Gas prices rise everywhere as new solutions emerge to driving and gasoline use
As the world is experiencing at the moment, gas prices everywhere are rising. It's now not a myth, but a fact.
As some cities across the world cope with the rising number of cars on the road, Canada is one of the countries facing illness and death due to smog, and they need to find a way to reduce cars and pollution on the road.
This year, 21,000 Canadians will die from smog-related illnesses with more than 2,600 of the deaths being premature, caused by short-term exposure.
These are some of the shocking findings in a wide-reaching report by the Canadian Medical Association on the health costs of air pollution.
The report, funded in part by the federal health and environment ministries, says Quebec and Ontario will suffer most because central Canada has poorer air quality relative to other parts of the country.
These kinds of deaths affect both young and old, and even though Canada is also experiencing rising gas prices, it does not seem to be affecting travel as much as in the United States.
In America, according to statistics by CNN, citizens drove 12.2 billion fewer miles in June than in the same month last year - now that's a lot of miles.
The 4.7 percent decline, which came while gas prices were peaking, was the biggest monthly driving drop in a downward trend that began in November, the Federal Highway Administration said Wednesday.
"Clearly, more Americans chose to stay close to home in June than in previous years," Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said.
Popular vacation cities all over the US were seeing a drop in hotel room rentals and entertainment venue numbers.
However, for some American cities, there just isn't the transportation system in place to support an alternative to driving.
So what can really be done?
Well, for some US cities, they are considering bringing back something that has not really been seen since the 1950s - the streetcar.
“Human beings can be silly because we move away from things too quickly in this country,” Mr. de Cavel said. “Streetcar is definitely going to create a reason for young people to come downtown.”
Cincinnati officials are assembling financing for a $132 million system that would connect the city’s riverfront stadiums, downtown business district and Uptown neighborhoods, which include six hospitals and the University of Cincinnati, in a six- to eight-mile loop. Depending on the final financing package, fares may be free, 50 cents or $1.
The city plans to pay for the system with existing tax revenue and $30 million in private investment. The plan requires the approval of Mayor Mark Mallory, a proponent, and the City Council.
At least 40 other cities are exploring streetcar plans to spur economic development, ease traffic congestion and draw young professionals and empty-nest baby boomers back from the suburbs, according to the Community Streetcar Coalition, which includes city officials, transit authorities and engineers who advocate streetcar construction.
New Orleans is one of the cities that has an existing line, and cities such as Denver, Houston and Salt Lake City either have introduced or are planning to introduce a streetcar line. San Fransisco is probably the most famous city with a streetcar line currently in place.
Streetcar advocates point to Portland, Ore., which built the first major modern streetcar system in the United States, in 2001, and has since added new lines interlaced with a growing light rail system. Since Portland announced plans for the system, more than 10,000 residential units have been built and $3.5 billion has been invested in property within two blocks of the line, according to Portland Streetcar Inc., which operates the system.
A streetcar system will help revitalize neighbourhoods while cutting back on gas prices and saving people money.
But what about cities that cannot support a streetcar system? What are the options then?
Two men in Atlanta Georgia, have converted their cars to run on electricity as a way to combat the rising prices.
Both Horsley and Kennington are fed up. They're among a growing number of Americans who are refusing to wait for big-car manufacturers to deliver mainstream electric vehicles, called EVs. Not only have they rebelled against the status quo by ripping out their gas-guzzling engines and replacing them with zero-emission electric motors, they say just about anyone can do it.
Another idea, if you have a motorcycle, is converting it to run not on gas, but compressed air.
Researchers Yu-Ta Shen and Yean-Ren Hwang of the National Central University in Taiwan have developed an air-powered motorcycle, which uses the energy in compressed air, rather than gas, to drive the motor.
"In Taiwan, air pollution is a very serious problem in the city," Hwang said. Twenty percent of all air pollution comes from motorcycles, he added, especially carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons. These emissions are worse from motorcycles and scooters than cars.
As no gas goes into the motorcycle, no fumes come out, and could take a huge chunk of pollution out of the system in coutries where motorcycles and scooters are ridden a lot.
The motorcycle would still require energy to compress the air needed to power the engine. The amount of pollution associated with that energy will depend on what kind of a power plant provides electricity to the area in question.
The current prototype can hold a little more than two and a half gallons of compressed air, which would carry the bike and driver about three-quarters of a mile.
Of course, these are just ideas, but what do you think? Would you want to move to a different form of transportation to save money and the environment?