Sunday, July 04, 2004

Carpooling Fallacy

The carpooling fallacy is probably as old as cars. The argument goes something like this: of course it saves energy to car pool, since then we need fewer cars.

If only the world would be that simple. The underlying thinking behind this fallacy is that oil is something special and needs more attention than other scarce resources. Sure, oil will run out in the end as will many other things but it is not time to panic.

Lets give the collectivists that have been coming up with the various schemes to force people to share cars some head start. Lets say that their schemes actually reduce their nations oil consumption (there are now special high-occupancy vehicle lanes and rules that restrict parking spaces in firms, all to increase the "incentive" for people to ride together).

The minus part of the equation is what is always forgotten. We are not potatoes on a conveyer belt when we drive to work every day, although an alien observer might be given that false impression when he sees the morning traffic. We are individuals and our ways are both mysterious and unpredictable to most persons.

If we are forced to give up some of our valuable freedom. Time is wasted in waiting for someone to be picked up on the way to work. People have to spend time and energy in co-ordinating their work schedule in order to be able to go home without too much delay. Flexibility is lost, since car-poolers can't go straight to pick up their kids or do some shopping after work. Is what we certainly give up really worth the unproven energy savings?

The car pooling fallacy is jus one more way of the collectivist to manipulate the lives of ordinary people.




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