GM’s attempt at heating windshield wiper fluid has led to a recall, involving deactivating the device.

At first, I was thinking about how silly this idea is. Why complicate cars any more than they already are? But then I was led to consider the alternatives: we currently use different types of antifreeze in windshield washer fluid, including compounds such as methanol. Maybe the methanol is OK, but I’d like to see a life-cycle analysis of its use in this manner. It’s poisonous to drink  (think Sterno), but should be readily biodegradable, and there are many other aspects to consider.

But, really, isn’t this a sign that we’ve just taken the automobile way too far? That the automobile, as it were, really has jumped the shark? We need to try to give it up, and move to appropriate types of public transportation tied to proper land-use planning that allows it.


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