All this talk about fuel economy standards, battery-powered cars, hybrids, goddamn ethanol, emissions regulations, hydrogen cars, fuel cells…
Where’s the talk about owning fewer cars?
See, even if a car had 1000000 miles per gallon, I wouldn’t want one. And I wouldn’t want to live in a world where it would put me at a (more) significant disadvantage not to have one.
Even if a car had 1000000 miles per gallon, you still have the negative environmental impact: large swaths of land cut out for building roads, huge hunks of metal required to build the cars, graveyards full of dead cars, oil, antifreeze, batteries, all the rest of the stuff besides gas that goes into a car.
You still have the negative personal impact of cars: suburbs. These McMansions on McEstates with all the spread-out-ness and personal separation that that entails. You say cars bring people closer together by letting people go places; I say what if the cars->roads->suburbs didn’t bring people apart in the first place? Strip malls. Grocery stores. Factory farms. Megachains in every industry: Best Buy, Borders, Bed Bath and Beyond. Cars allow everyone to own their own big plot of land, and everyone owning their own big plot of land makes everything less efficient.
And you still have the negative health impact of cars. We’re fat blah blah blah. Nobody walks or bikes anymore, etc. Well, in a sense, I don’t blame them! If your supermarket (and therefore nearest source of food) is 4 miles away, no wonder you don’t walk there every time you want some milk! But still, the fact remains that nobody DOES walk. (“we’d take a limousine ‘cause it costs more”)
Granted, cars have their purpose. But life is better without them. Unfortunately, living without them often requires a huge paradigm shift, the first part of which is moving to a city. So I’m not asking for a grassroots burn-your-car campaign; some people just can’t do it. I’m asking for a top-down solution in this, because it’s the only way it’ll work.
Government leaders: give us more public transportation! Subsidize bicycles as well as hybrid cars! Quit with this whole ethanol kick! Do everything you can to move towards more consolidation, not more sprawl.
Give us the freedom to live without cars.
post script: Obama at least mentions “transit-friendly communities” and “public transit.” Please vote for him.
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