Raise the fuel tax, lower the speed limitThe article...


December 04, 1997

Raise the fuel tax, lower the speed limit

The article, ''Most would pay more for gas to aid climate'' (Nov. 21) speaks of 3 out of 4 people surveyed willing to pay 5 cents per gallon more, over half actually willing to pay a 25-cent increase.

Then KAL's great Nov. 22 cartoon satirized high-powered sports utility vehicles with their 15 mpgs. These prompt two relevant proposals for a better world.

First, impose a 25-cents or more per gallon additional federal tax on gasoline. While it still would not bring U.S. retail fuel costs up to the levels of practically all other nations, it would encourage more conservation, perhaps even ride-sharing or mass transit.

Equally important, it would take aim at federal deficit reduction .. with a tax easy and inexpensive to collect with the metered pumps at filling stations. As a bonus, it should curb oil imports, a large part of our trade imbalance.

Second, reimpose the 55 mph national speed limit originally mandated in a gutsy move by President Nixon during the OPEC fuel crisis.

The faster the engine and the heavier the vehicle, the more fossil fuels used, the more pollutants exhausted and ultimately the more injuries and deaths from accidents.

Oil, automotive and trucking interests would undoubtedly oppose such actions with political clout; but somehow they should be undertaken for the sake of future generations in this greenhouse world.

C. Slack


Guns must be kept out of children's hands

Once again, a shooting spree has made headline news. This week a 14-year-old boy in Paducah, Kentucky apparently stole a gun and used it to kill three students and wound five others.

As tragic as this crime is, it is made worse by the fact that a young boy was able to steal a handgun, which was presumably stored unlocked by its owner. Had the handgun in question been carefully stored and locked in a storage vault or with a child safety lock (which costs as little as $10), this tragedy may have been averted. Maryland's Child Access Prevention Law requires that firearms kept in homes with children under 16 be stored unloaded and out of the reach of children.

Nancy Fenton


Airliner fuel weight disputed

Your Sun Journal graphic on "Workhorses of the sky," Nov. 26, was interesting, but I hope flight dispatchers and pilots don't go by your fuel weight figures.

The 57,285 gallons of fuel for the 747 would weigh about 383,380 pounds vs. your 171,000; and the 737's fuel would weigh about 35,570 pounds vs. your 15,853.

Where did you get your figures?

oe S. Hilliard


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