“Yep, you don’t hear the engine because we’re riding in a hybrid car. The electric motor is powering the car with batteries charged by the solar panels alongside our house.
“You won’t believe the changes in transportation since you’ve been around! Back then the dream was two cars in the garage with V-8 engines under their hoods. Today, my three children’s families (your great-grands, all successful and in their 30s) own just 2 cars altogether! And people in their 20s these days, drive about 20% less than their parents did when they were that age.
“Part of the reason is that the population is shifting more and more to urban areas. Now, about 4 of every 5 Americans live in cities. We rural folks in Iowa County don’t notice some of the many transportation changes taking place in the cities. But many city folks are tired of fighting traffic, paying for parking and owning an expensive piece of equipment that sits idle perhaps more than 90% of the time. One estimation predicts that in 10 years U.S. car sales will fall about 12 percent.
“For many folks, a new option called ‘ride-sharing’ through companies like Uber and Lyft is easier and less expensive than owning a car. Worldwide, nearly a billion people are choosing these types of services. Many car companies are anticipating declining vehicle sales, so they’re investing in ride-share and similar alternative ways of providing transportation.
“And those of us who still need to own vehicles have cool options like this hybrid car we’re riding in. Before long fully electric cars will be commonplace. By 2020 GM plans to produce more than 20 different electric vehicle models; Ford will have 40 by 2022!
“These are good trends, Grandpa. You see, we’ve learned that we can’t keep pouring combustion engine fumes into the air we breathe. It makes us sick and even affects weather patterns. Using clean energy sources and reducing the number of all types of vehicles will help. Someday, when I come back to visit my retirement-aged grandchildren like you have, I hope to find them living healthy lives on a vibrant planet. After all, this is the only home they’ll ever have. We’re all here forever…Earthbound.”