Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why I don't own a car

There are several reasons I have given up car ownership, but the most important one is that cars are not good for the environment. Cars pollute, they are loud, they use a lot of land for their operation and storage, and they are expensive. Of course there are positive aspects to car ownership. We all know what these are. I want to explore and document alternatives to the car for short trips. I have a Helmet Cam and a bicycle trailer. The Helmet Cam is to document my rides around suburban southern California and the trailer is for hauling groceries and other goods. Additionally, oil is a non-renewable resource that has great value and it is wasteful to burn it in engines. Check out the concept of Peak Oil. Here is a paragraph from a report commissioned by the US government on Peak Oil:

The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation,the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking.
In 2003, the world consumed just under 80 million barrels per day (MM bpd) of oil. U.S. consumption was almost 20 MM bpd, two-thirds of which was in the transportation sector. The U.S. has a fleet of about 210 million automobiles and light trucks (vans, pick-ups, and SUVs).

So if two-thirds of US consumption is in the transportation sector, then it seems that the easiest target for reduction is that sector. While not easy, living without a car is not hard either. Just less convenient.

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