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Parliament debates a crushing new requirement for European automobiles.

The European Parliament is set to begin debate on a far-reaching proposal to reduce the carbon footprint of European vehicles.  The new plan is both large and far-reaching, but the most shocking part is a requirement to ban within six years all vehicles with a top speed of over 162km/h (101 mph). At a stroke, this would eliminate the manufacture and sale of every sports car in Europe, along with larger, more powerful sedans. The plan also includes a requirement that carmakers spend 20% of all advertising to warn consumers of the CO2 emissions of their products.

The plan's author is Chris Davies, a member of Parliament and spokesman for the EC's committee on the environment and public health. Mr. Davies official position is, "cars designed to go at stupid speeds have to be built to withstand the effects of a crash at those speeds. They are heavier than necessary, less fuel efficient and produce too many emissions."  This of course ignores the fact that the fastest sports cars are designed as light as possible and actually weigh much less than the average family car.

The plan is known as the Carbon Allowance Reduction System, or CARS for short... apparently in the hopes that a catchy, easy-to-remember name will help sell it.

Mr. Davies is also working on a new labeling scheme for Europe, whereby all goods and services purchased in Europe-- everything from an airline ticket to a packet of cornflakes-- will be required to be labeled with an official "carbon statement"-- the result of a complex and expensive accounting of the total emissions generated during manufacture, shipping, and use. He tosses off concerns over the cost of the project as unwarranted piffle.

Europe has long been known as home to some of the planet's fastest sports cars-- as well as its fastest public motorways.  Will one stroke of a pen change all that? Contact your local MEP to find out.



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What if they said no?
By rdeegvainl on 7/11/2007 1:53:25 PM , Rating: 2
I know it would never happen, but what if auto manufacturers just said no? and stopped making auto's for europe?




RE: What if they said no?
By Spivonious on 7/11/2007 2:23:40 PM , Rating: 4
Then Europe would have much safer streets? ;)

I don't know; I was there for two weeks and never set foot in a car or bus. I somehow managed to get from London to Paris to Stuttgart to Wurzburg to Rothenburg to Munich and back to London again without ever needing a car or bus. I wish the U.S. had such available public transportation.


RE: What if they said no?
By rdeegvainl on 7/11/2007 2:36:54 PM , Rating: 2
A good public transportation system would require too much to get started, and our government doesn't have that kind of money available (it is there, but been given to pet projects of someone) unless we implemented some sort of transport tax, i don't think it will happen.


RE: What if they said no?
By Spivonious on 7/11/2007 2:52:14 PM , Rating: 1
I would definitely pay an extra tax if it meant that I could go anywhere in the country in a fast, competitively-priced way. The framework is already there, but it's owned by the freight companies. We need to get it transferred over to make passenger traffic the priority.


RE: What if they said no?
By Ringold on 7/12/2007 2:29:53 PM , Rating: 2
None of that 'framework' would be very useful, I don't imagine. First, it's not the same kind of track used in all these high speed rail projects we hear about. Second, it's heavily utilized by industry -- those "freight companies" are getting fuel to powerplants, ethanol to refineries and end-users (yep, we'd need an entirely new pipeline system to really use ethanol), materials to factories and so on.

Plus, as Central Florida is about to notice, passenger rail is absolutely useless when most the population has to drive 15-20min to get to a station to take a train to the other side of town, at which point they would still be a few miles from anything at all interesting. What, fiddle around waiting for buses? Meanwhile, instead of being crammed like cattle in a vehicle with a big bulls-eye painted on the side for terrorists, I and most American's could more effectively be chillin' on the highway getting to their destination faster and more comfortably in a car.

Some cities, like NYC, have a legitimate need for public transport, and they've got it. The rest of the US? I dont see it. yet.


RE: What if they said no?
By jacarte8 on 7/12/2007 3:02:36 PM , Rating: 4
Yes, excellent idea... let's take freight rails away from the companies that own them and give the rails and land to Amtrack... excellent idea.

That way we reduce car traffic by putting more tractor-trailors on the road.

moron

What we need is more reliable rail service between major cities. There is not a reliable rail line in and out of Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, or Norfolk (the region where I live). I live in one of the smaller places where Amtrack happens to pass through, but the delays on the once-daily trains can be anywhere from 2-6 hours, thereby making passenger rail completely useless.


RE: What if they said no?
By B on 7/12/2007 4:31:39 PM , Rating: 2
Have you been working under the tutelage of Hugo Chavez?


RE: What if they said no?
By ElFenix on 7/16/2007 10:37:03 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I would definitely pay an extra tax if it meant that I could go anywhere in the country in a fast, competitively-priced way.

airport taxes not enough for you?


RE: What if they said no?
By joker380 on 7/16/2007 2:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
so wrong, we have money to spend on wars but not on our own public transportation. Lol.


RE: What if they said no?
By BigT383 on 7/17/2007 3:09:29 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, uh... No, we don't have money to spend on wars.


RE: What if they said no?
By Lonyo on 7/11/2007 2:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
Travel between cities without using cars or buses. Wow, who would have thought.
Now move to the countryside in Europe, where there are no buses. Europe may have reasonable transportation in heavily urban areas, but outside of those areas it's pretty damned poor, much like the US (afaik)


RE: What if they said no?
By Spivonious on 7/11/2007 3:01:14 PM , Rating: 2
Rothenburg has about 6000 people in it. Not exactly a "heavily urban area." And it's definitely out in the country.

I'm not saying I want a train station in every village, but at least make it possible for me to go from my town to the closest major city without taking twice as long as driving it.


RE: What if they said no?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/11/2007 3:12:21 PM , Rating: 4
> "Rothenburg has about 6000 people in it. Not exactly a "heavily urban area."

The Amtrack route from New York to Montreal stops in Rhinebeck, a town about half the size of Rothenburg. Which proves only that train tracks-- both in Europe and the US-- have to occasionally pass through lightly populated areas to serve denser ones.


RE: What if they said no?
By erikejw on 7/11/2007 8:40:49 PM , Rating: 3
In Sweden that is the least populated part of Europe per km2 we have the best public transportation system.

If you live in a town with less than 500 persons it might be a problem but then of course cars is availble.

Where I come from we have 5000 persons and we have bus lines that trable to the nearest major city for 60 times a day and from there you can go by train to every European city or to any airport in the 5 nearest countries( at least).

That one single parliament member is suggesting something doesn't mean it will happen.

Think about what might happen if the 1 or 2 persons(in the senat) that was opposed to the Iraqi oil war had their way, just kidding, that was 3 years ago.


RE: What if they said no?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/11/2007 9:18:57 PM , Rating: 3
> "In Sweden that is the least populated part of Europe per km2 we have the best public transportation system"

Sweden may have a low overall population density, but it's population is highly clustered. More than 80% of the nation lives in an urban area, one of the highest percentages in the world, in fact. That makes it easy for public transportation to work.


RE: What if they said no?
By Sulphademus on 7/12/2007 10:07:53 AM , Rating: 3
We have the density in certain areas. Most specifically, the northeast (DC to Boston) would be the best area for this, and there all ready is a lot of Amtrak lines in this area. The problem with the European system is that its too slow for our tastes* and is pretty pricy.

*We would rather fly from Baltimore to NYC (a college buddy of mine did this) than take a train. The flight is 45 minutes. A train ride is ~3.5 hours. Of course the flight time doesnt account for 2 hours you need to spend at the airport itself...


RE: What if they said no?
By lumbergeek on 7/12/2007 10:46:07 AM , Rating: 2
Having travelled in Sweden (I'm a Canadian), I can attest to the exceptional rail system Sweden has. One can get around even in very lightly populated northern Sweden without any difficulty at all.


RE: What if they said no?
By Hare on 7/12/2007 10:56:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In Sweden that is the least populated part of Europe per km2 we have the best public transportation system.

Population density per square kilometer
Sweden: 20
Finland: 17


RE: What if they said no?
By jacarte8 on 7/12/2007 3:05:10 PM , Rating: 2
Sweden and Finland are in the same part of Europe...


RE: What if they said no?
By josmala on 7/14/2007 8:43:13 AM , Rating: 2
And Finland has excellent public transport also.


RE: What if they said no?
By jstchilln on 7/11/2007 3:04:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't know; I was there for two weeks and never set foot in a car or bus. I somehow managed to get from London to Paris to Stuttgart to Wurzburg to Rothenburg to Munich and back to London again without ever needing a car or bus. I wish the U.S. had such available public transportation.


Give me a break, this is like comparing apples to onions. We have so many differences between the two countries such as size and the wide open spaces of the U.S. that I dont know how to do an accurate comparison.
I saw a study several years ago that showed the U.S. did spend more on public transportation than Europe and that due to the size of our nation the results were negligible.
Shame on Germany for giving us the idea for the interstate HWY system.


RE: What if they said no?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/11/2007 3:37:07 PM , Rating: 3
> "I somehow managed to get from London to Paris to Stuttgart...without ever needing a car or bus. I wish the U.S. had such available public transportation.

Having lived in both the US and Europe, I'd like to offer my opinion. For mid-distance travelling between urban centers and/or major tourism sites, Europe's rail system is incomparable. I wish the US had such a system.

Living there is a bit of a different story. Carrying large amounts of purchases is extremely inconvenient when you live one train station transfers, two bus transfers, and a long walk from the shopping centre.

You tend to buy everything in small quantities. The same amount overall, you just shop much more often. Shopping for your food every single day is quaint for a week or two, but it gets old fast. Carrying a new stereo or 50 lb. box of china home becomes a test of personal endurance. Of course, larger purchases can be delivered, but waiting two days for anything you buy larger than a pack of cigarettes is a bit of a drag also. When you're sick and have to go to the doctor, dragging yourself through a few stations isn't very pleasant either.

This is why the EU is, despite its excellent rail system, still the largest auto market in the world, in terms of total vehicles. Because public transportation is very convenient for some purposes, and much less so for others. Europeans who can afford cars still buy them and drive them.


RE: What if they said no?
By kenji4life on 7/11/2007 4:33:31 PM , Rating: 3
Living in the US and Japan, I have to agree. This is the same situtation in Japan as well. That's why I choose to live here in the states. For all of the things that make Japan a great country to live in, I can't see myself leaving the states to go back. To quote my mom: "After commuting 1-2 hours daily on the train to work, I'll gladly commute the same time/distance in a car here in the states. The rail although great at times is also a hassle."

We own 1 car and 3 mopeds in Japan, and 5 cars here in the states. Personally if I had the chance, I'd go for an electric bike like the Brammo Enertia if I could afford it right now. It'd be great for around town, to and from the Uni, and to and from the girlfriend's house. Then a TLC diesel or similar would be great for anything I can't do with a backpack on the bike.


RE: What if they said no?
By TomZ on 7/11/2007 6:22:53 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I don't know; I was there for two weeks and never set foot in a car or bus. I somehow managed to get from London to Paris to Stuttgart to Wurzburg to Rothenburg to Munich and back to London again without ever needing a car or bus.

When I visit my business colleagues in Germany, they are exclusively driving their cars to meetings between cities in Germany and France. Just as we do here in the U.S. I think it is because, while public transport is available, it is generally less convenient and less efficient time-wise than driving. This is the same reason that public transport in the U.S. is not real well developed.


RE: What if they said no?
By Hare on 7/12/2007 11:05:24 AM , Rating: 3
Germany has the best roads in the world so travelling with a car is a joy (I love the autobahn). Germany also has excellent city to city railway connections that are a lot faster than travelling by car.

The automotive culture is strong in Germany. Volkswager, Mercedes, BMW, Audi etc. In addition to this, no one can deny the freedom that a car gives. Don't have to worry about departure times, don't have to worry about waiting for a connecting train etc...


RE: What if they said no?
By Polynikes on 7/15/2007 2:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
Geographically speaking, it would be ridiculously expensive to set up a national or even just an interstate public transportation system. Europe is small, that's why their public transportation is so effective.


RE: What if they said no?
By Spivonious on 7/19/2007 3:32:19 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the U.S. is 3537441 square miles and Europe is 3837000 square miles.

They have a bit easier time because they're a bunch of small countries rather than a bunch of small states so there's less federal government red tape to go through.


RE: What if they said no?
By Googer on 7/11/2007 2:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
I cannot see how this is much of a problem. The high cost of those cars keeps them from becoming anything common. Very few people own them so their impact is rather small. EU, lets not be stupid by banning fast cars and at the same time hurting car development and your economies.


RE: What if they said no?
By smitty3268 on 7/11/2007 3:08:01 PM , Rating: 2
I know it would never happen, but what if auto manufacturers just said no? and stopped making auto's for europe?

Then some new startup would say "Holy ****! Yippee!!!" and start selling cars to a 400 million person market, without any competition at all...


RE: What if they said no?
By erikejw on 7/11/2007 8:46:36 PM , Rating: 2
"I know it would never happen, but what if auto manufacturers just said no? and stopped making auto's for europe?"

That might be hard to do since the majority of the car makers come from Europe.


RE: What if they said no?
By rmaharaj on 7/11/2007 9:50:08 PM , Rating: 3
This won't require banning any vehicles at all - manufacturers will simply add an electronic speed limiter to prevent them from exceeding 101mph. This is in place in many cars on the market today and like any electronic restriction, it is easily hacked.


RE: What if they said no?
By Merry on 7/12/2007 10:00:37 AM , Rating: 2
Would never happen.

The politician in question happens to be the representative for Europe from the area where I live. Being a member of the Lib Dems I got given a questionaire to fill in regarding this policy. I basically disagreed with all of his proposals as they are counter productive and a waste of time, however it would appear that the rest of the membership didnt, provided he actually listened to the results, which I very much doubt as I only got the questionaire a week ago. There simply isnt enough time to get all of the results together.

Suffice to say I am no longer a member of the party. They have gone too far on a frankly bonkers policy.

Also, to masher, your headline for this post is, well wrong. Europe isnt considering this. The lib dems are considering it as a policy to put forward. It will never get any further than that.


RE: What if they said no?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/12/2007 11:12:33 AM , Rating: 2
> "Also, to masher, your headline for this post is, well wrong. Europe isnt considering this. The lib dems are considering it as a policy to put forward"

Its a proposal endorsed by committee, and being debated before Parliament, the highest legislative body within the EU. That certainly qualifies as 'Europe considering this'...if it goes further, it becomes law, regardless of whether or not the average EU citizen considers it or not.

Will it pass without changes? Most likely not, but the mere fact it got this far is highly illustrative.


RE: What if they said no?
By Merry on 7/14/2007 6:08:59 PM , Rating: 2
Parliament, the highest legislative body within the EU

Wrong. The Eu parliament holds little power.

Its a proposal endorsed by committee

I wonder who is on the said committee?

if it goes further, it becomes law, regardless of whether or not the average EU citizen considers it or not.


Wrong again. The respective EU members have to implement said law in their own legislatures. This is why the Uk only got a human rights bill very recently despite it being EU law.

Will it pass without changes? Most likely not, but the mere fact it got this far is highly illustrative.


Correct it wont pass. At all. Illustrative of what exactly? A party that has lost its 'green' standing as the Tories have taken that ground? I dont think you understand how this policy has come about.

Also many of you misunderstand me. The questionnaires only got sent out to those who are a member of the lib dems. NOT the wider electorate.

Masher your headline should be 'Lib Dems consider banning sports cars' NOt Europe.


RE: What if they said no?
By Ringold on 7/12/2007 2:41:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
provided he actually listened to the results, which I very much doubt


They're learning from American politicians quickly. Perhaps it's the other way around, though.

That ought not to surprise you though, given Ireland will be the only one with a popular vote for the new constitution -- which every citizen should have the right to vote on, as it transfers some sovereign powers from the national capitols to Brussels. They fear the popular vote, however. If they don't give a damn what all of Europe thinks on matters of it's own constitution it doesn't surprise me at all that they'd send you a worthless questionaire.

Maybe American politicians should do that, though. Send questionaires; actually make us feel involved or important, even if we arent.


RE: What if they said no?
By fic2 on 7/12/2007 6:20:38 PM , Rating: 4
I get questionaires all the time from American politicians. They usually start out:

I would like to donate: []$5000 []$1000 []$100 []other to express my opinion on matter XYZ.


RE: What if they said no?
By crazydrummer4562 on 7/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: What if they said no?
By daBKLYNdoorman on 7/16/2007 10:14:35 AM , Rating: 2
Something inside me is telling me that one day, a country will decide to ban all automobiles and command all of its residents to use the subway and their bikes to travel.


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