Slow DownWhen the Clinton administration's new gasoline...


January 30, 1994

Slow Down

When the Clinton administration's new gasoline tax of 4.3 cents a gallon went into effect last fall, it was met with a great hue and cry by the motoring public.

On the road the reaction was predictable -- none -- thereby negating the most important reason for its use: to change the way in which motor vehicles are used and thereby reduce their deleterious effect on the environment.

A gas tax of 50 cents initially, with an additional 10 cents a year thereafter, would have produced significant results.

Not only could repair of highway infrastructure be better addressed, but also that of alternative systems. Most important would be the effect of reducing passenger-miles traveled, and of decreasing speed.

Today the average driver in no way feels inhibited as to the use of the car once beyond the costs of the vehicle and its insurance.

The proof is in the number of single drivers on the road. The cost of driving just isn't such that we will use HOVs (high occupancy vehicles).

The real irony of today's travel by car in light of the dreaded fuel tax is that there is already a "tax" we all are paying in excess of the president's. And we're doing it willingly. I'm talking about speeding and its direct effect on gas mileage and the cost of driving.

In a state with a top speed of 55 miles per hour, it is a fact that on limited access highways 70 m.p.h. is the norm. On secondary roads, too; a 10-to-20-percent increase seems to be creeping into many motorists' driving habits.

Studies on the effect of speed on gas consumption have produced eye-opening (and foot-lightening) results. This by businesses whose profitability hinges upon the operation of its vehicle fleet at maximum efficiency.

National trucking fleets have found that reducing speeds resulted in fuel savings of between 10 and 30 percent, depending on speed, size and weight.

So, the bottom line to the trucking business has a message for the motoring public in general: slow down and save money -- significant money. At the pump, savings might amount to 10 to 20 cents per gallon.

We have developed a slow, corrosive disregard for the speed limit. And we have thereby paid, and will continue to pay, a severe and self-imposed tax upon ourselves.

Thomas Carroll


Ludicrous Diatribe

Donald Sterling, chair of the Baltimore City Community

Relations Commission, must live in a vacuum. His lengthy

diatribe against Rush Limbaugh (letter, Jan. 14) is as ludicrous as it is outrageous.

First, I don't recall hearing Rush Limbaugh refer to himself as a "wacko." His braggadocio is wearisome at times, and self-deprecation is not one of Mr. Limbaugh's characteristics. Had Mr. Sterling ever listened to the Limbaugh program, he would know that.

Second, Rush Limbaugh has been on WCBM-AM in Baltimore for some time. Mr. Sterling apparently believes it is just arriving, since he now hears it on WBAL-AM.

He will no doubt be surprised to learn there are radio stations other than WBAL in and around the city. I might tell you Mr. Limbaugh has always enjoyed a strong listenership both in this community and throughout the country. He is also heard locally on WMAL-AM radio in the Washington area.

I can't wait to hear Mr. Sterling explain how Rush Limbaugh and WBAL's decision to carry him will "undermine the noble efforts of the overwhelming majority of the citizenry." It is clear he doesn't know what he is talking about.

If this is the kind of leadership we are getting from the Baltimore City Community Relations Commission, perhaps it ought to be abolished.

Apparently the commission hasn't heard of freedom of speech, and it is clear the commissioners don't listen to Limbaugh.

Gene Edwards


Sun Overkill

The "profile" of Comptroller Jacqueline McLean in The Sun (Jan. 23) was disquieting, inexplicable and, once again, a graphic example of journalistic prodigality and overkill. Two salient questions emerge:

1. What new and substantive revelations were brought forward?

2. Why do the Sunpapers, in light of the copious and full delineation of the personal woes, anguish and tribulations of Mrs. McLean, deem it appropriate or necessary to publish a front-page profile of Mrs. McLean at this point in time?

In view of the towering and continuing absence of news articles in the Sunpapers focusing on positive and significant contributions of black Americans on a regular and consistent basis, the Sunpapers' heavy and unusual attention to Mrs. McLean is skewed in the direction of negativism and fundamental unfairness.

I remain convinced, in the absence of substantial new findings, that the proper forums for a fair and just decision on Comptroller McLean are administrative, legislative and judicial.

amuel L. Banks


Heroic Carriers

The motto "Nor rain, snow nor gloom of night will keep them from their appointed rounds" probably was more applicable to the newspaper deliverers during the freeze crisis which gripped the metro area in recent weeks.

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