A 1993 National Resources Defense Council study examined automobile-use subsidy
and the often-ignored hidden cost
s of automobile use to society including the following annual
- "Pavement wear and road maintenance: $64 billion after user fees.
- Energy use, such as oil industry subsidy, trade imbalance and military expenditures to protect foreign oil supplies (emphasis mine): $45 to $150 billion.
- Parking costs, underpriced due to tax subsidy and high availability, induce additional driving leading to increased fuel use and pollution: $25 to $100 billion.
- Accidents that result in personal injury, property loss, and public service costs: $98 billion.
- Pollution, including air and water degradation, with no estimate of wetlands loss, and loss of crops and wildlife: $120 to $220 billion."
The study also noted other unmeasurable costs such as "loss of land and historic buildings, inequity in the transportation system for nonautomobile users
, and urban sprawl
The study concluded that if these costs were factored in to a gas tax to the individual driver, gasoline would cost anywhere from $2.86 to $5.00 per gallon. A subsequent study done the following year by the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment pegged the range at about 175% of the gas tax rates proposed by the NRDC study. Estimates done by other groups range from $3.03 to $16.11 per gallon.
The book Road Kill: How Solo Driving Runs Down the Economy provides comparitive professional estimates of the total costs (user costs, government costs and societal costs) of the price per mile for driving a car and riding a bicycle. All told, the car ended up costing 93.8 cents per mile (some two-thirds of which is paid by the owner) while the bicycle costs 12.8 cents per mile to ride, three-quarters the cost of which is paid by the rider.
Everyone should know that the net gain of cars on the road per year surpasses by at least an order of magnitude the amount of new roadway laid down every year, meaning that congestion and commuting times will only increase.
Everyone should know that it was their choice to work an average of 66 minutes' commute from where they live.
Everyone should know that the pollutants released into the air during the work-week commute makes it more likely to rain over the weekend.
Everyone should know that when our grandparents were our age, cancer and childhood asthma weren't commonplace.
Everyone should know that you don't need a car to live well, not if you live in a city and not even if you have children.
Everyone should know that cars promise freedom and deliver slavery...
...but apparently militant ignorance is in.