Fuel Prices and the Village Vehicle (Print Version)
by Harry Valentine*
Le Québécois Libre, January
15, 2011, No 285.
Link: http://www.quebecoislibre.org/11/110115-14.html

Private people can sometimes achieve remarkable results when left to their own devices to solve their own problems. They can often achieve such results peacefully while respecting the natural rights of their fellow citizens, even though government officials may view some of this behaviour as bordering on civil disobedience.

There are people who live in rural areas, for example, who prefer natural milk, despite state propaganda telling us about the dangers of such milk. For many years, cheese curds were made of natural milk, with an exemplary safety record stretching back for over a century. Cheese, yogurt and many other dairy products are still made from natural milk that comes straight from the cow in many European countries. As long as the cow is healthy and the milk container is clean, people who consume natural milk appear to be quite healthy. Out in the countryside and away from the larger cities, many rural people across North America consume natural raw milk, straight from a healthy cow and free from any adverse side effects. It is as if rural people have taken a stand against state intrusion into their kitchens and dinner tables.

The Road Less Travelled

The adherence to freedom in rural areas goes well beyond natural raw milk to include many other aspects of life. Notably, it includes the way people travel. Transport regulations restrict the choice of transportation providers for organized groups—that is, customers have to travel with state-approved providers whose viability is protected by economic regulation. Transport regulators claim to be ensuring public safety when they restrict people’s modes of travel or the choice of vehicles in which they may travel. For instance, a Quebec manufacturer of on-road electric vehicles was able to market its products outside of Canada but not domestically, as their products had not been approved for operation on Canadian roads.

But hard-working rural and village folks have little use for such regulatory lunacy. This author does on occasion visit rural areas as well as villages located far away from any big city. At such locations, it is possible to go to the front door or the back door and purchase a wide variety of products. The property or business owner may be forbidden by state regulation to market their products privately, or even advertise that they may have anything available for sale. But rural folks usually do have something available for sale, especially if the buyer is someone whom they may know.

While city folks may complain about rising fuel prices as they struggle through rush-hour traffic gridlock, rural and village folks actually do something about the situation. Many rural villages have back streets and side streets so that people who travel by ATV and other economical modes of transportation are rarely if ever seen on the main road that passes through the village. There are a wide variety of vehicles that carry people along the side streets and back streets of many rural villages, and some of them are homemade.

The prevailing sentiment in rural villages is that what travels down the back streets and side streets stays in the village and is none of the business of government officials in either Washington or Ottawa. As fuel prices rise, single-cylinder ATVs in rural villages are being joined by golf carts. While government officials debate the implications that revolve around the impending introduction of electric vehicles onto the nation’s roadways, local travel on electrically-powered vehicles is alive and well in rural villages.

Back Road Edisons

Many rural folks are technically inclined and able to undertake a range of complicated tasks that require mechanical knowledge. One entrepreneur who is involved in rural electric vehicles is researching the possibility of having a Chinese company manufacture a porous metallic polymer that could potentially store a substantial amount of static electricity.

In unofficial rural village transportation, people do not have to travel very far on their electric vehicles. Their vehicles need an electrical storage technology capable of hundreds of thousands of recharges and discharges, something beyond the capability of commercial storage batteries. An ultra-capacitor that can offer a golf cart an operating range of 5-miles would work quite well in a rural village. Government officials butting out of local transportation matters in rural villages leaves local entrepreneurs to their own devices. Those devices, as it turns out, could produce an energy storage technology to power village golf carts for many years without the owner having to dispose of expired batteries.

The example from rural villages is that people can solve their own problems without any interference from state officials in big cities. Private rural entrepreneurship that is free from state involvement may actually result in an electrical storage device that can last a lifetime in village golf carts.

* Harry Valentine is a free-marketeer living in Eastern Ontario.