While Obama has been attracting large audiences to see him talk, McCain this week decided to go to where the crowds are. His recent stop in Sturgis, South Dakota, during the Black Hills Classic motorcycle rally, made me wonder which nominee is best, strictly on biker issues.
With Obama’s recent reversal of his opposition to offshore drilling for petroleum and the possibility of tapping the strategic oil reserve, there is not a lot of difference between the overarching principles of each man’s energy policies. When you dig deeper you see that McCain is in favor of suspending the gas tax which can bring temporary relief to the cost of gas, although how that would affect the condition of our roads is less than desirable. It is also questionable whether gas prices would decline since they are market driven, and not based on the costs associated with production. If that was true gasoline in the Bay Area should be the cheapest in the nation with the close proximity of the Richmond refineries. Unfortunately we have some of the most expensive gas in the country. Obama is in favor of a windfall profits tax on oil companies. The legislation would include safeguards to prevent passing the tax on to consumers, although I am sure the oil companies can find ways around this. McCain wins this battle. McCain 1 – Obama 0
Which candidate is better for bikers?
Obama has hard numbers on record; an 80% reduction of carbon emissions by 2050 and CAFE standards that raise the average gas mileage for cars and trucks. McCain wants to reduce carbon emissions – but has a softer commitment – and possibly eliminate CAFE standards if a cap and trade system is implemented. CAFE standards are not that applicable to motorcycles, we get great mileage already but by restricting emissions manufacturers of motorcycles will have to build cleaner bikes. This could increase the purchase price of a motorcycle – by requiring catalytic converters and charcoal canisters – from $50 - $300. Another win for McCain. McCain 2 – Obama 0
Both home states of each senator have lax helmet laws. Illinois has no helmet law and Arizona only requires helmets for persons under 18 years old. I have been unable to find voting records on matters of helmet laws for either lawmaker so this one is a push. McCain 2 – Obama 0
While McCain trumps Obama on motorcycle related issues, the scoring was based on the probability of raising the price of enjoying the freedom of the open road on our motorcycles. While these costs are not significant to me – an extra $300 on a new motorcycle and an extra $10 per tank – they are a measurable and can be a burden to many Americans. What we are unable to quantify is how much clean air is worth. How much has the quest for cheap oil cost us in defense funding and the lives of servicemen and women? How much will climate change cost us and our children? These are costs that we should also take into consideration before we vote. Oh yeah, and remember to keep your tires properly inflated for fuel savings and safety!Permalink