I often get criticized for my views on cars, driving, fuel prices, engine size, fuel mileage, but my views on it are far from based on ignorance. I've often seen trends, and views, and gone to see whether they were true or not. When I was in high school, I took auto shop, and we were asked to present a report on alternative fuel vehicles, and at the time, living in California, Electric cars were the big push by the media and "greenies". My report ended up being in favor of conventional cars, for many reasons, and if anyone asks, I will post them, but this post isn't the right time. I ran across this today, and it really illustrated the falsities of the "conventional" wisdom that gets bandied around the media.
I've always believed that America has a love affair with the car, and that is proven by the fact that there are vast amounts of improvements, upgrades and the like to customize your car practically indefinitly. Living in the UK, a supposed "green" country, with laws to try and "encourage" public transit and get people out of cars, driving is basically catching up to US levels, and customizing and modifications have caught on in a big way. Not like these, where the US essentially dominates, but what I like to call the "boy racer" scene, with many mods also being made to family cars, like the Ford Mondeo, with even a big site dedicated to the car.
This has shown that cars are still the preferred method of travel, and it doesn't take a brain surgeon to discover why. It's fast, cheap, easy, and direct to your door. With that in mind, why shouldn't we drive? The article I linked to shows the top 5 myths in regards to pollution and how we're destroying the world. I agree with pretty much every point, and it reflects my own observations in the world.
I especially liked the last point, in regards to what the real impact of driving less means. In the past 10 years I've seen environmentalism shift from a concern for the environment to how much power and influence can they wield. The driving less cars issue, with the resultant burning less fuel issue fails simply because it'd implausible. In myth 5 the author talks about how we would be better off dealing with the effects of global warming (which will most likely be far less severe than scientists have claimed).
This becomes a valid argument because:
A: Global warming will not stop or slow down because we burn less fuel.
B: Developing countries such as China and India would destroy their fragile economies, and that would not be good because historically it is countries with strong economies that have the most environmentally sound policies. In short, they can afford it.
C: If those economies did collapse, any environmental gain would be lost due to billions of people being totally unconcerned for the environment because they are worried about their very survival, though I am sure some people would enjoy that.
D :The solution to bring the world out of the crisis of global warming is to bring the countries who create the most pollution into a stable and positive economy that cares about the envrionment and has the spare cash to do so.
The result of artificially jacking up fuel prices through taxes, and raising the cost of using a car to horrifically high levels does nothing but increase the gap between rich and poor. The poor can't afford a car and are forced to use expensive, inefficient and dirty public transport, and the rich sit happy in their luxury cars burning fuel that they can afford to burn. The real squeeze ends up on the middle class, essentially forcing them to sacrifice other things to run increasingly expensive basic vehicles. And as has been seen in Britain, the amount of cars on the road is rising, not due to a disregard for the environment, but becasue the standard of living is rising and they can afford it. Which basically shows that when we can afford to pay for environmentalism, we are willing to do so.
Which begs the question, what's a better way to spend the funds raised as a result of the increased cost of awareness? Is it through spending in government with no oversight (through high fuel and road taxes) ? Or is it better to funnel the money through private companies who make use of environmental laws to create companies, jobs, and ultimately, a much cleaner and safer environment. I vote the latter.