Exactly whose environment did we save?

We’ve been hearing so long about how electric cars are going to save us from a horrible environmental fate that we may have overlooked one minor detail. Stephen Smith of Market Urbanism, however, didn’t:

I’m not going to lay out a long case against electric cars right now, but suffice it to say I think they’re just another subsidy to the auto-based system, and that the true environmental harm in cars is not their actual emissions, but the land use patterns that they necessitate, and an electric battery doesn’t change this one bit.

Imagine this little scenario at breakfast:

Spouse 1: So this little Nissan Leaf can do 70 miles on a single charge?

Spouse 2: I’d bet more like 55 or 60 if the weather’s nasty, but nobody really knows for sure.

Spouse 1: Still, even with a 55-mile range, we could buy that house out there on 220th Street and still be within commuting distance.

For those who insist that we need to bring people back to the urban core, this has all the makings of a Step Backwards.


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  1. Jeff Brokaw »

    30 August 2011 · 1:48 pm

    So there are people who spend valuable time deciding what the right land use patterns are? Phew. THAT’S a relief.

    I’d hate to have these patterns spring up as a result of individual decisions made by free people in a free market. How horrible would that be? All that freedom and choice, man, that would be scary! Better we should have top-down centralized control, because that ALWAYS works.

  2. fillyjonk »

    30 August 2011 · 2:12 pm

    Considering the stereo-listening habits of the people I wound up living next to when in “high density” urban-type housing, they can move me back to the city center when they pry my cold, dead hands off of the doorknob of my house. Or something like that.

    It’s not any kind of wanting a lawn, needing to be near a supermarket, wanting wide-open spaces stuff. Some of us just can’t stand to live in the middle of a giant crowd of people, some of whom are inclined to be loud and rude and smelly.

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