Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Fuel efficient cars? Not green enough.

Posted by sanityinjection on February 9, 2009

Interesting article by Alec Dubro in The Progressive. Dubro argues that no matter how fuel efficient cars become, they are not going to help the environment enough.

Of course, Dubro is a devoted drinker of the global warming Kool-Aid, and his proposed solution – getting rid of the personal automobile completely – is ridiculous, which he would know if he ever spent one day outside a major city. Nevertheless, like Karl Marx, the dubiousness of his proposal should not prevent us from recognizing the validity of his criticisms of the status quo, including the following salient points:

  • Making cars more fuel-efficient means people will drive even more than they do now, counteracting any positive effect to the environment.
  • No matter how expensive gasoline gets, people don’t stop driving (a point I have been making tirelessly for years.)
  • Most of the energy required to drive a car is needed to haul the car’s own weight rather than its cargo.
  • Fuel-efficient cars do not address the pollution caused by the need to maintain roads and manufacture tires.

Dubro does hint at the fact that trains are far more fuel-efficient than cars are.  I am always surprised at how little attention has been paid to the possible economic and environmental benefits of a nationwide high-speed rail system as a possible alternative to automobile travel. In my part of the country, we have spent the last couple of decades transforming abandoned railroad tracks into bike paths. While I think bike paths are a good thing, I wonder if we will ultimately regret giving up the use of those right-of-ways for mass transit.

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