126. Winter Cycling in Oil Country

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An unlikely cycling revolution is happening in one of the coldest big cities on the planet: Edmonton, Alberta. Despite freezing temps, lots of sprawl, big trucks and an economy built on pulling oil out of the Albertan tar sands, the Western Canadian city is in the midst of a four-year, $100 million CAD investment in active transportation that will connect far-flung neighborhoods with a network of safe, high-quality, protected bike lanes. Many of these bike lanes will even get priority over roads for cars when it comes to snow removal. We traveled to the home of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers to attend the Winter Cycling Congress, where we talked with the people pushing for this transformation, including the city’s former mayor, Don Iveson. Plus, hear our appearance on drive-time radio in the heart of oil country.

*** Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers. ***

This episode was sponsored by Bullmoose Soft Goods and Cleverhood. Listen to the episode for the latest discount codes.

LINKS:

Tom Babin of Shifter says Edmonton is “the most exciting bike city in North America.”

Learn more about Edmonton’s former mayor, Don Iveson and City Councillor Michael Janz.

Check out The Winter Cycling Federation and listen to Sarah’s dispatch from the 2020 Winter Cycling Congress in Finland.

Read all about the Edmonton Bike Plan.

Learn more about “Oil Country Urbanism” from Oh The Urbanity! and check out About Here on YouTube.

Lorne Gunter of the Edmonton Sun thinks charging drivers to park is a “war on cars.”

Buy toques, t-shirts, stickers and more in The War on Cars merch store. Save 10% with code BIKEMONTH.

Find us on Bluesky, Mastodon, Instagram, Facebook and Threads.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps people find us!

This episode was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio. It was edited by Doug Gordon and Ali Lemer. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear.

TheWarOnCars.org

 

Check out this episode!

125. When Driving Is Not an Option with Anna Zivarts

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Anna Zivarts, a smiling woman with short blonde hair wearing glasses

Anna Zivarts

The United States has built a transportation system centered around automobiles. But one-third of the nation’s population can’t drive, whether because of disability, age, financial hardship, immigration status, or any of a host of other factors. Those tens of millions of people are often invisible to planners and elected officials, and that’s why Anna Letitia Zivarts, herself a low-vision nondriver and a longtime activist for better transportation choices, has written a new book titled When Driving Is Not an Option: Steering Away from Car Dependency (Island Press). We talked with Anna about how, by designing our transportation future for those who can’t or don’t feel comfortable driving, we could build a system that works better for everyone and that would be more equitable, safer, and more environmentally sustainable.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

*** Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers. ***

This episode was sponsored by Cleverhood. Listen to the episode for the latest discount code.

LINKS:

Buy Anna Zivarts’s book, When Driving Is Not an Option: Steering Away from Car Dependency, at The War On Cars Bookshop store or from your local bookseller.

You can follow Anna on X.

Buy t-shirts, stickers, hats and more in The War on Cars merch store. It’s Bike Month so save 10% with code BIKEMONTH.

Find us on Bluesky, Mastodon, Instagram, Facebook and Threads.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps people find us!

This episode was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio. It was edited by Ali Lemer. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear. 

TheWarOnCars.org

Check out this episode!

BONUS: Dodge’s “Deeply Weird” Pitch for Electric Muscle Cars

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Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis tries to sell electric muscle cars the ghosts of the Dodge Brothers.

***This is a preview of a Patreon-exclusive bonus episode. For complete access to this and all of our bonus content, become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars.***

We were getting ready to record our “Cybertrash” episode with Ed Niedermeyer last month when Ed happened to bring to our attention to this “deeply weird” ten minute-long extended car ad. It’s a promotional video for Dodge’s new, “Next-Gen Charger,” the electric-powered version of the very same “muscle cars” that Doug confronted at the New York International Auto Show in Episode 85 and Aaron rode along with back in Episodes 92 and 96.

The move from gas-guzzling, window-rattling, V8 engines to electric motors has clearly plunged Dodge into an identity crisis. They spent decades building their brand on obnoxiously loud and dangerously sociopathic gas guzzlers. How will they ever convince their loutish loyal customers to switch over to (supposedly) clean, quiet, big government-mandated electric cars?

In this video we get an answer to that question. Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis is going to try to sell his muscle e-cars with rightwing dog whistles and a Make Dodge Great Again pitch. But he barely even sounds like he has convinced himself. A lot like Elon Musk’s Cybertruck marketing, the Dodge promo video is simultaneously super weird and extremely revealing about what American car culture is really all about.

We had some extra time with Ed in the studio so we had to talk about it with him. And we put that together for as a Patreon bonus. If you aren’t yet a Patreon subscriber of The War on Cars, maybe now is the time! Subscribe for $3, $5, or $10 per month. We’ll send you stickers and you’ll have access to ad-free episodes and bonus conversations like this one. We really appreciate the support. We couldn’t produce the podcast without you.

Check out this episode!

124. Tesla Cybertrash with Ed Niedermeyer

By | Uncategorized
A Tesla Cybertruck crashed into a hotel in Los Angeles.

The Cybertruck has launched

Elon Musk’s gigantic, stainless steel, 1980s sci fi movie–inspired Cybertruck is starting to show up on city streets. Perhaps you’ve had the misfortune of seeing one rolling through your neighborhood. If not, you’ve almost certainly seen some of the vehicle’s many truly epic fails on the Internet. The Cybertruck might not work very well, but it still appears to be wildly popular. More than two million people have deposited $250 to get in line for the opportunity to buy one. Journalist Ed Niedermeyer is the author of “Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors.” In this episode, Ed joins us to analyze the Cybertruck as a cultural text and also just to revel in its overwhelming absurdity. What is the Cybertruck? And what does its apparent popularity say about who we are and where we are headed collectively? This is the Cybertruck launch event we’ve all been waiting for.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

This episode was sponsored by Sheyd Bags and Cleverhood

*** Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers. ***
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123. The Texas Freeway Fight with Megan Kimble

By | Uncategorized

In the 20th century, planners and policymakers smashed Interstate highways through the middle of every major city in the United States. In the 21st century, we understand the many ways that urban freeways were economic, environmental, and racial justice disasters. And yet, incredibly, the State of Texas is planning to spend over $64 billion in the next few years to widen highways through the middle of its three largest cities, Houston, Dallas and Austin. Journalist Megan Kimble has been reporting on the Texas freeway fight for years now. Her new book — published today — is  City Limits: Infrastructure, Inequality, and the Future of America’s Highways. In it, she tells the stories of the communities in the path of TxDOT’s bulldozers and the brave Texans fighting against long odds to save their homes, neighborhoods, and cities from a seemingly implacable foe. What if, instead of expanding the aging and outmoded urban freeways dividing our cities, we tore them down?

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

*** Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers. ***

LINKS:

Megan Kimble‘s new book is City Limits: Infrastructure, Inequality, and the Future of America’s Highways. It is excellent! Find it in The War on Cars store on Bookshop.org or get it from your neighborhood bookseller.

Buy t-shirts, stickers, hats and more in The War on Cars merch store.

Find us on Bluesky, Mastodon, Instagram, Facebook and Threads.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps people find us!

This episode was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio. It was produced and edited by Aaron Naparstek. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear.

TheWarOnCars.org

Check out this episode!

122. Car Insurance is Too Cheap

By | Uncategorized

 

It has never been more expensive to insure a car in the United States. Today, the average annual premium for full coverage is more than $2,500, up from more than $1,700 just a few years ago. There are a lot of reasons for this—including the high price of cars, supply chain issues, and the rising frequency and severity of crashes—but no matter how you add it up it’s a huge problem in a country where driving is a ticket to full participation in society.

Despite this, what if we told you that car insurance is still way too cheap? That’s something most people don’t understand until they or someone they love is directly affected by traffic violence. Today, mandatory state minimum coverage requirements have not kept up with the rising cost of car crashes, something all of us subsidize whether we drive or not—and that crash victims often pay for with life and limb.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers.***

LINKS:

Learn more about Michelle DuBarry and her advocacy for a Made Whole Doctrine in Oregon.

Why Car Insurance in America is Actually Too Cheap, by Daniel Knowles in The Economist.

Buy a copy of Carmageddon: How Cars Make Life Worse and What To Do About It by Daniel Knowles and get books by previous podcast guests at our official Bookshop.org page.

Steve Vaccaro: “New York City’s best-known lawyer advocate for bicyclist and pedestrian rights.”

Auto Insurance Spike Hampers the Inflation Fight (New York Times)

NHTSA: Traffic Crashes Cost American $340 Billion in 2019

Buy t-shirts, stickers, hats and more in The War on Cars merch store.

Find us on Bluesky, Mastodon, Instagram, Facebook and Threads.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps people find us!

This episode was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio. It was written, produced and edited by Doug Gordon. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear.

 

TheWarOnCars.org

 

Check out this episode!

121. Live from New York with Bernie Wagenblast

By | Uncategorized

In January, we held our third annual live show at Caveat on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. We were so thrilled to be in the same room as so many listeners and friends of the podcast. We were also happy to welcome Bernie Wagenblast, the voice of the New York City subway system, to The War on Cars. Bernie’s voice is instantly recognizable to millions of people — even if they don’t necessarily know who she is. Bernie’s personal story and the way she’s using her platform are also inspiring legions of New Yorkers and people around the world, and we were so glad she could join us on stage for some conversation and fun. Plus, don’t miss a pro-car comedian interrupting our show and Bernie reading our Letterman-inspired Top 10 list of transportation announcements we’d like to hear.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers.***

This episode is produced with support from Cleverhood. Listen to the episode for the latest Cleverhood discount code.

LINKS:

The Voice of the Subway Speaks for Herself, at Last. (New York Times)

Bernie Wagenblast, the voice of the NYC subway, finding her true voice after sharing her transition. (CBS News)

Charlie Dektar on “How to Make New York City More Car-Friendly” (The New Yorker)

Buy official War on Cars merch at our store.

Buy books from podcast guests at our Bookshop.org page

Find us on Bluesky, Mastodon, Instagram, Facebook and Threads.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps people find us!

This episode was recorded live at Caveat in Manhattan on January 31st, 2024. It was edited by Ali Lemer. Our theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear.

TheWarOnCars.org

 

Check out this episode!

BONUS: Super Bowl Extra

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2024 Santa Fe Vikings Ad

***This is a preview of a Patreon-exclusive bonus episode. For complete access to this and all of our bonus content, become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars.***

In this bonus episode, we continue the conversation we had in Episode 120 about the car ads from Super Bowl LVIII. These two didn’t air during the big game, but one is a bit on an antidote to the excess of the typical U.S. automobile commercial while the other is part of a series that ran during NFL postseason games and lots of other big televised events.

The first, from a famous Dutch beer company, shows the world as we’d like it to be. The second, courtesy of Korean automaker Hyundai, shows the world where it might be headed.

120. Super Bowl LVIII Roundup

By | Uncategorized

In what’s become an annual tradition, we take a critical look at the car ads that aired during the Super Bowl and consider what they say about driving, culture, consumerism, and the United States… which is all the same thing, right? The big story this year is not so much which car companies chose to spend $7 million for 30 seconds of air time but which chose not to and why. (There were zero ads from the Big Three U.S. automakers; that’s the first time that’s happened in 23 years.) Still, there were still some notable commercials featuring beloved movie stars, reckless driving, and stories that tugged at our heart strings. It’s all here in episode CXX of the podcast.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content, merch discounts, stickers, and more.***

LINKS:

Watch all the 2024 Super Bowl commercials. (USA Today)

None of the Big Three U.S. automakers ran a Super Bowl ad this year. (Detroit Free Press)

Pick up official War on Cars merch at our store.

Buy books by podcast guests at our Bookshop.org page.

Follow and review us on Apple Podcasts. It helps people find us!

This episode was recorded by Josh Wilcox at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio. It was edited by Yessenia Moreno. Our special Big Game theme music is by Nathaniel Goodyear and Michael Hearst.

https://thewaroncars.org/

 

Check out this episode!

119. Should SUV Ads Be Banned?

By | Uncategorized
Several large SUVs drive through a riverbed, kicking up water and mud.

The Toyota Hilux ad that UK regulators said went too far

Did you ever see a car advertisement that you thought was so ridiculously irresponsible it should be banned? Well, the people at Adfree Cities, an advocacy group based in the United Kingdom, did, and they decided to do something about it. They went up against Toyota over an ad for the Toyota Hilux SUV that shows drivers ripping through sensitive natural areas and cities—and they won, getting the ad taken off the airwaves and the streets. We talked with two members of the organization, Veronica Wignall and James Ward, about how they’re tackling the auto industry’s most egregious marketing campaigns, as well as their larger mission to create “happier, healthier cities free from the pressures of corporate outdoor advertising.”

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

***Support The War on Cars on Patreon and receive access to ad-free versions of all our episodes, exclusive bonus content and stickers.***

This episode is produced with support from Cleverhood. Listen to the episode for the latest Cleverhood discount code.

LINKS:

Check out Adfree Cities and their partner organization, Badvertising.

See the Toyota Hilux ad that UK regulators deemed “had not been prepared with a sense of responsibility to society.”

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