Friday Funny: The Onion Satirizes the Federal Government’s Electric Car Fetish

The totally satirical, not-at-all-real website The Onion is back with another planning-related fake news take.

June 24, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Pick-Up Truck

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

“In keeping with its mission to address the nation’s environmental challenges, the Department of Energy introduced a new program Monday that provides pedestrians and cyclists with economic incentives to switch to electric vehicles,” according to a totally made up article by The Onion satirizing the wishful thinking about electric cars and the insistence on automobile dependency from every level of government in the United States.

The latest satire of planning-related news by The Onion was published just a few days before the Biden administration announced a proposed federal gas tax holiday, similar to gas tax holidays proposed by ostensibly liberal governors of state like California and New York in recent months—very real signs of the inability of Democratic political leadership to meaningfully address climate change.

Electric car programs have gained traction, despite all the gas tax holiday talk, as the variety of climate change action preferred by Democratic leadership, despite copious evidence of the limitations of electric vehicles for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Walking and cycling, as The Onion’s satire picks up on, would be a much more obvious, and effective, direction for climate change action. Still, biking and walking are not favored in the politics of transportation and land use planning.

Monday, June 13, 2022 in The Onion

A image of the World's Columbian Exposition overlayed with a picture of Keanu Reeves in the rain from the movie Point Break.

Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’

Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.

August 8, 2022 - Reel Chicago

Kids

Opinion: Aging Population, Declining Fertility Requires Long-Term Investments

Faced with the dire consequences of a one-two punch of aging populations and declining birthrates, one writer has suggestions for how policy can help ensure a better future.

August 9, 2022 - Financial Times

People gather on a street with no cars during the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers in the Meatpacking District of New York City.

The Tide Has Turned Against Open Streets

Once a promising development for advocates pushing for a less car-centric future in cities, the open streets movement has ceded significant ground to cars since the height of the pandemic.

August 14, 2022 - The New York Times

Jacksonville Skyway monorail train passing on elevated rail in front of downtown buildings

Jacksonville To Replace Monorail With Autonomous Shuttles

The city’s aging monorail system will be repurposed as part of an expanded 10-mile shuttle system.

29 minutes ago - Smart Cities Dive

Virginia

Richmond Weighing How to End Parking Requirements

A series of town hall meetings will allow the public a chance to give feedback about zoning changes in Richmond, Virginia that would include the end of parking requirements.

1 hour ago - WTVR

Three blue Amazon delivery trucks at bays at a distribution center

Key Warehouse Centers Challenge Distribution Center Expansion

Communities near major e-commerce distribution centers are increasingly resisting new construction, citing air pollution and other public health impacts.

August 16 - Bloomberg CityLab

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.