Jump to content
ScienceNostalgia101

Opportunity cost of electric and/or self-driving cars

Recommended Posts

People love to drive. For some people, it's literally to die for; the tens of thousands who die driving have not deterred people thus far.

 

In practice, it's not just those who drive who can be killed, but those who get run over by cars while walking. So "I have the risk to assume the risk" is not as valid an argument as it would be for, let's say, eating junk food. On top of that, even the individuals who claim they'll drive more safely than others do (which I suspect is mostly said by those for whom its not true) are still harming others through greenhouse gas emisisons that result in flooding. But it's still popular enough that libertarian and non-libertarian voters alike don't want to go as far as banning it outright. As a natural consequence, the market has stepped in to supply the demand in a way that might partly address environmental and/or safety concerns; electric cars, and self-driving cars, respectively.

 

But then that leaves another issue; the opportunity cost of what could've happened if we passed peak oil without electric cars, or self-driving cars, ever becoming available. If no one ever developed electric cars, would this have forced motorists to switch to public transit, bicycling, walking, or any combination thereof? Would this have eventually saved more lives than climate change is expected to cut short, or is the tendency of climate change to cut lives short expected to be a continuous annual permanent feature of climate change as much as it is for traffic deaths?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

If no one ever developed electric cars, would this have forced motorists to switch to public transit, bicycling, walking, or any combination thereof?

No, because those things only work in more densely populated areas and cannot even come close to meeting the need (at least not at scale and without unreasonably high front end costs) for rural and remote residents. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The same applies; would this have forced rural areas to adapt as quickly as possible to a surge in the price of oil, and/or force their inhabitants to leave for more densely populated areas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right now only a few million Americans are farmers. That's a very small fraction of the USA's rural population. They don't all need to be farmers.

 

As well, Europe has lower per capita greenhouse gas emissions than the USA, and Europeans aren't starving to death. Surely there have to be more energy-efficient ways to farm than the USA currently uses.

 

Presumably people could be paid a little extra to go to the remaining farmland via train, and load the crops onto a cargo train. Or perhaps this would get the ball rolling on automation of farm work, if how much extra employees have to be paid to do the more energy-efficient farming were to force the issue.

 

But so long as we fail to force the issue, electric and/or self-driving cars will still enable people's continued addiction to motor vehicles, and continue to get people killed.

 

I've seen people driving in major cities, along routes parallel to the subway train. It can't ALL be out of necessity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What if I disagree with you and just don’t want to?

Why should the government impose your restrictions on to me instead imposing my freedoms on to us all?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because you are also imposing the risk of being run over onto pedestrians and cyclists, despite pedestrians and cyclists being part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Shouldn't that warrant them being protected more, even if at the expense of motorists?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Because you are also imposing the risk of being run over onto pedestrians and cyclists, despite pedestrians and cyclists being part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

No, I’m not. You could stay home. No reason to subject yourself to “the risk of being run over.” It’s your decision to go out and walk in the street that makes you part of the problem. 

Your points across threads are so consistently absurd that I believe you’re either very young, very stupid, trolling, or not human. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Until/unless home delivery of groceries and medications is made efficient (for which we should've had a system in place if only because of the pandemic anyway, for what it's worth) there will always be a pressing need to walk or ride one's bicycle, if only to the nearest transit stop. Or to/from their cars, for that matter. Motorists need to do some walking too, if only because not every parking spot can be equally close to the building in which it's located. Eventually, a motorist still in their car will have to cross paths with a motorist who temporarily becomes a pedestrian. Yes, we have laws that protect pedestrians in parking lots; to some degree; but not to the degree that having fewer cars on the road in the first place would do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/24/2020 at 11:36 AM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

People love to drive. For some people, it's literally to die for; the tens of thousands who die driving have not deterred people thus far.

Out of how many total deaths? Put this number in context. Where does it rank in the different causes of death?

 

Quote

But it's still popular enough that libertarian and non-libertarian voters alike don't want to go as far as banning it outright.

Perhaps because most reasonable people understand that in getting from point A to point B efficiently, cars are the best solution, all things considered, and there’s no replacement that could be deployed in a reasonable amount of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, swansont said:

Out of how many total deaths? Put this number in context. Where does it rank in the different causes of death?

 

Perhaps because most reasonable people understand that in getting from point A to point B efficiently, cars are the best solution, all things considered, and there’s no replacement that could be deployed in a reasonable amount of time.

But transitioning toward a more transit-based society gradually, rather than abruptly, would be more doable. Europe did it. East Asia could do it. The United States could at the very least stand to do relatively more of it than they do now.

 

Rather than comparing traffic deaths to "other deaths," which would have happened with or without automobile use, wouldn't it be more relevant to compare traffic deaths to whichever lives automobile use has supposedly saved? I hear a lot of fearmongering about crimes committed on subway trains and in subway stations, but on the whole aren't they... generally safer than the risk of getting in a car accident if one were to drive instead?

 

Besides, aren't traffic deaths usually the standard excuse people use to dismiss other risks people take? Like how more people die of traffic deaths than HIV? (Again, I don't agree with the validity of that point either, as unprotected sex isn't typically something one would do as an alternative to driving; at least for most purposes; but it seems like it's a benchmark in and of itself, rather than the other way around.)

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why won’t you answer the question? Is it because traffic deaths don’t even crack the top 10? So your presentation of “tens of thousands” looks like sensationalism when one realizes that ~2.8 million people died in the US in 2019? (also that traffic deaths have been falling)

By focusing on deaths you conveniently ignore other impacts that matter to people and would factor in to any decision to drive, and also the difficulties of any transition to some other system. Which remains mythical at this point, because you haven’t done more than give a cursory description of an alternative. It also makes this an appeal to emotion, rather than facts.

Your approach treats driving more as a luxury that can be given up rather than a necessity that would have to be replaced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, swansont said:

By focusing on deaths you conveniently ignore other impacts that matter to people and would factor in to any decision to drive

It was not my intention to do so. My intention was to compare driving to the alternative, which is more relevant than comparison to something unrelated.

 

Of course, it's still comparing unlike terms when comparing deaths to, let's say, how much more time would be consumed by commuting if one were to switch to a more transit-driven society. How much of a factor like that justifies how many deaths would constitute a coefficient of priorities, if you will.

 

However, there is also the fact that taking transit could more effectively be multi-tasked with work that doesn't require one to be physically present at the workplace at the immediate moment, done before and/or after the work that does. If one were using, let's say, data on one's cellphone to crunch the numbers on something one needed to act on once one arrived at one's workplace, and then crunched the numbers on the results on the way home, that would be safer than attempting to do so while driving.

 

With all that said, at least we're getting somewhere with a comparison like that, whereas a comparison to something that has nothing to do with driving either way is arbitrary.

 

If driving is such a necessity, why would anyone feel the need to invoke libertarian appeals to "freedom" to drive in the first place?

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Besides, aren't traffic deaths usually the standard excuse people use to dismiss other risks people take?

No, absolutely not. Please quit implying such things. If you want to make an argument then do so with data, not with supposition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, zapatos said:

No, absolutely not. Please quit implying such things. If you want to make an argument then do so with data, not with supposition.

Fair enough, it's possible the online communities I've encountered are an unrepresentative sample, so I'm not sure if linking to them would prove my point anyway. (Even if I hypothetically could recall the context.)

 

It's also on closer examination possible I just notice these sorts of excuses more often than others notice them, and notice the reverse less often than others notice the reverse, having grown up with games like SimCity that focus on the challenges of managing traffic, or GTA2 which make riding the subway look interesting, and as such having a nostalgia for taking the subway everywhere last time I was in a major city, and therefore growing more of a fixation on this sort of thing than others.

 

One lingering question remains, though. Why, if Europe and East Asia manage to keep lower per capita GHG emissions than the USA, and aren't starving, do people (including specifically within this thread) often invoke commuting to/from small towns as justification for motor vehicle use, and distribution of food as justification for commuting to/from small towns?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

It was not my intention to do so. My intention was to compare driving to the alternative, which is more relevant than comparison to something unrelated.

But the alternative has wide-ranging impacts, which you have not addressed.

 

32 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Of course, it's still comparing unlike terms when comparing deaths to, let's say, how much more time would be consumed by commuting if one were to switch to a more transit-driven society. How much of a factor like that justifies how many deaths would constitute a coefficient of priorities, if you will.

There are a number of people who opt to use a car instead of mass transit, so they have made this choice already.

 

32 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

However, there is also the fact that taking transit could more effectively be multi-tasked with work that doesn't require one to be physically present at the workplace at the immediate moment, done before and/or after the work that does. If one were using, let's say, data on one's cellphone to crunch the numbers on something one needed to act on once one arrived at one's workplace, and then crunched the numbers on the results on the way home, that would be safer than attempting to do so while driving.

With COVID we’ve discovered which jobs support telecommuting and which do not.

Do you have data on how often people try and do work while driving, or is this just more mythology?

 

32 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

If driving is such a necessity, why would anyone feel the need to invoke libertarian appeals to "freedom" to drive in the first place?

I don’t recall running across such appeals. Can you provide examples? Perhaps it’s in response to people trying to ban it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, swansont said:

But the alternative has wide-ranging impacts, which you have not addressed.

 

There are a number of people who opt to use a car instead of mass transit, so they have made this choice already.

 

With COVID we’ve discovered which jobs support telecommuting and which do not.

Do you have data on how often people try and do work while driving, or is this just more mythology?

 

I don’t recall running across such appeals. Can you provide examples? Perhaps it’s in response to people trying to ban it.

There is an example within this very thread.

 

The tradeoffs have mostly been referencing rural populations, farming, and the relationship of rural populations to farming. My response to the invoking of this tradeoff was to myself invoke Europe and East Asia, a comparison that seems to have not yet been addressed.

 

COVID has indeed discovered which jobs fully support telecommuting, but does not discover which ones support partial telecommuting. Take teaching, for example. A significant part of a teacher's work is done outside the classroom in the form of marking. Now, I am not sure how highly a school board would think of doing marking on the subway; I would hope the surveillance cameras would deter anyone from attempting to steal a student's papers. One could have them photocopied before being brought onto the subway as a precaution, but that would still only leave a copy available, and not address any privacy concerns with respect to student performance in a course. Obviously, a teacher cannot, for comparison, mark while driving. Teachers can carpool, but not all carpooling teachers can afford to have a non-teacher always do all the driving.

 

I wouldn't even know where to begin on looking for hard data on working while commuting. I am merely trying to extrapolate from known examples of working outside one's official workplace.

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

But transitioning toward a more transit-based society gradually, rather than abruptly, would be more doable.

We already have mass transit. Subways or elevated trains in NY, Chicago, Boston, Washington. Trains between Boston, NY and Washington. But do you know what they have in common? Population density. The US has tried to expand and make Amtrak more successful but it is hard to justify the infrastructure between Springfield and Columbia Missouri. 

How big is England compared to the United States? Comparing European success to US success only works if the situations are similar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

There is an example within this very thread.

iNow’s response to your proposal to ban driving, then. I was hoping for something more compelling than an obvious counter-argument to a ridiculous proposal.

 

7 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

 

The tradeoffs have mostly been referencing rural populations, farming, and the relationship of rural populations to farming. My response to the invoking of this tradeoff was to myself invoke Europe and East Asia, a comparison that seems to have not yet been addressed.

Germany no longer has the Autobahn? If they still do, I don’t think Europe has banned cars. I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve been to Europe, but I remember lots of cars. The transit was good, but I was in urban areas where that might be expected.

 

7 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

COVID has indeed discovered which jobs fully support telecommuting, but does not discover which ones support partial telecommuting.

Another pronouncement without evidence. We have not discovered this? I think where I work we’ve done really well figuring that out.

 

7 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Take teaching, for example. A significant part of a teacher's work is done outside the classroom in the form of marking. Now, I am not sure how highly a school board would think of doing marking on the subway; I would hope the surveillance cameras would deter anyone from attempting to steal a student's papers.

Is that really a problem? Stealing homework? 

7 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

One could have them photocopied before being brought onto the subway as a precaution, but that would still only leave a copy available, and not address any privacy concerns with respect to student performance in a course. Obviously, a teacher cannot, for comparison, mark while driving. Teachers can carpool, but not all carpooling teachers can afford to have a non-teacher always do all the driving.

Oh, come on. Some teachers can carpool. Most could not. The ones for whom it makes sense were likely doing it already.

 

7 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

I wouldn't even know where to begin on looking for hard data on working while commuting. I am merely trying to extrapolate from known examples of working outside one's official workplace.

So you just make it up?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, swansont said:

iNow’s response to your proposal to ban driving, then. I was hoping for something more compelling than an obvious counter-argument to a ridiculous proposal.

 

Germany no longer has the Autobahn? If they still do, I don’t think Europe has banned cars. I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve been to Europe, but I remember lots of cars. The transit was good, but I was in urban areas where that might be expected.

 

Another pronouncement without evidence. We have not discovered this? I think where I work we’ve done really well figuring that out.

 

Is that really a problem? Stealing homework? 

Oh, come on. Some teachers can carpool. Most could not. The ones for whom it makes sense were likely doing it already.

 

So you just make it up?

Extrapolation is just a best guess. What's the alternative? Having no starting point at all?

 

I didn't say I supported outright banning cars. I used the fact that even less-libertarian voters will invoke libertarian ideals freedom in particular, as a response to banning cars, to demonstrate the extent to which that is what this is about. Less-drastic measures, like carbon taxation, get this response as well. If their real reason were perception of cars as necessary, why would their first instinct be to invoke something else? Wouldn't that be like hearing a celebrity get cheap shots about their weight and thinking "oh, no, what people really have a problem with isn't the celebrity's weight, but [insert arbitrary other trait here]" or something like that?

 

Teachers are expected to be careful with students' work, and if any random passenger on the subway; let's say, someone with a grudge against their neighbour's son or daughter; was expecting to find blackmail-worthy material on that paper, I would not be surprised if there were some risk of it happening. I just don't know how miniscule it is. If mass transit use were more normalized, I would wonder if the subject of teachers marking on the subway to meet deadlines would come up more often, and whether or not the school board would approve. Then again, some districts are desperate enough for teachers they'll have to take what they can get.

 

COVID still leaves some room for interpretation, because so long as there is still a risk associated with entering the workplace in-person, even if for let's say a shorter percentage of one's shift than usual, that doesn't necessarily mean it "supports partial telecommuting" so much as "better than getting coronavirus and spreading it to others." Whether this translates to people who like to drive considering it better than driving might not be as clear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Extrapolation is just a best guess. What's the alternative? Having no starting point at all?

Extrapolation from what?

 

2 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

I didn't say I supported outright banning cars.

But it's still popular enough that libertarian and non-libertarian voters alike don't want to go as far as banning it outright.” carries with it the implication that that’s what you were suggesting 

 

2 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

I used the fact that even less-libertarian voters will invoke libertarian ideals freedom in particular, as a response to banning cars, to demonstrate the extent to which that is what this is about. Less-drastic measures, like carbon taxation, get this response as well.

But you haven’t provided any examples of this, and yet you are implying it’s widespread.

 

2 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Teachers are expected to be careful with students' work, and if any random passenger on the subway; let's say, someone with a grudge against their neighbour's son or daughter; was expecting to find blackmail-worthy material on that paper, I would not be surprised if there were some risk of it happening. I just don't know how miniscule it is. If mass transit use were more normalized, I would wonder if the subject of teachers marking on the subway to meet deadlines would come up more often, and whether or not the school board would approve. Then again, some districts are desperate enough for teachers they'll have to take what they can get.

Good lord, you watch too many movies.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

I used the fact that even less-libertarian voters will invoke libertarian ideals freedom in particular, as a response to banning cars, to demonstrate the extent to which that is what this is about. Less-drastic measures, like carbon taxation, get this response as well. If their real reason were perception of cars as necessary, why would their first instinct be to invoke something else? Wouldn't that be like hearing a celebrity get cheap shots about their weight and thinking "oh, no, what people really have a problem with isn't the celebrity's weight, but [insert arbitrary other trait here]" or something like that?

Who are you talking about? Who did this here?

26 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Teachers are expected to be careful with students' work, and if any random passenger on the subway; let's say, someone with a grudge against their neighbour's son or daughter; was expecting to find blackmail-worthy material on that paper, I would not be surprised if there were some risk of it happening. I just don't know how miniscule it is.

Then why are you bringing it up?!?! Pulling random stuff out of your lower orifice is a waste of everyone's time. If it is an issue, cite it and make an argument. Otherwise don't bring it up. It is just so much static.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, swansont said:

Extrapolation from what?

 

But it's still popular enough that libertarian and non-libertarian voters alike don't want to go as far as banning it outright.” carries with it the implication that that’s what you were suggesting 

 

But you haven’t provided any examples of this, and yet you are implying it’s widespread.

 

Good lord, you watch too many movies.

 

 

Perhaps.

 

But no, "libertarian and non-libertarian voters alike" doesn't imply that, in and of itself. There's room for interpreting it that way which I perhaps could've considered, but questions of how much of the issue is about "freedom for freedom's sake" and how much is about other considerations is invoked in the context of everything from gun control to COVID restrictions. It's only natural to extrapolate it to this issue, given the parallels automobile use has to both issues. ("Need a gun because everyone else has one... need a car because everyone else has one..." COVID of course relating to freedom and individual convenience vs. common good.)

 

As for the carbon tax example, the people in this comments section, while not necessarily representative of a majority of voters, could represent a fraction significant enough to swing the balance of key elections if all else is held constant, and throughout that comments section people are calling him "Justin Castro" as if to compare a polluter-pay form of taxation to communism. The notion that it's an affront to "freedom for freedom's sake" is clearly more relevant, in these people's minds, than "pragmatic" arguments or their first instinct would be to invoke the latter.

 

As for extrapolation, I mean extrapolation from known forms of multi tasking, to provide an initial best guess as to how people would react to fuel prices forcing the issue.

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

As for the carbon tax example, the people in this comments section, while not necessarily representative of a majority of voters, could represent a fraction significant enough to swing the balance of key elections if all else is held constant,

On the other hand they could represent a fraction that is minuscule and will have absolutely no impact at all on key elections.

Why are you implying they could be a "significant" number of voters if you are not going to bother showing us any real data?

Your debate style is dishonest and is getting old.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is not dishonest. It is a frankly significant fraction of how I form my worldview. Surveys take more careful measures to find a representative sample, but they cannot get around a respondent's ability to lie. At least online discussion exhibits potential, albeit no guarantee, for spontaneous sincerity.

 

If people who willingly click on a politics-related video will tend to call a politician "Justin Castro" over polluter-pay economic regulations, is that not a glimpse into the mind of many voters, or at the very least, of the image many of the voters initially wish to project of themselves?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.