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Wednesday, June 18, 2008 | It was a Technicolor sunshine morning Tuesday, June 17 and I began the morning hike. A UPS van pulled into our neighborhood and parked.  The driver shut off his engine and lugged a box to a doorway, spun around and pulled out in about thirty seconds.

As I returned an hour later a FedEx driver parked, shut off his engine, delivered and left. Less than a minute elapsed.

My walk took me up Mt. Soledad. On top, I spotted a San Diego policeman checking some paperwork on the hood of his car, door open and engine running for the five or so minutes it took me to pass and return. I recalled the month before, while walking into La Costa, when a bunch of squad cars pulled up and parked. The last policeman locked his door and left the car with its engine running. I’ve no idea how long the car sat that way.

Well, UPS passes on their fuel bills to customers, who have a choice of using their service or not. The police pass on their fuel bills to taxpayers, who have no choice. And so $4 per gallon gas gets burned to keep the cops’ cushions cool while they’re outside.

Those who believe government has the answers to conservation and pollution might consider the San Diego Bay and how we dump sewage into it. Or look at the specs for the U.S. military’s next vehicle, the “Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.”  Those guys, dissatisfied with grossing up Jeeps into Humvees, now plan to replace the Humvees with this new truck.  Cost is guessed at $475,000 per vehicle. The military wants it to get at least 4mpg.

Do other governments do better? Chernobyl suggests not. Just something to think about. 

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