Every auto producer in the world has an electric car in the works; General Motors, of course, will start producing its Volt later this year. But in actuality, the car of the future is really a throwback to the past. In 1899, an electric car was clocked going over 60 miles an hour. And a little over a decade later, a Detroit Electric managed to travel 211 miles on a single charge (by comparison, General Motors’ Volt will go just 40 miles on a single charge before its back-up gasoline engine kicks in.) In an ironic twist of fate, it was the invention of the electric starter that all but killed the electric car, since you no longer needed the physique of a weightlifter to crank-start your internal combustion engine.
Waggly tail or not, owning a pet comes at a far higher cost than you might imagine. As you watch a large dog bounding out of the back of an SUV, you might mentally reprimand the owner for their choice of vehicle. You would do better to save your indignation for their choice of pet. Because, as we report on page 46, the ecological footprint of our companion animals can dwarf that of even the most gas-guzzling cars. Man’s best friend, it turns out, is the planet’s enemy.
At best, it would take 167 inbound lanes, or 84 copies of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, to carry what the NYC Subway carries over 22 inbound tracks through 12 tunnels and 2 (partial) bridges. At worst, 200 new copies of 5th Avenue. Somewhere in the middle would be 67 West Side Highways or 76 Brooklyn Bridges. And this neglects the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, NJ Transit, and PATH systems entirely.