Transportation is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, using about 2/3 of the annual oil consumption in the US, and about 55% of the oil globally (EIA, 2006). Transportation becomes, arguably, one of the most vulnerable sectors of the economy with waning fossil fuels, especially in the US, where the suburban infrastructure is reliant on the internal combustion engine (ICE). The automobile is an iconic symbol in our society of power, speed, wealth, modernity, technology, individual freedom,
freedom from nature, and even sexuality (Thacker, 2000).We need new local, regional, and national transportation policies to reverse the trend towards unsustainable growth. And we need new symbols for relocalization that restore us to a sense of place and restore our health via active transport.
What has the internal combustion engine meant for society?
Is it everything we hoped it would be? Wherever we’re headed, can we drive there?
The auto age will come to an end when alternate needs for the fuels running the personal autos become more important than the time saved by having individual cars (Odum & Odum, 2001).
Because of differences in vehicle design and technology, electric vehicles cost thousands of dollars more to purchase than conventional vehicles of comparable size and performance. Given current prices for vehicles and fuel, in most cases the existing tax credits do not fully offset the higher lifetime costs of an electric vehicle compared with those of an equivalent conventional vehicle or traditional hybrid. The tax credits would still need to be about 50 percent higher than they are now to fully offset the higher lifetime costs of an all-electric vehicle. (Congressional Budget Office, Sept. 2012)