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Culture Change print magazine issues: 20  19  18  17  16  15  14  13  12  11  10  9  8  index

Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

Fact Sheets
Press Releases

Long Distance


The mess:

U.S. roads:  over eight million miles of them! 
Miles driven:  2.7 TRILLION miles a year!
and worst of all:  over 280,000,000 PEOPLE!

                              Urban                   Rural
                                    Number     % Total      Number       % Total
 Miles Roadway    1,915,180      23.3%    6,308,213        76.7%

Miles Driven    1.665 Trill.   60.5%   1.085 Trill.    39.5%

Population     202,874,000  72.4%  77,392,000    27.6%

Clean Air and Public Health Threatened in Massive Transportation Bill

May 2004, Washington, DC
Half of all Americans live in places with unhealthy levels of smog. Smog, soot, and air toxics, such as benzene, from cars and trucks cause serious health problems, ranging from illness to premature death.

Congress should help put America on the road to cleaner air by protecting and strengthening the measures in the transportation bill that clean our air.

But it doesn't.  In a mostly thankless task, environmentalists lobby and use the courts to reform the system and get some crumbs for cleaner air and alternative transportation.  

ó There are seven parking spaces for every car in the U.S.  The transportation infrastructure takes up a third of the urban land mass in U.S. cities. But in L.A. it takes up 60 percent.  Does this mean other towns with trains have it better?  Consider Chicago: "When you look at low-income households, the amount spent on transportation costs gets up to 40 percent of income," says the Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago.

ó U.S. transportation is over 95 percent dependent on oil.  In 2000, cars and trucks guzzled 132 billion gallons of gasoline and an additional 33 billion gallons of diesel and other special fuels. 

ó Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the largest contributor to climate change and the transportation sector is one of the largest sources of CO2. Cars and light trucks emit 20 percent of the nationís CO2 pollution. Each gallon of gasoline burned pumps 28 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere ñ 19 from the tailpipe and nine pounds from upstream refining, transporting and refueling. The U.S. transportation sector as a whole is responsible for about 32 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions, and almost nine percent of the worldís total CO2 emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the 1990s were the hottest decade of the 20th century. 

ó Motor vehicles are the largest source of urban air pollution, generating more than two-thirds of the carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, a third of the nitrogen oxides (which react to form smog), and a quarter of the hydrocarbons (which also form smog).  Some pollutants emitted by cars and trucks are known or likely to cause cancer, including toxic substances such as soot (fine particulates), benzene, arsenic compounds, formaldehyde, and lead.  In the 1996 National Toxics Inventory, EPA estimates that mobile sources such as cars, trucks, and buses release about 3 billion pounds of cancer-causing, hazardous air pollutants each year.

ó Americans spend over $100,000 per minute to purchase foreign oil, making oil consumption an important part of the national trade deficit.  The transportation sectorís dependence on oil is not fully reflected at the gas pump; it also drives US foreign policy [including torture and any backlash against U.S. citizens - Culture Change].

        Source:  Surface Transportation Policy Project

Renewal of the nation's main surface transportation law, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), is now before Congress. TEA-21 is the key law that shapes our transportation investments and has a profound effect on our environment, public health and local communities. As part of the reauthorization process, Congress must decide how roughly $300 billion will be parceled out for highway, highway safety and transit programs for the next six yearsóand the rules by which to spend it.

Read testimony before Congress on straightening out funding priorities for transportation and the environment.  Michael Replogle's remarks on policy: "Vital Concerns for TEA-21 Reauthorization."  To learn more, see Environmental Defense's website: 

Road fighting background

In former years the Alliance for a Paving Moratorium (APM), formerly the main project of Sustainable Energy Institute and what is now Culture Change, informed the public that such transportation reauthorization legislation always added more roads despite improvements for the environment and alternative transportation.  Along with road widenings, this heaivily road-construction based legislation has added terribly to air and water pollution and the completely unsustaiinable, oil-dependent infrastructure.  We hope this time for an improvement, or at least wide realization of TEA-21's main funding impacts:  As long as more concrete and asphalt are laid, the funds for alternatives are undermined or wasted in the context of our ecosystem in peril and an economy based on plentiful petroleum.  See our Factsheets in this website and read about automobile-free living by perusing our magazine issues #8 - 19. 

No environmental group is for more roads.  All the groups are against sprawl.  But none of the large environmental groups has endorsed a halt to all new road building, despite years of APM's attempting to forge a consensus.  After ten years of road fighting and stopping some roads, APM's nonproift sponsor found that funding to stop the bulldozers was too hard to obtain and sustain.  We conclude that as long as their is abundant, subsidized oil, road building and road widenings will continue, despite the fact that such a scheme of priorities means road repair goes undone, and despite the fact that freight is eight times as efficient by rail than by truck.

The paving moratorium was originally conceived to aid AMTRAK as the most efficient motorized transportation, with hope that fewer roads and cars would being to aid the environment.  How is Amtrak doing?  Here is the federal government's analysis of the current rail passenger system and its financial challenges.

- Jan Lundberg

Also see Surface Transportation Policy Project
and our pave for the Alliance for a Paving Moratorium


Articles of interest:
Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results.  WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.

Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California . Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)



Culture Change/Sustainable Energy Institute mailing address: P.O. Box 3387 , Santa Cruz , California 95063 USA
  Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)

Culture Change (Trademarked) is published by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) California non-stock corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.