What stops us from changing our ways about driving

by davidnormand on September 21, 2017 - 5:19pm

David Normand, Guillaume Fraticelli, Étienne Poirier


Transportation by cars represents 12% of all Green House emissions all around the world. It has become a part of our daily lives and has been an industry in continuous development. Companies fight to make the fastest, prettiest and strongest car compared to other competitors, while what they should actually do is design the most efficient, low consuming and environmentally friendly car they can.


Even if car companies have managed to develop the technology to make their cars more efficient, to lower the emission of CO2/100km, it is not what is better for them economically. What gives the better profit is selling heavy and prestigious cars with big engines that consume a lot of fuel. 


What would really help would be if people would take the train, the bus or their bikes instead of driving, but cars are way more convenient. You don’t have to follow a precise schedule, go to the bus stop that is (sometimes) a kilometer away, wait under the rain or in the cold Quebec winter for the bus to come and pick you up and deal with late bus arrival or bus that is overloaded. 


As said in David Suzuki’s book, some people may think that electric cars are the solution, but it is actually not as good as they seem for the environment because, in a lot of places, the electricity used to charge those cars comes from coal-burning plants that release a lot of polluting gas in the air. Also, those cars are often way less affordable than the usual car.


The barrier to this problem is that there is no easy solution to overcome automobile use. What would help is doing a thing like Denmark: there is an overall tax of 180% on every fuel-powered car purchase. The fuel price is higher, ownership taxes are higher, sales and registration taxes are higher and insurance taxes are higher. Yes, in Quebec, you are encouraged by the government to buy an electric car (you get $7000), but it is not enough to motivate people because they can have a good reliable car for $18 000 instead of paying their Tesla $65 000 (7000$ taken off). Why would they pay that much money if they can pay the third of it?


Sources :






“Just Cool it” by David Suzuki



Hi there! After reading through your article a few times, I've come to the conclusion that your main points are valid and are backed up by (okay) sources, the only thing lacking in your article is more depth, explanations and a possible solution to the problem at the end of your post. You start off by saying that "12% of all GHG emissions are from car transport", when it clearly states in your source that only "two thirds" of that 13% "come from road transport" (http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/climate-change/cars...). Although this is a minor detail, it's pretty important considering this is your opening line, and pretty much anyone who fact-checked your information will see it right off the bat. In continuation, your remark about "heavy and prestigious cars with big engines that consume a lot of fuel." selling more and making more profit is a bit stretched... This isn't 2004 anymore, anyone living in North America knows about
the price of larger vehicles and how much they consume (we also know how well companies like Hummer and GM are doing), that being said, there are more and more restrictions when it comes to their fuel consumption (and especially emissions), which reduces there overall impact these larger vehicles have on the environment. The fuel consumption technology currently being pioneered by most companies (ECOboost, ECOfuel,etc...) are good initiatives to help alleviate the damage large SUV's and trucks do, but are small-trade when it comes to the amount of money big companies like Ford, Nissan, Volkswagen and others are funneling into the electric vehicle market. My point being, there is a lot of progress in the electric car world, the market is heavily inclined (consumer pressure & demand) towards electric vehicles and their usefulness in the modern setting; you would even be surprised how affordable electric cars are becoming these days (not necessarily Tesla's, but Leaf's, Prius's, iMiev's) with the help of said incentives and subsidies. Lastly, I agree with you that Denmark is on the right path towards pushing people to go green through carbon taxation, the problem is the sociological context would be completely off. Me and you a-like probably hear people complaining about Quebec's high taxes on the daily, and if your like me in this, you know that increasing those taxes by even a slight amount will cause an unbearable stir in the population. If you think people are complaining now, imagine what it will be like if we charge them 0.60$ for turning on their car and going to get milk at the local couche-tard! Finally, and I know your probably tired of hearing me complain (although I did like the paper!!!), the actual source you put (http://www.copenhagenize.com/2012/10/danish-180-tax-on-cars-is-rather.html) to justify a tax on carbon-fueled transportation, is actually AGAINST it at all costs. The authors state that the tax is "irrelevant" and "rather comical", and that solutions (which you should have mentioned since you read the article) would be to further invest in car share programs, better public transport and bicycle infrastructure. Keep at it, I'm sure if the article were just a tad longer it would of been great!

Have a good day! :)