Reader Rant: The End of Cars?

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Here’s the latest reader rant, along with my reply!
Renee writes: Eric – Thought you might find this article of interest, a clever propaganda piece disguised as opinion:

I’ve been following your blog for a while and I agree with most of the things that you are saying.  I travel a lot and so I’m exposed to lots of rental vehicles and am increasingly unimpressed with all the new features. It wasn’t until you described ASS, that I realized that was actually a feature and not a bug, although I would debate the feature/bug aspect of it.  I have no interest in purchasing any of these new vehicles. I drive an older car (’99 3000GT) and will probably continue to do so for some time. At least until I can’t get parts for it anymore. Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your articles. Keep up the good fight.

My reply: New York City is to cars what the Vatican is to stag parties. So it doesn’t surprise me that the New York Times would talk up the end of cars; it’s already happened there. Most people  who live there don’t own or drive cars, for the reasonable reason you can usually walk to where you’re going faster – and finding a place to park is all but impossible. Ride-sharing will work there for the same reason taxis work there. It just means cutting out the taxi driver and replacing him with software – in the case of automated cars.

But what sells in the city won’t sell elsewhere, especially the farther away you get from the city. The distances are too great; the wait too long – and that’s not even getting into the automated aspect, which also won’t work absent a technical miracle bordering on the magical.

This is a frenzy, like Orange Man Hatred and the EV Obsession. It is an affliction of elites in DC, LA and NY.

Unless they intend to go full Stalin – and exterminate us Kulaks – this is never going to fly. At least, not for a very long time.

. . .

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  1. Does NYC allow one to live without a car? Yes, but it comes at a cost. Whatever you save in terms of car payment, insurance, maintenance, fuel, and depreciation will be offset by the high cost of living in NYC. Rent is expensive there, even in the outer boroughs. Unless you’re wealthy, forget about BUYING a house or apartment there, let alone pay the exorbitant property taxes! Then, there are the CROWDED subways to deal with. I was in NYC visiting recently, and the R train was like a sardine can on rails! Fortunately, I only had to travel to the next stop. I like visiting NYC once in a while, but I sure as heck wouldn’t want to LIVE there. Besides, I like having a car and the ability to go where I want and when… 🙂


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