A report by the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) suggests electric cars are not the solution to tackle problems caused by car use. CREDS is an academic association of over 80 academics in the UK. According to the report, although all vehicles become electric, it will not curb the problem of wasted parking space, traffic jams and urban sprawl. “For many years ministers have adopted the principle of trying to meet demand by increasing road space. They need to reduce demand (of cars) instead,” said Professor Jillian Anable, one of the authors of the report.
Instead the report wants to draw attention to promoting good standard of living without the necessity of a car. In order to achieve this goal, the government has announced to safeguard around £2bn to endorse cycling and walking among citizens. Moreover, the report also claims a budget of £50bn on road infrastructure and improvement. Critics of the plan are however of the opinion that the government needs to tackle the trouble of mass car ownership.
Although the author maintains that people will always need cars, especially the suburban and countryside population, she also draws attention to the fact that many young city population is choosing to not buy cars. Their preference to walking, public transport, opting for cab service, cycling, among others cannot be ignored. Moreover, the choice of active lifestyle encourages sociability- meeting and talking to people on the way and it also helped to tackle the problem of obesity, in addition to the problem of road danger, pollution, and free parking spaces.
“It is a happy accident that car ownership is static in every age group except the over-60s. The government should build on that,” comments Anable.
Anable also maintains car ownership being an expensive investment, people feel the need to use their cars even for small journeys. “Often once people start to live without a car they wonder why they wanted one in the first place – a car is so much hassle,” she addresses.
The report also touches upon the government effort to eliminate diesel and petrol cars, in order to achieve net zero emissions. However, sale of low emission cars has fallen in the UK in the past two years, with increasing number of people buying status symbol SUVs, which are causing traffic congestion.