Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

I wish I could share in the optimism.

The truckers may be asking questions, but are they the right ones? I am fairly certain they will not align themselves with antiwar protestors, as they undoubtedly do not see the connection between rising diesel prices and American-Corporate imperialism.

John Giarratana

Jersey City, NJ

Apr 11 2008 - 9:21pm

Web Letter

Stop whining about the cost of gasoline and do something.

The reason for the high cost of gasoline is the failure of our government to act in a responsible manner. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires a 35 mpg standard by 2020. Whoop-de-doo!!!

Evidently none of the people who created and signed this act did any research on available technology. To require 35 mpg is ridiculous. considering the achievements of Shell Oil with modified automobiles: 49.73-mpg around 1939; 149.95-mpg with a 1947 Studebaker in 1949; 244.35-mpg with a 1959 Fiat 600 in 1968; 376.59-mpg with a 1959 Opel in 1973. If you lived in Europe during 1983, you could purchase a 72 mpg diesel or 65.7-mpg gas-fueled Peugeot.

Toyota is complaining they can’t meet the mpg standard. Evidently some people at Toyota didn’t get the memo about the 104-mpg diesel sold in Europe during 2002.

Do you wonder why these automobiles were not available in the USA? In 2006 every member of the Congressional energy committees was informed of this technology, they did nothing. Ask your members of Congress for an explanation why these automobiles were not sold here (I did, they don’t respond).

A Philippine inventor has fueled engines with the components of water for more than thirty years; the Japanese have a water-fueled mini-van on the street. This is not new technology; more than 200 years ago, one of the attempts to make a self-powered vehicle was fueled with the components of water. The technology is not only applicable to automobiles, any device fueled with ”fossil” oil can be fueled with water.

In January 2007, Dominion Energy sent a “doom and gloom" letters to customers. I responded with information about commercially available water-fueled electricity generators. Dominion did not respond; consider this when paying your electric bill.

You hear, and read, of the presidential candidates expounding about our reliance on foreign oil. Yet, every candidate for President was offered a free computer disk with videos of six automobiles fueled with water, and none wanted the disk. You are told there is an oil shortage. A chairman of Exxon/mobile doesn’t think so, nor does the governor of Alaska. The governor says there is a 200-year oil supply for the USA in that state.

Documentation, and videos, for the above will be found at www.byronwine.com.

It is apparent there is an effort by our government, and major media, to keep the citizens in the dark concerning achieved energy technology. We must make all politicians, including wannabes, address the energy issue with truth and solutions, not rhetoric. Do something, don’t whine about the cost of gasoline. Demand that our employees earn their salary by action--if not, replace them.

Byron Wine

Manassas, VA

Apr 8 2008 - 4:01pm

Web Letter

One of my good buddies breathlessly panted to me the other night on the phone: "You have no idea what's going on in the blogosphere. TV & radio don't mean anything anymore."

I took this in like a giraffe, one chew at a time. When he'd finished panting and took a sip of whatever he was takin' sips of at the other end, I smiled and asked him as nonchalantly as I could: "Yeah, but can they deliver my salad stuff to me which I'm so needy of?" He chirpedly assured me they could.

My buddy's one of the smartest dudes I know. His brother and two of his brother-in-laws are now or once were truckers. One now works for a debt collection agency. I didn't ask about the other two, but he'd told me in the past they were barely making it... and that in fact, in truth, they weren't. Since that previous conversation gas prices must have gone up 30-40 percent; no doubt the fumes of the blogosphere have gone up by at least that amount in the same time span.

I hear blogophiles have conventions now, sort of like Trekkie thingys only without the... nerds? is it? I say Ms. Ehrenreich should be Secretary of Labor one day.

Or maybe just Minister to the Children of the Revolution. I know if the truckers stop delivering goods and I stop getting my prescription meds, which, I suppose, I depend on even more than my "salad stuff," Lord knows what will happen. As they say in the parlance of the vernacular mimicking the lingo: "Then, all bets will be off."

Keep up the true fight, Ms. Ehrenreich. You're the best.

Sherlock Debs

San Diego, CA

Apr 8 2008 - 11:32am

Web Letter

This is dumb. The reason the truckers aren't making any money isn't because of high fuel prices. The truckers demand lower prices, but there are people in other places who are willing to pay more for fuel than they are. Why should the truckers get to pay less than you and me?

The reason truckers aren't making any money is because, for some reason, they cannot raise their rates to accommodate for fuel costs. I feel for them, but this a problem completely internal to their industry. This is an organizational issue, not an oil issue.

The cost of fuel is being borne by the truckers, when instead it should be borne by the companies who order the goods, who then would pass it on to the end consumers--i.e., us. So really, the nation is getting a free ride on the backs of truckers, who are absorbing the cost increases that we should have seen by now.

What needs to happen is for truckers to have the freedom to tie their rates to prevailing fuel prices. Subsidies, tapping reserves, investigations, finger pointing, all these things are a mistake.

Erik Innocent

Oakland, CA

Apr 8 2008 - 2:44am

Web Letter

Truckers are in a very unenviable position. Their livelihoods are threatened by the rising cost of diesel fuel, and they don't like it. Unfortunately, they are among the many victims of our very shortsighted policies with respect to the use of fossil fuels.

Governments in most of the developed world and especially here in North American have long kept the price of fuel suppressed at prices that do not begin to cover its actual cost, and have long ignored the need to find alternatives to high emmission, low efficiency fuels and vehicles. Over the next few years our governments and businesses are going to have to make hard decisions about how goods are distributed.

The best long-term policy would likely be to have all long-distance shipping done by electric rail, with the electrical power produced by wind turbines and solar furnaces. This would allow hybrid trucks (ideally plug-in hybrids) or other environmentally friendly vehicles to be used for local distribution. This change will not take place as quickly as it probably should--there will be enormous resistance to it--and it certainly won't take place while the Republican Party controls the White House, but something along these lines must occur if we are going to avoid truly devasting consequences from global warming.

The decisions we make and the actions we take over the next ten years will determine whether average temperatures climbs by a further 1 degree C or as much as 5 degrees.

Truckers are not the only people whose livelihoods will be forced to change because of the need to address this very critical issue, and a good part of the costs of addressing it must go to help those whose livelihoods are threatened. This cannot mean, however, that fuel prices should be lowered.

I encourage everyone to read as much as they can about global warming and the need to change the way we generate and use energy. A good place to start is with Lester Brown's Plan B 3.0--it not only outlines the folly of continuing with business as usual but spells out in some detail the enormous opportunity this crisis presents to us.

Mark Hazell

Duncan, British Columbia, Canada

Apr 8 2008 - 1:31am

Web Letter

While I sympathize with truckers--and indeed everyone who has to pay for gas--their action is childish and anything but businesslike. They're asking for a handout instead of doing what their sector apparently must do--raise prices. They are breaking the law and ruining other people's commute (and likely jobs) just because they feel that they are so important.

You ask, What if all of us did this? Well, the country would collapse into complete anarchy and disrepair.There would be nothing left of America. These childish whining truckers should simply raise their prices and deal--just like the rest of us.

Eric Thorn

Jaluco, SC

Apr 7 2008 - 10:07pm

Web Letter

What if the rest of us joined them?

Excellent idea. The immediate results could be that, at least, the federal and state taxes be eliminated. The oil lobby has strange bedfellows, in that the "so called" green people are involuntary accomplices in the oil price spikes.

I was in France during 1968 when the truckers went on strike along with the student riots, and they literally shut the country down. Legislature could also do something about the mercantile and stop traders from buying and selling the same barrel of oil several times. And please stop turning good sour mash into fuel. Pork is going to cost $60 a pound and an ear of corn is already $1. Don't chickens eat corn?

Maybe the environmentalists could take a few months off.

James Pinette

Caribou, ME

Apr 7 2008 - 7:39pm