It's said that bottom line, consumer market forces will determine the car's endurance, and I agree. That renders most of my hidden cost postulations irrelevant, but useful scare tactics nonetheless. That aside, it's the passing of peak oil plain and simple that dooms this industry. That, plus a fabric of financial forces, and just let me dream, an increasing sense of responsibility to the future.
Market-wise, it could be said that the auto industry absolutely already has collapsed, and should not be resuscitated. An industry that was not only subsidized but endlessly fought regulation, cannot rationally later ask for bailout, or it is just a welfare system for the rich.
Fortunately Chicago is extremely well positioned and aimed for this transition. In fact, the mayor has specific percentage automotive to bike traffic transition targets well in the works, a trend whose reversal I cannot readily imagine. Further, as Homer Simpson articulated the Japanese concept, the market demands of the future are a "Probletunity" where Chicago and surrounding could be a future LEADER in Made In America bike and train components and assemblies, as well as a freight rail crossroads.
But let's not become a Gary. Bikes, walking, skates, transit, but most of all flexible expectations are core components of the beauty of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Portland (which now complains of too many cyclists). Chicago in particular I can see remaining an urban garden jewel if we make the right choices, frankly as sea levels erase more coastal cities. Words of wisdom from Cuba years ago, after surviving loss of half their oil imports overnight during the breakup of the Soviet Union "we now have better food, health, air quality and community, why wait for peak oil?"
For now, just hear that the future will be low-car, and I for one am working to hasten, and to some degree am already living, that Utopian time.
Each of us can, neigh must minimize our complicity in the ongoing accidental hijacking of human destiny that was the automobile era.
At very least, being now enlightened, first off ask yourself, is this trip really necessary? And if after that you absolutely must drive then be patient, and give the greatest of caution and deference to cyclists absolutely whenever you see them, for they are as children to be nurtured.
Paraphrasing Star Trek:
The illogic of waste, Mr. Car Consumer,
the waste of lives, potential, resources, time.
I submit to you that your Empire is illogical
because it cannot endure.
I submit that you are illogical
to be a willing part of it.
If change is inevitable, predictable, beneficial,
doesn't logic demand that you be a part of it?
In closing I refer you to these photos, and ask in which future you’d rather be…