Quick poll: Cars are a fundamental part of our lives and a major source of pollution. How should industry and society react?
Comment from Justin Roux, Senior Vice-President of Communications at Luvata:
This is certainly an interesting result, with the audience being almost equally divided among the two alternative fuels, public transport and simply not driving. However, before I go on, I simply can’t avoid commenting on the other issues.
Smaller and leaner engines get just 9% of the vote. I expected to see a higher result here but I suppose that smaller engines are just an interim measure while we really sort out a cleaner solution to our transportation.
I remember that I once gave a talk about excessive consumer decisions and illustrated it with the choice of a new, 375 horsepower car. My logic went as follows: the average content of the modern car is 1.2 monkeys and a bag. The average speed of the modern car is just over 33mph. The total number of horses actually required to carry 1.2 monkeys and a bag at 33mph is…
Many thousands of years of history have taught us that.
This leads me to ask what the other 374 horses are doing. 374 horses is 180 tonnes of flesh and bone – the petroleum equivalent of several fields full of livestock - surely they're not required to power the stereo, no matter how loud it is. Let's put it another way: in terms of being fit-for-purpose, the car is therefore 0.26% efficient, which is completely shocking. Doesn't that seem like an appalling victory of distorted consumer demand over engineering sense - an inexcusable gesture of our ability to make crazy decisions? I'm not saying that people shouldn't buy luxury goods - if a $10million wristwatch makes you happy then I'm happy but when decisions have such a huge impact on the rest of the planet, they need to be taken on more than how much you can break the speed limit by.
I digress. Let me calm down.
Looking at the rest of the results, 44% of voters are interested in alternative fuels (and let’s hope that cleaner ways of generating enough electricity and hydrogen are forthcoming, as well as manufacturing the cars that use them). This is matched by a 44% “common sense” vote of developing public transport or simply staying at home – and in an age in which we have lightening-fast broadband and fill over half of our day sending emails, this seems to make great sense.
So, in summary, I think the public have sent a strong signal that petrol, diesel and gas just aren’t the way forwards. It’s a healthy result: 44% say we should find a new way of fuelling cars and 44% say we should change our lifestyles.
Oh, and only 2% would rely on their governments. Really? As many as that?