Micro Chips

Micro chips – they’re in a lot of products from Cars to microwaves, phones to printers.

There has been a shortage since Covid took hold and that’s why new cars etc have long delays on delivery dates.

But I’ve just found out that the largest manufacturer of these chips is in Ukraine – so the situation is set to get worse before it gets better. 

Obviously modern life relies on technology and it’s difficult to suddenly change to different methods of working – but when it comes to cars surely there is a case for using alternative methods of transport such as cycling, walking or public transport. 

The benefits of cycling or walking are obvious, public transport means a bus or a train can carry the occupants of several cars, so with less cars on the road there is less congestion and emissions. In America there are lanes specifically for car pool vehicles, meaning you can’t use them if you’re on your own. It probably isn’t as much fun as James Corden has (see Car Pool Karaoke) but it makes perfect sense. With a bit of communication and planning, I’m sure that car sharing could be more commonplace. It would cost you less to get to work, or to get the kids to school, and have a positive effect on the environment. 

Add to that the cost of fuel recently and there’s several reasons why we should be using our cars more wisely. And if you think about it, if you only use the car when you have to, it will end up being a low mileage car. So you can keep it longer, as it will be in better condition mechanically - maybe eventually the demand for new vehicles will reduce, meaning the demand for raw materials needed to manufacture them will reduce, which would be better for the planet. Little changes could add up to a big difference. 

It would be difficult to give up the car completely, they are an evil necessity, but if we think about how we use them we can save money and the planet, while possibly getting a bit fitter. When I was a kid growing up in the sixties, we lived opposite a car park. In fact I think it was the only one in town, just off the main street. We lived in a side street and my siblings and I and our friends used to play on the car park during the day, it was never full or particularly busy except on market days, so we could ride our bikes or play hide and seek behind the cars that were there, or a game called kick the can.

I relate this story as it shows how times have changed; back then not everyone had a car, but now it’s quite common for a family to have two or possibly more. For example, one of my neighbours, a family of five, have four cars and a van. When we moved into our house 32 years ago it was rare to see a car parked in the road, most were parked on driveways, but as families grow and times change, there are now cars parked on both sides of the road, half on the pavements as well as in the drives. That’s not counting visitors’ cars adding to the tally. I do get it, it’s convenient to have a car each and probably necessary to some degree, and after all, there are a lot more people in the world than there were in the sixties. There are now several car parks in the town and it’s difficult to get parked sometimes. 

I remember my father-in-law telling me that in the fifties he used to have to cycle to work every day. Not unusual, but he was a carpenter, and he had to carry his tools with him and it was common for him to cycle 7 or 8 miles each way. They were long days! My own father had an older car which, hard to believe nowadays, had no heater – so he couldn’t use it in the winter. He used his bicycle during the winter months, and the car if he had to in the warmer months. So it can be done, we can survive without using the car sometimes. 

I’m not suggesting that we go back to that but there has to be a compromise between that and jumping in the car to drive a mile or less to a shop. If we plan ahead a little and give ourselves time to walk or cycle to work or to go to the shops, it’s better all round. With a shortage of micro chips and lately, fuel – which is expensive, now’s the time to re-assess how you use your car. Make the effort to plan your journeys, consider if you actually need to use the car and you may find you can save money, be kind to the environment and you never know, you might enjoy the walk or cycle ride in the fresh air.

And if you can car share, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a bit of karaoke on your journey!