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Deron Lovaas
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As a middle-class transit user (and HEV driver) I just want to make sure we stick to facts and not just opinions: The latest survey I've seen finds that 34.3 percent of transit riders have incomes higher than $50k with a medium of $39k (only slightly below the national average). In metro areas where most of us live and work, transit reduces traffic gridlock for drivers and allows many of us to go about our daily business. And with metro areas attracting more and more of the nation's businesses and residents, transit's growth should continue to outpace driving's as it has for more than a decade. Having said all that, transit in this country leaves a lot to be desired, and would benefit from less regulation, more competition, and more investment which is part of what Mobility Choice is about. Mobility Choice, however, is just one of an array of strategies for giving oil a run for its money in the transportation marketplace. Real vehicle and fuel choice are central to this array, as many commenters have noted.
I disagree strongly that putting all our eggs in the cellulose E85 and FFV basket is the smartest strategy. Bending the demand curve via vehicle efficiency and mobility choice, coupled with greater fuel choice including cellulose E85 and electricity, is one strategy that is more likely to slay the oil-dependence dragon. Other fuels and technology may well play a role too. A multi-prong attack is necessary, given the scale of the challenge.
Happy to see this piece sparked so much discussion. Also that the blueprint contains some items that are familiar to some. We will keep building the coalition and pushing it in the policy arena to align our transportation policy with energy security goals. Also, I notice there's a lot of talk of what goes into the tank or battery of our vehicle fleet. Advanced biofuels and PHEVs are good bets, IMHO. The mobility choice blueprint complements these technological options by bending the demand curve so they become more scalable. The challenge is huge, yet surmountable. The 2007 energy bill chipped away at it via the CAFE and RFS programs. Now we need to build on those advances to finish the job.
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Dec 16, 2009