22
Dec
08

On air: The end of the age of the car?

Toyota’s facing its first loss in 71 years. Toyota! The company that probably has the best reputation in the industry for adapting to circumstance, for savvy business practice, and for making popular and reliable cars.

The company that went to America and successfully took on the might of GM, Ford and Chrysler.

The company whose white cars and vans feature on almost every African road. It’s for all those reasons that this story’s had a huge impact.

If Toyota’s struggling, is this a sign that this isn’t about poor management, or a frozen banking system, but something more fundamental?

Are the troubles of Toyota and others about a change in how we view cars? Are they about to stop being at the centre of how we like to get around? Are the traffic jams and the environmental impact making us think twice before buying one?

Or is this a temporary economic blip? One that will be overcome once banks start lending, and people start buying again? All the big firms are taking green transport very seriously, so should we expect the next generation of cars to be just as desirable to us as their predecessors have been?


108 Responses to “On air: The end of the age of the car?”


  1. 1 Anthony from Cleveland Ohio
    December 22, 2008 at 14:13

    I believe that this is just a blip. Speaking for myself, I can’t afford to buy a new car or even a used car right now. Plus, I think many people (Like my best friend) are holding back to see if they will come out with a car that is more fuel efficient.

  2. 2 andrew
    December 22, 2008 at 14:15

    lotus being made in the UK
    and tesla – being made by lotus

  3. December 22, 2008 at 14:23

    I have been in the automotive sector for 12 years. I can see the decline of the old cars that our parents and some of us still drive. Gasoline and large are out. The world wants battery or another form of renewable power. People are ready for cars similar to the ones from Minority Report that are sleek, technologicaly advanced, and Eco friendly. If the automotive industry takes a cue from the ever more aware society, they will go fine. In my opinion, a company to watch is BYD automotive out of china. They have an interesting company that is blending batteries and current automobiles for the next generation.

  4. December 22, 2008 at 14:31

    We will still have the car.

  5. December 22, 2008 at 14:31

    I suspect this is just another case of “when America sneezes the rest of the world catches cold”. Toyota’s problems are all to do with the most car-oriented nation in the world running out of money and nothing to do with an end to the automotive love affair. In future years cars may change to things like fuel cells, but they’ll still be the preferred method of transport.

  6. 6 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    December 22, 2008 at 14:32

    Last month I moved to a small town that has excellent public transport.
    Walking and taking the bus or train is cheaper, healthier and environmentally much more friendly than driving.

    I still have my driver’s license so I can rent a car if the need arises but so far I am happy not to have one (though getting the Christmas tree home on the bus WAS a bit awkward.)

    I think it’s time we all had a re-think about the need to have a private car; to have a big car; to have two and three car families; to clog up our streets and pollute our skies; and to have our economies fall apart when there are problems in the automotive industry.

    I’ve had enough. I’m walking and taking public transport and am loving it.

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  7. 7 Steve
    December 22, 2008 at 14:38

    No, but it’s the end of getting cars every several years.

  8. December 22, 2008 at 14:45

    Yes on both accounts. It is an economic blip that will have an impact on how we view vehicles from here on out. The blip is that we have produced enough cars to supply everybody who is “willing and able” to buy one at it’s current full cost. The problem is that when it comes to selling cars, the automotive industry is like a pond. The consumers are the little food fishes. The “big three” are the big fishes. However the outside companies have been more akin to fishermen floating outside the pond. While the big fishes can not consume all of the food without killing themselves, the fishermen are free to fish the pond clean. They will be forced to give up their fish diet, but they will just switch to eating pork. No big deal. At the end of the day, both the “big fishes” and the “fishermen” will not have any fish to eat. The American buying public is lacking consumers to buy new cars. The mass production ate them all.

    We are going to have to change how we view the auto industry and its reliance to our economy. The direction that change takes us has yet to be solidified.

  9. December 22, 2008 at 14:49

    The recent collapse of the car companies doesn’t show that are love affair with the car is over, only that we are not buying brand new cars.

    What needs to be looked at is how many cars are now being scrapped compared with 2 year ago. Those cars that are being scraped, how old are they?

    The end of the car, no. We are just getting better use of the cars we already have during this trying time.

  10. December 22, 2008 at 15:01

    Economic sense is it! People are generally coming to the realization that owning a vehicle may not necessarily be the best economic option to convenient transportaion.

    In the near future, better and safer public transportion systems would definitely bring about a change in the status quo of looking at owning a car as a status symbol.

    The Green revolution is expected to take on greater impetus, which would in turn impact on global laws; that would tend to bring about a decline on the lure of the hitherto glamorous car industry.

  11. 11 Brett
    December 22, 2008 at 15:02

    It’s an economic blip.
    Unfortunately I don’t see big firms coming out of this with truly green (or even green-ish) transport. Their ‘green’ version of transport is a hybrid SUV which still gets nearly half of the mpg that my 1982 VW Rabbit gets.
    Besides, gas prices are down now, we ‘forget’ after about a month and go back to driving V8 gas guzzlers 60 miles to our job because we just ‘had to get that oh so wonderful house in the suburbs’.
    Horay for ‘green’ busses and tanks used for personal transport! Now we can all go feel good about ourselves move even further from our jobs and drive even more…
    *roll eyes*

    The only reason new gas guzzlers aren’t being bought right now is that people can’t get the credit for them or don’t have the money for them.

    Lets jack the gas prices back up, economic pressure is going to be one of the main driving forces (no pun intended) in getting people to go green with transport options and alternatives.

  12. 12 Kevin
    December 22, 2008 at 15:03

    I live in metro Atlanta Georgia and if you don’t have a car here you will lead a difficult live. I hope one day we will have better options, but for now the car is king.

  13. 13 Kwabena
    December 22, 2008 at 15:03

    I dont believe its the end of the car industry. Cars companies would definitely bounce back when the world economy gets back on track

  14. December 22, 2008 at 15:07

    I don’t believe the US car makers will ever take green transport seriously. They are all owned by Cerberus Capital Management, which is owned by cronies of George W Bush.

    That is the specific reason why Bush plans a bailout for the Big Three.

    He is always thinking of clever ways to give taxpayers’ money to his cronies, whether it is by way of Wall Street bailouts, car bailouts, or phony aid to Africa. Only uninformed people think Bush is dumb.

  15. December 22, 2008 at 15:15

    Hello Everyone,

    I don’t think its is something unusual that Toyota or any other big car making factory is suffering loss.After all,it all depends upon the people.If people start losing their standard of living,how will they buy cars?I did read a comment above which says:”I can’t afford to buy a new car or even a used car right now.”This is the answer to all questions!As people lose their capability to buy new cars,the sales of these car companies will obviously fall.Also,there is one more reason for this fall : need of more fuel efficient cars.People now a days look for cars which can run without causing more pollution.

    I do hope Toyota and all other suffering car companies fight back(as soon as people get rich!).

    Thanks!
    Abhinav

  16. December 22, 2008 at 15:19

    It’s all about oil and the price of fuel stupid!

  17. December 22, 2008 at 15:21

    There is nothing wrong with the car, it’s the engine that is the problem.
    It is a political machine, and not a very good one at that.

    There are alternatives, but you see… the politics kick in.

    Are you aware, WHYS’s readers, that the most stupid thing you can do with the carbohydrate resource that is available to us is to burn it! It’s worse than burning whales for light. At least whales reproduce, carbohydrates do not, it is just there.

    You know one of the most catastrophic things about this planet is that given the vast brain at out disposal, the ‘human being’ doesn’t use it. Except to go go shopping it would seem.

  18. December 22, 2008 at 15:25

    Cars have become a necessity. Despite the current crisis in its industry, the car will continue to attract investment as cities are continuing to grow. But the culture of transportation should change by opting for common transport , which should be punctual and comfortable for the passengers.

    It’s the dream to have a green car as it will solve many environmental problems and make environmentally conscientious drivers not feel guilty about driving. It’s a change of mentality that is needed to opt for green cars despite their possible shortcomings compared with the current cars. This can be possible if the car companies can invest in green alternatives and the consumers are ready to make sacrifices by paying more and not consider big speed as a priority in driving.

  19. 19 Tony from Singapura
    December 22, 2008 at 15:29

    I dont expect the slump in car sales to get back to the “good old days” because I dont expect credit will ever be as freely available as it used to be. We will no longer look upon our cars as “consumer items” and will be looking to keep our cars for longer, use them less or try not to own one.

    The situation will also make us look to improving public transport. In USA, Australia and other developed countries the public transport infrastructure has not kept pace with growth and tjhere need wsto be policy change and public spending to improve this.

    This is in contrast to places like Switzerland where you dont really need a car to get around because the public transport system has kept up with population growth due to better managment of transport systems by Govenment,

    I would think that car manufacturers should retool towards building public conveyance systems such as buses, trams trains or variations of them.

  20. December 22, 2008 at 15:38

    Driving instructor in UK 30 years. Here in states seven. Most people here have several cars and dont have to pay much unlike UK. You see smoke billowing out and bald tyres. The rich are’nt buying but trying to grt rid of their guzzlers. There will be a downturn. Gas is only $1.50. I suspect it will rise to $4 in the spring. Tax monster trucks off the roads. Deny Hummers passage. Put $2 a gallon on for health care. Stop NASA for ten years. Put an aircraft on Ebay. There you are. All fixed in a minute.

  21. 21 Auspicious Ndamuwa
    December 22, 2008 at 15:41

    I do not forsee any car manufacturer that can upstage Toyota. Losses that the company has just posted are just a representation of the global recession we are into. See for yourself how Toyota has glutted African roads. Toyota lives! Recession cannot dislodge Toyota but just like anyother company Toyota is not immune from the effects of recession.

  22. 22 Rashid Patch
    December 22, 2008 at 15:42

    Automakers are in a bind because they depend on people purchasing cars on credit. Right now, banks are simply not making loans.

    This is hardly the end of the automobile – unless the current financial mess becomes a wreck of industrial civilization as a whole. (Of course, that probably couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of folks…)

  23. December 22, 2008 at 15:42

    If the auto makers do not start caring about what a average person desires and need, many un-changable events will happen in days to come with transportation and auto makers. In America we have huge transportation trucks destroying the roads, causing acidents and leaving re-tread tires all over the roads. They need to go back to putting items on the rail system and move items from city to city.
    We have autos that will not give enough gas milage to take one past 400 miles on a tank. Everything is re-disigned to look good and not perform. An auto or truck should last well into 10 years or so without all the un-nessersary maintence that is required by dealers.
    Which by the way is designed to drain one of funds for the dealers profits. All most dealers care about is moving steel. Safe confortable transportation is what we need, not Zoom, Zoom, Zoom.
    I should be able to order my type of auto from the factory and pick it up from them if I wish. Well, we have laws in place to prevent a average person from dealing directly with the factory. Now someone is asking congress to help the auto makers to get a loan, please.

  24. December 22, 2008 at 15:42

    I don’t think this is the end of the car. I do think that people are going to own their cars longer than they are used to. From what I gather there are people who trade in their cars more frequently than I do. I recall people referring to a previous car of mine as an aging car. At the time my was five years old, that’s not that old. I drove the car another five years.

  25. December 22, 2008 at 15:57

    #Abdelilah Boukili
    Cars are not a necessity, private and public transport is however, and it is this necessity that a few have become obscenely rich on the backs of many.

    The alternatives are in the pipe line (pun intended), but it a shame to waste all that lovely oil stuff in your SUV.

    look at the advertised horse power of an average car…say 75 horses. To go shopping with!
    Just picture it, we all get our 75 horses on the road to go to the mall!.
    Thing of the dung! Well there you have global pollution in a nutshell.

    The desserts of Arabia were neglected until the oil thing, now they are the killing fields, the harbourers of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    Next up is food, Zimbabwe here we come!

    You can grow anything there and eat it. And there is a lot of water. Victoria Falls and all that. You need to think about it though. Hard work for the brain.

  26. 26 Morf
    December 22, 2008 at 16:09

    I’ll be thrilled when I can live without a car. I’ve lived in Chicago and Beijing without a car. In any area with a decent mass transit system and a walkable neighborhood, life without a car can be healthier, cheaper, more convenient (most of the time) and certainly more convivial (in that you actually get to meet people in your community).

  27. December 22, 2008 at 16:23

    It’s unimaginable to think that it’s the end of the age of the car as it was first made to stay with us. Cars have changed throughout the ages since their creation. The car industry is vital for the economy, especially in the USA where 10% of the jobs are related to it in one way or another.

    What is needed is an approach to car industry in terms of production and marketing. There may be the possibility to create fast cars. But the mismanagements of the car industry can slow the economy. The cars are here to stay. They can break down from time to time. But the economy can’t afford to keep breaking down. It needs a strong engine to keep it roaring. It’s the whole financial operations from investment to loans that need to be carefully designed for the economy to keep going on the right track. It’s like a vehicle when it breaks down in the middle of nowhere the passengers get lost. Like a car, the economy needs to have its wheel in good and careful hands.

  28. 28 Brinda
    December 22, 2008 at 16:39

    The problem with auto industry i think is more a fundamental problem than an economic one.some day it had to all come crashing down ,it just happened a little sooner. But ones the economy starts to pickup (which by the way will take a very long time) things will be back to normal.Some of the big cars may not survive till then but the buying pattern will not change.
    every thing that goes up has to come down,,,,,, cars that were extremely popular in 70s and 80s have fazed out. Similarly some of the present ones also will phase out.But new ones will take its place.The definition of power and speed may change over a period of time.
    In a country like America, with its geographic size public transport may not be the solution.Hence unless there is something more innovative, Cars as a “product” will be there for a very long time.
    Brinda

  29. December 22, 2008 at 16:50

    Living in NYC gives me several public transportation options and it’s the BEST form of commuting.

    I do not even have a diver’s license. It expired when I moved to NYC and never bothered renew it, but it’s on my to-do list right after, getting my teeth pulled and retiring–which is in approximately 35-40 years. Then I will buy a car.

    I have lived in several places where a car was essential and the only reliable option for transportation. I spent 3-4 hours in traffic daily. I loathed it and if my career ever requires me to move any places like that, again, I will change job or career before I do. Besides with services like http://www.zipcar.com, I can rent a car by the hour if I really needed one.

  30. December 22, 2008 at 17:38

    I have a fantastic bicycle. It cost me a staggering $100. and I oil the beast on a regular basis, a few drops here and there, no petrol tank involved (not true, it’s called the larder and a refrigerator).
    It gets me around Berlin faster than a car, in every case, and sometimes faster than the incredibly efficient public transport system that is in place in this city.
    If I am really in a hurry I take the bike on the public transport system…
    The only problem I have had with the bike is that a Porche driver tried to kill me, for I would keep beating him to the traffic lights!
    I was always there ahead of him.
    I like my bike. My bike likes me.
    I can even have a couple of beers and my bike knows the way home.
    🙂

  31. December 22, 2008 at 17:39

    … by the way, I don’t need $50billion to keep my bike on the road.

  32. December 22, 2008 at 17:41

    To be honest, Ros – I think you have missed the mark on this. I will try to make this as short as possible.

    Some have already hinted at what is the real problem – and it doesn’t matter if we go back to horse and cart/carriage.

    The real problem is where people live – sounds odd, no? Without real and sustained investment in ‘remote’ communities and transport infrastructure, to the detriment of the cities, which are growing due to cost of housing etc, people will still have to travel in whichever way they can.

    But, if you live 100 miles from where you work you have to have transportation to get to work – now that is fine if you live in a city – that mileage doesn’t have to be travelled. You can hop on a bus, tube.metro link and get to work with relative ease.

    If you have to travel for an hour or so each morning and evening to get to and from work – then the last thing you will want to do is travel with another 50/60/100 people – we maybe a social animal but not that much – and we do like to be in control of the travelling situation. So, the real problem is the cost of housing and the placement of housing.

    The industrial centres are near or in cities, so it will be a matter that you will have to move the offices out of the cities, which in turn will mean that travelling will have to be taken into account. “New Towns” if you will.

    That is where the answer lies – then you can look at integrated transport. Until that happens and while the worlds economy is in the tank governments and society have to look at the alternative to fossil fuel – that isn’t as progressive as many think – but that is what they are doing.

    Personal transport will evolve, that is really a given but until you move people, industry, retail outlets to a new location, you will not see the death of the car. That will evolve into new cars and as that evolution takes place you will still have traffic jams etc.

    The banks will need profit again and will lend – in fact they will lend even more than before so the world economy will bounce back – with a vengeance.

  33. 33 Brett
    December 22, 2008 at 17:50

    *applauds Will*

    Exactly!

  34. 34 Peter
    December 22, 2008 at 17:51

    environmental impact should be considered, making us
    think twice before buying cars.
    this should not be temporary. All the big firms
    are taking green transport very seriously, so should we expect the
    next generation of cars to be just as desirable to us as their
    predecessors have been but in a hybrid series. We must have the infrastructure. Kiosk that change charged batteries for a fee can be a new business. If a battery can get 100km than make a car that can carry 2 or more batteries.
    Less CO2 please.

  35. 35 Anthony
    December 22, 2008 at 17:56

    When will America learn that the Segway if the transportation of the future?

    honestly, I don’t think the U.S. car uindustry will ever die. It was shrink, but not die.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  36. 36 Roy, Washington DC
    December 22, 2008 at 17:57

    It might not be the end of the car, but the end of burning nonrenewable sources as fuel needs to come, and it needs to come soon. I remember having a lesson on fossil fuels back when I was in elementary school (~20 years ago), and thinking “Wait, what’s going to happen when we run out of that stuff?”

    Society has become far too dependent on cars, so they aren’t going to go away, even with an economic downturn like what we’re seeing now. We just need to find a better way to power them.

  37. 37 archibald in oregon
    December 22, 2008 at 18:00

    It is a lovely sentiment, but, I do not think that man is ready to give up the autonomy of automobile travel. If we were a truly utilitarian society, we would only have one brand of car and people would use it as the tool for which it was intended. Instead we have cultural morays and personalities outlined by our relationship to the automobiles we drive and covet evey aspect as a definition of our distinctive character. I believe that many people feel truly naked without their cars and for this alone, things are unlikely to evolve anytime soon…….

  38. 38 Brett
    December 22, 2008 at 18:01

    @ Malc:

    I’m with you on the bike thing and ride mine when the weather permits (5-6 mile commute each way).

    However, the majority of Americans are either too fat, too lazy, too out of shape, or plainly unwilling to brave the weather or come up with whatever other excuse they may have as to why they cannot ride their bike even to just the corner store.
    Pulls out a stick and stares at the dead horse.
    Until Americans change their lifestyles, we will not see self or personal powered transport get to near the level it needs to be, especially in local communities or urban centers.
    Weather and temperature are also a very big factor in walking/riding bikes… You may find a handfull of proponents who will ride their bike a few miles when the weather is 70 and sunny, but drop that by 20-30 degrees or raise it by the same, throw in some rain, and youll be hard pressed to find anyone willing to keep on with the bike.
    And where public transport could kick in and provide a ride and relief, that transport system is broken, and lacking at best.

  39. 39 Jonathan
    December 22, 2008 at 18:09

    End of the car? Oh no indeed! Once the world economy gets back on its feet, the demand from the new middle classes in China and India alone will resume its explosive growth, and sales will dwarf the North American market even in the best of the good old days.

    The United States will always be a car culture, because the distances here are so much greater than in Europe–mass transit outside of a few dense cities is useless.

    The US “big three” are dinosaurs, burdened with labor costs in contracts from years ago, when there was no foreign competition. The health and pension costs in an American car are greater than the cost of steel. Obviously not sustainable.

    In short: The world will soon be buying more cars than ever, but it will not be Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler selling them.

    Jonathan
    San Francisco

  40. December 22, 2008 at 18:11

    Yes, people are starting to realise that cars are to expensive and they are noticing that the car might be at the end of its era. All of the major automobile companies have experienced losses this year that cannot be assosciated with a “recession”, because the recession hit at the end of the year, and in Australia, Toyota was starting to make job cuts in April.

  41. 41 Vijay
    December 22, 2008 at 18:13

    The end of the age of the car?

    Hardly anyone in the world owns a car, there are billions of potential customers out there,they just have to earn enough money to buy one or get cheap credit to finance their purchase.

    The North American,Japanese and Western European markets may have matured,however the rest of the world is waiting for cheap personal transport,maybe the TATA NANO and other Ultra Low Cost vehicles could fit the bill.

  42. 42 Leonard
    December 22, 2008 at 18:14

    Here in zambia almost all pick up vans r called toyota . Ther loss is bad 4 majority middle income zambians en africans at large due to the expectd cut in the good affordable cars. major problm seems 2 be financial crisis en the strong yen. We need it to recover if average africans r 2 enjoy travelling, public transport is usually conjested. toyota in future shuld try to gve us more greener cars.

  43. 43 Pablo
    December 22, 2008 at 18:16

    We already have cars that get 50 mpg. We drive a clean VW Jetta wagon that is diesel powered and comfortable.

    Try to find this car here in the U.S. Good luck.

    We can move to biodiesel if we have the will.

    The U.S. auto industry is totally out of touch and if it goes down I won’t shed a tear.

    (Except maybe for the workers that will lose their jobs.)

  44. 44 Patti
    December 22, 2008 at 18:16

    I can’t say that my attitude about owning a car has changed. It’s that my attitude about money and spending that has changed.

  45. 45 Tom in Oregon
    December 22, 2008 at 18:18

    Let’s be clear that no car is green. Until they invent one that runs on pollution and emits organic tofu that is. However you are falsely conflating toyota’s problems with the green movement. Finally, there have always been fuel efficient cars from the us companies, they just weren’t as nice until very recently.

  46. 46 Brett
    December 22, 2008 at 18:18

    Ditching personal transport:

    It’s not just the ability to transport ourselves, but the ability to transport the massive amount of posessions we have accumulated. Taking dogs to the vet (dogs arent allowed on public transport), picking up items for the house which you can’t carry onto public transport, a lack of destinations of public transport, etc.

    People will always ‘need’ their own cars with the lifestyles we currently lead.

  47. December 22, 2008 at 18:19

    Ros,
    i just got my bank to approve me for a loan so I can start looking for a “beater”. I have been driving to return to debt free living. 3 years ago I was laid off for more then two years. Add recently having a child and I have racked up huge bills. So every month i have paid ever cent i could towards getting out of debt. My current choice of transportation has about $4000 in repairs needed. My job requires me to work at times and in places where public transportation isn’t an option. I have decided to spend the money to get a car that will last me a solid year and see where the market is at the end of next year. I really don’t see a new car in my future.

  48. 48 Phil in Oregon
    December 22, 2008 at 18:19

    I live in Oregon and my wife and I just sold our car and bought bicycles, as we live 8 miles from town. We are lucky to work next door, etc. but it does come down to not wanting to have the stigma of car ownership.

  49. 49 Fred in Portland OR
    December 22, 2008 at 18:20

    I sell bicycles (among other things) for a living and I noticed that when oil prices topped $100/barrel people were all over getting a bike for commuting. I think that the car companies need to look to the oil companies and their speculators for pushing people in the US to the tipping point to where cars lost their appeal. Add that to the green movement, the financial crisis, and you have a kind of perfect storm for the collapse of the automotive industry.

  50. 50 brinda Rao
    December 22, 2008 at 18:22

    I agree with Peter.people will look for personal transportation .Especially the lazy ones.(like me).given an option i will always look for personal means of transportation rather than public transport.
    I also agree that the market in US is quite mature where as in other parts of the world have not yet wormed up.The sooner they get the economic means the sooner they will be ready to buy.

  51. 51 Monica in DC
    December 22, 2008 at 18:24

    I would love not to have a car, but my 60 mile round trip commute would not be possible. Public transport in the DC area is still pathetic compared to other communities such as NYC and probably much of Europe. But I do love my car, in May I bought an 05 Toyota Matrix after my 97 Subaru kicked it. Driving to work alone can get lonely but it has its pros, and it’s nice to be able to take off on a weekend somewhere and not worry about HOW I’m getting there.

  52. 52 Victor in Utah
    December 22, 2008 at 18:25

    People in America aren’t going to buy a new car that gets 30mpg that is the same size a past car that got 40 plus. My 99 chevy metro gets 50mpg a new smart car which is half the size of my metro is lucky to get aroung 40 to 45. all cars of a similar size here get around 35 mpg highway. The mini cooper here in the us gets 37mpg highway the same car in europe gets 62 mpg highway. same motor same performance….SAME CAR!!! The same goes for jaguar etc. we also are lacking the options to get these cars with fuel efficient motors. a Honda civic in Japan can have a 1.3L motor that gets 72 mpg. here we can only get the 1.8L which here gets 34-36 mpg highway. the Diesel options available in Europe and elsewhere that get awesome mileage aren’t available here like jaguars diesels that get 50 something mpg. etc. etc. if you don’t believe me go to their US site and their European sites and compare.

    Exxon Mobil recently broke their own record for the HIGHEST QUARTERLY PROFITS EVER at 14 billion dollars, Coincidence? I think not. Somebody needs to shine a spotlight on this!!

  53. 53 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    December 22, 2008 at 18:29

    My desire to no longer need a car was a major factor in my deciding to move to a small town with great public transportation. I made this decision in early September, before the automotive industry—er—crashed.

    I come from Los Angeles, where you CANNOT get around without a car.
    I have now managed to arrange my life so that I no longer need one. Far from depriving me of “personal mobility,” I find that I am liberated from expense, playing the parking game, having to endure traffic jams and much more.

    I am healthy and able-bodied and know my new no-car life-style wouldn’t suit everyone. Works for me.

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  54. 54 Anna
    December 22, 2008 at 18:29

    I am 21 and I do not intend on owning a car in the next decades of my life. Public transportation and bike-ability is a huge consideration for me and my peers in terms of places that we want to live.

    As much as a car is a necessity as the economy slumps we are going to have to change out lifestyles. Especially as global warming becomes more eminent, we must reevaluate the nature of the car and how it is integrated in our lifestyles. I hope that as the economy goes under people wake up to the fact that we, in developed countries, have adapted a mode of living that is far beyond what is necessary. This change must start as the bottom and put pressure on those on top.

  55. December 22, 2008 at 18:31

    People in US will not get rid of cars since everything is built around the fact that people have cars. Shops are very far away from where people live and work. Shops have very large parking lots, which means that the shops themselves are built far from each other.

    Also, the public transportation costs more than the cost of driving a car for 10 miles today. So why would people switch from cars to buses??

  56. December 22, 2008 at 18:32

    I own my car. I have owned cars since 1987.
    Cars as transportation for me began once I left New York City and found that there isn’t a mass transportation system like New York where a car is really not necessary.
    I’ve lived in Georgia, Kentucky and now in the greater Cleveland area in Ohio.
    The majority of Georgia doesn’t have public transportation and neither does Kentucky (at least not while I lived there). While Cleveland’s transportation system is fine, it’s still not as efficient as that of New York City.
    It’s hard to compare such a mass system, but that’s been my experience.
    I would like to see a mass transportation system throughout the nation where we are not so dependent on our cars especially since the car and oil industry have benefited greatly from our addiction to the automobile.
    Also, I agree that the industry is taking a hit due to the gas rates and people losing their jobs.
    We’ve had to make a decision on whether to put as much food on the table or keep our tanks full.
    Years ago there was an electric car and the automobile industry took it away.
    Now they’re begging for our help. Maybe if they had not been so greedy then they wouldn’t be in the position they’re in now.

    Wanda Santos-Bray
    Cleveland, Ohio

  57. 57 Jonathan
    December 22, 2008 at 18:33

    @Will,

    In the US, your future is old news. The “New Towns” you describe have been around for decades, also called “Edge Cities” or “exurbs.” Industry long ago abandoned central cities. Residential, industrial, and office development is overwhelmingly outside cities, and most people live in one suburb, work in another, and shop in a third, seldom venturing into a city at all.

    However, for obvious reasons, this pattern makes public transit very much less practical than the old days of commuting to, from, and within dense central cities. The old “hub and spoke” pattern of old cities lent itself to mass transit; thousands of people were going from one place to another at the same time. Rail lines crisscrossing the homes, office parks, and shopping centers of exurban America would be completely impractical.

  58. 58 Mike in Oregon
    December 22, 2008 at 18:33

    I doubt Americans are going to give up personal vehicles any time soon. Our cars are like our guns, they provide us with freedom both in spirit and in practice.

  59. 59 David
    December 22, 2008 at 18:33

    Cars are wonderful and that feeling will remain. Personal conveyance may change to look different- fewer(no?) wheels, different propulsion, etc. but the desire to own such a thing will never disappear.

    That said, the best thing to do first is to make the manufacture of these types of machines cleaner. 2/3 of a car’s pollution is created during its production.

  60. 60 James in Mountain View, California
    December 22, 2008 at 18:34

    We gave up our second car in 2002, I’ve been riding my bike to work since.

  61. 61 wayne
    December 22, 2008 at 18:35

    The reason for the crisis in the auto industry is about greed the rich are getting richer and the poor are growing in number when are the working people of the world going to say enough is enough

  62. 62 Helen in LA
    December 22, 2008 at 18:36

    I have been thinking of selling my car as I use it so rarely, I would like to use a car sharing system for those times when I need to carry large items. I do travel by motorcycle on a regular basis – in heavy traffic that LA suffers I save time, fuel, parking etc.

  63. 63 Steve
    December 22, 2008 at 18:36

    @ Brett

    I’d like to see you ride a bike today. What is it 20 degrees outside? It’s painful just to be outside today.

    And until more people rode bikes, just being on the streets with cars is deadly. Even with bike lanes where I live, it’s still frightening riding a bike with the cars nearby. A friend of mine has been badly injured when he got ran over by someone that should have never hit him in the first place.

  64. 64 native of portland oregon
    December 22, 2008 at 18:38

    to Phil…

    Not having a car because you don’t want the “stigma” of car ownership? This attitude has nothing to do with saving the planet. Perhaps it will help to decrease the amount of cars that are driven and sold, but we don’t need to enter into a divisive time now, thumbing our nose at people who do drive cars. I’ve been cycling since 1992, a young mother, pulling my then infant daughter in a trailer for a seven mile round trip journey. I now use Zipcar and love it. I don’t want to worry about being judged because I drive when I need to.

  65. 65 Esther in San Francisco
    December 22, 2008 at 18:39

    the only appropriate “alternative” vehicle is the people powered bicycle. i haven’t owned a care for almost 20 years. i live in san francisco, use public transportation when necessary and walk and bike most of the time. stop giving yourself excuses. use your car much less, don’t get a new one, share it with friends and family, be efficient in its use. the whole world is experience mass confusion in this matter. our quality of life will hugely improve when we give up our addiction to immediate gratification in the form of the automobile.

  66. 66 Yogesh
    December 22, 2008 at 18:40

    Hi,

    I believe cars run by compressed air as described on following site http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7243247.stmwill become popular.

    Along with polution these cardrs will drastically reduce fuel usage.

    Your comments will be apprecited.

  67. 67 Venessa
    December 22, 2008 at 18:41

    Did anyone really think we could keep this up? People lease or buy new cars less than every 2 years in the states. You can’t keep doing that if you don’t have a job, money or a lender.

  68. 68 David in Santa Monica
    December 22, 2008 at 18:41

    I recently moved from the UK where I used Public Transport everyday and didn’t even own a car for 3 years, I believe urban centre with good public transport allow people the freedom not to have a car.

    Having moved to LA now I am astonished on the lack of public transport Infrastructure apart from buses (which are cheap but not practical route wise) and taxis which are not cheap. I am now having to get a car for work as there is no option to get around here the tube system in LA is so small it’s not of any used.

    I really struggle to believe countries like America especially, will be able to kick the car addiction.

  69. 69 Denise in San Francisco
    December 22, 2008 at 18:42

    Congestion, pollution, isolation, millions of deaths worldwide, use of depleted resources (steel, glass, rubber, plastic, etc.). So why do we insist on driving cars?

  70. 70 Brett
    December 22, 2008 at 18:43

    Yogesh:
    Hi,

    I believe cars run by compressed air as described on following site http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7243247.stmwill become popular.

    Great idea, and a neat video (I’ve seen a few of the vids on the net). But, how does the air get compressed? By electric motors/pumps, driven by what? Electricity, produced from what? Coal.

  71. 71 Dan in Oregon
    December 22, 2008 at 18:43

    My girlfriend and I moved out of Dayton, Ohio, to Portland, Oregon, with a primary reason being the desire to be able to get around without a car, not only because of the many costs and safety issues, but also because we wanted to live in a place where the infrastructure is not so car dependent as where we were from. Although we still have a car, we feel much more mobile here where there are many viable alternatives, instead of being a slave to car-only transportation. (and by the way, our car is a toyota).

  72. 72 Jane
    December 22, 2008 at 18:48

    I live in San Francisco, I don’t own a car, and feel good about it. There are city car share, Zipcar or getting taxi if needed. And there is always the options of walking and train…

    I would really love to see the taxi companies using more green vehicles in the cities ( San Francisco, New York and Beijing ).

    Thanks,

    Jane

  73. 73 Jonathan
    December 22, 2008 at 18:50

    @Brett

    Well, maybe we’re too fat, too lazy, too out of shape to ride bicycles to the grocery store…. or maybe there’s another answer: We can’t bring four bags of groceries back home on a bike, no matter how nice the weather is. Ya think? My friendly local market runs a nice little van to take people home, which is very cool.

    San Francisco has one of the best transit systems in the US, but getting anywhere on it takes four or five times as long as a car or a taxi, and is very uncomfortable. More money isn’t going to change that; a bus has to stop every couple of blocks, and that’s going to slow it way down. Time is worth something.

    Most of us can’t comfortably ride bikes in our work clothes, or go to work wearing (sweaty) bike clothes. Bikes aren’t just miserable in bad weather; they’re extremely dangerous in the rain, when the brakes don’t work.

    There’s really more involved here than being fat, lazy, and out of shape.

  74. December 22, 2008 at 18:50

    Our society is still too reliant upon oil and cars for this “blip” to make them disappear. The industry is suffering now, just as it did in the ’70’s. Have we forgotten that the decisions of OPEC to raise the price of crude oil and place an embargo on Western companies in 1973 had the very same effect on the US and other western economies? The automobile industry went through the same difficulties then as it is going through now, and forced the production of smaller more efficient cars….sound familiar?? The ’82 VW Rabbit was a product of that change in the industry. The industry satisfied the consumers for the next decade with more “efficient” cars and everyone was happy again driving around. Then suddenly gas prices were low again, and we had an over abundance of oil, so of course there was no reason to worry about buying large SUV’s and conserving oil. We are repeating history, and unless the industry makes changes to avoid the same mistakes then we will go right back to being reliant on cars and oil. Maybe I’m pessimistic, or just realistic, but I don’t forsee the industries making those drastic changes even this time.

  75. 75 e.miller
    December 22, 2008 at 18:51

    Living in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio a car is necessary. I can’t imagine not having my own car. Here we have no public transport that would meet daily needs. Driving to work & transporting a child to and from afterschool activities requires our own transportation to participate. Simple needs of food and home needs require a car as well. Location plays a big part of whether public transportation is available or not. But in the suburbs I can’t a community functioning without our cars.

  76. 76 Eric in PA
    December 22, 2008 at 18:52

    While I’m happy to say that I work at home and rarely drive, I do still own a car. Public transport is not readily available in my area of the USA and, if I want to get anywhere distant, I have to drive. Still, I hope that automakers will focus on cleaner cars with alternative fuels.
    I think that many people around the world want to drive without hurting the environment.

  77. 77 Grayden in Ohio
    December 22, 2008 at 18:53

    One of the reasons that I am not buying a car right now is neither because of economic conditions nor because of a realization that I suddenly don’t need a car.

    I am waiting for several new technologies such as plug-in hybrids, pure electric vehicles, and cleaner diesels to reach the market. Everything I have been hearing has told me that these technologies will be arriving in the next two or three years, and I am delaying my purchase until these are available.

  78. 78 brad in Oregon
    December 22, 2008 at 18:53

    Why not motorcyles? Why do we not talk about this as a good alternative? It seems so obvious to me. I get 40-50 mpg, maintenance costs are low, and parking is easy. Most of us drive around solo in our vehicles anyway. Even in Oregon we can ride year round comfortably, admittedly with the right rain gear at times. I have two children and while we still need a car in the family to transport them, we don’t need two cars on the road.

  79. 79 Thomaz
    December 22, 2008 at 18:53

    I would have to agree with the respondent in Atlanta, GA. In East Tennessee, there are places where a car is necessary. Public transport does not exist in most non-urban areas of the United States. I can think of places near me where there are fewer than one family dwelling every 5 miles. With statistics like that, it will probably be a long time before people are willing to give up their personal transportation.

    Thomaz G.

  80. 80 Wanda in Ohio
    December 22, 2008 at 18:56

    I own my car. I have owned cars since 1987.
    Cars as transportation for me began once I left New York City and found that there isn’t a mass transportation system like New York where a car is really not necessary.
    I’ve lived in Georgia, Kentucky and now in the greater Cleveland area in Ohio.
    The majority of Georgia doesn’t have public transportation and neither does Kentucky (at least not while I lived there). While Cleveland’s transportation system is fine, it’s still not as efficient as that of New York City.
    It’s hard to compare such a mass system, but that’s been my experience.
    I would like to see a mass transportation system throughout the nation where we are not so dependent on our cars especially since the car and oil industry have benefited greatly from our addiction to the automobile.
    Also, I agree that the industry is taking a hit due to the gas rates and people losing their jobs.
    We’ve had to make a decision on whether to put as much food on the table or keep our tanks full.
    Years ago there was an electric car and the automobile industry took it away.
    Now they’re begging for our help. Maybe if they had not been so greedy then they wouldn’t be in the position they’re in now.

    Wanda Santos-Bray
    Cleveland, Ohio

  81. 81 Mabel in Ohio
    December 22, 2008 at 18:57

    Dear World,

    Even though the popularity of public transportation will increase, private transportation will always be popular,

    but,

    People will be keeping their vehicles longer.

    So, the demand for NEW cars will be lower.

    My husband and I have
    1996, 1994 Mercury Grand Marquis (the comfort cars)
    and a 1992 Honda Civic Hatch Back (the economy car)

    When one of our cars gives out, we will most likely, get a reliable used car.

    This attitude will impact negatively NEW CAR SALES.
    But, it will not limit the number of cars on the road.

  82. 82 Allan in Ohio
    December 22, 2008 at 18:58

    I believe that owning a vehicle has become a headache. I’ve found that trusting anyone to take care of your vehicle, maintenance wise, has been a headache. Personally, I want these big car industries to focus on mass transportation or a better means to environment. People as a whole are becoming more educated to know that it’s not a good idea to spend $30,000 for a vehicle that will depreciate in a short time and create a maintenance nightmare.

  83. 83 Debris
    December 22, 2008 at 18:58

    Hello!
    It seems to be it. But green transport is not likely to take on, i.e to be produced in required quantities, immediately or very soon. It will all take time and cost the ordinary people time and money. Moderate pressures make life a pleasure, therefore moderate changes might be all one may want. It is very sad that the major companies stagger under the pressure of a recession. Thank you

  84. December 22, 2008 at 18:59

    In Capitalism, cars are for the Middle Class, they are not for the ruling class (private jets, etc.) or the underclass.

    Mass transit is only available for all classes in a truely socialist society (there are no true socialist countries in the world).

  85. 85 j.gabel
    December 22, 2008 at 19:04

    Good grief your questions sound so juvenile – you don’t need a crystal ball to see that working people in the world’s biggest economy are desperately avoiding spending on any nonessentials – that means repairing rather than trading in for new cars – as the “lending crisis” – what I never hear from any of you in the main stream media is any indictment of GLOBAL FINANCE OLIGARCHS – engineers of the global heist – of course not

  86. 86 David Martin
    December 22, 2008 at 19:06

    I think consumers shopping for a new replacement car should go on a buyer’s strike and refuse to buy anything until an all electric or plug-in hybrid getting 100 miles per gallon becomes widely available and affordable. The technology exists.

    After moving to battery electric vehicles, clean up the grid. One of the large companies should change their production to windmils, solar thermal, solar PV, etc.

    Love your show.
    I wish journalism existed here in the US.

  87. 87 Andrés in Ecuador
    December 22, 2008 at 19:07

    Instead of buying a new vehicle, I decided to restore a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle. It was less expensive that buying a new vehicle, and it also has saved valuable resources.
    I don’t see our country (Ecuador) saying goodbye to cars, but it traffic and pollution definitely have people thinking twice before they add another car to their family fleet

  88. 88 Ginger
    December 22, 2008 at 19:08

    Here in Portland, Oregon, USA we have good public transport, light rail and buses. However, rural Oregon could not function without cars. Local, small bio-diesel plants to serve cars could make a real difference. Car use is down 30% in Portland since the increase in gas prices this summer and is staying down even with lower gas prices. Ginger

  89. 89 Brad
    December 22, 2008 at 19:09

    I’m currently listening to your broadcast in the United States, 10:37 Pacific Standard Time. Why own a car? Why don’t people ever bring up the option of motorcycle ownership? It is never mentioned as an alternative. I get 40-50 mile per gallon and can park anywhere. The cost of ownership is minimal. I ride in any weather except snow and ice. Even in Oregon we can ride most of the year comfortably. Why own a car? I agree. Why own a car when most people drive solo without any baggage? Why not ride a motorcycle?

  90. 90 Mikhaylo in Kiev, Ukraine
    December 22, 2008 at 19:10

    It is a good news to hear about Toyota’s losses.

    I live and work in the centre of the capital of Ukraine – Kiev. There are so many cars, that sometimes it seems you sitting just in the middle of the exhaust. I hope, people stop buying cars and the sky will become blue again.

  91. 91 Jen in Portland
    December 22, 2008 at 19:10

    I live in Portland, Oregon, USA, and our family owns one car, which we drive only a few times per month. We own a tandem bicycle on which my husband and two kids travel to school and around town, and I ride my bike, walk or take the bus most places. This is possible because we have lots of bike-lanes in Portland, and grocery-stores, parks, schools, etc. within walking distance of most neighborhoods. We have to redesign cities and towns to make this possible for all people- it is a wonderful, simple and fun way to live- carfree!

  92. 92 sean in Maryland USA
    December 22, 2008 at 19:11

    I live in suburban Washington DC and am trying to figure out how my quality of life will improve if I give up my car. Waiting for busses in the rain & snow to take me to the subway to wait again for a train and then having to get off and walk again in the rain doesnt sound like an improvement in my quality of life. I’ll stick with my car and the freedom & comfort it brings.

  93. 93 Erin in Portland
    December 22, 2008 at 19:14

    I’ve owned my own car since I was 16. It took me a long time to be free of them. Where I grew up they were not just symbols of status but an absolute necessity. My school, work and friends in NH were not only 20 miles apart with no public transport or safe roads, but my dear old mom would have to hike up a mountain in the snow to get into the house. I hated feeling dependant on a car no just because of my environmental conscience, my inability to get exercise by walking or bicycle and because it was risking my life every time I got into one.

    When I lived in the city of tacoma, WA, I tried going carless for about 1 year and found that there were a lot of mentally ill on the bus and I was periodically harassed and felt unsafe. When I road my bicycle, I felt extremely unsafe, didn’t enjoy breathing the air and was the object of occassional harassment.

    I’m 25 now and I chose a graduate school based on this city that provides me with safe, efficient enjoyable public transport, safe bike highways and trails and sidewalk to walk along. My life without a car has improved beyond a doubt. We pay extra rent to live close to downtown, and when I want to get out of town to the mountains or the beach, my husband and I have a subscription to zipcar. The cars and trucks, both hybrid and regular are parked all over the neighborhood and can be rented on an hourly basis.

    My husband and I are now weighing the cost-effectiveness of car-sharing through zipcar and ride sharing on craigslist. If a car is ultimately more cost-effective, we may consider buying a car but only if it’s an affordable fully electric truck. I don’t see those demands being met by the auto industry anytime soon.

  94. 94 Mike
    December 22, 2008 at 19:15

    one figure we ought to bear in mind is 40,000.
    this is the number of road deaths in the US peer year.
    source – Scientific American, for dec 2008
    so, why does nobody talk about the car as killer

  95. 95 Viliam in Presom, Slovakia
    December 22, 2008 at 19:16

    For years I’ve been waiting for a car for two + 2 shopping bags that weighs no more than 200 kg, does no more than 70 km/hr, does not make much smoke or noise and costs no more than $3000. When on earth are they going to make them at last?

  96. 96 David Martin
    December 22, 2008 at 19:17

    All vehicles in the US in 2007 could be powered by 70,000-140,000 5MW wind turbines, according to the research by Mark Jacobsen of Stanford.

    Approach the problem like WWII. Overhaul the entire economy. Need a Pearl Harbor type motivator? How about Katrina in New Orleans.

  97. 97 Bryan in New York
    December 22, 2008 at 19:17

    Cars ugly up our cities with wide roads, parking lots (car parks), unsightly garages, and fatal accidents. It’s not just about fossil fuels.

  98. 98 Maria in Salinas, California
    December 22, 2008 at 19:20

    I live in Califonia and i am not exaggerating when i say everybody has a car. (or virtually everyone anyways)

    …At least one car, many many families own two to even three cars. These arent even standard sized, four door cars but massive SUVs.

    Owning a car here has been glamourized. Ford is an “American Tradition” and buying one on Fourth of July or any other national holiday is considered American.

    Obtaining a license is also rather inexpensive for teenagers but expecially for adults at only $28. (!)

    Outrageous gas prices and the weakining of the car industry are actually blessings.
    Americans are too dependent on the automobile yet they complain about the highways and costs.
    the importance and benefit of public transit is not highly valued in a country in which the car is the main source of transportation. This must FINALLY force the U.S. to provide a well connected, efficient, fast public transportation system throughout the country as they exist already in many parts of Europe and Asia.

    owning a car should not be necessary. it may not be the end of the automobile, but it should be the beginning of a transportation revolution, in which we move and transport ourselves in environmentally conscious ways.

    afterall, there won’t be oil forever…

  99. 99 A miller
    December 22, 2008 at 19:25

    2 have a car or not to have a car . i would say to have a car because i live in the suburb. we have very limited amount of public transportation, though i would like to have a non fossil fuel car for we would not create such a large pollution amount. it would be great to have a green car 1 day .

  100. 100 Gwen
    December 22, 2008 at 19:26

    I have an ECO FRIENDLY company, and recently bought a car (after not owning one for 5 years). I had to move 900+ miles from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon. I could not have moved my company with out it. I even got rid of all my personal effects and furniture to do it. Now that I’m here, there is 2′ of snow outside. I could not run my business with out it. So, I have to adjust and simply drive as little as possible.

    Still, filling up at the gas station is a truly painful experience for me.

  101. 101 Mary in Lake Oswego, Oregon
    December 22, 2008 at 19:27

    I am a woman who feels very strongly about personal transportation. II cannot believe that people would have us regress to only interacting within a few miles or where we live.

    What happens to the family who can’t afford movies, plays, etc that the “big” city offers. They share their love for themselves and their families by personal exploration of our great country. Many people with little means enjoy our forest, parks and beautiful outdoors which they would have no possibility of doing without personal transportation.

    Moving to a more fuel efficient vehicle has been being talked about for 50 years. Let’s not get too carried away. Those who want to be carless good for them. Don’t ask me to use my car or for a ride.

  102. 102 DENNIS
    December 23, 2008 at 05:47

    NO…Unless, society is willing to make a massive investment in public transportation around the world….

    –Dennis

  103. 103 DENNIS
    December 23, 2008 at 05:48

    TOYOTA will get thru this time with, probably limited problems…it is part of life, when the economy goes downhill; things start to happen….People just don’t have money to get new cars…And just repairing the car, they are using!

    ~Dennis

  104. December 23, 2008 at 18:17

    More than half the world’s population now live in cities. In Europe the figure is around 80%. If this includes you, you probably don’t need a car. In most places, public transport is actually a lot better than you might think (have you actually tried it?) Not to mention bikes. Walking. And taxis. And why do you want a car? If you look at the evidence you’ll find that giving up your car means having more money, being more fit, being thinner, being less stressed and less isolated. It might even save your life. Choosing to be car-free is liberating: have a look at http://www.GiveUpYourCar.com for more on this. When you find you really need a car, just hire one, or join a car club…..and then give it back when you’ve finished with it. After all, who owns a cow because they sometimes need a pint of milk?

    Stephen

  105. 105 natalie sara
    December 26, 2008 at 17:03

    a blip. my mom is considering a new car and my uncle just bought a toyota suv to replace his old one. the market is down, sure, but in time it’ll come back with better marketing tactics. more hybrids i suppose

  106. 106 Aaron
    December 27, 2008 at 03:09

    Cars are the 21st century cigarette. Everyone knows it’s bad for you, but additions are hard to break. It doesn’t help that most of North and South America has few alternatives.
    But what I notice is that for people who do give it up, they go through only a few weeks of withdrawals and then they can’t figure out why they didn’t do it sooner.
    Besides, 42,000 deaths per year (in the United States) is a big influence.
    Everyone that I’ve talked to who has given up the car has expressed how much nappier they are and how much better their finances are

    Remember the old lingo, “What will you do with all the money you save.”

  107. December 27, 2008 at 19:21

    Germany went in for a ‘Volks car with air cooled engine’and ended up with the ‘Volkswaggen’ in the Thirties. Obama wants a small ‘green’ car that is less polluting and mass transit systems for the coming years. We are just at the beginning of the next mass transit revolution. And it will surely come. Where there is a will, there surely will be way!

  108. December 28, 2008 at 13:01

    Whatever you have, you will come to depend on it. I have a computer with a 24″ screen and 500 gigas of memory. I have a mobile phone with God knows how many numbers stored in it. I have an iPod and a turntable that turns vinyl into MP3. I have my own business and I have a bus pass. I live in a gated community 8 km from the city where my business is located. Why don’t I have a car? Quite simply because I’ve never had one and have never learnt to drive (although I’m 61 and, though I hate to admit it, middle class).


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