I’m crazy. That’s fucking bananas.
No, It’s crazy not to. We’re all fucking crazy, this morning, for getting into a car.
What if this were about guns instead of cars? Would you feel differently?
In 2017 there were 39,773 gun deaths in the US.
There were 40,100 automobile deaths.
The NRDumdum likes to say, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Okay, cool. When you figure out how to make sure the killers don’t get guns, call us, in the meantime, nobody should get them. So, I propose that until we can figure out how to make sure only responsible drivers get cars, nobody gets them.
But we need cars. We don’t need guns.
I propose we would actually be significantly better off without cars. The personal auto was a solution to a problem, which caused so many other problems, for which we created solutions, that caused problems, for which we created solutions tha… you get it, we’ve lost track of the original purpose. Traffic, parking, city structure, economic segregation, access, climate change are all directly related to the proliferation of the personal automobile.
Let’s leave all of that on the table though. We don’t even need that whole “it will be a better world” bullshit for this to make sense, and that’s a book not a blog. Someone smarter than me who doesn’t say fuck as much should write it. For now, I’m just going to look at the money. You like money right?
In Michigan (my home, the Motor City, the belly of the beast) there are 3.2 million registered vehicles. We collect about $2.6 billion a year for our very-no-good-terrible-roads on a state level. That’s not including your local and county roads which you pay for in property taxes. I’m too lazy to track down those numbers… but we don’t even need it. Keep it. Spend it on guns. Whatever.
Additionally in Michigan we spend $3.9 billion on car insurance, $9.1 billion on fuel (not counting tax) and about $18 billion on our cars themselves.
All in, and leaving out a lot of shit, we spend about $34 billion dollars per year on cars… in Michigan.
So my proposal is: let’s ban cars until we can figure out how to not kill people with them and use the $12 billion per year we save on insurance and gas and put it into some badass public transportation. You get to just keep the other $21 billion. That’s about $2,000 per year for every human in Michigan. Including babies. Including your dickhead cousin Kelly. In your pocket. Right now.
You don’t have to sit in traffic.
You don’t have to find parking.
You don’t have to pay a ticket.
You don’t have to give anyone the finger.
You don’t have to go to the hospital to visit your kid who was just hit by a drunk driver.
You don’t have to visit your uncle’s grave who was hit crossing the street.
AND LIKE I SAID
Everyone in your family gets $2,000/year plus whatever you spend on local road taxes.
That’s my pitch. I think it’s a pretty good deal.
Notes on my math (aka. screw off wonks):
- I used 2017 as that is the most recent year that has a lot of numbers available, sometimes a near-year was substituted when numbers weren’t available.
- It’s probably not perfect. Like, yeah, commercial vehicles are included in some numbers and I get that we’d still need to have roads so we don’t magically save that money but I left a lot of cash on the table. There is plenty of wiggle room in there. We’re not making ball bearings.
- What about all the money we lose from not making cars? That’s just not the way economics work. You’ll use your $2,000/yr on something else and the people building cars will build that thing instead. Probably whatever we buy with our $12 billion in public transportation budget. Ford already has a bike program.