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Articles by Ken Johnson

I am a California resident and climate policy activist with a particular interest in California's legislative policy related to climate change. (More ...)

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The feds (Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) are designing new fuel economy labels for cars, for the first time in 30 years, and they want you to help them with the design. (My two-cents worth, elaborated below, is cross-posted on Legal Planet.)

The draft design includes the following elements:

A big prominent letter grade for fuel economy and emissions performance, on a scale of A+ to D (with B- being more-or-less average) Five-year savings relative to an “average” vehicle (whatever that is) Fuel consumption and fuel economy (city and highway mpg; gallons per 100 miles) Emissions (CO2 grams per mile) Annual fuel cost

If that’s not enough data for you, the label will also provide a web link with more detailed information.

What is missing in this short list is the one factor that is most important to someone making a long-term vehicle investment decision: How many dollars worth of fuel will the vehicle consume over its entire expected lifecycle? This should technically be a discounted present value, but looking at where the economy and fuel price inflation might be headed after 2012 (when th... Read more

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  • Orwellian censorship

    This (censored) commentary appeared today on Joe Romm’s blog: Ken Johnson says:January 31, 2010 at 9:39 pm Regarding Fred Krupp’s comment about China’s “centralized industrial policy that we can’t match and don’t want in the United States …,” that sounds to me a lot like a top-down, economy-wide cap-and-trade system in which central planners set […]

  • Are carbon taxes a viable option?

    According to Sen. John Kerry, no. There has been a lively discussion of this topic on James Handley’s blog at My last comment, responding to Dan’s 11/19/2009 comment, was blocked, but is replicated below: Dan, Thank you for the calculations. This is excellent. One point of clarification, re “As I understand, Ken would have […]

  • Saving the planet is hard

    Paul Krugman concludes in “It’s easy being green” (NY Times Opinion, 9/24/2009) that “the claim that climate legislation will kill the economy deserves the same disdain as the claim that global warming is a hoax.” Indeed, but the notion that the Waxman-Markey legislation is about “saving the planet” (Krugman’s words) is equally inscrutable. Even Joe […]

  • Hansen versus Romm

    The following comment, submitted in response to Romm’s July 9 story about Hansen, was censored: July 9, 2009 at 11:25 pm For all of Waxman-Markey’s faults, I think it gets two things right: (1) allowance set-asides to fund tropical forest conservation, and (2) a meaningful price floor. These measures move U.S. policy closer to […]