Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is being green being good?

Good News Good News Read All About It! This was the call newspaper vendors used to shout in order to promote sales of their paper to passersby. These days we don’t have too many vendors and in fact we don’t have too many newspapers. In the past month several newspapers in large cities have entered bankruptcy reorganization. I am truly fortunate to write Green Machine for the Tiburon Ark and not the Chicago Sun Times nor the Chicago Tribune as both of these papers are in bankruptcy reorganization.

So what good news do I have for my readers? Today is income tax day and that is good news for the government. The good news for those paying income taxes is that at least they had income. The Chicago newspapers did not have any. The State of California is crying crocodile tears over the reduced tax collection from motor fuels. Gasoline demand in the Golden state declined in 2008 by 4.1% compared with 2007. Diesel demand declined even faster with a corresponding drop of 8.3%. Betty Yee the Chairwoman of the State Board of Equalization put on a happy face as California will meet the Kyoto Protocol due to the reduction in hydrocarbon liquid sales. The reduction in diesel is primarily due to the massive drop in economic activity so let us not celebrate to quickly about our collective greenness. The total taxable gallons of gasoline sold in California in 2008 equaled 15.032 billion gallons. This is the lowest volume of taxable gallons of gasoline since 2001. The data for the taxable gallons of gasoline sold in California for each of the past ten years are available on the following web page The taxable gallons of diesel sold in California in 2008 equaled 2.827 billion gallons, the lowest value since 2003. The data for the taxable gallons of gasoline sold in California for each of the past ten years are available on the following web page
Unfortunately the number of employees working for the State of California increased by 4.8 % between 2003 and 2008. I have a suggestion for the Governator that we limit the growth in government employees to growth in gallons of motor fuel that are sold in the state each year. This proposal would make Proposition 11 look like Chapter 11 for the State Government. We know for sure the volume of motor fuel sold will decrease in the next few years as SUVs become Such Ugly Vehicles. Since Arne is the Jolly Green Giant and a fiscal conservative he should approve of my suggestion on how to limit the size of government. The reduction of 640 million gallons of gasoline consumption in our state in 2008 equals a reduction of over 6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Let’s not get too excited about how we are saving the planet, we still had carbon dioxide emissions that exceeded 150 million tons from all the gasoline we burned last year. I have a suggestion for saving even more gasoline in the future. Let’s all buy newspapers and stay at home and read instead of driving in our cars. I know some of you may think the printing and distribution of newspapers is energy intensive. I will discuss this in an upcoming article and demonstrate that driving a car each day is many fold more carbon intensive than reading a newspaper each day. We also need a vibrant free press if we wish to keep the goodness going in our country.