There's an interesting article on the front page of the Washington Post
15 years ago
There's an interesting article on the front page of the Washington Post
And as ton/mile efficiency becomes more and more important as gas and diesel prices go through the roof, you're likely to see the eventual resurgence of (gasp) passenger service and lightrail transportation systems as well.
Agreed, but how long would the high price of gas have to continue OR how high would the price of gas have to go before peoplw are willing to change their ways? Where I live, there was an informal survey completed a couple of years ago that basically concluded that people wouldn't be willing to change their schedules to take advantage of public transportation. If they couldn't go where they wanted to go when they wanted to go, they weren't interested.
We have really become used to our lifestyle; I think it would take quite some time to change. And, since it would take quite a bit of time to create the infrastructure for bonafide rail passenger service, I'd think that there would either be a new solution to the energy problem OR the current cost of fuel may drop significantly.
But it is an interesting thought... : )
"Dan Merkel" wrote
Easy one. When enough people have to start choosing between food and gasoline, odds are that they'll choose food every time, and there are plenty of folks out there in America who are already having to make decisions about that choice.
Gas is very unlikely to do anything but steadily rise in price for the foreseeable future due to the economic booms in China and India that will produce something like 2 *billion* new automotive/gasoline customers quite soon; and the concomitant rise in food prices due to increased production and transportation costs will do the same thing to inflationary food prices.
At the rate things are developing now, look for gas to sell at between five and ten dollars a gallon within a few years -if that long- and look for irate Americans to demand that alternative transportation methods be found rapidly when skyrocketing gas and food prices start to seriously pinch.
On 4/22/2008 11:42 AM P. Roehling spake thus:
High gas prices, on the order of what you descibe here, could be one of the best things to happen in the world at this point. (At least so far as transportation policy goes.)
Notice I said *could* be.
Hmmm... I think THAT one deserves an explanation.
Start with: "North Americans have been using too much fuel."
"Wolf Kirchmeir" wrote
And then add, "with Europeans following close behind; and with India and China doing their collective best to catch up with the both of them".
The time to start seriously researching and developing alternative energy/transportation resources is *before* a critical shortage of the conventional ones hits you right between the eyes.
New Zealanders, who aren't that different to yanks, other than having half the population density and therefore twice the distance to travel, use about one third the US consumption, per head of population.
About half the rate per head.
But currently using about 1% of US rates per head.
You need a sense of proportion.
You could also try using less energy - everyone in the world does that better than the US.
True, but all neo-capitalist gummints have drastically cut research, on the grounds that "The Market Will Take care Of It." And private companies won't undertake such research, since it won't pay off in the next couple of quarters, so they would fail in their responsibility to shovel money at the shareholders.
The notion that "The Market" will "allocate resources rationally" is one of the most pernicious supertsitions ever invented. Economics is not science, and never has been. At best, it's been a handicapping system for the stockmarket; at worst it's been a prop to the ruling classes' ewxploitaion of everything and everybody. And if you think that statement excludes the leftists, think again - what do you think the Marxist economists were doing in the Soviet Union?
There is a reason why many citizens in China ride bicycles - cheap to acquire, cheap to use, and easy to store. I believe few Americans truly appreciate what is meant by fuel consumption. Nearly any racing event is about big engines and big horsepower. It all requires fuel.
It seems auto makers can squander small fortunes on making less than practical vehicles. But, they are far from alone as the fast food industry can rack up a lot of waste, too. For those who live in a democracy, being there permits a degree of freedom regarding waste.
Back in the 70s (during the 70s fuel crisis) some sports magazine did a survey of the fuel consumption associated with various sports. Baseball and football had the highest. Partly because of all the team travel, but mostly because of the fan travel. I doubt that the figures have chnaged much since then.
And that's just the traffic lights!
On 4/28/2008 7:50 AM John Fraser spake thus:
I think your observation is based on a very common misconception, one seemingly shared by G. Procter and others here, that China still has millions of bicycles in the streets of its large cities. This once-romantic image, of Beijing streets full of bikes and few cars, is now a thing of the past as the Chinese take to the roads in cars with a vengeance. Automobile traffic in Beijing is at LA levels of gridlock.
On 4/26/2008 11:38 PM Greg Procter spake thus:
While I agree with the gist of your comments, I seriously question this figure you seem to have pulled out of ... thin air. While China and India, even with their rampant headlong rush towards industrialization, still may use less energy per capita than us (U.S.), there's no way that it's only 1% of what we use. I'm going to have to ask you for a cite on that one.
In fact, I'd say that in a few years, both of those places could easily surpass the US in sheer extravagance of energy usage (and wastage).
None of which changes the fact that the US is still the world's biggest energy hog.
Whether or not China has bicycles on the streets of it's main cities (obviously there are huge numbers of IC vehicles) the number of vehicles per head of population is about 1% of the figure of the USa. There are huge numbers of bicycles, just as there are in most cities of the world. In Asia, people use bicycles, foul two stroke motor cycles and three wheelers, trains, buses and at the very bottom of the list, private cars.
Try viewing reality instead of creating your own US-centric version.
That is a physical impossibility - there is not that amount of oil, or other sources of energy, in the world.
Hey, don't dispair, the rest of us are trying really hard to catch up! We never will, but if you cut your usage by 75% you'll be in line with the rest of us energy hogs.
"China's auto fleet reaches 10 million." Population 1,4 billion. That's 0.7/1000pop. US ownership 850/1000pop.
or Chinese ownership to US ownership = 0.823%
Sorry, my 1% was a bit optomistic.
You really need that dose of realisim and a bit less of that yank political brainwashing.
On 4/28/2008 1:47 PM Greg Procter spake thus:
That source is only 5 years out of date; try 57 million autos:That puts it closer to 4%.
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