Wednesday, August 6, 2008

John Lott Thinks Through Another Problem With Obama's 'Tire Inflation' Way To Energy Conservation

First Obama:

"Let me make a point about efficiency, because my Republican opponents - they don’t like to talk about efficiency. You know the other day I was in a town hall meeting and I laid out my plans for investing $15 billion a year in energy efficient cars and a new electricity grid and somebody said, 'well, what can I do? what can individuals do?'

"So I told them something simple, I said, 'You know what? You can inflate your tires to the proper levels and that if everybody in America inflated their tires to the proper level, we would actually probably save more oil than all the oil we'd get from John McCain drilling right below his feet there, or wherever he was going to drill.' So now the Republicans are going around - this is the kind of thing they do. I don't understand it! They’re going around, they're sending like little tire gauges, making fun of this idea as if this is 'Barack Obama's energy plan.'

"Now two points, one, they know they're lying about what my energy plan is, but the other thing is they're making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent. It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.

Now Lott:

Obviously, there are simple factual mistakes (e.g., the saving from air tires is up to 3 percent of gas used by cars, not of all oil consumption; the up to 11.2 million gallons saved of oil per day (about 267,000 barrels of oil) is just a fraction of the 1.25 million barrels of oiltht could be produced dailt from the Outer Continental Shelf...

So what is the problem with Obama's notion of efficiency? He only includes some costs and not others. There are 250 million cars in the US. Suppose that you would have 100 million cars having their tires checked once a week. Suppose that it takes on average 5 minutes to check the pressure on all the tires (remove the stem covers, check the pressure, fill up the tires with air when needed, put the covers back, clean your hands). If that is done once a week, it would take 500 million minutes a week, or 42 million hours. At $10 per hour time costs on average, that comes to $417 million. If gas prices are $4 a gallon, you would save $44.8 million (11.2 million gallons saved * $4 a gallon) but lose $417 million

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