public works program to rebuild infrastructure, invest in green technologies, etc. Good. I like this. Unfortunately a lot of this will go to building roads for fucking cars, instead of starting a massive redesign of our society. But whatever — its your great great great grandchildren’s money that will be paying for it. I’d just like to see some fraction of the money go to real bike path/lane/commuting projects and other good, modern, mass transit systems, so we can get off this petrochemical addiction sooner rather than later.

While they’re at it, they can rebuild the passenger rail system too.

Not sure where I’m going with this — just writing — so I’ll stop now.

End of rant.

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