Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Better Land Use = Less Oil Use"

Smart Growth America agrees that designing our cities better will reduce our oil consumption:

Almost any development in a central location is likely to generate less automobile travel than the best-designed, compact, mixed-use development in a remote location.

Encouraging growth in our town and city cores and discouraging sprawling growth way out at the edges means less automobile travel. Fewer miles in cars each day means less oil use. Less oil use means….you see where this is going, right?

But they don't quite get to talking about why our cities sprawl this way. Fred Harrison describes a little of how the tax structure results in poor infrastructure and, ultimately, poverty.

It's also worth reading Matt Yglesias's short post on our misplaced priorities:
Obviously you couldn’t reduce [auto fatalities] to zero without totally eliminating motor vehicles, but even ten percent of that number is more people than died on 9/11. And yet the difference between the resources you can mobilize for “cut driving fatalities by ten percent a year” and “help stop another 9/11″ is enormous.

Preventing Terrorism, if successful, reduces deaths from terrorism. Removing our energy/transport infrastructure from oil dependence can reduce auto deaths, and perhaps make the middle east a slightly less valuable land to divide and conquer. Change the tax structure, and you can reduce poverty (which will then leave fewer people driven to drastic measures to change their lot in life), fix our infrastructure, and thus reduce both auto and terrorism deaths. Maybe I should make a chart.

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