Enjoying the sunset of the automobile era

Published in Times and Transcript
July 14, 2009
Tim Moerman

Last Friday I walked down Main Street, along with thousands of others out to enjoy the sunshine and ogle the dazzling array of classic cars at the Atlantic Nationals.

For all the merriment, to me it feels like the sunset of the automobile era -- the last couple of hurrahs before peak oil and climate change put the kibosh to this peculiar obsession of ours. And I'm not sure how I feel about that.

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up (if that is the word) to be the Dukes of Hazzard, tear-assing around the countryside in a souped-up hotrod. I remember being very upset that by the time I was old enough to drive, the gasoline would be all gone.

My timing was off, but that day is coming, as surely as the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. The fossil fuels we guzzled at pennies a litre are running out. We will soon face a whack of problems as a result. How to get our mini-vans to the mall may be the least of them.

Perhaps to the surprise to those who have read my occasional screeds in these pages, I don't actually hate cars. If I hate anything, it is what cars have done to our world. Or more properly, what we have done to our world, and to ourselves, in their name.

The Atlantic Nationals take place on Moncton's Main Street, a handful of lively, beautiful urban blocks of the type that were once commonplace across North America.

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