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The Way We Drive Now

There’s a reason Washington can’t get Americans out of their cars.

Mar 7, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 24 • By FRED BARNES
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So who’s to blame for the overwhelming preference for automobiles over mass transit? Do Americans have an irrational love affair with cars? No. A car not only saves time, it’s safe, increasingly fuel efficient, and less polluting than ever. True, emission standards are a government intrusion loathed by conservatives. But they work.

Cars and drivers, sad to say, don’t function in a free market world. Both are highly regulated, sometimes for good, sometimes not. If the law of supply and demand were operative, we’d see a smarter approach to improving transportation in America. The supply of cars would create a demand for more roads and bridges to accommodate them, just as food lines outside a grocery store create demand for more grocery stores. Instead we get more mass transit, demand for which is imperceptible, and fresh rounds of confusion among officials whose plans are destined to come to naught.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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