For those like me hungry for news of Hummers and new apartment construction going up in flames while biotech companies get bombed, this was a banner week.
After catching glimpses of the revolution through the New York Times' national news briefs, there was a full article today.
Please go to the Earth Liberation Front Web site for more information:
On August 22, 2003, 20 new Hummer H2s worth ,000 each were set aflame and destroyed at a car dealership in West Covina, CA. This inspirational and immediately effective action followed others in which 50 vehicles were damaged at the same dealership and others in the suburbs east of Los Angeles.
For an idea of what the significance of a ,000 gas guzzler is in Amerika in 2003, consider the following:
These personal tanks sell for more than the median household income (,200 -- that's a 2001 figure, so it's probably a inflated, given the crumbling economy).
SUVs consume over 6 miles per gallon more than a family station wagon. No small difference when you consider that an improvement of just 3 mpg in autos nationwide would save 1 million barrels of oil per day.
The Energy Department reported last year U.S. cars and light trucks consumed 10 percent of the annual global oil production, or about 8 million barrels of 77 million produced each day.
Among other things, the auto industry has been able to avoid some of the rules simply by making the vehicles bigger. If you make an SUV big enough, it qualifies for lenient air pollution rules, and if you make it really large, like the larger Suburbans or the Hummers or the Ford Excursions, they're exempt from fuel economy standards entirely.
If SUVs and mini-vans were required to meet the same standards as cars, this would cut total U.S. oil use by 1 million barrels a day by 2010, says the Union of Concerned Scientists.
EPA estimates a 3 mpg increase in average fuel economy industrywide would save billion a year in fuel costs and reduce 140 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
If cars got an average of 45 MPG (with light trucks getting 34 MPG), oil demand would diminish by about 2 million barrels a day, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
The government actually pays people to engage in this waste and destruction:
In 2003, the tax code allows a business to deduct ,000 in the first year of purchase of one of these heavy trucks or vans plus a set five-year depreciation schedule.
In the March 2002 economic stimulus package, Congress created a 30% bonus deduction that businesses can utilize in the first year on top of the original ,000 and the set five-year depreciation. Under this plan, if a business bought a ,000 Hummer H2 in 2003, they can deduct a total of ,200 in just the first year.
Bush's newly proposed economic stimulus plan makes the purchase of a heavy SUV even more lucrative. His plan raises the deduction cap to ,000 for small businesses, while retaining all other aspects of the old tax cut. This will make any luxury vehicles priced under ,000 completely deductible in the first year, while making a 6,000 Hummer H1 a ridiculous value. Under this plan, small businesses would be able to deduct up to ,000 of a Hummer H1 in the first year.
This is, of course, a tax break for the rich. According to GM's buyer demographics, the Hummer H2's buyer's other five cars range from a Rolls to a Ferrari. The typical buyer is a 41-year-old, college-educated man with an income north of 5,000.