Many of us who live in U.S. urban and suburban environments are now witnessing the twilight of the U.S. Car Culture.
This current car culture I characterize by:
a) privately owned vehicles
b) which get less than 100 miles per gallon of gas
c) are the primary transportation for a individual or family
d) are not ‘smart linked’ to an organizing network enabling hands free driving
e) weigh an average of more than 1,800 pounds

In the interests of the health of our world, our local communities, our families, and ourselves it is a very good thing that all five of these current features of
our U.S. car culture will be going extinct for many areas.

This post will gather information of why we all have cause to celebrate the end of the old way of U.S. car culture and encourage you to quicken the pace of the change through your own political voice and action. Web sources will be available below as well as book citation.

THE OLD WAY OF DOING CARS IS HORRIBLY EXPENSIVE AND ISN’T WORTH IT
In 2004 the average household spent 17% of their income on car ownership and operating costs per year.
In 1996, car loans represented one third of all consumer debt (Alvord 102).
Because of depreciation, a new car costs you almost 15 dollars a day whether it is used or not (Alvord 102).
In 2000, repairs and maintenence averaged around 750 dollars a year per car (Alvord 102).

BUT THERE’S MORE HIDDEN COSTS!
Parking lots and garages, tolls, parking tickets, speeding tickets, ‘upgrades/bells and whistles’.
Taxes subsidize road and driver infrastructure.

“Researcher Douglass Lee calculates that U.S. taxpayers contribute over $41 billion a year to cover the road costs that drivers don’t (Alvord 105).”

“Friends of the Earth estimates that oil production, health and property damage, and related clean-up costs the U.S. about $10 billion yearly (Alvord 107).”

“Congestion costs may total as much as $168 billion a year in the U.S. (Alvord 107).”

“American motorists pay $52 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs, and $230 billion a year for medical costs, lost productivity, travel delay, workplace costs, insurance costs, and legal costs stemming from motor vehicle accidents.”
http://cpr.ca.gov/CPR_Report/Issues_and_Recommendations/Chapter_4_Infrastructure/INF20.html

Commuting a total of 1.25 hours a day will cost you about 28,ooo dollars a year in opportunity cost (time missed from actually working).
http://steve-olson.com/the-high-cost-of-commuting-to-work/

OUR CURRENT CAR CULTURE COSTS TOO MUCH IN HUMAN SUFFERING AND DEATH

Killed in car accidents 42,116*
Killed by the common flu 20,000*
Killed by murders 15,517*
Killed in airline crashes
(of 477m passenger trips)
120 (1)
Killed by lightning strikes 90*
(1) Annual average over 19 year period.
*Average annual totals in United States.

http://www.unitedjustice.com/death-statistics.html

Researchers found that artery wall thickening among people living within 100 meters (328 feet) of a Los Angeles highway progressed twice as quickly as those who lived farther away.
http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/006946.html

“…minute sooty particles, emitted largely from the burning of diesel and other fuels and inhaled deeply into the lungs, shortens lives by seven to eight months. In pollution hotspots like areas of central London and other cities, the particles could be cutting vulnerable people’s lives short by as much as nine years.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/22/air-pollution-deaths

How will you speed the transition to better transportation and standard of living?

Alvord, Katie. “Divorce Your Car: Ending The Love Affair With The Automobile” (Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers. 2000)

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