Can your drive for electrified transportation take into account the difference between urban and rural transport?
The needs for fuel in urban and rural places are different and have different impacts on the economy. The uses for vehicles are different and so the vehicles are different. Rural people feel very threatened by electric vehicles, fearing that they will be forced to change.
People with actual responsibility for these outcomes, rather than folks like me tweeting from their comfortable sideline position, realize that making a dramatic shift in technology will have downstream effects, including poverty and starvation. Changing technology and procedures has a huge proportional cost. The cost of farming increases the cost of food, creating greater food insecurity.
While we MUST reduce the carbon economy, can we start with the cities? I don’t know the difference in output, but I do know that the difference in willingness is vast. The rural economy is so tenuous, so vulnerable to tweaks.
There seems to be a presumption that we must pretend to change everything at once, attack all sources of carbon immediately. I like the idea of driving hard for change, but it does not seem in the least bit realistic. For instance, when do YOU imagine the last gas station in your city will close? In your state? In the nation?
I imagine that none of those will close in my lifetime. But I pray that their use is more and more rare. Transitions, such as the transition from leaded gas, can be progressive and have an effect.
If you know me, you know that I am suspicious that the urban’s power is to blame for not creating messaging that is reassuring to agriculture and rural economies. That urban policy makers are not sympathetic to rural needs. Even those urban people and academics who came from rural places left because they hated it. They wanted to be in the city. Hell, that is what I did.
A recent turnaround has made me deepen my connection and relationship with rural America and be remembered of the hurt urban policies make. It is constant.
So, when you talk about transportation electrification, it is very natural for rural people to suspect they are going to get the smelliest end of the stick. But since I don’t expect all vehicles to shift at one time, I would prefer to focus on places where our energy can have more impact. Ag is 11% percent of carbon emissions. Transportation (I believe that includes SUVs driving suburban kids to soccer practice) is 27%. Commercial and residential is 13%.
Let me say that if for some reason there was a policy that provided powerful, long term support for rural people during the transition, I would feel differently. However it is historically reinforced that rural needs get abandoned and forgot when they are no longer convenient.
How about we create a policy, advocacy, and messaging specifically to empower rural and ag people as transportation evolves? Don’t be afraid of giving advocacy to rural voices.