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7659RE: [carfree_cities] RE: ETT and Canterbury Tales

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  • Daryl Oster
    Sep 17, 2004
      > -----Original Message-----
      > 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!

      Read the government publication ORNL energy use in transportation, also some
      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.

      > =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.)

      Improved roads predated cars by thousands of years, and their cost justified
      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,
      and social).

      > =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.
      > <_Jym_>

      I agree, cars cause a lot of damage, walking and bikes are defiantly worse
      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.

      Daryl Oster
      (c) 2004 all rights reserved. ETT, et3, MoPod, "space travel on earth"
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