Future Travel

Are you a Petrol Head?

0 Comments 25 June 2012

I recently blogged about robot cars and our subsequent loss of one more area of personal freedom as computers start doing something else for us. Well, when writing said blog I never considered that we might actually be moving into a post car world.

Before you holler too loudly, consider the facts. Since 1996 there has been a 13% decline in annual trips by cars and vans in the UK and a 4% reduction in annual distance travelled over the same period. And it’s not just the UK – the ratio of vehicle miles travelled is falling in the US as well. 12 years ago it was 10,000 vehicles per year. It is now 9,500 – not an insignificant drop.

But why?

Well I suspect the high cost of fuel has definitely been a factor but it runs deeper than that. I believe a systemic change is occurring in how we travel and it is being driven by the Internet. Consider the following:

  • We’re buying way more stuff online. Groceries, clothes, gifts, books, you name it. The chances are it is now available at the click of a mouse where previously it would have required a trip to the shop.
  • We meet more online as well both for business and socially. Leaving aside social networks, mass market video conferencing tools like Skype mean we can meet in person for virtually nothing without leaving our office or home.
  • There is also a cost consideration at play. I don’t know many youngsters who can afford a car these days. The cost of insurance, petrol, maintenance make it prohibitive.
  • And finally there’s flexi working. It’s on the increase because technology allows us to stay connected 24/7 from anywhere on any device. With that sort of flexibility who needs a car?

So does that herald the end of the car? In one sense yes. The PC is becoming as liberating as the car used to be. It is all about personal freedom allowing anyone to virtually travel anywhere they want any time of the day.

Interestingly, cars are no longer linked to GDP growth. Believe it or not they used to be or at least the miles they travelled did. Fifty years ago the total movement of cars and lorries on the road grew as fast as the economy. It made sense because back then the two were indelibly linked. But not now. In 2003 when US vehicles miles travelled (VMT) was 2.9 trillion miles, US GDP was $12 trillion. Eight years later GDP passed $15 trillion whilst VMT stood still. GDP is now linked to other forms of growth – ones that are not necessarily wedded to four wheels but instead exist online, like banking, shopping, gaming, socialising, education, watching movies, listening to music. Inevitably that will require less and less car power.

Adios Petrol Heads!

Inspired by an article in the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/12/america-motor-car-transport?INTCMP=SRCH

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Be Sociable, Share!

Share your view

Post a comment

CommentLuv badge

Sign up for updates sent to your inbox

Join The Race

Reviews of The Human Race

Unputdownable. Yes, I know it's not a word, but it definitely applies here, anyway. That's the word I'm going with, to describe The Human Race by O.C. Heaton. - Hira N. Hasnain

An outstanding first novel from O.C. Heaton that catapults him into the Best Seller league… - Justine Bond

"This is an exciting, fast-paced read. The Human Race is a book that is very easy to forget to put down. Bring on part two!" - L. H. Bowers

"If you are looking for a well-plotted and well-written thriller to while away the hours of a long flight, this offering might suit you very well." - David Bryson, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

For further reviews of The Human Race by O.C. Heaton click here.

Author Bio

Charles Heaton British thriller writer O.C. Heaton, author of The Human Race, is fascinated by the past, present and future of human evolution. (Image credit: Ross Parry Agency) Read More>>

O.C. Heaton’s bookshelf

O.C. Heaton in the Guardian

O.C. Heaton's post about Harold Haw was featured in the Guardian.

On Facebook


Facebook Love


O.C.'s bookshelf: read

The BeachThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeLife of PiOuter DarkThe FirmAlexander 3: The Ends of the Earth: A Novel

More of O.C.'s books »
O.C. Heaton's  book recommendations, reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

© 2018 A Rush of Green. Powered by WordPress.

Daily Edition Theme by WooThemes - Premium WordPress Themes