Saturday, August 11, 2007

A step to the right and a step to the wrong

Today's Chicago tribune had a front page article that the mayor of London will impose a $50 a day tax on SUVs and other gas guzzling vehicles as a way to reduce congestion and carbon emissions. The new fee will roll out in February. Currently all cars entering the city's congestion zone between 7 AM and 6 PM must pay a $16 a day fee. It's an interesting concept, but I'm not sure the mayor will be able to pull it off.

On the other side of the world... in yesterday's Tribune it was reported that Illinois lawmakers finally put together that state budget proposal, a day late and a dollar short. The new budget doesn't include any new money for the CTA which is in dire need of funds. The CTA is proposing to cut service and increase fees as a result. This will only increase congestion and frustration as people taking public transit will have to wait longer for more crowded buses on slower routes to get to work. It will also increase the number of people that choose to drive resulting it even more congestion, more pollution, and more carbon emissions.

All of this talk about expensive, gas guzzling SUVs made me come up with a new idea. How about a fancy, expensive, luxury vehicle with zero emissions? The current problem with fuel-cell vehicles is they're too expensive to produce. But what if you could make a zero emission vehicle that was targeted specifically at the wealthy who could afford it. Those people would be able to show off their status while at the same time not contributing to the pollution. Think about it. The BMW Zip, the Porsche Zero, the Ferarri Terra. OK, the names need some work, but I still think it's a neat concept.