Consequences of oil addiction
Wars for oil are an obvious consequence of our addiction to oil. But there are lesser-known atrocities. Take the case of Ken Saro-Wiwa. He campaigned in Nigeria to stop Shell and Chevron from taking over native people’s lands to drill for oil. The oil companies, in bed with the Nigerian military, had him arrested and killed. This is the kind of thing we’re putting in our tanks every time we fill out.
The Energy Crisis
How much energy we use. Overconsumption of oil means that more people will die as more wars are fought over an increasingly shrinking supply. The U.S. alone uses 46% of all the gasoline used in the world. (more…)
The true cost of gas. Americans whine about the “high” price of gas while not realizing what a sweet deal they’re getting.
Gas Price Watch. While Rome burns, Americans gleefully search out the cheapest way to throw the proverbial gasoline on the fire.
Pollution by cars causes lung cancer, respiratory problems, urban smog, and acid rain. Greenhouse gases emitted by cars causes global warming, which is not just a concern for the future, it’s happening right now. (more…)
Autos on Welfare
While most motorists think that their gas taxes and registration fees pay for the roads and for other related costs, the truth is that infrastructure is financed mostly by general taxes paid by everyone, which means that those who don’t drive are subsidizing those who do. (more info)
Societal Costs of Cars & Highways
Societal costs of cars & highways. Our romance with cars, begun with enthusiasm more than 100 years ago, has in fact become a very troubled entanglement. Today’s relationship with the automobile inflicts upon us pollution, noise, congestion, sprawl, big expenses, injury, and even death. Yet we continue to live with cars at a growing cost to ourselves and the environment. (more…)
Books about the problems caused by cars.
Pro-Car & Anti-Bike Groups
Vehicle Choice. These nice folks explain why it’s a bad idea to require cars to be more fuel-efficient and less polluting.
Quality Growth Coalition. The group, made up exclusively of members of the highway lobby, made its debut with a comprehensive “Toolkit for Quality Growth”. The toolkit draws a distinction between “quality growth” vs. “smart growth”, and focuses on issues like traffic congestion and air quality. Case studies explain why Los Angeles is a good model for development while Portland’s “experiment” is a failure. The toolkit also includes recommendations for building a “quality growth” campaign. The road lobby gets organized.
Bad drivers get their licenses back?
We received some spam promising that bad drivers could legally drive again by getting an international driver’s license, supposedly easy to obtain, and recognized in the U.S. Here’s the spam advertisement for the international drivers license. Not surprisingly, the U.S. government says that international drivers licenses are only for foreigners (duh), and that Americans wanting an IDL to drive in another country must already have a valid U.S. license.
Action Against Motorists
Tracking License Plates. PublicData.com lets users find the owner of vehicles by typing in the license plate number. Their databases cover vehicles from Texas and several other states. Subscriptions start at $25/year. And PlateWire lets readers enter in a license plate and a description of reckless behavior by the driver.
Tagging SUV’s. A citizen on the west coast has a project of putting bumper stickers on SUV’s that say “I’m changing the climate!” East coast activists have also made “tickets” to put on SUV’s. And Brooklyn activists have erected “No SUV Parking” signs, and then “ticketed” the offenders.
Costs of Car Ownership
The typical American family spends almost $8000 a year to own and operate a car, when you count the car payments, gas, oil, maintenance & repairs, licenses, parking, and insurance.
A good bicycle goes for $300, lasts for years, and costs almost nothing to operate.
If you took the money you’d save by getting rid of your car and invested it you could have $2.3 million by the time you retired. (more…)
Art Ludwig shows that AAA underestimates the cost of car use. (more…)
Fuel Economy & Green Cars
The Green Car Club unites owners and enthusiasts of environmentally cleaner cars.
GreenerCars.com lists which vehicles get the best and the worst gas mileage.
The EPA’s FuelEconomy.com is a similar reference, but of course is not as opiniated as GreenerCars.
The first mass-produced, hybrid gas/electric cars started coming to market in 2000. First out of the gate was the Honda Insight, which boasts a whopping 70mpg on the highway and 61 in the city. The two-passenger car sells for about $20,000. The car also meets California’s new strict standard for Ultra Low Emmissions vehicles (ULE). For more information on fuel economy, check out the EPA’s fuel economy website.
Motorists Running Red Lights
Motorists are quick to claim that cyclists don’t deserve respect on the road unless they follow traffic laws. It would be nice if they applied that same litmus test to other motorists. While cyclists and motorists both break the law, when motorists do it they kill people. Here’s a report about motorists running red lights.
Cell Phones. Studies have shown that cell phone use while driving poses as much risk as driving drunk, and that hands-free phones aren’t any safer than handheld phones. European countries have banned cell phone use while driving for that reason. The Natl. Highway Traffic Safety Administration covers driver distraction in detail.
Driving While Drowsy. The Sleep Foundation also has a website about the problem of motorists driving while drowsy.
Top Anti-Car websites
Broadcast-quality ad by AdBusters.
International group based in Europe working towards a car-free society. They publish a hot magazine (“Car Busters”) and email newsletter, and sponsor World Car-Free Day every September.
These folks advocate for car-free cities in a well-researched and professional manner.
A group working to create a car-free city in the U.S.
(Planning a) Car-Free Day
Large, well-organized site which details how to plan a Car-Free Day in your city.
Documents the tremendous environmental, social and economic damage caused by endless road building. Also publishes Culture Change magazine (formerly Auto-Free Times).
Posts vigilante photos of autos parked in the bike lane in Toronto, Canada.
Recommends going beyond traffic calming to reduce the number and speed of cars on the streets.
National Park(ing) Day
Promotes the creation of temporary public parks in public parking spaces.
Reclaim the Streets (San Francisco, CA US)
A movement which advocates massive street parties, covertly painting bike lanes onto roadways, and other ways to subvert the car culture. Here is the RTS page for London.
Right of Way (New York City)
Local group asserting cyclist and pedestrian rights over motorist prerogatives. Has stenciled over 250 street memorials to car victims and published “Killed By Automobile” report.
Transportation Alternatives (New York City)
Local group promoting alternatives to car-based transportation. This website is HOT! It’s a model for other groups to emulate.
Publishes a number of important studies and reports, such as one explaining how cyclists actually subsidize the cost of road-building for motorists, a Pavement Buster’s Guide, and much more. For activists who are ready to move beyond simply riding in Critical Mass rides and actually get something done in their communities, this site provides plenty of the ammunition they’ll need.
Other Anti-Car websites
News and information about the scourge of sport utility vehicles. They also offer “One less 4WD” stickers.
Submit your picture of you flipping off a Hummer.
DumbAssDrivers.com is dead.
When DAD was running, they’d send a nasty postcard to a bad driver when you typed the driver’s license plate number into their website. The site was started by a local (Austin) businessman, and an article about it appeared in the 3-21-00 Austin American-Statesman.