Can California put cars in the rear-view mirror?

The story goes that Californians love their cars. But much of the time that relationship is dysfunctional, launching drivers into the teeth of traffic jams, fouling the air and spewing gases that undermine state policies to combat climate change. Most personal cars sit quietly at the curb or in a garage for 95% of the day, so why even have one?

With transportation — mostly passenger vehicles — responsible for about 40% of the state’s greenhouse-gas emissions, policymakers are ramping up efforts to uncouple Californians from their cars. As they nudge people into ride-sharing, public transit and housing built to enable both, officials are playing a long game. And they’re navigating a political and social minefield dotted with oil interests and drivers loath to give up cars without easy and affordable alternatives.

There’s also our clichéd romance with the automobile, long abetted by the state’s film, television and music industries with such tropes as the Beach Boys’ surfboard-toting station wagon and TV commercials showing drivers gliding up Pacific Coast Highway, convertible top down, gleaming hair whipping in the breeze, not another soul in sight.

One of the things those commercials don’t say: Cars cost nearly $10,000 a year to operate in California, more if you have an older one. And unless something drastic happens to get motorists into cleaner cars and to drive less overall, “we are never going to meet our greenhouse-gas goals,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat who has sponsored a handful of bills to reduce transportation emissions.

Those emissions are actually rising, and numerous studies have warned that unless they are significantly reduced, the state won’t achieve its goal of lowering greenhouse-gas output to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Coupled with existing state measures to encourage adoption of electric cars and reduce the carbon content of fuels, officials are aiming to decrease the overall miles that vehicles travel in California — a simple concept that’s devilishly difficult to implement and will require multiple approaches. …

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  1. Captainrdaybell says

    Taking away more and more freedoms from Californians for a very unneeded reason.

  2. Robert Wilson says

    The entire premise of this article is INSANE!!!!! Carbon Dioxide emissions are good for the planet, not bad. Trying to eliminate them is sheer stupidity and is nothing more than a thinly disguised mechanism to get total political power. If radical leftists ever achieve their goals, they will literally wreck the entire state’s economy.

  3. ” fouling the air and spewing gases that undermine state policies to combat climate change. ”

    I grew up here in the South bay. WAY back in high school (1977-ish) you could stand in Fremont and not see the mountains behind Mtn View…you could stand in Mtn View and not see Mission Peak. Sometimes the smog was SO bad you could stand on the middle of Hwy 237 and not see the mountains on either side. It was pretty bad.

    NOW a days, it’s always very clear. I guess unleaded gas made a big difference. The climate, at least in san jose, is getting better and air pollution is MUCH reduced.

  4. Get people out of their cars? Wait until the Brown/Nichols “cap n trade” BS kicks in and gas tax jumps 60-70 cents per gallon. And the CO2 BS matches on. You Tube Dr. Will Happer of Princeton on CO2 for a complete understanding of its benefits. And tell me again how a gas that makes up only 1/3 of one percent of the atmosphere will raise the other 2/3rds of 99 percent of the atmosphere. Must be some SUPER hot gas!!

  5. Just Sayin says

    Man made climate change is a hoax. Has been from the beginning. But it is a necessary hoax so we will cling to it no matter what. It is necessary to enrich the elite. Without it Al Gore and his cronies would have to get a job. It is also vitally necessary because man made climate change is the global crisis that requires global government to fix it.

  6. Tracker Bob says

    Phil Ting must be talking about the cost of his Mercedes or his upscale BMW when he says it cost $10,000 a year for owning a car in California – more if older. That is totally not true for most drivers on the roads of California.

  7. Robert S. Allen says

    Rail instead of toll lanes on I-580 through Livermore. BART belongs in that median instead, but the Legislature killed that. Valley Link there and to the Central Valley could substitute at reducing traffic over the Altamont.

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