Electric Cars

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The Covid epidemic may have given us a partial solution to the problem of the car. More people are working from home, and more people are buying online and having stuff delivered. One delivery van delivering to a number of households is more energy efficient than all those people getting in their cars and going shopping. (We should hope the delivery is done by UPS or the post office, both of which are unionized.) However, we have a long way to go before we take a really serious look at the individual car.

Cars and suburbs powered the US economy after WWII. Which was fine, I guess. Cars and suburbs got people houses, which they wanted, and got white people away from PoC, which they wanted. But both individual cars and suburban houses are energy inefficient. And don’t talk to me about freedom. You are not free if you are tied to a car; and most cars are used for urban commutes. I don’t find driving in traffic on 494 a liberating experience.

The economist Michael Hudson says public services — education, transportation, health care in countries that have it, public housing in places that have it — enable bosses to pay workers less, since the workers don’t need the extra pay for school, cars, health care, housing… It’s a win-win situation, which is currently being destroyed by privatization.

The Covid epidemic may have given us a partial solution to the problem of the car. More people are working from home, and more people are buying online and having stuff delivered. One delivery van delivering to a number of households is more energy efficient than all those people getting in their cars and going shopping. (We should hope the delivery is done by UPS or the post office, both of which are unionized.) However, we have a long way to go before we take a really serious look at the individual car.