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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-16-08, 11:45 PM   #1
mrbubbles
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Pricing car lifestyle expensive so people can't afford them

I, for one, would like to see this car-centric living impossibly expensive and as inconvenient as possible.

I like to see these policies implemented, it's not going to happen in North America, but we carfree people can only dream.

$20 per gallon for gasoline and diesel sounds like a good number.
However, there should be subsidies for the following:
- transportation for products (shippers)
- occupation requiring the use of automobile (contractors, landscapers, etc)
- large item deliveries

A 200% tax on every new automobile sold.

Excessive parking fees, or better yet, no parking spaces at all. I don't fancy seeing people's property parking on public road. Just think of how less land is required with there were no parking spaces.

What do you think?
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Old 01-17-08, 12:10 AM   #2
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I see a pointless thread predicting a nation of 200 million contractors
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Old 01-17-08, 12:32 AM   #3
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That'd basically kill the economy in one blow. Which I'm against, not so much because I like my car, but more because I would like to eventually be able to find employment after college, so I can have a home to live in, etc. People forget the the automotive industry and related industries account for a few whole percentage points of the entire economy. Want to cause another great depression? Do what Mr. Bubbles here wants to do.

Getting rid of the cars you hate so much will actually make your lives worse unless you're already isolated from society and are completely self-sufficient. If you live a "normal" lifestyle, things won't be so great for you.
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Old 01-17-08, 12:33 AM   #4
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I for one would like to see idealistic youth thinking about the consequences of imposing their spartan lifestyle on others in different situations from them.
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Old 01-17-08, 02:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
subsidies for the following...(contractors, landscapers, etc)
Sure, take their cars away--but my god, don't make them do their own gardening. We're not animals.
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Old 01-17-08, 04:20 AM   #6
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Around here the poor landscapers are "having" to cut back and may even fold due to drought. I really think that the upcoming poor economic performance, world oil and coal production are going to do a good job of limiting people's choices for a lot of things. Read an interesting article from Tom Whipple this morning about the fast approaching distinction between the haves and the have nots. There is a lot going on the world that the average person doesn't know or care about, all the ones around me seem to care about is that the cost of gas to transport their FLA to WM is going up. They could care less that there are massive underlying issues that are probably going to take all of that away from them. BTW it is all the Republicat/Demicans fault BTW.

I have no problem with increasing taxes on fuels if it will be used properly to fund mass transit and other alternates. I am not a big fan of subsidies...look where that has taken us on the ethanol front (another goverment/big business boondoggle)

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Old 01-17-08, 09:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
I, for one, would like to see this car-centric living impossibly expensive and as inconvenient as possible.

I like to see these policies implemented, it's not going to happen in North America, but we carfree people can only dream.

$20 per gallon for gasoline and diesel sounds like a good number.
However, there should be subsidies for the following:
- transportation for products (shippers)
- occupation requiring the use of automobile (contractors, landscapers, etc)
- large item deliveries

A 200% tax on every new automobile sold.

Excessive parking fees, or better yet, no parking spaces at all. I don't fancy seeing people's property parking on public road. Just think of how less land is required with there were no parking spaces.

What do you think?
I think this is more or less what they have in most of developed Europe. Seveal third-world countries are going down this path as well - Brazil has 100%+ tax on cars, Singapore forces you to retire cars over 10yrs old, an Accord costs $70k...

I'm a fan of freedom of choice, and not a fan of attempting to legislate social morality.... but that's just me

Cheers
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Old 01-17-08, 09:14 AM   #8
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Considering that Tata has introduced a cheap automobile in India--it's not going to get better any time soon.

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Old 01-17-08, 09:16 AM   #9
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Why not move to Myanmar if you are unhappy about how little your government is controlling you.
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Old 01-17-08, 10:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
I, for one, would like to see this car-centric living impossibly expensive and as inconvenient as possible.

I like to see these policies implemented, it's not going to happen in North America, but we carfree people can only dream.

$20 per gallon for gasoline and diesel sounds like a good number.
However, there should be subsidies for the following:
- transportation for products (shippers)
- occupation requiring the use of automobile (contractors, landscapers, etc)
- large item deliveries

A 200% tax on every new automobile sold.

Excessive parking fees, or better yet, no parking spaces at all. I don't fancy seeing people's property parking on public road. Just think of how less land is required with there were no parking spaces.

What do you think?
I would be curious to know why you would like to see these things implemented. What is the major reason?

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see less cars on the road. The two major reasons for me would be: ease and safety of cycling, and a reduction in pollution.

There would also be a host of spin-off benefits. A reclaiming of green space as well as a reduction in consuming of finite resources come to mind. If first world societies were forced to use other means, like walking or cycling, this would also probably give us health benefits.

However, our love affair with the combustion engine and the automobile is only a symptom of our misplaced priorities. In today's consumer world, we are given the freedon to choose whatever we deem necessary to our existence. Common sense and environmental morality are very hard to legislate.

Just look at what happened during the last civic election here in Vancouver. Then, the current administration (Larry Campbell's party) promised to dedicate two of the six lanes on the Burrard Street Bridge to bicycles, during their civic campaign. Sullivan countered with upgrading (widening) the cross walks, but I haven't seen that as of yet.

Before one starts levying taxes and prohibitive charges for vehicle owners, one must first remove tax credits/loopholes and put incentives/credits where they belong.

http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles...e-credits.html

I think that if everyone would throw away (recycle) their TV's first, the world would be a much better place.
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Old 01-17-08, 12:43 PM   #11
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I'd love to see less parking lots, less paved areas and far more vegetable gardens. But I think people have to first get rid of those wasteful monoculture lawns before we'll even start on driveways, let alone parking spaces.

Gasoline will get too expensive for the masses soon enough.
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Old 01-17-08, 12:57 PM   #12
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A carbon tax or effective cap & trade system would probably accomplish all this in a more gradual fashion, with little or no disruption of the economy.

On the municipal level, I see the value of thoughtful urban planning to reduce parking and improve infrastructure for non-automotive traffic. Everybody knows that urban sprawl is a big problem, and local governments should work to reduce it.
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Old 01-17-08, 01:10 PM   #13
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People wonder why we're in economic recession:

We've based our economy on cars (which we don't need), and houses (in impractical places) to justify the cars.


I think implementing something like what mrbubbles is saying would actually save the economy, by revitalizing the housing market as people re-gentrify the cities.
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Old 01-17-08, 01:15 PM   #14
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A significant improvement that few people are talking about is to require SUVs to meet the
same efficiency standards as cars.
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Old 01-17-08, 01:54 PM   #15
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By taking parking off the road you wouldnot reclaim green space you would create a new market of surface parking lots which bring with them their own set of problems. I would love to see fewer cars on the road but the ideas put forth are not a productive way of achieving your goal.

Why not look at development patterns that use massive amounts of land to locate gigantic houses for smaller and smaller families. Or the trend towards commercial developments that consist of on site parking that segrgates the building from the street. What aboot the horrible lack of public transportation in this country. If you don't live in a major metropolitan area chances are good you are forced to drive as product of unmitigated development over the past 30 years.

Basicly the problem is not limited to the cost of gasoline or peoples decision to drive but also the land use and development patterns that have evolved in this country. The surburbanization of this country has had a huge impact.
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Old 01-17-08, 01:56 PM   #16
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A significant improvement that few people are talking about is to require SUVs to meet the
same efficiency standards as cars.
This has already been done,just a few weeks ago in the new energy bill.
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Old 01-17-08, 02:49 PM   #17
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Instead of the high taxes proposed by the original poster, we'd see more of an impact if those of us who are car-free and car-light would simply continue to live the way we do, showing that there are alternatives to automobile use.
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Old 01-17-08, 02:57 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
I, for one, would like to see this car-centric living impossibly expensive and as inconvenient as possible.

I like to see these policies implemented, it's not going to happen in North America, but we carfree people can only dream.

What do you think?
I think your heart is in the right place, but you play chess zero moves ahead.
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Old 01-17-08, 03:28 PM   #19
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Instead of the high taxes proposed by the original poster, we'd see more of an impact if those of us who are car-free and car-light would simply continue to live the way we do, showing that there are alternatives to automobile use.
As long as car use is cheap, there's no need for an alternative, according to most people. (and by most, I mean 99 per cent.)
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Old 01-17-08, 03:34 PM   #20
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I'm a fan of freedom of choice, and not a fan of attempting to legislate social morality.... but that's just me

Cheers
I'm a fan of freedom of choice too, I just want to influence choices with higher prices.
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Old 01-17-08, 03:40 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
I, for one, would like to see this car-centric living impossibly expensive and as inconvenient as possible.

I like to see these policies implemented, it's not going to happen in North America, but we carfree people can only dream.

$20 per gallon for gasoline and diesel sounds like a good number.
However, there should be subsidies for the following:
- transportation for products (shippers)
- occupation requiring the use of automobile (contractors, landscapers, etc)
- large item deliveries

A 200% tax on every new automobile sold.

Excessive parking fees, or better yet, no parking spaces at all. I don't fancy seeing people's property parking on public road. Just think of how less land is required with there were no parking spaces.

What do you think?

[Bolds mine.]

Without an intelligent alternative--not merely a "we all should ride bikes" response--it is a proposal so ill conceived as to not be worth discussing.

Now is an increase in gas taxes a good idea? Maybe. Of course not to $20/gal; steep taxes will destroy the economy, really destroy the economy and do enormous harm.

Now we could use some improvement on regional mass transport, which too few American cities have developed. Railroad electrification, better surface light rail, electric buses and a developing infrastructure for privately-owned electric vehicles. Fuel taxes can and should play a part in funding this kind of improvement.

Last edited by CHenry; 01-17-08 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 01-17-08, 07:19 PM   #22
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As long as car use is cheap, there's no need for an alternative, according to most people. (and by most, I mean 99 per cent.)
But car use isn't cheap. A new car will probably cost between six and 12 months' take-home wages. That's a huge outlay of cash. Anyone who's bought a new car understands the payments quite well. A used car is cheaper, but it's still a lot of money. Insurance and repairs are also significant. Parking comes with a price. Fuel is probably the cheapest part of the equation and it's getting more expensive each year. None of this begins to include the psychological effects of sitting in traffic on a daily basis or dealing with road rage.

The problem isn't cheap cars. Instead, we've created a society where, in many areas, there are few other practical transportation solutions.

Those of us who are car-free or car-light are demonstrating that there are some alternatives. If we can live in such a way that car-free or car-light living become attractive and realistic, we may start to see others joining us. But if we make it look like a hardship, cars will still be the transportation method of choice, even if they are expensive to own and operate.
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Old 01-17-08, 07:40 PM   #23
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Newspaperguy,
I agree with your comments, but from what I have observed most people in the US have no clue about the total cost of anything, all they see is the monthly or weekly payment vs the take home pay. FWIW I don't see things that way, but then again I have a tendency to research and analyze things to death before I plop down my hard earned money for them. If you tell someone that an $18,000 pickup will end up costing them over $21,000 not including depreciation, they will think you are crazy all they are looking at is that the payment is $350 a month and chances are very good they will roll that same vehicle over into a new one before it is even close to being paid off. FWIW we normally pay cash for our vehicles and drive them for a long time. I am very fortunate in that company covers my vehicle costs for work or I wouldn't be driving one or working there.

This also applies to people I see spending hours and dollars driving around looking for the best deal...ie; cheapest price. Most, if not all of the time the negate any potential savings by the driving and wasted time. My favorite quote of late has been: "They know the price of everything, but the value of nothing." (I know it was originally directed at cynics) I primarily direct it at people that are trying to convince me that the cheapest price is always the best choice...

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Old 01-17-08, 07:45 PM   #24
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I'm a fan of freedom of choice, and not a fan of attempting to legislate social morality.... but that's just me

Cheers
There are many built in subsidies for car use, like the billions that are spent on roads and highways which are mostly then made freely available to drivers. Some of those roads, like controlled access highways, bar bicycles from using them. So in effect "legislation", or at least some government agencies, are already using tax dollars to favour certain citizens or reward certain behaviours over others.

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Old 01-17-08, 08:48 PM   #25
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I'd love to see fewer cars, but if gas were to go to $20 tomorrow the entire economy would crash.

I consider the root of the problem that our government has based our economy on the housing market to a large extent. We have done everything we can to encourage home ownership, then designed/zoned cities such that people are living further and further away from a city center.

If gas prices continue to rise you eventually reach a tipping point when people start trying to sell their suburban homes. If this happens to quickly - as in a drastic price increase on gas - the value of homes starts to drop, new construction stops, jobs start to go away, people start to become unemployed in houses that they cannot sell for enough money to pay off their loans.

The fallout would make the subprime fiasco seem pleasant.
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