Moreover the implementation of excise taxes levied

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Unformatted text preview: Measures to Promote Conservation’, ‘endorse[d] the use of special incentives to encourage further investment in energy-saving capital goods and consumer durables because conserving energy is as important as increasing the supply’ [emphasis in original] (1975: 23). It suggested specifically in its report the use of a ‘luxury’ tax to discourage the purchase of large, less efficient, automobiles. Moreover, the implementation of ‘excise taxes levied annually and collected with state registration fees also might serve to encourage quicker scrapping of cars that consume above-average amounts of gasoline’ (1977: 23–4). Finally, the ‘Task Force favor[ed] the continuation of such energy-conserving measures as reasonable speed limits on highways’ (1977: 24). The task force on the international oil crisis did not set out specific conservation proposals. Instead, it deferred to the energy policy task force on this (1975: 15). Increased energy efficiency can lead to overall lower levels of petroleum consumption. Energy savings from increased efficiency, however, can be offset by increased economic growth. This is especially the case within sprawled urban regions, where greater levels of economic activity can lead to a larger workforce driving to and from work and increased demand for spacious homes on the urban periphery. Therefore, whereas automobiles may become more fuelefficient, in the context of diffusely organised cities more automobiles and longer driving distances can lead to greater overall gasoline/oil consumption – in spite of gains made in fuel efficiency . This is precisely what has transpired in the US. The current US automobile fleet is more efficient than the US automotive fleet of the early 1970s (Energy Information Administration, 2004: 57). Because, however, of a substantially enlarged automobile population and ever-increasing amounts of driving, gasoline/diesel consumption in the US today substantially exceeds that of the 1970s. In 1970 automobile driving in the US consumed 7.1 million barrels per day of petroleum, whereas by 2001 that figure increased to 10.1 million – accounting for over half of US petroleum consumption (Rutledge, 2001: 10).11Because, largely, of the steady growth of gasoline/diesel consumption in the US, its economy consumes 25% of the world’s total petroleum. This is especially glaring because in the aftermath of the spike in oil prices in the 1970s, US factories and utilities shifted from petroleum-based fuels to other sources of energy (mainly coal, natural gas and nuclear power) (Philip, 1994: 195; Rutledge, 2005: ch.1). 41 Last printed 9/4/2009 7:00:00 PM Oil DDW 2012 1 Transportation Key 42 Oil DDW 2012 1 Transportation efficiency improvements greatly decrease oil consumption Jaffe, Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University , 08 Amy Myers Jaffe, Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at...
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