I grew up in the muscle car era of the 60s and 70s. As such, I enjoyed racing and hot rods and all of the gas consuming things of that time period. It was a different life in many respects. There were areas of road that a father could take their son or daughter and teach them to drive without worry of traffic and other obstacles.
To say that times have changed would be an understatement. In my immortal youth, gasoline was plentiful. A vehicle that wouldn’t cruise at 70 mph was a clunker. Big cars, big engines and big gas tanks. Those were the requirements and were met by the auto industry with enthusiasm.
Today’s world is a far cry from those youthful days living in my memory. Now we need to save oil and gasoline, be frugal with our resources and protect the environment … or so they say. I’ll not argue that with them.
As population grows, even the best efforts to be efficient fail due to the increase in the number of people driving. Mathematics will tell you that even if the new cars get 10 times the gas mileage of the older cars, the shear volume of automobiles on the road more than negates the savings. So, what to do?
We could go car free, couldn’t we? Just do away with the automobile and walk, ride bicycles or use public transportation. I’m not sure that would fly well. As a people, we get use to having something and have a hard time doing without it. Call it ego, brainwashing or whatever, the concept of not having a vehicle that you have control of and you own is just beyond acceptable, right?
So, what can we do?
Maybe the answer is just to make certain areas car free? Take the inner city and ban automobiles. Set up a parking lot and require all cars to stop and park. Then provide transportation from that lot to the various areas of the city. A bus, cable car or other transportation could be used. Take the bike off the roof of your car and ride it from the parking lot. Walking is healthy. We are all told to exercise more. Drive to the parking lot, take the public transit to the nearest stop and then walk.
Along with the savings in gasoline, other benefits might include:
Less pollution in the inner city areas. Go to the city to “get a breath of fresh air”. What a concept, huh? 🙂
No need for parking areas on the streets or in parking garages. This leaves more room from businesses.
No need for big streets to accommodate cars. A smaller street means less land used for a mad rush in and out of the city. Less distance to the shop or office next door. Walking to the diner for lunch is doable.
Think safety. Walking would be safer with no cars. No road rage. More relaxed atmosphere.
There may even be other benefits that I haven’t thought of. No, it’s not a total fix. It might not even be feasible. But gee, it’s would a look. Ain’t it? 😕