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The oil-based economy we live in cannot last. According to the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE, link 1 below), "At 2003 consumption levels, the remaining reserves represent 44.6 years of oil and 66.2 years of natural gas." After that point, if this country is still totally oil-reliant at the last plateau of oil availability, we will experience a theoretical crash and burn economically because this country will not be able to smoothly transition into a green economy - and will certainly not be the leader of that new economy. Rather, some other, more innovative and progressive super power will be, most likely the European Union who have demonstrated past commitments to keying in on focusing on the use of progressive resources and oil conservation.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA, link 2 below), "Total crude oil imports averaged 9.911 million barrels per day in February." Looking more specifically, the Persian Gulf countries alone make up 24% of the US petroleum imports in 2004 (EIA, link 3 below). The Persian Gulf countries include Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Some of these countries are the same countries that the United States remains in conflict with. Yet, the United States is still very heavily dependant on them, paying millions of dollars a day to each. Using the average oil price per barrel of oil for 2004, $36.05, which is also rising, the total spending of imported oil per day in the United States is $357,291,550. Using the current price per barrel of $47.5, the estimated total spending of the United States on imported oil is $470,772,500. Using the current price per barrel, the total amount of money spent a day on the Persian Gulf’s countries oil alone is $112,985,400. As shown by these figures, the price of oil is climbing at a rate that causes discord among the American people. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS, link 4 below) says that "two-thirds of the oil used in the United States goes for transportation. Passenger vehicles alone account for 40 percent of oil use, partly because the fuel economy of new cars and trucks is at a two-decade low.” If by 2012, the average vehicle were to be getting 40 miles per gallon, then in just 10 years, fuel economy could save more than all of the oil the United States would ever be able to pump from the Arctic Refuge. This means that the current trend of low mileage vehicles must begin to ebb, and people owning vehicles that do not meet certain fuel economy standards should be penalized. “Overall, the Arctic drilling would only serve as a temporary small fix for a continuing problem that is sure not to go away any time soon." The demand for oil because of Sport Utility Vehicles and trucks cannot continue to climb if anything is expected to change for the better in a long term sense.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, link 5 below), "the average fuel economy for all model year 2004 light-duty vehicles is estimated to be 20.8 mpg - 6 percent lower than the peak value of 22.1 mpg achieved in 1987-88." Though 6% does not sound like much, the difference is 594,660 barrels of oil a day. With passengers vehicles using 40% of this oil, the 6% difference is calculated into gasoline as 237,864 barrels of gasoline. At 42 gallons a barrel, that is 9,990,288 gallons of gasoline per day which is lost by the 6% decrease. At the current US average price of $2.27 per gallon (AAA Fuel Gauge Report, link 6 below), that is about $22.7 million lost per day at gasoline pumps from passenger vehicles alone. Using the total number of registered vehicles as given by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS, link 7 below) of 222.7 million passenger vehicles, there is a loss of 10 cents per day on each of these vehicles with only the 6% drop from 1987-88. Also, according to the EPA, light trucks, which include SUVs, vans, and pickups are estimated to make up about half of the light duty vehicle market in the United States, which is more than double the share held in 1984. SUVs alone make up over 25 percent of the share today. As trends over the last two decades show, there is a drastic increase of the popularity of SUVs which via oil and petroleum, is detrimental to the current oil crisis, to the environment, and to the economy. In order for there to be any hope of taming the impending increase of gas prices, the American people must have some incentive to buy cars that consume less.
By raising the registration tax for those vehicles with less oil efficiency, this country will encourage the limited consumption of oil and, indirectly, the purchase of hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicles. Oil companies will fight strongly against this, as they have a very large and influential hand in the market, and an eye of malcontent toward production of possible company-ruining investments for a cleaner future, therefore the government is where this change needs to start. If the government would impose a percentage based tax, exponentially graphed per mile per gallon under 20 miles per gallon (mpg), it would theoretically create a decline in the purchase of vehicles with under 20 mpg, and an increase in studies for cleaner engines for these large vehicles that require higher torque and horsepower. In Georgia, from the DMVS website, for "PASSENGER VEHICLES, TRUCKS/TRUCK-TRACTORS," which is most average cars and trucks, it costs $20 for an annual registration fee. If for every mile per gallon less than 20 mpg that each car/truck gets, the state raised the cost by 30%, there would be a much larger tax revenue for safer, better roads, and more money to go into research to save these same people money by developing cleaner burning engines which would not require this tax. In addition, a tax of twenty dollars should go into effect for having each car more than one car per one person with a working income tax. This would indirectly influence more teenagers to get jobs, and more people to begin carpooling within the family. This small, yet influential incentive would turn people toward hybrid cars, and other cleaner burning cars, or would simply keep people above the 20 mpg mark. Despite the almost one-hundred percent possibility of opposition that is sure to come from the idea of taxes being raised on anything from the American people, in the long term it would ensure better economical conditions for them.
Obviously there would be opposition to this idea dealing with commercial or business vehicles, towing capacity, engine modifications, driving styles, and large families. Some commercial or business vehicles would be exempt from this tax, as there are already higher taxes for most large cargo trucks, and because of the economic dependence on larger trucks, such as 18 wheelers, they would be exempt from this tax. Others would simply have to pay that small price for a cleaner environment. This tax would by no means bankrupt anyone, but it does add incentive for businesses think seriously about car and truck purchases; and possibly push for further oil reform.
The purpose of this tax is to begin a slow transition away from unnecessarily owned SUVs and trucks, and toward more fuel efficient cars, or cars that do not require oil at all. Essentially, this country is becoming far too oil dependant. In this current time of conflict with oil trading countries, the United States of America needs to makes some serious efforts of beginning to try to wean itself off of the foreign oil dependence. By continuing to purchase oil from these countries, the United States is simply supporting them by giving them export money. This money is obviously directly contributing further funding for the war against our own troops. If Americans have any sense of patriotism they will recognize these concerns and actively embrace the needed modification. The change needs to start as soon as possible, because in a shorter time than most people think, oil will be scarce, and an abrupt switch will never happen. The change between oil and other resources needs to be a long and gradual progression, but it needs to start now, before it's too late.

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soccer431319, I like your position on your rough draft. I will be interested to see how it all ocmes together in your final draft. The only critique that I could give at this point is to try and stay away from any slang terms such as "upping" instead of raising and just generally relaxed dialect. You seem very personalbe which, in a position paper, I think is a great quality!! Good luck with your paper!

I'll second babygirl13's comments that I like the stance. I think you could cite more sources and use a fair amount more date in order to support your argument. Can you cite any studies that may have reach similar conclusions as you? Have you or anyone else crunched the numbers for things such as how long the oil reserve could be extended to if more efficient cars were used? These forms of evidence are valuable when trying to present a compelling argument. Also don't forget the target length of 1200-1400 words.

Your paper is going along great, thus far. You might consider proof reading your posts to prevent any trivial grammatical errors. Also, don't lose sight of the 1200-1400 word range that is required for the final draft. Your argument is interesting, thought provoking, and supported by your sources. It will be interesting to see how your paper turns out in its final form. Keep up the good work and good luck.

I'll agree with everybody else when they say that yoour position is great; the information you give to support your argument(s) is also well organized and well-thought out. As hiwarejGT pointed out, I think you should put some more emphasis on backing up your claims with more citations and extrapolate a bit more in regards to how the big picture will look and the process it will take for it to happen. Overall, your essay was well thought out and well executed, save for a few minor spelling errors, but I think the only big issue overall is the shift from a really formal essay to a more laid-back and more informal essay towards the end of your draft.
This seems a bit out of place when comparing it to the rest of the paper, since it is very informal and uses slang, which undermines the rest of your essay.
Other than that, I think your essay is turning out really well. Good luck on your final draft.

Contributed / evaluated by spidey32586

Comments by Brick

Your paper is excellently supported by evidence. Be cautious, however, of simply presenting the facts in a scientific manner and expecting the facts to lead everyone to the same conclusions you and I would reach. To convince the general public, which should be the ultimate goal of any paper of this type, you need to explicitly draw the connection between data and result. You do this rather well in the first paragraph, but I'm not sure that the huge figures you cite are exactly the reason for Americans' discontent with the price of oil. More likely would be the price of gasoline at the pump. Unfortunately, we must keep in mind that not everyone is as well informed or as educated as we are. Even our athletes were top of their high school classes (or were very close).
Also, you might consider trying to project the difference your proposed changes would make. 6 percent change in oil economy doesn't sound like much, but what does that translate into when compared to total private as well as gross consumption? How much of an impact would the increased taxes cost the public initially, how much would these taxes apply to commercial vehicles, and how much of an impact would be made on oil imports by these taxes alone? Will you allow transfer trucks (18-wheelers) to be exempt or to have a lower fine rate due to their economic necessity? Let's not forget that while these massive vehicles are significantly fewer in number than passenger cars, they drive as many or more hours per day than the average passenger car, and they belch black smoke often. Should these be treated differently, and what will be the impact on interstate commmerce as well as oil imports? Good luck, I hope this helps!

Thanks for all the comments, guys. You all have been a great help. Hopefully it'll all be worth it in the end, too. soccer431319

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