Once upon a time, the primary mode of transportation in the United States was the horse. It was relatively inexpensive and ran on hay, oats, and water.
Early in the 20th century, smart people came up with the automobile, which was much more powerful and faster than the horse. It ran on gasoline, a remarkable liquid that could store vast energy and release it in a controlled explosion in the internal combustion engine. Some called it a miracle.
Over the course of roughly 50 years, vehicles powered by the internal combustion engine replaced vehicles powered by horses. This happened first in cities, then in suburbs, then small towns, and finally, in rural areas.
The change happened gradually, the product of supply and demand, basic economics, and technical advances.
The government didn’t make it happen. People chose cars over horses because it made practical, economic sense.
Of course, the government functions differently these days. There is a green agenda pushing for the demise of the internal combustion engine and the gasoline or oil it runs on. The preferred solution seems to be the electric car, despite the fact that a huge share of electricity is produced using the same “fossil fuels” that non-electric cars require.
It makes me wonder what would have happed in the first half of the 20th century if the government had managed the evolution from horse to car. I expect the process would have gone something like this:
- A major speech by the President decrying the evil characteristics of the horse: they can run out of control and trample people, create lots of stinky waste, require food and water that could be given to the starving residents of rural India, and make hoof marks that make paths unstable for joggers and bicyclists.
- Impose a huge tax on hay and oats that are used to feed horses.
- Limit the amount of water allotted to horses.
- Triple the property tax on the facilities of blacksmiths.
- Require monthly health and safety inspections of all horses. (This will require hiring 100,00 federal horse inspectors at taxpayer expense.)
- Require monthly health and safety inspections of all blacksmith shops and horse stables. (This will require hiring 100,00 federal equine facility inspectors at taxpayer expense.)
- Make it illegal to park a horse on a city street – anywhere.
- Provide federal funding for the construction of gasoline filling stations across the country.
- Provide a $5,000 tax credit for each car purchased.
- Create tough regulations that make it impossible to open a new blacksmith shop or stable.
Ridiculous, you say. But that is pretty much how the government is FORCING a transition to what it says (but doesn’t prove) is “green” energy.
Don’t misunderstand; I’m sure that in 1920 there were people who didn’t want to trade their horse for a car. But unlike today, the government didn’t tell them they had to make the change because Uncle Sam was going to ban horse ownership.
In fact, horses are still in use in many parts of the world, even in the good old USA. There are some things horses do better than cars.
And there are things a powerful gasoline-fueled car can to better than an electric car, at least for the foreseeable future. If you don’t believe me, try getting your kicks on Route 66 in a Tesla.