Ask us for advice!

In doubt about what car to buy? Send us your questions to the e-mail and study your options with us. Your doubts will be published to help other visitor with the same questions.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Why I am against World Car Free Day

Next Monday, Septembre 22, will be World Car Free Day. Creating an occasion like this already points out one of the modern world villains: the automobile. This dirty, pollutant machine, responsible for stress and heart attacks in the heavy traffic of the big cities. This huge source of expenses on fines, fuel and taxes. This murderer, to be accounted for the shameful quantity of deaths on roads every year. Summing up, this unbeliavable evil for mankind. It is so despisable that even some carmakers, involved in this social responsibility speech, are proposing a "rational way" of using their vehicles, like carpooling. Maybe they should stop producing cars and get into the cigarettes business, possibly less harmful. But I don't see cars like that. On the contrary, I seize this opportunity to defend these poor scapegoats made of steel and plastic. I love automobiles and what they represent and I would like to explain why.

Human beings have always had the need to move, to know new places, and we have always done that in a very limited way, on foot, until we found out we could ride a bull or a horse and go a littler farther. Later, we found out we could put two or more horses together pulling a carriage to go farther and faster to the places we wanted to go. To anyone who thinks this was a nice way to live with nature, with no pollution, it is wise to be aware London, in 1850, was the biggest Ocidental city of the world, with 1 million inhabitants and 450,000 vehicles, all of them pulled by horse. Streets were so full of manure (horse shit, it you prefer) breathing health problems were the main cause of death. Life expectancy was not bigger than 39 years.

A little later, in 1886, Karl Benz puts an engine in one carriage and takes mankind to a new stage of mobility, to an amazingly enhanced ability to beat time and distances, to a new and always increasing condition of comfort, safety and quckness. Few people may remember, but the automotive industry is one of the most dynamic ones, perfecting and improving itself in a very fast pace, as Volt has shown us.

Anyway, mankind's problem is to always try to find someone else to blame instead of admitting its own blame. It is not due to the lack of a urban occupation policy that traffic is chaotic: cars are responsible for that. Cattles and bulding construction are not world's biggest CO2 emitters, increasing greenhouse effect: vehicles are. Deaths caused by car accidents are not to be accounted for people that are not prepared to drive or are so confident doing so that they car text-message, read the newspaper or drink behind a wheel. It's all goddamned cars' fault.

Has anyone ever discussed what replacing a house for an apartments building causes to traffic? Suddenly, in a block were 50 people were living, you have 8,000. Isn't it natural to have streets flooded with cars, as well as sidewalks, shops and movie theatres?

If old cars are very pollutant, why do our governments do not stimulate people to buy new vehicles by giving them a good discount if they give their old cars as part of the payment? Everyone prefers to have a newer, safer and cleaner vehicle.

If public transportation was the solution for everything, Tokyo, the biggest city of the world, would not have its 28 million inhabitants pulled into trains by agents wearing white gloves. There must be a healthy limit to how many people can live in a single place. If there isn't, WHO should think about it.

This all represents our hypocrisy, our old habit of thinking consequences are, in fact, causes to all problems. We chase our own tails instead of giving things a careful analysis, one that really can help us solve all situations.

Carmakers think it is not fair to have their five or seven-seaters used by only one person? Why don't they create cars for only one person or two, such as smart fortwo or the upcoming Toyota iQ (which can carry more, but in a reduced space) and Pompéo? Are vehicles too heavy? Loremos has created a lightweight vehicle for four people that is able to run 67 km on 1 litre of diesel and an electric version is on its way. Are petrol reserves running out? Honda already has the fuel cell vehicle FCX Clarity on operation, besides ethanol, which is successfully used in Brazil as a renewable source of energy. In all situations, cars are presenting solutions that to not eliminate them.

So don't tell me anything about this stupid idea called World Car Free Day. I will not give up on cars and on what they represent: the wonderful conquest of an affordable, almost unlimited, comfortable, convenient, safe and self-determined mobility. They may become electric, electronic, individual, but I am sure it will still have at least three wheels, a steering wheel and the will to take me wherever I want and need to go.

This is why I am sure automobiles will continue to be my daily trip partners, permanent membres of modern life, unless anyone finds out a safer, faster or more convenient way of moving us around. Teletransportation, for example...

In place of a World Car Free Day, I propose a World People Free Day, an idea that sound so stupid as the first. If cars have been pointed out as villains of problems it has not caused, it won't take long for people to be in the same spot, like the suicidal soldiers in Monty Python's "Brian's Life", who kill themselves instead of solving the problem they are fighting against.

If I had to propose something really useful, I would propose the World Hypocrisy Free Day. Perhaps this way we can deal with important questions with the right level of information. This is the basis for right decisions and acts, not for empty acts that make people feel better about themselves while the world continues to decay.

No comments: