Reader Chris has written twice to complain. First:
Too many electric car stories! Cars suck no matter what they run on. They bastardize our cities by preventing people from interacting to form community. Treehugger is beginning to look like one more automobile industry stooge publication!
Then, in response to Petz's post When Your Dress Transports You, Fashion Design Morphed With Mobility (Photos), he wrote again:
The Treehugger car stuff is continuing to get ridiculous.
I enjoy your blog and read it daily. But please, be aware that with so many branded articles supporting car companies, your credibility is wearing down. I am really starting to wish I could view Treehugger with the 'Car' content removed from the 'Transportation' section.
Better cars are not the answer to the worlds problems. An electric car is still a car no matter how small or camouflaged. Less cars is what we need. Less air pollution, less landscape pollution, less opportunities to avoid interaction with the world around us as we travel about in cocoons, whilst sucking power and resources from elsewhere.
We had a long internal discussion about this after Chris wrote his first letter. Cars and Transportation editor Mike responded:
Writing a lot about something doesn't mean that this thing is superior to everything else. It mostly mean that there are things happening in that sector. I still always write that it's better to walk, bike, or take public transportation. But it's a fact that there are hundreds of millions of cars in the world, and that this number will stay significant in almost any realistic scenario, so we need to figure out how to make the cars that are there have a much smaller impact in parallel with other changes.
Some people have been wanting us to get rid of cars ever since they were invented (and before that there was a crowd against horse carriages), but I'm not holding my breath; let's not forget that despite their flaws and negative side effects, cars are also wonderful
tools that allow people to move around like never before (they just shouldn't be used to commute, that's what public transit is for, except maybe in rural areas).
Mike has also written about this issue:
How Can We Detox Our Cars From Their Oil Addiction? (Part 1)
Is the Electrification of Transportation a Good Thing? (Part 2)
Mike added today:
We should cover cars for the same reason we should cover electronics/computers (none are green yet) and buildings (99.999% not green, biggest polluters on Earth) and much else. Because they're important and they're not going away entirely, so they need to improve a lot. We should encourage progress in those sectors, even if we prefer alternatives like bikes and transit. Not covering those things would make us less relevant to many of our readers (especially those in rural areas), not more.