Tuesday, May 19, 2009

42 MPG - Good, but not the emphasis we need.

Today President Obama announced a new plan to force automakers to increase miles per gallon on new vehicles to levels of 42 MPG for passenger cars and 27 MPG for trucks by 2016. This is a good thing. Those who can afford the supercars won't be happy, but I think that they will make a new category for those rather than calling them "production" vehicles.

My concern is that the administration is still not concerned enough with finding alternatives for people to get out of the cars in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I love my new Honda Accord with its 27-31MPG and a peppy 4-cyl engine. I even like watching the adrenaline pumped, testosterone laced Top Gear.

But I also wish I lived within walking distance of a grocery store, and a bookstore. The closest grocery store is over 2.5 miles away. A bit far of a round trip carrying much more than one bag, plus the major highway separating me from it is deterrent enough not to do the walk.

We need to build more communities where public transportation is available. We need to build more communities where the choice of public transportation or bicycling or walking is an easier choice than the personal vehicle. I'm not for eliminating the personal car - far from it - what I'd like to have is the option on a more regular basis.

There are those who would then argue, why do you live in a State and community where lower suburbia causes these problems? Why don't you move? Truth is, that considering the housing market for those areas of appropriately designed density where I'd like to move my family, I either wouldn't be able to find an applicable job within commuting distance that would pay me enough to afford to live there. That's the frustrating thing. Well designed higher density just isn't affordable to government employees.

The fantastic Obama administration needs to look at how we are funding public transportation at a federal level and place more money emphasis on revitalizing infrastructure and housing to achieve a greater modal split, rather than focusing money on just expansion of the highway capacity.

That will achieve better savings of fuel over the long run.

1 comment:

I'm not a witch, I'm your wife. said...

The closest grocery stores to us aren't as far as you think, but without sidewalks they might as well be across town. I used to bike to Super Target, but they eliminated the shoulder on Davis when they added another traffic lane, and now I'm just not comfortable riding that way.