Here in the UK, Petrol (Gasoline) - already far more expensive than the US - has risen steadily in price over the past few years. There is real concern that soon people will be paying over a pound per litre of petrol.

I do not own a car. I hate cars, motorbikes, lorries and roads. I despair that there will ever be any change in the way we get from A to B. I despair that people will ever stop thinking of themselves for long enough to see what they are doing to themselves and their environment.

Car owners seem to always complain:

  • Car and Petrol costs are too high
  • There are too many people on the road
  • Not enough money is spent on the road network
  • Speed limits are restrictive and wrong
  • It is always other people who are the terrible drivers
  • Pedestrians and Cyclists shouldn't be anywhere near roads
  • Public transport isn't good enough
  • It is always other people's cars that pollute
  • Pollution is not a problem

Car and Petrol costs are too high. This is the only point in which I agree with motorists. This is a symptom of Rip-off UK. The government is justifying the petrol increases by claiming that the taxes are "green". They are not green taxes, Petrol tax is simply a way of paying for income tax reductions.

There are too many people on the road. Out of the many people in our department, 2 car-shares with other people in the building. That's 2% of my department. As I walk to work, I would estimate that 99% of the cars passing me have one person in. There is only so much space on the road - what should be done? Widen main roads? Bulldoze houses/parks/fields/forests/anything that gets in the way? Simply so that you can spend 30 minutes in the car rather than 40? We can either concrete over the entire country, or we can find alternatives. Are only You allowed to use the road? I find that the height of selfishness. No one asks to work from home, and cannot really answer why not - it is Somebody Else's Problem.

Not enough money is spent on the road network. The road lobby tells us that only 25% of the money collected from petrol duty is spent on the roads. That figure may or may not be true. But again it comes down to selfishness. The motorist wants to be whisked in minimum time necessary from home to work and back again. But when money is spent on the roads, mostly with maintenance and extensions, the motorist moans yet again! This time the roadworks are getting in the way of their very important business. (usually getting home to sit for 5 hours in front of the TV) And what if a vast amount of money was spent on the roads? Would the motorist prefer this money siphoned from Health? Education? Defense? The money has to come from somewhere - for all government expenses.

Speed limits are restrictive and wrong I want to throttle people who say this. I have seen many near misses by cars driving at 50mph+ on residential roads. When I am in the car with others, the driver will curse like a pirate when confronted with a traffic calming measure, such as speed bumps outside a school or by a well used crossing. Again, it comes down to selfishness - Why should the all important driver have to slow down? Because speed kills. The argument that people have control at the speed they want to drive is just plain wrong - since when does a smaller time to react in equate to safety and control?

It is always other people who are the terrible drivers Crap. Every "good" driver I have travelled with will pull out in front of someone, make poor decisions when manoeuvering or have near misses. Everyone is a poor driver, even my Mother - who I think is the safest driver I know - will forget a turning until the last minute, or choose the wrong lane at a junction. It's that selfishness again - Only I am the good driver, only I deserve to travel on the road.

Pedestrians and Cyclists shouldn't be anywhere near roads. Selfishness really comes to the fore here. Cyclists have no right, Pedestrians have no right to cross the road or use any part of the road. How exactly should I walk to work? I have to dodge 60mph+ saloons, preempt the actions of mothers in huge 4x4's and watch 90 year old fossils meander their way towards me. Roads go everywhere, I have to cross those roads to get to work. Motorists, Deal With It.

Public transport isn't good enough. Actually what is being said is "I cannot organise my life well enough to plan for a bus or train". I can. Many others can. I can relax on a bus, switch off or read. If I was driving I couldn't. So what if the bus doesn't go directly from your home to your destination? Big deal if you have to walk 200 metres to or from the bus stop. Is it that much of a hassle to sit with other people on the bus? No. Public transport is good enough - It is the motorist who will continue to find excuses to justify their car.

It is always other people's cars that pollute. Cars pollute. They may pollute less than they used to, but there are more cars about now - there is a net increase in pollution. Simply "getting rid of all old cars" would not solve the problem - to meet the demand new ones would be manufactured at great environmental cost.

Pollution is not a problem Try telling that to your grandchildren as they take of their gas masks. "Sorry, but it wasn't a problem back in 2000, so we thought we'd do nothing." Pollution IS a problem. We have a choice now; cut back a little now, or cut back completely in 50 years' time.

Please try to cut back on your car usage, every little will help a great deal

Noder's note: I have just spent about an hour defending myself against concerted attacks from car owners - I make no apology for this node.

I disagree as strongly on this as I do anything else in my life!

This is an absurd thought, that using your car less will improve things. Why absurd? Because oil is still the cheapest form of energy we have. It is cheapest to obtain, refine, transport, and everything else invovled. Even if you and I, and everyone else, reads this and believes it, companies won't change because of the money involved.

If you want to save the world, drive as much as possible, as fast as possible, in the biggest damn car you can find.

Does that sound strange? Of course. Here is the resoning:
The reason that you don't drive a tiny electric car is because it is not economically feasible for you to do so. The car manufacturers don't make lots of electric cars because there isn't a viable market for them, so you can't by mass produces cheap, clean cars.

So, my solution? Force the issue. As gas(petrol) prices increase, fewer people will drive. When they get absurd, say $40 a gallon, no one will drive their SUV's any more, everyone will have no alternative but to either "go green" or go to public tranprotation.

There are two outcomes possible: either we come up with another way to pollute everything, or we find a way to use much more of the fuel we have, becoming much more efficient and less polluting.

Sounds reasonable, Right?

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