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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Gas Prices, Science, and Democracy

It looks like the Congress may finally start tightening fuel economy standards.  One fact I find astonishing is that the entire daily Chinese demand for oil—for a population at least three times greater than ours—is about 6 million gallons per day, and the U.S. demand about 21 million gallons per day. Even more astonishing is that the increase in U.S. demand over the past ten years is nearly as great as the entire current Chinese demand.  As the chart on the bottom of this page shows, U.S. conservation policy is really lacking.

That’s a tragic result of blind faith that “market forces” or “new technologies” (dei ex machina if ever there were some!) would rescue us whenever oil ran short.   We set up administrative agencies like the Department of Transportation to inject scientific rationality into government when democratic politics rewards those who promote magical thinking.  We deserve a lot better than the fuel standards we’ve been getting.  Let’s hope this lawsuit gets some traction…however long a shot it is as a matter of settled administrative law.

Posted by Frank3 on May 4, 2006 at 09:08 AM in Law and Politics | Permalink


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