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1.9 Billion Gal. Fuel Wasted: Traffic Jams

Traffic Jam & Smog
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A car that is sitting still with the engine running is getting negative miles per gallon (gas is being used but the vehicle is not moving). When you take into account the effect this has nationally, American's end up wasting 1.9 billion gallons of gasoline in traffic jams every year. This costs American's over $100 Billion dollars per year. Air traffic resulting from poorly designed traffic control systems also wastes about 3 billion gallons of fuel every year. This costs Airlines over $150 billion dollars per year. These problems are not just about money either....

All of the nasty toxic smog fumes released in these fuel wasting traffic jam phenomena are linked to autism, brain damage, cancer, COPD, asthma and heart disease. Fuel waste is not just wasteful in terms of fiscal terms, the smog forming emissions released from the waste of these fuels has extremely costly negative impacts on human health: the costs of which are then burdened into our health care system.

That $4/gal you pay for your fuel does not even begin to cover the costs that the use of that fuel places on our economy. If you factor in all of the hidden non-obvious costs (externalities), then the realized total cost per gallon is much closer to $15/gal. No matter how you cut it, we are paying the real total costs for every gallon of gasoline one way or the other. 

Foreign oil is an economic problem for the United States and most other net-oil importing industrialized countries. With foreign oil, each of us is indirectly supporting terrorism and human rights violations. With every $1 we spend on fossil fuels, every gallon we burn, we are voting to produce toxic smog forming emissions that make us sick with costly deadly life ruining diseases.  

The solution to theses problems can been observed in Hybrid Vehicle technology. These hybrid vehicles use significantly less fuel then conventional non hybrids. Using the total fuel cost impacts: driving a 45MPG vehicle 200,000 miles will cost the US economy $67,000. Using the total fuel cost impacts: driving a 15MPG vehicle 200,000 miles will cost the US economy $200,000. 

Fuel efficient vehicles save their owners money. When people go out and buy new vehicles, the vote they cast has a long term impact. Even when they sell their once new vehicle as used to a new party, that vehicle continues to operate for many years. So when you see a new big fuel guzzler driving around, know  that the impact of that vehicle is greater than just a fiscal drain on the owners wallet: their smog belching steam punk urban SUV tank will have decades of negative impacts on our economy, on the operators finances, and on the health and well being of everyone who ends up breathing the fumes emitted from these fuel wasting beasts.

I am not upset with the owners of fuel wasting vehicles: their choice to buy these gas guzzling monstrosities was a misguided one based on a lack of knowledge. God warns in the bible "my people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge". The majority of these people probably do not appreciate the scale or magnitude of the problems they create with their choice buy and drive vehicles that waste fuel. 

The problem with wasting fuel in traffic jams is another problem related to an incompetent government, translated into poorly designed traffic signalling and control systems. I often like to draw a comparison between the way that municipalities route and control traffic verses the way the human body routes and controls the movement of blood: the former an ad-hok non-networked chaotic discontinuous wasteful mess and traffic jam, the latter a fluid well designed smooth running efficient and adaptive networked system of life. 

Poor education and deranged public policy are at the core of these problems. We need to focus on educating each-other with pragmatic useful and relevant information. We need to hold our policy makers accountable such that they implement the best available science into the formation of laws and regulatory measures to combat problems that the public collectively faces. 

Fuel wasting in traffic jams are a multifaceted problem with numerous negative impacts on our economy, environment, human health and well being. We therefor owe it to ourselves and our future to address these problems with prudent well grounded solutions. Oil is not an infinite source of energy, it is an unsustainable source of carbon energy that is being rapidly depleted. Drilling for more oil is therefor not a long term energy solution. We need to figure out how to go father with less fuel. We need to make lifestyle choices that help us to spend less on gas so that we have more to spend on other more durable, interesting, enjoyable or useful areas of our lives.

As Albert Einstein so eloquently wrote "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" 

We need to move beyond the limited dirty fossil fuel paradigm to a fuel of clean, sustainable, abundant and renewable energy. Faux news can blabber on and on about the DOE and Solyndra, but their muck raking misrepresentations and disinformation is only that which runs counter to the interests of our future. The GOP and Big Oil have their hands so far up their bank accounts that they are incapable of any form of objectivity when speaking about American energy. Their mantra of Drill Drill Baby Drill falls on the deaf ears of the educated people who know that American sits on %2 of the global oil reserves/ while consuming %25 of the oil that is produced.

Even GOP evangelist Bob Lutz (former GM CEO) was talking about the Chevy Volt he said "I am, sadly, coming to the conclusion that all the icons of conservatism are deliberately not telling the truth!" furthermore going on to say "I Give Up On Correcting The Wrong-Headed Right Over The Volt."

Interestingly, Texas oil magnate Lee Spiekerman recently went on Faux news and praised the extended range electric vehicle Chevy Volt forward backward and upside down as the "American iPhone of the Automotive Sector" ; as "One of the best ways to transition America away from shipping $35 billion per year to Hugo Chavez and $70 billion per year to OPEC" I almost could not believe my ears ~ He even goes on to clear up the facts by stating that the VOLT was promoted by Bush during its early development, and that the $7500 tax rebate for electric vehicles was pushed through by the Bush administration. Most GOP like to claim the VOLT and EV tax credit is socialist economic engineering by extreme leftists in Obama's administration, when in fact these two advances in public policy and the private vehicle sector predated Obama's administration by more than 2 years. Kudos to Faux host Steve Doocy and Mr. Spiecherman for telling the truth on national TV: what a refreshing change ^^ ahhhhh

Update: President Bush junior buys his son Neil a Chevy Volt as a birthday present.

Update: Bob Lutz blasts 'right-wing talk show guys' for Volt criticism, predicts record sales in March

This blog post was based on and adapted from the following articles:

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