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Making a carbon tax work

June 22, 2007

Re "A new carbon standard," Opinion, June 21

I second Daniel Sperling's endorsement of a carbon tax. However, his concern that it would not work for cars and trucks can be overcome by shifting to zero-emission vehicle power systems that take their energy from the electric power grid. More than half of Southern California electric power already comes from non-combustion sources, and the rest would be influenced by a carbon tax.

Thanks to the Automotive X Prize, currently getting underway, we are finally going to have a competition of ideas for powering the cars of the 21st century. It has long been obvious to those of us working in this field that zero-emission cars can not only reduce the commuter's energy cost per mile by two-thirds or more but could drastically reduce auto smog as well as build a Southern California auto industry.




Sperling writes: "Carbon taxes ... aren't a bad idea. But ... they do not work in the transportation sector." All I can say is, nonsense.

Carbon taxation affects the price of fuel, and the price of fuel affects everyone's choice of vehicles and pattern of use.

Either we guide the "unseen hand" of pricing today, or it will dope-slap us tomorrow as world oil production slides down the far side of the Hubbert Peak.



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