Looking at the numbers – are we past “Peak Car”?

I’ve been looking at statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation and it appears that we may have passed the point of peak automobile use in this country.

Energy experts have long projected that at some point the cost of fuel (plus other costs of operating automobiles) would result in a permanent long-term decline in auto use, and it appears we may have passed the peak. Although the economic collapse temporarily depressed fuel costs following last summer’s historic highs, prices are on their way up again as world demand outpaces supply. It’s unlikely that a person who wants to take a Sunday afternoon cruise on the Parkway will want to outbid a trucker whose livelihood depends on delivery or a manufacturer whose profits depend on petroleum used as feedstock or fuel, so auto use declines as prices climb.

The most urgent local impact of these numbers involves the I-26 connector which has been planned around a scenario of steadily increasing traffic. More than ever we need to keep up our opposition to the 8-lane plans and to the proposed 65 mph speed limit through downtown. The future of transportation is not going to look like the recent past. We need to keep it real when it comes to transportation planning.

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One Response

  1. Amen. We need to look to the past for our transportation ideas. Rails, more realistic bike paths and battery scooters are feasable ways to get around and are more enjoyable and psychologically healthy! People would use these options if they were more practical, but as of now bike lanes are a death wish.

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