More on the theory that green is good for economic growth.
Last weekend, I was a participant at the Virginia International Raceway’s (VIR) Gold Cup sports car races, one of that facility’s premier annual events.
Racing fuel (110 octane) at the track was selling at the same price as regular grade in Europe — $8 a gallon — while prices on the street paralleled the national average of $4. In other words, the green dream has come true: Prices have increased by $2 a gallon since June, 2005, roughly equal to the $2-a-gallon gas tax that green advocates like The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman have championed. The green movement has heady notions of high gas prices leading to whiz-bang technological innovations from which thousands of jobs will bloom.
But if VIR is any indication, a greener, more expensive U.S. transportation system is having an immediate, negative impact on day-to-day American commerce. Both the racing entry and fan attendance were well off anticipated numbers – disappointing figures that event sponsors laid at the feet of higher fuel prices.
With fewer cars on the track and fewer cars coming through the front gate, it was surely a “greener” weekend by carbon-emissions standards, but there was also a lot less green in the cash register. The U.S. is headed into a prolonged period of high energy prices – but the deluded could conclude that this is a good thing.