November 17, 2000 11:47 AM   Subscribe

The AAA is best known for free maps, 24-hr towing, jumpstarting cars, and now, ruining the environment. Opposing auto pollution controls? Funding highway construction lobbying groups? Against airbags? Did you know what the AAA was really up to?
posted by mathowie (10 comments total)
I've read three pages into this article and I still haven't found anything that would indicate the author has a clue. I give up.

Let me get this stright - AAA has a lobbying group and they don't usually side with environmental groups? Well duh.

Does the author really expect the AAA to support:

1) fewer roads
2) more expensive gas
3) regulations that will make cars more expensive

Expecting the AAA to be "green" is like expecting the NRA to be for gun control.

(oops. irony is dead. sorry for being so lazy.)
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:24 PM on November 17, 2000

I can't say I'm surprised. The AAA along with several different road, highway, and trucker advocate groups all would have us pave over every scrap of available and unavailable land with 20-lane interstates in the name of lowering congestion. But as the article points out, that approach won't get you anywhere.
posted by daveadams at 12:42 PM on November 17, 2000

Why does the article say 'Copyright 2001' at the bottom?
posted by sudama at 12:52 PM on November 17, 2000

I guess it's okay to copy it until January?
posted by daveadams at 1:19 PM on November 17, 2000

Yeah, they are the American Automobile Association, not the American Driver Association.
posted by donkeymon at 1:32 PM on November 17, 2000

This has always been the case! I'm not sure when or where I heard or read this, but I believe that the organization was formed by the automakers originally in the 30's and 40's to join them in their efforts to shut down the railways, at which they succeeded, almost completely. Correct me if I'm wrong.

They have always been instrumental in opposing air pollution controls throughout their existence I've refused to join the AAA for political reasons since I've had a driver's license.
posted by aniretac at 3:38 PM on November 17, 2000

I can understand the AAA opposing the clean air act out of it's own selfish interests -- but auto safety? Just how blind have I been that I couldn't see the AAA as the auto industry's corporate pawn?

Any ideas for AAA alternatives?
posted by snakey at 3:47 PM on November 17, 2000

Yeah, Snakey...Learn to change a tire. :-)
posted by Optamystic at 6:30 PM on November 17, 2000

aniretac, that myth -- eloquently illustrated in Roger Rabbit -- is vigorously disputed by some historians of the transportation industry.

The AAA was formed very early in the present century to lobby for paved roads.

donkeymon: you've got me thinking. What other stuff has my auto been joining when I wasn't looking?
posted by dhartung at 12:01 AM on November 18, 2000

[snakey] Any ideas for AAA alternatives?

Stop driving, better yet, get rid of your car.

[dhartung] that myth -- eloquently illustrated in Roger Rabbit -- is vigorously disputed by some historians of the transportation industry.

And vigorously supported by others. I have no doubt that the car companies were not interested in keeping intracity rail operational, favoring selling the buses they made instead. I'm sure they didn't try very hard to keep the ones they bought out operational. Also remember that high-level GM executives actually held federal government advisory positions and encouraged the building of the interstate highway systems and other federal programs that supported auto travel and discouraged rail and buses. (Well, I can't find my reference for this, but you can trust me! :)

But you're right that it wasn't just the auto industry. Local government fare price controls and overbearing regulations from franchise fees, right-of-way leases that made sense when streetcars held a monopoly on automated urban transport, but not so when they had to compete with automobiles also helped drive the private rail companies out of business and put public transportation into the inept hands of government.
posted by daveadams at 11:45 PM on November 18, 2000

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