The Demise of the Car

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by alib, Aug 23, 2012.

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  1. Via The Oil Drum The Demise of the Car
    I don't buy some of the stuff in the rest of this article. Oil will probably get substantially cheaper. Kids will want cars as long as they want to sex in their backseats, there's a recession and student debt is high and demand is low, but this bit is interesting.

    Roads are a major cost to government, much of the US highway system was built by Ike on the pretext of it being essential for the countries defense. It's been a great benefit to the economy but it's very costly to maintain and states have been deferring maintenance, which partly explains the fall in demand for asphalt. Road maintenance deferred is more expensive road maintenance as eventually roads are reduced to gravel and have to be rebuilt practically from scratch. As in much of europe there are high levels of public debt.

    I suspect roads will move increasingly to being expensively tolled as governments direct tax dollars elsewhere, to things like neglected energy infrastructure and spiraling healthcare costs. Team Dave are looking at privatizing more roads, I doubt Labor would do much different. It'll be a stealthy transfer from a undiminished tax burden into other probably much larger tarifs borne by the bilked consumer as we've seen with rail in the past couple of decades but the voters have been successfully suckered like this before.

    Unlike in the US the UK already has high gas taxes but expect more road tolls, congestion charges etc. A viable public transport network in the UK at least exists, even if it is pricey and often of appalling quality. Wages are liable to be considerably suppressed in the coming years as capital holds the whip hand. This wil push poorer drivers off the roads and onto public transport.

    The article mentions there's already falling demand for cars:
    Again that's a recession effect, buying a new car is a luxury households will defer in hard times, but that might be the shape of the future, car transport becoming a luxurious indulgence of the top deciles once again. [/FONT]
     
  2. Oil prices will rise as the cost of getting it from deeper and less prolific wells becomes the norm, especially in the UK tax and insurance are the major obstacles to car ownership. As the government tries to squeeze every last penny out of the motorist and hauliers it will see a drop in car purchasing and usage, people will travel shorter distances and use public transport, this however will also start to become expensive.

    The pushbike will start to make a comeback for 5 - 20 mile commutes. Railways will in my opinion will need to be expanded, maybe reopening the branch lines that Beeching cut back in the 60's. The time of the fossil fuel car is coming to an end, it will be hydrogen cell and elastictrickery cars that will become the norm and unless they become affordable motoring will once again become the preserve of the rich.
     
  3. My edit. I totally agree with your view on the future of motoring, anyone who thinks that we can continue the way we're going with fossil fuels is seriously deluded, and the pinch is going to come sooner than the majority of people realise.
     
  4. I hope you're right, but I'm very afraid that we're so psychologically/emotionally welded to cars and car use that we won't stop until it becomes a physical impossibility. My gut feeling is that the psychological factor is even stronger than the vested interests/profit factor.
     
  5. Electricly[sp] powered 44t artic, now that I want to see. My lot trialled a wagon that had LPG as well as diesel but it seemed to die a death, imho they just put the wrong driver in the vehicle.
    People will develop an alternative to fossil based fuel, hydrogen fuel cells, super effecient batteries and chip fat oil will make more of an impact and as for "public" transport works well in major towns and cities provided the user works 9 to 5, for the rest of us it isn't worth a toss.
    Oh well back to horse and cart, sack barrows and narrow boats.


    CG
     
  6. One thing the article points out is rising web use is diminishing the desire for cars, they cited kids social networking. I think they over stated that but telecommuting is rising and employers are increasingly ditching free parking.

    In California I noticed more an more tech firms laying on long distance commuting coach services that are actually very popular with workers. Of course nearly all these people still have cars as shopping and socializing is nearly impossible without one.

    I used to commute regularly by car and quite enjoyed it. For the past few years the customers I work for actually prefer me to be working at home a couple of days a week. Gas got more expensive and I'm too mean to pay a few hundred quid a month for parking at work. Now it just sits in the garage with a flat battery. Fortunate enough to be able to get about comfortably on bikes and trains. I've actually started to find it irritating when I find a reason to drive.
     
  7. E-bikes are the coming thing there.

    Normal ones that assist pedalling upto 25km and once the UK sorts its laws out then there are those that do upto 60MPH are readily available.
     
  8. There was a lot of noise about taxing companies for each parking space they have, I am sure that will raise it's head again soon. The continuing raising of tax on fuel knackers not just average Joe but causes increase in everything and makes the UK more uncompetitive than it already is.

    The country will start to slip back to local manufacturing and purchasing, as it will be to expensive to fly foodstuffs in unless super container ships powered by nuclear power will be constructed. people will have to move closer to where they work so long distance commutes will be out. We are heading for a population and transport shift that will be huge and massive upheaval will occur until it gets sorted.
     
  9. And the other mob of disgraces has made a large contribution to creating a ludicrously expensive and often unreliable public transport system in the UK. Which in turn led to a great deal more car traffic, congestion and higher road maintenance costs. They now going to use a similar dodge by introducing widespread tolling road tolling doubtless with PFI's and huge hidden subsidies that dip the tax payer/consumers pockets. Think the UK motorist is getting throughly shafted from both sides.
     
  10. I had high hopes that Obama would inject capital and breathe life into the much neglected US railroad system, create more lines, modernise existing infrastructure, etc., and encourage industry to transport their product by rail. Trains are 'greener' and cheaper than road haulage. I'd love to have been able to commute by rail too, I once had a 120 mile round trip daily commute, my route followed a disused railroad track for almost the entire journey!
     
  11. I think people adapt reasonably quickly to short-term shortages at least: It was noticeable during the tanker drivers' strike that cars on the motorway were fewer and slower. It is possible that we will look back on this era of relatively cheap personal transport for all as a golden age and we will recount anecdotes of breathtaking wastefulness with wistful disbelief.

    On the other hand, there are now so many vehicles on the roads that driving is rarely an undilluted pleasure. The reasons that motors are indespensable exist because of them, and are more often than not seen as negative things anyway; fragmented families; out-of-town shopping centres; and long commutes being some obvious ones. When you add these reasons why we 'need' cars to the out and out downsides of; increasing running costs; road deaths/ injuries; use of resources; expensive infrastructure; and pollution, you start wondering whether life couldn't be better without them. It is great to be able to hop in the car and head off to the beach on a summers day, but how often does that happen? When it does happen, is most of the day spent in traffic? Are we hanging on to a dream long gone?
     
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  12. To summarise it is going to become increasingly more expensive to get anywhere within this UK. The motorist is a cash cow but look at the poor train commuter, fare rises above inflation for the last 3 or 4 years and another whopping rise due in January. We are all being F****d over if we want to get anywhere.

    I like to think people can generally adapt their behaviours to react to this. Car sharing has become more prevalent and I have saved well over a grand in fuel costs by doing this over the last 2 years, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to think of the amount of money not going into the taxman's coffers as a result.

    In addition, a lot more pedal cycles seen in this location which can partly be put down to Olympic fever and partly due to the fact that per mile this is the cheapest way to get around, and often the quickest if your journey is under 5 miles.
     
  13. I think the commuting coaches I mention above were a response to Arnies environmental legislation in California.

    Of course parking is a cost to employers and I heard since 9-11 some countries have reg that prohibit under building parking in office towers (fear of truck bombs!) which means it has to be on the surface which imposes some very high real estate costs.

    You are quite right about constantly hiking fuel taxes hurting an economy already in recession. It's also a regressive tax that hits less well off consumers which reduces demand for other goods and services. Of course high rail fares and widespread tolling would have a similar effect in the longterm.
     
  14. The other factor is population growth which is slow in the UK but still happening and racing along in the US. That puts more burden on road infrastructure cause it to decay more quickly, more cars, more HGV's moving goods about. More congestion if single occupancy vehicles are a norm. More parking spaces eating up real estate in a crowded country like the UK. This all means more cost and with blue collar wages shrinking probably having to come out of less revenue.

    Only positive aspect in the UK a lot of the population will be OAPs on miserly pensions making full use of their free bus pass.