Americans drive less, use less gas, buy fewer cars

Americans are driving less, burning less gasoline, and buying fewer cars, and the feds have the stats to prove it. New numbers show that Americans drove 4.7 percent less in June 2008 than they did in June 2007, shaving off some 12.2 billion miles. For those keeping track at home, that makes a total 53.2 billion fewer miles driven between Nov. 2007 and June 2008 than in that eight-month period a year earlier. As would be expected, gasoline and diesel use have also fallen: In the first three months of 2008, Americans burned 400 million fewer gallons of gas than …

The (renewable) electron economy, part 5

More ideas for a post-oil society

This is the fifth in a series on how we can build an energy future based on our best science and no longer critically dependent upon exhaustible and polluting fossil fuels. Promoting battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles Governments can play a key role in promoting electric vehicles by buying electric vehicles en masse and helping develop battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric fleets and fleet systems. With current technology, battery electric trucks could already function as postal delivery trucks. Beyond the gasoline hybrid, government service vehicles should be mandated to be electric or PHEV/EREVs with few exceptions. As is …

Let's handcuff the property cops

Homeowner associations restrict eco-friendly practices in favor of aesthetics

This post comes to us via the Land Institute’s Prairie Writers Circle. —– Susana Tregobov dries clothes on a line behind her Maryland townhouse, saving energy and money. But now her homeowners association has ordered her to bring in the laundry. The crackdown came after a neighbor complained that the clothesline “makes our community look like Dundalk,” a low-income part of Baltimore. Tregobov and her husband plan to fight for their right to a clothesline, but the odds are against them. Although their state recently passed a law protecting homeowners’ rights to erect solar panels for generating electricity, it is …

The (renewable) electron economy, part 4

Toward the post-oil society

This is the fourth in a series on how we can build an energy future based on our best science and no longer critically dependent upon exhaustible and polluting fossil fuels. The tripartite approach allows our society to cut oil demand and dependence substantially within a decade, much more quickly than a sole reliance on electrification of the autonomous vehicle fleet through sales of battery-electric and plug in hybrid vehicles. Combining these vehicles with the already well-proven and easily scalable technology of vehicles that use trolley poles or a pantograph to draw power from the grid while in motion allows …

The people came

New York City’s inaugural Summer Streets event a big hit

StreetFilms writes … … the New York City Department of Transportation held its first Summer Streets event on Saturday by opening 7 miles of city streets to pedestrians and bike traffic only. From 7 AM to 1 PM, roads were car-free from 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge with Park Avenue serving as the backbone of the route. … The general consensus was that the event succeeded beyond even the most hoped for expectations and would pass even the most pessimistic of measuring sticks. … the future will hold many more large scale street openings for pedestrians, cyclists, runners, children, …

Leading indicators

When the conservative Washington Post editorial board is stumping for smart growth and transit-oriented development, you know the tide is turning!

U.S. cities will report greenhouse-gas emissions

Twenty-one U.S. cities have agreed to measure and report greenhouse-gas emissions in partnership with Local Governments for Sustainability and the influential London-based Carbon Disclosure Project. “Over 70 percent of total global emissions are generated from cities, and if you don’t measure these emissions, you cannot manage them,” explains CDP CEO Paul Dickinson. Cities signed on to the effort include Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York City, St. Paul, and West Palm Beach, and at least nine more are expected to join. Dickinson is optimistic that the effort will lead to “the beginnings of a fundamental restructuring of how cities …

The (renewable) electron economy, part 3

A three-pronged approach to getting off oil for transportation

This is the third in a series on how we can build an energy future based on our best science and no longer critically dependent upon exhaustible and polluting fossil fuels. Getting off oil: a three-pronged approach Oil is not “evil,” it’s an undervalued resource that has been squandered on tasks that could be much more efficiently achieved through the use of electric drive transport. Cheap oil has enabled individual and family mobility and autonomy at a low price but these uses now compete with more critical uses of oil in commerce, industry, and agriculture. As we shall see, with …

Amtrak struggles to meet demand as ridership soars

As commuters continue to look for alternatives to high gas prices, increasing numbers are choo-choo-choosing Amtrak. A record 28 million passengers are expected to ride the train this fiscal year compared to 25.8 million last year. The House and Senate have passed bills that could boost Amtrak’s funding by 33 percent, which has Amtrak prez Alex Kummant saying he’s “optimistic” about the rail service’s future. But he warns that aging trains, dilapidated tracks, and overcrowding are concerns. Nearly $5 billion would be needed just to get infrastructure up to snuff along the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor.

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