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Consequences of oil
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,
him arrested and killed. This is the
kind of thing we're putting in our tanks
every time we fill out.
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...)
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
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...)
about the problems caused by cars.
Choice. These nice folks explain
why it's a bad idea to require cars to be
more fuel-efficient and less
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
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
U.S. government says that
international drivers licenses are only
for foreigners (duh), and that Americans
wanting an IDL to drive in another country
already have a valid U.S. license.
Tracking License Plates.
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
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!" Check out his website at
East coast activists have also made
to put on SUV's. And Brooklyn
activists have erected "No
SUV Parking" signs, and then
"ticketed" the offenders.
Costs of Car
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
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.
Fuel Economy &
Car Club unites owners and enthusiasts
of environmentally cleaner cars.
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
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.
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
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
out of the bike lane!
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.
Promotes the creation of temporary public parks
in public parking spaces.
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 are the
RTS pages for London
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.
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.
Transport Policy Institute
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.
News and information about the scourge of sport
utility vehicles. They also offer "One less 4WD"
Submit your picture of you flipping off a
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
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