Year 3, Month 4, Day 11: I’ll Show Him That A Cadillac Is Not A Car To Scorn

A guy named Randy Salzman writes an op-ed in the New York Times that’s well worth a read. It’s titled “Invitation to a Dialogue: Our Addiction to Cars.” The final few grafs:

While oil worldwide costs the same, other nations put higher fees on gasoline and diesel consumption. Japan’s high gas taxes make its 127 million people a huge test market for energy efficiency, while our lower taxes cajoled Detroit into selling gas-guzzling S.U.V.’s.

Of course, decreasing driving in a culture famed for its “love affair with the automobile” is difficult. No one, yet everyone, is to blame for our national default position of key in the ignition to get anywhere, everywhere and — often — nowhere. Our politicians are not willing to tell us the most inconvenient of inconvenient truths.

If we’d use our cars smarter, we’d mitigate a host of problems and prevent our grandchildren from following our children in fighting wars in the Middle East.

To begin using our cars intelligently rather than habitually, we need a rational federal gasoline “user fee” rolled in slowly over a decade.

It’s time politicians led an adult conversation with America.

Couldn’t have said it better myself, though I tried, in this letter, sent April 4:

From the stories of the early pioneers and Horace Greeley’s “Go West, young man,” to Kerouac’s Beat generation tales, the freedom to get up and go wherever we please is a formative element of the American myth. But the individual liberation implied by the automobile is chimerical; our society rightly castigates those who would abdicate their responsibilities to family and community, and our collective responsibility for the past century’s profligate consumption of fossil fuels is not something from which we can simply drive away. There is no freeway that will let us avoid the environmental consequences of introducing so much extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Yes, contemporary America’s social infrastructure is utterly dependent on the automobile — but this cannot be an excuse for inaction. If we are to steer in the direction of planetary good citizenship, we must change our oil economy, and the myths that lend it credibility.

Warren Senders

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *