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Some Good After All

There was a piece in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle that said that people are abandoning their cars in favor of buses and trains in unprecedented numbers and that the experts say the shift may be permanent.

The reason is high gas prices, of course, and that corroborates what some of us have been saying for years—that gas prices should be high, for this very reason. This is painful for some people, no doubt about that, and someone should figure out ways to help them, but overall this is definitely the proverbial silver lining.

As a counterbalance, there was a bit on World News last evening about how the U.S. has coal enough to power all our cars and buses and trucks forever once it is converted to liquid fuel. The example is South Africa, which has a big coal-to-gasoline plant that has run for years.

It works, but the carbon emissions are horrific. Some think they will figure out a way to capture the carbon in an economical fashion, but no one knows. Driving less is a proven strategy that saves money into the bargain.

And speaking of the Chronicle, how sad. It has never been the world's greatest newspaper, but it's our newspaper and it's sad to see it wither away. Many of our favorite reporters are gone, and the crew that's left labors mightily to get us the news. All papers are suffering, and there's no stopping this kind of change, I guess, but if I could, I would.

Tags:  coal, oil

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