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65-MPG American Car Not For Sale in America

Tuesday, September 9, 2008
According to several sources including Business Week, CNN, and the Huffington Post, the Ford Motor Company, long renowned for its gas-guzzling automobiles, plans to release a sedan capable of getting 65 miles per gallon in November. The rather awkwardly named Ford ECOnetic, runs on diesel which, according to Mark Fields, President of Ford America, means that the car cannot profitably be sold in North America. Although the company intends to manufacture a gas-powered version of the car in Mexico, the relative unpopularity of diesel in the United States makes spending the estimated $350 millon needed to build a diesel engine plant in North America a rather risky business move for a company reportedly losing over $12 billion annually. So the car will be available only in Europe, where nearly fifty percent of automobiles run on diesel.

Even if you think of importing the "American" car from Europe, Ford argues, it won't be worth it. The Toyota Prius would still be a better buy and, given the restrictions the U. S. government has placed on diesel fuel, considerably easier for you to fill up. In other words, from a business perspective, Ford believes it won't be worth it to sell the diesel ECOnetic stateside (or in Canada, Mexico, Central, and South America, for that matter).

D'oh. Leave it to an American corporation to make it easier for Europeans to out-green us!

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What Public Funds Could Do When Spent on Non-Military Stuff

Monday, May 26, 2008
In what may be another byproduct of the money pit that is the war in Iraq, the nation's wildlife refuges have fallen into disrepair. Responding to the proliferation of illegal drug farms and prostitution rings within America's understaffed and underfunded refuges, Evan Hirshe, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and chairman of the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE), recently told Congress that "[w]ithout adequate funding, we are jeopardizing some of the world's most spectacular wildlife and wild lands" and recommended an eighty million dollar funding increase for the 2009 fiscal year.

Such an increase would bring public funding of our nation's wildlife refuges to $514 million, a figure that is still well below the $765 million CARE estimates is the minimal adequate amount to maintain the one hundred million acres of land under the protection of the National Wildlife Refuge System. As a result of budget-related staff cuts, the system only cannot afford to pay staff more than 180 of the 845 law enforcement officials needed to ensure the safety of the refuges' many visitors.

With more than forty million visitors a year, the nation's wildlife refuges bring in an estimated $1.7 billion to the American economy and provide well over 25,000 jobs.

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With Wind Power, Norway Could Become "Europe's Battery"

From Reuters:

"Norway could become 'Europe's battery' by developing huge sea-based wind parks costing up to $44 billion by 2025, Norway's Oil and Energy Minister said on Monday."

"Norway's Energy Council, comprising business leaders and officials, said green exports could help the European Union reach a goal of getting 20 percent of its electricity by 2020 from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro or wave power."

This could be wonderful if the windmills are far enough offshore or restricted to certain regions of the coastline. . . but, if we're talking about ruining the fjord vistas, this is a terrible development. Let's hope for the former.

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