7659RE: [carfree_cities] RE: ETT and Canterbury Tales
- Sep 17, 2004
> -----Original Message-----Read the government publication ORNL energy use in transportation, also some
> From: Jym Dyer [mailto:jym@...]
> > Eventually bikes and trains proved to be unsustainable because
> > of the greater efficiency of the car, motorcycle and airplane.
> =v= What an odd statement. The latter three are *far* less
> efficient and sustainable than the former three!
recent papers showing train energy use per passenger mile to exceed car
energy use per passenger mile. I'll dig up the references for you when I
return home next week.
Most of the rail proliferation of the mid to late 1800s was a result of the
HUGE government subsidy of the unprecedented wealth grant of up to one mile
of free land on either side of the railroad- once the land profit was
extracted, rail started it's steady decline (it is way too costly to haul
people efficiently - good for huge loads of coal though (it's original
design purpose, and still about the only profitable use).
Verses walking, a bicycle will justify it's expense in only a couple hundred
miles. Verses a bicycle, a car will justify it's expense in about 30,000
miles. (just compare the cost of food and time saved, to the cost of the
vehicle, operator time, and fuel). Remember efficiency has more than one
dimension - it all boils down to money -- the universal measuring device.
>Improved roads predated cars by thousands of years, and their cost justified
> =v= Indeed, I would argue that the domination of cars and planes
> can be attributed in part to their inefficiency. These modes
> consume more oil, thereby making oil interests wealthier and
> more powerful than when trains were doing the consuming. These
> interest have in turn arranged massive subsidies for fuel, the
> building and maintenance of roads and airports, and just about
> everything else that has to do with cars and planes. Actual
> costs become "externalities," out of sight, out of mind, for
> others to pay. (Perhaps this qualifies as "efficiency" in a
> certain convoluted economic model? Help me out here.)
in lower cost (less environmental damage than walking on new paths around
the mud). The cost of roads is more than paid by all the vehicle taxes,
fuel taxes, tire tax, battery tax, and let's not forget sales tax every time
the vehicle is sold. Much of the use taxes have been "borrowed" for many
other non-transportation related government programs, (especially the layers
of sales tax and corporate income taxes on all those profits you cite).
The only hope of mitigating the gross environmental and social problems of
the automobile is to advance (by adopting ETT and other ultra efficient
transportation means); the reason is that the automobile mitigated even
worse problems associated with animals, bikes and trains, so we cannot
return to the old ways that have already proven unsustainable.
(please remember, sustainability has 3 dimensions: environmental, energy,
>I agree, cars cause a lot of damage, walking and bikes are defiantly worse
> =v= Sustainable? The "externalized" costs of ecological
> damage from (non-newable) gasoline, exhaust, roads, airports,
> ozone depletion, toxic tire dust, and even lead poisoning from
> cars' wheel weights are Staggering! While bikes and rail are
> of course not zero-impact, they aren't even in the same league
> as cars and airplanes.
if you compare on a passenger mile total cost basis. - How much land would
it take to grow enough food, and provide enough unimproved path ways through
filthy conditions, and stripped land (ever been to India or China?) to walk
or ride a bike to carry what A 18 wheel truck carries in a year? It is easy
to complain about the car, when we don't have to walk through ankle deep
horse and cattle dung on our way to work every day! Horses and ox teams eat
all the time -- not just when they are producing useful work. Do the math,
as I have, and you may realize that we are deep into a dead end with the
dependency on fossil fuel - the only way out is to improve transportation
efficiency (considering ALL resources) by another factor of ten or more, as
the automobile did. With ETT the efficiency can improve by 2 orders of
magnitude; but ETT can only replace about 80% of present transportation.
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