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gasoline prices and purchases
(Note that the left axis does not begin at zero so as to more easily compare
the connection between prices and consumption.)
As the chart above from Doug Short shows, per capita purchases of gasoline have been headed down, except for blips, since they peaked in 1989. After plateauing at a lower level during the 10-year period ending in 2003, the drop in per capita purchases accelerated. Over the past few years, the reduced purchases have been somewhat discoupled from gasoline prices, which have risen and fallen within a fairly narrow range.  

This is mostly good news, although high unemployment is without doubt a continuing factor even with the Great Recession having been officially over since the summer of 2009. On the plus side, more fuel-efficient cars are making a difference. Short offers his take on some of the other whys of reduced purchases:

• Baby boomers are retiring in large numbers, which means fewer commuters.

• There is the ever-growing trend of working from home.

• Accelerating concentration of the urban population means less dependence on gasoline.

• "Social media have provided powerful alternatives to face-to-face interaction requiring transportation (Internet apps, games, the ubiquitous cell phone for talk and texting)."

And then's there is one very welcome but unexpected factor: the different attitude about driving among many Americans born 1983 through 2000, the Millennial Generation.

Please click below the fold to read further analysis:

Last spring, U.S. PIRG released a study, A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future, noting that the so-called Driving Boom, a six-decade phenomenon beginning in 1946, came to an end in 2004. That year, the average American was driving 85 percent more miles than in 1970. Since then, total miles have remained the same, but the average individual is only driving the same number of miles as in 1996.

Along with the baby boomers, the vast bulk of whom will be retired by 2030, the Millennials—who are already the largest single generation in the country—will in 17 years be the largest group in the peak driving ages of 35-54. Their driving behavior will have a major impact, according to the U.S. PIRG study:

• Young people aged 16 to 34 drove 23 percent fewer miles on average in 2009 than they did in 2001—a greater decline in driving than any other age group. The severe economic recession was likely responsible for some of the decline, but not all.

• Millennials are more likely to want to live in urban and walkable neighborhoods and are more open to non-driving forms of transportation than older Americans. They are also the first generation to fully embrace mobile Internet-connected technologies, which are rapidly spawning new transportation options and shifting the way young Americans relate to one another, creating new avenues for living connected, vibrant lives that are less reliant on driving.

• If the Millennial-led decline in per-capita driving continues for another dozen years, even at half the annual rate of the 2001-2009 period [...] total vehicle travel in the United States could remain well below its 2007 peak through at least 2040—despite a 21 percent increase in population.

• If Millennials retain their current propensity to drive less as they age and future generations follow (Enduring Shift), driving could increase by only 7 percent by 2040. If, unexpectedly, Millennials were to revert to the driving patterns of previous generations (Back to the Future), total driving could grow by as much as 24 percent by 2040.

But there's a problem, as the U.S. PIRG authors noted: Too much government policy is stuck in old thinking about transportation. What's needed is a new vision, they say, which plans for uncertainty, ferrets out potentially anomalous highway projects awaiting funding (some of which were proposed decades ago), alters the federal role to focus on ranking projects based on the overall benefits to society, spends money on projects where it makes good sense and is not undertaken merely because of the source of revenue and, most importantly:
Support[s] the Millennials and other Americans in their desire to drive less. Federal, state and local policies should help create the conditions under which Americans can fulfill their desire to drive less. Increasing investments in public transportation, bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure and intercity rail—especially when coupled with regulatory changes to enable the development of walkable neighborhoods—can help provide more Americans with a broader range of transportation options.
Innovating our transportation infrastructure and revamping policies in these ways would have a broad range of benefits, not the least of which would be decent-paying jobs that can't be off-shored.

Two years ago, in Think Big: Transportation overhaul would save money, create jobs, cut pollution, burn less oil, I wrote that policies to create more fuel-efficient cars ought to be high on progressives' priority list. However, a truly far-sighted transportation policy would be one that works to get us to spend more time out of our cars altogether. Happily, Millennial attitudes about driving, if they hold fast, should help spur us toward that end. The benefits would be immense and long-lasting:

[O]ur major modes of transportation poison us, burn two-thirds of the oil we drill at home and import from abroad, make us less secure because of the geopolitics involved in maintaining access to much of that oil, gobble up a scarce resource essential for making other products, extract large hunks of household income and contribute a third of the CO2 we’re loading into the atmosphere.

Rethinking transportation means rethinking zoning and other aspects of how we build our cities and develop the land in between. It demands a hard look at subsidies that promote particular modes of transportation to the exclusion of others and broadening the definition of what a subsidy is. Rethinking transportation requires rethinking the currently inadequate public revenue streams that pay for most of its infrastructure. And, obviously, it means extricating ourselves from dependence on fossil fuel, not just the imported stuff but what we take out of the ground within our own borders and from beneath the continental shelves.

The good news is that rethinking and subsequently enacting policies for remaking our transportation system can spur us to build more bike- and pedestrian-friendly cities, make our vehicles efficient, cut pollution, lower CO2 emissions, reduce the size of our military budget, boost the use of alternative fuels (including renewably generated electricity), decrease congestion and help restore America’s manufacturing base, which, in turn, will supply millions of badly needed, high-quality jobs. The bad news is that there is stubborn opposition, local and national, to all of this.

Activists, especially the generation of young activists who will be the major beneficiaries of new transportation policies, can bend that opposition toward serious change through persuasion and, in cases when persuasion meets a wall, by exchanging the existing leadership for people willing to abandon the old ways to build a transportation future in sync with what is needed for environmental sustainability. One thing we know for certain, such policies will not create themselves and will not happen without significant popular pressure.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 07:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  most "good news" is due to the recession (20+ / 0-)

    and all its ripple effects, unfortunately. There are good trends like that US car makers have learned to make money with small cars. But, a stronger middle class would result in a strong rebound for SUVs and pickup trucks. Thus, unfortunately, a lot including "behavioral changes" are directly or indirectly linked to the recession.

    •  i don't think so. (27+ / 0-)

      the millenials just plain drive less then their parents.

      They grew up being chauffered everywhere,
      and also being trapped in suburbia.

      They hated that.

      •  I think you're right (14+ / 0-)

        From what I've read the millenials don't want to leave the city even after they start having kids.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 07:21:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  They don't have jobs to drive to. (7+ / 0-)

        Unemployment for young people is higher than the national average.

        •  true but they don't like suburbs (14+ / 0-)

          they grew up in "Sterile, safe suburbs"

          they hate spending an hour driving to a job,
          and an hour driving to the mall,

          they like walking 2 blocks to the strip.

          •  No doubt. (7+ / 0-)

            Driving an hour to work every day is lunacy. The suburbs make even less sense if you can't afford a car.
            I wonder if that trend will end as soon as more start having children.

            •  There's another thing that the economy (9+ / 0-)

              Is impacting.  These kids can barely support themselves, and pay off their school loans.  They've just seen their parents struggling with and maybe losing their mortgaged home.  How eager are they to embrace their parents version of the American Dream when they've seen how risky that Dream is?  Kids are making their own Dreams, and their dreams may not include owning their own car, or a house in the suburbs, or a long commute to a job that can be snatched away from them for nothing they ever did.
              Republicans ranting about how unfair it is to burden our grandchildren with our deficit, and therefore insisted on austerity, should have stopped to consider whether they were making it impossible for their kids to afford those grandchildren.

              •  Very much the job thing (4+ / 0-)

                "or a long commute to a job that can be snatched away from them for nothing they ever did."

                This is the biggest new change, I think. We know not to expect a lifelong career in one place. We've seen what happened to our parents' generation, how they were shown no loyalty or job security during the recession (and even after the tide turned and companies started raking it in but not hiring back their workforces), so we have no loyalty to our jobs. We are less likely to change around our lives to accommodate a job because we realize it might not be so great to move to the middle of nowhere for a job that is going to see us through less than a decade. It was much more important to me to find a job that fit into what I wanted out of life, including location. And I did find one. I even like it. I certainly make less money than I would have if I had been willing to go anywhere, but I'm also happier than I would be stuck in Beaver Creek, Iowa or whatever. A good, fulfilled life is more important than a really high salary. You can't take it with you.

                Is fheàrr fheuchainn na bhith san dùil

                by bull8807 on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 10:03:35 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  exactly! Why do we live in the suburbs? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NoMoreLies, Christin, Orakio, MPociask

          because my wife and I have jobs in different cities. We don't like it either. Give these kids jobs and they will do what they need to do. Give them jobs and they can have a family with kids. Yes fundamental change comes from moving jobs back into inner cities, but don't make big conclusions based on our jobless recovery where all profits went to the top 1-10%.

          •  Very Chic for progressive folks to get all smug (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            about the horror of suburbs.

            Some of us simply do not want to live in cities.

            And "sterile"?

            Maybe where you live, but -- News Flash! -- suburbs are not all the same all around.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 01:05:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Price Of Driving Is Out of Reach (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Sorry, there's a huge gap in this entire diary, and it has to do with the requirements of being able to walk out your front door to your own automobile, put the key in, and transport yourself to somewhere different.  Maybe a millennial living in a $2129 a month studio apartment in a trendy urban area can say he/she doesn't need or want a car, but give me a break.  Not want a car?  Of course everyone hates driving to and from work, but that's not what owning a car is about.

          Owning an automobile which is legally allowed to be driven on the road is incredibly expensive.  I hate to embark on a 'back in my day' old man rant, but hear me out.  My first car was a very rusty but entirely drivable $900 Dodge.  I made about $4 an hour so had to work about 225 hours to pay for it.  It required brakes, tires, lights, and a safe suspension to be allowed to be driven.  Gas was $0.50 a gallon and repairs were very simple and able to be done with minimum skills and standard tools.

          Has anyone recently shopped for a used car in drivable condition which gets good mileage?  $3,000 will buy you a mind numbing piece of shit.  $5,000 will buy you a Corolla with likely160,000+ miles on the clock.  And what about getting it through that yearly DMV inspection crucifixion?  Safety fine, engine light on?  Scrap heap time.  All paid for on a minimum wage job?

          •  My first car was a $50 special (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            needed a lot of work and I learned how to fix cars before I was even able to get a license.

            And you didn't even talk about the cost of today's insurance.

            I've never had a ticket or accident and I still pay through the nose for insurance.

            Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. Frank Zappa

            by Da Rock on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 08:21:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Given A 1000% Rate of Inflation (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mildly Unsuccessful Lurker

              I won't even bother to ask what year your '$50 special' was bought, but I had friends who bought '$60 and $90 specials', which assuming 1000% inflation would be today's $500 specials... Never mind, at 2000% inflation allowance you'd have a $1000 special, but would it even be possible to get a $1000 car on the road legally if the engine light was on?  Back then you may have known the engine was barely alive but the transmission still worked so a $200 junkyard motor plus a Saturday mired in grease would get you a running car to take through inspection.

            •  Can you imagine 96 month financing back in (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mildly Unsuccessful Lurker

              the day?

              I still remember being appalled when 48 month financing became common.

              Cars are just too damned expensive.

              I bought a new car in 1989.  Leased one between 1996 and 1998.

              Otherwise, nothing but used.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 01:09:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (5+ / 0-)

        My 21 year old daughter has no interest in driving and neither do many of her friends.  Of course we are urban folk and they have gotten around by bus or foot since they were very young.

      •  It's true (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask, Willinois, gmats

        I'm 25, I just bought a house in the city under 10 minutes from my job. I do not plan to leave anytime soon. I grew up in the burbs and my school bus commute was 2 hours each way. I never want to deal with that again. What waste of important hours I will never get back. Also the food here is amazing. I can never leave just because of that. I have an authentic Greek Deli steps from my front door. I can walk to get anything I need and my low car mileage shows it.

        I understand why my parents raised me where they did, but I just don't like the suburbs or how inconveniently far away they are from things and I don't think the city is a bad environment to raise a child in. I have enough space for one kid, I will have to consider moving to a bigger place if I want more, but I have no interest in moving unless it's to another big city. Especially as fuel costs rise, far-away suburbs and huge houses (heating costs!) are not financially a good idea for me or most people. Coming of age during a recession forces practicality on people and I think we have a specific perspective because of it.

        Is fheàrr fheuchainn na bhith san dùil

        by bull8807 on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 09:57:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, look at the chart. (12+ / 0-)

      Gasoline usage has dropped more since the recession ended than it did during the recession. There is a trend far beyond the economic cycle.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 07:22:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Recession Ended For Stock Holders (6+ / 0-)

        Not so sure it's ended for the 99%.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 08:16:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even for the 99%, it's not January 2009 anymore. (0+ / 0-)

          We were losing 800,000 jobs a month. We're now gaining 200,000.

          Even though the growth isn't strong enough, it's beyond argument that the economy has greatly improved, so we can draw a conclusion about whether or not the trend in gasoline usage reflects only the state of the economy, or whether there is another trend. If it was just the economy driving down usage, we'd see gasoline consumption's trend line tick back up to the same degree as economic growth. It hasn't. They're decoupled.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 05:50:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How long have we been gaining 200,000 a month? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mildly Unsuccessful Lurker

            That's a fairly recent phenomenon.

            Given that it takes 135,000 or so jobs a month just to keep up with population growth, that's not a very big dent in unemployment.  Certainly not enough to notice.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 01:11:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Whoosh. Right over your head. (0+ / 0-)

              Whether you think that economic growth is good enough has no bearing whatsoever on the question at hand.

              The economy has improved a great deal by every single available measure compared to January 2009. Gasoline consumption has not followed the trend.

              Repeating your irrelevancy about whether that improvement is enough does not change the existence of the trend lines.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 12:37:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Whoosh, echoing around in yours, it seems. (0+ / 0-)
                it's beyond argument that the economy has greatly improved,
                Depends greatly on who you are.  Wall Street and 1 per-centers are doing pretty well, that seems obvious, but...

                You really need to grasp the difference between the concepts of state and trend.

                Trend is indeed very interesting. Economists love it and use dynamic measures to determine the end point of recessions (how we can be five years into recovery even though the economy stinks) and the like.

                Poor old ordinary folks, however, have little choice but to live in the here and now of state.

                So -- it's nice that we're gaining jobs instead of losing them, but to all of those unemployed folks who are still out of work and who will still be out of work tomorrow, nothing's changed.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Tue Dec 03, 2013 at 05:55:11 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, it doesn't depend. Can you do math? (0+ / 0-)

                  The economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month. Is the economy losing 800,000 jobs a month?

                  What's that? No, it's not? It's gaining jobs?

                  You know what we call that? Improvement. In fact, it's a turnaround of approximately a million jobs a month.

                  You can keep tugging heart strings all you want, it still won't matter. An economy that is adding jobs is dramatically better than one that is losing 800,000 jobs a month. Duh.

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:42:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  A sucker born every minute. (0+ / 0-)


                    What if we took it out of the realm of the economy and did it like this:

                    Your femoral artery is slashed.
                    You bleed out.
                    You die.

                    As you are no longer bleeding out, your situation must be improved, right?

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:50:42 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but that's not a very good argument (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote, MPociask, dinotrac, tari

        To deny an economic causation, consumption per capita would have to be plotted against real median disposable income (per capita) rather than an aggregate measure like GDP.

        One characteristic of the last two recoveries is how little of them percolated down to middle and working classes. And median income is barely stabilized since 2011. So the economic causation remains plausible.

        That being said, I wholly agree that there is a lot more than economics to this trend. People just don't like driving as much as they used to. That trend is structural.

        I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

        by Farugia on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 08:18:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The recession may have "ended" but (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson, JohnnySacks, tari

        High unemployment for that age cohort sure didn't!  You don't need a car if you don't have a job that makes the expense of a car necessary or desirable.

    •  report says changes preceded recession (12+ / 0-)

      recession might be related to some but not all of changes:

      People tend to drive less during recessions, since fewer people are working (and commuting), and most are looking for ways to save money. But Phineas Baxandall, an author of the report and senior analyst for U.S. Pirg, said the changes preceded the recent recession and appeared to be part of a structural shift that is largely rooted in changing demographics, especially the rise of so-called millennials — today’s teenagers and twentysomethings. “Millennials aren’t driving cars,” he said.
      Changes in attitudes help too. Now more acceptable to ride a bike to office, and more offices provide showers so people can change into work clothes.

      and cities providing pedestrian friendly neighborhoods:

      Mr. Mauney, 42, lives in an apartment tower in this city’s Uptown neighborhood, a pedestrian-friendly quarter with new office buildings, sparkling museums and ambitious restaurants. He so seldom needs to drive that when he does go to retrieve his car in his building’s garage, he said, “I always forget where I parked it.”
    •  That may have been an initial cause (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citisven, Creosote, Sychotic1

      but I think a lot of these new habits will be permanent.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 10:38:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not just transport, also urban redevelopment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mildly Unsuccessful Lurker

      and education.

      The nation's vast store of walkable urban neighborhoods is located within areas which have historically been abandoned by the middle class, leading to a corresponding concentration of poverty and attendant decline in school quality. Historically, that has just fueled more middle class flight.

      If Millennials are serious about wanting to live in walkable neighborhoods, and are as much less racially chauvinistic as studies indicate, the only place for them to go is back into the inner cities and inner suburbs that their grandparents fled from in the 1960s and 70s.

      While some might scream "gentrification," a Millennial move back to the cities holds the promise of the sort of mixed race, mixed income, safe and pedestrian/bike-friendly community that urban planners have been dreaming of for decades.

      And, if we act now we can both encourage Millennials to move back into the cities while still keeping the poor and elderly from being their victims.

  •  Price of fossil fuels is artifical. (4+ / 0-)

    It's a game we play - almost every armed conflict in the past 100 years has been due at least in part because of oil, gas, or control of infrastructure related to it.

    Even without the costs of wars, the costs of burning oil to human, animal and plant health, to the ecology generally have been staggering.

    So while the snapshot of how pricing does affect people's fungible assets is important to discuss, it's always good to remember how we got here in the first place.

    Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

    by shpilk on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 07:16:32 PM PST

    •  Is this in reference to the other graph? (0+ / 0-)

      The one that shows that despite our driving less, despite a slackening of demand, the price of gas has climbed upwards and fluctuates independently of the demand curve?

      While I agree that the trend of driving less is good, I wanna know more about what does set the price of gas.

      Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

      by Helpless on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 09:08:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  car sharing is a big deal too (9+ / 0-)

    if you can easily car share, then all of a sudden,
    you stop taking casual trips and only take
    "Utility" trips.

  •  Great work. Every word is true. (6+ / 0-)

    It really is about more than transportation policy; it's mainly about land use policy.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 07:21:13 PM PST

  •  There was a gap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman

    Your numbers on what is happening are clear.  The 'why' appeared to be much more speculative.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 07:24:22 PM PST

  •  I live in a small community (9+ / 0-)

    abutting a larger city.  Our public transportation is not what it could be but it does exist.  We older folk have noticed that the teens in our small school district are not getting their licenses until later.  Kid next door didn't get it till he was 20 and he only got it because he has a kid!  He walks and gets rides from adults to go where he needs to go.  So do most of his friends.  The expense is ridiculous for kids working jobs that pay minimum and part time.  They can't get jobs that will provide health care or money for anything other than food and board.  These trends are a direct result of American Greed/Corporate Greed.

    Everyone! Arms akimbo! 68351

    by tobendaro on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 07:24:28 PM PST

    •  Older teens not driving (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      does seem to be a trend. Which is good if they use public transit or bike or walk. But I know more than a few 18 year old kids, no permit, no plans to get one, whose moms are still driving them all over creation, and that just seems weird.

      •  In our experience (2+ / 0-)

        there is no option.  They don't have money for insurance or a car.  A few I know did get junkers but they became too expensive to fix so the kids gave them up.  We drove our last to and from work till he was 21.  He worked but couldn't afford a car.  He lived with us and used his pay for his phone and the little bit of r & b we charged him. We wanted him to understand that you can't live for free but it took years for him to get enough to pay for insurance and a car. He ended up working two jobs, about 65 hours a week before he could get going.

        Everyone! Arms akimbo! 68351

        by tobendaro on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 07:12:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And that makes sense. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          But the kids I'm talking about are pretty wealthy, all in private schools, multiple cars in their families.
          My niece's son is one of them. She spends half her time driving him  to school (there is a school bus he could ride), to play practice, to the mall to meet his friends who also don't drive. The other half of her time is spent complaining about all the driving she has to do.

          And unlike your son, (and unlike my kids at that age), this kid has never earned one penny of his own money. I keep telling her he's not learning a very good lesson here, but she tells me I just con't understand how busy he is, and how hard it is to be a kid these days.

  •  Excellent post. Retired, 64, no commute. (13+ / 0-)

    Riding bikes more, walking and taking but.

    Wonder what per cent of Millennials are jobless with little hope of owning a vehicle even it they wanted to?

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 07:24:55 PM PST

  •  Kudos to Ray LaHood. (12+ / 0-)

    I wasn't sure what to expect from my former Congressman as Transportation Secretary but it turns out that some of the most progressive, forward thinking policies in Obama's first term came under the direction of a Republican cabinet appointee. I've seen the shift in focus to walkable/bikable cities trickle down to local planning, which is really saying something in a town as stuck in its ways as Springfield. The direction set by Transportation can have a big impact on local planning bureaucracies, which sometimes badly need the push to change their way of thinking.

    And Amtrak has been early or on time every time I've taken the St. Louis-Chicago line since the rail upgrades. That will make a big difference in retaining new riders.

    Cash-for-clunkers helped reduce fuel consumption as well.

    •  Agreed, I wish he'd stayed on (8+ / 0-)

      Planning cities for the needs of pedestrians and bike riders instead of cars dramatically changes their character.

      And the ripple effects are fascinating, impacting health, social interaction, even happiness.

      I read an article recently about reclaiming Bogotá, Colombia, as a bicycling city, and how it made the people objectively happier.

      Two bodyguards trotted behind Enrique Peñalosa, their pistols jostling in holsters. There was nothing remarkable about that, given his profession – and his locale. Peñalosa was a politician on yet another campaign, and this was Bogotá, a city with a reputation for kidnapping and assassination. What was unusual was this: Peñalosa didn't climb into the armoured SUV. Instead, he hopped on a mountain bike. His bodyguards and I pedalled madly behind, like a throng of teenagers in the wake of a rock star.
      In the third year of his term, Peñalosa challenged Bogotáns to participate in an experiment. As of dawn on 24 February 2000, cars were banned from streets for the day. It was the first day in four years that nobody was killed in traffic. Hospital admissions fell by almost a third. The toxic haze over the city thinned. People told pollsters that they were more optimistic about city life than they had been in years.
      It's a cool article and touches on many cities.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 10:50:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Also, successful ... (16+ / 0-)

    communities are going to be the ones who get rail.' (Sunday Train)

    Its not just necessary as a broad national policy, its also necessary for any suburban community that does not want to be dragged down in the collapse of the obsolete 20th century transport system.

    This week's Sunday Train also includes a state-level strategy for funding which, while not sufficient for funding all of the sustainable transport investment we require, is one possibility for extending our reach that can be done in advance of turning the tide at the Federal level.

    Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

    by BruceMcF on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 07:28:39 PM PST

  •  observations (3+ / 0-)

    One item that might mean more young people are driving less is that fewer young people live in rural setting and suburban settings are become more dense.  One example of this is that 20 years ago I had friends who would drive 15 miles to the hot bar.  I suspect that there is less need to do this now.

    In terms of policy, if one lives in the city, even cities with bad reps for mass transit, it is not hard to get around without a car.  Even though I have always had  a car there were months when I did not really did not need it to get around.  

    I see more young people moving into the city, and it makes sense that would not have a car.  The trend now is to move within a mile or two or a good bar and be on a transit line. Then you are able to take mass transit to work and walk to the bar.  When I was I did this as well.  Not much driving.  Again, this was twenty years ago and I knew many people who did this.

    What happens, though, is people move out to the suburbs when they start a family.  The drive into the city, out of the city, to all the kids event which are scattered over a 100 square mile area.  And this is the long term trend we have to watch for.  If the inner cities are developed, if the young people stay in the city, then the trend of less driving will prevail.  But if they continue to move back to the suburbs, and now the suburbs are much further away, if will not.

    As far as funding, we need to keep the gas tax only for road maintenance, not deficit reduction.  We also need a tax paid at inspection time in addition to the gas tax based on miles driven and mass of car.Something like $.001*(weight of vehicle/1000)^2*(distance driven).  The squared is because damage to the road is nonlinear based on the weight of the car. So a smart car driven 10,000 miles a year would pay $26, while a ford focus driven the same amount would be $80 a year, a CTS $130, and an escalate would be $300 a year.  And none of those big car exemptions that merely encourage people and manufacturers to build big cars.

    •  One trend will keep changing. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oortdust, Major Kong, NoMoreLies, Creosote

      "What happens, though, is people move out to the suburbs when they start a family."

      This trend is what is changing.  Young family starters are staying in the cities, even with the kids.  Because the old idea that the suburbs are better is just that: out of date.

      In part because cities are far nicer, cleaner, and safer than they were a generation ago.  In part because commuting is a terrible way to waste your life. In part because having a house with a lawn isn't quite the status symbol it used to be.  In part because taking your kids to parks, pools, and playgrounds is just as easy and safe as ignoring them in your yard... and they get much better equipment at far less expense.  In part because driving all over the place is terrible (Hardly any young Americans have a passion for driving.  It's just a way to get around).  In part because most suburbs are soul-suckingly dull, and lack anything resembling a community.  And increasingly, suburbs and exurbs are becoming the place where criminal elements are moving to, as poverty and drugs leave the increasingly affluent cities.  

      Nobody deserves poverty.

      by nominalize on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 08:05:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  is that your feeling...or a fact (0+ / 0-)

        That people with children are staying in the cities?
        And I'm sorry....but this ridiculous insult just pure nonsense and utter I think I have my answer.
        I live in a beautiful suburb and grew up in one.
        We had and have a wonderful community, it does not suck our souls, our lawn and gardens are beautiful, and we are  far from dull. Your condescending sneers and superior attitude are completely unnecessary and wrong.

        In part because most suburbs are soul-suckingly dull, and lack anything resembling a community.  And increasingly, suburbs and exurbs are becoming the place where criminal elements are moving to, as poverty and drugs leave the increasingly affluent cities.  
        •  oh, it's not just me (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mildly Unsuccessful Lurker

          "And increasingly, suburbs and exurbs are becoming the place where criminal elements are moving to, as poverty and drugs leave the increasingly affluent cities."


          Washington Post:

          Wall Street Journal on flight towards cities:

          WSJ on crime in the burbs:

          Salon with a summary:

          And remember: When we hear "city" we think Manhattan or the upscale lofts in downtowns.  But most Americans who live in cities live far from these places.  Many live in small cities, from 50,000 to 500,000.  Some of these are "suburbs" of larger cities.  

          Take Arlington, in Texas, where I once lived--- it's a "suburb" of Dallas and Fort Worth, but it has a population of nearly 400,000, a large university, and plenty of industry and major commerce (though little finance).  It is actually in the process of developing an urban core in its "downtown" area, precisely to build a sense of community that will lure young families.  The Metroplex is full of "suburbs" like this (plus plenty of actual suburbs, of course).

          Or think or Utica, NY, or Wichita Falls, Texas, or Topeka, Kansas--- these small cities are attracting young families with things like jobs and inexpensive housing.

          And most suburbs are exceedingly empty places to live.  When they do stand out for things like community spirit or amenities, it's because they've built small cities.  (for example: )

          But don't get me wrong, I don't just have facts.   I can even cancel out your anecdote with my own, of growing up in a fast-growing suburb of Oklahoma City.  Despite being a small suburb, people never ran into each other like they do in a place.  Part of that was because we civically identified with OKC as much as our town.  Part of it was because people spent a lot of their free time at one of the 23 churches in town (to show you how fun it was)... you got to know the people at your church; of course then you get all the political problems that come from having 20+ evangelical churches in town.  Part of it was due to ordinary sprawl--- no public places, and no sidewalks to encourage people to get around on foot.  Which means nobody runs into each other, nobody sees other people in the community.  

          And that's just the people!  The public "square" was the parking lots in front of the supermarkets and Wal-Marts.  There were no real parks to speak of, and most neighborhoods had no trees at all, just empty lawns.  There were no community projects, and no festivals to speak of, except for one parade that only interested the country-western set.

          There was no work in town except for fast food and retail, no major employer to tie us together, and not even a decent football team to rally around.  Despite its financial stability, safety, and growth, it was a soul-sucking place to live.  Nearly everyone leaves upon graduation, and only a handful return.  Even if it's just to go to another suburb in the hopes of getting the best of the old town, plus what it lacked.

          As I left, gangs were just starting to become a problem.  At first we all laughed at the cops as paranoid, seeing gangs everywhere, and itching to use their funding... but it turns out they were on to something, and crime is up.

          Nobody deserves poverty.

          by nominalize on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 02:14:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  How about in BIG part (3+ / 0-)

        houses are simply unaffordable for the young starting family.  There are no "starter" homes that are affordable to the median income, especially here in California.

        The suburbs are old and retiring fast, the young that live there live with parents and grandparents.

        "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

        by Sychotic1 on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 07:01:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Health effects of driving (4+ / 0-)

    Driving more in places that force more driving is a public health problem:

    Built environment & health

    We do not need everyone to live car-free, although that is now a choice in many places, but we do need to build our communities so we have choices of how to get around.

  •  I retired this year in May. (6+ / 0-)

    I just sold my car two weeks ago.
    No need for. I had only used 1/2 tank of gas since July and could have used the bus/trolley. My insurance was expiring and I just let it lapse. I haven't missed it yet and doubt if I will.

    "I'm gonna dance between the raindrops"

    by IB JOHN on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 07:41:54 PM PST

  •  The Prius is now mainstream.... (7+ / 0-)

    It used to be a car for the eco-conscious.  It's now in the top ten sellers list.  

    The Chevy Volt is great technology.  The Nissan Leaf as well.  

    The Mini Cooper and the FIAT 500 prove that a car doesn't have to be big to be trendy, loaded with features, or even fast.  The Mini Cooper S and the Fiat 500 Abarth are terribly quick, fun cars that still get around 40 MPG - and do it with cool European styling.    

    Volkswagen/Audi, GM and Mazda are investing heavily in clean diesels.  You can now get a Mazda6 (not a "small" car by any means) that gets almost 50 MPG and leaves the air nearly as clean as it was before it entered the engine.  

    Millennials drive less, it is true.  But when they do drive, they're choosing cars that are better for the environment and that consume less fuel.  

    In a few years we'll look back at the age of SUVs the same way we do today at cars with huge fins.  I

    •  35MPG from a 1998 Civic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, RerumCognoscereCausas

      My Civic is 15 years old and still gets between 30 and 35 MPG depending on how hard I drive it.  Has gotten that since day one.  Kinda bums me that the newest Civic Si gets the same.  If I lived in California I would buy a plug in Fit in a minute but they dont offer them in Colorado (one more reason to move).  $259 a month includes all maintenance AND insurance with a 118MPG equivalent.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 08:43:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Honda Fit - 40mpg routinely (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RerumCognoscereCausas, gmats

      this is my commuting car - i want something that is small, durable, and fuel efficient.  i try to talk my co-workers out of buying big ass cars dy doing back-of-the-envelope annual gas costs with them and showing them how much better off their family would be if they bought a smaller, more fuel efficient car and using the savings to improve the lives of their family.

      there are tons of Fits and Prius, even a few volts here in the triangle.  

  •  Poverty is the driver of this change... (0+ / 0-)

    People don't want to live in crime ridden inner city neighborhoods by choice, but for many that's all they can afford. If worker's income rises, they'll be moving out of the city and buying cars again.

    •  I think you're behind the times a bit (6+ / 0-)

      A lot of inner city neighborhoods have gentrified and crime/drugs/poverty are often found in the suburbs and even rural towns now.

      The gangs would often rather deal with some rural county sheriff's department than a well equipped and funded big city police department.

      It varies by city and neighborhood of course, but "crime ridden inner city neighborhoods" is painting with a very broad brush.

      I could take you to appalachian southern Ohio and show you plenty of crime-ridden rural areas dotted with meth labs and burned out trailers.

      My mother in law would happily tell you which trailers were receiving welfare and which ones had spent time in prison.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 08:11:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've lived in both... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The hood in north Minneapolis and rural MN towns. Crime in north Minneapolis is off the charts, to the point where everyday living is a challenge. Out here in the country, the police often spend more time dealing with wandering livestock than crime. My county hasn't had a murder in decades, and my city hasn't had a single crime in over a year.

        •  My in-laws (0+ / 0-)

          Are afraid to come up to the tough gritty concrete jungle that they assume Columbus Ohio is.

          I think the local news down there portrays Columbus as something out of Taxi Driver or The Warriors circa 1970s.

          Statistically they're probably as likely to get killed in a car accident on those rural roads than getting shot in Columbus.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 07:17:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  In Seattle.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, David Jarman

      when you get some you move into the city.

  •  This country desperately needs high speed rail. (12+ / 0-)

    It is utterly ridiculous that we do not have it yet.  It would be so useful in so many areas of this country.  LA comes to mind.  That CA does not have it to take people up and down the state is a crime.

  •  Pure guessing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Kong, oortdust

    But this also may come from the fact that more and more people are living in cities.

    A long time ago for the most part rural communities stopped being contributing members of society, the jobs have left and government subsidies kept many of these communities semi afloat.

    This collapse of valuable economic activity coincided with a loss of jobs. This encouraged people to seek employment where they could create value (urban centers). The subsidies to these albatrosses slowed this process but did not eliminate it. We are now seeing another positive effect of this (reduction in wasteful driving).

    •  completely disagree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peregrine kate, Creosote
      A long time ago for the most part rural communities stopped being contributing members of society, the jobs have left and government subsidies kept many of these communities semi afloat.
      this is where our food is grown.  that alone makes it an important part of our country, our economy, and important for the survival of our citizens.  

      i live in a state the is 50/50 urban vs rural and it would be terrible to say that half of the state's citizens are not contributing members of society.  

      sound's like a mitt romney statement to me.

      •  No its not (0+ / 0-)

        Agriculture is only 1.2% of our economy. IE virtually meaningless.  

        It is a terrible thing to say, but unfortunately it is also reality. Hopefully some day we can fix this problem.

        A great effort needs to be put in to fully detach the rural inhabitants from their culture and mentality that causes them to be unproductive members of society.  

        You and many others share the archaic perspective that farming has meaningful value, it is holding people back from joining the ranks of the educated and participating in value creating endeavors such as industry and science.

  •  Great diary - indeed, continued pressure needed (3+ / 0-)

    to accelerate the development of the modern, clean, green, egalitarian, human-serving transportation infrastructure and fund its operation. There is an established and entrenched set of interests that still supports the imbalanced system we have, fiscally and operationally privileging highways and the use of individual motor vehicles over people-friendly modes. Big Car, Big Oil, and Big Truck Freight are much louder and more readily legitimized voices than (as if) 'Big' Transit Rider, 'Big' Pedestrian, and 'Big' Bicycle.

    Bicyclists have been the most organized non-motorists and have scored some enormously successful popular bike facilities in the face of ongoing, cynical, vocal motorist pushback. I have been a transportation advocate for many years, helped spur bikeway and transit development in Seattle and helped resist imbalanced budget proposals that favored billion-dollar highway expansion boondoggles and that stiffed all other modes.

    It is always a good and worthwhile fight to support better access, facilities, and safety for diverse and sustainable transportation choices -- and to temper the eternal enthusiasm (even by our Democratic elected officials) for billions of spending to support unsustainable continued heavy individual car use. There is no shortage of support for twentieth-century motorist-centric solutions. And yet there are so many benefits and so many great jobs to created by supporting vibrant main-street cities, great transit systems, and sustainable transportation choices.

  •  Transportation policy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One good change in policy would be to stop building so damned many new roads.  I wonder how many acres of road there are per capita.  IMO, too many.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 08:12:47 PM PST

  •  Meteor Blades (8+ / 0-)

    If you didn't see this story today, Top-Selling Cars In Norway Now Electric Cars (Two Months In A Row) — 4 Reasons Why, I think it shows how much further real green transportation policy can go. (or has gone)

  •  My kids wont drive (5+ / 0-)

    Im a car guy.  Love cars.  Love racing.  Love driving fast.  I know Im not the only Liberal who likes NASCAR but I sure feel like it when I am at the track.  I have driven well over 500,000 miles in my life in everything from a 70 ton tank to a 5 ton truck to a NASCAR Nationwide car to a Yamaha scooter.  I drove Route Irish daily in Baghdad when that was very unhealthy and put over a thousand miles behind the wheel in Afghanistan.  Heck my military license still list M151 Jeep.  But my kids?

    My daughter is 20, almost 21 and only has a permit.  She is terrified of driving so I am not really excited about the thought of her on the road.  I am hoping self driving cars become the norm before she needs to do much driving.  On the other hand despite having some pretty bad social anxiety she is quite comfortable on public transportation.

    My son is 16, almost 17 and doesnt even have a permit.  I made him the same offer I made my daughter - get a license and you can have my car.  My car is a 98 Honda Civic EX.  Nothing special but not a Pinto or a Yugo either.  I had counted on it being passed on by now so I could get a new car.  But not only does he not have a license he shows no indications of wanting one.  I would have KILLED for a car  - any car - at 16.  I would have been over the moon for one with power windows, AC and a stereo - all things I lacked on my first three cars including the one this Civic replaced.  

    I work on my own cars and have tried to get my son to go with me to the auto shop (one of the best benefits of being in the military is access to lift bays with impact wrenches).  I even offered to help put in performance parts as long as he only raced in sanctioned autocross.  No dice.  Again, I would have loved to work on a car with my dad or had the chance to race.  

    Between the computer and his phone, my son has all the contact he needs with is friends.  If I wanted to talk to more than one of my friends at his age I had to go to the mall or meet at a park.  He only has to open a chat window.  Between school, boys scouts, choir, and theater he see friends in the real world enough I guess.  This includes girlfriends.  

    They are different kids from a different age.  My son doesnt have a single car magazine and would couldn't tell a Camero from a Mustang from a Charger.  He has no "need for speed" and no dream car.  When I took him the to Pebble Beach car shows he was bored.  Cars have no hold on him and probably never will.  It makes me sad.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 08:28:11 PM PST

    •  It's a different world (4+ / 0-)

      than the one you and I grew up in.

      I got my first car when I was 16. A 1973 VW Bug that I had to work on almost every weekend just so I could drive it during the week.

      I've been a car guy since day one but kids today are different. Not better or worse - just different.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 08:40:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  wow - that *is* eye-opening .. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      .. and hard to imagine, from my fellow car-guy perspective. Though I do strictly adhere to the "liberal" = "import-only" stereotype. I suppose, in the long run, this generation will be better off - carbon-footprint-reducing-wise - for it.

      Never had kids - talk about carbon-footprint-reducing(!).., where did I leave my torches and villagers?

      by FrankSpoke on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 12:34:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Anecdata (2+ / 0-)

      from my friends' kids over 20 (four total). Two do not drive at all (both female). One male drives but does not own a car. Other male drives, has a car, but doesn't use it for anything but local driving.

      Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

      by milkbone on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 06:52:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Turn him on to bicycles. (0+ / 0-)

      Carbon fiber is cool. So is Ti and annodized Al. Fat bikes are way cool. 5" wide tires float over snow. They ride 'em all over Alaska.

      Reaganomics noun pl: blind faith that unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources. Synonyms: trickle-down; voodoo economics. Antonyms: common sense. Related Words: Laffer curve.

      by FrY10cK on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 07:00:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A couple other things. (0+ / 0-)

      I have a pet trailer rated for 66 lbs. that I also haul tools and whatnot in. $119 shipped.

      I just ordered a heavier bike trailer that has a metal floor and will carry 180 lbs. $104 shipped.

      Get 'em while you can. This cheap stuff ain't gonna keep coming from China forever.

      Check my blogroll for some other nice bicycle websites.

      Reaganomics noun pl: blind faith that unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources. Synonyms: trickle-down; voodoo economics. Antonyms: common sense. Related Words: Laffer curve.

      by FrY10cK on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 07:12:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  High speed rail, please? (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb137, ladybug53

    -5.13,-5.64; GOP thinking: A 13 year path to citizenship is too easy, and a 5 minute background check is too burdensome. -- 1audreyrenee

    by gizmo59 on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 08:34:19 PM PST

  •  My father is 74 years old and hates to drive (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, ladybug53

    He spent years commuting from the outer suburbs to downtown Chicago. Sometimes traffic was so bad it took him 90 minutes each way.

    Today he hardly drives and I think if he could do without it completely he would.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 08:43:09 PM PST

  •  Internet sales and having bldg materials.. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, citisven, cailloux, Sychotic1

    ..delivered to the job site.

    "Social media have provided powerful alternatives to face-to-face interaction requiring transportation
    ..and this has probably changed the way millenials buy stuff too and accounts for the reduced number of miles driven too:
    They are also the first generation to fully embrace mobile Internet-connected technologies, which are rapidly spawning new transportation options..
    Darn.  Thought I was being so smart writing this out and then just now read this block quoted sentence directly above ^^^  - the U.S. PIRG study nailed that

     I have millennial nephews & nieces that instantly turn to the computer to find what they want or need. It would never occur to them to first hop in a car and drive to a store to do their shopping.

     But times have changed me too. 30 years ago when I needed lumber or any bldging supply I went the yard and chose my lumber/bdlg materials loaded it on my truck and delivered it to the site.

    30 years later I shop on the internet find the best price amongst retailers/or wholesalers whose merchandise I've previously checked out and trust and have it delivered whenever possible. The truck making the delivery has my load and other orders, so it's more efficient. Less traffic miles.

    I'll bet with future infrastructure geared towards this kind of efficient overlap that a very good thing will happen.

    There will still be driving that is for pleasure like for a trip on vacation where their is no other means, but the mundane chore driving out of need will be replaced by different methods of delivery that is more efficient.

     - If we can get "conservatives" out of the way that is  

    Thx MB

  •  there's a another point missed too: (0+ / 0-)

    higher-mileage vehicles.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

    by terrypinder on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 05:42:35 AM PST

  •  fuel consumption and price (0+ / 0-)

    I love the chart and will save it for the next time a right winger claims that Obama is the cause of higher fuel prices. - I would love to see a chart (I might do one myself) which puts the price data on a constant dollar basis.  Most people are amazed to find out that the price of gasoline has been remarkably stable on a constant dollar basis, except for crises.
    - This shows that the general population is adapting to energy conservation measures, most notably moving close to work! Who knew?

    “That which can be destroyed by the truth should be." ― P.C. Hodgell, Seeker's Mask

    by ramblin engineer on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 06:06:54 AM PST

  •  Big Red state attitudes impede overhaul of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Transportation policy that can work
    The individualism of 'pull yourself up by the bootstrap Ann Ryan' feckless school of thought encourages more large trucks, even in urban places where they dont particularly need them, there are large cities without public buses e.g Arlington, and no light high speed rail at all.
    Instead urban sprawl and more road networks is on an inexorable pace to devour yet more open spaces.

  •  Saw an interesting concept (0+ / 0-)

    at a recent conference.

    With all the GPS and particularly the "google" car which knows where it is and has had 0 accidents in all its miles of self navigation the future might hold this.

    No one owns a car but they might belong to a car club (sort of like boating clubs). When they need a car they order one up on the web. Want a sports car? a family van? Maybe a Corvette with all the trimmings? Tell the "web" when you need it and at that time a car will drive itself up the "driveway" (assuming you even have one) or parks in front of the house / apt.

    You jump in and off you go -- you either drive it yourself at a higher rate than auto pilot (people have more accidents than the new self aware cars).

    When you're done ... you tell it to go back to home base for some other car club member.

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. Frank Zappa

    by Da Rock on Mon Dec 02, 2013 at 08:19:32 AM PST

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