This post is a bit off of my normal topics, but I think it’s something important that people should be discussing. I’ll really try not to get too political, so here goes. We’ve all seen gas prices climb up to (and in many areas above) $3 USD per gallon of gasoline. We’ve also seen war, chaos, pain and turmoil going on the Middle East and elsewhere. While there is obviously some connection between the current price of gas and war, terror and fear, that’s not exactly the connection I want to voice.
While many of us (yes, I’m an American) do not have much of an immediate say in when we deescalate our involvement in wars, or how handle terror/fear, we still can take some action now. The action I propose: more efficient cars. When I say more efficient, I don’t mean a car that weighs twice as much and gets twice the fuel economy per pound.. because this car burns the same amount of gas (even though by definition it’s twice as fuel efficient). When I say more efficient, I mean something more like: a car that weighs half (or even a quarter) and gets twice, three times, or even 10 times overall improvement in fuel economy.
You might think that halving the weight of your vehicle is difficult, it’s actually pretty easy. Consider that a 2008 Honda Civic weighs under 3,000 lbs. A 2008 Ford Expedition weighs nearly 6,000 lbs. (Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems Ford has developed a conscious and no longer displays the weight of the Expedition) Also, please consider that an Expedition does not have twice the interior volume of a Civic. Granted an expedition tows significantly more than a Civic, but… how many Expeditions do you actually see towing things? Sure, I see one here and there, maybe once or twice a month. My point: If people really wanted to drive small cars as their daily transportation, and keep their 6,000+ lb rig around to tow boats, then they could do. Again, no judgments here. I am not saying all people should junk their large SUVs. What I am trying to say is people who are willing to take that first step, consider demoting their SUV to boat-pulling status and pick up a much smaller daily transportation. I’m also attempting to say that we (people in general) need to make a concerted effort at acquiring and driving smaller cars on a daily basis. Only then, will we be taking personal action.
Please note that even small cars have been getting bigger. This is actually pretty standard in the auto industry. Given any line of car (i.e. Civic, Expedition, etc) each model typically see a slight increase in size, power, luxury, etc. And, new models do typically get more fuel efficient. But, this efficiency is typically offset by an increase in weight. Case in point the Honda Civic:
So, even the small cars are getting bigger. Hmmm… The Civic has gained over 1,000 lbs in the last 30 years. Granted the latest Civic is much bigger, luxurious, and faster. But that’s my point. Our cars continually increase in size. And, there are more cars on the road. And, there is more pollution in the air, water and land. Our increased use of gas has direct consequences to America’s (and other nations) middle East interests (i.e. OIL) , and IMHO plays a significant part in the current Middle East wars, our talk of Terror, and the growing base of people wanting to wage war against us. All this because we consumers want: bigger, more luxurious, and faster cars.
Side note: You could argue that newer cars have stronger bodies which better protect the occupants during a crash, but this is actually twisted logic. Some of this safeness is due to modern engineering, and the rest is due to sheer girth. And, modern (safety) engineering can be readily applied to small cars too! Sheer girth is actually pretty bad, as it burns more gas and more likely injures/kills occupants in smaller cars during a collision. So, the pro-girth argument causes people to buy the bigger (or biggest) vehicle they can afford (sort of a Demolition Derby mentality).
So, our hope for humanity, and the well being of our planet, in part hinges on our ability to downside our cars. But, no need to fear because I think it’s actually gonna be a whole lot of fun. Without further ado, here is something akin to the Future of Cars: