Thursday, July 05, 2007


Mathew Yglesias Muses on urban density. Will we return to dense urban planning to respond to rising energy costs?

Unless the cost of gas goes way up, I don't think so. Commuting patterns in the UK are pretty similar to those in the US and Gas costs four times the price. The higher population densisty in the urban areas of the UK is due to the higher population density of the whole country.

People are much more likely to have smaller cars in the UK of course. And European cars of all types are vastly more fuel efficient than US models. My 4.0L Jaguar does 28 MPG on highway driving. That is much better than the average US mid range car. Carpoint even lists the fuel economy as a plus point - on a luxury sportscar. It would certainly not be easy to make the proposed 35MPG requirement, but not impossible. Take a 3.0L plant and turbocharge it to get the top end power.

The assumption that I don't think is valid is the idea that telecommuting is going to save us. Not unless we get vastly better videoconferencing than we have today. I telecommute and so I do maybe 3,000 miles a year in the Jag. The problem is that many of those miles are done driving to the airport. I have done 50,000 miles on United this year and 20,000 on American.

I suspect that my travel schedule is fairly typical of telecommuters.

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