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The big debate: Must we give up our cars?

  • Story Highlights
  • Car ownership -- and therefore car emissions -- are set to soar globally
  • Should we ban the car? What would it take for you to give up your car?
  • Share your thoughts and read others' views in our debate
  • Next Article in Technology »
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(CNN) -- CO2 emissions and pollution are just two of the accusatory fingers pointed at the world's favorite form of transport: the car.

A young Chinese boy looks at motorists piled up in traffic in Beijing

A young Chinese boy looks at motorists piled up in traffic in Beijing this year despite it being a 'car-free day.'

Should we be looking at a car-free future? Send us your thoughts and comments, and we'll publish the best ones here.

......................

While car ownership rises steadily in Europe and America, it's set to soar elsewhere.

In China last year, there were 22 million privately owned cars. That figure is set to climb to 55 million by 2010, says China's National Development and Reform Commission, and could explode to 140 million by 2020. Environmental campaigners say the world's atmosphere can't take that kind of CO2 increase, which comes both from more cars on the roads and from manufacturing processes.

Pollution is also taking its toll. Officials in Beijing were forced to take 1.3 million cars off the capital's streets in August this year, in an attempt to improve air quality.

With global warming rising on the planet's agenda, peak oil approaching and concern mounting about atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases, we ask: is it time we shut the door on the age of the automobile and gave our four-wheeled friend the boot?

Over to you...

We'd like to hear your views.

  • What would make you give up your car?
  • Should city-dwellers be forced to give up their cars?
  • How can country-dwellers get around without cars?
  • Is it right to limit car ownership in developing countries?
  • Are biofuels a realistic alternative -- or a white elephant?
  • And what are the alternatives to the petrol-driven car?
  • Send us your thoughts and comments, and we'll publish the best ones here.

    .........................

    From: john theiler, lakemoor, IL
    Date: November 4, 2007
    Your view:
    Where does the power come from that recharges an electric car? The tooth fairy? You never really tell the whole story. The electricity that powers your home and recharges Ecars is made from natural gas burning generators. If you don't use a solar panel to repower your car you are still burning gas in some other form.

    From: Michael Squier, Pasadena, TX
    Date: November 4, 2007
    Your view:
    I like the many of the ideas expressed in this article, but I also believe that we will be on gasoline and desiel for many generations to come. If this is true, then we need to reduce the useage and cost of oil. This can be done by converting most of our power generation plants to nuclear energy producers. I propose that the USA built 1000 fission nuclear power plants within 10 years. The technology is many thousands of times safer than the technology installed in 3-mile Island and it is very SAFE! After we have all of this energy being produced, we will not be burning oil to create energy. This will provide a more abundant supply for automobiles and at a reduced cost. Another benefit of this idea is that we will virtually eliminate the need to purchase middle-eastern oil. The terrorists will just have to drink their oil or take baths in it, as nobody will want to purchase it. We keep the billions of dollars no provided to the middle eastern terrorists and use it t! o improve our infrastructure here at home. With this plan, we keep driving, have a virtually endless supply of energy and don't give money to terrorists. A win-win-win situation.

    From: Qi Cao, Nanjing, China
    Date: November 3, 2007
    Your view:
    Car owners here say "it's a pity not owning a car in one's life, but it's a true pity to own a car". This descrides many private car owners' feelings for having a car. Envy would appear naturally for the have-nots, while pride would show freely for the haves. "To keep up with the Joneses" is a common drive for many private car owners here. I failed to persude my wife to give up the idea of having a car, so I don't have the courage to ask others to give it up. I think to have more other ways for people show their new wealth might help to reduce the number of cars here.

    From: YanYan Wang, nanjing, China
    Date: November 3, 2007
    Your view:
    Just two days before,the China'sNational Development and Reform Commission raised the prices of gasoline, diesel oil and aviation kerosene by 500 yuan ($66) per ton,aiming to force more car-owners to give up their cars ,and and to reduce CO2 emission . Under the press of high cost ,some car-owners who afford to hold their cars hardly now chose to ride a bus or ride a bike .To some extent ,this activity will make a positive impact on environment improving . But it's not our ultimate goal .Our goal to increase people's welfare has not been achieved . But how can we deal with duple-missions ,to develop our people's welfare and also environment ? In my opinion ,to find a substitute of oil product would be a nice way .

    From: Reggie Ferguson, Sacramento, CA
    Date: November 2, 2007
    Your view:
    Why not develope a salt-water engine, using the recently discovered method by Mr. John Kanzius and tested by Dr. Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist. Since we American's LOVE of freedom and our cars and SUVs we can go ahead a keep polluting our world.

    From: Derrick Steel, Gurnee, IL
    Date: November 1, 2007
    Your view:
    To ask us to cut back on air or ground travel voluntarily is like asking us to cut back on food or water. It will not happen. The nature of Man is to live and thrive and do what their personal wealth entitles them to. In addition, businesses will produce goods and services the easiest and cheapest way possible. A business that ignores that reality will eventually die. So it is imperative that our government step in and make greener technology cost competitive with the status quo. Only then will businesses have the incentive to get green and consumers who use their services to not destroy the planet inadvertently.

    From: Cody Haring, US
    Date: October 29, 2007
    Your view:
    I have read a lot of upsides in this debate, and the mood in general is very light and spirited. However, no one is looking at the problem itself. What would we use?

    WOULD YOU GIVE UP YOUR CAR?: Answer: To use a bike in fort lewis would double the time it took to get anywhere outside the gate. My hometown in Kinsley, Kansas is about 40 miles out from anything important to it. It's a great idea for inner city movements, like New York, Beijing, or Tokyo, but unrealistic for people away from most things.

    SHOULD CITY DWELLERS BE FORCED TO GIVE UP THEIR CARS?: Answer: Not forced, but pursuaded. Someone mentioned earlier a pollution tax, others mentioned abolishing it altogether. But remember that some people need to drive into the city to get to work, unless they like waking up at 5 in the morning.

    HOW CAN COUNTRY DWELLERS GET AROUND WITHOUT CARS?: Answer: Not well. Remember that these people need their tractors, supply trucks, shipping trucks, and other means of mechanized transportation to keep people fed. Taking that away from them would cripple the food supply of the country.

    SHOULD WE LIMIT CAR GROWTH?: Answer: Depends. China, with a little over a sixth of the population, cannot feasibly have as many cars per people as, say, a rural country that uses their cars for farming or shopping in distant cities. An overall standard would aid some countries while disabling the growth of others.

    BIOFUELS--REAL DEAL OR PIPE DREAM?: Answer: Real Deal, but a while off. We are working on a way to mass-produce bio-diesel using algae plants and recycled grease. Cold Fusion, alternate sources, and bio-produced fuels, however, are a severly underfunded facet of our natural spending, for the reason that many of them have not given us anything to respond to. No real breakthroughs, no giant leap forward. Alternate energies such as Solar, Windmill, and Geothermal are still too thinly spread, costly, and underproducing to completely take away fossil fuels. Then what about the Space Program, or the airliner industry? How will you send a multi-ton aircraft into the air, not to mention space, without using fossil fuels? Yet they give off more emissions than cars. Should we do away with them for the same reason? And until something is done to improve these technologies, we will have to remain on such a source of fuel as our primary power source.

    ALTERNATIVES?: Answer: Some already exist, some are happy mediums that prolong petrol use, and others are pipe dreams. Public transportation and electric rail systems all give us the chance to move about without too much hassle. The main problem with these methods is the convenience of getting into a personal car, a personal vehicle that you can choose to share or not to share, and to go where you want to go. No designated stops, no overcrowding. The Hybrid car, though a good idea, is still slightly over the price range of the average consumer, and still uses petrol as the primary fuel source. And Non-Fuel transportation is still in the bicycle stage, with renewable power [Salt-water engines, Cold Fusion, etc.] Still far out of our reach.

    In closing, there IS hope. With the technological advances of the brave men and women of science, we are closer than ever to becoming free of oil. But until that comes, such beliefs are only stopgag measures to ensure we don't destroy ourselves before we get there.

    Selvakumar Manickam, Penang, Malasyia
    Date: October 25, 2007
    Your view:
    I believe telecommuting and video-conferencing for office dwellers are the immediate answer to this ever-growing problem. Imagine the amount of fuel consumed travelling to office and on business trips. The greenhouse gases emission is the highest during rush hours. By allowing people to work from home, there will be less traffic during rush hours, thus reducing greenhouse emission and saving huge amount of fuel. Furthermore, it will also improve the quality of life :).

    From: Ryan Gardner, Portland, OR
    Date: October 25, 2007
    Your view:
    While there are many solutions to this problem of transportation I really don't see the car going away. I would focus more on ways to reduce the use of cars. While it is true that the government, car makers, and oil companies have most of the control over the issue i wouls suggest that we focus on reducing the biggest reason to drive. Going to work. While public transportation is a great option it still causes pollution. I would recommend that the governments of the world offer incentives to corporations that allow their employees to tellecommute instead of driving to a workplace. with the advances in electronic technology it is much easier to move towards tellecommuting instead of trying to reinvent the car. Most companies already have the equipment and in the end it would save them money on rent of the large complexes. don't get rid of the car, just give us the ability to drive less and spread the solution to all companies, not just the big 3.

    From: Joshua Loy, Hiroshima, Japan
    Date: October 25, 2007
    Your view:
    America is a car culture. Our cars are an extension of who we are, a form of individual expression. Furthermore our transportation infrastructure revolves around automotive transport. I have been living in Japan for the past three and a half years and in that time I have not driven a car. What is needed is a strategy to promote and improve public transportation and farm subsidy form to free up the 60 miilion acres of crop land that go unused in the U.S. every year (U.S. dept of Argiculture 2004) and use it to harvest high oil yielding crops like canola.

    From: Erin Wiedmer, France
    Date: October 25, 2007
    Your view:
    With 3 kids being ferried back and forth to multiple activities and school, I'm not likely to give up my car soon. However, I did downsize from a luxury sedan to a small diesel (Citroen C3) and my savings in gas consumption have paid for my car. Perhaps people simply need to go smaller rather than larger and give up on using their cars as status symbols. If I could get even better mileage with an electric or mixed energy-sourced car, I'd switch again.

    Living in Europe, I'm amazed at how local things are. I don't need to drive long distances to reach my destinations. When I return to North America, it's obvious how the car influenced urban growth patterns. Roads are so wide and urban sprawl is rampant. America needs to learn to grow up and not just out, downsize considerably, and appreciate that small can not only be beautiful, but a heck of a lot better too.

    From: Jackie Aguiar, Kissimmee, FL
    Date: October 25, 2007
    Your view:
    Begin the era of electric cars or cars not using gasoline.

    From: Sean Morris, Calgary, Canada
    Date: October 25, 2007
    Your view:
    I've recently made the switch from commuting by car to doing so by bicycle... and now that I'm accustomed to it, I really notice how much faster it is(in my case at least). Being able to use bike paths and special lanes means that traffic congestion doesn't affect me nearly as much, and I get needed exercise as well. Now I only drive when absolutely necessary (which, sadly, given my city's layout and poor transit system is more often than it should be).

    The point I'm getting at? One needn't *ban* cars -- I believe that if a serious, well-funded dual approach consisting of setting up alternative transport infrastructure (like bicycle path networks separate from the road system) and better informing the public as to the personal, practical benefits of using it BEYOND simply concern for the environment, emissions would be greatly reduced. It's sad to say, but from where I stand at least, people would be more attracted by the prospect of quicker, less stressful travel and a narrower waistline than reducing their CO2 footprint.

    From: Janessa Cornelius, San Jose, CA
    Date: October 25, 2007
    Your view:
    What would make me give up my car? Good public transit and concern for my health are what did it. Living in downtown San Jose, I find that the public transit system makes it relatively convenient to get by without a car. Factor in an employer that gives me a free transit pass as a perk of the job, and I just don't need a car most of the time.

    I would like to see the car share services implemented in my area that I have seen touted in other metropolitan areas, in which you can rent a car for an afternoon for those errands you simply can't manage on foot or by bus. (Ikea by public transit? Not feasible.)

    This still won't help people who live more rurally - and rural does exist just half an hour from the heart of Silicon Valley - but my perception is that it's those of us who live in big cities who are most wasteful in our consumption of gasoline and highway space.

    From: Richard Webb, Ontario, Canada
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    Three things. First, if we stop building new roads, cars will simply become poor choices for transportation. Secondly, don't try to punish or take away cars from those who drive. Think rewards for those who drive less. For example, urban public transportation should be free. Things like people who own four cylinder cars pay 15%less for gas at the pumps, six cylinder cars pay the posted price and eight cylinder cars pay the posted price plus 25% to offset the reductions for the four cylinder cars. Reward those who purchase small cars with big tax rebates, ie up to 30% of the purchase price. Third, biofuels are a terrible idea, Taking our farmland away from producing food will only drive up the price of food which is a necessity and send the message that fuel for automobiles is more important than food for our families. The bottom line should be to recognize that people have to get around and only support measures that don't involve private cars.

    From: Greg Keating, Los Angeles, CA
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    Living in Los Angeles, I can tell you this is one utterly car-centric place. Will it ever change? The city is saturated, getting around is truly tasking. I've switched to riding a motorcycle exclusively, sold my car months ago and don't plan on getting another one for the time being. Unfortunately, for most of my neighbors in this city, not using a car isn't currently a viable option, but at least they could switch to more efficient vehicles? BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, GMC, bloated Ford products, etc: this means adapt or wither.

    From: M. Siddique, Chevy Chase, MD
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    Giving up cars is not enough. A drastic reduction in consumption across the board would be required. And this must begin in developed countries, where per capita consumption is highest. And countries such as India and China must abandon the western model of consumption they are striving for. World Bank must be abolished unless it is able to change its ideology (like pushing narcotics by drug dealers) of 'growth', etc. If there has ever been a need for (the much misused term) paradigm shift, this where it is needed.

    From: Peter Smedskjaer, Roskilde, Denmark
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    City dwellers most certainly can get around without cars. More importantly, they can get around quicker without their cars. Urban areas and the suburbs can be serviced by light raid systems, that can transport 20,000 people per hour/track in peak times in the middle of the city. Compared to a road, which has a capacity of 2,000 cars per hour, with 1.2 people in each car at rush hour, there is no more than 2,400 people being transported per hour/lane on our highways. Traffic jams and congestion will sharply reduce this number. The advantages of rail: More people transported per hour, keeping the roads clear of cars, making room for bike messengers.

    From: Mike Tomlin, Cajamarca, Peru
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    Here in Peru there are two sorts of cities:

    The Rural (and mostly mountainous) cities date from ancient times and are very compact. This tight-knit design is enormously efficient. Most people, like myself in the city of Cajamarca, can walk or cycle everywhere they need to. And even when I need to leave Cajamarca, driving to the next city there would cost 10 times more in fuel costs alone than a luxury coach does! So there's simply no logic in having a private car.

    The large Coastal cities were built in the "automobile age" on very flat land, over very wide areas, and for populations who might soon be rich enough to own a private car. Outside their old colonial centres they are a mess - built rapidly with little or no municipal control and in need of enormous government investment to change them. On the coast, as in rural areas, most people still can't afford a private car so, due to this expansive design, they are forced to take long, congested bus journeys everywhere. Coupled with the rich-poor confrontation that inevitably occurs in unplanned cities, these new immigrants see personal car ownership as one of the greatest goals in life.

    So why the rapid expansion in car-ownership in developing countries? The reason cannot be that the poor are getting richer -- all the evidence, outside of a few Asian countries, says the contrary. No, the biggest change that is happening in the developing world is urbanization: the movement of people from rural to urban (in this case, Coastal) towns and cities. Every year a greater proportion of Peruvians are living in the coastal cities. They live in unplanned and illogical sprawling shanty towns which leave them a long way from potential jobs, schools and hospitals. The desire to have a personal car is enormous.

    The reasons why they are moving to the big coastal cities is another debate, but in some countries, (especially Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia) the biggest cause, ironically, is biofuel. As the countryside is rapidly consumed by large foreign businesses who see enormous profit potential in buying up farmland and rainforests to grow millions of tons of sugar cane and palm oil, people from efficient, happy, remote communities are forced towards the cities as land prices and corporate/government oppression boost them out of their homelands. So the solution to rising personal car demand in developing countries, as I believe is the solution to most problems in these countries, is to protect these efficient rural communities who have never needed or desired a car.

    And, on another point, for those who believe that hydrogen-powered cars are the future -- just ask where the hydrogen comes from! Unlike oil, hydrogen cost more energy to make than it can release to run your car. Therefore the equivalent amount of energy needed to run cars on hydrogen rather than petrol is actually greater -- hence the CO2 emissions are even greater. So whilst the city air would be cleaner, there would be a lot more dirty power stations making all of this hydrogen. Of course, the idealists talk about getting all the energy from renewables, and hydrogen technology lends itself very neatly to this small-scale solution. But using renewable energy to drive personal cars seems absurdly wasteful when you consider the number of things that this clean, expensive electricity could do instead of driving you 10 miles to work each day. So the solution, I'm afraid, must be to get more efficient in our transport use. Why drive yourself plus 1-tonne of steel and plastic with! you to work each day? Do you need that steel? No, you just need to get from A to B with the maximum of personal freedom and minimum of stress.

    My home country of the UK has a terrible record for public transport and is an embarrassment to all of Europe in this respect, leading to some of the highest rates of obesity on the continent. High fuel prices have done virtually nothing to halt car ownership and use. You can't keep throwing tax-generating sticks at people -- you have to throw them some proverbial carrots instead! Every flat city or country in the world should study the Dutch model -- it's no wonder it was the Dutch who built the most efficient city in the US!

    From: Jeff Doughty, Portland, OR
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    What would make you give up your car? I already have! I found that although sometimes having a car can be helpful, it is almost never needed, and when it is, I just drive my wife's little Geo Metro. Should city-dwellers be forced to give up their cars? I don't think we can force anyone to give up anything, that is not what this country is about.

    However, I wholeheartedly think we should be paying a pollution tax. This would encourage people to stop polluting, or to pollute less. Also, I think that electric cars, (once Coal is done away with) can be beneficial too. How can country-dwellers get around without cars? I think that more reliance on electric motors and solar/wind power in rural areas would be very beneficial. Is it right to limit car ownership in developing countries?

    Taking freedoms away is never the answer. However, removing government subsidies on oil would raise gas prices, making people drive less. Are biofuels a realistic alternative -- or a white elephant? NOOOO! The world population is growing. We don't have enough land area to grow enough corn to feed and fuel the world. We should not be producing fuels from our food!!!! We have better alternatives. And what are the alternatives to the petrol-driven car?

    I honestly think that with the removal of coal fired power plants, and the reliance on power sources such as wind and solar the feasibility of electric cars is real. Battery technology is increasing, enabling us to store more power in smaller batteries. Solar cells are getting more efficient, and although still expensive could drastically reduce pollution levels. Same with wind power, and the old complaint of the tall ugly wind turbine is a moot point with new aesthetically pleasing models.

    From: Don Demarco, Brigham City, Utah
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    People giving up there cars is not acceptable the internal combustion engine has served us well but now it's time to move on to a technology that will meet our needs in the 21st century

    From: Mike Gutierrez, New York, NY
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    We need to develop better habits, such as collective car pooling, and plan our use of cars better. Use ethenol based fuels, and tax the average galon at a higher rate. Tax reductions for commercial users, and force people to be more conscience of gas emmisions.

    From: Yeshwant Panchikal, Bangalore, India
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    I've just bought a new car . Why? It's very simple . Public transport here in Bangalore is pathetic . That's why. Provide regular , convinient public transport - Metro / Bus service and people will stop thinking about buying cars / bikes etc etc .

    From: Troy Anderson, Surrey, Canada
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    What would make you give up your car? Unfortunately for me I drive thousands of miles every year for business and need transport of some sort. I wish I worked in a building everyday so I could give up my car. I would give up my car for another type of transport however that is better for the environment. Something smaller that does not run on oil such as electric cars.

    Should city-dwellers be forced to give up their cars? If people live and work in the cities they probably dont use them as often as people think. People generally working in cities come in from suburbs of the cities because the price of homes in the city areas are way too expensive. You can not force people to give up their cars however the government could force car makers to only make certain types of cars that do not use large amounts of gasoline or are smaller than they are today which could help congestion by allowing four cars to fit on the width of our highways instead of two cars. This could help alleviate some problems. Also better public transit. The major problem is the Big Oil companies and Big Auto makers have too much money and too many lawyers to sit back and let people tell them what to do. They only see dollar signs....they do not have forsight to see then end is coming and it is going to hurt them. Politicians (whom are generally lawyers as well) don't have the guts to stand up to these companies because they are the ones with the money to help them win elections. The whole thing is tied to money....as always!

    How can country-dwellers get around without cars? They are not the problem here. Most of the population is in the cities and that is where the problems are. Never hear about major pollution in Jerk Water, USA.

    Is it right to limit car ownership in developing countries? No but since they are just starting out smaller cars that run on electricity are the best option for them. Let them lead the way. Don't let large US companies control what they buy.

    Are biofuels a realistic alternative -- or a white elephant? They are a bait and switch that the Auto and Oil companies used to crush the electric cars so they could continue to line their own pockets....as always money is the driving factor and those with it will use it and all their power to resist change.

    And what are the alternatives to the petrol-driven car? Electric, solar and wind power. These are things that are renwable and dont give off polution. You can design an engine to run on water....it has been done and suppressed becasue it will hurt big oil and big auto.

    From: Preet Kumar, Middlesex, NJ
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    Hmmm, while driving to the office, daily a 36mile one way trip, I often wonder why we dont have a public transport system between these points. I also look around other drivers around me and wonder, why they have to travel in a HUGE MONSTER SUV all alone. Cant they use a smaller car like me ? Yes one does feel safe travelling in them, maybe thats the reason why I find a lot of SUVs crashed ans stuck in ice on a snowy day "They feel tooo safe in their ride". Ask a Humvy owner why he bought one and he would say "I can afford it". But they dont understand that its them that hikes up the fuel cost which the rest of us has to pay for. Maybe the DMV can do something. Higher insurance cost for gas gusslers. Higher registration cost for them. Get authorization from the Pres. to buy your next SUV ??? In short make it difficult for them to buy vehicles that consume more gas.

    From: Tom Tyrrell, Merrick, NY
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    Nothing would make me give up having a car. The type can be changed, alternative fuels are great, the best ones out there are not Hydrogen, but the electric car. Nobody should be forced to give up their cars, Areas can become toll areas, much like London has with the congestion tax. there is no real need to have a car in the city, there are cabs, and public transportation.

    They can't you cant say no more cars, you can stop producing the fules, but people will always need/want the freedom to travel at their own times, paces or routes No one should be able to say that a country can not have cars, or limit the numbers. its not anyones place to say that.

    Biofuels are not a realistic alternative for the world, for some countries it can work, but not the whole world, can it work in the US, yes but we just have to have the outlets to get them to the consumer, if i could get E-85 at a gas station as easaly as i could get normal gas i would use it (premittted my car could handle E-85)

    An excellent alternative to the Gasoline powered cars we use are Electric, the technology has come much further then the failed EV's of the 90's. you can have some cars with 0-60 in 4 seconds and a range of 200 miles. because in the average, or even most unaverage days you do not go 200 miles or more, unless driving is your job. I am not a person who drives a little car, i drive a V-8 powered American full sized sedan, if i could have the same comfort and be electric, i would make the switch in a heart beat (provided the cost wasn't to great)

    From: Federico Bellelli, Genova, Italy
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    I am from Italy, and i think the problem is world wide, but in America it is the worsed! I was there for work and it was horrible because public transport didn't exist! They didn't even know how to spell that! I had to rent a car!!!!

    Do as we do: put more taxes on fuel, build a wider and faster public transport and things will adjust by themselves!

    From: Thierry Toniutti, Labastide Saint Sernin, France
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    We will always need our cars, for sure we can use more often public transportation whenever possible. We must give up using petrol and start to experiment and use now a realistic alternative because biofuels are not.

    From: Tanja Zoellner, Dortmund, Gambia
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    For me public transportation is much easier and comfortable than having a car would be. Living in the city and even for traveling i certainly donīt need it here. There are bike paths that i can use on almost every street now. The subways,citytrains and busses are on time and run regularly. Using monthly or annual tickets i donīt have to worry about buying tickets for each ride, I just jumb in. As a student i could even use all public transports for free. I donīt have to worry about finding a parking space or driving in snow/rain. When i go out at night i can drink and take the night busses/subways home and if i donīt feel safe, i can tell the driver to call a taxi for me that comes right to the station. I lived in both the States and Europe and to me the qualitly of living is definetively higher in Europe. Indeed, the US looked sometimes like a developing country or rather like an undeveloped country. To me people there seemed not free (in that aspect) or flexible at all, they were dependent on their cars for everything.

    From: Gary Wright, Luton, England
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    I think around the world , generally everyone wants the same a goal .. better public transport systems to make leaving my car at home a more viable option. I have a 125 mile round trip to work (fortunately not every day) by car, costs aroung £8 in petrol .. but to take the train(s) would cost me 4 times as much and take 40 minutes longer ! I think most working people are in a similar dilemma. Unfortunately the UK government seem to be of opinion that making it more expensive to drive, is the best way to get me out of my car, rather than improving public transport. The most likely outcome is that I won't be able to afford to do my job.

    From: Dana Baillie
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    It'll never happen. Long before that could become a reality, the world will wake up and realize that humans aren't the cause of global warming and that there's very little we can do about it.

    Anush Krishnaswami, San Diego, CA
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    If there is cheap, frequent public transportation available, I could consider giving up my car. The other alternative I would prefer is to drive a very efficient hybrid vehicle.

    Should city-dwellers be forced to give up their cars? If need be, yes. At least they could be restricted to driving cars only outside the city. But for this to happen, there should be a strong bus/rail network inside the city.

    How can country-dwellers get around without cars? that will be tough, of course. Given that most of the people reside in big cities, it makes sense to target cities first in this campaign.

    Is it right to limit car ownership in developing countries? It is fine to do this. In fact, developing countries should take all the wisdom gained by the developed countries and apply it to their citizens. There is no point in reinventing the wheel.

    Are biofuels a realistic alternative -- or a white elephant? by concentrating on biofuels, I think we are still limiting our perspective. it is a means of running away from the problem, but a different problem could arise.

    And what are the alternatives to the petrol-driven car? I would definitely vote for electric cars, public transportation, tele commuting.

    From: Yandy DJakaria, Jakarta, Indonesia
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    More car means more air pollution except our technology is able to create a perfect environment friendly vehicle. Limitation of car ownership is a good step to be implemented as it will cause a heavy traffic jam. My biggest dream is to make our planet free from any kind of chemical pollution that could harm environment and fresh air to our respiratory. Above all, we as human being, should learn how to take care our planet as if this planet is our be parents.

    From: Greg Keating, Los Angeles, CA
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    Living in Los Angeles, I can tell you this is one utterly car-centric place. Will it ever change? The city is saturated, getting around is truly tasking. I've switched to riding a motorcycle exclusively, sold my car months ago and don't plan on getting another one for the time being. Unfortunately, for most of my neighbors in this city, not using a car isn't currently a viable option, but at least they could switch to more efficient vehicles? BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, GMC, bloated Ford products, etc: this means adapt or wither.

    From: Yeshwant Panchikal, Bangalore, India
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    I've just bought a new car . Why ????? Its very simple . Public transport here in Bangalore is pathetic . That's why. Provide regular , convinient public transport - Metro / Bus service and people will stop thinking about buying cars / bikes etc etc .

    From: Ari Zanella, Joinville, Brazil
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    I think alcohol is the solution. It's CO2 free and cheaper than petrol. For us in Brazil it's already a reality. In São Paulo we have a few buses trying ethanol only, without any mixture. And it's working so well! Another alternative is electric car, not so efficient when we talk about speed.

    From: Andrew Thompson, Oxford, England
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    Just talking about get rid of cars just fear mungering. The vast majority of energy hence CO2 in the western world is used by business and industry so please stop trying blame damage to the environment on our personal lives. Why do you drive to and from work? Simple answer there usually is not a suitable alternative. Railtracks in most countries are used beyond there capacity. Bus routes are designed around one hundred year old timetables and do not effectively use the modern roads. How about getting more busses onto the freeways ? We need to stay positive on our approach CO2 and the environment or we will FAIL. Lets look at our workplace first if we really want to save energy. Did you turn off your PC when you left work, did you turn out the lights and did you really need to make that last business trip by air?

    From: Mike Gutierrez, New York City, NY
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    We need to develop better habits, such as collective car pooling, and plan our use of cars better. Use ethenol based fuels, and tax the average galon at a higher rate. Tax reductions for commercial users, and force people to be more conscience of gas emmisions.

    From: Jeff Doughty, Portland, OR
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    What would make you give up your car? I already have! I found that although sometimes having a car can be helpful, it is almost never needed, and when it is, I just drive my wife's little Geo Metro.

    Should city-dwellers be forced to give up their cars? I don't think we can force anyone to give up anything, that is not what this country is about. However, I wholeheartedly think we should be paying a pollution tax. This would encourage people to stop polluting, or to pollute less. Also, I think that electric cars, (once Coal is done away with) can be beneficial too.

    How can country-dwellers get around without cars? I think that more reliance on electric motors and solar/wind power in rural areas would be very beneficial.

    Is it right to limit car ownership in developing countries? Taking freedoms away is never the answer. However, removing government subsidies on oil would raise gas prices, making people drive less.

    Are biofuels a realistic alternative -- or a white elephant? NOOOO! The world population is growing. We don't have enough land area to grow enough corn to feed and fuel the world. We should not be producing fuels from our food!!!! We have better alternatives.

    And what are the alternatives to the petrol-driven car? I honestly think that with the removal of coal fired power plants, and the reliance on power sources such as wind and solar the feasibility of electric cars is real. Battery technology is increasing, enabling us to store more power in smaller batteries. Solar cells are getting more efficient, and although still expensive could drastically reduce pollution levels. Same with wind power, and the old complaint of the tall ugly wind turbine is a moot point with new aesthetically pleasing models.

    From: Peter Smedskjaer, Roskilde, Denmark
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    City dwellers most certainly can get around without cars. More importantly, they can get around quicker without their cars. Urban areas and the suburbs can be serviced by light raid systems, that can transport 20,000 people per hour/track in peak times in the middle of the city. Compared to a road, which has a capacity of 2,000 cars per hour, with 1.2 people in each car at rush hour, there is no more than 2,400 people being transported per hour/lane on our highways. Traffic jams and congestion will sharply reduce this number.

    The advantages of rail: More people transported per hour, keeping the roads clear of cars, making room for bike messengers.

    From: Carolina Zavaleta, Lima, Peru
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    A better future and a better life will be worth it! No cars, no pollution!

    From: Greg Settle, Bend, OR
    Date: October 24, 2007
    Your view:
    Politicians must support higher fuel economy and alternative fuel vehicles, and force changes upon the automobile industry. Leaders must lead.

    Consumers who are financially capable, need to speak via their purchasing decisions whenever possible - Toyota Prius Hybrid is an example of an emerging alternative fuel vehicle market driven by consumers.

    Unfortunately it is not practical in rural communities to travel distances without a vehicle. Similarly, most people who travel regionally for recreation require a vehicle.

    Environmentally sound alternative transportation combined with alternative fuel vehicles sounds like a great start.

    From: simon dent, Newport, United Kingdom
    Date: October 23, 2007
    Your view:
    I remember looking at the exhaust pipe of my dads car when I was a kid and thinking where does all the dirt go,Now I know and I pollute the the very air I need to breath everyday but this has not stopped me , my car sits in my garage I havnt used it for the last six months but I now drive a company van I need to work ,I feel that there are to many drivers using cars for no reason,when children are off school I noticed a remarked reduction in car use,Driving on the motorways I have counted male to female drivers , I have noticed that in a line of ten cars there are now more female drivers ,We have built the world around the engine ,what would happen with out the engine ,I feel the only way to reduce car use would be to make fuel for the car user so expensive so that it becomes a rare occasion to use a car ,the human race is getting fat ,I believe that most journeys can be done using a bus bike or train or better still our legs thats what they are for and its down to ! everyone to save this planet it the only one we have ,petrol in Britain cost about a pound a liter if it was ten pounds a liter if the government think that speed laws are making people drive slower it isn't , its the price of fuel,I don't pay for the fuel my van uses my company does

    From: tom turner, austin, TX
    Date: October 23, 2007
    Your view:
    I hope it is not to late. The 3rd wrld countries are just now catching up to "being like us (U.S.)" & now we're asking them to stop. I use public transport. I'm reminded of the aliens in "Independece Day" that consume all the natural resources of a planet, then move on to another..but we have nowhere else to go. We are lemmings unto ourselves.

    From: don demarco, brigham
    Date: October 23, 2007
    Your view:
    people giving up there cars is not acceptable the internal combustion engine has served us well but now it's time to move on to a technology that will meet our needs in the 21st century

    From: E. Lettang
    Date: October 22, 2007
    Your view:
    We can live without cars, just give us an excellent mass transport. Europe had it and still has.

    From: Shannon Dodge, San Francisco, CA
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    What would make you give up your car? I already have given up my car! Gas and insurance is expensive, parking's a hassle, and I live and work in a city that's fairly easy to navigate by transit, bike and on foot. We also have City Car Share, ZipCar, and Flex Car here for those times when you need a vehicle. So when my boyfriend's car was totaled by a careless driver, I let him have mine. He lives in a rural area and works as a field biologist, so he really needs a car. Now I bike to work, which is great for my physical and mental health, or I ride the bus and get work done during my commute.

    Should city-dwellers be forced to give up their cars? No! But people who drive should be paying the true cost of driving, like Europeans do. Cities and suburbs should also have good, viable options to driving. Although Americans think gas is costly, in Europe the gas taxes are much higher and help support things like clean, fast public transit and universal health care. There are so many hidden costs to our driving-based transportation system that get passed on to the public. Climate change is a crisis - and it's not the only problem that driving contributes to. The cost of road building and maintenance is only partly paid for by gas taxes. The costs of health care for pollution related diseases, for accident injuries and for obesity from sedentary lifestyles are simply tremendous. How about the cost of lost time with one's family because we're stuck commuting long distances? You can't even account for the harm that does. Today's gas prices don't do enough to encourage people to drive less and live close to work (or vice versa). So all those "external" costs get passed on the rest of us. I'm sick of it! No one should be forced to quit driving, but we ought to stop encouraging it and start discouraging it by passing on the real costs to drivers. And, we should have public transportation in every city that's reliable, clean, fast, and frequent. We also should encourage walking and bicycling by making our streets safe and pleasant places to be.

    How can country-dwellers get around without cars? Better public transit is needed everywhere. But even if improvements are made, many country dwellers will need to keep driving more than people who live in cities.

    Is it right to limit car ownership in developing countries? It should be up to those countries to set their own policies, as long as they don't subsidize driving and they do invest in making transit, biking and walking good options too.

    Are biofuels a realistic alternative -- or a white elephant? They're a good step, especially for rural dwellers, but they won't impact accident rates or obesity or family time lost to commuting. So it's still important for us to drive less and improve alternative transportation options.

    And what are the alternatives to the petrol-driven car? The long term solution is smarter urban planning - attractive cities with great public transit, walkable and bikable streets, and quality schools, where Americans will want to live closer to their jobs because gas and time lost to commuting just aren't worth it! We also need housing that is more affordable, because in many cities people just can't afford to live near their jobs.

    From: Keith Hatcher, Logroņo, Spain
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    What would make you give up your car?

    Better and more frequent, reliable bus, train and underground transit systems, totally nationalised, non-profit making, such that people would be more attracted to public transport and less likely to get their cars out to go a few kilometres.

    Should city-dwellers be forced to give up their cars?

    NO. The car is perhaps the greatest invention for freedom of movement of people. However, on commuting to and from schools, work, or within their own cities over short to medium distances, they should be deterred from using cars; people are extremely lazy, and take out their cars for very short distances; my answer to the first question is clear on this.

    How can country-dwellers get around without cars?

    This is a very thorny question, as in rural areas with low-density populations, it is impracticable to have ten-minute frequency public transport systems, for example, and anyway this would make negligible savings in use of petrol (gas). Also, people who live in cities and want to visit Natural Parks or Wilderness Areas would be greatly restricted to a harmful effect on their quality of life. In the USA especially, car-makers should be forced to make more compact cars which "guzzle" far less fuel.

    Is it right to limit car ownership in developing countries?

    NO. These countries, like India, China, Brasil, Indonesia, etc., should continue developing. It is precisely in the already developed countries like USA, Europe and Japan, where the car-population density is high or extremely high, where the big effort must be made. In some countries like the UK, Japan and Germany, there are nearly more cars than people........

    Are biofuels a realistic alternative -- or a white elephant?

    Some biofuels can be very useful and cheap; though some can cause an adverse effect, such as methane gases.

    And what are the alternatives to the petrol-driven car?

    Hybrid and electrical vehicles have existed for many years. Electric buses are in frequent use in the UK, and even in Spain we have a few running regular bus routes in Madrid. I think this is also the case in France and Germany in many cities. There have been reports of cars being adapted to run on tap-water, hydrogen or oxygen, and this path of experimentation should be pursued. And big petroleum companies like Exxon, BP, Shell, Total, etc., will just simply have to swallow the inevitable and adapt to other products, such as multinational tobacco corporations are doing now, as smoking is now considered unhealthy and unpopular.

    From: Gregory Konger, Fort Wayne, IN
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    I would like to give up my car if there was a system or network in place in which I didn't have to haul food or anything around. In other words, carry nothing wherever I go. It would be a lot less stressful if I didn't have personal possessions to worry about, such as losing them, maintaining them, and wastefully accumulating them. I believe life would be a lot more simpler and less wasteful if everything was shared in common. There wouldn't be any theft if it was that way.

    From: Amer Ali, Lahore, Pakistan
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    You simply can not expect man to forget the unique relationship he has developed, over the century, with the ultimate machine: The Automobile. I say bring on the electric cars (let's just hope horsepower is not compromised)

    From: Ilan Benyes, Paris, France
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    Cars are so embedded in our everyday life that is rather difficult to see a car-free future on the short term. However, it is sure that cars will have to evolve to be more fuel efficient and much less polluting and with an much lesser environmental footprint in their life cycle.

    Biofuels derived from sugar cane and other type of crops are not a realistic solution. Some reasons:

    1) Imagine if the demand for cars keeps rising, as it is we will have to chop down all the remaining Forest of the world to produce the biofuels. This would cause even more CO2 emissions and of course and irreplaceable biodiversity genocide.

    2) Most arable land would have to be turned it to crops for the biofuel production, thus dramatically reducing the crops for food production. However, hybrid cars running on recycled oil could be a better solution in the short term and the long lasting best solution would hydrogen powered cars.

    From: Harry Hobson, Bangkok, Thailand
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    For urban areas that cannot afford light rail, subways or elevated trains, bus rapid transit is a good alternative.

    It is cheap to build, and a good prior step to light rail. Articulated buses can carry up to 100 people. With a wait time of 5 minutes, 1200 people per hour.

    Take Shanghai and Bangkok, they are magnets for rich and poor alike. Making cities more efficient will allow them to handle more people mitigate the need for automobiles.

    From: Elliot Schwartz, San Francisco, CA
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    Causing over a million deaths per year, the automobile is one of the deadliest things ever invented. A car-free future not only will save us from future loss of life due to global warming, but also the present day carnage that could strike any one of us each day.

    From: Beverly Thomas, Canyon Lake, TX
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    We, in the US, have two HUGE problems:

    1. Obesity epidemic and 2. Air Pollution. What better way to tackle these two at once than greater incentives for folks to walk or bike to work. Even using public transportation will require some to walk at least a little distance.

    As human beings we were designed for physical labor. When we used to work the fields all day we didn't see the prevalence of obesity related illnesses that we see today. We were generally healthier (outside of infectious diseases) people.

    If the government would publish and give incentives to folks who ride a bike to work every day, I'm betting we'd start seeing some changes in the health of our United States citizens.

    For those who say you can't ride to work because you carry a lot, they make panniers for the bikes and trailers to pull behind. So, for many, many people it is possible. Does it require planning ahead, getting up earlier, and effort on the part of the commuter? Sure, but anything worth having takes work. Besides, I find the ride home to be a GREAT stress reliever which translates into a happier, more relaxed home. If you need a car for work, leave the car at work during the week and ride M-F....only using the car for work errands and weekends.

    If you live in the country, why not use electric cars for trips to the store and around the area and the big trucks for hauling. Better yet, the horse and buggy were used for MANY years to haul things....why not go back to that. The road apples left by the horses are bio-degradable.

    Get out, ride a bike and leave the car for weekend trips, errands, etc. We'll have cleaner air and healthier people.

    From: Brett Hutchings, Nagano, Japan
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    It's maybe not the only answer but a cheap answer to some problems, I think we need more cycling routes in replacemant of some roads. Prhaps with a roof covering of solar panels to protect us from the rain and generate more renuable energy at the same time. When you see the problems with growing obeseity ,carbon emissions , road congestion, and the debate on using food for biofuel. I cant help think we could all do with burning some of that biofuel around our hips and stomache. Bicyles, cheap, poution free transportation and in many cases faster around a congested city than a car. Maybe we dont need a expensive hi tech answer, maybe the answer has been collecting dust in the garage as you drive your ever expanding raer end to work every day. I challege any one to tell me one negative about more people riding bikes to work.

    From: Melanie Sol, Victoria, CA
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    There is no need to talk about giving up cars, the conversation needs to be about how to build cars that are environmentally sound. We have the technology, but the financing and political will is missing. If the hydro car had the same lobbyists as big oil, I think we'd see some radical change.

    From: Horacio Villegas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    Well, I really would like to get rid of my car. You just canīt imagine how much !!! Would be great to ride my bike to work and everywhere, every single day for the rest of my life !!!

    I had a dream: All the roads existing on the planet, all of a sudden, turned into green paths with multicolored and enchanting flowers lining up endlessly. They all were the roads to paradise !!!

    From: Bin Young, Beijing, China
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    The officials ask, or oder the citizen for car free days, but why they don't do it themselves? Why must it be the ordinary people to contribute and create rapid roads and clean air for them. why the powerful officials and richs are driving so big SUVs and luxury cars.

    From: Aaron Gordon, Washington DC
    Date: October 19, 2007
    Your view:
    One of your questions asked "what would make you give up your car," and for me, the answer was "effective, clean and good mass transportation." Until I moved to the District of Columbia, ending my car ownership was not possible, and for most people in the United States, this is intensely not possible, as our entire infrastructure is built for the automobile, and mass transit has been given a back seat role to the seas of parking lots and the crumbling expressways that never seem to relieve traffic.

    In the United States, we should truly define boundaries to urban growth, and invest in a mass transit. I'm from the Miami area, and it's utterly absurd that the 5th largest metro region in the country has no mass transit. There comes a time when suburbs have to 'grow up' if you will. 8-lane roads are not 'local' anymore.

    One of the most insane debates going on in DC right now is expanding the Metrorail. Now, elsewhere in the country, where nobody would deign to hop on a train, this debate makes sense while it creates sprawl, pollution and environmental degradation. But in Washington? Where nearly a million people use it per day...the 2nd most used subway system in the country? That's nuts!

    We, the people, don't have the right (or the ability) to limit and dictate to developing countries what they can and cannot drive. We can, however, set an example by adopting a three pronged attack on our own driving dilemna.

    1. Mandate 35 mpg cars. They already make them (Toyota Yaris and Prius, etc,) and it's absurd to think that just because people 'like' big cars more that we should continue to funnel money to the Middle East and kill the environment.

    2. Go with the Brazil model and begin a serious push for ethanol. Aside from making our country energy independent, we might actually (due to our vast land mass and waste from consumption,) have an export product. We could and should be the 'Saudi Arabia' of biofuels...and we're going to need that money because...

    3. We must...MUST invest in a high-speed train, subway, light-rail and tram network, that connects our major cities to one another, and interconnects populations within those cities. This is not an option, and we've been quite foolish in not doing this over the last half-century. While the Japanese were selling us boatloads of vehicles, they used that profit to build an advanced, brilliant mass transit network. Europe has done the same, so if gas prices skyrocket (or skyrocket more,) they feel the effects less than we do. But the catch-22 here is that without mass transit, you're never going to get people out of their cars. And since mass transit doesn't make money (and is basically a tax-funded public service,) good luck getting that to fly in modern America.

    Sadly, I don't think we're going to do anything of the sort, and our planet will be very 'Blade Runner' in the future. We can survive and 'defeat' the natural environment, but why?

    From: Leah McGowan, Tulsa, OK
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view:
    I would give up my car if local governments invested seriously in public transportation making it a desirable, effective and reasonable alternative. I also think it is important for Americans to reconsider our rail system and start thinking of it as a viable option for inter-city and long distance travel. We need an affordable, high-speed electric rail system like in Europe.

    From: Brian Smith, Oakland, CA
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view:
    I sold my car 6 years ago and haven't replaced it. Living in a city with good transit and flat streets for bicycling, this has not been a problem. There is a growing movement to people going carfree in the USA and elsewhere around the world. Most of us find it liberating, and we save a lot of money by not owning a car.

    From: Garnet John, Canabous, BC, Canada
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view: Given that we are negatively impacting the planet in a myriad of ways to blame it all on the car is naive.

    What we need to change is our way of thinking and acting that considers the impact our decisions have on the planet at large.

    How about smaller or less of everything, but better quality, including our houses, cars, families, meals...

    Everywhere I go I see acres of land logged, blasted, paved over and replaced with big box stores and Mcmansions.

    What we are leaving future generations is nothing but vacuous temples to our own greed and selfishness. Outlawing cars won't change that.

    From: Marco Rimola, Guatemala
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view:
    It's not up to us, I mean regular people. It's up to the goverments, car manufactures and specially the big oil companies, if they put up aside a small fraccion of their renevues they could develop an alternative fuel vehicle in less than a year, the point here is that they are very happy with the tons of money they are making and don't really care about the future of the planet.

    From: Matt Dana, Rochester, NY
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view:
    In medium-sized cities like Rochester, public transportation just isn't an option for working people today, nor can I see it becoming one in the near future. I don't just need to get to work and back - I need to run errands on my lunch break, go to the gym after work, and pick up dinner on the way home. That might be Monday's schedule, while Tuesday's could be something completely different. How is a bus or light-rail system ever going to provide anywhere near the level of flexibility I get from driving my own car?

    From: Sam Longmire, Nevada City, CA
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view: Fossil fuel is finite -- less remains every day. There is essentially a wall that we are moving toward, and by continually increasing our global fuel consumption we are literally accelerating toward that wall. We must apply our collective brakes. Our necessary move to independence from fossil fuels requires a substantial transition period. The long-term question is how to stop, but the immediate question is how to slow down. We need both lifestyle changes and technological advances.

    The Problem: Technology provides much encouragement, and should be even higher on our priority list than it is. However, we must approach our dilemma with lifestyle changes as well. We need major paradigm shifts. The concept of "luxury" in a vehicle leads to vast waste. We should value fuel economy and low emissions over luxury. Is there a role for advertising here? Auto-maker Board resolutions? Beyond luxury, though, safety is the major stumbling block. It takes either a stalwart ideology or serious economic constraints to get people to drive dinky little cars when there are all those monsters (big, diesel pick-ups and SUVs) roaming around out there at high speed. People see big vehicles as safer, and they tend to be, but why? Largely because there are already so many of them. It's a self-perpetuating cycle. Government intervention is always problematic, but this is a case in which it is called for. There should obviously be higher standards for fuel economy and emissions, ! but there should also be size restrictions. Many Americans, but not only Americans, drive enormous vehicles but only need that capacity on rare occasions, if ever.

    Size Surcharge: Perhaps a huge vehicle surcharge based on size would help. To help sell this idea in America, the child tax credit effectively eases the burden on large families who need a van or larger car.

    Sharing: Big vehicle rental or incentivized share options could alleviate some of the gas burden. In many cases, several small farms could share one truck, or several families could share one SUV, with other driving needs met by 50+ mpg hybrids or other options.

    Internet Solutions: A lot of driving can be saved by capitalizing on the emerging capabilities of the internet. High-speed internet access should be a national and global priority (much of America and the world does not have that yet). Many people in rural areas who drive great distances could work from home some days. Local on-line shopping, even for groceries, is almost within reach on a massive scale. School-age children could have optional internet school on some days. Possibilities abound.

    Community Planning: In spite of recent emphases on smart-growth development, residential sprawl continues. Almost every county in America, for example, has residential development projects located many miles from goods and services. Sacramento, CA's "Blueprint Project" (see http://www.sacregionblueprint.org) is a positive step. Similar programs should be implemented throughout the world.

    Awareness: Heightening the awareness of the public, political entities and corporations (including vehicle manufacturers) is key. The inherent suspicion and resistance of opposing political parties to each other's proposals is a major obstacle. The more we can move the debate away from politics and into the realm of cooperation, the better off we and our descendents will be. America, as a world leader, should commit to putting the brakes on fuel consumption through a multi-party task force that is assigned to develop a national fuel reduction strategy -- with concrete reduction targets and with regulatory teeth.

    From: Christy Anderson, Los Osos, CA
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view:
    We need to find avenues to public transit systems in all areas of the world. Solar Powered transit systems. Also bonuses from employers to motivate employees to car pool. What I want is to see all these insecure americans stop driving suv and monster trucks just because it makes them feel better or think they have an upper hand. Suv and large vehichels need to be taken of the roads.

    From: Bonnie Cosnor, Baltimore, MD
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view:
    I've been using public transportation for about 30 years now to get to work (and school before that). I live in a large city, and would like to see some sort of enforced "park-n-ride" system established here. There are areas around the city that could be used for parking lots (instead of the many, many parking lots within the city limits), where people could park, and then use some sort of shuttle to get to downtown. The public transportation system would have to be enhanced so that it would be convenient for more people to use to get to work. The cost of this would be borne by the people who would use it, in the same way the existing parking garages are being financed by people who use them. -- A pilot project , perhaps for just a few companies that employ large numbers of employees (like Johns Hopkins here in Baltimore) could be created (financed by corporations, who could get some sort of tax incentive to participate, to test these theories.

    From: Estoy J, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view:
    A car-less society in an urban environment is unrealistic no matter how you cut it. The best that can be done is to minimize dependance on private vehicles by providing better inter-city transport systems. Governments should also support, promote and probably legislate to help citizens in adopting newer and higher-efficiency vehicles. Transitioning to biofuels may only cause other unwanted side effects when the demand for biofuel producing crops increase.

    From: Bob Cress
    Date: October 18, 2007

    Your view: State or federal government should mandate that people live close to work (within 3-5 miles?), and reward with tax breaks those who walk or bike to work. Those who work farther than five miles from home would need a special permit that would cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year, depending on distance from work. That would give most people an incentive to move closer to work, reversing the trend of commuters moving farther and farther away. It's a draconian Big Brother tactic that just might work. By the way, I walked to work for thirteen years when I lived only 1.75 miles away. Now that I live three miles from work, I bike to work year-round, or bus when the weather is bad.

    From: Megan Latshaw, Baltimore, MD
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view:
    We need walkable communities where you don't risk your life by attempting to walk to the convenience store. We need reliable, safe, and convenient public transportation. Finally, we need better understanding of what all this pollution means for each of us personally. Otherwise, we will never willingly give up our addiction to the car.

    From: Robert Hall, North Augusta, ON, Canada
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view:
    I need personal transportation. I would give up a gasoline powered car for an enviromentally friend one. (Build me one I can afford!) As long as nascar racing, vacation air travel and V6 and V8 luxury cars are available and affordable for us to buy we won't stop polluting. This would be a very unpopular decision but a government that truly believed that global warming is caused by these things should stop them.

    From: Annette Lampshire, Alexandria, VA
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view:
    I have already taken steps not to use my car. I work from home by computer. No more commuting and no more pollution. I only go out once a week, at the most, only for necc. grocery items. There is no reason to use the car other than for an occasional doctor visit. It is time for everyone to do their part in creating less pollution and insiting upon electing only those people in government who will do the same and enforce EPA regulations. Come on people!

    From: Louie Lee, Richmond Hill, ON
    Date: October 18, 2007
    Your view:
    It's not practical to give up the cars, but instead of getting a big SUV, I opt to get a Civic instead. Now all 3 cars in the family have mileage in the 9 litres/100 kms range or lower (that's 30 mile per imperial gallon) and all are ULEV. Next spring, we are going to be replacing the furnace with ultra high efficient model as well. Just doing a little bit myself, and all the saving from fuel help mother earth as well as my wallet! E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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