Feasible solutions to oil consumption? Romm is only partly right.

I read Jospeh Romm quite a lot due to his posts over at Gristmill and usually I like what he has to say. Yet in his newest Salon piece he makes a doozy of a mistake when he notes that:

And right now we have two feasible solutions: greatly increase our vehicle fuel economy and find alternative fuel sources that are abundant, low-carbon and affordable.

Sorry but there is a third option that is just as feasible: an increase in the use of public transit.

I take public transit to work every day. It certainly isn’t perfect but its taking a lot of cars off the road now. This is happening in many major metro areas.

I’m not sure why increased fuel economy is any more feasible than more public transit. I certainly don’t see how he can think that ‘alternative fuel sources that are abundant, low-carbon, and affordable’ are considered feasible at all when it comes to transportation. We’re going to need oil whether that transportation is provided by gasoline or electricity.

I agree that better fuel economy certainly is one of the answers. I think that’s a no-brainer but I think that mass transit is also a no-brainer and both options seem to have a similar set of roadblocks (no pun intended) in front of them: the general public and the government.

The public really needs to be educated on this stuff and I think that is happening but much too slowly. The majority of the public isn’t reading environmental blogs, etc. to get their information. They’re relying on traditional media sources who are doing an awful job of disseminating this information. The local news is too concerned with fires, shootings, and the like to concentrate on problems that really affect everybody. Complain all you want that Al Gore is spending $300 million on ads but I think that is exactly what he needs to be doing. People are in front of their TVs a lot and that is where the message needs to be sent.

The public also needs to learn, contrary to what the lobbyists and their pet Senators want us to believe, that higher efficiency standards are not going to add significantly to the cost of an automobile nor will it lead to the loss of jobs. Given the steady exit of jobs from the US solely for the increase of profit I find it laughable that someone speaking for almost any business sector can say with a straight face that they are concerned that any green technology is going to have a built-in cost of US jobs.

The biggest impediment to either higher fuel efficiency standards or the increase in the adoption of mass transit is the government. Lobbyists don’t want higher fuel efficiency standards: it cuts into the bottom line of the business even if the cost isn’t that great. And spend more federal dollars on mass transit? Surely I’m joking right? Why not spend that money in other places like, say, Iraq?

I haven’t even bothered with the ideas of mass transit helping design better communities and cutting down on the congestion around major metro areas. I think those are all obvious. We just need someone in government to get it and get the funding required to make these things a reality. Given what we’re spending on Iraq it should be easy enough to finb

%d bloggers like this: