Monday, April 10, 2006

Try to save the earth, and what do you get?

To reward fuel-efficient drivers, the California government grants them access to carpool lanes, even when they aren't carrying any passengers. But according to an article in today's L.A. Times, other drivers are beginning to get pissed off by the fact that the lanes are frequently clogged by Priuses and Honda hybrids. They also accuse the hybrid drivers of intentionally driving slowly in order to maximize fuel efficiency, and argue that, as a result, the advantages of using carpool lanes have all but disappeared.

I applaud the California government for its attempt to reward environmentally conscious drivers, but I do wonder if there might not be a better solution. Road rage doesn't seem like much of a "thank you."


Blogger Roelieboelie said...

How about we add a separate (new) lane for energy efficient vehicles, and then they can drive there. Of course then you'd also need a separate lane for energy efficient vehicle drivers that do want to go faster but they wouldn't be allowed in the regular carpool lane anymore, because then the risk of 'slow' hybrid drivers holding up traffic flow exists again. But as soon as there are a certain number of energy efficient vehicles on the road, their lanes would actually end up being slower than all the other lanes, discouraging people from buying one... so we'll need to add yet another lane for them.

Of course, then we could just make all the lanes narrower and make a separate truck lane that is wider. But trucks will want to pass trucks (obviously!), so you'll need two lanes. And after all, it is California, so we'll need a separate Hummer lane. But should we then forbid the hybrid drivers to be in the Hummer-lane? I mean, what if they'll purposefully drive slowly in them just to make driving Hummers less desirable? But by that same token we should forbid the Hummers to be in any of the narrow lanes, because frankly, that's dangerous. And what if there's an exit on the left? We'll need lots of bridges so that the lanes can all go over and under one another. At least we'll create some more demand on jobs in the concrete and steel industries. Unless of course we can no longer compete with foreign companies providing these, because California has now had to raise both its private as well as business taxes to get funding for all this. So we'll actually lose jobs. And ultimately we'll end up with an LA that looks like the town in "The Fifth Element" where they simply were forced to make flying cars because the bottom 20 floors of each building is completely engulfed in smog. Unless of course the loss of jobs leads to less people being able to avoid a car. And it's not the hybrid drivers, nor is it the Hummer drivers that will lose their jobs, so they'll get to keep their cars; but it's those who cannot afford to buy and/or drive either of these that will. So, the 'regular' car lanes will now become totally neglected and rapidly deteriorate and become like the road-projects, where only those outdated cars that get between 8 and 35 miles per gallon drive.

I think I'll just wait for the automatic freeway that you simply log into the moment you leave your house, or the kind in "I, Robot"... Or better yet, I'll work from home as soon as I can. I've always had a thing for doing business in my underwear. And besides, roads are so old news by then!

Nice pickup on that story, Mel!


7:31 PM  

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