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Such would, perhaps, be a reasonable course of action in areas with reasonable non-car alternatives to air transport.

However, it would also more or less end the current era of globalization for the middling masses.  This may be a good thing, in the long run, but it would also seriously mess up a lot of people's lives.

For example, I'm an expat in Japan.  Visiting home would be more or less impossible with air fare in the $7000 to $8000 range for a single trip.  Not on my salary, at any rate.

Sure, passenger liners may well revive in response, but given how awful marine diesel is, that's probably not a good idea, and anyway, most people can't afford to take a month off work for travel any more than they can afford a $6000 air ticket.

by Zwackus on Sun Apr 20th, 2014 at 02:07:06 AM EST
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Sure, passenger liners may well revive in response, but given how awful marine diesel is, that's probably not a good idea, and anyway, most people can't afford to take a month off work for travel any more than they can afford a $6000 air ticket.

A passenger-converted fast freighter makes the Tokyo-LA round trip in 26 ocean days (most non-passenger freighters would probably slow-steam, so making it more like a month each way). A dedicated liner optimized for self-loading freight can probably shave four or five days off that.

That's... doable, if not necessarily optimal. And if you hold your holidays on Midway, you can cut the transit time roughly in half.

Definitely becomes easier if you have a position that lets you telecommute for a few weeks, though.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Apr 20th, 2014 at 06:44:55 AM EST
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Worth noting as well that once you're competing with 26 ocean days instead of 12 hours flight time, then there are flying options that are more energy efficient and become viable - because they are too slow compared to jets, but quicker than fast freighters on the ocean.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Apr 22nd, 2014 at 10:18:09 AM EST
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I don't deny that the social consequences of severe price rationing of air travel will be dire. But I strongly suspect that such a development is baked into the cake within the next decade simply due to the rising cost of fuel. The government supported flag carriers will likely be the last airlines to be seriously affected and downsized.

For those who have the time and for time insensitive goods high tech sail/solar powered transport may become a factor. The average speed of the trade winds should increase.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 20th, 2014 at 08:28:29 AM EST
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Perhaps this could help with the cost of air travel, if it pans out. Or perhaps it is another source of claims of engines that run on water. The linked piece is clearly of the nature of a promotional press release. More here but also here. A fly for every ointment.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 21st, 2014 at 11:34:09 AM EST
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Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 21st, 2014 at 12:04:24 PM EST
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The fly in the ointment was hiding behind link #3.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 21st, 2014 at 08:50:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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