Will this Car Destroy the World?

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Will this Car Destroy the World? Will this Car Destroy the World?
Environment

Will this Car Destroy the World?

by Patrick James

March 24, 2009
It looks harmless enough, right?The Tata Nano goes on sale in India next month. At 100,000 rupees ($1,979), it will be the world's cheapest car. You can learn about the car's specs at BBC or Reuters, but the basic takeaway is that it's tiny, fuel-efficient, inexpensive, and destined to be purchased by a lot of people-India, you'll remember, has about a billion of them.The concern among environmentalists is that, because the car is so affordable, it will be purchased by so many people that global carbon levels will skyrocket to irreparable levels. That, of course, would be disastrous.However, the complaint seems a tad crazy (or, at least, hypocritical) to me, seeing as the Nano is smaller and gets better mileage (about 20 km/L, which is a little above 50 mpg) than just about any car on offer stateside. This car seems like a real improvement-one that we should celebrate and invite over here. I want one.The truth of the matter is that the threat the Nano poses has little to do with the 100,000 units that Tata plans to sell this summer; it has to do with what sort of infrastructure development an automotive India will see down the road. If you don't think Indians should be driving, that's fine. But you should probably part ways with your own car before voicing that opinion.Photo via Flickr user arulnathan.
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