NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 17, 2005

The simplistic notion that the car is an environmental doomsday machine reveals an ignorance of history, says Stephen Moore in the Wall Street Journal. A century ago, the auto was hailed as one of the greatest environmental inventions of all time because the horse, which it replaced, was a prodigious polluter, dropping 40 pounds of waste a day.

Although environmental groups and politicians are not likely to break Americans from their love affair with cars -- big, convenient, safe cars -- no matter how guilty they try to make drivers feel, they are using more subtle forms of coercion, warns Moore.

For instance:

  • The left is now pining for a $1-a-gallon gas tax to make driving unaffordable.
  • Washington has wasted over $60 billion of federal gas tax money on mass transit systems, yet fewer Americans ride them now than before the deluge of subsidies began.
  • When the voters in car-crazed Los Angeles opted to fund an ill-fated subway system, most drivers who voted ?yes? said they did so because they hoped it would compel other people off the crowded highways.

The roads are crammed with tens of millions of cars and Americans drive eight billion miles a year while spurning buses, trains, bicycles and subways, says Moore. Americans want more open roads and highways, and energy policies that will make gas cheaper, not more expensive.

Source: Stephen Moore, ?The War Against the Car,? Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2005.


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