free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 143. ALTERNATIVES TO CARS AND AIRPLANES

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


The vast majority of journeys are less than 400 miles; in fact most journeys are less than 5. In Britain, for example, 72% of car journeys are less than 5 miles, where cycling, buses or battery cars could replace journeys. Better still 50% are less than 2 miles where walking and cycling could replace virtually all journeys – indeed this is the reason why cars are a wasteful form of transport, they promote laziness!Source

And weight gain, costing health authorities billions.Source

Most other journeys are intercity journeys and for all but the ones that are over 400 miles or over large bodies of water, high speed rail (with speeds up to 220mph for conventional rail and 300mph for maglev) is a perfectly good replacement for the car and airline in many cases. Indeed time is money. The time savings between city centres and the ability to work while travelling (with access to internet wi-fi) is a powerful draw in Europe and Japan. Power can be taken from hydro, nuclear (the norm in France) and even renewable sources, bypassing the need for liquid oil transport.

French TGV: powered by nuclear

High speed lines have very little difference in construction to highways - apart from they take less space. Typical maximum gradients are 1 in 28 (3.5%). France, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, UK, Korea, Spain and China have already built lines. Spanish railways refund your ticket if their AVE high speed train is more than 5 minutes late, but then 99.82% arrived on time in 2000. Source
-- by Wildwell


At Wednesday, October 26, 2005 at 7:05:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Starvid said...

This is the future. Nuclear power and high speed rail.

At Wednesday, October 26, 2005 at 3:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger James said...

And yet funding for Amtrak gets cut. Go figure!

At Wednesday, October 26, 2005 at 3:34:00 PM PDT, Blogger James said...

Also, cars will probably not be made totally extinct. Rural areas often have few options to get around. Relocalization in rural settings may help to shorten the distances.

Urban areas should incorporate all available measures to discourage auto use, from carrots (increased light rail lines, tax breaks for non-ownership of private autos) to sticks (heavy tolls to drive into city centres like London has, surcharges for cars that get under 30 MPG average, etc)

At Wednesday, October 26, 2005 at 5:14:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Omnitir said...

These technologies are ideal alternatives to the car, which could greatly mitigate the effects of PO.

A greatly misunderstood concept in the doomer camp is that a techno-fix involves waiting for some Star Trek style of technology to come around – and hence the doomers consider technology solving anything to be highly unlikely. The truth is that there are plenty of techno-fix’s that we could implement right now, such as high-tech rail and nuclear power.

Technology can solve peak oil.

At Thursday, October 27, 2005 at 12:29:00 AM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

Right on!

I live in sydney, which has a woeful train system which everyone complains about and about a million long-distance car commuters. It's a disaster, and the state government isnt doing much about it.

That said, I live with my family quite close in to the city. I ride in a car (a Prius) about once a week, or less, because I rarely go anywhere that I can't walk or bus to in under 30 mins.

The buses leave little to complain about - clean, on time and natural gas powered. If you live within 15 kms of your work you don't need a bloody car!! I hate cars with a passion, and I love buses because you can do such good people-watching on them.

I also agree that in rural areas a car is necessary. But go out in the Aussie outback and you see less large cars in a whole town than on my street alone. People can't afford them and realize that they don't need them, even in the country!

I know someone who lives on a property and drives 10 minutes along a dirt road every day in a tiny 1.4 litre Mazda. My neighbour drives two blocks to buy milk in a $100, 000 SUV. Go figure.

At Thursday, October 27, 2005 at 12:30:00 AM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

By the way, heres what one of our major train honchos is saying:

Since a single eight-carriage train can carry as many people as 15 km of highway at full capacity (about 800 cars), if the 25% of Sydneysiders here who hop on public transport to work all drove cars we would need a 64-lane freeway to fit them all.

Great site, by the way!

At Thursday, October 27, 2005 at 12:32:00 AM PDT, Blogger EnergySpin said...

I had the chance to ride the TGV 7 days ago. At 350+ km/hr (215 mph) we had those Ferraris eat our electron dust! And it was so fun to ride ... got a bunch of pics from rural France.

It took 3.5 hr to cross thew 720 km between Paris and Montepellier (average speed is about 200 km due to stops, passing through high density areas) but we completely eliminated the time to drive from the airports to the downtown (and vice versa) and the need to check-in 1 hr ahead of take-off for security reasons.
I'd say that TGV is time-efficient for distances up to 1000km (625 miles) and it is orders of magnitude more comfortable than air travel (unless one travels first - class).

And I'd agree with Omnitir ... when doomers are confronted with a possible alternative that needs a doable technological improvement they respond by saying it is not here. When one is proposing a technolgoy that has proved herself they respond by saying " we are not doing it" OR that it requires massive amounts of subsidies. But there is not a single piece of infrastructure from the electric grid to the phone lines and from modern hospitals to hydro-dams that was built without some form of goverment subsidy.
The private sector has never built an infrastructure ... and when they tried they made a mess so the subsidy argument is pointless. Case study: internet (US government sponsored initially) vs the 3G fuckup in the late 90s in Europe.
Technology can solve peak oil ... it cannot solve people's conceptions about peak oil, peak NG or peak XYZ.

At Friday, October 28, 2005 at 11:29:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think doomers also make circular arguments, whenever you present alterantive Y, they present consequence X (eg: people in car industry losing their jobs), as if we are trying to say everything will 100% sure be dandy and no one will experience any problems.

People lose their jobs, it happens, recessions and even depressions come and go, it does not mean the end of the world (infact, unless I understand economics very badly, a depression would severely diminish the effects of peak oil due to high unemployment and give the government a perfect time to do something about it)

At Tuesday, January 2, 2007 at 4:08:00 PM PST, Blogger southernagrarian said...

I am a tentative doomer, spar with me.

Say we go all for high speed rail and absolutely minimize cars, make them as efficient as possible etc. We build nuclear plants and get wind and solar and everything together, and quickly all before said peak whenever it may arrive.
As hydrocarbon supply diminishes beginning in whatever decade, how are these technologies maintained, all of which required massive amounts of hydrocarbon power to produce. The train needs a new drive system (or whatever it has), the nuclear plant needs reactor repairs, a new roof, more and more uranium, all of which technologies have again required massive hydrocarbon power input to produce--where is the new power going to come from? Are we factoring in the full amount of hydrocarbon input for these technologies in insuring their ability to sustain themselves once the hydrocarbon supply is gone, whenever that may be?


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