How is this image from a car ad lying to us?
How is this image from a car ad lying to us? Screenshot from YouTube

One more thing about "Sheet Metal," a 2003 advertisement for automobiles manufactured by an American company that was made to compete with Japanese imports but failed to survive the economic crash of 2008, Saturn Corporation. Because the ad "portrays a number of auto-related scenarios—a car backing out a driveway, bad traffic on a highway, children on a school bus—with no cars involved," it unexpectedly and unintentionally opens our eyes to the large amount of space cars consume. And this largely wasted space we see reveals the great social cost of this form of transportation—the wasted space is not free, it has to be paid for. That bill doesn't go to car companies, but to the public. But if you look closely at the above image of the people walking on the freeway, you will see something that's not true to reality.

Every driver in the image has one or more passengers. The advertisers are showing us a world that does not exist in the United States. In this country, solo drivers account for 80 percent of all car trips. In Seattle, this rate dropped below 50 percent only recently, in 2013, and only for commuters. If the Saturn ad were closer to the truth, the really ugly truth, there would be even more expensive wasted space on those freeways.