Does everyone have the right to own a car?

Hi everyone. Welcome to Lamii and Farsue in Liberia, Philliphs and Margaret in Uganda, Thomas in Kentucky and Pradeep in Bangalore. Long may be you be signed up to the Daily Email.

Do you want to buy a car? It’s got a lot easier to do just that from today with Tata launching the cheapest car in the world. But is this something to be happy about?

Should we be celebrating that millions more people will have access to one of the most revolutionary developments of the 20th century? Is it a great day for equality? Or is this bad for smog, congestion, the environment and public transport?

More to the point, if you could, would you buy a car for 2500 dollars?


We’ve mice in our office (or one persistent offender) and all efforts to bring their short lives to an end have failed. Any tips? Speak to you later.

198 Responses to “Does everyone have the right to own a car?”

  1. 1 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 14:21

    Awww leave the poor mice alone. They have a difficult enough life as it is!

  2. January 10, 2008 at 14:32

    We now live in a world were the butterfly effect is more than a book. We are told (and reasonably so) that we cannot smoke in certain places because we may harm others. Thus, why should we have the right to own a car when the development and advancement of the the car industry and by immediate association, the oil industry is bringing humanity so many problems. From the internal strife and inequality of oil producing nations such as Nigeria to wars fought for this fast disappearing resource.
    Like so much of our modern world. I feel it is not so much what we have a right to but how we bahave given the possibility of such privilege. Because anything that only some have access to and is non essential must surely be a privilege.

  3. 3 John D. Anthony
    January 10, 2008 at 14:32

    All other questions aside, either everyone has the right to own a car or no one does.

    Oh, yeah… Get a cat.
    A hungry cat.

    John in Salem

  4. 4 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 14:35

    Hi WHYS,

    Things measure personal value and make life easy. A car will make travelling from point A to B easier for individuals. Understand me Iam looking at this from point of essentials. What are needs? Do they include owning a car. If its a need but not luxury then everyone has the right to own one. The only problem is a when it comes to carbon emission, if these cars use old technology then its not worthwhile, because of the environmental impacts a car has. It would be nonsense for everyone to own a car if that car can cause dieases like cancer which can cause early death. Most cars have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, whereas the life of a cancer patient is estimated at 5 yers. So let have these things but we should think about the consquences. Air Pollution can be disastrous. Can you imagine waking up one day and the Ozone layer is completly filled with emissions and the sun stops shining!!!. C atastrophy. Life can be wept out of earth.

    Isaac in Germany

  5. January 10, 2008 at 14:53

    Does everyone have the right to own a car?… I don’t think it is an issue of right but more the question “is it practical that everyone owns a car” Why should there be an up most cheaper car available if 1/3rd of the worlds population is living in poverty, has no decent water supplies or food supplies.
    Personally I am against these none-practical useless materialistic inventions. Not to speak of the so called pollution, even if it is a so called carbon emission free product.
    MotionSmack Netherlands

  6. 6 C J Smith
    January 10, 2008 at 14:55

    A $2500 car would be terrific for my daughters! We live in an area outside a small city where public transportation is practically non-existent! There isn’t even a grocery store within reasonable walking distance, so a car is a must.
    I guess I would hesitate to say that folks should not be allowed to own a car, but… considering the state of the world with global warming and all – I’m thinking that a cheaper vehicle may not be such a good thing. We certainly do not need more cars on the road!
    Here in the US, most people own a car who are able to drive one. It is difficult to get folks to car-pool to work much less take public transportation – even though it would be better for all of us. This is a tough issue to deal with! I am almost glad to see that fuel prices are increasing if only because it makes some people stop and think before driving somewhere and start to consider conserving a bit. I’m afraid I don’t see this causing a wide-spread change in our attitudes, however.
    (and for the record: I walk to work because I only live 2 blocks away! I actually moved here so that I wouldn’t have to drive to work all the time – but most folks don’t live in town and have to drive to get here.)

    Concerning the mouse issue: Have you tried live traps? You bait them with food and then you can transport the mice out of town and release them. (I hate the idea of killing the creatures.) Of course, you also have to make your work building less attractive to them so you don’t get more mice moving in. Make sure that you don’t leave any food around (even in plastic bags – they will chew right through them!) and try to have any holes to the outside sealed up well so that they can’t enter. (this can save money on heating, too, so it is a good thing all around) You should also clean up any areas that they are using for nesting. (storage rooms, basements and such) Mice don’t like to be disturbed, so these places are most likely areas that aren’t very light and are not visited as often.
    Good luck!

  7. 7 George
    January 10, 2008 at 15:15

    The Indian version of Henry Ford’s model A comes out and suddenly you get righteous?

    Indians and Chinese have just as much right and reason to get a model A/Tata as we did.

    We fouled up the planet and we should give up private cars first.

  8. 8 George
    January 10, 2008 at 15:17

    No food in the office = no mice in the office.

    Ban all food and candy from your office.

  9. 9 Steven
    January 10, 2008 at 15:18

    While I don’t neceessarily believe that owning a car is a “right”, I do believe that a car is necessary in today’s global and commuting economy especially in light of the rate of growth being experienced in countries like India & China. I just hope that governments (including the U.S.) are serious about controlling emissions and traffic congestion.

    I would love to see governments design communities that are “pedestrian friendly” or have efficient public transportation systems. Perhaps it would become unecessary for everyone to have a car.

  10. 10 Andrew Stamford
    January 10, 2008 at 15:31

    The last thing India really needs is to have tens (hundreds) of millions more vehicles on the roads. More importantly, business aspects of car sales aside, rather than churning more low cost smokers out onto the roads there should be a concerted effort to improve what transport infrastructure India already has. It should improve its mass transit systems. Moreover India should address its massive road toll. Putting more risk on the roads is no answer to that problem as worldwide – not just in India – cars = carelessness on the roads which inevitably leads to death and misery. This is just a disaster that will come back to bite India, not just ecologically, but socially also and as we all now, the effects of road trauma is a drain on aspects of society and will the Indian economy cope with this, let alone the medical system?

  11. 11 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 15:31

    Hi Ros,

    Usually, the best remedy for mice is a cat! But it has to be a cat that likes to play, and not a lazy one. If it will chase string, it will chase mice!

    I would occasionally see a mouse in my apartment, but not since I’ve had two kitties! They might be able to elude one feline, but not two! Not sure if a cat would be allowed in your office, but I’m certain it would work!


  12. 12 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 15:32

    Oh no! You have mice in your office too? I am certainly empathize. My only suggestion would be to make sure everybody is putting their food in mouse-proof containers. It seems to be an annual problem in my office as the winter arrives and the rodents look for shelter. We even had a groundhog in our entryway a couple months back!

  13. 13 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 15:40

    Does everyone have the right to own a car? of course. The question is, “why would anybody want to own a car?” The modern United States was designed around the automobile economy. The transportation system has been key to its rise to world power. Other countries were not designed as such.

    You own a car for two basic reasons. 1) as a means of transportation required to support you family unit. 2) As a source of entertainment. Whether that “entertainment” is in the form of elevated status, hobby, or travel, it is still something that the owner does because they want to, not because they have to.

    If i didn’t have to own a car, if I could just teleport where I needed to be, I wouldn’t. new cars turn to clunkers and are incurring unexpected cost and hassle all the time. They are a source of furthering the disparity gap between the rich and the poor. (I.e. taxes, maintenance, tickets, gas, and tolls all cost the same inn dollars to everyone. However, a person who makes $30 p/h is less affected by a $100 speeding ticket then a person making $8 p/h.) In this country, to live in a pleasant healthy neighborhood where your children are safe and well educated, it requires a vehicle.

  14. 14 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 15:47

    I can guess that potential independent economic growth being experienced by most emerging and formerly called least developed nations is attracting substantative innovations and hence exerting a downward pressure on all commodities including luxury goods, e.g. this latest TATA. However it appears the face value information about this car is just about the price neglecting the other cardinal component the environmental aspect that if not taking care off critically has great potential to off set the incentive coming with lower/ cheaper price.

    Kelvin kamayoyo

  15. January 10, 2008 at 15:47

    It’s not the right to own a car that is the point, of everyone has a right to own a car.
    But does everyone have a right to use a car?
    I would say not.

    Keep the thing in the garage, polish it and pat it, sit inside and go Vroom Vroom…
    By all means. But keep that stinking poison that comes out the rear end out of the air that we breath.
    For everyone has a right to breath.

    Everyone does NOT have the right to continue polluting the air that we breath and the planet we live on, and that our children have to live on,and if they have children, I am feeling sorry for them already.

    Take note politicians, and your gas guzzling bullet proof 3 ton limousines.

    If this “new car” were a non polluter, I would applaud.
    But this is just a case of, yet again, reselling deadbeat rubbish technology to those who need it least.

    Byers be ashamed of yourselves of falling for such a cheap trick.

    Malc Dow

  16. 16 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 15:48

    my name is abdi kadar bashir yusuf
    i live in somalia esp kismayo town

    if i talk about my idea about tata company
    iam very happy to heard the chepeast car
    i hope all companys will be like tata beause all the people are very enteresting to get a car even me iam very enteresting a car loooool

    thanks and iam grating you

  17. 17 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 15:49

    I am very much afraid that that will lead straight to the definitive suffocation of the planet.
    But who am I to prevent other parts of the world to live according to our standards? Who am I to decide that I, as a Westerner, am entitled to drive a car and those billions of poor Easterners should not be driving one because of pollution?
    Nevertheless, I am convinced that our poor little planet is unable to resist to a globalized western life style.
    So, from a point of view of equality it is a good thing but from an environmental angle, I am afraid we have signed the death warrant of our planet!

    Unfortunately, I do not think the solution is to drive up the living standards elsewhere, but to reduce dramatically our living standards here in the West.
    Yet I doubt many will agree to do that.

    Isabelle Grynberg

  18. 18 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 15:51

    Hi Ros,

    A mouse loves cheese and bacon, so try them! I’m sure you will devise some clever way to get it into trap finally!
    But then what about animal rights…? Try to catch it live and let it free then, if possible…-but not in the studio room, or in the house, of course…Or people will hear women screaming in the background:)

    best, Zoli

  19. 19 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 15:52

    Dearest Ros : Hi…. How are you doing today my good friend?! Concerning the mice’s matter: you should first locate the places where your mouse frequently shows up, then you should put an efficient rats poison on pieces of tomatoes, cucumber and also you can put the rats poison on pieces of oiled bread…, when I say oiled bread I mean bread that you eat with your meals, then you should put all this in the places where your mouse frequently shows up ! Our house is endemic with rats Ros, and we have killed 3 mice within two years by this way that I have just told you about ! Our mice-fighting expert is my sis, Layla ! As for the editorial meeting of WHYS, could you please give me some more details?! With my love ! Your friend Lubna in Baghdad !

  20. January 10, 2008 at 15:53

    The question “Does everyone have the right to own a car?” sounds rather imperialistic.

    If we are more concerned about “smog, congestion, the environment and public transport?” the question should be addressed at policy makers and technologists. Policy makers can ensure adequate, convenient public transportation is available… and technologists and entrepreneurs can work to commercialize transportation that can run on alternate fuels. None of these have simple answers.

    Until then, people, who need convenient, affordable transportation, will have to seek an affordable mode. And if a cheap auto is one, so be it!

    On your second question, I wish I had a mousetrap to sell.

  21. 21 John D. Anthony
    January 10, 2008 at 15:55

    Another idea about your mouse~
    Find a deep glass bottle – something like an empty five gallon water dispenser bottle works best. Place it upright with some means for the mouse to reach the mouth of it and drop in some cheese and nuts. Mice aren’t particularly bright ~ if the bait is tempting enough they’ll jump in thinking there is probably a way out but no mouse can jump high enough to reach the opening.
    I won’t gross you out describing how I discovered this method but it definitely works.

  22. 22 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 15:58

    The last thing India really needs is to have tens (hundreds) of millions more vehicles on the roads. More importantly, business aspects of car sales aside, rather than churning more low cost smokers out onto the roads there should be a concerted effort to improve what transport infrastructure India already has. It should improve its mass transit systems. Moreover India should address its massive road toll. Putting more risk on the roads is no answer to that problem as worldwide – not just in India – cars = carelessness on the roads which inevitably leads to death and misery. This is just a disaster that will come back to bite India, not just ecologically, but socially also and as we all now, the effects of road trauma is a drain on aspects of society and will the Indian economy cope with this, let alone the medical system?

    cheers from unbearably hot Melbourne!


    PS – I think you should be able to hire or buy a humane mouse trap in London to trap it for release outside, thats the kindest option as poisoning it might leave a rotting corpse and trust me you don’t want that behind a bookshelf.

  23. 23 Captain-In-The-Dock
    January 10, 2008 at 16:03

    “HOW TO STOP THE MICE” (sic)

    “…and all efforts to bring their shoft lives to an end have failed.” (sic)

    BBC! BBC! And the HYS Team!

    You ask a question about something and you don’t put a question mark? There is no word called shoft! Whatever happened to the “BBC English”? It was A standard.

    Where are me marbles??!!

    I am waiting for someone to blame this on the immigrants!

    Back to the Q:

    Based on the speed & quality of moderation on the ‘Have Your Say’ debates on the internet (excluding the ones on air) I strongly suspect the following:

    >There is a SHORTAGE of mice in the BBC offices!
    >Even if there are plenty of mice, there aren’t enough (willing & able) mice-operators!

    People are ecstatic about the “100-dollar” PC (even in Africa) & the associated mice that will come with the PC’s or can be used with them.

    SO! Why is the BBC worried about MICE? You think retrograde is the new avant-garde?

  24. 24 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 16:04

    Mice are easy, use an ordinary trap(Victor) but you have to take soft bread and mold it to the catch. Once it hardens the mice have to work at getting it off and then it’s over. Peanut butter and stuff get eaten without tripping the trap if the mice are good.

  25. 25 Brett
    January 10, 2008 at 16:04

    In addition to my comment on the other blog

    It is VERY imporant to analyze the structure of cities and suburbs in countries/cities/towns which were made BEFORE the automobile, and AFTER the automobile. As said by previous bloggers, it is necessary to own a car if you wish to live the general American way and live up to 60 or 100 miles from your job and make the commute daily (hopefully as gas prices rise, it will drive Americans to re-think suburbia and begin a trend back towards centralized living and communities). In cities where the layouts, roadways, living and working areas were designed before or without the automobile in mind it may not be necessary to own a car, but again who is to judge that and claim that it is alright for one person to own a car but not for another. ESPECIALLY and I cannot stress this enough, especially if the persons wanting to limit car ownership are ones who own cars themselves.

    Until anyone concerned with limiting car ownership gives up their right to own a car, they have little legitimacy in an argument, only hipocracy.

    And in these densely populated areas such as India, perhaps people will own the cars but not use them all the time. If you live 2 miles from work and the traffic is terrible now that everyone owns cars rendering your commute 45 min to an hour, wouldn’t common sense take you back to walkin/riding a bike? Leaving the automobile as more of a recreational item?
    Also to cut down on traffic and emissions India could use a benefits system for commuting, maybe with tax/fuel breaks (although how this would be regulated, im not sure) or HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes on the roadways allowing an incentive for commuters to not have to wait in general traffic if they have more than X amount of passengers.

    MAKE SOLAR AND ELECTRIC CARS AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC! This would help to alleviate smog issues and carbon… if only we could then get the power companies to provide electricity from renewable resources…. Its a vicious circle of “If”s.

    As for the mice problem. My dog loves to try and play with field type mice…. your more than welcome to have her over on a play-date with your little friends!

  26. 26 Captain-In-The-Dock
    January 10, 2008 at 16:06

    BBC! BBC! And the HYS Team!

    You ask a question about something and you don’t put a question mark? There is no word called shoft! Whatever happened to the “BBC English”? It was A standard.

    Where are me marbles??!!

    I am waiting for someone to blame this on the immigrants!

    Back to the Q:

    Based on the speed & quality of moderation on the ‘Have Your Say’ debates on the internet (excluding the ones on air) I strongly suspect the following:

    >There is a SHORTAGE of mice in the BBC offices!
    >Even if there are plenty of mice, there aren’t enough (willing & able) mice-operators!

    People are ecstatic about the “100-dollar” PC (even in Africa) & the associated mice that will come with the PC’s or can be used with them.

    SO! Why is the BBC worried about MICE? You think retrograde is the new avant-garde?

    Captain In-the-Dock, Lost ‘n’ Found in Britain

  27. 27 Andre
    January 10, 2008 at 16:21

    The question should be rephrased as: does everyone need a car? Cars are resource-intensive to make and produce a great deal of pollution during and after their useful life. They also expend a great deal of oil, which besides causing air and water pollution, also denudes the world of a raw material that can be used to make more than 4,000 separate products (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, 2007, What are the uses of crude oil? Retrieved on January 10, 2008 from http://www.opec.org/library/FAQs/CrudeOil/q4.htm).

    The world must find a way to persuade rapidly industrializing countries like India and China to use considerably fewer motor vehicles per capita than do the western nations. I believe this may come about if oil continues to become more scarce, as the price will become prohibitively high for many people. The internal combustion engine has been a wonderful tool for many years but we are now reaching (or have already reached), a point at which the problems associated with the engine are becoming greater than its benefits. As a result, we will need to ration the use of these vehicles in the next 20 to 30 years to save the global environment.

    Hopefully, new technologies (ie: hydrogen, solar and fuel cells) plus more efficient transportation systems may partially solve the problem for us. The rest of the solution would be based on conservation. So, to answer the question – does everyone have a right to own a car? I would say yes – we all have the RIGHT – however, for the sake of our planet, many of us should give up this right if there is a cleaner, alternative method available for us to achieve the same goals as a car.

  28. 28 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 16:25

    Some mice have poor vision, so they’ll stick against walls and use their whiskers to help them along. If you are to place any traps, put them against the wall where they are known to be scurrying about.

    Dan Ploch

  29. 29 John Calvey
    January 10, 2008 at 16:25

    As a train/rail/urban mass transit believer I say no. However, if all nations first have a comprehensive rail and transit operation accessible to nearly all their residents aided by their counties transportation taxes (or transportation bill in the US) then allowing anyone who wants a car to have a car would be ok. But if a country has a model as bad as America where in the US for example most of the transportation tax is used to subsidize the automobile (about 97 % auto vs 2-3% mass transit) then no everyone should not have the right to own a car.
    We in the US should wake up and build the infrastructure necessary to allow most Americans to choose NOT to use their cars. If we would use mass transit for work alone our use of oil would drop nearly a third according to Dept of Transportation figures I have seen on their website.

    Thanks and Good day

  30. 30 steve
    January 10, 2008 at 16:30

    Ah, gee, I wonder if there will be an obesity epidemic in india if everyone is one day able to afford cheap cars. They should ban cars in the US for just the purpose of making fatties walk more, let alone reducing emissions.

    I’m going to notify greenpeace about your attempts to obviously kill mice. Remember, mice have families too.

  31. 31 Mike in Corvallis, Oregon
    January 10, 2008 at 16:35

    Does everyone have the right to own a car? Well, we can’t very well say that some (i.e. Americans in particular) do while some (developing world) don’t. The bigger debating point may be, if we can do something, does it mean we should do it? Look what the car has done to the US – massive suburban sprawl, the decline of many many inner cities, the spreading of resources to distant areas, increased time spent in traffic commuting to and from work, pollution so bad that in some western national parks you can see only partial views due to smog, and, of course, a major contributor to global warming. But Indians have the same right to destroy their country as I do with mine. Maybe one positive to come of this will be the even more rapid depletion of the world’s fossil fuels, such that the world will finally move on to more sustainable forms of energy production. And personally, I would LOVE for Tata to sell their cars here in the US, as maybe that will finally cause every car maker who makes an SUV, Hummer, truck, or some 300HP fuel guzzling “luxury car” to go bankrupt. Fortunately, most of the American car makers are well on their way, so maybe the Tata can speed the process. Why anyone would spend 20 or 30 or 80 thousand dollars on a car has always been, to me, one of most bizarre wastes of money and one of our most arrogant ways of ‘thumbing our nose’ at the rest of the world. Nothing says ‘America’ like a fat guy in his Hummer, eating a McDonald’s super-size meal. So welcome, India, to the car culture!

  32. January 10, 2008 at 16:43

    HEy Ros,

    Just a suggestion. Have you tried negotiating with the mice. Maybe getting along with them. What exactly about their existence is it that bothers you?

    Whatever you do, don’t let Tony and George know about it. They will invade Iran over it.


  33. 33 gary
    January 10, 2008 at 16:54

    Hello All,
    As humans, eveyone has the right of free travel. Political restrictions prevent many from exercising this right, while lack of suitable modes of transportation keep many more from traveling. No one has the “right” to have a car. They are an expensive convenience, not a necessity. Every country would spend their infrastructure monies more wisely on mass transportation technologies. These travel means are more economical. Riding a conveniently scheduled and routed bus or train is more economical for the traveler. His savings fuel economic development. He may converse with his fellow travelers or do paper work, both of which increase societal productivity. The environment could enjoy the benefits of having fewer noxious byproducts engendered by automobiles.
    On a broader scale, manufacturing resources could be used building devices to harvest clean energy and husband vital resources (water and soil), intellectual resources could be directed toward almost countless societal, enviromental, scientific, and medical problems. In the long run just about everyone, including those diehard SUV drivers and people who once built automobiles, would be better off, and happier!

  34. 34 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 17:05

    Soft, chewy toffee in a trap, was a suggestion to us when we were students in Glasgow and it has worked for me ever since. Even on the rats (yes rats) in the garage in Portland!

    -Shirley (Portland, OR)

  35. 35 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 10, 2008 at 17:11

    Here is my post to the HYS debate on the internet.

    Tata Motors was TELCO (Tata Engineering & Locomotive Co. Ltd.)! They left the locomotive business & went to cars. Should’ve gone back to locomotives i.e. public transport!

    >Safety vs a scooter & fuel efficiency.

    >People who would’ve used public transport will now buy this.
    >Yuppies & fat cats aren’t going to shift down to this car.
    >Even more & expensive road infrastructure required.
    >Will run on petrol/diesel NOT fuel cells, or..

    NET Effect:
    >BAD for the environment!!

    [MaxMaxmilianMaximusI], Indian Caesar in, Singapore

    Due to the severe space limitation of 500 characters (including spaces & punctuation) the comment above is more like a sound bite of the MAJOR points.

    Enumerating further:

    Everyone has the right to own a car. Everyone has the right to do what they want & when they want. They even have the right to wear “The Emperor’s New Clothes”! BUT

    Rights always come with responsibilities & consequences.

    >We MUST realise that the Earth & its atmosphere are a ‘zero-sum-game’. If there is anyone out there, who has found a way to get rid of polluted & dirty atmosphere (or excess carbon dioxide) & replace it with clean atmosphere (or atmosphere with less carbon dioxide), then please SPEAK UP NOW. Or forever hold your peace!

    >Petrol & diesel based vehicles aren’t the future. If the same car (TATA Nano) was running on fuel cells or other non-carbon based fuel, it would be PERFECT.

    By the way, I have worked in TATA Motors, in the past.

    In Singapore, the government actively uses duties, taxes etc. to ‘curb’ car ownership (An annual rate of growth of about 2 to 3% is allowed). To buy a car in Singapore, you have to ‘buy the right to buy a car’! It’s called a ‘Certificate of Entitlement’ (COE). You bid for it & it costs anywhere from S$10,000 (or less at times) to up to S$ 60,000 (roughly). This allows you to run your car for 10 years only! To give a thumb-rule calculator: A ‘Suzuki 800’ used to be priced at S$50,000 to S$60,000 (on the road). At the same time the Suzuki 800 (Maruti Suzuki) used to cost S$10,000 in India! These ratios are roughly valid even today. The government also has many road usage pricing schemes.

    In short, the money generated from all the duties, taxes, COE’s, road usage charges etc. is funneled into PUBLIC TRANSPORT. The strategy seems to be / is: Curb private car ownership BUT provide clean & world-class public transport. THIS IS ONE OF THE WAYS FORWARD FOR A CLEANER, HEALTHIER PLANET.

    When I first visited S’pore in 1988 they had just built one stretch of the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit = London Underground) (a few kms). In the last 20 years the MRT has expanded all over the island. Since, S’pore is a tropical island where rain is quite frequent, many citizens complained and/or gave suggestions about the inconveniences of public transport. Subsequently, ‘covered-walkways’ were built from bus stops & MRT stops to the nearest housing block, or shopping centre, etc. Anyway, this is still going on. It’s a long process.

    Please note that most (not all) cars in Singapore are LESS than 10 years old! (This is due to the COE system) Combined with tough anti-pollution laws the local ‘atmosphere’ / environment is quite clean / very unpolluted. Of course, from the planet’s point of view atmosphere isn’t local.

    Nuff said!

  36. 36 rosatkins
    January 10, 2008 at 17:16

    Have you tried sonic repellers for your mouse issue. They emit a sound frequency that is inaudible to humans and torturous to mice.
    (supposedly) Otherwise I can rent you my Rat Terrier, he works cheap.
    Stephan in Oregon

  37. January 10, 2008 at 17:17

    How this topic is different than Driving to environmental disaster is beyond me so this is my comment on this subject being that I agree more with the former title:

    The most interesting development in this story from my perspective here in the US is that this Tata car won’t be released in this country due to the construction of the body being made of glue products. It shows that every automobile industry push is for profit and that will always come at the cost of the environment. Even when you have an advancement in one country it still amounts to an overall setback for global pollution for the lack it brings to the other countries.

    The problem has been outlined on all of the economic based topic discussions on WHYS: driving down the oil market is the equivalent of driving down that worlds major economies. Unfortunately it’s still going to come down to each individual solving their own travel requirements in the most environmentally friendly manner as possible. In Viet-Nam it’s still going to be the bicycle that dominates the flow of traffic.

    EU mandates are desperately in error and WHYS NEEDS TO EXPLORE THIS TOPIC. The demand for alternative fuels is causing 10’s of thousands of acres in Indonesia’s Rainforest to be slashed and burned by people who have no legal rights to the land – supposedly to plant oil palms but in some cases the land is torched and left unused. The EU needs to recognize, and is just now beginning to acknowledge it, that the proper fuel choice is not virgin SVO but waste WVO – that’s how I roll.

  38. 38 Jeff Yolles
    January 10, 2008 at 17:20

    I have had success by baiting the mousetrap with peanut butter, extra creamy Skippy brand, to be specific!!
    Buena Suerte,
    Jeff Yolles

  39. 39 Mark
    January 10, 2008 at 17:24

    I think the new Tata will be a quite nice change for India. As the country’s economy contiues to expand, there will be increasing pressure for safe and reliable means of transportation, and Tata seems to be a nice solution for the time being.

    A lot of people here are frogetting that the new Tata is very fuel effecient at 50 miles per gallon, that’s better than most hybird available in north america today or 2-3 times better fuel economy than a typical family car in north america.

  40. 40 d matthews
    January 10, 2008 at 17:38

    every one should have the right to make the choices fro themselves.
    and i with multi phsyical disabilties and panic disorder etc..homeless specail needs i would literally die without the car that is my emergency transport access to food communications and my home. shelters say no too too many and wrong disabilities too in california

    certain folks would prefer none of the poor be allowwed to have cars so the rich can have the access and we do the save the earth plan for them..

    but it shouldn’t be about dictating.
    it should be about choices.

    and with low cost autos people can more easily have a car and do public transport both.!

  41. 41 Will Rhodes
    January 10, 2008 at 17:47

    Anyone who can afford a car has a right to own one.

    That said: This car runs on fossil fuel, even though it does do incredible mileage, that is not such a good thing. May be we should invest, as a race, in those technologies that are available so we do not have to rely on oil – amazing thought but hey…

    We see the nominees in the presidential race all saying that the US has to kill its reliance on the black stuff – may be that will be the kick start needed to hydrogen fuel cells cheap enough to run your Hummer.

  42. 42 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 10, 2008 at 17:48

    To: Thornton January 10, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    ‘Little’ said! BUT VERY WELL SAID!

    Kindly enumerate on the book (?) on the ‘butterfly effect’. Thanks.

  43. January 10, 2008 at 17:55

    Owning a car is more a matter of responsibility than a ‘right’. The first responsibility of any car owner is to check that they are not using the car for short trips (where they could walk) or for routes where public transport is a viable alternative. I don’t think that we in the West have any moral authority to dissuade people in developing countries from adopting cars like TATA’s but the purchasers need to be aware of the environmental costs and that, in Western Europe at least, many governments are actively trying to make motoring more expensive to discourage people from owning cars.
    Dominic, Birmingham, UK.
    PS: Good luck with the mice!

  44. 44 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 10, 2008 at 18:05

    Re: January 10, 2008 at 3:40 pm (Dwight)

    “Does everyone have the right to own a car? of course. The question is, “why would anybody want to own a car?” The modern United States was designed around the automobile economy. The transportation system has been key to its rise to world power. Other countries were not designed as such.”

    A ‘teeny weeny’ bird told me that some big & powerful companies have continuously donated large sums of money to certain decision makers so THAT public transportation did NOT become important or significant in the USA.


    That’s a retort to your idea / suggestion / hypothesis that the automobile economy has ANYTHING to do with the “rise to world power” business. If the USA had invested in railways to the fullest extent it would have saved trillions of dollars in costs by now. Cheers!

  45. January 10, 2008 at 18:07

    Johnson, Nigeria (text)
    We should be craving for environmentally friendly cars instead of trying to satisfy the poor. Mass cars mass pollution.

  46. January 10, 2008 at 18:08

    Bill, Liberia (text)
    Cheap cars will save lives in india- it will get families off motorcycles- its up to government and world leaders to stop climate change with legislation. Individuals will always choose cheapest option.

  47. January 10, 2008 at 18:09

    Mwacharo Nairobi (text)
    Affordable car is most welcome but where are the roads?

  48. January 10, 2008 at 18:10


  49. January 10, 2008 at 18:10

    Likezo, Zambia. (text)
    YES, Its time people from developing nations benefited. Environmentalist are being selfish, what about those SUVs

  50. January 10, 2008 at 18:11

    Collins. Nairobi.(text)
    Cheap vehicles cause traffic congestion in the cities hence leading envinmental hazards like pollution especially in the third world.

  51. 51 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 10, 2008 at 18:11

    Re: January 10, 2008 at 3:49 pm
    “Unfortunately, I do not think the solution is to drive up the living standards elsewhere, but to reduce dramatically our living standards here in the West.

    Yet I doubt many will agree to do that.
    Isabelle Grynberg”

    I (Big Bold & Beautiful) agree with you! Since I’m a Caesar, MY vote is very powerful! What do you say?

  52. January 10, 2008 at 18:12

    Victor Moyo, Zimbabwe. (text)
    A car is a vital necessity 4 everyone in the world. We can t still be walking when technologically we have advanced. We need however 2 find other forms of fuel to reduce pollution.

  53. January 10, 2008 at 18:13

    Doris in nairobi (text)
    Yes.Its affordable and gives sense of achievemnt but how dependable is it.Traffic?-well what are town planners 4?

  54. January 10, 2008 at 18:15

    K.K. Accra. (text)
    Yes. I will buy this car because it will give me private mobility for the first time in my life.

  55. January 10, 2008 at 18:16

    Maibe ,nigeria (text)
    Without a single doubt i’ll buy the car,as a matter of fact it should be known as hot cake on wheels. This is true poverty eradication.

  56. 56 L. Walker
    January 10, 2008 at 18:16

    Mice… glue traps with crackers, or oatmeal and peanut butter.
    …or since your in britian, just bait it with a little cup of tea. you’ll have it trapped by 3:00 pm. :3

    would i buy the nano… no.
    i’m a few days away from moving to san francisco where they have public transport and my car is staying put.
    kudos to tata for making a tiny car with good economy, but india should invest in public transportation.

    it would be interesting to see how the numbers would measure up, the smaller (300 mil) US population of gas guzzlers compared to the huge (1 bil) population of india using hybrids…

  57. 57 Nate
    January 10, 2008 at 18:17

    I don’t know about a “right” to a car, but its clearly hypocritical for folks in the developed world to tell people in China, India and beyond that they shouldn’t have a car for the good of the planet. Further, from a personal perspective a car can be wonderful – and this from somebody who generally hates what cars have done to the urban landscape in America (you take your life in your hands walking or biking anywhere in a typical American suburb – many of which don’t even have sidewalks!).

    I think the world needs to make a major shift in their attitudes towards cars that allows many individuals to own them without destroying the walk/bike-ability of urban environments and, of course, without drastically changing the climate. This will require rich western countries to invest in public infrastructure which allows people to get where they want to go without getting in a car, and to build and purchase cars which have much less effect on the environment (no trucks or SUVs unless you actually need them for work!). It will require developing countries to start with smaller cars and to have significant pollution controls on those cars. When I was in India a few years ago they still used leaded gasoline and the air was practically unbreathable. One week in Bombay and I had respiratory problems that lasted 2 wks after being home! A $2,500 automobile is unlikely to have pollution controls built in.

    These $2500 cars will still emit carbon dioxide as well. As part of global climate treaties the developed world should give away low-carbon technology (as its developed) in exchange for developing countries massively reversing the deforestation that contributes mightily to global climate change. Oh, and in the process of developing low-carbon high effeciency vehicles we’ll continue to accept India and China’s best and brightest. Thanks!

  58. January 10, 2008 at 18:17

    akomanyi accra. (text)
    In Ghana such less expensive cars will increase mobility but will also end up increasing traffic congestion.thereby decreasing productivity.

  59. 59 Sam
    January 10, 2008 at 18:18

    Redux of what Henry Ford did introducing the Model A in the United States one hundred years ago.

    Personal transportation for the masses has arrived at an afordable (pun intended) price…

    You know the Tata has arrived when it become the staple for an (Indian) version of “Pimp My Ride”……..

    Space Cowboy from the Pacific NortWest (USA)

  60. 60 Mithril
    January 10, 2008 at 18:18

    Does everyone have the right to own a car? of course. The question is, “why would anybody want to own a car?” The modern United States was designed around the automobile economy. The transportation system has been key to its rise to world power. Other countries were not designed as such.

    You own a car for two basic reasons. 1) as a means of transportation required to support you family unit. 2) As a source of entertainment. Whether that “entertainment” is in the form of elevated status, hobby, or travel, it is still something that the owner does because they want to, not because they have to.

    If i didn’t have to own a car, if I could just teleport where I needed to be, I wouldn’t. new cars turn to clunkers and are incurring unexpected cost and hassle all the time. They are a source of furthering the disparity gap between the rich and the poor. (I.e. taxes, maintenance, tickets, gas, and tolls all cost the same inn dollars to everyone. However, a person who makes $30 p/h is less affected by a $100 speeding ticket then a person making $8 p/h.) In this country, to live in a pleasant healthy neighborhood where your children are safe and well educated, it requires a vehicle.

  61. 61 Cliff R. Boehm
    January 10, 2008 at 18:20

    Hey all,

    This one is short and sweet.
    Yes everyone should have the right to own a car, however nobody has any right to pollute the environment. (including me) Let’s hear it for green vehicles!

    Cliff R. Boehm

    check out my page at solaara.spaces.live.com

  62. January 10, 2008 at 18:20

    From Babag, Nigeria (text)
    Dear,BBC.Though I am unemployed law diploma holder hoping to further my education yes i would buy it if have the means to ease my transportation.

  63. 63 Jane
    January 10, 2008 at 18:21

    Why does the world think everyone in the US can afford to buy new cars? Most can only afford used cars, or pre-owned cars. Is the US the only country with a used car market? Think of it as recycling cars.

  64. 64 Rochelle Woodruff
    January 10, 2008 at 18:22

    That is a hard question to answer. I would think that it is a more complex question than is being stated. Taking one point at a time:

    If one is willing to take on the responsibility of driving, upkeep, safety, etc of the car, then yes; and
    If the car was not only good with gas mileage and had low to no emissions, then yes; and
    If the car was safe for not only the occupants, but anyone that could be affected in a collision, then yes; and
    If the area you live in doesn’t have an extensive and extremely efficient public transportation system, then yes; but
    If someone wants to spend the money on a vehicle for vanity, then yes; and
    If the car company wants to make money in a capitalistic society, then yes.
    After all, who are we, as people who have had vehicles before these residents, to say they don’t have the right to have a car because the rest of us in the world have ruined the atmosphere so they no longer have the right?

    But then again, the answer could just as easily be no. I would believe that with the scare of climate change, that the car manufacture would be prudent to create only low/no emission cars. That way, it is the best of both worlds.

    As for the Mouse, have you tried peppermint and/or peppermint oil? I have heard that works. Other than that, I would advise getting a hungry hunter.

    Thank you in advance

    Rochelle Woodruff, Roseville California

  65. 65 Diane King
    January 10, 2008 at 18:23

    Right to have a car is not the question. The more cars on the world’s roads will put pressure to advance Western policies for alternative, cleaner sources of energy because there is going to be increasing upward pressure on the price of oil and gas.
    I hope the urban planners where these new cars will be seen are paying attention to road maintenance and traffic management. Developing countries with growing middle classes are going to love them.

  66. 66 Lamii Kpargoi
    January 10, 2008 at 18:24

    Dear Ros,

    It is my view that everyone should be allowed to live their life the way they wish to depending on how much they can afford that particular lifestyle. If I had the choice, I would definitely purchase the two thousand dollar car. But it considering the global warming issue, I think people living in the west should be the ones to sacrifice their vehicular luxuries since they are the ones that have caused the worse harm to the earth’s climate.

    Thanks for the welcome statement to the World Have Your Say forum.

    Lamii Kpargoi
    Liberia Media Center (LMC)
    Monrovia, Liberia

  67. January 10, 2008 at 18:25

    Raad-Iraq (text)
    I’m happy because millions of poor people would afford to share the feeling of aspiration to have a car.

  68. January 10, 2008 at 18:26

    Anonymous text
    I live in Switzerland and I would definetly buy one and snub the big car manufactures.

  69. January 10, 2008 at 18:26

    MAX: “In short, the money generated from all the duties, taxes, COE’s, road usage charges etc. is funneled into PUBLIC TRANSPORT. The strategy seems to be / is: Curb private car ownership BUT provide clean & world-class public transport. ”

    This is a good solution for Marin county, USA, where the average person has 5 cars.

    D Matthews: I can totally sympathize with your situation and it makes me wonder where you are that you’re getting denied shelter based on a disability – that’s basically illegal. I’m in very rural N. CA and even here we have very fair shelter policy.

    All in all the contrast between these 2 posts show the reality of the situation: a person has the right to the transportation they need. So if for instance the people in Marin were forced to pay more per car in tax then perhaps it would allow more disabled people to have just 1 car.

  70. 70 Tim O'Kennedy
    January 10, 2008 at 18:28

    Should we celebrate Tata’s new car for the masses? I think we should. Yes, it is superficially a bad thing that more CO2 emitting hardware will go into use.

    But for many people in the developing world, car ownership is a symbol of economic progress – a symbol now within reach of many more than before. And those people will be encouraged by their step up the economic foodchain, and from that encouragement will come more ambition, and more prosperity.

    As one of the Rockefeller family once remarked “if you’re looking for somewhere clean, find out where the rich people live”. That’s the big challenge for the developing world now: create enough wealth throughout society for environmental concerns to move up the agenda – ahead of food, education, medicine and basic existence. Tata’s car may be a small step in the wrong direction for now, but ultimately, I think it’ll do more good than harm…..

    Tim O’Kennedy
    The Netherlands

  71. 71 Fahad Khan
    January 10, 2008 at 18:28

    I do not quite understand the outcry against this car. The biggest problem for the environment surely must be the thousands of Escalades, Navigators, Range Rovers and Hummers on the streets of the West which primarily get less then 14 mpg. Most of these drivers do not have large families to justify the purchase of these cars, instead they are purchased as status symbols. So if gas guzzling SUVs can be purchased as status symbols in the West, why can’t the rest of the world buy a small economical car? Why is there only an outcry when the “rest of the world” does something as opposed to the West?

  72. January 10, 2008 at 18:28

    Petrus. Botswana (text)
    I heard Tata had bought rights from a French co.to develop a car which uses compressed air instead of petrol and was to cost only 3,500 euros. This would be better for environment.

  73. 73 Marcelo Silva
    January 10, 2008 at 18:29

    I live in Oregon and here we try to have a less car oriented culture and I love it. I ride my bike to work everyday and pass a bunch of people sitting in traffic during rush-hour.

  74. 74 Oscar (Mexico)
    January 10, 2008 at 18:29

    I live in Mexico City, Recently a brand of Chinese cheap cars entered the market, now more people can afford to use a vehicle.

    I’ve always had a car, and I hate driving, I’d rather use the public transport but I don’t because the authorities have not created a safe and efficient way for me to travel in the city. Everyone hates traffic if we had a better way of moving from A to B I think people would leave the car at home and use other ways of transport.

  75. January 10, 2008 at 18:29

    Andrew, in Russia (text)
    Where are they going to park them? In Rieka in Croatia, where I used to work, pedestrians have to walk on the road, as the pavements are now covered with parked cars. There is just no room for car parking.

  76. January 10, 2008 at 18:30

    Chundu – Zambia (text)
    Yes i would definitely buy this car. Tata must try the Zambian market,where people are buying second hand cars from Japan twice or even 5 times that price !

  77. January 10, 2008 at 18:30

    GUBIKA (text)
    In a country like Uganda traffic is only heavy in the city while upcountry children are growing without seeing cars only reading about them in classes.

  78. 78 Kumbuyo Chagama
    January 10, 2008 at 18:31

    we have moved from the era when cars were a luxury. a car is now an almost a necessity even for the middle class people. the issue about the world cheapest car addresses one problem. definately there will come a time when the other issues about environment and conjestion will be dealt with in due course, thank you.- Joseph from Malawi

  79. 79 Nate
    January 10, 2008 at 18:32

    Ros just asked if Americans want it “any other way” regarding our lack of walkability. I, an American, say YES!!! I try to walk and ride my bike whenever I can. I hate the suburbs. I deliberately live in a condo in the city rather than a big house with a yard (I’d love to have a garden…) because I hate getting stuck in traffic and I like to get a bit of excercise without devoting 1+ hrs just to excercise.

    I say redesign our cities! Put in sidewalks and bike lanes, and fund them with a gas tax (deductible for businesses). Zone small areas in residential neighborhoods comercial so that grocers can sprout up and one can get daily necessities without driving 10 miles. Re-think the suburbs!

  80. 80 L. Walker
    January 10, 2008 at 18:33

    Do i want my city to change its construction?

    YES. i can see where i work from my apartment, but it takes me (as it did this morning) 15 minutes to drive there. busses are few and far between, the sidewalks line streets where cars fly by at 60 mph+ and bike riding is asking for death.

    you have to change the streets and the mindset of drivers behind the wheel to share the road.

    everyone lives on one side of town and works on the other. we so desperately need public transport. speeding, a plague of red light runners and road rage… india should learn form america’s mistake… not repeat it.

  81. 81 Scott McINtyre
    January 10, 2008 at 18:36

    Why not ship the hundreds of thousands of used reliable cars that people get rid of every day from developed nations. Hondas, toyotas, nissans, that all have a wide range of dealerships throughout the world to service these vehicles. Don’t burn natural resources building more cars, reuse the ones we have. They are reliable and will run for 100s of thousands of miles if maintained. And you could get them for far less than the $2500 for a Tata.

  82. 82 Tommy C.
    January 10, 2008 at 18:37

    They have every right to cars. I think it amusing that we focus on the environment and civilian vehicle use when the U.S. Military uses tons and tons of fuel everyday and no one seems to question this. Do you know how much fuel a tank or fighter jet uses? I also agree that 1 person driving a SUV to their cubicle at work is abhorant. I think we can learn from India and perhaps it is America that should switch to motorcycles.

  83. 83 John
    January 10, 2008 at 18:37

    I have an issue of Popular Science from 1951 where the new Ford is advertised as getting “up to 30 miles a gallon!” If American companies can’t do any better than that after 57 years I would say to India: Go for it!

    John in Salem

  84. January 10, 2008 at 18:37

    Samuel from Tanzania (text)
    I think Indians shouldn’t be very happy in this step because having a car increases personal expenditure which at the end will increase a chance of hard living conditions for the people.the solution is strenthening the public transport sector like in the U.k

  85. 85 PETER AMADI
    January 10, 2008 at 18:37

    I do not think that the issue is whether a very cheap car is good or bad. Any thing an organization can do to improve the lifestyle of people should be encouraged. the $2500.00 is not very easy to get for most of the populace of the world.
    I think that Govts around the world should concentrate on providing world class infrastructure, so that people can leave their cars at home and join public transport service,(buses,trains,boats etc) or even not buy cars at all.that will reduce fumes in the air.
    Lagos, Nigeria.

  86. 86 Erika
    January 10, 2008 at 18:38


    I believe people in developing countries should have the right to own a car just as others do in more developed countries.
    However, all people of the world, no matter what class you are part of, are responsible for doing their part to cut back on
    the polluting of our planet by seeking out alternatives to harmful methods of transportation whenever possible.


    I own a car, but ride my bike daily and only drive when it is necessary to carry heavy items.

    -Erika in New York City, NY

    erika neola photography

  87. 87 Nick
    January 10, 2008 at 18:38

    Hi Whys,

    I wish Tata had spent the money on increasing mobility for Indians through public transport instead of through private car ownership. Still the answer is, yes, everyone should have the right to own a car. A car isn’t a gun or child porn. Even if one doesn’t have a license to drive a car, as long one passes the rules in one’s own country for owning a car one should be able to own a car.

    For the environment’s sake it will be bad, it will increase congestion on the road (though not as much as America’s and japan’s cars) and pollution.

    San Francisco

  88. 88 Andy
    January 10, 2008 at 18:39

    India is already one of the most polluted countries in the world. This is only going to make it worse. Now people in India use local markets, with the ability to travel longer distances, they will travel to different markets. While this sounds like greater freedom, the cost to the environment is huge. Think of all the Americans who travel 20 miles or more to pick up their groceries, another 25 miles to go to work, another 5 miles to take their kid to soccer football practice.

    If India wants to be revolutionary, it should learn from our mistakes, and not emulate them. India is only heading down the road of unsustanable development. It starts with a $2500 car, and in 50 years everyone will want a $40,000 SUV.

    San Diego

  89. January 10, 2008 at 18:39

    Fumpa, Zambia (text)
    Bravo tata india. Now we can all buy a car for granny in the village. You have brought luxury to our door step. Just prove to us that it is as safe as any other car.

  90. 90 Jack from Cleveland
    January 10, 2008 at 18:40

    Personally I welcome a billion NEW drivers in the world. I just hope they all get cell phones and a big bag of fast food so they can talk, eat and drive at the same time like we do in the states.

    Jack from Cleveland
    WCPN 90.3

  91. 91 Richard Beers
    January 10, 2008 at 18:40

    No. At the least, my next car will be a hybrid and ideally an all electric. This should be a world wide goal.

  92. January 10, 2008 at 18:41

    Ivan. Czech Republic (text)
    Why not? We are content to drive 500 metres for a loaf of bread in the west. Why deny people in India the luxury to drive vastly greater distances? The roads in the CZ are at saturation point too. Double standards or what?

  93. 93 Raage
    January 10, 2008 at 18:41

    Climate change is not a laughable matter, but don’t you “Ros” find it funny that only the West has the right to pollute? In the future, Tata may develop a cheap hybrid version.


  94. 94 Foday
    January 10, 2008 at 18:42

    This sounds like a break through for the nation of India. Everyone in the world has the right to enjoy in the progress of technology even if it comes a bit late. I wonder how much more a single Ford 150 model pollutes than a Tata Nano? Maybe the whole world should drive Tata Nanos and reduce pollution.

    Washington D.C.

  95. 95 WN
    January 10, 2008 at 18:42

    Hey WHYS:

    I am happy that you are discussing this issue. YES, I am for people buying such a vehicle.

    I don’t know why people in the West are howling about this “inexpensive” entry into the world automobile market. I dare say, that many of those Western “environmentalists” live in homes with two-car garages. If they are to be taken seriously, then they should try to do without such hefty luxuries.

    If the problem is global pollution, then the whole world should shoulder the burden, not just people in the Global South. Perhaps, the West could share pollution-controls to mitigate the effects of global pollution.

    I trust that this answers your questions about global automobile pollution.


    Madison, WI

  96. 96 Warren
    January 10, 2008 at 18:43

    Three Points:

    (1) Whether or not someone has a right to own a car shouldn’t be based on economics. Currently, automobile ownership is regulated by income.

    (2) It is unclear more cars will increase congestion (in India, at least). Most people that can afford a car (even a $2500 car) in India already use 3 wheel taxis to get around. When they travel, it will either be in their own car or a 2 cycle 3 wheel cab. Either way they’re using roads and burning fuel.

    (3) Those that are railing against automobiles in the U.S. need to understand that prior to the advent of the Model T, commerce and travel was mainly local. People would seldom travel beyond their own town. There was virtually no interconnecting road system and regional commerce was virtually unheard of. You need good roads to stimulate commerce, and you need a lot of cars to justify the construction of good roads.

  97. 97 Christopher
    January 10, 2008 at 18:44

    YES.This is very good for us in developing country like Uganda.I am Christopher in Arua.

  98. January 10, 2008 at 18:45

    I forgot to mention, if you have mice, you can pleased you don’t have rats.
    Whether this applies to the BBC I hesitate to conjecture, but it generally holds as a rule.


    The ultimate mouse trap.
    Tried and tested in Orkney, and Orkney mice are not stupid.

    1 x square biscuit tin with lid.
    1 x length of string (variable)
    I x rubber band
    1 x heavy object such as a half-brick.
    1 x piece of gaffer tape
    1x piece of aluminum foil, crinkled
    1 x scissors
    1 x chair
    1x book (tv will do)
    1 x bar of chocolate

    Use gaffer tape to:
    Tape the lid to the biscuit tin, like a hinge.
    Attach rubber band to lid and tin, so that as default the lid snaps shut
    (you can see where I am going here huh)
    Attach string to lid (best make a small hole in the lid and thread it through)

    Now you should have a biscuit tin with a hinged lid that can be kept open with the string, and snaps shut when the string is released.

    Position biscuit tin against the wall in an out of the way corner of the room, with the hinged lid opening from the lower edge up. Like a swing-up garage door.
    Place the weight on top of the tin to prevent it moving when the lid (the door) is raised using the string.
    Place inside the tin a bit of the chocolate (you didn’t think it was all for you did you?) and cover the chocolate loosely with the aluminum foil.
    Take the other end of the string and attach it to a chair leg, so it keeps the lid (the door) open. Not a lot, an angle of 20 degrees is enough.

    Position self on chair with book (or tv on with remote on hand).
    Hold scissors open in left hand (or right if you are left handed), arm dangling down so that the cutting V of the scissor covers but does not quite touch the string.

    Stay as motionless as possible.
    Enjoy the book, surf the tv channels whatever.
    Staying as motionless as possible is the key here.

    Sooner or later, probably sooner because, forget your cheese and nuts, mice can smell chocolate through concrete, there will be the rustle of the aluminum foil indicating the mouse id tucking in.

    Snip the string with the handily positioned scissors and “clack”,you have a mouse in a box.

    Now, here is the secret to the whole thing. The mouse suddenly finding itself trapped in a dark box will its hi-fi way inform its’ mates that this is not the room to be in. Let it do this for a while, like an hour or so. Don’t forget, it has half a chocolate bar to keep it company,so don’t feel too bad.
    Then take the box, with mouse, outside and eject the contents (deftly open the lid with the remaining string and shake the tin vigorously)… Over A Wall into someone else’s yard This is important.

    You will not be troubled by mice again.


  99. 99 Dan
    January 10, 2008 at 18:46

    200 million animals are killed each year on U.S. highways.

    More cars means more animals die on the road.

  100. 100 Mark
    January 10, 2008 at 18:48

    Will it be available in North america? Its about time we had a new Model T for the new
    century- something simple, cheap and efficient. All the western cars look the same anyway.

  101. 101 Zak Rudy
    January 10, 2008 at 18:48

    When this story was first reported it was said that the car would not be released in the US due to the body construction employing glue products. Assuming this is true how many other countries would ban this car based on those principles?

  102. 102 Janai Calluy
    January 10, 2008 at 18:49

    Another question wich can be asked is wether this car can handle African roads for instance…
    I think its great perhaps it maybe should have been a hybrid car…
    Still the 2500

  103. 103 Egmond Petzoldt
    January 10, 2008 at 18:49

    I’m 56 years old, never owned a car, or a motorcycle. I always travelled by bike and public transport.Whenever I travel long distances I use hitchhike services on the net, busses or trains. On another interesting program you pointed out that we have just 10 percent of our soil left for growing food and preserving natural flora, Without these, we have no chance of surviving on our planet. Whatever the arguments,a bit of insight will tell you that we cannot afford to go on spreading turmac all around us, whether we are “developped” or “devellopping” world.

  104. 104 Robert Ewing
    January 10, 2008 at 18:49

    Yes I would buy it.
    It is the car of the future.
    The Volkswagen (peoples car) for the world.

    Robert Ewing
    Portland, Oregon USA

  105. January 10, 2008 at 18:49

    Johnston, Kampala,Uganda (text)
    Introducing cheap & affordable cars to many common people is most welcome! If rich people who have been using expensive cars think this development will crowd the street and pollute the world,let them park their expensive cars and give way for the common people also for a change!

  106. 106 Andy
    January 10, 2008 at 18:49

    Writing of all SUV drivers as bad is a generalization. One must look to the total carbon footprint of an individual. I live in San Diego, I don’t use air conditioning or heat b/c my temperature averages 25 degrees celcius year round. I don’t take many flights on commercail airplanes, I don’t commute over 10 miles. I recreate using a bicycle.
    I have compact florescent lights throughout my home.

    I have a lower footprint than your environmental guest who probably heats her home in the winter and cools it in the summer, and flys around the globe giving lectures. I could drive a Hummer and probably still come out ahead. We must not generalize that all SUV drivers are ignorant of environmental issues.

    San Diego

  107. 107 Kim
    January 10, 2008 at 18:50

    Everybody in the world should have the right to own a personal car. However, I have the right, and the earth has the right to see that those individuals use their right to own a personal car responsibly.

    Kim Olson

  108. January 10, 2008 at 18:50

    Mayene, Dar-es-salaam
    I definately will buy this car. Its much better than the used cars from japan and dubai that are plenty in tanzanian market.

  109. 109 Ralph
    January 10, 2008 at 18:52

    The safety gains from getting an entire family off of a scooter and into a safer car sound huge to me. Won’t a car with an engine that passes emissions standards be an improvement over unregulated scooter 2-strokes? A small diesel running on bio-diesel would help a great deal also. I’ve ordered a smart car, but would consider a nano for urban driving if they were available in the US.


  110. 110 Stephanie
    January 10, 2008 at 18:53

    This is Stephanie from Oregon, United States.

    Nobody has the right to purchase whatever they want at whatever cost to the environment. However, I don’t think that this cheaper car should be the first to be restricted. The worst polluters should be prohibited first – SUVs in the Western world! Additionally, restricting mobility probably increases poverty, and poverty is one of the biggest contributors to environmental degradations.


  111. January 10, 2008 at 18:53

    Eze ,nigeria. (text)
    Hey! Did I hear that 2500 dollars cars cheap? Well,I assure TATA that when they eventually come 2 nigeria only few people will be there 2 buy.

  112. 112 Diane
    January 10, 2008 at 18:53

    Right to have a car is not the question. The more cars on the world’s roads will put pressure to advance Western policies for alternative, cleaner sources of energy because there is going to be increasing upward pressure on the price of oil and gas.
    I hope the urban planners where these new cars will be seen are paying attention to road maintenance and traffic management. Developing countries with growing middle classes are going to love them.
    Diane King

  113. 113 Ken in Cleveland
    January 10, 2008 at 18:54

    Everyone has a right to own any vehicle they like. The problem lies in common sense in how that vehicle is used. I have neighbors that will drive their SUV to the corner store for beer while I walk a mile to public transportation that takes me to work. People in the US and other developed countries need to learn more about civic and enviornmental responsibility. I’d rather see NASCAR banned instead of the Tata.

    Ken in Cleveland

  114. January 10, 2008 at 18:56

    I’m planning to buy one for each of my nine grandchildren on their eighteenth birthday. Eat your hearts out y’all . Excited Kenyan grandmother, Nairobi

  115. 115 Janai Calluy
    January 10, 2008 at 18:56

    By the way I’m driving a 20 years old renault 5 and it still takes me where I need to be. The used cars in the so called developed world can still be used here in Europe by people who don’t have the means of buying a new car because such people also live in the so called developed world!

  116. January 10, 2008 at 18:57

    Anonymous from Singapore (text)
    About Nano, the latest offering by Tata: I hear it can also even transform itself into a two-legger & do a Bollywood song-and-dance. Wow, and all for just $2500.

  117. 117 Girish Shukla
    January 10, 2008 at 18:57

    I am really frightened by the idea that already chocked streets of Indian cities will be flooded by cheap cars. City like Delhi which has millions of cars already plying on congested streets will be totally chocked with other million cars. The current owners do not even have garages to park the cars in their houses. Millions of cars are parked on streets in neighborhood which is impassable currently. Imagine million more cars parked on the streets additionally!!!!

  118. January 10, 2008 at 18:58

    What will they do when the gas supply is exhausted and alternative fuel diesels are the only way?

  119. 119 Elias
    January 10, 2008 at 18:58

    Let us be frank that car is by the virtue of size environment friendly. The so called poor word will like it only the west will fight it because it breaks down the status-quo.

    Drs Elias N. Lamle
    Leuven. Belgium

    In your conviction consider the other because, conviction can be “more an enemy of truth than lies” Nietzsche

  120. 120 Warren
    January 10, 2008 at 18:58

    I find it interesting that the female commentator on the show is against ownership of cars by anyone, but mentions that her family has imported cars for years. In a country as class conscious as India, might this disfavor by educated (and ostensibly wealthy) Indians be a response to loosing the exclusive status of being a car owner to the lower classes? Hmmm?

  121. 121 Angela Evan
    January 10, 2008 at 18:59

    Adopt a cat that was formerly a barn cat – one that if you don’t adopt has no options, one that will help alleviate stress in the office, one that will make the office homier, one that will help you with mice and mood and that you will help with a home.

  122. 122 Tom D Ford
    January 10, 2008 at 19:00

    Yes, I’d buy, but!

    History teaches us that unregulated businesses destroy their immediate surrounding environments and their cities die out, and now they have the potential ability to destroy human life on our planet, so scientifically valid and well-enforced Regulations are needed!

    Tom D Ford
    Bend, OR USA

  123. 123 Rachel
    January 10, 2008 at 19:13

    I currently drive a 21-year-old car that I bought four years ago for $1000. It runs fine, but I drive it less and less, because I don’t want to contribute to wars for oil and global warming.

    These Tata cars look really light weight, with small engines, so they will probably get really good gas mileage, contributing a lot less to global warming than heavier cars.

    I hope the people of India will be more successful than we in the USA were, in finding ways for people to get to and from work and school, shop, and find joy in life without driving around all the time in personal transport devices. It really doesn’t work very well for us. We spend as much time in humdrum transport as we did when we walked or rode horses, and our lives are not noticeably more joyful. The personal car is just another energy-wasting treadmill masquerading as a status symbol.

    Indians: Go for a really good, people-friendly public transportation system. Skip over the obsolete personal-car era. Avoid congestion, resource wars, and climate disaster. Show us how to do it!

  124. 124 Avtar
    January 10, 2008 at 19:29

    Some of the arguments put against the car may be valid in certain cercumstances. But most of those arguments were coming from the countries which keep on saying that you should do what they preach and not what they do.
    For last 15 years world scientists have been warning about the global warming its affect on the Earth. All these mighty countries have tried every trick to prove the science wrong. May be the global warming may be helped a bit if all the Americans came out of their hummers and other gas gusslers to start driving Tata Nanos. As far danger to life on Indian roads is concerned, I am sure Tata Nano will be safer than a family of four riding on a scooter. Any way Tata Nanos are bound to be less poluting than old scooters and all the old bangers someone was trying to sell to India.

  125. 125 Stephanie
    January 10, 2008 at 19:34

    I want cars eliminated!!! But more realistically, I want my town, ALL towns & cities, to be centered around public transit, bikes, and pedestrians. I already live in Portland, which is a bike-friendly city becoming more bike-friendly. Not all Americans are car crazy!!

  126. 126 Cara Capizzi
    January 10, 2008 at 19:35

    cheap cars are great, especially if they efficient.

    i’d buy a cheap car. i like having a car, but i don’t use it often. i live in washington, dc and will always consider walking or public transportation to get somewhere before i consider driving. i keep my car as a back up option, mostly to get out of the city where public transport is less efficient.

    with the growing rate of obesity, people should get out of their cars and start walking more anyway. cars are not a bad thing, its people’s dependence on them.

  127. 127 Heather Blom
    January 10, 2008 at 19:35

    I would absolutely love to have cities in America change their infrastructure in order to allow safer & more convenient walking and biking. I lived in Sweden for a couple of years and never owned a car and was able to bike where I wanted, when I wanted. Better for the people, better for environment, better all around.

    Heather Blom

    Controller, Hidden Rock Homes

  128. 128 Pam
    January 10, 2008 at 19:36

    Pam from Cincinnati, Ohio:

    Yes, yes, yes! We want it different! I HATE that I have to drive everywhere. It’s terribly difficult to find a place to live where you can walk or use public transportation most of the time.

    My DREAM lifestyle is to NOT own a car.

    I repeat: WE DO WANT IT DIFFERENT!!!!!!!!

  129. 129 Lee
    January 10, 2008 at 19:38

    Hi WHYS,
    I’m from America but I’ve been living in Germany. Being able to walk or use public transportation is one thing I really like about Europe, although there is a movement where people rely less on cars called New Urbanism that my sister in Washington DC tries to practice. Still, I am still shocked when some Americans drive cars instead of walking 50 feet at a shopping center.
    Lee from North Carolina

  130. 130 Tao Gandi
    January 10, 2008 at 19:38

    Tao Gandi, from Charllotte, NC USA.

    The argument that the Tata Nano will cause a climate impact is bogus considering the fact that the company is expecting to sell one million car during the year, while in 2006 there were 16, 559, 970 cars sold just in the U.S (source, automative nesw data book).
    One more time I think the developped country are crying about emerging countries polluting the world whereas they are the great polluters.

  131. 131 Mark Poysden
    January 10, 2008 at 19:39

    So far on your programme, all your interviewees have spoken about the ‘right’ to own a car. Owning a car is either a ‘need’ or a luxury, not a right. Access to clean water, freedom of expression and so forth are rights.

    Mark Poysden
    The Netherlands

  132. 132 Ivan Lindau
    January 10, 2008 at 19:39

    I used to study in Los Angeles. I was too afraid to walk to the local grocery store, because the sidewalk was too slim and and the speed limit too high. I was afraid of being brushed by a car. So, I borrowed money for a car and drove 5 minuets to pick up my groceries.
    A great shame, since I would have loved to stroll through the californian weather.

    Ivan Lindau
    Lund, Sweden

    PS Great program!

  133. 133 Ian Short
    January 10, 2008 at 19:40

    This new budget car is a significant step in humanities’ ongoing destruction of the earth.

    To answer the question: NO, everyone does not have the right to own a car.

    Ian Short

  134. 134 Therese Yanan
    January 10, 2008 at 19:42

    I agree with the earlier statement about public transportation. I live in a small town in a rural area in New Mexico & there is very little useful public transportation. I ride my bicycle when I can, but would love to use public transportation rather than drive the 15 miles to work. The United States does not invest in or consider public transportation enough & our children will ultimately pay the price.

    Therese Yanan

  135. 135 Jennifer
    January 10, 2008 at 19:43

    I live in Los Angeles, a city with very poor public transportation offerings. It currently takes 90-120 minutes to travel 24 miles from my home to work or back any time between the hours of 7AM and 8PM – regardless of whether one chooses the freeway or surface roads. The problem here is the sheer volume of vehicles and not their respective sizes. There is simply no room for this many single person drivers.

    While the idea of a cheap car available to all is exciting when one considers its impact on individuals, when taken in aggregate, the effect would be devastating to highly populated areas. Add to this the added issues with road maintenance (the West side of Los Angeles is absolutely mired with construction) and it is quite easy to imagine oceans of stationary but affordable cars.

  136. 136 Ken in Cleveland
    January 10, 2008 at 19:44

    As someone that walks and uses public transportation I would love to see our roadways become more user friendly for all traffic. I walk a mile to the train even if I have to trudge through snow plowed from streets onto the sidewalks or dodge splashes from passing vehicles when it’s wet. I live in a country that worships NASCAR and treats people on foot or bicycle like they are second class and crazy.

    Ken in Cleveland

  137. 137 Natalie
    January 10, 2008 at 19:46

    I would indeed like less emphasis in our communities on cars, and more emphasis on bikes, walking, and public transportation. It is more expensive to live in safe neighborhoods near town, near work, than it is to live further out in suburbs where it is impossible to get around without a car. It is our right to mobility, and it is our right to be able to lead healthy lifestyles near family, work, and other amenities. It is not a right to own a car. If we start thinking of our rights in terms of access to material, consumable goods, I fear for our future. Next will you ask if we all have a right to an iPod?

    Portland OR

  138. 138 Ann Z. in Cleveland
    January 10, 2008 at 19:46

    It is difficult and expensive to implement better public transport in a sprawling Midwestern American city, like Cleveland. The highway and road infrastructure already exists with wide streets designed for cars and convenient parking rather than pedestrian traffic or public transport. The majority of the middle class and more affluent citizens have moved to suburbs, which are viewed as safer and more attractive with better schools and public services.

    But yes, I think many Americans would welcome more efficient public transportation. It’s just difficult to have the political will to implement such an expensive change.


    Ann Z. in Cleveland

  139. 139 Bill
    January 10, 2008 at 19:47

    In the united states, driving is a privilege not a right. If it becomes a right, regulation would be impossible or so is the theory. violation of the rules for good drivers results in fines or suspension of driving privilege. No license no insurance, no insurance could result in impound of your vehicle and more fines…….unpaid fines result in suspension, results in inability to get to work or keep a job…..it is a downward spiral….Cars the necessary in our society where there is no muni/ Bill P bend Oregon usa

  140. 140 Mary Kennedy
    January 10, 2008 at 19:48


    You had put out the questions to the American’s listening to your program today “would you like to see less car oriented cities” and I answer a resounding YES. I live in a suburb of a major city and both my children learned to drive immediately at 16 out of necessity. There is no public transportation in my suburb (apart from school buses). They have no choice but to learn to drive and need a vehicle at a young age. It’s actually more responsibility than they want/need but don’t want to curtail their activities and why should they?

    Mary Kennedy

  141. 141 Daniel
    January 10, 2008 at 19:49

    I would like to see more of an emphisis on public transportation instead of more cars. It hurts out community here in Salt Lake City. There is little sense of community if you never have a change to talk to people who live where you do because you are in your car all day. Not to mention the polution and the cost of oil and car repairs.

    Salt Lake City, USA

  142. 142 Philipp Zeissig
    January 10, 2008 at 19:49

    The introduction of this car does not affect the Western automotive industry since it does not meet any of the emission and safety standards. For $2,500 you can buy a very good 10 year old used car that meets many more safety and emission standards.

    Unfortunately countries like India do not give the same value to human life as the West by allowing unsafe cars on their roads just to save money.

  143. 143 Peter Noordijk
    January 10, 2008 at 19:50

    This car is like a lighter VW bug, “invented” 60 years after the original.

  144. 144 Tara
    January 10, 2008 at 19:50

    I am a 26 year old living in Washington D.C.

    I would love to see car usage significatly reduced in the United States.

    I love public transportation. I owned a car for 6 months when I was 16, and hope to never own a car again. Despite popular belief, life without a car is better.


  145. 145 Dr Ozzanne
    January 10, 2008 at 19:51

    If it’s a pollution let everyone contribute to it, not only to some few individuals. Everyone has a right of owning a car. Thanks Tata!

    |Dr. Ozzanne Issakwisa, MD|

  146. 146 Natalie
    January 10, 2008 at 19:52

    Yes, I would rather have better road planning and public transportation and ability to bike and walk than own a car.

    Portland, OR, USA

  147. 147 Captain-In-The-Dock
    January 10, 2008 at 20:08

    On the topic of mice & the comment from Malc Dow, January 10, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks Malc! Actually, I’m a bit zapped. By the time I read thru your rat-catching or mice-catching procedure I felt like jumping off a cliff. It’s ssooo complicated. Just Joking!! No! I’m NOT joking. Jeez! I am zapped.

    Incidentally, would it work in trapping a ‘laden Bin’ or a ‘bush’? How big would the tin have to be?

    Thanking you (well in advance).

    Yours zapped,

    Captain In-the-Dock, Lost ‘n’ Found in Britain

  148. 148 Des Currie
    January 10, 2008 at 20:24

    Spray the mice in the eyes with mace and call in the farmers wife. She can make mice run.

  149. 149 steve
    January 10, 2008 at 21:20

    Lots of comments for Oregon of the granola nature, but I agree. I wish people would exercise more. There’s an unfortunately issue, at least in the US, in major cities other than NYC that nobody has brought up. If you’re a male, and you like females, you need a car. The vast majority of women in cities are unforgiving if you don’t have a car, and even some of those women are unforgiving depending on what kind of car you have. I used to drive a Ford, and I started dated some girl that thank God she said this, but she said “you’r ea lawyer, you’re supposed to drive a BMW, not a Ford”. So there is this insecurity, “have to be seen” in a car, or a nice car thing going on here. I don’t believe europe is the same way given how expensive cars and gasoline are there. But here, at least in cities other than NYC, women will label men a “loser” if they don’t have a car. I probably could do without my car, I probably use it only 3 times a week, and that’s to drive to my gym. I live within walking distance of virtually everything I need.

  150. 150 Cynthia Cramer
    January 10, 2008 at 21:59

    In this vein, I wanted to respond to someone’s remark during the broadcast(Ros—perhaps it was you?). The queston was raised: Is the US ready for Mass transportation?
    I say taxation, or law limiting the use of fossil fuels would be enough to get people to try riding the train. Forcing people may not be terribly democratic, but how else do get people used to a new way of doing things, and don’t we need to for the sake of our earth? And If our transportation system is not good , all the laws in the land aren’t going to make people like it. Cleveland won a national awaard last year for their trans. system—it was aparently based on fares and increased ridership. Cleveland by no means has a good mass tansit systems. Late buses, limited hours of operation, poorly maintained equipment and inadequate train lines.
    Cleveland Area (Medina,OH,US)

  151. 151 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 10, 2008 at 23:34

    Re: Zak January 10, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    You have integrated (NOT from the calculus viewpoint OR from the calculus viewpoint) the two posts very well! Are you originally from America? Are you ‘Red Indian’? I think you are from a different planet! You are good!

    Before I forget ‘d matthews’ & his comment: January 10, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Whatever I’ve said here, on this topic, or what I’ve said on ANY OTHER topic; EXCLUDES people like ‘d matthews’. WHY? An exception proves the rule!

    In other words, people like ‘d matthews’ are NOT included in my opinions or arguments. What the heck are you talking about, Max?!

    What I am talking about IS that my opinions or suggestions (& those of others-I hope so) apply to people who don’t have a NEED! There is a difference between a need & a want. If I were super-rich, I’d buy not one but two or more cars for ‘d matthews’.

    Mr. Matthews, Sir!,

    I hope you did NOT read my post in a negative way. In any case, that wasn’t my intention.

    Bye! C U later alligator!

  152. January 11, 2008 at 02:16

    Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I January 10, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    to deny that the Automobile was not one of the largest if not the largest reason for the US assent into a military, Financial, and political superpower is to disconnect cause from consequence. It would take a full chapter to connect all the dots. The economy was driven by the building, selling, and supporting the Automobile. Go back to the early to mid 20th century and see who was contributing the GNP. Consider all of the jobs that were created by the automobile. I grew up in the belly of the rust belt. With out the Automobile we were just a big corn field next to a big water supply. The ability to pump out an efficient automobile and then transport it to any micro area of the country is the reason we moved so much more quickly into the industrial age. Our immense appetite for “Texas tea”, “black gold”, “oil that is” gave us influence and a voice over countries far and wide.

    The US roadway system allowed companies to go much. father and much wider to find that perfect candidate to be head of their company. Any basic economics instructor will tell you the bigger the pool of applicants you can choose to hire from the better your chances are for success. In countries where the golden CEO would have to take a bus, train, or walk 50 miles to just apply the likelihood that the two would meet is minuscule. The bottom line is that no public transportation system ever conceive can deliver a worker efficiently from their factory job to their door step in a quick enough faction. Only because we don’t spend 4 hours after our work day on a ride home has made leaving our farms behind to work in a service or factory job interesting.

    The best way to illustrate this to day would be to tell you to give up your computer and every time you want to jump on the info super highway, you have to walk down to the library and wait in line to do it. If everybody had to do that, what are the chances that a company selling pet food in hicksville Indiana would have become a publicly traded company. If everybody had to use “public transportation” to get on the internet, there would be no internet was we know it. I everybody had to get their kids to school, get to work on time, take the kids to the doctors at lunch, pick the kids up from school after work and get home with dinner in hand all via “public transportation”, there would be very few people who bothered to leave the farm.

    That is a mere scrape of the way the automobile sped the US into it’s “SuperPower” status.

    but It might also be just poopycock too

  153. 153 Luci Smith
    January 11, 2008 at 03:16

    Everyone ought to own a bicycle.
    Cars seem to make people stupid.
    I also think that anyone with mice ought to own a cat.
    Cities need to plan for bicycles.I support any kind of taxes and congestion charges and anything that makes public transportation more viable.
    I am 50 years old and one of the reasons that I am happy that I moved from Texas to Denmark is that I never have had a driver’s liscence or a car. In Copenhagen, it is easy and fast to cycle. A lot of people are buying cars now because they can. And they are getting fatter and more frustrated because they sit in traffic jams all of the time. For us cyclists, it is a shame iwth all of the diesel fumes, too. They are much worse than any cigarette smoke ever will be. It is said that diesel fumes can harm your genes.
    So, my answer must be that it is a very bad idea for everyone to buy a car. I think it ought to be extremely expensive, while public transportation ought to be easily accesible and cheap. And then people could choose ether collective transportation or a bicycle or walking. And there ought to be bans on anything that emits diesel fumes!

  154. 154 SG
    January 11, 2008 at 04:49

    Everyone seems to have forgotten the Maruti 800 which was the first car that started the mass car revolution in India in the late 80s and early 90s. Today, it costs around 200,000 rupees, twice as much as the Nano, but is nevertheless very cheap compared to cars in western markets. No one seemed to be asking ‘car ownership rights’ questions back then. The Tatas have simply replicated that model by bringing another cheap no-frills entry level car.

  155. 155 George
    January 11, 2008 at 05:09

    Mice- Tiger hunt formula

    In the “Big Thicket” East Texas raccoon’s were entering the garden each night.

    I tried car headlights plus 12 gauge, then extension cords to the garden with the gun, and finally built a blind in a tree with a light bank from the University and sat up

    like a Tiger Hunter in India all night.

    The raccoons were too fast to shoot when I flipped on the lights.

    Finally I lay news paper in the rows to see them without turning on the light bank by moonlight.

    At 2AM I shot a 40 pound raccoon in the corn.

    Then I laid it on the trail they used back in the woods.

    Adapted to mice—–

    Lay newspapers on the floor of the office.
    Set up a blind near the ceiling.
    Open the shades for the moonlight to come in on the newspapers.
    A 12 gauge shotgun with a modified choke is optimal.

  156. 156 George
    January 11, 2008 at 05:28

    I highly recommend-

    “Man-Eaters of Kumaon” by Jim Corbett

    This great book inspired me as a boy and I never forgot it.

    It will help you with the mice.

  157. January 11, 2008 at 06:15

    Should the low-income consumer be able to upgrade his 2-wheeler to a safer 4-wheeler? Yes.

    I think that’s what Mr Tata is offering to the 2-wheeler rider. And it looks like his ‘innovation around cost’ model is an interesting way of making such dreams possible.

  158. 158 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 11, 2008 at 12:45

    Re: Dwight, January 11, 2008 at 2:16 am

    Perspective 1) What you are saying is ‘correct’ BUT it is correct only in quotes. In other words, what you are saying is ‘correct’ in certain positions, conditions & situations ONLY.

    Perspective 2) I read a comment by a Russian (?) on the HYS (500-charac type) wherein he said (words to the effect that) – ‘The KGB spent a lot of money, time & effort in stopping people from talking. It then realised that it had to spend a lot more of all three to find out what people were whispering’. What a fantastic insight!!!! NOW! Apply this to your ‘black gold’, pollution, climate change business. How much will have to be spent to correct the sins of the past? The wages of sin??!!

    Perspective 3) My comment on HYS (forum ID 3984) (Topic is ‘Does the UK need another bank holiday?’):

    Added: Thursday, 27 December, 2007, 11:59 GMT 11:59 UK

    “Should we have an additional bank holiday in the UK?”

    Why not? Where is all the talk of economic growth & costs & doing things faster & faster taking us? Towards sick societies, a sick environment & planet, a general evaporation of morality & ethics. On an individual level, possibly an early grave!

    Time for all of humanity to take stock of:

    -Why are we here?
    -Where are we going?
    -What’s the best way to get there?

    Nothing ‘grows’ forever in Nature or in the Universe. So how can we?

    [MaxMaxmilianMaximusI], Indian Caesar in, Singapore

    Perspective 3) should take care of all your faster transport, internet,…

    Perspective 4) Never believe your own propaganda! This is a disease which affects all races, creeds, etc. America has to get down from that ‘house-of-cards’ pedestal it is sitting on. Name a single NET benefit that America has given to the world or even to itself; ALL things considered. No partial, contextual or limited analyses allowed.

    Please don’t get offended, but I still say ‘poppycock’. I don’t say ‘poopycock’!

    Lastly, go & have a look at the blog of ‘Abdelilah Boukili’. (http://abdoukili4.blogspot.com/) He sez: “If we can’t change the course of the events because they are much more powerful than us, then let’s, at least, have the power of insight.” Great chap! Read between the lines of his statement.


  159. 159 Charles
    January 11, 2008 at 16:36

    The cost of this car is not cheap. It comes with billions of dollars of pavement, thousands of vehicle deaths and related health problems, as well as issolation and fragmentation of society. The American model is frustrating and wasteful. American cities sprawl because of cars. There is potential for better space planning. Every home is spread out by roads, driveways, and parking lots, which makes walking less of an option. If we could reduce the size and use of cars, there would be a great burden lifted from society and the Environment.

    I would love to see downtown USA become pedestrian, bike and delivery truck only. Walking will keep you and the Environment healthy.

  160. 160 Jon
    January 11, 2008 at 17:34

    The question about car ownership has to begin with the positive assumption. It is vital to a free society that individuals be afforded the ability to move freely, on their own terms rather than on the terms set forth by systemically controlled mass transportation. The better question is whether or not a democratic government has the right to deny people the ability to buy a car. The answer must be an emphatic “no.”

  161. January 11, 2008 at 18:57

    If you can’t evict the mice of the studio or have them trapped, keep them distracted when there is no one there. For example, leave a screen playing non-stop Tom and Jerry. At least they will stay put without thinking of nibbling the wires and the documents in the studio

  162. January 12, 2008 at 08:03

    the debate must also see how the carplant has been set up in 1000 acres ofagricultural farming land and evicting poor farmers by the left government in singur ,bengal .and the catastrophic effect of destroying a fertile land killing the land forever added to it is the pollution the plant causes by its emissions during the production stage,the human rights of the farmers evicted without adequete displacement package is not adequetly discussed. all this into making a one lakh car of tatas qualify it for banning by customers just as europeans do for african diamonds for sale in european market calling it as BLOOD DIAMOND? WILL TATA CAR ALSO COMES UNDER THIS BLOOD DIAMOND CATEGORY AS THE TATA PLANT TO SET UP FORCEFULLY THE POLICE FIRING KILLED COUPLE OF FARMER PROTESTORS AND INJURED MANY?SO THE FARMERS BLOODSTAINS ARE ON THIS CAR ..SO WHETHER IT QUALIFIES FOR BAN UNDER BLOOD DIAMOND LIKE MUST ALSO BE A PART OF THE DEBATE RATHER THAN TOUCHING PERIPHERAL THINGS LIKE IS IT NICE EVERYONE CAN BUY A CAR?

  163. 163 George
    January 13, 2008 at 06:08

    Max- the Grand Wazoulli of Singapore, etc.


    -Why are we here? Glorify God

    -Where are we going? Heaven or Hell

    -What’s the best way to get there? Worship and serve- God or Satan


    US went superpower by dropping two atomic bombs on Japan to end WWII.

    US prospered by having two oceans so we were not torn up during the war.

    Tara and bicycle advocates one and all-

    I have used only a bike and public transportation for about 10 years, made some inter-state bicycle trips, and find only minor limitations- e.g. moving a desk.

    Nothing to it and makes you feel good with all the Endorpins circulating.

  164. 164 Njabula
    January 14, 2008 at 15:13

    hi. thanks for your mail. can i express my view on you question, does anyone has the right to own a car?
    in as much as owning a car is a pleasure to all of us i dont think it can be good that everyone owns a car. considering the following;

    traffic congestion, what can happen in a case where the people in the city can be in their cars, can there be any parking space, what can happen in the roads, i mean how long will one take to travel a distance of 5km, obviously the whole day trying to negotiate with the other vehicles
    pollution, the environment we are living in is already polluted wirth the not so many cars around so what if everyone can own their own cars, i left this one to you.
    public transport operators, this are bussiness people that we need to consider seriosly, i know car machanic bussiness can boom boom we have to take a look to all bussiness aspect, then if we all have our cars then we mean public transport operators should go to rot (ahaha!!!!!!!!)
    i want to own a car but im from a family of 11, so if we all have our cars what can be the situaion just imagine, atleast if it ca be that each family owns a car that can be fine

    thanks, talk to you soon

  165. 165 Zafar
    January 14, 2008 at 15:16

    Hi Ros

    The People’s car just unveiled by Tata Motors will boost the morale of the lower middle class in India. Onwing a car is or until recently was a middle class dream. Now, Tata has made it very much possible for everyone to own a car–just like the bicycle, which even people in villages use profusely. Of course, this will remain out of bounds for the poor and the homeless. At the one hand, it marks a moment of progress for India. On the other, it also signifies the failure of public transport system in the country which remains largely a private enterprise. People can afford the car but will the Govt of India provide them cheap people’s petrol? I doubt that. It will also add to the problem of pollution. Another issue is that of finding a parking place for the car. In cities where population density is high and the lower middle class people live in overcrowded places, parking will be a problem. Those who live in housing societies will be able to tide over this problem. These are immediate problems and I hope people will come up with their own solutions.

    But one thing is certain. Now the poor Hindu in-laws will be forced to buy the son-in-law a new Tata car. A bike may not do as a dowry any more!


    Zafar Anjum

  166. 166 Atsu
    January 14, 2008 at 15:36

    Hi Ros,
    Many people buy cars, etc in Africa because it is a status thing-The more we elevate such stuff, the more people will buy them no matter the environmental cost. If it has become cheaper to own one, halleluyah!

    Accra, Ghana.

  167. 167 Kelly
    January 14, 2008 at 17:10

    Ros, if you use poison and cats, please make sure it is NOT somewhere that a cat can get to it, or the bodies of the poisoned mice! Many times the odor is attractive to a cat as well as a mouse.

    My cat almost died from ant poison, poor guy, but he’s back to semi-normal now. He was dingy to start.

    Lebanon, OR

  168. 168 Peter via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:24

    In the US, five years ago, I bought a used Saturn for $600 USD. It has cost a few hundred per year in maintenance

  169. 169 Kelly via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:25

    I was listening to the podcast of WHYS and you voiced inquiry to round-abouts. I’m a civil engineer working in Irvine, California. Though not common, we still design and construct round-about intersections. In Southern California, we generally utilize that design type at low traffic areas and areas with ornate landscaping like fountains in the center.
    Love listening to the programme.

  170. 170 Dale via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:26

    Proliferation of the private auto is the worst solution to the serious problem of safe, affordable urban transport. In addition to exacerbating the pollution and congestion problems–just look at Beijing today–millions more private autos will greatly hasten the depletion of oil stocks and promote the despoliation of landscapes and off-shore eco-systems with increased drilling and shipping of oil. Competition for this increasingly scarce resource will grow ever more ruthless. The rich nations must come to terms with the basic injustice of having used so much of the planet’s stock of fossil fuels and continuing to enjoy an affluent lifestyle which would be utterly disastrous if spread to China, India and other nations currently on the brink of industrial, urbanized civilization. Time to listen to and heed the new visions being promoted by Bill McKibben, Barbara Kingsolver and the advocates of sustainable agriculture practiced in harmony with sustainable communities. Or the enduring wisdom of Aldo Leopold and E.F.Schumacher.
    As the American ecologist Aldo Leopold observed back in the 1930s: “Twenty years of ‘progress’ have brought the average citizen…a Ford, a bank account, and a high opinion of himself, but not the capacity to live in high density without befouling and denuding his environment, nor a conviction that such a capacity, rather than such density, is the true test of whether he is civilized.” Applying his insights to the mega-cities burgeoning throughout the world’s “developing” nations puts our current plight into stark relief. Adding millions of cheap private cars, with all the resources necessary for their manufacture, operation and disposal will greatly accelerate the “befouling and denuding” to disastrous levels.
    Dale, Eugene. OR, USA.

  171. 171 Tom via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:27

    Cars have become overweight in the US. A new Honda Accord is much heavier and powerful than a 10 year old model. There is no real compact choice here. The SMART is now available, but the MPG is really not very impressive. We need a truly small, simple, personal transportation module available in the US. I would buy one as a third vehicle to avoid driving a larger, heavier vehicle for most of my needs and use the full sized car only when needed. It has an advantage over a motorcycle because it provides weather protection.

    Tom from Oregon

  172. 172 Charles via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:27

    every objection to everyone having a car is based on too many people.
    This is the the responsible issue. Population we can declare success at populating the world. now we must discuss population management.

  173. 173 Jennifer via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:28

    There are two distinct issues at play – the first is a sense of personal accomplishment and anticipated convenience, and the second is the overall impact of that choice. The former is an individual perspective while the latter is a community one. Until individuals see that what benefits the community will also benefit them these two issues will never be resolved in the same way.

  174. 174 Jessica via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:31

    Here in the US driving is a privilege, not a right. That is one of the first questions on the driving test.

    Good for Tata to making privilege within more people’s reach.

    PS 57 mpg is better gas mileage than the Prius hybrids get here.


    Portland, OR

  175. 175 Nancy via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:31

    Public transportation in Berkeley is horrible. My solution will not be buying a car. City Car Share on internet sounds good so will try: Pick up a car nearby (even if I have to get there by bus!) take care of farflung errands, bring car back to nearest location at the end, return home by bus and voila. All cars seem to by hybrids.

    Nancy listening on KALW

  176. 176 Peter via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:32

    If India lifted its tariffs on auto imports (they were banning 1000-2500 cc autos.) and taxing others at over 50%. Japanese, Korean, European or American automakers would have filled this niche with their decades of experience had the Indian government not prevented it.

    Portland, OR

  177. 177 Beatrice via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:34

    hi we do need this car. it gives the poor man a breather from a lifetime of drudgery and hard thankless work. beatrice kenya

  178. 178 Cliff via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:35

    You asked whether Americans are becoming interested in a new city planning paradigm that would be less reliant on the car. In Berkeley, California, which is sometimes a bellwhether for change, per sq. foot home prices have risen at a much faster rate in recent years for homes in “walkable” neighborhoods, i.e. those where a car is not required to get to essential services and amenities — reflecting a desire, here anyway, for a lifestyle less reliant on private vehicles.

    Cliff, Berkeley CA

  179. 179 Scott via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:35

    Why not ship the hundreds of thousands of used reliable cars that people get rid of every day from developed nations. Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans, that all have a wide range of dealerships throughout the world to service these vehicles. Don’t burn natural resources building more cars, reuse the ones we have. They are reliable and will run for 100s of thousands of miles if maintained. And you could get them for far less than the $2500 for a Tata.


    Portland, Oregon, USA

  180. 180 Richard via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:36

    Selling more cars increases the dependency on fossil fuels, and does little to address transportation problems in India. The option to commute is a right and should not be confused with the governments role in creating viable alternatives, be it roadway engieering and/or mass transit projects. This is an end run by this manufacturer to amass wealth before regulation is imposed. This country must embrace the green change now before they become a country caught in grid lock.

  181. 181 Gary via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:37

    I have been working diligently for the last few years to work from my home and most of the time I can roll out of bed and walk to my office and be at work while watching the gas guzzlers drive downing off to work.

    I have 0 faith in the city planners in Minneapolis and Minnesota to have any vision for the future. The collapse of the 35W interstate
    bridge will attest to their short sighted approach. Their approach is
    self centered and self serving. If the planners in this city had their way they would have 12 lane highways everywhere. I am glad to see the cost of gas moving up in the US as that is one of the few pressures that people will not be able to resist.

    I like the mobility of having a car and I must say that I am addicted to my car a 2002 Jag x type and I would gladly give it up for a NANO.


  182. 182 Eric via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:37


    I believe owning a car is a luxury item, not a right. I live in downtown Portland, Oregon and I have been without a car for 7 years. I love it. I have found that it is a life-style choice that requires a mental shift regarding what is really important in one’s life. I certainly believe road congestion is a quality of life issue and speaks directly to the livability of a city. Thus, city governments should be very concerned with planning around all modes of transit with an emphasis on public transit.

    – Erin
    Portland, Oregon

  183. 183 Philipp via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:38

    The introduction of this car does not affect the Western automotive industry since it does not meet any of our emission and safety standards. For $2,500 you can buy a very good 10 year old used car that meets many more safety and emission standards.

    Unfortunately countries like India do not give the same value to human life as the West by allowing unsafe cars on their roads just to save money.

    Developing countries would be better off buying used Western cars.

    Boston, MA, USA

  184. 184 Ranjitt via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:39

    I love this car. I also want the traffic and pollution problem to be solved.

    I think this car will put more pressure on public officials to solve the traffic problems with better planning as well as more pressure on other car manufactures in the world to bring smaller cars to market in order to be able to compete which should hopefully result in smaller cars in developed world.

    If the american car manufactures didn’t have competition from the Japanese would we have seen cars like dodge neon or even Ford Hybrid SUVs.

    Overall, i think this should be celebrated both in terms of accesssebility of card for everyone as well as from in terms of the environment.

    Portland, Oregon.

  185. 185 Bob via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:39

    I live in the Seattle Washington area and we in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties turn down taxing ourselves to expand our light rail system that is just going in and to improve our roads system around the Seattle metro area. So what is going to happen is we don’t have any option but to drive in traffic
    Lynnwood WA USA
    Listening on the web

  186. 186 Matty via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:40

    What most prospective buyers probably don’t realize is that the purchase price is just the initial cost of owwning a car. Repair and maintenance costs, fuel, insurance, … The owner will soon realize that he is becoming a slave to his car.

    Matty in Berkeley

  187. 187 Lias via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:41

    Hi there
    I am listening to your show and as yet there has been no mention or comparison of the quality of this “cheap car”.
    As my grandfather would say
    “You only gets what you pays for”
    Great show

  188. 188 Lydia via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:41

    It seems we’ve got two separate questions on the table: one about the right to own a car and another about cities being organized to better accomodate those without cars. While I don’t think owning a car rises to the level of a right, until cities are organized to allow the pedestrian to function well without a car, the option to own a car should be as widespread as possible.

    Imagine an emergency necessitating getting an injured child to hospital, on the bus, by foot, or by train. In the average American city, a child of a poor family could and probably would bleed out before the frantic parent could get to effective help. That’s because the quality medical facilities are not in poor communities. It would have been useful if that family had an affordable car, but wouldn’t it have been even more productive to have a medical facility within that family’s reach?

    Oakland, CA.

  189. 189 Samson via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:43

    Car manufacturers will manufacture as far as there is a demand. Many people want to own a car to gratify their vanity and not because they need cars for transport. If we do not change our attitude and our way of life we deserve nothing but to perish.


  190. 190 Paul & Helen via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:43

    We had a car but living in the centre of Barcelona we didn’t use it, so we sold it and when we wanted to use a car we rented one. however on the 4 occasions we rented it cost more than the annual costs of having a car: rental is too expensive … at the moment. One solution would be to make car rental much, much cheaper and encourage car pooling. These Nano cars would be ideal as the investment would be considerably less. If there were lots of pick up and drop off centres around a city you could use a car as often and only when you needed it. Unfortunately this will never work as some people want to have a car as a social status – a status symbol which just says “Look at me I’m a sad case”.

    Paul & Helen


  191. 191 Steve via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:44

    When will they start making the jokes about this car like the Yugo jokes from the 1980s? You know “Yugo, it doesn’t”, or “what’s on page 4 and 5 of a yugo owner’s manual? A train and bus schedule”.

  192. 192 Gregory via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:45

    As a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota I can attest that we here desperately need more public transportation. We have one light rail line between the downtown area and a suburb. The ridership of this one line was 4 times greater than expected, however the state government refuses to increase the amount of time and money spent on expanding this vital public transportation system and instead focuses on widening roads which causes even more problems due to expanded construction.

    As a result, the traffic congestion problem grows worse every month. We had a devastating event when a bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed this past summer which caused even more congestion problems which could be helped (not solved) by more rail lines.

    We would love more ways to travel around via public transportation, and to use our cars only when such a trip was needed.

    Thank you.
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

  193. 193 Daniel via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:46

    I believe this new car is a slap in the face to everyone who truly believes that global warming is real. When a company can produce a battery that can hold a charge for at least 48hrs and a car that can support two of these batteries – one that the car uses to run on while the other is being recharged by solar panels attached to the roof and hood of the car and make it affordable, I will trash my cars in a heart beat.


    San Francisco CA

  194. 194 Jim via email
    January 14, 2008 at 20:47

    The creation of this car exemplifies the reason that a cooperative response to global warming will not succeed. The car is one of the greatest source of pollution ever created. The world rejects the United States (justifiably) for its disproportionate consumption of resources. However, if everyone starts to consume at the level of the United States, the world climate is doomed. The US needs to decrease its consumption of fossil fuels and its reliance on private automobiles. If the world starts to emulate the US, the problems of global warming will surely worsen. This car is the triumph of Indian nationalism over global responsibility.


  195. 195 rosatkins
    January 15, 2008 at 12:37

    Hi Ros
    yes i would love to buy the Tata car but unfortunatly in baghdad i dont think it will arrive for ages yet!!!The mice thing ,they love (the mice)dairylea cream cheese,we have triangle portions, mix in a bit of poison into them,most importantly wear gloves so you dont have contact with the food, make them into little balls a drop them along the place he runs,that should do it.he will eat some of it so you will know cause the balls get smaller.2-3 days and he will be gone.
    Did you hear about the snow in baghdad,yes they the first time since the 50’s.i was very light but real snowflakes,it didnt settle cause the ground was already wet from rain.It was real snow not sleet.And the sky was still blue.I did video it but will have to download the film.
    Any way have a good programme
    Julie in Baghdad

  196. 196 Trevor J. Riches
    January 15, 2008 at 18:19

    To eliminate mice,three words—–Jack Russell terrier!
    Leave the dog in the office overnight you will have no more mice,alive that is.

  197. November 17, 2009 at 19:56

    thanks for this post. It helped me a lot. Btw How you get ideas for such posts. sorry if it’s out of topic.

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