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It doesn't take exotic materials (http://www.wampfler.com/INDEX.asp?lang=2&page=31,1,32&zuf=0.5012981482920433), but even if it did, that's not the point. The point is that the car-like thing delivers freedom of origin, destination, and schedule that you don't get with train-like things.

A better idea, in my opinion, is for government to say "ok, we're going to put a tax of x% on the CO2 equivalent of each energy source, based on our understanding of the social (environmental) costs, and let the market choose whether to implement car-like or train-like things."

The energy efficiency of trains versus cars is a very complex thing to analyze, and it's not obvious that trains are actually better than cars--even after allowing for their routing and scheduling inflexibility.

by asdf on Mon Feb 6th, 2006 at 10:29:11 AM EST
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