Feed on

Let’s take a look at pages 2-15 and 2-16 in the most recent edition of the, “Transportation Energy Data Book.”

Energy Efficiency 2

Energy Efficiency 1


Let me ask, do you expect cars to be more or less fuel and energy efficient in the future? Take a look at what has happened to the fuel efficiency of buses and trains over the last 40 years. While there have been some improvements in very recent years, you might be surprised, as I was, to find that “mass transit” is not improving efficiency at all. And I’d remind you that this is focusing on fuel use alone, we are not saying anything about the money costs of such things, or even the carbon costs (for example, light-rail is actually WORSE for global warming because it requires far more carbon to build the lines than can possibly be eliminated by passengers riding it instead of taking cars).

Have a nice day.


UPDATE: Coyote does a little research into Phoenix light rail and shows us that the city (and probably you and I too) paid $1.4 billion to take people off of buses and onto light-rail. See tomorrow’s post for why this is interesting. 

4 Responses to “Fun Facts to Know and Tell: Transit Efficiency Edition”

  1. Harry says:

    Interesting data! The key unit of measure is btu’s per passenger mile, which improved especially for air transportation. Better engines and airframes, yes, but also bigger and fuller airplanes, especially after deregulation.

    The base year is 1970, which is before the first Arab oil embargo, and the days of 25-cent gas. More passengers per car.

    I wonder if our congressional masters had used btu’s per passenger mile in their deliberations, they might not have instituted CAFE standards which favored small cars, which have to discourage car pooling.

  2. Harry says:

    The whole idea of trolleys and keeping the workers living near their houses near their apartments in the city is, forgive the expression, so East German. This concept lives in the state and county planning departments everywhere today, these bureaucrats having been educated in the Walther Ulbricht school of every day living.

    The animating principle is to promote equality. Everybody gets to live in the same number of enough square feet, and since everyone is a willing worker, everyone gets an affordable allowance to ride to and from work on the barely comfortable state train. What fun.

    So our new Secretary of Transportation, the former Mayor of Charlotte, NC, got his job in part because he championed a trolley. I will hold my tongue to not comment how racist and fascist this idea is. But he is distinguished for being a person who brings back the bacon better than the LaQuinta guy.

  3. Harry says:

    I sure as hell hope somebody gave WC their speculative interpretation of the data that WC took the time to present to the folks who read this blog, via other channels. Maybe young readers are writing examinations, fearful WC will call them to account.

Leave a Reply