From: Matthew Russotto on
In article <VIudnXn0CNy4d5rWnZ2dnUVZ_jGdnZ2d(a)bright.net>,
jim <"sjedgingN0Sp"@m(a)mwt,net> wrote:
>
>effectively. But anyone who has been paying attention will have observed
>that when the price of oil goes up the system grinds to a halt.

Really? I must have missed all those products failing to be shipped
by truck in 2008.
--
The problem with socialism is there's always
someone with less ability and more need.
From: Stephen Sprunk on
Daniel W. Rouse Jr. wrote:
> "Stephen Sprunk" <stephen(a)sprunk.org> wrote in message
> news:hdhb51$i5h$1(a)news.eternal-september.org...
>> Daniel W. Rouse Jr. wrote:
>>> That's a mention of being stuck in a traffic break which, when compared
>>> to the daily commutes when traffic breaks do not usually occur,
>>> qualifies as a corner case/edge case in the daily commute.
>>
>> What are you smoking? Congestion, construction, accidents, etc. are a
>> _daily_ occurrence in every major or even mid-sized city. Radio
>> stations devote entire segments to describing all the traffic problems
>> during rush hour, and they usually don't even cover the "normal" issues,
>> i.e. roads moving at half their posted speed or less.
>>
> That' not the point. *Every* accident has a traffic break with a state
> highway patrol vehicle S-curving along all the lanes to bring traffic to
> a stop, then closing *all* lanes, *all* the time? No, I don't think so,
> thus why a traffic break as I specifically mentioned is the corner
> case/edge case in the bigger picture of the daily commute.

Not every accident causes the complete closure of a road, no, but every
accident _does_ cause additional congestion, in addition to the severe
congestion in most cities that exists during peak hours _without_ any
accidents or other events. Complete closures are _not_ all that matter.

S

--
Stephen Sprunk "God does not play dice." --Albert Einstein
CCIE #3723 "God is an inveterate gambler, and He throws the
K5SSS dice at every possible opportunity." --Stephen Hawking
From: Stephen Sprunk on
jim wrote:
> Stephen Sprunk wrote:
>> Luckily, the FHWA has collected all the figures and done all the math
>> for us, though it's such a gigantic pain that they don't do it every
>> year. 2004 figures:
>>
>> http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/ohim/hs04/htm/hf1.htm
>>
>> 21% of total road spending in the US comes from property taxes and other
>> general funds, 11% from bonds, 6% from "other imposts", and 5% from
>> "miscellaneous receipts" (including interest). Only 57% comes from fuel
>> excise taxes and tolls, which is far lower than Big Oil and their
>> advocates such as the Reason Foundation will admit to.
>
> Well things are different today. Fuel consumption has been dropping for
> last 2 years and road construction costs have taken a sharp upturn in
> the same period.

If you have similarly detailed data from a more recent year, I'll be
happy to look at it, but for now that's the only comprehensive data on
the record I'm aware of.

Unless you have specific numbers for the increase in construction
expenditures and the decrease in fuel taxes, they're just vague "trends"
that aren't particularly informative.

>> Have you never heard the term "net"?
>
>> If you give Bob $5, and he gives you $3, then the _net_ flow of money is
>> from you to Bob in the amount of $2. It doesn't mean that Bob never
>> gave you any money.
>
> It makes no difference to you if Bob and I are the same entity?

It makes no difference if you're discussing two different accounts owned
by the same person. There is still a difference between the detailed
flow (which is potentially hundreds or even thousands of different
transactions) and the net flow (which is a single amount moving in a
single direction).

S

--
Stephen Sprunk "God does not play dice." --Albert Einstein
CCIE #3723 "God is an inveterate gambler, and He throws the
K5SSS dice at every possible opportunity." --Stephen Hawking
From: Stephen Sprunk on
gpsman wrote:
> On Nov 12, 3:01 pm, jim <"sjedgingN0Sp"@m(a)mwt,net> wrote:
>> But it isn't false. the more you subsidize trucking the more trucks on
>> the road you will get. Or put it the opposite way, if you increase fuel
>> and other fees on trucks it will tend to reduce the number of trucks on
>> the road.
>
> The number of trucks on roads is directly proportional to the demand
> for trucks on roads.
>
> Fee increases are passed on to the consumer.

Yes, but those price increases will have an effect on consumer behavior.

For instance, imagine that item X costs $1 if made in China or $8 if
made in the US. Imagine that item X costs $5 to transport from China
and $1 within the US. The vast majority of consumers are going to buy
the Chinese one because the total cost is lower. However, double the
transportation costs for both and customer buying will shift to the
American one, resulting in less transportation demand, lower total
transportation costs, less pollution, more American jobs, a lower trade
imbalance, etc.

>> Subsidizing trucking would tend to
>> put more trucks on the road. It should be obvious, that if you collect
>> more taxes from trucks there is less need for tax collected from car
>> drivers.
>
> Taxes, higher prices, only the route differs.

You are ignoring the effect that the higher price will have on demand.

>> And then there is the little thing of trucks have an advantage
>> when they collide with motorists. So very clearly the thinking motorist
>> would find his interests to be at odds with trucking.
>
> Unless he likes to eat and prefers to not "farm", or live near
> farms... where they move farmed goods from the fields in... trucks.

Does it really make sense for us to be shipping produce several thousand
miles across the country--or even from other continents--when we can
grow the same crop a few dozen/hundred miles away?

>> OTOH, Subsidizing mass transit can reduce traffic congestion
>
> I guess it could, but I'm not familiar with anyone I think would
> choose mass transit over driving unless it was among their last
> options.

That is the case in most US cities because development patterns
(enforced by the government) are deliberately anti-transit.

Ask someone from NYC or a non-US major world city like London or Paris,
though, and you'll get an entirely different answer. Why would they
want to deal with the hassle of owning a car, driving in congested
traffic, trying to find (extremely expensive) parking, etc. when the
subway is faster, cheaper, and more convenient?

>> The thinking motorist might find its a good
>> idea to support some level of mass transit.
>
> That mass transit is going to require infrastructure. That seems to
> indicate real estate that is not available or ridiculously expensive
> where it is most needed, or take at least a lane of street.

It's a lot easier to put a rail line below ground than it is a street;
you only put it at grade level (and thus consume land) where real estate
is cheap.

>>> Whether or not they might move "far more efficiently" (by undefined
>>> measure) by pipeline and/or rail is irrelevant.
>>> Practicality trumps efficiency. It is simply not practical to ship
>>> many if not most goods by rail, plane or pipeline.
>>
>> Yeah so? We know it is practical to ship some things not in a truck. And
>> when trucking is more costly there are more things that fall into that
>> category.
>
> It's going to have to become pretty costly before they start laying
> rails to every retail outlet.

Trucks are fine for the "last mile" segment; the problem is when trucks
become a significant fraction of the entire trip. Trucking a container
from LA to NYC makes no sense when you could put the container on a
train from LA to New Jersey and then truck it the last few miles into
NYC. However, since the highway network is highly subsidized, whereas
the rail network is taxed, it may _appear_ cheaper to send the container
via truck. That is economic inefficiency. The truck also consumes more
fuel to make the trip, which means it's energy inefficiency as well.

S

--
Stephen Sprunk "God does not play dice." --Albert Einstein
CCIE #3723 "God is an inveterate gambler, and He throws the
K5SSS dice at every possible opportunity." --Stephen Hawking
From: Brent on
On 2009-11-21, Stephen Sprunk <stephen(a)sprunk.org> wrote:

> For instance, imagine that item X costs $1 if made in China or $8 if
> made in the US. Imagine that item X costs $5 to transport from China
> and $1 within the US. The vast majority of consumers are going to buy
> the Chinese one because the total cost is lower. However, double the
> transportation costs for both and customer buying will shift to the
> American one, resulting in less transportation demand, lower total
> transportation costs, less pollution, more American jobs, a lower trade
> imbalance, etc.

Of course, but our wise rulers aren't really concerned about american
jobs.

>> Unless he likes to eat and prefers to not "farm", or live near
>> farms... where they move farmed goods from the fields in... trucks.

> Does it really make sense for us to be shipping produce several thousand
> miles across the country--or even from other continents--when we can
> grow the same crop a few dozen/hundred miles away?

It does when you consider that big agri-business has paid the elected
office holders considerable amounts of money to make sure the nearby
family farms can't compete with their crops from chile.

However at various times of the year the crop might not be available
locally but the crop grown elsewhere might. Out of season it would be
perfectally acceptable to pay the transportation costs to have it.

>>> OTOH, Subsidizing mass transit can reduce traffic congestion
>>
>> I guess it could, but I'm not familiar with anyone I think would
>> choose mass transit over driving unless it was among their last
>> options.

> That is the case in most US cities because development patterns
> (enforced by the government) are deliberately anti-transit.
>
> Ask someone from NYC or a non-US major world city like London or Paris,
> though, and you'll get an entirely different answer. Why would they
> want to deal with the hassle of owning a car, driving in congested
> traffic, trying to find (extremely expensive) parking, etc. when the
> subway is faster, cheaper, and more convenient?

However that transit is subsidized by lots of people who don't use it.
That's how it becomes "cheap". And even in cities like London a lot of
people still drive because even with the crushing costs and congestion
it's still works better for them. In a big city I would live close
enough to walk or bike most if not all year to avoid the hassles of
driving and transit.