Adam Ruins Cars
Adam Ruins Cars

In this episode, Adam revealed the surprising truths behind car dealerships, unearthed the dirty little secrets of car ownership, explained how auto manufacturers turned "jaywalking" into a crime and much more. Here are his sources. 

Sources

"Dealerships aren't owned by car manufacturers. They're separate businesses. And since the 1930s, dealership associations have gotten states to pass "franchise laws" that give them a virtual monopoly over new car sales."

Surowiecki, James. "Dealer's Choice." The New Yorker. Conde Nast, 4 Sept. 2006. Web.


"It's illegal to sell new cars unless you're a dealership, and if you want to become a dealer, too bad. It's also illegal to open a new dealership in another dealer's territory."

Lafontaine, Francine, and Fiona Scott Morton. "Markets State Franchise Laws, Dealer Terminations, and the Auto Crisis." Journal of Economic Perspectives 24.3 (2010): 233-50. Yale University. Web.


"That'll be tough. States get twenty percent of their sales tax revenue from dealerships, so the car guys pretty much run the show."

Lafontaine, Francine, and Fiona Scott Morton. "Markets State Franchise Laws, Dealer Terminations, and the Auto Crisis." Journal of Economic Perspectives 24.3 (2010): 233-50. Yale University. Web.


"A century ago, the city street was a public place that was open to everybody. It was shared by pedestrians, horses, streetcars, and weird old-timey bicycles alike."

Norton, Peter. "Street Rivals Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age Street." Technology and Culture 48 (2007): 331-59. Vox. Vox Media. Web.


"Virtually every city had public streetcars that took people to work."

Stromberg, Joseph. "The Real Story behind the Demise of America's Once-mighty Streetcars." Vox. Vox Media, 07 May 2015. Web.


"Some cities even discussed passing laws against them [cars]."

 Norton, Peter D. Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2008. Print.


"To publicize their new insult, the auto industry actually wrote news stories blaming pedestrians for automobile deaths."

Norton, Peter. "Street Rivals Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age Street." Technology and Culture 48 (2007): 331-59. Vox. Vox Media. Web.


"Actually, we already had a fast, efficient way to get around the city, the streetcar. And the automobile killed it."

Stromberg, Joseph. "The Real Story behind the Demise of America's Once-mighty Streetcars." Vox. Vox Media, 07 May 2015. Web.


"A single streetcar can carry dozens of pedestrians. Put each of those passengers in their own car, and they take up a hundred square feet each. And that means one thing: traffic."

Werbach, Adam. "The American Commuter Spends 38 Hours a Year Stuck in Traffic." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 06 Feb. 2013. Web.


"Once cars were the only way to get around, we rebuilt our cities around them, and that's when things took a turn for the worse."

Yu, Alan. "Study: Hartford, New Haven Hurt By Abundance of Parking." WNPR News. WNPR. Connecticut, 31 Mar. 2014. Study: Hartford, New Haven Hurt By Abundance of Parking. Web.


"Okay, well do you love traffic? Because the average driver spends one week a year stuck in traffic."

Forsyth, Jim. "U.S. Commuters on Average Spend Nearly a Week Stuck in Traffic." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 05 Feb. 2013. Web.


"If you have cars, you have traffic. Period."

Mann, Adam. "What's Up With That: Building Bigger Roads Actually Makes Traffic Worse" Wired. Conde Nast, 17 June 2014. Web.


"90 percent of drivers say they're better than average [at driving], which is impossible."

Svenson, Ola. "Are We All Less Risky and More Skillful Than Our Fellow Drivers?" Acta Psychologica 47 (1981): 143-48. Web.


"Most accidents are caused by inattention, and you pay the least attention to the road when you're confident. That's why most accidents happen on clear, sunny roads to sober drivers."

Vanderbilt, Tom. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says about Us). New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. Print.


"Modern cars and roads that make us feel secure actually cause us to unconsciously compensate by driving more dangerously. It's a concept called "risk homeostasis."

Wilde, Gerald JS. "Risk Homeostasis Theory: An Overview." Injury Prevention 4 (1998): 89-91. National Institute of Health. National Institute of Health. Web.


"The average car costs $9,000 a year just to own."

Stepp, Erin. "Cost of Owning and Operating Vehicle in U.S. Increases Nearly Two Percent According to AAA's 2013 'Your Driving Costs' Study | AAA NewsRoom." AAA NewsRoom. AAA, 15 Apr. 2013. Web.


"The average American family spends 20% of their income on transportation. And for the poorest Americans, it's 32%."

United States. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS Reports: Consumer Expenditures in 2012. N.p.: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. Report 1046.


 For More On This Topic

The Modern Moloch from the podcast 99% Invisible, the largely unknown story of the takeover of our city streets by automotive interests.

Tom Vanderbilt's Traffic, a counterintuitive investigation into the limits of human perception and cognition that make us worse drivers than we think we are.

Donald Shoup's The High Cost of Free Parking, a highly readable examination of the link between free parking and urban sprawl.

Watch Adam reveal the real reason jaywalking is a crime and why car dealerships are the worst.