Hmmm. . . . . . OK everybody, lets switch to a vegiterian diet in order to keep having so much fun being stuck in traffic jams. What a deal! And while we are at it, we'll keep pouring our national wealth on all the good stuff we love, freeway ramps, parking lots, parking garages, collision shops, emergency rooms, lawyer offices. Oh, and forget that solar PV collector too. You just won't be able to afford it after forking over the few bucks you have for one of these sustainable bio-hybrid-hyper-ethanol-diesels. You'll just have to sit in the dark between driving times.
That's hardly what I'm saying at all. I'm not seeking to keep dependence on the car itself. I'd like to see the car no longer the main option for transport, but for it to take a backseat for liesure purposes while bikes and rail take their place as the main form of transportation. Besides, you don't need to sacrifice prime land to fuel an electric car, either, and biofuels for cars or not, we will need to reduce our excessive meat consumption as the amount of land and energy it consumes is also not sustainable. Factory farms are the worst of it, aside from being dangerous to the environment and highly energy intensive per calorie of meat, they also breed dangerous strains of bacteria resistant to practically all medicines we have developed along with threats such as mad cow disease by not meeting feed guidlines and feeding ruminates parts of other ruminates...
Somehow Mr Toecutter, I think your promises for bio-fuel happy motoring will fall short-- way short-- of what you are expecting. I guess it's just that damn past 50 years of failed techno-visions that have made me so skeptical. I've heard it all before. And when it fails what then? Will we all have to become starvitarians so we can keep our beloved solo driving habbits?
The problem with these failed technovisions is that they relied on technology that didn't exist in their time, but would have purportedly become viable in the future. What I am referring to is technology that is from both the past and the present that has been repeatedly and successfully demonstrated outside of laboratories and factories in both past and present tense. To think we'd have to starve to continue our driving habits is ludicrous, but depending on how we approach the peak crisis and how much we reduce the amount of driving done and by eliminating an outright need for an automobile, we don't have to be faced with that option.
But what's implied here that is negative about cars is twofold. First, their true costs are not realized. The parking, paving, EMTs, freeways, and so on are all publicly funded so the average citizen has no idea what his/her car is costing. Esp since they try very hard not to add up in their heads the lease/loan costs, gas costs, toll costs, maintenance costs, and insurance costs. These costs add up to so much that they must be depressing to the average American. Better just pay it and don't think about it too much. After all, a car here is a necessity.
Secondly, cars set up a market for space that is also not realized by the general public. Freeways in town = less good town. Parking all over town = negative urban space. Cars require so much space in cities that their accomodation destroys cities. But the average citizen experiences this only as "they need more parking here" and "this neighborhood is really friggin scary" without ever seeing that the two are connected.
I agree with all points made. I feel I need to clarify my views, I'm not contending with anything you have said. The high maintenance associated with cars doesn't need to be that way, and with adequate public transit and bike specific lanes, and reshaping our cities to be built around people and public transit instead of the automobile, we can drastically cut car use. Sure, we may have the grid capacity for over 100 million electric cars today, but I'm certainly not recommending America should have that many or more. I think cutting on-road automobiles down to about 50 million, still affordable to the portions of the middle class that want them, but not necessary, would be a boon, but still keep the racers and hobbyists happy. Our cities are far too dependent on cars and that needs to change. It was the auto industry itself that is responsible for the predicament we are in by tearing down the mass transit and forcing Americans to become reliant on the auto. Suburbia is thus a symptom of corporate greed and government stupidity(Eisenhower), and not due to use of the automobile itself.
Cut the car use and have it no longer a necessity, and we don't need these bigass hulking freeways or anywhere near the amount of road maintenance or parking availability that we see today. Maybe a few high speed audobon-like highways would suffice to compliment highspeed electric rail, but we wouldn't need to have anywhere near the number of roads and highways we have today with cutting the number of on-road cars in the U.S. to 50 million or so. Most of them would likely be sports cars and muscle cars made specifically for sporting and recreational purposes only occassionally(< 20% of the time) being used as a means of transport for long distances. Those that don't have or want them would fare just as well taking trains for either short or long commutes or riding bikes for short commutes since adequate infrastructure for these things would negate the need for a car.
The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the old growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder. ~Thomas Jefferson