Friday, May 02, 2008

Reduce Government Consumption of Energy

(The point of this post happens halfway down)

It was fun taking a ride on the FrontRunner.

While riding the train is fun recreation, I can't see how this thing is going to solve the current energy crisis. Back of the envelop calculations tell me that government subsidized transportation will never be the most efficient means of getting around.

On this note, it is interesting that the UTA used the publicity blitz surrounding the grand opening of the FrontRunner to demand a rate hike. The press release notes that UTA will consume 6.1 million gallons of deisel a year. The amount of fuel consumed by UTA is increasing dramatically with each year. The article doesn't mention the amount of electricity, natural gas and gasoline they consume.

We don't solve the energy crisis simply by switching the mode of energy consumption from a private to public entity. Organizing one's life to use public transit does not necessarily reduce one's carbon footprint.

Organizing one's life to get the maximum return from the resources invested does. Biking and walking does the trick.

As for UTA. The UTA tells us we have an either or choice. Either they raise prices or cut service. Rising prices pushes mass transit out of the reach of many people in the valley. So, the either or thinking really doesn't hack it.

We need to have our eyes on the total consumption of fuel. As such, the UTA should be cutting inefficient routes regardless of what they do with the pricing.

Now to the Point

As mentioned earlier, McCain's tax vacation does not address the cause of our current energy crisis.

If our government wished to take a positive step to addressing the current energy crisis, what it should undertake a major effort to decrease the government's consumption of energy.

If the government wanted to make a positive impact on the economy, they should look at government consumption of energy. Imagine an emergency program where the US government program sought an immediate reduction of 5% of its consumption of fuel. If our governments were to cut their consumption of energy, it would reduce the deficit and ease pressures on prices. Its impact would be substantially greater than a gas tax holiday.

Unfortunately, what we seem to be doing is leaning more heavily on public consumption of energy as people try to find ways to curb private consumption of energy.

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