TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tax Prof Puts on the Miles

PriusTen years ago, I blogged the spiffy new, exotic Prius with the "TaxProf" license plate driven by Jay Soled (Rutgers), which spawned my first TaxProf Blog meme, with several posts on other tax-centric license plates (here, here, herehere, and here).  Jay writes in that the Prius just crossed the 250,000-mile marker:

My 2004 Prius now has 250,000 miles.  Consider the following:  over the last ten years, assuming the average car achieved 25 mpg and my Prius achieved 50 mpg, then I was able to save 5,000 gallons of gas and significantly reduce my carbon footprint.  At the risk of sounding smug, this is undoubtedly a good thing for the world.

Thoughts from Jay's daughter Amanda:

250,000 miles will take you to a lot of places. It will take you to the Moon (and then allow you to continue to circle the Moon’s circumference several times). It will take you around Earth at the equator… 100 times. Having a car with 250,000 miles means that you’ve gone places. Perhaps you did not travel to the moon or around the world, but the odometer sits there, an irrefutable indication that you have, in fact, left your own insignificant world and entered another.

Where has 250,000 miles taken you? Has it taken you to a destination? A discovery? A mindset? Adding miles to your odometer adds dimension to your history. No one who embarks on a quest is the same person who disembarks. You’ve grown, developed, and changed because of the journey, for better or for worse. 250,000 miles is no meager voyage.

The car is beginning to show signs of age and mortality. Perhaps it is time to get a new car and begin a new journey.

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A better way to reduce one's carbon footprint is to take public transportation rather than drive 250,000 miles.

Posted by: Hugh | Jul 2, 2014 3:00:48 AM

How does the huge battery assemblage in a Prius get recycled? That must be expensive compared to junking a regular car.

Posted by: Andy Patterson | Jul 2, 2014 6:53:27 AM

My 2006 Hyundai has 65,000 miles (the model name happens to be my birth place and the license plate happens to be my surname). I did not get a tax subsidy when I bought it but I figure my carbon footprint from it is less than that of those who drive three times as many miles on half as much fuel. This makes me feel better about the fuel required to fly here to Oslo, where the ads inserted into this blog are of course in Norwegian.

Posted by: Bob Kamman | Jul 2, 2014 7:26:16 PM

I think Amanda is incorrect by a factor of 10 about the number of times around the Earth's equator. The Earth's diameter is just under 8000 miles, which means its circumference is 25,000 miles.

Posted by: Tung Yin | Jul 3, 2014 10:06:27 AM

Tung -- that is incorrect. America is essentially the whole world, and it's roughly 3,000 miles from coast to coast. So, the 2,500 figure isn't too far off.

Posted by: andy | Jul 4, 2014 6:29:53 AM