Getting the story straight on effect of high gas prices
Regarding the Aug. 31 article "Drivers seek ways to save at the pump": Another way to save on gas is to ride an e-bike - a bicycle with an electrical motor that can assist when pedaling gets difficult on hills. My husband and I have one, and we've used it to get our exercise in the morning on the way to work and school. It also makes it possible to avoid rush-hour traffic on city streets. And in places where it's notoriously and chronically difficult to find free, close parking, finding a place to put a bike is usually easy in comparison.
Regarding your Aug. 26 editorial "Finding Solace in $3-a-gallon gas": Your designation of the Fischer Tropsch procedure for liquidation of Coal as "Nazi technology" disqualifies unjustly the work of German geniuses. It was not the Nazi ideology that made those inventions. In fact the procedure was used for quite some time in East Germany after the war as well, and as you correctly state is very successfully used by Sassol (SSL) in South Africa today. It will be used much more as crude reserves dwindle.
In reference to the Aug. 26 cover article, "Gas prices too high? Try Europe," and also the excellent related editorial in the same issue: I, too, cheer the high price of gasoline here in the United States! It may be the one thing that finally wakes up our short-sighted, wasteful nation, the impetus we need to finally give some serious thought to a long-term solution that includes alternative fuels, better mass transit, reduced travel, and more thoughtful purchases. Bring on the high prices and the changes that will benefit us all.
The flaw with the Aug. 26 editorial, "Finding solace in $3-a-gallon gas" is that as the price of energy rises, the price of the alternatives will also rise. Very little, if any, of the manufacturing of the hardware for the alternatives (e.g., solar panels and all the related wiring, inverters, support structures, batteries, or wind towers, turbines, blades, gears, etc.) is done by facilities that don't rely on fossil fuels. As the operating energy costs of these facilities rise, so will the cost of these products. The analysis of the profitability of alternatives needs to be conducted in units of energy (kilocalories), not dollars.
In the Aug 29 article "States tackle gas cost" outlining the different approaches being considered by some states to deal with high fuel prices, Missouri was said to be thinking about a holiday on gasoline sales taxes. In fact, Missouri does not have a state sales tax on gasoline or any other motor fuel. The state tax is charged to gasoline retailers on each gallon purchased and not on the sale to the consumer. If the state gives up some amount of gasoline tax, it would impact funds available for highway construction, which Missouri can really use.
Delano Oil Company
St. James, Mo.
I was deeply touched by Daniel Schorr's Aug. 15 column, "A good deed in Gush Katif." It is heartwarming to realize that win-win projects in battle-scarred areas of our world can be achieved. It is my prayer that the Gush Katif deal serve as a positive economic model worldwide for agencies, policymakers, government leaders, and individual philanthropists. It is an indicator that creative decisionmaking concepts, put into action, can do more for the peace process than polarizing political rhetoric.
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