The additional registration fees for electric and hybrid vehicles discussed in Lisa Sorg's column of June 19 ["Absolute power trip"] are not a "penalty on the environment."
For one thing, no one is entitled to drive on public highways without contributing to their upkeep. Secondly, there is no free energy: Plug-in electric vehicles are charged from the same grid that powers everything else, with electricity generated mainly by coal and nuclear power plants. Charging such vehicles increases electrical demand; increased demand equals increased fuel consumption. Unless you generate your own electricity, charging an electric vehicle only contributes to the coal consumption and the creation of nuclear waste.
I am fed up with the notion that electric vehicles represent a solution to our energy and environmental predicament! In the words of environmental activist David Blume, they are in fact a "black idea painted green."
Limitless motoring is not a birthright, no matter how it is powered. There is no free energy, no free ride and no exemption from the laws of physics. Promoting electric vehicles as environmentally friendly or morally superior is merely a symptom of the magical thinking endemic in modern culture.
Ted Ehrhard, Pittsboro
I enjoyed your review of George Packer's excellent book ["Don't stop believin'," June 19]. However, you begin your review with a false statement. Suburban areas are not in fact "spiritually vacant and socially alienating." As documented by Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam and others, suburbs—especially homogeneous suburbs—enjoy higher rates of civic participation (social alienation?) and religious-service attendance (spiritual emptiness?) than urban areas. Everyone has their aesthetic preferences, but please be more attentive to the facts.
Alex Jones, Raleigh
North Carolina's problem isn't Moral Mondays. It's amoral Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. Please remind the legislators that the Golden Rule was laid down by the Torah and Jesus himself, not John D. Rockefeller and Ayn Rand. Scripture says, Woe unto those legislators that make unjust laws against the poor. Also, there was a corrupt judge who feared neither God nor humans. A poor widow kept coming to him demanding justice. He always refused. One night, he thought, I will give this woman justice, otherwise she will never stop bothering me. I forgot, Republicans can't be bothered, they're too busy cutting taxes to zero for the fewer than 50 persons who paid North Carolina estate taxes last year.
Wells Eddleman, Durham