More than Just Fuel Efficiency

Michael Lewyn at Planetizen makes a very interesting point on his recent blog post — that perhaps new car innovations won’t be the best way to reduce transportation costs (at least for now). Lewyn states that awaiting “the technological miracle of fuel efficiency” may not be most effective, since the gas of price is likely to continue to rise. It seems that those who argue that more fuel-efficient cars will beget more affordable transportation are assuming that gas prices will remain steady through the years. (Lewyn aptly named his post “Waiting for a Miracle.”)

The Urban Land Institute picked up on this blog post to highlight the need for better land-use practices across this nation. After all, if living spaces are near work places and amenities (grocery stores, etc.), there will be less of a need for daily driving. Moreover, densely populated areas are likely to be close to public transportation, which will also help cut down on vehicle use (and provide more transportation choices for all people).

Are you convinced that more fuel-efficient vehicles are the key to cutting costs in the future? Or do we need something more?

About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on April 28, 2010, in Public Infrastructure, Regions, Transportation, Urbanism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Even if gas prices stay the same, a slew of evidence shows that (in the case of fixed prices)as energy efficiency increases (electric and natural gas, gasoline, etc.), human behavioral efficiency decreases, to the point where there is little to no net efficiency. In other words, as fuel efficiency increases, people will see it as a reason to drive more. As a result, suburbanization will expand.

    On a related note, electric cars aren’t the answer either. There’s little incentive to live close to work when “fuel” is so cheap. I’m glad GM “killed” the electric car. It may have saved our cities from further disinvestment.

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