Car Culture

The president is going hard on EVs. What about mass transit?

Car Culture
Photograph by Erin Eberle / Instagram

LISTENING: to my chewing
FEELING: ready for spring
SEEING: my bowl of olives slowly empty out

Did you hear? President Joe Biden announced new regulations Wednesday to encourage automakers to make more electric vehicles. Transportation makes up the majority of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, but I worry that leaders are taking a flawed approach to cutting that pollution.

We need EVs, of course. Gas-powered cars won't work in a green economy. We can't pump fossil fuels into our vehicles to get around forever. However, all I hear about these days is EVs — from the government, from tech billionaires, and from industry.

I was just at the Aspen Ideas: Climate event last week where FIAT CEO Olivier Francois delivered a keynote. At the conference center, attendees could drive electric FIATs around a mini driving course, too. I didn't mind it too much, but most others I spoke to hated the noise and the space dedicated to the cars.

But isn't that the norm? Think about how much of our built environment is dedicated to personal vehicles: parking spaces, driveways, roads, and parking lots. The soundscape of cities is shaped by the honking and sirens of vehicles, too.

Let's be real: This is part of the problem. EVs won't fix any of that. They won't make driving less deadly, either. Why won't more politicians invest in public transit, instead? I rarely see so-called leaders position mass transit as a climate solution even though it's one of the most obvious.

Welcome to Possibilities, a creative climate newsletter on the possibilities that lie where crisis meets community. I’m Yessenia Funes, and I want to see more buses and trains and bikes.

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