They want us out of our cars, that’s the bottom line.
“They” being the California General Assembly – which just passed a bill (SB 350, the “Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015,” see here) that mandates a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use statewide by 2030. The legislation empowers the California Air Resources Board – a literally dictatorial entity that can simply issue decrees that have the force of law, without any person in California ever having voted yea or nay – to achieve this reduction by any means it considers necessary.
What means might be considered necessary?
The California Driver’s Alliance believes CARB will decide that driving restrictions are necessary: “… regulators now have a plan to monitor and collect your personal driving data,” the group said in an advertisement against the bill. “This will enable state regulators to penalize and fine motorists who use ‘too much’ gas or drive ‘too often’… .“
If that sounds like crazy talk, consider that the state of Oregon has already implemented a “tax by mile” program (see here) that uses you car’s ability to receive and transmit data to monitor, in real time, how often and how long you drive (as well as how fast you drive) and taxes you accordingly.
Cue the intro to The Six Million Dollar Man.
They have the technology.
And odds are, they’re going to use it.
It’s already feasible to simply “turn off” most new cars remotely. GM’s OnStar system, for example. An operator in another part of the country can send a signal to the car’s computer, telling it to turn the engine off. Most other-brand new cars have similar telematics systems.
This is touted as – and could be useful as – a way to curb auto theft and end high-speed chases before anyone gets hurt. But it can also be used to keep your car in your driveway – in order to “save gas” or “reduce global warming.” Also to track your mileage – and transmit the data in real time to a government bureaucracy with police powers, like CARB. When you reach the allowable limit, a signal is transmitted – and your car becomes 3,500 pounds of driveway sculpture.
Perhaps we’ll see a return to “no drive” days – as happened in the ’70s.