Climate change, sustainability, and car ownership

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David Getling
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Some people, like tradesmen/tradeswomen, really do need a car. However how many people in cities and large towns genuinely need them? In fact I suspect that when all the sums are done it would be cheaper for most to use public transport, the odd cab, and occasionally hire a car.

I suspect that the only reason the government has never had an all out drive against cars is because:
  1. It would be incredibly unpopular, and they are frightened of the consequences in the next election.
  2. The economy revolves around getting people to own cars. They are taxed each year, and almost all the cost of petrol and diesel is tax.
  3. Manufacturing, and selling cars, as well as maintaining them represent a significant slice of the economy.

All the individual selfish people, sitting by themselves in their cars are ravaging the planet. They are generating noxious gases and CO2. But, in addition to this think of just how much of the planet's resources get pumped into car manufacture and petroleum extraction and refining. Even if we go electric the drain on resources will still be enormous, and extracting what's needed to manufacture enough batteries could prove to be a big problem.

So next time the government, or someone, bangs on about air miles or food miles, you might like to consider that these are nowhere near the biggest villains.

Of course everybody has an excuse for why they couldn't possibly manage without their car.
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DiddyDec
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As someone who has never owned a car I can tell you that the UK is not a friendly place to not own a car and work full time.

It relies on you being able to get a lot delivered. Even basic things like the weekly shop because very few towns have large supermarkets within walking distance and you have to carry all your heavy stuff back home. I have to get parcels delivered to the office because the parcel collection office is once again out of town.

Going anywhere further afield you have to rely on the truly atrocious public transport network which in my case is trains. You have to leave at least 30 minutes to ensure you arrive anywhere on time and even then your train might just get cancelled anyway. There is no consistency, fortunately I don't commute by train anymore. That is a hellish and expensive experience.

You want to travel on a Sunday? Good luck with that.
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Just my opinion
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They're not admitting it but I think the grand plan is to get the great unwashed out of their ford Fiestas and back onto the Clapham omnibus or Shanks pony.
It will never be done with equity. It will be done in a way as to make driving so financially inhibitive that the working class simply won't be able to afford it. Same with air travel. The middle classes and above will carry on as usual.
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Just my opinion
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We don't have a shop on our village and we lost the bus service last year. It's 4 miles down 60mph lanes without a pavement to the next village with shop.
Without private transport small rural villages will die on their asses.
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vicvic38
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I mean this is basically the fault of cars becoming a status symbol, and spending on public transport being slashed. Take Sheffield. It used to have an excellent subsidised bus service, and so it was basically unnecessary to own a car to get about. However, they slashed that, so people started taking their cars in. Surprise, surprise, the city isn't set up for that and so there is huge congestion and the city goes to the dogs. They try to fix it with trams, but that doesn't fix anything.

My father likes to tell me about a conversation he had at university, where someone told him that they'd "rather be able to afford new tyres for their car, than pay for public transport." Cars are not only a disgusting drain on the environment. They are also an eyesore. There were people at my sixth form who drove in, and they lived about 1/3 the distance from the school I did (I walked 20 mins every morning.)

The privatisation of bus companies has lead to making less journeys along smaller routes that are not profitable. This leads to less people using the smaller routes because they are less frequent. This leads to those routes being closed, and bigger routes not having anyone feeding into them. The same is happening with trains. They would close my local station if they could. We need to inject more subsidies into public transport to make it better and more accessible. Young people should be given bus passes, so they get into a habit of using the service. We would have a more friendly service if we actually cared about it.
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vicvic38
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(Original post by Just my opinion)
They're not admitting it but I think the grand plan is to get the great unwashed out of their ford Fiestas and back onto the Clapham omnibus or Shanks pony.
It will never be done with equity. It will be done in a way as to make driving so financially inhibitive that the working class simply won't be able to afford it. Same with air travel. The middle classes and above will carry on as usual.
You'd be able to do a lot if you just got young people into the habit of using public transport to get about with a bus pass and reliable service.
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ByEeek
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Where as i agree with the OP, getting people out of their cars is a monumental challenge. Minimising the amount of air traffic or long distance travel and getting the population to eat less meat would be much easier. Yet everyone seems hing up on electric cars which simply shift the carbon footprint from petrol to battery and power prodiction.
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David Getling
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(Original post by Just my opinion)
We don't have a shop on our village and we lost the bus service last year. It's 4 miles down 60mph lanes without a pavement to the next village with shop.
Without private transport small rural villages will die on their asses.
In situations like yours I agree a car is necessary, until some government does the decent thing. No village or town should be cut off from the rest of the world.

However I'm thinking more of the millions of people like me who live in large cities where there is plenty of transport. Yet you still get lots and lots of prats paying more to sit in a traffic jam than hop on a bus or a train.
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David Getling
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(Original post by vicvic38)
You'd be able to do a lot if you just got young people into the habit of using public transport to get about with a bus pass and reliable service.
Actually, for the sake of their health, or future health, a lot of young people badly need to get into cycling or walking. My idiot sister-in-law encouraged her two strapping sons to take the bus to school. They could have easily cycled in less than half the time.
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David Getling
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Where as i agree with the OP, getting people out of their cars is a monumental challenge. Minimising the amount of air traffic or long distance travel and getting the population to eat less meat would be much easier. Yet everyone seems hing up on electric cars which simply shift the carbon footprint from petrol to battery and power prodiction.
The problem is people, especially in the UK, are always looking for quick easy fixes, but these aren't the ones that work.
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vicvic38
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(Original post by David Getling)
Actually, for the sake of their health, or future health, a lot of young people badly need to get into cycling or walking. My idiot sister-in-law encouraged her two strapping sons to take the bus to school. They could have easily cycled in less than half the time.
I definitely agree! There are journeys that need to be made longer distance, and being able to do that with public transport is another good step. I use public transport to get about all over the country. My younger brother uses it to get to sixth form (not cycle-able distance, without going on A roads) when he could just as easily use a car.

If we get more people out of cars, hopefully the return to children walking to school will come back. I know people that drive their kids because pick up and drop off is so hectic that they are scared for their child's safety, compounding the issue.
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Ciel.
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(Original post by David Getling)
Some people, like tradesmen/tradeswomen, really do need a car. However how many people in cities and large towns genuinely need them? In fact I suspect that when all the sums are done it would be cheaper for most to use public transport, the odd cab, and occasionally hire a car.

I suspect that the only reason the government has never had an all out drive against cars is because:
  1. It would be incredibly unpopular, and they are frightened of the consequences in the next election.
  2. The economy revolves around getting people to own cars. They are taxed each year, and almost all the cost of petrol and diesel is tax.
  3. Manufacturing, and selling cars, as well as maintaining them represent a significant slice of the economy.

All the individual selfish people, sitting by themselves in their cars are ravaging the planet. They are generating noxious gases and CO2. But, in addition to this think of just how much of the planet's resources get pumped into car manufacture and petroleum extraction and refining. Even if we go electric the drain on resources will still be enormous, and extracting what's needed to manufacture enough batteries could prove to be a big problem.

So next time the government, or someone, bangs on about air miles or food miles, you might like to consider that these are nowhere near the biggest villains.

Of course everybody has an excuse for why they couldn't possibly manage without their car.
ew, i hate public transport and being surrounded by plebs. no thanks.
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Just my opinion
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Being a looney magnet I agree. I'd rather go by bike.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by David Getling)
The problem is people, especially in the UK, are always looking for quick easy fixes, but these aren't the ones that work.
Getting people to eat less meat is way easier than reducing traffic.
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David Getling
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Getting people to eat less meat is way easier than reducing traffic.
My point exactly! Government and society always go for the easy option, not the most effective one.
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Napp
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Getting people to eat less meat is way easier than reducing traffic.
One would beg to differ. Take my car by all means but if you come for my mince pie and try and palm me off with some disgusting bit of rabbit food i'm reaching for the rifle.
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emanresUU
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If we didn't have so many flights there'd be a lot less pollution and less coronavirus spread. No one needs to travel the world, but people do need to get in the car to go to the shop or work or whatever.
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David Getling
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(Original post by emanresUU)
If we didn't have so many flights there'd be a lot less pollution and less coronavirus spread. No one needs to travel the world, but people do need to get in the car to go to the shop or work or whatever.
Rubbish! Some people most certainly need their car. The majority don't, but tell themselves they do to salve their conscience.
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emanresUU
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(Original post by David Getling)
Rubbish! Some people most certainly need their car. The majority don't, but tell themselves they do to salve their conscience.
What about flights? How can you say that flights don't cause a load of unnecessary pollution?

Public transport is disgusting and unreliable - and if everyone took it, it would be completely overwhelmed. What do you propose we do about that?
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David Getling
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(Original post by Napp)
One would beg to differ. Take my car by all means but if you come for my mince pie and try and palm me off with some disgusting bit of rabbit food i'm reaching for the rifle.
You are probably the exception. Just look at the sickening number of adverts portraying cars as the gateway to Nirvana. I've often said, and I stand by it, that an awful lot of people love their car a lot more than they love their spouse or partner.

Here's an amusing (OK, sad) tale. I once worked with a wide boy who sold his flat so that he could buy a flash car.
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