Give Up Our SUVs? Yeah, Sure. Right After We Trash The Sanitary Districts
Add yet another notch in the totem pole of Long Island's adherence to the culture of, "What us, change?"
Gas is approaching $4 per gallon, headed to $5 or $6, and we cling to our 8 MPG vehicles like a Sanitary District commish holds on for dear life to the notion that lifetime perks for part-time work are endowed entitlements.
Forget that we spend more on gas than for food. Heck, why drive a Prius when an Escalade can eat you out of house and home -- and all the more quickly?
Pay more for garbage collection than for police protection?
After all, what could be more important than having your trash collected 6 days a week (or was that the equivalent of 8 days), or picked up at the back door (talk about lazzzzzzy) instead of at the curb?
Of course, now that we lave the Long Island Index report evidencing LIers' infatuation with their automobiles (like we needed to spend how much money to figure that one out?), surely we'll reflect upon our misguided ways, and trade in our Hummers for Smart Cars.
And just look at that groundswell of support -- from our legislators to the taxpaying public -- for the final report of the NYS Commission on Government Efficiency. . .
Need we say more?
Whether Long Islanders will change their ways is highly dependent upon whether we will change our "leave it alone" mindset -- on everything from special districts to illegal accessory apartments, paying more while getting less -- resisting anything remotely resembling a modification of our long-standing (and, quite frequently, counterproductive) belief that what worked well (or not so) in 1938 will still work today -- or worse still, tomorrow.
Until then, we'll continue to bear the burden of -- or, as some have said, "enjoy" -- digging into our pockets (assuming there is anything left but the hole down there) to pay for the unrealized vision of suburbia.
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Island's move to energy efficiency stops at SUVs
BY JENNIFER SMITH
Long Islanders have switched to energy-efficient lightbulbs and adjusted their thermostats, but the region's nascent green revolution may stop in the driveway.
Most residents have no plans to abandon their sport utility vehicles or spacious sedans for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, according to a Long Island Index poll released Monday.
The survey asked more than 850 Long Island residents their opinions on climate change and energy efficiency.
Results were mixed. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they believe global warming is already happening. But more than half said it would not threaten them or their way of life during their lifetimes.
The poll showed residents were willing to adopt some changes wholeheartedly. More than 90 percent said they would choose an energy-efficient appliance over a cheaper but less efficient model.
But one sacrifice many Long Island drivers appear unwilling to make is swapping a bigger vehicle for a more fuel-efficient model. Conducted amid rising fuel prices in February and March, the survey showed that, while one-tenth of drivers would consider buying a hybrid and 14 percent would consider a compact, roughly two-thirds of drivers preferred something other than a smaller car with better gas mileage.
Nearly three-quarters now drive SUVs, trucks and medium-sized cars such as sedans or station wagons.
Economic, generational and political divides also shaped responses. Affluent, liberal residents tended to show more support for shouldering upfront costs of big investments in future energy efficiency.
All told, 46 percent of all those surveyed said they would pay more on their electric bill if the Long Island Power Authority developed large-scale solar and wind-power projects. Only 32 percent of those making less than $35,000 backed an increase, compared with 57 percent of those earning $100,000 or more.
John McNally of the Rauch Foundation, a Garden City-based nonprofit philanthropic group that funded the survey, called on LIPA to develop renewable energy sources as well as energy conservation programs.
Noting that the utility just announced a 50-megawatt solar power project, LIPA president and Chief Executive Kevin Law said he was committed to "exploring large-scale renewable projects, but I need to balance those desires with the economic impacts such projects would have on our ratepayers."
Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.