What Is Fun About This?

I had to drive down to Fredricksburg, Virginia yesterday. This meant leaving at 6 am to miss the traffic on the Beltway. I waited until 6 pm to return home, and got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic all the way back to Gaithersburg. By the time I dropped off the car, and took the Taxi home, it was 9 PM. The whole day shot.

My normal life involves commuting by Internet, bicycle or train. Driving completely sucks. I don’t understand what people like about it.

Future generations will need the petroleum for plastics, medicine, lubrication and many other reasons. We need to stop wasting it.

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12 Responses to What Is Fun About This?

  1. Charles Higley says:

    First, we have plenty of oil and gas, they being produced by Earth’s core. Second, there is no more dense energy source for vehicles than gasoline or diesel. What would you have people use, lousy technology like electric cars, which have pathetic range, expensive batteries, and untenable charging times? Nope, keeping the cars, I am.

  2. mat says:

    Funny how when we want something to be bad, it always seems to come true…

  3. mellyrn says:

    I try to tell people, that if we were to ban private ownership of automobiles, we would save just as many lives as a gun ban would (IF a gun ban would even work that way). We would simply have to buck up public transportation to something decent. Then the working poor would no longer have to worry about car payments, car insurance payments, fuel costs, car maintenance, registration, inspection, taxes, parking and other fees. The existing roads would be freed up for smooth travel. The pollution (real pollution like partially-burned hydrocarbons) would be reduced, and petroleum would be freed up for other uses.

    The beauty of a car ban, and why it would work where booze/drugs/gun bans fail, is that booze, drugs and guns, due to size alone, can all be transported in secret AND USED in secret. But smuggling a car — even a “SmartCar” or a motorcycle — is a helluva job for little return (you can only make one sale out of a motorcycle-sized crate, but how many bottles of booze, packets of drugs, or guns, even rifles, could you fit in that crate?) And then what is the buyer going to do with it — use it for a lawn ornament?

    Didn’t know you were in the Gaithersburg area, my host. No one’s ever heard of Gaithersburg, including Maryland Highway Department (how many “Gaithersburg X mi” or “Gaithersburg next exit” signs do you see on I-270?) I work at NIST, and live in Shepherdstown. And the NCTC last year had a webcam up over a bald eagle nest barely two miles from my home. They’re funny looking as babies; but, aren’t we all?

  4. John A Emery says:

    Bro. I don’t get it. Are you skitzo or WHAT?

  5. If you’re going to compare the best of electric rail transport (which is highly subsidized) to the worst of automotive transport (i.e. deliberately under-engineered roads in a city of notoriously obnoxious drivers like greater Washington), then naturally the rail will win that contest.

    I do believe in rail, if it’s done correctly. But there seems to be no will in the U.S. to do it correctly, so it’s chronically too expensive and inconvenient. Moreover, it’s only feasible in regions that have a large area of high population density, which in my view only applies to about a quarter of the U.S. population.

    Mister Higley wrote the key words, which I wrote earlier and then decided against posting: “oil and gas [. . .] being produced by Earth’s core.” The second “law” of thermodynamics can be used to prove this, but most people (on both sides of the climate debate) don’t care, so they don’t look into it. It’s so sad.

    What it means inter alia is that terrestrial hydrocarbons can be a renewable resource if their rate of extraction is not too great. Is it too great today? Yes, I believe so, but I bet that if we seriously tried, we could reduce it by more than 70% without any major compromise in lifestyle, and without denying anyone their automotive freedom.

    Unfortunately, most conservatives are content to let pure (Austrian / Adam-Smithian / Ayn-Randian) economics be the sole dictator of the course of engineering, which as usual leaves a massive gaping door open to the Leftists to exploit using climate fraud. They can make hay, literally for, decades by beating us over the head with their usual nonsense about how superior their system is because it ‘enables more rational outcomes’, even as they’re pushing us down the most irrational path with respect to energy.

    And as long as we keep insisting that the only acceptable solution is to do what’s cheapest in the here and now, their ideas start to look halfway sane to most low-information voters, and ours come across as downright cultish and potentially suicidal. Another massive own-goal by the conservatives.

    When will we learn that truly rational energy and transportation planning, when privately funded, is not the enemy of liberty and is in fact in the interest of everyone, regardless of their political philosophy? After doing hundreds of in-depth posts on this theme, with barely any positive response, I’m starting to believe that most of us are fundamentally incapable of learning this lesson.

    Anyway, Tony, while we don’t entirely agree on this issue, the post is appreciated because it got more people talking and thinking about it. I haven’t even looked at the WordPress comments yet, because if I do, I’ll probably start wanting to tear my hair out, and if I do that first, I might never get around to properly expressing my own thoughts.

    Happy riding from one person who will never question your preference for trains. I like them too, when they’re appropriate. I just happen to think that they’ll never replace cars for most people, nor should they. And I do happen to like driving as long as I don’t have to drive in the Northeast, the West Coast, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, or Miami (which I don’t most of the time).

    — RT

  6. oeman50 says:

    I have forgotten where you are starting from in MD, Tony, but I have had good experiences riding Amtrak and switching to the Metro at Union or Alexandria station when coming in from areas south. Amtrak stops in F-burg. Beats bumper to bumper on I-95. The new HOV lanes just move the merge point further south and you still sit in traffic.

  7. R. Shearer says:

    Tony, there is nothing made from petroleum that which cannot be made from biomass or other sources of carbon. Economically, because petroleum is so inexpensive it makes little sense to make most plastics (polymers) from anything else. Medicines (drugs) are a different story. Historically, most drugs came from plants and many still do today.

    If we had cheap enough electricity, for example from nuclear energy, we could extract CO2 from the air and electrolyze water to hydrogen and then produce a mixture of CO and H2 (synthesis gas) and make any organic (carbon based) molecule that we wanted to make.

  8. CapitalistRoader says:

    “I try to tell people, that if we were to ban private ownership of automobiles, we would save just as many lives as a gun ban would (IF a gun ban would even work that way).”

    In the US anyway, you can’t ban guns without a Constitutional Amendment. If you tried to ban cars, the people doing the car confiscation would be shot by car owners. The Second Amendment effectively deters the government from banning cars.

    TRTKABA is a beautiful thing.

  9. ralph says:

    The problem with public transportation is it doesn’t go where you need to go. Public transportation to grandma’s house out in the countryside? Highly unlikely.

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