Self-Driving Cars Could Be Bad For The Environment

March 17, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Conventional wisdom says that self-driving cars will be good for the environment. Algorithms will ensure that cars drive in the most fuel efficient way possible, and should lead to a future where gas isn’t wasted on things like traffic jams. Yet, David Roberts reports, there’s a flip side too:

  • Because self-driving cars will be safer, legislatures may agree to allow higher highway speeds which would lead to more energy use per mile.
  • No longer planning to drive, passengers may deck out their vehicles with amenities like televisions and other luxuries which increase the weight of the car, requiring more fuel to be burned.
  • Since people can now take a nap in their car on their way to work, people may choose to have longer commutes to live further away, increasing overall time spent on the road.
  • Automated cars also mean that suddenly people who couldn’t drive before, can now get around in cars, further increasing car usage.
  • According to projections run by academics if driving becomes too easy then we’re likely to see energy use increase as a result of self-driving cars rather than decrease.

Read an in-depth analysis here. And read our previous write-up on why self-driving cars could bankrupt cities here.

Source: Vox

Via: Marginal Revolution