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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 04-10-07, 09:35 AM   #1
jeffremer
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"Guzzle" Fee for High-Emission Vehicles

Not sure if this is already a dead horse or not, but I figured this was the best place to discuss it...

The jist is that a new bill has been committee approved and pitched to the California legislature wherein consumers who buy new high-emission vehicles such as Hummers, Ford Expeditions, etc, would pay a $2500 fee up front. The kicker is that the $2500 goes straight into the pockets of consumers who buy low-emission vehicles such as the Toyota Prius or the Civic Hybrid in the form of a rebate.

Saw this on the news this morning and I smiled, but still I can't help thinking that commuting and car-free cyclists are once again getting the shaft. Of course it is our choice and we get the costs and benefits of choosing to be car-free, but surely it's not a far step from this to give a person who has given up driving entirely a small rebate to help with the cost of buying, owning, and maintaining a bicycle. As long as the state government is taxing SUV drivers and promoting sustainable transit you'd think that car-free cyclists ought to get some of the benefits whether it be in the form of a rebate or even just a fund to improve cycling awareness, safety, and quality in one way or another.

I realize this notion is pretty idealistic, but I can't help thinking that it's not entirely unrealistic.
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Old 04-10-07, 02:09 PM   #2
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Realistically, the overwhelming majority of Californians own cars and use them as their primary mode of transportation, so in order to have the greatest impact, we need to address the behaviors of the motorists. Furthermore, I don't think the cost of cycling is preventing people from riding bicycles. Bicycles are already very cheap to own and operate. Simply riding more and driving less can save a lot of money, but that doesn't seem to be sufficiently motivating to people. And since most people in America by bicycles for recreation rather than transportation, I think motorists would see a rebate on bicycles as some kind of subsidy for leisure.

If our goal is to increase cycling as a share of the transportation, I think we should look to industrialized nations with a lot of cycling like the Netherlands, Denmark, England, and Canada, and adopt the kinds of policies they have that have been effective at encouraging cycling. I would guess that more bike lanes and bike paths, more secure bicycle parking, and high gas taxes would do a lot more to encourage cycling than a subsidy on the purchase of a new bicycle would do.
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Old 04-10-07, 02:23 PM   #3
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I think we should look to industrialized nations with a lot of cycling like the Netherlands, Denmark, England, and Canada,
Hmmmm...which of these is not like the others? I'm not sure Canada belongs on that list.
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Old 04-10-07, 02:43 PM   #4
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Hmmmm...which of these is not like the others? I'm not sure Canada belongs on that list.
It's all relative. Despite the colder climate, Canadians cycle about three times as much as Americans. There was a very interesting study done recently that compared cycling in Canada and the United States and attempted to identify the causes for disparity. The differences appeared to be the Canada has tended to adopt policies that encourage cycling or conditions that are conducive to cycling. It's a very interesting study and I recommend reading it:

http://www.policy.rutgers.edu/facult...icyArticle.pdf
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Old 04-10-07, 03:55 PM   #5
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I don't have a car free lifestyle. But so far this year I have really been making a attempt to do errands on my bike, I have also gotten my dad and brother more into it.

I do think something needs to be done in order to get more people to bike. Like more bike paths and bike parking would be great. I also like the idea of the added price and the rebate.
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Old 04-10-07, 04:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icycle
I would guess that more bike lanes and bike paths, more secure bicycle parking, and high gas taxes would do a lot more to encourage cycling than a subsidy on the purchase of a new bicycle would do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffremer
As long as the state government is taxing SUV drivers and promoting sustainable transit you'd think that car-free cyclists ought to get some of the benefits whether it be in the form of a rebate or even just a fund to improve cycling awareness, safety, and quality in one way or another.
Asked and answered.

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Originally Posted by Icycle
Furthermore, I don't think the cost of cycling is preventing people from riding bicycles. Bicycles are already very cheap to own and operate. Simply riding more and driving less can save a lot of money, but that doesn't seem to be sufficiently motivating to people. And since most people in America by bicycles for recreation rather than transportation, I think motorists would see a rebate on bicycles as some kind of subsidy for leisure.
Some (very few) employers give their employees commuter benefits in the form of parking, public transit reimbursement, or even a little money to help buy a bike. No one's saying that money is the reason people don't bike, in fact, as you pointed out, riding a bike instead saves money. But that doesn't mean that some people wouldn't consider biking to work more often if their employer or even the government reimbursed them for part of the bike purchases.

The news story just made me smile; relax, I'm not asking for money, but hey would you turn it down, especially if it came out of some Hummer-driver's pockets? But yeah, I'd rather see it go toward education and improvement.
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Old 04-10-07, 04:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Icycle
It's all relative. Despite the colder climate, Canadians cycle about three times as much as Americans. ...

http://www.policy.rutgers.edu/facult...icyArticle.pdf

Thanks very much!
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Old 04-10-07, 04:43 PM   #8
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Sorry, I didn't read your posting closely enough. I still don't think that a surcharge on new automobiles is the best way to fund support for bicycle transportation. The motorists would revolt!

Actually, Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon has introduced legislation in Congress that would allow employers to extend the existing Transportation Fringe Benefit to bicycle commuters as well. It would be nice if it passes. I certainly would not turn down a few bucks a month of tax except money to offset my bike commuting expenses!

To bring thing back around to the topic at the start of the thread, I am very much in favor of California's new feebate proposal, and I sincerely hope it passes. I would love for everyone to ride bicycles, but if we could at least get them to change from giant SUVs to small, fuel efficent cars, that would at least be a step in the right direction.
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Old 04-10-07, 04:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icycle
Sorry, I didn't read your posting closely enough. I still don't think that a surcharge on new automobiles is the best way to fund support for bicycle transportation. The motorists would revolt!

Actually, Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon has introduced legislation in Congress that would allow employers to extend the existing Transportation Fringe Benefit to bicycle commuters as well. It would be nice if it passes. I certainly would not turn down a few bucks a month of tax except money to offset my bike commuting expenses!

To bring thing back around to the topic at the start of the thread, I am very much in favor of California's new feebate proposal, and I sincerely hope it passes. I would love for everyone to ride bicycles, but if we could at least get them to change from giant SUVs to small, fuel efficent cars, that would at least be a step in the right direction.
+1 and a
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