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Car Culture

Paper: We Love Our Cars! Defeat the Climate Change Bills!

From the mouths of college students...

Over the last couple of weeks, we read a lot of dumb newspaper opinion pieces about Mike Feuer’s legislation that would allow LA County to place a measure on the fall ballot to place a tax on vehicles that emit the most greenhouse gases.

Of all the dumb reasons to oppose transportation user fees we found, it took a student newspaper in Long Beach to get to the crux of the argument: we love our cars and won’t stop driving them no matter how much you charge us.

Now I’m over 30 and am not hip to today’s youth culture, but I thought student newspapers were supposed to be bastions of progressive thought? I guess it’s possible the paper was being so ironic that it just went over my head, but I think they’re serious. The full editorial with my comments can be read after the jump.

Just in time for tax season, assemblyman and Borat look-alike Mike Feuer has introduced a fee to help mitigate the effects of global warming.

The whimsical "climate change mitigation and adaptation fee" would either add nine cents to gas pumps or place an extra $90 on vehicle registration with "a minimum of two-thirds of [the] net fee revenues" going toward public transportation, according to Assembly Bill No. 2558.

Because many people, some even scientists, believe that cars are leading to an increased amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. The hope of the bill is that by making driving even more expensive than it already is, people will be forced to stop doing it or start using public transportation. Thus, our planet will be saved.

Borat look-alike Mike Feuer? Ooooh, sick burn.

There’s a couple of things that the paper has wrong here. The fee isn’t expected to drive people out of their cars. I can’t imagine an extra $90 registration fee is going to make someone give up their H5 with custom made baby seal skin seat covers. It’s about making the people that do the most damage to the environment with their transportation choices pay to help the people making a better choice.

We cried at all of the footage of polar bears crashing through ice sheets in "An Inconvenient Truth." And we rooted for Jake Gyllenhaal in "The Day After Tomorrow."

We don't really believe that these lofty fees will actually change citizens' driving behavior, though.

Maybe it's just our cynicism, but for some reason we don't think that the projected $400 million revenue increase for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will make the train and bus systems so appealing to Southern Californians that we'll all just give up our cars and hop on a train.

Really? I was hoping Gyllenhaal was going to get eaten by wolves. Also, what the heck was Jerry Lee Lewis doing as a scientist? But I digress...

The total funds that would be raised by Feuer’s legislation wouldn’t be $400 million, it would be $400-$600 million per year. Eventually that ought to equal some real money.

And we definitely don't believe that drivers will become so overwhelmed by the new fees that driving will become a rare endeavor in SoCal.


If the last few years of crazy gas prices and horrible traffic has taught us anything about Californians, it's that almost nothing can make us give up our cars.

SoCal's sprawling design and intricate highway system makes private transportation the ideal way of navigating the region. Those who don't drive understand how much of an inconvenience it can be living in this area if you don't have a car.

Besides, the set schedule and limited routes of public transportation make them an inefficient means of getting around in an area that is extremely time-conscious.

Ok, here we start to slip into Daily Dude territory. Yes, the transit system as it currently exists needs improvement, but that’s what this bill is about. Improving it. Besides, I can think of one group of people that disagree with you that it’s inconvenient not to own a car.

Sure, this bill may make some people feel better about themselves for supporting it. We bet that George Clooney will vote for it.

But expecting taxpayers to give up their carbon dioxide-emitting cars is unlikely. Until the people themselves decide to stop driving, no one will ever be able to make us stop loving our cars.

...but the best way to help them do that is to give them alternatives. And that’s what A. 2558 is about.

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