US DOT: Driving (Miles) Up 1.5% In 2017 vs 2016

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Despite the need to vastly and rapidly curtail transportation sector carbon emissions if anthropogenic climate change is to be limited to any real degree, the US transportation sector is continuing to grow … year by year.

The latest data point from the US Department of Transportation is that January–May 2017 saw a 1.5% increase in miles driven on US roads and highways as compared to January–May 2016.

2016, it should be remembered, was a record year for miles driven within the US.

While things have gone into a bit of a Tesla frenzy here at CleanTechnica as the Tesla Model 3 launch rapidly approaches, it should be noted that we’re still far away from a large-scale switchover from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to all-electrics (EVs), and that’s just one of many solutions we need. We also need electricity to come from clean renewables; need a comprehensive restructuring of the ridiculously designed cities, suburbs, and industries of the US; need a much more climate-friendly agriculture system. And we need these changes not just in the US, but across the world.

The transportation system we have today involves a ridiculous amount of driving, which is inefficient in multiple ways, even if you’re driving an electric car. Americans drive about twice as much as Europeans, including the British, but cutting this excessive time in the car requires deep, thorough changes to the built environment.

Reuters provides a bit more on the figures discussed above: “Motorists have traveled 1.01 trillion miles on US roads and highways this year through April, a 1.5% increase over the same stretch last year, according to the US Department of Transportation.

“The sustained strength in driving volumes is a good sign for refiners as the US driving season kicks off in earnest. US gasoline demand, which accounts for 10% of global consumption, was down 2.7% in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to the latest monthly data from the US Energy Information Administration. The federal gasoline demand data is an estimate and can be wrong, analysts have warned.”

And we get back to the absurdity of society here — a mainstream media outlet couches the news in terms of benefit/gain for a fossil fuel industry, ignoring the vast global heating and climate change implications of driving so much. You might be inclined to think the human species is not very good at holistic, well integrated, or long-term thinking.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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