According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “In 2020, about 123.49 billion gallons of finished motor gasoline were consumed in the United States, an average of about 337 million gallons per day.”
If you find those numbers staggering, take a minute to fully appreciate that it is the lowest recorded annual consumption since 1997! With travel restrictions in place on account of the pandemic, gasoline consumption took a nosedive last year.
It is a known and generally accepted fact – fossil fuel emissions contribute considerably to greenhouse gases. Many believe that they contribute significantly to climate change.
Now, here's an idea or proposition that has the potential to change the game: increasing the price of gasoline, the primary polluter, to fund pollution-reduction measures.
The question is: are customers willing to pay a few cents extra at the gas station? The Investor's Business Daily/TIPP Poll asked 1,305 Americans how much of an increase they are willing to bear if it means a significant reduction in air pollution.
The data reveals that more than half would be willing to pay five cents more, but more than a quarter are opposed to any addition to the prices. In general,
- 56% support a five cents increase to reduce air pollution
- 28% oppose a five cents increase for environmental benefits
- 16% are undecided
Not surprisingly, the survey found an inverse relationship between proposed price increases and support for the idea: larger the increase – fewer willing Americans. Only a handful was willing to pay around a dollar, though forty percent agreed to a 10 cent raise.
- 56% - 5 cents
- 40% - 10 cents
- 26% - 25 cents
- 14% - 50 cents
- 8% - 75 cents
- 6% - 1 dollar
With the staggering volume of consumption, even an increase of a few cents in gasoline prices can add up to billions of dollars in a year. Revenue from the additional cents could improve mass transit systems, build renewable energy infrastructure such as charging stations for EVs, boost R&D in alternative clean energy sources such as hydrogen, and create jobs in the renewable energy sector.
Americans’ love for road trips has been steadily climbing over the years. An IBD/TIPP Poll conducted in late May found that 75% of those traveling this summer will do so in cars. On average, Americans drive around 13,400 miles per year. That adds up to approximately 3.4 trillion miles annually!
While hiking gasoline prices to deter driving will not go down well with motorists, investing the revenue generated to offset the emission problem may find traction with many.
Some states like California have already implemented “special gasoline requirements that increase the cost of refining and transportation, and other programs designed to reduce smog and haze,” leading to higher than the national average gasoline prices in the state.
While the environmental problem may seem overwhelming, progress is being made in addressing it. The U.S. has cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 12 percent since 2005.
Various stakeholders in transportation and allied sectors are putting forward proposals to cut CO2 emissions from vehicles, with comprehensive plans to achieve the set goals.
The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is one such initiative bringing together Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states “to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.” Plans that bolster the use of electric vehicles by developing EV Fast Charging Corridors in the region will further popularize alternatives to fossil fuels. By working together, these states propose “to cut greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles in the region by an estimated 26% from 2022 to 2032.”
With systematic planning and upgraded infrastructure, such goals are achievable. With enthusiastic participation from all stakeholders, administrations, and communities, such initiatives can contribute significantly to the planet's longevity.
Half the pleasure of a road trip is the breathtaking beauty of the landscape that is whizzing past. To ensure that the planet remains beautiful, each of us will have to contribute in one way or another. It just might start with shelling out a few more cents at the gas pump!
The U.S. government has imposed an import ban on China-made solar panel material and taken other actions against Chinese companies over allegations of forced labor in an effort to root out unethical practices from U.S. supply chains.
According to the White House, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has decided to block imports of silica-based products made by Hoshine, based on information "reasonably indicating" that the Xinjiang-based company has used forced labor to manufacture the items.
The administration also said it is translating into action the pledges made by the Group of Seven industrialized countries during a summit meeting earlier this month to address forced labor in global supply chains.
Silica is a raw material used to make components for solar panels, electronics, and other goods.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department added to its trade blacklist five Chinese entities, including Hoshine and the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corp.
No shots were fired on a British destroyer in the Black Sea, and Russia’s explanation of the incident was “predictably inaccurate,” British Secretary of Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs Dominic Raab said.
Russia said it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of the Royal Navy destroyer, the HMS Defender, to chase it out of waters Moscow claims in the Black Sea off the Crimean Peninsula.
“No shots were fired at HMS Defender,” Raab told reporters in Singapore during a visit to discuss trade deals.
“The Royal Navy ship was conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters. We were doing so in accordance with international law, and the Russian characterization is predictably inaccurate,” he added.
Britain has played down the incident.
Russia seized and annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and considers areas around its coast to be Russian waters. Western countries deem Crimea to be part of Ukraine and reject Russia’s claim to the seas around it.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told visiting junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing that Moscow is committed to strengthening military ties with Myanmar.
"We are determined to continue our efforts to strengthen bilateral ties based on the mutual understanding, respect, and trust that have been established between our countries," RIA quoted Shoigu.
Min Aung Hlaing was in the Russian capital to attend a security conference this week. Rights activists have accused Moscow of legitimizing Myanmar's military junta, which came to power in a Feb. 1 coup, by continuing bilateral visits and arms deals.
Russia said in March it was deeply concerned by the rising number of civilian deaths in Myanmar. Defense ties between the two countries have grown in recent years, with Moscow providing army training and university scholarships to thousands of soldiers and selling arms to a military blacklisted by several Western countries.
The network recommended groups that support violence against civilians to users who had ‘liked’ military-linked pages, a rights group said
Facebook’s recommendation algorithm amplifies military propaganda and other material that breaches the company’s own policies in Myanmar following a military takeover in February, rights group Global Witness said in a report.
One month after the Burmese military seized power in the country and imprisoned elected leaders, Facebook’s algorithms were still prompting users to view and “like” pro-military pages with posts that incited and threatened violence, pushed misinformation that could lead to physical harm, praised the military, and glorified its abuses, Global Witness said.
It filtered the search results to show pages and selected the top result — a military fan page whose name translates as “a gathering of military lovers.”
Older posts on this page showed sympathy for Myanmar’s soldiers, and at least two advertised for young people to join the military — but none of the newer posts since the coup contravened Facebook policies.
However, when Global Witness’ account “liked” the page, Facebook began recommending related pages with material inciting violence, false claims of interference in an election last year’s and support of violence against civilians.
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