free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 58. EXTERNALITIES OF CAR USE

Thursday, August 25, 2005


WW writes in with an interesting link on the externalities of car use. From the report:

The external costs of transport are large (estimated at about 8 % of EU GDP (INFRAS, 2000)) but the estimates are uncertain. The most important categories of external cost are climate change, air pollution and accidents. Congestion is one of the highest components only in urban areas.Source (pdf)

These externalities are listed as:

Additional costs of
- medical care
- opportunity costs of society
- suffer and grief. "A value of human life of 1.5 million Euro is considered."

Damages (opportunity costs of land value) and human health.

Air pollution:
Damages (opportunity costs) of
-human health

Climate change:
Damages (opportunity costs) of global warming
Brown smog cloud over Denver, November 2002

Nature and landscape:
Additional costs to repair damages, compensation claims

Separation in urban areas:
Time losses of pedestrians

Space scarcity in urban areas:

Additional costs from up- and downstream processes:
Additional environmental costs (air pollution, climate change and risks)

External additional time and operating costs

Car culture sucks, and is the very root of the peak oil problem. Yet, oddly enough, many peak oilers are dead set on defending the car. They say "conserving will just make the problem worse" or simply "you can't live without a car". These are all just junky excuses and hypocrisy. If you're driving over to a meeting on peak oil, YOU are the problem, not peak oil.

You can't blame Bush, Cheney or the oil companies if they decide to drill ANWR or nuke the tarsands. They are simply responding to the "needs" of their first world customers. If the public didn't want the oil, they wouldn't have to go to such extremes to produce it.

Why not boycott gasoline? "Oh, please... that's preposterous. We need our cars." Okay, but if you need your car, and your car needs gasoline, then Bush and Cheney need to get the oil. They're blameless, lily white. They're just following orders from the public. They don't want to pull a Jimmy Carter and piss off the electorate.

Cars aren't necessary to live, or even necessary to live a first world lifestyle, and anybody who tells you different might as well be on the payroll of Exxon. "You can't live without a car" is nothing but brainwashing that has been pounded into you since you were born by multinational corporations.


At Friday, August 26, 2005 at 3:35:00 PM PDT, Blogger James said...

It's a little harder in North America, where cars are needed due to vast expanses of rural land verus urban. We need to focus on getting people to need their cars less (via improved mass transit in cities and across the country) until population trends shift over time to where people live in walkable communities, whether urban or rural.

Suburbia's days are numbered, and exurbia is on life support.

At Friday, August 26, 2005 at 5:34:00 PM PDT, Anonymous WW said...

The issue is essentially a planning one. Mass transit follows fixed routes, so unless development takes place around those routes, or a reasonable distance from links, people will resort to cars. This isn't rocket science; it just happens to be the way development has been engineered, especially in the US, but even in Europe since the 1950s. Japan still has high mass transit ridership because of the topography and geography of the country doesn’t allow sprawl to the same degree. Can things be switched the other way? Sure, especially for commuting.

The Edinburgh Evening news recently reported.

'A RAILWAY station serving an Edinburgh business park has seen a huge increase in passengers as workers dump their cars and turn to the train.

Edinburgh Park station, next to the Gyle, has seen a 35 per cent increase in journeys in the first six months of this year.

The station, which has been open for two years, has exceeded targets set by First ScotRail, attracting more than 154,000 passengers since January - almost 40,000 more than last year.

A total of 240,000 passenger journeys were recorded in 2004, the equivalent of almost 1000 every weekday.

Malcolm Deans, executive director of park owner New Edinburgh Ltd (NEL), said: "Edinburgh Park is the only business park in Scotland to have a dedicated railway station, which has proved to be a key advantage for employees and visitors. '

At Saturday, August 27, 2005 at 1:18:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Savinar said...

What's funny is JD accusses peak oilers of wanting to "crash the economy" yet he is advocating eliminating the car. One out of every 10 jobs in the states is dependent on manufacturing cars. So you eliminate the car, you crash the economy.

What is it JD?


At Saturday, August 27, 2005 at 2:34:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

People who were formerly employed in the car industry will be employed in the industries of the future: railways, mass transit, urban reconstruction, depaving, organic agriculture, hydroponics, nuclear power plants, coal mining, space energy development etc. There's plenty of lot of work to do.

Production of private automobiles was halted during WWII, and the economy still performed superbly.

Junkies need heroin to function. That doesn't make using it a good thing.

At Saturday, August 27, 2005 at 4:35:00 AM PDT, Anonymous WW said...

UK example: 2.2 million people were employed in the rail industry before oil/cars. 12% of the working population, now reduced to 150,000

Coal mining was similar: 2 million now reduced to less than 20,000 people

The car employment argument doesn't stand, especially as new industry has been created like IT etc

Sectors are created and destroyed over time.

At Saturday, September 3, 2005 at 7:43:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with this post - the real peak oil problem are we, the consumers who want the benefits the oil brings and elect the politicians that promise and get us the oil.

I am otherwise more convinced by "environmentalist doomsayers". They list facts and numbers, while peak-oil-is-a-myth people rely on blind faith about solutions to impending problems. Oil peak is going to occur no mater what we do. Except if we cover large percentage of Earth in equipment to harness solar power more efficiently than plants or succesfully implement fusion power or other abundant power to generate synthetic oil with. The question is only when will it occur - before or after we find energy and material substitutes.

At Friday, August 17, 2007 at 8:20:00 AM PDT, Blogger Tonya said...

I agree with this post as well, but what needs to be done is find better ways of transportation. Like hydrogen vehicles. This, of course, will never happen since oil is so engrained in our society. Our government will not allow this either, unless something happens that affects everyone as a whole. It is sad to say, but I believe it will take a large scale catastrophe before people really start trying to change.

At Friday, August 21, 2009 at 10:04:00 PM PDT, Anonymous joe long - said...

Of course this is true, but rather than post a series of opinions how about some facts. I absolutely agree that cars are the cause of peak oil and we could live without fossil fuel burning cars. BUT, and it's a big one, how do you replace the mass production and transportation demands of 6 or 7 billion people. Population has exploded based on the availability of food transport and it's production using oil based energy. You have to find something to replace it, some energy source that functions at least as well. Electric - can't fly a plane, can't travel more than a few hundred miles without replacing a battery which is not easy, can't move vast quantities of food nor produce it. You have to address these factual problems or you have to propose a mass depopulation of the earth. A study was done to find out how many nukes it would take to disable a country. For the US they determined 18 well placed nukes and for Russia 12. How? Drop it on the rail transfer points and you will effectively disable the transport of food nationwide resulting in mass starvation and the ensuing riots, panic, and crime that would follow within 30 days. All you have to do is stop the food flow and you cripple a nation. There are 18 point in the US and 12 in Russia.

Address the facts, do you depopulate or do you have an alternative? I am all for it because I firmly believe it is inevitable that oil will run low affecting everything as government begins to ration, but we don't need rhetoric, we need solutions.


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