Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ethanol: A Tragedy in 3 Acts

Ethanol: A Tragedy in 3 Acts

Ethanol is not the saviour that everyone thinks it is. It is only being promoted because our political leaders have decided that it is a good option. The reality is that it is probably not the best option after all. There are many negatives to choosing it to replace fossil fuels. It truly upsets me that our lives are being run by uninformed people in power who make decisions that affect our lives without consulting with the experts before diving into a huge public relations campaign for an option that seems to be a poor one.

I have not read enough to have a good perspective on this but to begin with ethanol fueled vehicles get a 25% to as much as 40% drop in mileage. The governments calculations of savings are based on ethanol fuels selling for 37 cents a gallon less than gasoline whereas in reality right now it is selling for around 13 cents a gallon less. The estimated annual operating costs of vehicles actually is higher using ethanol. Personally, I am going for a VW TDI Diesel next time around. They are far simpler than the hybrids, get better mileage, and last longer. The problem with hybrids that I see is the battery replacement a few years out. That might cost thousands of dollars. If you really look into it the simpler diesels are better and actually get higher mileage than the hybrids. The moves to find alternate fuels is good but everyone seems to be rushing head over heels down the slope dictated by hasty governmental decisions and ad campaigns.

VW to drop 3 diesel models for '07

VW to drop 3 diesel models for '07

Since the US standards for emissions are the strictest in the world, VW will not be delivering its diesels to the US as options for their 07 models. They plan on having the diesels back in the 08 lineup with engines that meet the US standards. Read the article all the way through. Very interesting. This is going to make used TDI Jettas even more valuable.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

PBS and Credit Card Banking

This PBS show gives a new perspective on South Dakota. The Marquette Decision by the supreme court allows loan conditions to be exported to another location. For example, if a loan is made in South Dakota at 25 percent interest then that interest rate can be exported to Florida at the same rate. This transferrable "usury" rate resulting from South Dakota and other state laws opened the door for credit card loans. If you have a credit card you should watch this show. Are you a "revolver" or a "deadbeat?" The meanings of these words are upside down in the credit card world. Worried about the NSA monitoring your phone calls? That is nothing compared to the data that the credit card companies are mining from us.