Category Archives: Energy

Happy birthday Gas Tax, it’s time to go!

Descending

Traffic congestion (right) won’t change until we give transit infrastructure (left) a better footing on which to compete.

Today’s apparently the birthday of the Yosemite National Park, NASA, and also the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax.

It’s time to go. Peter Rogoff, the administrator of the Federal Transit Administration said as much yesterday at the American Public Transportation Association annual meeting.

A meeting attendee asked Rogoff, during the Q&A session following his speech, about the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, where gas tax revenues go, and from which payments for road, transit, and bike projects are drawn. Rogoff replied,

We see a lot of governors taking this on. Wyoming raised its gas tax 15 cents. And on any given weekend there are more Democrats drinking beer in my backyard than in the entire Wyoming legislature. All options are being considered. Gas tax has diminishing returns. We can’t simultaneously lower independence on foreign oil and fund transportation systems dependent on the consumption of oil.

Here’s why the per-gallon gas tax is unsustainable: it loses purchasing power because of inflation. If it were sales tax based on the total cost of your fillup, this would be a completely different story, by decreasing driving instead of decreasing gas use (and yes, they are different because as cars become more fuel efficient, driving can remain the same or go up while gas use can remain the same or go down).

So “goodbye gas tax, hello mileage tax?”

Cross-posted to the Center for Permaculture and Appropriate Technology.

An app to find places to see permaculture and appropriate technology firsthand

Center for Permaculture and Appropriate Technology app

A screenshot of the Center for Permaculture and Appropriate Technology web app.

I’ve started developing a mobile-oriented web application to provide visitors a brief overview of the permaculture and appropriate technology and then locate the nearest opportunity to visit an organization that practices permaculture or appropriate technology.

The app, in a short walkthrough, will describe how these concepts fit into sustainable building and community design because these concepts are the best methods for eliminating the need for energy use at the current levels in developed countries and that require fossil fuels.

You can demo the app right now.

We’re collecting information about places in North America where permaculture and appropriate technology practices are used. See our current database and leave a comment below with your suggestion about additional locations. (Not every location we’re listing needs to be publicly accessible; in those cases where the public is unable to see the work, this provides the contact information for interested persons to make their own introductions.)