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  Today online 15 Sep 05
Some fuel for thought
Use ethanol fuel in cars instead of non-renewable source-based propane
Letter from Noel Mahesan

Today Online 14 Sep 05
Ban driving once a week
Rotating enforced rest days can help reduce number of vehicles on road
Letter by John Lucas

IN a large number of cases, aggressive driving behaviour is premeditated. Most cars involved in aggressive driving behaviour have after-market modifications, designed to increase horsepower and high-speed performance.

The drivers are generally young males who seem to treat their car as just another video game, and use it as an outlet for stress and another form of entertainment. As the population increases, the number of cars will increase, and the traffic will get worse. The roads were never designed to handle the volume of cars currently in motion at rush hour.

For example, there are several high volume roadways that have the entrance ramp located immediately before the exit ramp. This creates a dangerous cross flow of traffic. There are also a large number of roads that funnel into fewer lanes, creating a free-for-all driving condition. Most roads have no shoulders, so taxi pick-ups, deliveries and unexpected breakdowns all cause road blockage. These are problems that can't be solved without more land.

Unless additional trains and buses are added, crowded public transportation offers little relief. The primary solution to date has been in the form of increased cost of car ownership. Road tax, fuel tax, sales tax, import tax, parking fees, COE and ERP have raised the cost of car ownership to almost unaffordable levels. This will force low-income citizens into a world of public transportation and widen the social/economic divide.

The mindset that a car is a toy will not change. But to reduce the temptation to test our driving skills, only boring, low horsepower, preferably propane or electric cars should be allowed. This would also have the added advantage of reducing the harmful carbon monoxide pollution that contributes to the harmful green house effect.

To reduce the number of cars on the road, every car should have one rest day assigned to it each week on weekdays based on licence number. This would have the potential to reduce the total car population by 20 per cent each day during the week. Those affected will have to car pool or take public transportation for one day. The weekend would remain as is. The ERP and traffic police could be used to enforce the change, and fine anyone driving his car on a rest day. This approach would prevent some Singaporeans from eventually being squeezed out of owning a car.

Building a race track for conventional cars and motorcycles on Pulau Ubin would provide an outlet for the need to speed. Drivers could race exotic, high performance cars on tracks that were designed for safe racing. High speed cigar boats could be used to ferry drivers to the island. It may sound painful, but when the alternative is driving conditions akin to those in Bangkok, it's not too bad.

Today online 15 Sep 05
Some fuel for thought
Use ethanol fuel in cars instead of non-renewable source-based propane
Letter from Noel Mahesan

I was amazed and amused to read the letter, "Ban driving once a week" (Sept 14). . Firstly, the stereotypical view that aggressive drivers drive highly modified cars is wrong.

Look around and you'll see aggressive drivers in all categories of motor vehicles, especially regular passenger cars. What I have to say about aggressive and bad driving on the whole) is: Allow high performance cars, but ban low performance drivers. The selfish and discourteous mentality of such drivers is also a leading cause of bad traffic (the "I have to be in front" mentality).

I have been in peak hour-traffic overseas where more vehicles are on a smaller road, and yet, traffic flow is much faster and smoother because of simple and courteous driving methods.

The concept of banning vehicles on certain days will only penalise families with only one car, while families who can afford more than one car can still go about their life with little or no inconvenience (as demonstrated in the Philippines).

As for the use of electric or propane powered vehicles, we do not have the infrastructure for those yet. Plus, the current costs of these vehicles places them even further out of the reach of most Singaporeans. Besides, propane and electric vehicles will still cause some sort of pollution and does nothing to lower the usage of non-renewable resources since the base source of energy still comes from fossil fuels.

Perhaps, starting off with a 10-per-cent ethanol fuel would be more appropriate as ethanol burns cleaner and comes from a renewable source. Also, most cars here can use it without any modifications to the fuel system or engine.

As for building the racetrack, Pulau Ubin is our last big kampung. We have to ask whether we really want to see it go.

Discuss the issue on the focus ubin forum

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