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Cars: We're All Wasted

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It's amazing how wasteful our car-driven (pun intended) economy has become.  We're all so entitled, and I'm as guilty as the next person.  But a new project I'm working on has inspired me to take a hard look at justifying being a car owner in New York City vs. giving up ownership for car sharing services like Car2Go and ZipCar, the odd Uber ride and of course more public transportation.  

I own my ten year old BMW X3 outright now, but pay to insure it and -- since I live in now officially gentrified North Brooklyn, I pay for parking tickets and to throw it into a lot at times.  Oh the outrage!  I use it mostly for weekend jaunts with bikes and friends in tow (yes, I drive 100+ miles some times just to...bike).  During the week, I mostly am chased to move it around by alternative-side-of-the-street parking regs.  

The average American individual drives the equivalent of 13,500 miles -- a couple round trips between LA and New York -- each year.  (I'd be surprised if I rack up a quarter of that).  And yet, the typical American car spends 96% of its time parked.  Not moving at all.  Now THAT's a stat I can relate to, and that's where I begin to see how wasteful our society has become about maintaining the privilege of driving around -- often solo -- in a metal box, often stuck in traffic and/or circling a block to find a place to...park.  

More alarming stats about the good ol' gas-guzzling combustion engine (yes, that includes cars that get 'great' gas mileage).  Because of factors like aerodynamics, inertia, idling and engine loss, a full 86% of fuel never gets fully utilized.  And, although it's hard to imagine if you've ever been stuck on the FDR for eons, but the average American road reaches peak traffic load only 5% of the time -- and even then, only 10% of its surface is covered with cars.  

What's equally amazing is the speed at which industry is (ahem) driving change, with even greater consumer uptake of car-sharing (especially by younger consumers), more infrastructure and choice being added to the electric and hybrid car system, and more data and technology to help improve how we move and get around urban areas.  

I'm delighted to be working with a stealth start-up that is addressing all of the issues related to the people and businesses that rely on operating more than 1 billion vehicles around the world today.  Stay tuned for more!