In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 8, 2011 / 8 Menachem-Av, 5771

'Energy independence' is a pipe dream

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Late last month, President Obama announced new automobile fuel-efficiency standards that will require cars to achieve an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Vehicle fleets currently average 27 miles per gallon, so the new target would boost fuel efficiency by an unprecedented 100 percent within 14 years. But barring an engineering miracle, that's probably pie in the sky. After all, from 1975, when the first federal mileage rules for new cars were enacted, it took more than 30 years to improve automobile efficiency by just 60 percent. And the easy gains were achieved early on; since 1980, fuel economy has climbed by only about 1 percent a year.

In truth, there is less to the new standards (known as CAFE, for corporate average fuel economy) than meets the eye. Writing for The Hill, John German of the International Council on Clean Transportation, a former Chrysler powertrain engineer, points out that "automakers will be graded on a curve." That means "an automaker that builds mostly larger cars, SUVs, and trucks will have lower mileage goals than a competitor that builds mostly compact and subcompact cars."

A mandate of 54.5 mpg may generate arresting headlines, but down in the fine print, the numbers aren't nearly as striking. "Even if the auto industry manages to meet the new standards," reports The New York Times, "it is unlikely car buyers will see many fuel-economy stickers with such high mileage." Thanks to an array of "credits," discounts, and testing procedures built into the CAFE system, 54.5 mpg will really be more like 40., "it is unlikely car buyers will see many fuel-economy stickers with such high mileage

But the fuzzy mileage numbers aren't nearly as dubious as the endlessly repeated claim that greater fuel efficiency will mean lower fuel consumption, and in turn reduce American dependence on foreign oil.

"This agreement on fuel standards," declared the president at his CAFE press conference, "represents the single most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Think about that."

It is getting hard to remember a time when US presidents didn't tout "energy independence" -- meaning freedom from imported oil -- as an urgent and achievable American objective.

"Let this be our national goal," said Richard Nixon in his 1974 State of the Union address: "At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need."

A year later, Gerald Ford foresaw a reduction in oil imports "by 1 million barrels a day by the end of this year" and complete energy independence by 1985.

In 1979, Jimmy Carter blasted America's "intolerable dependence on foreign oil" and swore: "Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 -- never."

Year in, year out, the quest for energy independence is one presidents never tire of invoking. What Nixon, Ford, and Carter were pushing in the 1970s, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama have continued to push in the 2000s. And while the 2012 presidential candidates are sure to clash on many things, the desirability of reducing oil imports from abroad is not likely to be one of them.

But energy independence is a delusion. Greater efficiency may be a splendid thing -- all other things being equal, who wouldn't rather get more miles to the gallon? -- but far from reducing the nation's demand for oil, it increases it. Thirty-five years of CAFE mandates have not reversed the rising US demand for petroleum. In 1975, highway fuel consumption totaled 109 billion gallons, according to the Federal Highway Administration. The total in 2008: 175 billion gallons.

What is true of automobile transportation is true of the economy generally: Americans use energy far more efficiently than in decades past, and for that reason the more energy they consume. Paradoxical? Not really. "Efficiency fails to curb demand because it lets more people do more, and do it faster," write Peter Huber and Mark Mills in The Bottomless Well , their intriguing 2005 book on energy policy, "and more/more/faster invariably swamps all the efficiency gains." More energy-efficient generally means more affordable -- and the more affordable something becomes, the more of it society tends to use.

Whatever else might be said of the new CAFE rules, they aren't going to reduce our dependence on oil, imported or otherwise. Americans have been using foreign oil for a long time, and we use a lot more of it now than we used to. When Nixon was in the White House, the United States imported 6 million barrels of petroleum per day. The daily average so far this year is 11.4 million barrels. It would be even higher if the economy were stronger.

Someday -- maybe -- motor vehicles really will get 54.5 mpg. But "energy independence?" You should live so long.

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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