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Articles by Ron Steenblik

Ron Steenblik is a policy analyst with 35 years experience working on trade, energy, agricultural, and fisheries policies. He has a particular interest in subsidies and their effects.

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  • A blogger suggests a $1.00/gallon fuel tax — after the first 30 gallons

    A political commentator named Rick Gray has proposed imposing a federal surtax of $1.00/gallon on gasoline and diesel, exempting each licensed adult driver from the surtax on the first 30 gallons purchased each month. His idea is to discourage "excessive" driving -- but I wonder about unintended consequences. Do you, fellow gristers, see merit in this idea?

    The first third of Gray's column makes the case for cutting back oil consumption, which I reckon need not be repeated here. The rest is quoted below:

  • People power takes on a whole new meaning

    He had a broad face and a round little belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

    Whale blubber once provided the fuel for the nation's lanterns. Could the human equivalent soon become the fuel of your future?

    I'm inspired for my first post by Kate Sheppard's "You Want Me to Put What in My Tank?", in which she documents the growing interest in making biodiesel from unconventional sources.

    One of those sources is human fat obtained from suction lipeptomy, commonly known as "liposuction." The trend was started by New Zealand biodiesel enthusiast Peter Bethune, who recently contributed some of his own fat toward his quest to break the round-the-world speed record in a powerboat fueled entirely by biodiesel. Now, it seems, a Norwegian company is close to signing an agreement with Miami, Florida's Jackson Memorial Hospital to produce biodiesel from blubber extracted during the hospital's liposuction operations (see "Fortune in Fat").