The End of the Road: The Twisted Tale of American Horsepower.

We will begin today to publish the recent work of Amy Isler Gibson (Ph.D. philosopher, former professor of ethics and theories in psychology) and Joseph McKinney (President of Oregon Roads, the largest auto fleet leasing company in Oregon) entitled “The End of the Road:  The twisted tale of American Horsepower”.

This book proposes an interesting approach of the mobility issue in the US and is the result of a collaboration between various people who share a common purpose with different paths. We will better now let you read the summary of the book that we’ll publish part by part every Friday.

Franz Marc, Red and Blue Horses, 1912/ Cover picture of "The End of the Road"

Franz Marc, Red and Blue Horses, 1912/ Cover picture of "The End of the Road: The twisted tale of American Horsepower"

The End of the Road is a controversial call to reconsider our American infrastructure, right now before our “stimulus package” is lost on projects with little long-term value. Most thinkers in the area of transportation and energy focus on changing the car; the engine.   We argue that roads themselves must be restructured to encourage and accommodate new, healthier types of transportation and vehicle use.  We propose solutions that are achievable, imperative and locally adaptable.

Accepting the premise that global warming and peak oil demand extreme, immediate transitions, Joseph McKinney, CEO and President of Oregon Roads, Inc., presents a highly critical, whistle-blowing, assessment of his (the auto) industry.  He does the math to show how much it really costs to drive a large internal combustion vehicle. He shows how a shift to “village vehicles” and roads that can make them safe can reduce carbon emissions by 25% in the near future.  This is only an intermediate step, but it is imperative and affordable.

Amy Isler Gibson provides commentary in the role of an educated, curious and at times challenging consumer in this informal, conversational book.  Jim Wilcox and Andy Singer, well known figures in the anti-car movement, take the issue even further with their respective essays.

Andy Singer provides many cartoons that help bring levity and lightness to a hard topic.  The Emperor – the auto industry – has no clothes left.  It has failed us and cannot be rescued in its current form.  Nor can our infrastructure provide us with “shovel- ready” projects without fresh ideas.  “Fresh” is the food for thought presented by these passionate, knowledgeable writers who put themselves into the consumer’s shoes, at least until better transportation is available and supported.  The result: a vision of health that goes beyond reducing carbon footprints to imagining lives and communities no longer dependent upon current, deadly modes of transportation.

Andy Singer, Jim Wilcox and Paul Scott, innovators all, have kindly provided essays that enrich this discussion.  Citations throughout and at the end of the book lend weight to our argument and our dream for the next in transportation innovation.

You can get in touch with Amy Isler Gibson and Joseph McKinney at: http://www.greenhorsepower.wordpress.com/

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6 Responses

  1. link do video da ultima bicicletada curitiba
    obrigado.
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  2. As an alternative to the knee-jerk of having to purchase a complete new transit system, or a new car, air flow systems are currently being modified in all types of vehicles so that the air will help burn more of the already existing fuel supply in an engine. The end results of more of the fuel being burned are of course, more power and less emissions exiting the engine to pollute the air.

    For referrence, you can see a Califonia smog test of a 7-year old, stock, non-hybrid Honda Civic that produces ZERO HCs, zero CO at 25mph and beautifully low NOx here:
    http://engineecology.com/smogtest.html

  3. Greetings Bikeover, the cover is due to our original title: The End of the Road, the sad tale of American horsepower — which becomes clear in one of our chapters. We are just about to actually publish the book and are trying to get clear on that second, explanatory part of the title. We had changed it last minute but want to go back to the mention of horsepower. So i see why it does not make sense to you. Bear with us, we are just now going public with the book, tinkering with last changes (but not content.) A.I.G. (yes unfortunate initials in today’s world, but they are mine)

  4. Couple quick questions:

    1. How can somebody who “does the math” justify the continued manufacture and use of automobiles in any size? The problem is not just “large internal combustion vehicles.” It is large, super-complex machines (which even the smallest imaginable cars are) sitting mostly unused in every driveway for accomplishing what feet, bikes, and trains should be accomplishing.

    2. What “villages”? The USA is majority-suburb now. Pretending there are villages is not going to change that fact.

    P.S. Personally, i don’t trust somebody who leases cars for a profit as far as I can throw him/her, whatever degree of unusual ethics for his/her industry may be claimed.

  5. Another question is why somebody who admits on her own blog that she and her co-author are “not really against cars” come onto this one to plug their car-perpetuating book. The main aim around here is to get past the automotive age, not extend it with (unworkable) half-measures.

    • The answer to your last question, Mr. Dawson, may address the rest. We are not “against cars” mainly for pragmatic reasons. We will not see a world without them in our lifetimes. Yet we can do so much more with what we do have, and so much more than our government is willing to ask of us. We join you in the desire for radically upgraded mass transit, biking, and walking everywhere, including where we live. We can see many ways to do even that far more efficiently and economically than what we have now, even in our city, which is “village-sized” in our terms (its a metaphor not a pretense but no point arguing,) As a working parent it is hard for me to envision people giving their cars up entirely. Not families. And young drivers probably won’t. Nor those who (like each of our families does) live up in hills where mass transit has yet to emerge. And then you think about it and the list gets longer and longer. We are offering a vision of a middle step while we move towards a future that, who knows, could be car-free? We are focused on what can be done now. Of course all solutions must be tailored to fit local needs. That is obvious. Finally, if you don’t trust an author on the basis of his profession, why keep reading? I don’t know if I would automatically trust a philosopher or a psychotherapist any more than I would a car dealer… So how will you know if our ideas are worth considering?

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