Arno's EnergyIdeas (14)
About taxes as steering devices
The German federal government is having a hard time in summer 2008, to evaluate the difficult question, how to find workable compromises in the future taxation of motor vehicles. It will in future no longer be based on engine capacity, but on emissions of carbon dioxide, that means on consumption.
On the first glimpse this seams to be a good idea, motorists could move away from SUVs and the like and switch faster to more efficient cars. But the lobbyists are already on the stage in Berlin , to dilute the intentions. The new law could, for example, apply only to new cars. By this means, older vehicles can reach a tax advantage, which was actually not
The European Union in Brussels is also not running idle, either. Commission's Vice-President Günter Verheugen in May 2008 released a draft, which will govern the technical equipment of vehicles. "Environmentally friendly and safe," said a Commission spokesman, future vehicles should thus have to be. Mandatory should also be the content of advertising in future.
As not only the number of registered vehicles worldwide increases daily, also the masses of the passenger cars and the horse power in kW are getting bigger. "Faster, bigger, heavier ..." applies here unabated. World export champion Germany , rather unnoticed by the public, lost his first country place in the passenger car production in 2007 to The Peoples Republic of China . There were 2007: 6,381,116 vehicles produced (2006: 5,233,132). In Germany production in 2007 was: 5,709,139 (2006: 5,398,508). For comparison, USA 2007: 3,924,268 (2006: 4,366,996). Worldwide passenger cars production in 2007 was counted to be 53,041,983 cars.
For me, behind all these figures, not only the managers in the automobile group as suppliers are standing, but always individual decisions by individuals, to buy a new car. Here the work should start, with better information about backgrounds and relationships. It would be great, if the "mature" buyers would become aware of the environmental impact of their potential new cars and thus waive the purchase of huge and heavy vehicles with high horsepower in the power train and questionable, fuel consuming extras.
Almost all of these new registered vehicles operate on internal combustion engines, with only very few hybrid and electric vehicles apart. Internal combustion engines have "naturally" a very low efficiency. Besides a lot of heat, they also emit matter like hydrocarbons, monoxide and dioxide, nitrogen oxides and soot. Maybe even more, however, all these emissions are not very beneficial to nature and human beings.
What are the alternatives? First of all, one might, in fact, opt for an increase in hybrid vehicles, and support those with batteries and electric power trains. But we have to be careful, not just simply to shift the place of emissions from the cars to the electrical power plants. Today's monopolized methods to produce grid electricity are certainly not "virginal" in relation to the emissions, being produced during their production and distribution. Not to mention the rather bad efficiency in electricity production worldwide today.
So what can the future have in spare? For years we have heard a lot about hydrogen vehicles (100% clean, 100% steam). But here one should stick to the truth as well here and always mention: "horse and rider". Hydrogen, made from fossil fuels as primary energy, often transforms itself at the moment, in which it is filled into the tank of a vehicle, in wondrous ways into a "green" product. The consumer, however, has a right to know, where his energy carrier is coming from, and how it was created. If, one day, we really will have “direct solar" produced hydrogen, I am convinced that high demand for vehicles, operating on H2, will also be there. Especially, if the cars of the future can fulfill some more tasks than just drive from "A" to "B".
Then you would have in fact also good arguments for their sustainable taxation.
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