Friday, June 16, 2006

"Running on Volts, not Fossil Fumes"

This was a window sticker stuck on a Toyota Prius I saw the other day. Man we got a long way to go.

First, unless this is a 'hacked plug in' prius, guess where those volts come from? Yup gasoline engine. duh.

Second, Priuses are what environmentalists drive to assuage their consciences. It carries the appropriate 'green tax' of costing more, and allows for a (false) sense of moral superiority.

Why would I say such a thing, especially after spending so much time discussing oil? Because the problem isn't sport utes, it's our transportation system in general. Bashing sport utes is just plain silly, unless you manage to ride bike everywhere, or walk. The transpo structure is built for a certain kind of behavior. Acting outside of that behavior is very difficult (riding, walking, mass transit). As long as the system stays the same, the problem is there. Getting everyone into Priuses only tweaks that system a bit, making it run a little more efficiently.

We can solve this problem, but not by buying priuses. Buy a prius because it makes good economic sense for the kind of driving you do. If we care about energy security, then we need to improve rail, and perhaps electrify it. We need to move toward more electric vehicles in the city, including the ones we already have like golf carts and such, we need to think about power (clean coal and nukes) and we need to zone so that cities are more walkable and bikeable. These things together can move us toward independence and security. In the absence of that, well, I hope your sticker makes you feel good.

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