Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Fuel Efficiency and Time Trade-offs

By Dave Anderson:

Useful hydrocarbon fuels allows mechanized societies and individuals to trade embedded heat for time, distance and effort. Cheap gasoline has encouraged American suburbanization for the past sixty years, cheap coal encouraged the British Industrial Revoluation.  Accessible peat pushed the Dutch to industrialize.  And as technology allows a fuel to be used more efficiently, it tends to get used more because it is quite useful and now cheaper per unit of trade-off. 

The key question for optimists who expect technological saviors to the carbon sink crisis is whether or not the empircal reality that more efficient carbon burning processes will lead to lower carbon emissions for the same or more trade-offs.  Brad Plumer asks this question :

There�s a long-standing debate among energy wonks over what�s known as the �rebound effect.� The idea, simply put, is that trying to boost energy efficiency might prove counterproductive if people just take advantage of the savings by using even more energy. So, for example, if a person buys a Prius, there�s a possibility that he or she could just negate much of the fuel savings by driving more....

new research from Shakeb Afsah and Kendyl Salcito of CO2Scorecard suggests that the rebound effect might not be a huge concern for fuel-efficient cars after all. The two compared a sample of 4,208 Prius owners in California against 4.8 million other drivers in the state. And what they found is that Prius drivers only drive, on average, about 0.5 percent more per year.

This makes sense as the cost of gasoline is not the dominant cost of driving.  The IRS gives a deduction of 55.5 cents per mile in 2012.  That 55.5 cents is broken down into depreciation (23 cents per mile), maitenance, insuance and fuel.  The fuel component breaks down to 17 cents or so per mile.  The one big cost that the IRS does not allow people to deduct is the value of their time.  If we assume that the average American values their time at 38 cents per minute (given average US wage per BLS), and average speed is about 30 miles per hour, the total cost of driving a mile is $1.30.  A reduction of a few pennies per mile due to efficiency won't significantly change behavior.

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