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Why you have (probably) already bought your last car

That might happen in Europe, but maybe not in North America. Their governments might legislate Driver-ful cars out of existeance, but I don’t think that will happen here. People still own and drive 100 year old cars as a hobby, and eventually that will likely be the case in the USA. There may well be cameras in the driver-less cars that monitor traffic. All you have to do is drive like a responsible adult and you won’t get in trouble. If you behave badly and cause accidents, the cameras will catch you and you will pay a price for your poor driving.

Ahh, yes, predictions…

In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say,I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

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It’s a bit late, but urban dwellers in several cities in China and India should wear gas masks when venturing outside. As for the other predictions, they had to work with known reserves. There are sources of oil that were unknown or unavailable at that time. Newer technology in mining oil have increased reserves dramatically.

So where is my jet pack??? Predictions had us all wearing personal jet packs, so where is it? (R.I.P. Tim Wilson…)


[quote=“Rainflurry, post:3, topic:126716”]
In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

Within a few years of that prediction, the two parties in power in the US passed several environmental protection laws, and formed the EPA: legislation signed into law by Pres. Richard Nixon. From then until January 20, 2017, the USA was one of the world leaders in the science and technologies and the legislation that mitigated against environmental degradation and its effects on the health of living things.

Predictions have less predictive power if the underlying factors are understood and dealt with effectively and responsibly.

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Heh heh heh. Better visit Europe while it still has some semblance to Europe.

Not likely. I just bought one today. I’ve been driving for 32 years and have had as many cars. I’ll probably be driving for another 30 years, so at this rate I’ll probably have 30 more cars too.

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Agreed. Predictions, as they relate to science and technology, don’t have the benefit of knowing future advancements or the future political environment. Predictions, as they relate to consumer behavior, as is the case with not owning cars in less than 20 years, are even more tenuous in my opinion. In either case, they can be helpful and sometimes amusing.

I think predictions of autonomous cars in America underestimate how strong we feel about the freedom our cars give us, not to mention the economic interests at play.

People still have horses, typewriters, turntables, kerosene lamps, and fountain pens.

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I have always preferred fountain pens to ball points, they have a feel that ball points just don’t have, gliding over the paper rather than rolling over it. Also, have you ever tried to fill in a pre-printed form with a word processor or computer printer? With an old fashioned type writer, it’s a cinch.

The lake I live near is often filled with sailboats, here it is, 2018 and people still travel on water using boats powered by sails. I also still shoot firearms that you load by pouring gunpowder down the barrel.

A few months ago, I was driving north on hwy 620 and passed up a gentleman riding a penny farthing bicycle. An authentic old time one with a huge front wheel.

What I have noticed is that many teenagers today are less excited about getting a driver’s license. Also, younger people are moving into urban areas and use public transportation to their places of employment and don’t own a car. Our son, who is in his mid 40s, is married with a teen age daughter, sold their three bedroom house where he was 35 minutes from his work and moved his family into a two bedroom apartment five minutes from the university campus where he works. The move gives him an extra hour a day plus he doesn’t have to keep up a yard and maintain a house. I have seen younger people doing the same thing on the campus where I taught for 44 years.
Fifty years ago, faculty members were expected to own a car. Back in 1968, my department head tried to assign me to an overload class 50 miles away. This class was like doing overtime. I didn’t want to teach this overload class even though I would be paid extra for doing so. My department head had already turned my name into the administration. I got out of it by saying that the university had to provide transportation. I was told that I would be paid mileage and was to use my own car. I retorted that my letter of appointment only required me to get myself to campus and that it didn’t say that I was required to have an automobile. The university had to find someone else to teach the class. Fifty years ago, my institution had very few vehicles in its fleet. Now, there are more young faculty who don’t own cars, and there is a large number of cars in the fleet. In 2008, I was giving a presentation at a conference at an institution 15 miles away. I was told that I had to take a university vehicle, even though it was inconvenient for me out to the motor pool and check out the car.
I don’t think cars are going to completely disappear, but I think we will see a decrease in the percentage of people who own an automobile. With the expansion of the internet we will also see more people who work from.home.

Motorcycle couriers were wearing gas masks in LA in the '50s. I couldn’t see the San Gabriel mountains from downtown Pasadena in '71; sometimes I couldn’t see across the street.

‘If present trends continue’ he didn’t say they would. His prediction was a call to do something else. Plastics have gotten a lot better since then, glass fibers have replace copper for data, including phone lines, and there’s more wireless communication.

I’ve bought my last car because the one I bought 20 years ago runs as well as it did the day it was made (according to specs) and I keep it that way.

Of course and not driving it tends to not wear it out.

Yes! Thanks for mentioning it. Also it means that getting around under my own power keeps me from wearing out: win-win!

Imagine this:

You want to go grocery shopping. You activate an app on your smartphone and it tells you a car will be there in 4 minutes.

4 minutes later it arrives, and it drives you to the grocery store. It drives off and goes to pickup someone else.

When you’re done shopping, you activate the app again and 3 minutes later, a car shows up to take you home.

What happens when the car needs to be recharged? It takes itself out of service and drives to a recharging station.

What about peak hour usage? Your app will have a reservation feature, so you can schedule when to have it pick you up. The timing may not be the best, but at least you won’t be waiting.

The cost? Much, much less than owning a car - 'cause it will be better utilized. The car will be busy pretty much all the time.

When? When people get used to the idea of NOT driving a car and NOT owning a car. For some, that is a HUGE hurdle! 20 years? I think that is optimistic.

I think you might be right. Then again, 20 years ago, a huge portion of the population did not know what an APP was or could use one on their phone…:wink:

20 years is too soon. Way too soon. But I do see where it could happen. Especially in cities. Not so much in rural areas. People who live in rural would rather own a car then wait hours for a taxi for the less then 5,000 miles the travel a year. Taxi would be cheaper, but not convenient.

As for cities…I could see it. But a lot of things have to change. I have relatives in NYC who don’t have a drivers license. Never had the need for a license or NYC. it’s easy to get around without a car. Boston is easy too (as long as you don’t have to leave the city). Other cities - not so much.

@MikeInNH might be right, but here in the San Francisco Bay area I foresee the no-car situation coming within no more than two years. Right now, today, GM has a fleet of Chevy Bolts garaged near the Ferry Building waiting for government approval to start running as driverless taxis. If a person lives in most of San Francisco the need for a private car to take care of local business will be filled by this kind of service within a year or two.

Even today with subscription car use services almost everyone in the City lives within a few blocks of a pickup spot for Zipcars or City Car Share and can reserve and pickup a car easily. They still have to drive it themselves. Or they can just look on their phone for a nearby electric scooter and hop on for a short run somewhere.

Yep in your dream world where cars are only used to go to a store or restaurant and not to pull a boat, drive on the frozen lake to fish, take a trip to the cabin, take a load of lawn debris to the dump, pick up lumber, and on and on.

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