Mr. Harper Goes to Washington

The official line is that Stephen Harper’s visit to Washington is an official visit. All business.

But how can you look at this picture and not think that one of two things is going through our dear leader’s head:

“Mr. Bush, you’re my hero.”

“I so want to be close to this man in so many ways…”

Seriously. That’s the look of a stalker that is.

posted at - 8:30 pm - 7/6/2006

Subsidizing Your Ignorant Ass

Life in the Green Lane gets it exactly right regarding the increasing number of hybrids being sold. Hybrids are a nice idea and are great if executed properly but there are more and more hybrids that are simply “feel good” cars (and I don’t mean Feel Good Cars.

Carmakers have sensed an opportunity to make a few bucks from ignorant consumers by slapping the hybrid label on anything they can. Shortsighted lawmakers have jumped on the bandwagon. For example, Ontario recently doubled the tax rebate for hybrid vehicles to $2000.

From my perspective, the majority of this tax money will be pissed away on hybrid vehicles that do little to improve fuel efficiency but do a great deal for the buyers ego. I’m all for sensible rebates but giving a $2000 rebate to someone buying a high end SUV that will guzzle gas no matter what type of engine it’s packing and stiffing the guy in the subcompact is just plain bad policy.

A sensible policy would be to apply the rebate on a per-mile basis. Those buying fuel efficient (not just hybrid) vehicles should get a rebate. If you’re buying a Toyota Yaris, you should get a rebate. If you’ve buying a Honda Fit, you should get a rebate. There are two advantages to this. The first is that those who buy smaller, more fuel efficient cars are likely making less money and will benefit more from rebates. The second is that buyers of high end, gas-guzzling hybrids (who can afford to live without rebates) won’t be dipping into the public purse.

The biggest problem with the Ontario rebate is that it doesn’t seem to apply to something like the smart car. I mean, this is simply the most efficient car around for both city and highway driving. It’s also a little pricey for what you get. Slap a $2000 rebate on that and more of the right kind of car will move off the lot.

posted at - 9:41 pm - 4/19/2006

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