It’s not easy being a car enthusiast these days, as chances are people hate you. Because with what seems like every passing week, there’s some new survey, or traffic death study, or obscure toxicity hazard that’s measured, quantified and blamed on the automobile. And recently, the horde seems fixated on vilifying tires.
MC&T recently reported on a study that emissions that tires present from the Netherlands, but now there’s one from the United Kingdom that claims tire emissions are “1,850 times greater” than tailpipe emissions. This is based on the entire lifecycle of a tire, versus the “legal maximum” of what’s allowed out of a vehicle’s exhaust. The study never quantified a lifecycle of a vehicle, based in distance traveled. Nor were other variables like urban versus highway driving factored in.
Studies such as these all seem to funnel into a single rhetoric: to stop driving automobiles. But that isn’t going to happen, at least, not for a long time.
If personal transportation is really the devil, then lawmakers and governments are going to have to do a lot better to make a public transit system that actually functions as well (or better) than a car, or truck, or SUV. Sure, ride your bicycle everywhere (even in the snow belt, based on Detroit’s unused bike lanes), but if you need to pick up some groceries for your family or want to carry more than one person comfortably? You’re likely going to need some kind of vehicle.
Rent, you say? Not in our suburbia. Not with families. And not when they still require being picked up/dropped off anywhere other than one’s driveway.
People themselves will also have to become more comfortable with commuting with other human beings, which is something that not a lot of people are prepared to do. Moreover, there’s a liberty and freedom in being able to transport oneself to a desired destination. It’s something that’s being taken for granted, and it shows.
Along with the pragmatism that goes with it, driving is more than just a way to get around, as it’s also a fun hobby enjoyed by millions, if not billions of people, and they’re not likely to let it go without a fight.
So unless there is some kind of magic solar-powered teleportation system coming in the very near future, it’s going to be cars and trucks that bring you where you need to go for the conceivable future, and more people are going to have to realize that before we’re left with places to go, but no way to get there.