Comment 95714

By notlloyd (registered) - website | Posted December 08, 2013 at 14:45:28

Blogs are difficult places to argue. As I said I am new here and I was reluctant to post the reply above for two reasons mainly. Firstly, the Editor has asked people to keep articles brief. Sometimes you just can’t be brief because in the interest of brevity, choosing words is difficult and misunderstandings arise. Also, Jason raised a lot of issues above.

Secondly, reading the posts I have read, things seem to get really personal around here – like the response to my points by “wow (anonymous).”

I tried not to personalize my reply because it is about the argument. However, since you raise it, I am an avid cyclist. I own 3 bikes myself. My kids are competitive – I am not. I ride over 3000 k outdoors every year and about 2-3 k indoors on rollers. So I like biking a lot – maybe more than most. But I really don’t see how that is relevant. I try not to ride on the roads in Hamilton too much because they are poorly kept and dangerous as you say. But I do ride on the roads in off hours.

You are correct, I could have chosen some better words – or more accurate words - and I will try to do better if I keep posting here. I won’t reply to everything but here goes.

On taxes:

Most car owners pay income tax or have paid income tax. There is a huge range in annual costs for owning a car and you are correct it is not cheap. Let’s use a number of $5,000.00 a year for non-gas expenses including insurance. The car owner pays 13% of that in sales tax - $650.00. Then gas tax which according to Ontariogasprices.com is 39.281¢ a day in Ontario on average per litre. I use about 100 L a week. I don’t know if that is average but that’s $2,046.61 a year. I also pay property taxes both residential and commercial but not everyone does who drives a car. And like most, I pay sales tax on consumption. In total, just for using the car that is more tax than the average residential tax in Hamilton.

When you buy a car you pay numerous taxes including sales, tire, gas guzzler tax if you have to, etc. Then there are environmental fees and taxes on top on oil changes etc.

There is a lot of debate, I have seen it on this blog, about whether and to what degree roads are subsidized out of general revenue. The lion’s share of direct road costs is paid out of direct taxation on automobiles and driving. If it is not all, drivers then additionally pay their share out of the other taxes they pay which is often overlooked in the arguments.

On efficiency:

That depends on who you are. There are economies of scale in car use. A person who lives in a condo in downtown Toronto who has no children would likely get very little efficiencies out of a car. A mother of 6 children living in Ancaster and commuting to downtown Hamilton certainly does get efficiencies out of car use. I am not a car guy. I only own a car because I have to. I like driving but I could take it or leave it. I own a car because for me in my circumstances and where I need to travel it is by far the cheapest mode of transportation for me bar none. (I don’t drive to Toronto for business any more because it is cheaper to take the Go Train all things considered – but I don’t go there that often.) I could give you lots of breakdowns but my guess is that most, not all, people drive in Canada because it is the cheapest available alternative. Once you have to invest in the fixed or capital cost, and then the annual non-operating costs, using public transit except when you have to only increases costs overall. As I said that is not true for everybody, but my guess is that averaged out it is true overall. Keep in mind that time is a factor in the equation. Many people forget that. Time is money, so they say. So all in all, yes I would say automobile travel remains the cheapest overall alternative to travel in Canada. That is probably why most people I Canada have or have use of a car.

On pollution:

Cars pollute. But they pollute more in stop and go traffic and when they idle. I said “minimize” pollution. I would like to see an environmental impact study done on this point specifically for Hamilton. I have always wondered how much four way stops increase pollution. They certainly increase wear and tear on a car.

You are correct; speed limits are too high on non-through streets in Hamilton. I have blogged about this at http://supporthamilton.wordpress.com/. There are many things to be done. I would like to see train service to Collingwood, north of Barrie and to Buffalo. I wish the Radial line was never eliminated in Hamilton so we could travel from Niagara to Brantford. I would like a lot of things.

All I tried to say above was that we should be careful and considerate before we go around drastically changing traffic on the major arteries of the City. I also tried to answer for Lloyd the issues raised by Jason. (I am not sure about God, but I only use a car because it makes sense.)

Sorry again for the long post.

Permalink | Context

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds