BONUS: Super Bowl Extra

By | Uncategorized

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.”

Read More

BONUS: Delivering the Goods with Shawon and Fokhrul

By | Uncategorized

Fokhrul heads off to work on his Arrow 10 e-bike.

This is a preview of a special bonus episode for Patreon supporters of The War on Cars

In the last episode of the podcast we spent some time with Baruch, Shawon, and their battery-swapping startup company, PopWheels. When I started working on that episode, I figured I was going to learn a lot about e-bikes, batteries, and the delivery app business. And I did. But over the course of more than a half dozen interviews and conversations between May and December 2023, I also learned a lot about Bangladeshi politics, immigration, and life in New York City as an e-bike delivery worker.

One of my favorite interviews for this episode took place on a crisp, sunny, Tuesday morning last October. I biked out to East New York, Brooklyn to meet Shawon and his friend Fokhrul, a Bangladeshi delivery worker who uses PopWheels battery-swapping network. (Shawon and Fokhrul asked me not to use their last names because they have asylum-seeker cases working their way through the legal system).

We found a park bench and spent the morning talking about the political oppression they faced in Bangladesh, their arduous, months-long journey to the United States, and what their lives are like here in New York City. It was super interesting and I enjoyed it a lot. But, as often happens with these things, only tiny bits of this conversation made it into Episode 118.

So, for this special bonus episode I wanted to share more of my interview with Shawon and Fokhrul with you. I also had some fun additional bits and pieces of tape with Baruch that never made it into the last episode. So, you’ll find some of that woven in here too. I hope you enjoy hanging with Shawon, Fokhrul and Baruch as much as I did.

You can join us as a Patreon supporter to listen to the whole thing.

— Aaron

118. The Future of Transportation Has Arrived With Your Pad Thai

By | Uncategorized

Shawon and Baruch Herzfeld.

Baruch Herzfeld is the CEO and co-founder of PopWheels, where he is working to develop New York City’s first e-bike battery-swapping network. PopWheels aims to solve the growing problem of e-bike battery fires. The company believes that giving e-mobility users a quick, convenient, and safe way to recharge their batteries is absolutely essential to pushing gas-burning cars and trucks out of cities once and for all. But Baruch’s really big idea is this: He is betting that the light, clean, electric transportation fleet of the future is already up and running on the streets of New York City. And it isn’t being brought to us by Big Tech, Big Auto or Elon Musk, it is being driven by tens of thousands of immigrant e-bike delivery workers. What if there is a high-tech urban mobility revolution happening right under our noses, but we can’t see it because the people who are bringing it to our city are mostly invisible to us?

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.***

See The War on Cars LIVE at Caveat on NYC on Wednesday, January 31st. In-person tickets are sold out but you can still catch the livestream!

LINKS:

Baruch Herzfeld’s battery-swapping company, PopWheels: Stop Charging, Start Swapping
Read More

117. Fixing America’s Car Culture with David Zipper

By | Uncategorized

Happy New Year! We’re kicking off 2024 by bringing you our conversation with David Zipper, one of the hardest-working analysts on the transportation scene today. You may be familiar with David from his writing at Bloomberg CityLab, Slate and Fast Company, where he relentlessly covers road safety, climate change, and the future of micromobility.

We talked with David about the excesses of the auto industry, our road fatality crisis, the absurd way speed limits are determined on American streets, and whether we might ever be able to swap out our bloated SUVs for electric golf carts. Or if that’s too much to ask, will cities at least start charging people more for driving massive glacier melters?

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

LINKS:

You can find out all about David Zipper’s work, along with links to his writing, at his website.

Read More

BONUS: Listener Origin Stories

By | Uncategorized

Last month the three hosts told their origin stories, or how they first became aware of the problems associated with cars and automobile dependency. Our stories included everything from lessons learned during early driving lessons to our individual experiences living in car-dependent places. The response to that episode was so great that we put out the call to our Patreon supporters to tell us their origin stories. We heard from people from all over the world — including a few friends and former guests of the podcast — who all wanted to share how they were radicalized into The War on Cars.

***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.***

HOLIDAY BONUS: Hess for the Holidays

By | Uncategorized

Since 1964, the Hess Corporation has released a toy truck for the holiday season, an annual tradition that’s highly anticipated by children and collectors alike. Models have included gas tankers, fire trucks, motorcycles, RVs, race cars, and even a Space Shuttle, almost all in the fossil fuel company’s iconic green-and-white color scheme.  But this year, perhaps reflecting the times, the Hess Corporation has released a Police Truck and Cruiser, “a specialized law enforcement response team that will inspire and unleash the inner hero in everyone.” We’re not sure what kind of trouble is brewing in Santa’s workshop, but the truck looks like what would arrive in response to a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, the cruiser, the smaller truck-within-the-truck, is an “armored-response vehicle” that gives off big Cybertruck vibes… if the Cybertruck included a battering ram and could actually work off-road.

The hosts discuss this year’s Hess Truck and what it says about the state of the world. Plus, since we’re not the target audience for this toy or its marketing, we hear a kid’s take on what makes the Hess truck fun and cool.

***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.***

Hess Truck 2023 Ad. (YouTube)

Learn more about the Hess Truck. (Hess)

The Hess Truck’s Back And It’s Worse Than Ever. “They turned by sweet boy into a tool of state violence.” (Steve Da Silva, Jalopnik.)

116. Road Ecology with Ben Goldfarb

By | Uncategorized

Author Ben Goldfarb in snowy woods, smiling.

In his new book, Crossings: How Road Ecology Is Shaping The Future of Our Planet, independent conservation journalist Ben Goldfarb writes about how roads and cars are wreaking havoc on nature across the globe. He reports back about the people trying to save everything from butterflies to deer to wallabies to salamanders from the destructive power of motordom. Plus, he helps us analyze a couple of egregious ads that show how humans use roads to assert our dominion over the natural world…to our own eventual detriment.

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:

You can learn more about Ben Goldfarb’s work at his website.

Pick up Ben’s Crossings: How Road Ecology Is Shaping The Future of Our Planet at our official Bookshop.org page.

Read More

115. What the Hell is Happening In the UK?

By | Uncategorized

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak smiling behind the wheel of a car.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has declared it’s time to end what he calls “the war on motorists.” First, the Conservative Party leader announced he was delaying the UK’s commitment to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars. He followed that with what he called his “plan for motorists,” which would severely restrict local efforts to implement low-traffic neighborhoods, 20 mph speed limits, bus-only lanes, and other policies intended to benefit people walking, cycling, and taking transit. Finally, he scrapped a major portion of HS2, a high-speed rail line linking some of the UK’s biggest cities. 

So… what the hell is happening in the UK? With similar setbacks in Berlin, Madrid, New York and elsewhere, is this part of a broader global backsliding? Are we losing the The War on Cars or is the prime minister just grasping at culture-war straws? The Guardian’s Peter Walker returns to the podcast to help us figure it all out.

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:

“Sunak ‘backs drivers,’ announces scaling back of HS2, and delays the UK’s ban on gas-powered vehicles by five years. (Peter Walker & colleagues, The Guardian)

Rishi Sunak says he’s “slamming the brakes on the war on motorists.” (The Sun)

Read More