True-Cost Driving (PT. 4)
Once we account for the environmental cost of carbon emissions, the cost of building and maintaining roads, the medical costs of accidents, and the noise and the aesthetic degradation of urban sprawl, your personally owned car will cost you around $100,000, and a tank of gas $150. You’ll still be free to drive all you want, but instead of passing the costs on to future generations, you’ll pay up front.
Plenty of people will howl and moan — at least in the beginning. A bitter meme war will be fought about how true cost disproportionately punishes the poor.
But once true-cost pricing is in place, car use will plunge and bicycle use will soar. City skies will be clearer. Breathing easier. Ride sharing will spike. People will live closer to work. Demand for monorails, bullet trains, subways and streetcars will surge. A paradigm shift in urban planning will calm the pace of urban living. Cities will be built for people, not cars. Catastrophic weather events like hurricanes, floods and superfires will subside. The spectre of global warming won’t feel so ominous anymore.