It’s Not Just VW’s Problem Now

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It’s not just VW’s problem now.tailpipe test pic

The company may go the way of the Dodo because of brutal fines and crippling lawsuits and media demagoguery that’s turning the VW brand into the automotive equivalent of NAMBLA.

But if you think it’ll stop there… .

So, where will it stop?

How about real-time monitoring of the emissions output of all cars, all the time? This would certainly put the kibosh on “cheating” – by owners as well as car manufacturers.

And it’s already in the works.

Has been, for some time. This VW debacle will simply provide the necessary justification for implementing it – much in the same way that a school shooting becomes the justification for taking everyone’s guns away.

It’s called OnBoard Diagnostics III (OBD III). The successor to OBD II – which your car already has, if it’s newer than circa the ’96 model year.OBD II port pic

OBDII cars all have a universal plug-in “diagnostic” port – like an iPod’s USB hook-up – that’s used to connect the car (its computer controller, actually) to an external computer. The two electronic brains talk to one another, exchanging information. If your car has an issue with its emissions systems, a code (or codes) that have been stored in the onboard computer’s memory will be flashed over to the external computer, so that a technician can be made aware of the problem and – ideally – repair what’s wrong.

But, the OBD II system has a weakness. It can only transfer the information about a “fault” with the emissions system if it is physically hooked up to a testing computer (as at a repair shop or a smog check station). The most an OBD II-equipped car can do if you don’t take it in is illuminate the yellow “check engine” light in the dashboard. Which of course, you are free to ignore for as long as you like. Or at least, until the time comes to have the car smog checked – which might be only once a year or once every several years, depending on where you live. In some areas, those few that don’t (yet) have mandatory smog checks, a person could drive with the “check engine” light on indefinitely.

Enter OBD III.

When it detects a problem with your car’s emissions controls, rather than light the “check engine” light and wait patiently for you to take the car in for service, it will immediately narc you out to the DMV (or similar apparat) which will send you notice almost as immediately informing you that you’re required to take the car in to a state-approved monitoring/repair facility within “x” days and if you don’t, either fines will be rained upon your head or your vehicle’s registration will be benched.OBD II pic 2

It is even conceivable – because it is technically possible – for them to simply turn your car off remotely after the fix-it date comes and goes. The car becomes inert until you have it towed to an approved facility for repairs.

OBD III was pie-in-in-the-sky until technologies such as OnStar (and its equivalents), in-car GPS and mobile WiFi (internet access) became feasible and (lately) as commonplace as power windows and air conditioning. Your car – if it’s less than about five years old –  already communicates with the external world, or has the capability to do so.

“Real time” traffic updates, satellite radio, the ability to check e-mail (and send it); roadside emergency and concierge assistance. They all rely on technology that lets the car send and receive information wirelessly and on the move. The same technology could just as easily send the DMV a message that your catalytic converter isn’t working – or has been removed. Or that you have reflashed the computer to illegally alter the engine’s performance, a la VW.

And that’s where things are headed.check engine light

It will be argued – by the EPA and similar bodies, such as the California Air resources Board – that “cheating” is prolific and once-annually (or whatever) checks are no longer sufficient to catch “cheaters.” They will point out that just as it was easy for a major automaker like VW to “cheat” the tests, it’s just as easy – under the current “outdated” system – for an individual owner to do so. It’s actually easier to reprogram an ECU (that’s the technical name for the computer that controls your car’s engine) than it was back in the day to install a catalytic converter “test pipe” (that is, a hollow tube) that you ran for 364 days a year and then – for the one day out of the year you had to comply with the test – reinstall the actual converter.

With OBD II and ECUs, all it takes is a hand-held plug-in to jigger your car’s computer to your heart’s delight and without even getting your hands dirty.

Anyhow, this will be the case made for OBD III – which (like the “Patriot” Act) has been in the works for a long time, just waiting for the right crisis.

Which VW has furnished.

Or rather, which a rat within VW furnished to the EPA – which probably would otherwise never have known. Because the “emissions” of the “affected” vehicles are infinitesimal, tweaked or not.OBD III pic

Note that the actual quantity of “bad gasses” (in this case, oxides of nitrogen and possibly also particulates, or soot) is never quantified or put into context by the media witch hunters, nor the EPA (or CARB). The impression they both seek to convey is of an Exxon Valdez-esque spewing of noxious compounds into the air. Which is demagoguery even worse than the shrieks about “assault rifles” (which are used almost never to murder people, excepting in a military – that is, government – context).

Yes, the “affected” VWs emit more oxides of nitrogen emissions (and possibly particulates) than the federal standard dictates. But the federal standard calls for effectively zero emissions. We are talking fractions of a percent differences. Car A’s tailpipe exhaust is 98.7 percent “clean.” Car B’s is 98.4 percent “clean.” They are both very “clean.” But car B is portrayed – misleadingly – as “dirty,” a “polluter”… because its output is .4 rather than .7.

This is what we’re dealing with.

And what EPA refuses to acknowledge – and the lazy (or politically motivated) media refuses to discuss.

But which will become the pretext for Orwellian, 24-7 monitoring of our vehicles. Anyone who questions it or takes issue with it will be smeared as a “polluter” – or a “denier.”

In other words – never overtly spoken, just an association implied – a person who questions that sanity of destroying a major automaker and imposing Stalinist controls on the populace over fractions of a percent’s difference in tailpipe exhaust emissions is morally in the same camp as a Holocaust denier.denial pic

These people are very, very good.

Also not discussed is that if a given emissions control (or programming) results in lower fuel economy the vehicle’s overall output of whatever noxious gas might be (and often actually is) higher than an otherwise identical car’s that’s been programmed in such a way that it goes farther on a gallon of gas (despite its tailpipe exhaust emissions being fractionally higher).

While EPA is turning the screws on the car industry to achieve fractional reductions in the tailpipe emissions of cars that have been 95 percent or more “clean” since the mid-1990s, no one seems interested in an easy – and cheap – way to cut emissions not by fractions of a percent but by actual whole percentages.

And then some.

If the fuel efficiency of a given car is increased by say 30 percent, its total output of harmful emissions will decline dramatically – without any changes to its existing package of emissions controls. Burn less fuel, produce less exhaust. Simple.EPA pic


If EPA were really interested in reducing emissions – rather than dishonest political grandstanding – it would lock horns with the DOT and NHTSA to ease off on the “safety” mandates that have added hundreds of pounds to curb weight of the average new car, and reduced fuel efficiency dramatically as a result.

But that would mean less control for EPA – and DOT/NHTSA.

Which is why we’ll get OBD III instead of lighter, more fuel-efficient cars that produce dramatically lower emissions.

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    • Politicians and the media exist to prey upon people’s ignorance and misinform them so they are worse than ignorant.

      The fact that cars emit more in the real world is an engineering fact. It’s no secret. But I suppose it is futile to explain how engineering testing works especially government certification testing. It’s been futile to explain to people the difference between the fuel economy tests and the real world fuel economy so it should be the same on emissions.

      Simply put it is desired that the lab tests correlate to the real world use. That a car that passes the test is polluting less than one that fails. That the real world emissions are predictable from the test result. That’s it. The test standard is the standard for the test. If there were some test that better simulated real world use then it would have a different standard of passing, a higher one.

  1. Top VW-America exec attributes car pollution “cheatware” to bad action by few rogue software engineers.

    – Of course the UK press fights this narrative.

    – But rogue employees are a real thing. I’ve been one.

    Before moving to across country, I was at Trammel Crow where over many corporate-SHTF months, I forged my boss’s signature on purchase orders probably totaling millions of dollars.

    Eight district honchos like him were playing musical chairs for only 5 better paying new district jobs, and he became like that translator in Saving Private Ryan
    a dithering hoplophobe when necessary the necessary action was shooting German soldiers. (Or better still, running away.) I went “rogue” and did what we both needed to be done, and kept the project pipelines on task and budget.

    It worked well, thankfully, when the time came, he moved up a level, and I moved up a level too.

    I understand impersonating someone risks all kinds of punishments, but I’ve never believed in extant right and wrong narratives of what is truly right or wrong.

    The vast majority of people’s deeply held beliefs IMO are delusions. There was a time when the consensus beliefs made sense, but those times are long in the past now.

    It’s going to take courage and humanity to bring about something better. I offer only ideas to try, not a complete leadership alternative. I am fairly certain, killing people, or accepting insane delusional systems is not the answer.

    It can’t make sense, that we give up rights to travel and acquiesce to borders, to take one example. We must hate seatbelts. We must hate fiat money. We must hate borders, and tiny boxes of acceptable behavior called laws that destroys our very humanity.

    Yes, many of these things wrong work. But they are morally wrong and should be repugnant to anyone calling himself a free man.

    Any savage could build a boat and travel anywhere in the world he pleased in the past. How can we call ourselves his superior, if we lack such a basic human moral right.

    If there needs to be a functional modern process to monitor such travel, let’s work on creating one. But what is now in place, must be thrown in the woods.

    If we bend over and let them give to us good and hard, as far as national borders because we’re afraid of places like Latin America, China, and India, where it’s sink or swim.

    Then that sounds like we’ve already given up, at least to my ears. Something new must be tried IMO, not the stale old familiar dog and pony best in breed shows of Jolly old England and Europe.

  2. Clover, you pathetic braying donkey welfare scourge.

    When are you finally going to send in $100 to help pay for the special handling of your endless fecal fantasies you insist on flinging at this private property website.

    You’re like this homeless asshole I see on the interstate onramp every so often.

    Not only does he refuse to contribute or produce anything, and instead holds a cardboard sign begging for indulgences with his oddly disheveled yet entitled smirk.

    But then he also raves and rants at people for sitting in their own cars talking on cellphones they’ve paid for.

    He also once yelled at me for not wearing my seatbelt, which has dissuaded me from my previous practice of sometimes dropping susan b anthonies nearby at a safe distance from any lady dregs when I know they won’t be able to reach me.

    You barely belong in the Fourth World, should such a world exist, not in this First World society with advanced specialized abilities and skillsets like most of us here.

  3. OBD-III isn’t real yet. There are a number of proposals, and the CARB (the biggest fascists of all the car regulators), love the idea of wireless OBD emissions checks, but even they aren’t requiring or recommending anything yet. Various vendors have their own ideas for what OBD-III may be (and it’s been contemplated for at least a decade), but there’s nothing yet. There’s no OBD-III car on the market yet or anytime soon.

    OBD-II is already onerous enough for the fascists. It can detect any deviation from pre-programmed maps due to different exhaust or intake, and fail you just on that, even if sniffer tests are totally within specifications. In fact, on newer OBD-II cars, CA no longer even bothers with sniffer tests.

  4. Renault Kwid – $3,900 = RS 2.6 lakh (RS=Rupees, lakh=100,000)

    It’s fairly recent, the prohibitions against transportation. To live free, you have to abandon every single prohibition. They’re all connected, really.

    But wait, boohoo, India is dirty, messy, not much redistribution. People live to the best of their ability. And trade with each other as they see fit. They only think of themselves, and aren’t concerned with every aspect of every other human everywhere else.

    Really, India actually looks like paradise, at least as an ideal. I’d be fine with never hearing another American accent ever again, except on the telly.

    If only one can shed all their preprogrammed fears and aversions about the grit and grime of matrix free living. Can a westernized housepet human truly come to enjoy an authentic, non-coddled cattle existence.

    Are creature comforts mandatory, or a luxury worth trading for in exchange for a chance at greater individual freedom.

    I for one can no longer continue to cluck my tongue at others who choose radically different modes of existence, and continue to be part of the problem, unable to comprehend what live and let live really looks like.

    When the best among you are no longer serfs made to serve, there’s a lot of people who soon hit bottom and revert back to animal status in fairly short order. Which is probably a blessing, when you think of it.

    Clovers made to provide for themselves become powerless to harm others, because they’re completely incompetent at providing for themselves.

    Worthless mooings by a clover about India

    What a complete lump of human garbage these clovers are. Disgusting, bloated bipedal vermin westerners are the worst. Insufferable. Useless. Throw them all in the woods and feed them fish heads.

    • The (non-KSA) Gulf states are pretty free, but it’s sort of counter-intuitive. There are strict laws for certain morality issues, but once you get used to that, everything else is wide open.

      Regulations on business and products are minimal to non-existent, and the standard of living ranges from middle-class Bangladesh or so, on up to gazillionaire.

    • Thanks for that link. Her condescending attitude toward her cab driver and the sex workers made me want to puke. She did not even try to talk with any of them or listen to what any of them had to say. Just by looking at them from inside her cab, she determined that everyone of “them” was “soulless” with “dead” eyes which, coincidentally, is exactly what she expected to see. I almost feel sorry for her. Your description of insufferable human garbage is right on.

  5. It’s time to start an automotive equivalent of the National Rifle Association with the clout to end the political careers of politicians who won’t reign in the morons who think their political connections endow them with the qualification to design cars.
    A new SUV for $4000. A cheap diesel runabout that gets 60 mpg. If they can have them in Europe or India, then Americans should be able to buy them too. There is no Senator, Congressman, Judge or President whose career I wouldn’t sacrifice to have that vehicle in my driveway.

    • “There is no Senator, Congressman, Judge or President whose career I wouldn’t sacrifice …” for any reason, or no reason at all other than that they are politicians.
      The NRA is a bunch of namby-pamby sellouts, always willing to accept ‘reasonable’ restrictions on gun ownership.
      After the latest school shooting, Gary North is saying, “If you are a Christian, buy a gun. If you don’t want to buy one, buy two!”

      • The NRA always has a group they’re willing to throw to the dogs(pols, etc.)to get something really important, like a bayonet lug. The helped write the Brady bill to keep a bayonet lug and a flash suppressor on an AR back in the 90’s.

        They have no problem with giving the state more power for property forfeiture. Too bad there’s not enough Glenn Beck’s to stick one up every NRA member’s ass.

        A mutual suck off society.

    • Dervish.

      At sub $5000, I would be interested to get more details about the Kwid. Even if it does not fit my needs, more inexpensive (transportation) options are better for all. Too bad something similar is not available in the states. (Thanks Uncle 🙁 )

      • I’d be tempted, too.

        I’m kinda-sorta in the market for a simple/cheap A to B unit – was thinking an old El Camino or maybe a Subaru Brat (if I can find one). But I’d definitely consider this thing… if it were available here.

        Damn them.

        • It kinda makes you wonder just how inexpensive vehicles could be, without all the regulatory bells and whistles.

          I am certain the market would be huge, but for that matter, imagine the demand for a brand new ’69 Charger. Except for regulations and maybe copyrights, they could be making them today.

    • …buy one in India, take it apart and send the pieces to the USA. Many states have provisions for “home built” vehicles. Reassemble it, register it as an “assembled” vehicle and enjoy…
      I registered a M-151 mlitary jeep as an “assembled vehicle” here in Michigan with no problems…no air bags or emission controls…

  6. The sheeple want safety, surveillance, and the social predictability of regimentation.

    Democracy doesn’t work in a place like the U.S.A.

  7. Our “friends” at Verizon only want you to be “safe and in control of your car”…they already have this device in place, and are interested in getting you to install it…they said it was free with a two year contract, and sharing my mobile data plan…

    So I can count on them not to share this information with the Alphabet Stew at the Federal level, or DMV/CARB in California? Doubtful, IMO. So here is the OBD-II retrofit to snitch already for sale…I somehow thought we had more time…No surprise to me that Delphi is the Manufacturer.


  8. Insane states like Cali will be all over this. They’d love to be able to shut down the car of anyone who has not complied with EVERY tyrannical state ordinance.

    But I don’t think too many other states are yet ready to submit to such atrocities.

    This may lead automakers to a conundrum.

    For manufacturing efficiencies, they used to make new cars “50 state compliant.” Thus all consumers were forced, indirectly to buy “Cali cars.”

    What if Cali cars finally become too repugnant to force down the throats of motorists in other states??

    Manufacturers will then have to build both “49 State” and “Cali” versions of new vehicles.

    Or they may simply decide it no longer is economically feasible to build both: and simply drop the Cali versions.

    Wouldn’t you love too see that happen? 😉

    • Compare the 1998 F150 extended cab to the 2012 F150 quad cab, both of which I own:

      Side impact steel reinforcement: 200lbs
      Airbag assembly, sensors, controllers, and bags: 120lbs
      “A” and “C” column reinforcements: 140lbs
      Roll protection frame weighting: 220 lbs
      Catalytic converter and emission sensors: 50lbs
      Engine cowl and airdam assembly: 60lbs
      Read doors (mandated by height regulation): 240lbs

      Total added weight: 1030lbs

      My 98 is about 1,200lbs lighter than my ’12, and they get about the same gas mileage.

      • Thanks Texas Chris. You must be a libertarian because you are a big fat liar. Air bags do not weigh 120 lbs. As for the rest of your list, your truck would not sell if when it rolled over everyone would be instantly killed. So you are saying in your old truck if someone hit you they would go right through the tin door? You are a joke.Clover

        • Troll Clover, Troll Clover…Send a thinker on over!

          Couldn’t help but snicker at your less than thoughtful attempts to argue with someone who has some facts, and some skill at expressing their opinion…

          Perhaps some time spent brushing up on your debating skills at might be in order…or people will mirror the vitrol of your ad hominum attacks back to you…

          Hope I am not speaking in a language that you are unable to comprehend! Reading instead of consuming facebook and TV helps with vocabulary…

          After breaking 3 common argument rules in 4 sentences, I’m shocked you didn’t violate Godwin’s law!

          PS… you can copy and paste any words you don’t understand into google…

          Happy I’m not stuck hearing from you daily:

        • Clover, the entire airbag system. That includes the multiple airbag modules, the wiring, the controller, the sensors, the trim for them, etc. Now in my older cars with only two airbags no, it’s not a 120lbs. But in these SUVs and minivans with 8 or ten of the things it could reach that.

          • I tell you what Brent you go and weigh the air bag systems of these vehicles. If they weigh 120 lbs or more I will eat my hat. Go for it. The larger air bags weigh 7 to 8 lbs. Wiring harnesses and a computer does not make up the difference. I know of no vehicles with 8 air bags. There may be one but who really cares about looking for the thing that rarely happens? If you have a large enough vehicle that takes that many air bags then I would think a hundred lbs would be insignificant for the vehicle. Clover

            They say my debating skills are poor. Well I do not have near the experience of telling lies that libertarians do. They are all liars.

            • Hey troll,

              Almost every new car has at least six air bags. Many have seven or eight. A few have ten or more. You really ought to look things up before you post.

              But then, it’s more fun to poke your pinata… so, please, continue!

            • ” If they weigh 120 lbs or more I will eat my hat.”
              Do they even make hats big enough to fit your fat head? If so, I doubt you could eat it in one sitting.

            • Clover of ignorance -” I know of no vehicles with 8 air bags.”

              Like an infant who thinks the world does not exist when he covers his eyes.

              You just can’t grasp that what you think does not constitute reality, can you?

                • Thanks Me2. So if this discussion is all about the government requiring air bags then thanks for the link that said the buyers were requiring them. Enough said. So do we have to make a special production line for libertarians with a sign on the vehicle “Hit me here because I have the right to die or cost 100s of thousands of dollars in hospital costs.”. Again there are very few cars with 8 or 10 air bags. If you need to hunt for one then you are an idiot.Clover

                  • Actually, Clover, virtually every new luxury car (such as the Lexus ES350 I’m driving this week) has at least 7-8 air bags. Driver, front seat passenger, driver’s knee, plus curtain and front and rear side impact air bags.

                    The average car has at least six.

                    You’re so uninformed it’s startling. Apparently, you’re not even able to do a quick Google search before posting your droolings.

                    These air bags aren’t just glued to existing architecture, either. The entire car is designed around the bags, including its underlying structure, mounting points and then the interior panels. When you add it all up – not just the air bags, but their associated wiring, sensors, the metal and plastic added to the car to accommodate them – it adds considerably to the car’s curb weight.

                    But an automotive ignoramus such as yourself doesn’t comprehend this. Your feelings are what matter.

                    And: When air bags were offered as optional equipment that people were free to buy or not – almost no one bought them.

                    If you’re so sure people would freely buy them, then – surely – you have no objection to getting rid of the mandate.

                    Right, Clover?

                    • eric, When you go to a manufacturers site, you’ll find them touting the “new and improved” version of what they make and the very things they list is more structural steel for side impact, roll-over and MORE AIRBAGS. Some of the SUV’s have 12 airbags, top mount on the side, door mounts, back of seat air bags for the next row, airbags galore, so much added weight up high that more airbags might be a good thing since they weigh so much more and can’t handle as well and have more weight to cause a vehicle to crush…..and crash. It’s the automotive equivalent to “occifer safety”, shoot first, then evaluate the situation.

                    • Yes Eric most people learn but you never will. Back in the days without seat belts I remember stories of a guy telling us that he could save his kids in a crash by just holding his arm out in front of them. Then there were the days when second hand smoke was just smoke before studies were done that showed where thousands of people were being killed by second hand smoke and a huge amount of loss of work days. Yes Eric people learn but libertarians never will. Since there are now options for extra air bags then people are paying for them. Tell us Eric what that says? Eric right now the government is not requiring 8 or 10 air bags. Tell me Eric why are so many manufactures putting them in and people are paying for them? I know, you never answer questions. It is all about your agenda whatever the hell that is. Again I have had no one explain why air bags in a car weigh 120 lbs. Sensors, wire and computer changes are minimal. Air bags do not weigh that much and you have a frame in all cars even 75 years ago. Eric with all of the education that we have that air bags save thousands of lives and billions in hospital costs a car manufacturer would have a hard time selling a car without air bags or any safety devices. They would go bankrupt. I know you would like that. Something more to write about.Clover

                    • Clover,

                      It’s interesting that you habitually dodge answering direct questions.

                      Example: I wrote previously asking whether you’d agree the air bag mandate is not necessary, given your claim that most people want them (and notwithstanding that when people were free to not buy them, most didn’t). Of course, you decline to answer this question – perhaps because you realize that if the mandate went away, so would the “market” for air bags.

                      Do you know why, Clover? Because – for one thing – an air bag-free car would cost thousands less than an air-bagged equivalent. Many people would prefer to save those thousands of dollars and assume the theoretical risk of not having them.

                      You also refuse to address the fundamental moral issue, which I’ve raised multiple (exhausting) times, in re such things as air bags and seat belts. Which is not whether they “save lives” but rather whether it’s your or any other person’s right to force them on other adults. That is to say, whether you have a right to parent other adults.

                      You seem to believe that you do. I find this idea obnoxious and tyrannical. And the funny thing is – so do you. At least, when someone with whom you disagree tries to parent you. What makes you a Clover, Clover, is your lack of any principles. You simply feel that “x” justifies parenting other adults – but “y” does not. You can’t abide live and let live. You believe others must live the way you think is appropriate… but never the other way around.

                      Finally: The add-on weight of air bags has been explained to you, in detail, by engineers and others who actually know something about vehicle design. You simply ignore what these experts tell you. Your feelings are all that matter.

                      If you were just slightly brighter, you’d realize how foolish your posts make you appear.

                    • Air bags and seat belts save relatively few lives; so would filling in every ditch on the side of every road, etc.

                      I would rather see more dead people and be governed less. Freedom is more important than tiny safety risks.

                    • Agreed, Ramrod –

                      The issue (as I’ve explained to Clover, or tried to) is not “safety.” It’s whether one adult has the moral right to weigh cost-benefit (and asserted risk) for another.

                      Clover feels that he does.

                      You and I feel differently.

                      Unfortunately, we are outnumbered by Clovers. Individually, they are cowards who would never dare to attempt to impose their notions on us themselves. But they vote to do so via proxies – cops and so on.

                      It’s despicable.

                      Such people are loathsome beyond words.

                    • Eric the fact is that air bag mandates are not needed any more. People are paying more for extra air bags and Eric, air bag systems do not cost thousands of dollars. Show us why they cost thousands Eric? You are unable to because it is a lie..Eric you are a flat out liar! Show us your proof Eric? You can not. Tell us Eric if air bags are not wanted then why are people paying for extra ones beyond the mandate? Eric car manufacturers do not want to make cars just for stupid libertarians or they would go bankrupt.Clover
                      Eric only a libertarian would buy a car that is a death trap with a crash rating of zero. Too bad more of those are not available because it would improve the gene pool getting rid of hundreds of libertarians.

                    • Clover,

                      Great! You agree the mandate should be repealed. I’m sure you also agree – since “safety” is so desirable – that the other mandates pertaining to “safety” also ought to be repealed. Right, Clover? People love “safety” so much they’ll happily line up to buy whatever “safety” feature comes next… right, Clover?

                      On the cost of air bags: An objective measure of their cost is replacement costs after an accident. If the driver and front seat passenger bags deploy, the cost to replace them is typically at least $1,500 and often much more. These are direct costs – and there is also the cost of increased insurance premiums (also mandated by Clovers such as yourself) that we’re all forced to pay.

                      Now consider that most new cars have at least six air bags. The default standard will soon be seven-eight. One must also take into account the costs associated with designing a car around these air bags. The cost of structure, mounting points, interior trim panels and so on.

                      A car with six or more air bags is a car that costs thousands more than a car without air bags.

                      Whether you think (whether you feel) that cars without air bags are “death traps” is immaterial. You have no right to deny other adults the free choice. It should be legal to build and offer for sale cars like those available in other countries without all the “safety” features you crave. You can buy your $30,000 “safety car.” Others would prefer to by a car like the $4,700 Fiat Kwid that’s available in India.

                      You see, Clover, the issue is not “safety.”

                      It is morality.

                      It’s not your right to take decisions away from other adults about their “safety” – or any other thing. Each of us has the right to decide such things for ourselves only.

                      The thing that separates us, Clover, is not a dispute over the merits of seat belts or air bags. It is whether you have the right to parent other adults, against their will.

                      You appear to believe that you do, because you feel yourself to be possessed of greater wisdom. The arrogance – and foolishness – of this attitude ought to be evident. None of us are omniscient, much less “know best.” That includes me.

                      I may disagree with you, disapprove of you (and you me) but I would never presume to force you to my way of thinking, because I know I have no right to do that. Because you are not my little pet doggie. You are a grown man who has every right to do what you want to do, so long as what you’re doing causes me no tangible harm. Hurt feelings, worry, anxiety… don’t count. Unless I’ve harmed you in some tangible way, you should be powerless to interfere with me – and I, you.

                      That’s the Libertarian idea, Clover.

                      It drives you nuts because you can’t stand the idea of leaving other people alone.

                    • Clover’s morality is that of the meddler, the utopia builder, the religious zealot, the person who thinks that morality is defined by his own ideas and preferences and anyone who doesn’t follow them isn’t moral. The sort of person who has to ‘save’ others.

                    • So Eric you say that replacement costs on a couple of air bags is around $1500. OK Eric if you are playing the what if game then without air bags and seat belts it can cost you hundreds of thousands if you have an accident and smash your face into the windshield. Tell me which bill would you rather pay?Clover

                      Eric if you use replacement costs to determine the price of things then a 20 thousand dollar car would go well over 80 grand if you used replacement parts. Eric you are a stupid liar with stupid being the fact that you do not know a thing about car manufacturing. Oh, you talked to a guy for a couple minutes so that means you are an expert? You do not have a clue what things cost in a car.
                      Eric since most if not all manufacturers exceed the government minimums then only a stupid person like you would complain about the minimums. Only a stupid person like you who would never buy a new car would complain about their options.

            • Clover, you think like a government bureaucrat. What you want is insignificant. What the other bureaucrat wants is insignificant. On and on and on. It all adds up. An airbag here, a bracket to mount it, wires to it, a computer to control it, a sensor to set it off, a sensor for the seat, a seat reinforcement so the seat doesn’t break when the air bag goes off, structure for the seat for the side airbag, specially layered fabric for the seat, a few oz here, a few lbs there…. it all adds up.

              • “What you want is insignificant.”
                It’s kind of like Sen. Dirksen used to say, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you talking real money.”

              • Again Brent until you come up to 120 lbs you are an idiot. So do you take your spare tire out to save 40 lbs or so?Clover

                • Actually, Clover, the manufacturers have removed the spare tire for just that reason – to reduce weight (in order to try to comply with the government’s fuel efficiency mandates and make up for the weight-adding “safety” mandates). Other than trucks and truck-based SUVs, which still have a standard (full-size) spare, most current passenger cars either have a “mini” spare that’s barely serviceable for limping to the nearest gas station or they have a run-flat/inflater system.

                  Poor ol’ Clover!

                • Clover, it’s clear you can’t read and keep who wrote what straight. Someone made the 120lb claim. You stated that 120lbs is unbelievable. I stated it is believable in some circumstances when one considers everything the air system requires. Dual airbags were an average of 26lbs in 2001:

                  A modern 8 bag system could make the 120lb weight everything included.

                  • Thanks Brent but what you failed to see was that the 26 lbs was for the entire airbag system. Not just the air bags. Again tell me how it is possible to come up with 120 lbs when a complete two airbag system is 26 lbs which includes your brackets and wiring and computer and the seat changes you say that are needed? Then the price of the two airbag system was $396.72. That is far from Eric’s cost of thousands for airbags in a car. Thanks for the facts Brent. It only backs me up even more. Costs also go down with mass production with millions of vehicles and even weight it decreased with newer technology.Clover

                    Again Brent a car with 10 airbags far exceeds any government mandated minimums. Isn’t it the government mandates that you are all complaining about?

                    • Well, Clover, you stepped in it again.

                      Let’s use your own numbers and statements:

                      You claim that “a complete two airbag system is 26 lbs…”

                      Ok. Virtually every new car has at least six air bags.

                      Many have eight or more – but let’s stick with six.

                      That’s 80 pounds of air bags, Clover.

                      And your number does not include all the interior trim nor the fact that the dashboard must be designed around the air bag and that the dashboards in modern cars are thus physically larger and heavier than they were in the pre air bag-era. Side-impact and curtain bags are typically housed in the “A” and “B” pillars, which are necessarily thicker and heavier than they used to be.

                      Und so weiter…

                      Perhaps you can explain why Renault can build and sell a car like the Kwid – with AC, with power windows and most of the modern amenities – and offer it for sale for less than $5,000?

                      What is it about that car, Clover, that makes it so inexpensive?

                      It has a modern, computer-controlled and fuel-injected engine.

                      It has a modern overdrive transmission.

                      It has AC, power windows and even an LCD flatscreen infotainment system.

                      But it hasn’t got six air bags.

                      Nor does it meet current federal “safety” mandates.

                      What gives you the right to deny people the opportunity to buy a car like the Kwid, Clover?

                    • Clover, you illiterate slut. I wrote very clearly. The dual airbag system of 2001 is 26 lbs. Yes Clover, only two airbags are required by law. However today’s systems have four times the airbags because the crash tests can’t be passed with two airbags and 2001 car construction. 2001 cars do not pass 2015 regulations.

                      To pass 2015 regulations more airbags were added. Airbags weigh less than the structure required to achieve passing grades on crash tests. So automakers use airbags. Structure is probably cheaper but it hurts fuel economy with weight and there is CAFE regulation.

                      The automakers can choose whatever way to pass the crash standards they want. If they could develop Star Trek shields that would be fine. They are simply constrained by CAFE so if the shield generator weighed more than airbags odds are airbags would go in. The way the tests are set up airbags are the most economical lightest weight way of achieving a passing grade today.

                    • “If they could develop Star Trek shields that would be fine. ”
                      While we’re at it, how about a Klingon cloaking device. That would be better than a radar detector.

                    • You can buy it Eric. Go ahead. I would like to see you driving a 53 hp car. I see the engine is all aluminum and plastic. Even plastic oil pan. Yes Eric it is built cheap. Go for it. By the way the car is built to be able to be sold in most all countries. Air bags can be added without any other changes to the car. If you want it then you can probably buy it soon. Oh, you never buy a new car do you!Clover

                    • I can’t buy it, Clover – that’s just the point.

                      Because of Clovers like you.

                      The car is as quick as a Prius, 0-60. And faster on top. It’s plenty speedy for me – for an A to B transportation unit.

                      And, PS: Almost all new car engines (in cars sold here) are made of – wait for it – aluminum. And have plastic intake manifolds and other such parts.

                      Poor ol’ Clover!

                      Do you ever feel embarrassed?

                    • Clovɘr,

                      You can buy it Eric. Go ahead. I would like to see you driving a 53 hp car. I see the engine is all aluminum and plastic.

                      Ever hear of the Citroen 2CV?

                      Less than 30 HP and very little if any plastic and/or aluminum. Fun little car to drive around while I was in Europe.

                    • Actually you can buy it Eric. You just can’t import it into the US. Something to keep in mind if you decide you need to ‘bug out’ when SHTF.

                    • Clover, It’s as if you haven’t paid attention to things in 35 years. Many if not most engines in modern cars are aluminum block and heads. If we go with at least aluminum heads that’s probably all of them. I would be shocked if any major make has a gasoline powered passenger car engine with cast iron heads these days. Intake manifolds went to PA6 in the 1990s. Oil pans have been following along lately.

                    • “It’s as if you haven’t been paying attention”
                      What, Clover pay attention. You’ve got to be kidding.

                    • Eric it is not possible to talk to a guy like you that pulls your so called facts out of your ass.

                      I did have to laugh at Brent. He said they use a lot of air bags because they are cheap and light. Really Brent. That is what I said. Thanks again for backing me up. According to Eric they add a lot of weight and structural support for air bags. You two should get your stories straight. Again Eric is wrong. Clover

                      Eric you complain so much about a pound or two for gas savings. Eric “each 100 pounds in the trunk will reduce your fuel economy by one to two percent as quoted from testing.” Another quote ” for every 10 miles per hour you floor it, you lose as much as 15% in fuel economy. ” Those numbers are pretty close from my experience. A few lbs just does not matter that much but the vehicle speed does. Air bags just do not make much difference in gas mileage. It would not be enough to even notice the difference. Again Eric, air bags systems do not weigh 100 lbs or 120 lbs.
                      To sum it up if you were so damn worried about gas mileage you would not pass so often and you would slow down. That really does not sound like you at all.

                    • Clover, you must act this stupid on purpose to troll. You would be too stupid to breath otherwise.

                      What I wrote is that airbags are _lighter_ than the alternative to pass the tests.

            • No….I suggested that you seem incapable of stringing together logical thoughts in writing, to form an argument likely to persuade some one else. I can only infer from that your verbal and reading comprehension skills are similar.

              An Ad Hominiem attack is one where you attack your opponent’s character, in an “attempt” (an a feeble one at that) to undermine their arguement… PS-Such as calling all libertarians liars.

              See…maybe you learned something today about how to be more convincing…perhaps that might help you be more successful in life, as opposed to ignorantly trolling a motor enthusiast site as a masochistic form of verbal flagulation.

              See…that’s a much more interesting ad hominem attack!

              You’re welcome.

        • Clover The Troll,

          Actually, Ford (and GM and Chrysler) had no difficulty selling trucks in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, before your beloved government decreed weight-adding structural reinforcements to comply with roof crush standards that are a functional irrelevance for most people – because most people don’t roll their vehicles.

          Why not leave people free to choose either the everyday/real-world advantages of a lighter vehicle (including better gas mileage) or the theoretical advantage of roof crush resistance they may never need, but at the cost of a more expensive and heavier vehicle that uses more fuel?

          Oh. That’s right, I remember. You’re opposed to leaving other adults free to make choices for themselves. You believe you’ve been anointed to impose your choices on them at gunpoint.

          • BTW, years back, I rolled my early 1980s Ford diesel 4×4 truck down an embankment, flipped into the air and landed on the roof at the bottom. Cab was dented but reasonably the same shape as before rolling and did not intrude on the passenger area at all. No airbags, was not wearing a seat belt because I was hunting. Couple of bruises, some scratches and a wrecked rifle but me and my hunting partner walked away.

            Cab seemed more than strong enough. What are the new rollover standards trying to achieve? Comet strike survival?

            • Yes ME2 you might not have been harmed but 10s of thousands of people were killed just because they lacked seat belt use and air bags. How about you going and tell the families of the dead person who did not use them that you survived. Their family members should have also. Dah. Clover

              Eric you have the right to drive your classic car and motorcycle without any safety equipment. Go for it. Tell us Eric since we now have crash testing on vehicles, tell me who would prefer to spend thousands more for a vehicle with safety equipment removed to save a half a mpg? Does the auto company need to spend millions of dollars for a special production line that produces a vehicle with a crash rating of zero when most people want a crash rating of 5? Tell us Eric how much your special production line is going to cost? Are you willing to spend the extra money? Eric you would not buy a new vehicle anyway. Why even debate it that you want a special production line when it would never be used?

              • Being bereft the gift of comprehension, you seem to have missed that the point was not airbags or seat belts but the structural strength of the cab which survived an extreme stress long before today’s roll over standards.

              • OK Clover. Let’s play your game.

                “10s of thousands of people were killed just because they lacked seat belt use and air bags”

                Name two.

                • Good stuff, Mark!

                  Notice also (as I’m sure you have) Clover’s cloying presumption. His urge to parent other adults. Hey, asshole (that’s you, Clover)…I’m a grown man. I can decide for myself whether the “risk” of driving a vehicle without air bags is acceptable, vis-a-vis the cost of the bags, etc.

                  Moreover, it’s my right as a man to decide for myself. No other man has the right to decide for me, against my will.

                  In a man to man situation, most of us would simply punch the son of bitch in the face if he tried to parent us. So, of course, Clover runs to his momma – the government – and gets her to do the wet work.

                  This one of the reasons (of many) why Clovers are so despicable. They’re cowards and bullies.

                  I wish I could shrink them all down to the size of ants and spray the whole got-damn colony with carb cleaner.

                  • I had friends who rolled a car back (over 7 times) in the 1990’s. The only injuries from that wreck? The ones the AIRBAGS caused.

                    • Some here may recall when Popular Mechanics magazine tested the Renault R-8 “Gordini” in 1965. (This was a variant of the standard R-8 with a quite a bit more power.)

                      They managed to roll the car during testing. No injuries beyond a few scrapes, and this was in a very lightweight and inexpensive car that had virtually no mandated safety features.

                      As usual, Clover knows not his ass from a hole in the ground.

                    • Yup.

                      Not only does Clover refuse to acknowledge that air bags have harmed (and killed) people, he also presumes to make the cost-benefit analysis for other adults. To parent them – at gunpoint.

                      America has become – is becoming – a profoundly un-American place because of Clovers. Busybody authoritarian collectivists, who feel themselves entitled to dictate to others how to live.

                      As I’ve mentioned before, the most aggravating thing – for me – about Clovers is their cowardice. They are cockroaches in human form who scurry from the light.

                      Our Clover, for instance, would never dare to approach me himself and try to force me to “buckle up” for “safety.” Because he knows that if he tried that, I’d knock a few of his teefs out. So instead, the little bitch votes to make me (and others) buckle up. And “help” fund whatever he deems worth funding. He feels safe this way.

                      Some day, I hope, he will no longer feel safe.

                    • My cousin rolled his ’88 model super cab Ford pickup, a great big long bed, 4WD diesel full of tools, farm implement parts, 100 gallon diesel nurse tank so it was heavy, really heavy. He never wore a seat belt so it killed him…….well, it tried when the truck landed on a huge tree stump upside down. He ended up in the ext. cab portion with the tree stump through the roof and smashed the driver’s seat into a pancake. He walked away.

      • 3 weeks back or so I saw a new 3/4 T crewcab 4WD toy in front of the liquor store with the owner and wife fussing about something. It had this tiny trailer on back for purposes I can only imagine a riding lawn mower or such. I stopped on the way to the rig and asked if the man if that was his. He pointed to his wife and then to his GMC one ton Duramax 4WD a 100 feet away and just smiled. Pretty pickup said I and continued on(it’s an SS model). A couple days ago I stopped by again(hey, I stop every 2-3 days when my beer is gone… make something of it)and there’s a Ford 3/4 T 4WD ext. cab sitting there. He owned up they’d spent a day the week before going to Ft. Worth and Richey Bros. auction to buy it for his hand who wrecked his pickup. I gave him my lamentations and he grinned and said Well, some might be gas hogs(like the one our company bought….and sold)but it gets better mileage with it’s 5.4 engine than that new Toy. But then it probably doesn’t weigh anywhere near what the Toy, with it’s skinny axle housings(so where is all that weight?). Not much I could say since I won’t be buying either but am considering buying his GMC. Different strokes for different folks.

  9. Another reason to keep driving the classics rather than going into debt for a computerized Orwellian surveillance device. As far as I’m concerned they can keep ’em.

    Of course the mass of Clovers will meekly accept, even clamor for, this invasive technology as they do with smart phones (surveillance and tracking devices) and smart TVs that watch you and listen to you. The old cold-war era joke that “In Soviet Union, TV watches YOU!” is not so funny any more.

    • Except your classic will be outlawed as unsafe, dirty, not compatible with pollution monitoring….. take your pick.

      You will still be allowed to own it, but only legally use it if you trailer it to the track behind a ‘computerized Orwellian surveillance device’. Count on it.

      • Exactly right, Me2… anyone who doesn’t see that coming is naive or a fool or both.

        It will be so easy, too.

        A car without (gasp!) air bags? A car that pollutes?

        Enjoy ’em while you can.

        It won’t be long.

        • Red Barchetta!

          At what point will driving an old car be a crime? Our own ‘motor law’?

          When we’re the white haired uncle?

          I reckon so.

      • I’m sure that will come at some point, but at my age it is very unlikely I’ll still be driving (possibly not even breathing) by the time that all non-OBD-III cars are ordered off the road. You younger guys out there are unfortunately going to have to deal with that.

        • See above….the technology already available…only the legislation mandating its installation into. OBD-II since Jan 1, 1996, with partial compliant cars manufactured in 1994… CAN protocol since 2008.

          If this can be implemented adminstratively, instead of requiring legislation, then it is indeed already over…

          • Anything that is “required” to be added onto existing vehicles can potentially be spoofed such that it always reports that it is in compliance. It’s not hard to imagine a small computer that would provide compliant output along with your vehicle’s VIN or whatever else they wanted to see to sit between their device and your car. However, historically up to this point there has been no push to force new standards onto older vehicles, so we’ll have to see. (I suspect if that happens it will be the insurance companies that force it in order to monitor driving habits. As we know some are already doing that.)

            It will be much more difficult, maybe impossible, to deal with systems that are actually built into the vehicle rather than added on after the fact. If they actually force all the old cars off the road and push people into vehicles with remote monitoring and control then it is game over. Their pattern though has been encroachment by incrementalism rather than sudden shock – the old frog in the pot of boiling water scenario. Turn the heat up too fast and the frog jumps out mad as hell!

            On the other hand, if the federal mafia mandates tyrannical, Orwellian standards for new cars starting today all they need to do is sit back and wait 15-20 years. At that point the vast majority of cars will be under their control and it will be much easier to mop up the remainder without tipping off the frogs as to what is happening.

            • I’m cautiously optimistic about your assertion. I’m on a quest for a fun to drive SUV style vehicle. Trailblazer SS comes to mind, or Touareg TDI v10…

        • See above….the technology already available…only the legislation mandating its installation is not in place. OBD-II since Jan 1, 1996, with partial compliant cars manufactured in 1994… CAN protocol since 2008.

          If this can be implemented adminstratively, instead of requiring legislation, then it is indeed already over…

          • Well, we’ll all be driving our flying cars soon. Seems like it was only 1958 when I saw my first “artist rendering” of one in Mechanix Illustrated. Soon to be released……..

            • Thing is, one of the real concerns has been allowing the drivers of today to control a vehicle which could fall out of the sky due to malfunction, error, driver health problem, etc.

              The mechanics have been around for some time, and there are commercial ventures producing flying cars; the cost is prohibitive, though.
              But since it’s beyond gov’t control, and they have no means of enforcing their diktats…. They’ve kept the vehicles mostly grounded.

              And given Clover, that’s likely good.

              • Speaking of clover.

                I’d like to hear him pull the facts out of his bleeding whatever and walk us thru going skiing.

                I been on the slopes as part of company event, but I would pretend to know a thing about it.

                At a minimum, I’d at least wikipedia the subject, so I could see what internet uber factoid geeks like myself have to say about the subject.

                What do you say clover. Last time I skied I was already well drunk from the free booze already, tore a gaping hole in my pants, and spent most of time in the chalet hospitality complex.

                Yes I know, it’s an SUI offense of course.

                But beyond that, what gear do recommend, on what kind of slopes.

                What inside baseball facts about skiing are you able to demonstrate, or pull out of your hivemind or whatever you use to simulate thoughts and convince your hooves to type approximated human english.

                • Tor,

                  Clover might even tell us:
                  –places he has skied
                  –where he would recommend one to go skiing depending on their ability
                  –where is a good place to find long groomers.
                  –difference between different types of skis.
                  –Why he chose the gear he uses.


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