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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: energy used in making of car

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  • Ross or Judy
    Cars are a huge, uneccessary consumer item. The pollution from creating them, including climate change, are a disadvantage that is specifically due to
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 22 3:45 PM
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      Cars are a huge, uneccessary consumer item. The pollution from creating
      them, including climate change, are a disadvantage that is specifically due
      to automobile use.

      Electric cars are not much better then gas burners, in one way they are
      worse. If the energy comes from dirty sources, like the coal being burned in
      Alberta, and the car appears to be clean, people will be less likely to see
      the harm of running or purchasing one and will not switch to cleaner modes
      of transport: trains, bikes, velomobiles etc.

      Ross

      > I think we are better off sticking to
      >arguments that point out disadvantages that are *specifically* due to
      >automobile use.

      >Chris Miller
    • Car Busters
      ... These should be cubic metres sorry - thanks for pointing that out. ... is the same as 425 billion litres) Richard.
      Message 2 of 16 , Sep 23 4:32 AM
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        > By the way, what does "cubic litre" mean? Did they mean "cubic metre"
        > or "litre"? :-)

        These should be 'cubic metres' sorry - thanks for pointing that out.

        (1 cubic metre = 1,000,000 cubic centimetres = 1000 litres, so:
        > 425 million cubic metres of polluted air
        is the same as 425 billion litres)

        Richard.

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      • earthymiller
        ... arguments ... or ... T. J. Binkley Replied: Better that these costs were compared to the manufacture of trains or bicycles or walking shoes I agree that
        Message 3 of 16 , Sep 23 8:20 PM
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          To my message several days ago:
          >
          >A cautionary word about the critiques of the environmental cost of
          >cars before they are even driven: I would not consider these
          arguments
          >at all convincing unless it can be shown that these costs apply
          >uniquely to *cars* and not, say, to refrigerators, washing machines
          or
          >personal computers.

          "T. J. Binkley" Replied:

          Better that these costs were compared to the manufacture of trains

          or bicycles

          or walking shoes

          I agree that at this level, i.e. comparing the costs of means of
          transportation, the argument is relatively good. But you have to take
          into account that opponents could turn around and remind you that cars
          aren't the only manufactured item that probably has hidden
          environmental costs before it is even used. Hence "refrigerators,
          washing machines or personal computers". I suspect in any case that
          not only SUVs, but smaller cars, even the ones generally preferred in
          Europe, would probably come out unfavorably in the comparison: the
          thing is to find out what the relative costs of different complex
          manufactured items are.

          As for the next point:

          Ross <rossjudy@s...> wrote:
          > Cars are a huge, uneccessary consumer item. The pollution from
          creating
          > them, including climate change, are a disadvantage that is
          specifically due
          > to automobile use.
          >
          > Electric cars are not much better then gas burners, in one way they
          are
          > worse. If the energy comes from dirty sources, like the coal being
          burned in
          > Alberta, and the car appears to be clean, people will be less likely
          to see
          > the harm of running or purchasing one and will not switch to cleaner
          modes
          > of transport: trains, bikes, velomobiles etc.


          Again, although the current reliance on internal combustion to power
          automobiles (including buses & trucks) undoubtedly is a major culprit
          in the air pollution that is taken to be the major likely cause of
          climate change, heavy industry is no less a villain in this story. As
          is the way electric power is produced in many places, e.g. Alberta, as
          you mention. And this issue is separate from cars as such. If cars
          running on Alberta coal-based electricity are dirty for that reason,
          so is every lightbulb and household appliance using the same
          electricity, and so would every electric-powered commuter train that
          might ever appear in Alberta. The source of the electricity is a
          question entirely separate from the *inherent* disadvantages of cars
          in cities. These disadvantages have to do with the way they behave
          like cancer cells, perverting the way a city grows and functions,
          eventually infesting it with a tumorous network of asphalt pavement
          that strangles the natural social and physical uses of a city that
          give it its life. This is the central problem of cars in cities.
          Internal combustion can be fixed, getting rid of (most) pollution, but
          keeping cars in cities will always lead to them destroying or at least
          severely impairing the human scale of living that is the absolute
          heart of what a city is.

          For many people, cars *are* in fact an absolute necessity. People who
          don't use them are at a major disadvantage, simply because of the way
          modern life is organised. Much as I would love to, I can't completely
          avoid cars: I have no other effective and rapid means, for example, of
          getting to the airport in Winnipeg (Manitoba) for an early morning
          flight than by taking a taxi there.

          The problem is that the choices that were made toward the middle of
          last century turned out to be bad ones that locked most people into a
          multiply dysfunctional, urbicidal transportation system and it is
          going to take a lot of work, including sensitizing the general public
          with *clearly reasoned* arguments against perpetuating car use, before
          this is likely to change. The Carfree Cities site and the book are
          important steps in this direction, again because of the global
          approach they take to the problem and the thoughtful way in which the
          carfree solution is proposed.

          Another way of doing this is encouraging the media to talk about these
          issues. A couple of days ago, for example, I proposed a story idea to
          This Morning, the CBC Radio One mid-morning program: they could do a
          series on the impending "Hubbert Peak" in oil production and the
          fallout from the ensuing cycle of oil price increases. I suggested,
          among other things, that they could look at the question of what we
          would want to keep the dwindling supplies of petroleum for:
          manufacturing useful materials, or continuing to burn it away in
          wasteful private automobiles (let alone SUVs!)? I suggested that a
          social consequence of the Hubbert Peak that they could look at would
          be a likely reversal of urban sprawl due to the increasing decline in
          urban use of cars. I think it's important to bring these kinds of
          ideas into the public forum, and it can be done in subtle yet
          convincing ways.

          Cheers,

          Chris Miller
        • Car Busters
          ... But these are equally valid things to question. As a transport activist, I like to keep the issue focussed on cars, or planes or whatever, but as a
          Message 4 of 16 , Sep 24 2:01 AM
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            > I agree that at this level, i.e. comparing the costs of means of
            > transportation, the argument is relatively good. But you have to take
            > into account that opponents could turn around and remind you that cars
            > aren't the only manufactured item that probably has hidden
            > environmental costs before it is even used. Hence "refrigerators,
            > washing machines or personal computers".

            But these are equally valid things to question.

            As a transport activist, I like to keep the issue focussed on cars, or
            planes or whatever, but as a (occasionally) thinking human being,
            I'm not going to pretend that the rest of the consumer lifestyle
            (refrigerators, washing machines, and personal computers
            included) is not causing any problems. Hence I believe that it's
            absolutely legitimate to bring in the environmental costs of cars
            when talking about cars. If we are questioning their necessity, we
            need to look at *all* the pros and *all* the cons, there should be
            nothing excused just because most complex manufactured goods
            are also guilty and we're used to them.

            Richard.


            ____________________________________________

            CAR BUSTERS
            Kratka 26, 100 00 Praha 10, Czech Republic
            tel: +(420) 2-7481-0849 - fax: +(420) 2-7481-6727
            <carbusters@...> - <http://www.carbusters.org>
            ____________________________________________


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            Register your group on-line now:
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          • billt44hk
            since i raised thisissue simultaneously on abt 3 of the groups i subscribe to let me just report that the proposition that more energy is expended in
            Message 5 of 16 , Sep 24 5:22 AM
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              since i raised thisissue simultaneously on abt 3 of the groups i
              subscribe to let me just report that the proposition that more energy
              is expended in manufacturing a car than it uses in the rest of its
              life-time is challenged by a participant in a parallel debate on
              urbancyclist_uk:-

              Ian says:

              That's something that I often see in print and a while back I did
              some
              searching to check if it was true. Basically, it isn't!

              This is a good analysis http://www.ilea.org/lcas/macleanlave1998.html

              For those without the time to follow the links only 10% of the energy
              used in the total life of a car is in manufacture. However, because a
              lot of these processes are "old industry" the manufacturing stage
              does
              account for over 50% of the total "toxic releases".
              Fuel and the fuel cycle account for nearly all of the energy use and
              nearly 50% of the toxic releases.
              This is calculated for a car life span of 14 years and does not take
              into account energy used or toxic releases during recycling.
              For something that includes recycling you need to look here
              http://www.cleancarcampaign.org/standards.shtml
              Regards
              Ian Oliver

              Personally its all more hair-splitting than i'm prepared to spend
              energy on unravelling, or to search for ultimately 'true' data,
              because the energy issue isnt my main bugbear abt cars -say they were
              made from recyclables/renewable sources if that were possible, and
              ran non pollutingly and silently on solar power, as long as they
              continued to level their speed and intimidating threat against me as
              I try to walk or ride a bike, and entail the same space-grabbing
              highway robbery, ie inequitable land use, then I'll still be
              campaigning against the damn things.

              Bill T
            • Will Stewart
              T. J. Binkley ... Yes, we have to understand the significance of our choices with regard to our impact on others. Of course, purchasing new refrigerators etc
              Message 6 of 16 , Sep 24 5:32 AM
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                T. J. Binkley

                wrote:

                >>A cautionary word about the critiques of the environmental cost of
                >>cars before they are even driven: I would not consider these arguments
                >>at all convincing unless it can be shown that these costs apply
                >>uniquely to *cars* and not, say, to refrigerators, washing machines or
                >>personal computers.
                >>
                >
                >Better that these costs were compared to the manufacture of trains
                >
                >or bicycles or walking shoes
                >
                Yes, we have to understand the significance of our choices with regard
                to our impact on others. Of course, purchasing new refrigerators etc is
                also another form of impact that shouldn't be ignored, it's just outside
                of our focus area. And it's one area that is not covered by
                www.energystar.gov

                I think a calculator may have been shown before, but here is one just in
                case;
                http://www.airhead.org/

                Will Stewart



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • T. J. Binkley
                ... It s a valid point. Still, I doubt an SUV-lover would get very far in an argument of this sort. Real cities offer several healthy, convenient
                Message 7 of 16 , Sep 24 5:56 PM
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                  Chris Miller wrote:

                  >... But you have to take
                  >into account that opponents could turn around and remind you that cars
                  >aren't the only manufactured item that probably has hidden
                  >environmental costs before it is even used. Hence "refrigerators,
                  >washing machines or personal computers".... the
                  >thing is to find out what the relative costs of different complex
                  >manufactured items are.

                  It's a valid point. Still, I doubt an SUV-lover would get very far in an
                  argument of this sort. Real cities offer several healthy, convenient
                  alternatives to cars. Not so for "refrigerators, washing machines or
                  personal computers".

                  >(Cars) ...behave like cancer cells, perverting the way a city grows and
                  >functions,
                  >eventually infesting it with a tumorous network of asphalt pavement
                  >that strangles the natural social and physical uses of a city that
                  >give it its life. This is the central problem of cars in cities.
                  >Internal combustion can be fixed, getting rid of (most) pollution, but
                  >keeping cars in cities will always lead to them destroying or at least
                  >severely impairing the human scale of living that is the absolute
                  >heart of what a city is.

                  Nicely put.

                  > For many people, cars *are* in fact an absolute necessity. People who
                  >don't use them are at a major disadvantage, simply because of the way
                  >modern life is organised...

                  So how then does one facilitate the transition?

                  >The problem is that the choices that were made toward the middle of
                  >last century turned out to be bad ones that locked most people into a
                  >multiply dysfunctional, urbicidal transportation system and it is
                  >going to take a lot of work, including sensitizing the general public
                  >with *clearly reasoned* arguments against perpetuating car use, before
                  >this is likely to change.

                  Alas, most of "the public" seems fairly indifferent to *clearly reasoned*
                  arguments.

                  I think a faster approach will be to make appeals to the building
                  community; based on the innate familiarity and desirability of the
                  human-scale environments we want to see more of. There's money to be made
                  here. Build it--even a small portion of it---and they will come.

                  -TJB
                • Matt Hohmeister
                  I d also like to look at the financial aspects of owning a car, compared to other major consumer products: A house is probably the only thing a typical person
                  Message 8 of 16 , Sep 25 12:25 PM
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                    I'd also like to look at the financial aspects of owning a car,
                    compared to other major consumer products:

                    A house is probably the only thing a typical person owns that costs
                    *more* than their car. If you have a lifestyle change [new job, new
                    child, elderly relative moves in, grown child moves out, etc] and
                    want a different house, you can sell your house for the price you
                    paid for it [losing any interest you paid, of course] and buy another
                    house. The house itself can last 100 years, if not more.

                    Someone I know replaced a 25-year-old fridge for $600. The old one
                    was still working perfectly; they just wanted a new one. They
                    immediately had lower electric bills, and the new fridge will take
                    about 10 years to pay for itself.

                    Let's look at a car. You might pay $15,000 or more for a new car, and
                    the car is likely to start falling apart after 20 years, if not
                    sooner. I once had a new Honda dealer tell me that I will want to
                    replace the car in 5 years because my "lifestyle will change", and I
                    might want to consider a lease. How dumb is it that something will
                    cost $20,000, only to be sold back at little value in 5 years for a
                    replacement?

                    Also, I have never been told that I "should seriously consider a new
                    fridge", or that I'll "never get a girlfriend if I keep that old
                    fridge". *grin*

                    *rant over*

                    --matt

                    --- In carfree_cities@y..., "T. J. Binkley" <tjbink@d...> wrote:
                    > Chris Miller wrote:
                    >
                    > >... But you have to take
                    > >into account that opponents could turn around and remind you that
                    cars
                    > >aren't the only manufactured item that probably has hidden
                    > >environmental costs before it is even used. Hence "refrigerators,
                    > >washing machines or personal computers".... the
                    > >thing is to find out what the relative costs of different complex
                    > >manufactured items are.
                    >
                    > It's a valid point. Still, I doubt an SUV-lover would get very far
                    in an
                    > argument of this sort. Real cities offer several healthy,
                    convenient
                    > alternatives to cars. Not so for "refrigerators, washing machines
                    or
                    > personal computers".
                    >
                    > >(Cars) ...behave like cancer cells, perverting the way a city
                    grows and
                    > >functions,
                    > >eventually infesting it with a tumorous network of asphalt pavement
                    > >that strangles the natural social and physical uses of a city that
                    > >give it its life. This is the central problem of cars in cities.
                    > >Internal combustion can be fixed, getting rid of (most) pollution,
                    but
                    > >keeping cars in cities will always lead to them destroying or at
                    least
                    > >severely impairing the human scale of living that is the absolute
                    > >heart of what a city is.
                    >
                    > Nicely put.
                    >
                    > > For many people, cars *are* in fact an absolute necessity.
                    People who
                    > >don't use them are at a major disadvantage, simply because of the
                    way
                    > >modern life is organised...
                    >
                    > So how then does one facilitate the transition?
                    >
                    > >The problem is that the choices that were made toward the middle of
                    > >last century turned out to be bad ones that locked most people
                    into a
                    > >multiply dysfunctional, urbicidal transportation system and it is
                    > >going to take a lot of work, including sensitizing the general
                    public
                    > >with *clearly reasoned* arguments against perpetuating car use,
                    before
                    > >this is likely to change.
                    >
                    > Alas, most of "the public" seems fairly indifferent to *clearly
                    reasoned*
                    > arguments.
                    >
                    > I think a faster approach will be to make appeals to the building
                    > community; based on the innate familiarity and desirability of the
                    > human-scale environments we want to see more of. There's money to
                    be made
                    > here. Build it--even a small portion of it---and they will come.
                    >
                    > -TJB
                  • Chris Bradshaw
                    ... Hold it! Have we forgotten that cities predate refrigerators and washing machines? About a century ago most people relied on corners stores to keep food
                    Message 9 of 16 , Sep 29 2:15 PM
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                      "T. J. Binkley" wrote:

                      > . . . Real cities offer several healthy, convenient
                      > alternatives to cars. Not so for "refrigerators, washing machines or
                      > personal computers".

                      Hold it! Have we forgotten that cities predate refrigerators and
                      washing machines?

                      About a century ago most people relied on corners stores to keep food
                      refrigerated until the day it was prepared. Corners stores could still
                      make a comeback.

                      As for washing machines, laundromats could be located within the corner
                      stores, so these machines, too, could be shared, reducing the
                      manufacturing costs-per-user. Apartment buildings and cohousing
                      projects also do this kind of sharing now.

                      The corner store, itself, is a casuality of the car society.

                      We at Vrtucar (Ottawa's carshaing company) are looking at putting
                      together a turn-key unit for existing corner stores: the owner would
                      replace his own car/van with a shared one from us (they need a vehicle
                      for the store, as so little is delivered today to such small outlets),
                      which could produce them revenue at other times when used by carsharers
                      living nearby. At the same time, their business would increase as those
                      who used the shared vehicle would see the real cost of every driving
                      trip, making the items bought with only a walk far cheaper.

                      Chris Bradshaw
                      Ottawa
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