The Bad News About Good Hybrids

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I’m more than a little bit concerned the latest generation of plug-in hybrids (and all-electric cars) might actually work out. Because if they do, you can bet your bippie the government won’t let them get away with it.


Internet commerce provides an ominous parallel. People were free to conduct business without tithing to the state. So-called e-commerce blossomed – the two obvious examples being Amazon and eBay. This could not be tolerated, of course – and the state is on the verge of passing new legislation that will force online retailers to collect taxes (see here) and even force users to file 1099s (in the case of eBay; see here) just like any “storefront” business, but without even the greasy pretext used to shakedown the “storefront” business – i.e., the fact that a physical business can be said to use the “resources” of the state/municipality and thus must compelled to “contribute” its “fair share” to the state/municipality.

Now, they just want the fucking money.

Or else.

And more than just the money, actually. They want to know what you bought – and sold – and to whom.

They want control. Absolute, total control. Of everything.

The state ruined Paypal – which originally provided a way for people to transact business anonymously and without cutting in Uncle Sam (a major “crime” in the USSA) and will soon ruin Amazon, eBay and countless other online retailers. The Net is about to be locked down as tight as anything else under government’s thumb. It was permitted to be free until it became too successful. And that is exactly what’s going to happen to the cars that are supposed to free us from $4 a gallon fill-ups. As soon as they can actually do that – and as soon as there are enough of them in people’s driveways – the boom will be lowered.

I suspect we’ll end up paying even more to drive – that is, whenever we’re allowed to drive.

I just got through reviewing the 2013 Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid. (See here for that.) Unlike all previous Priuii this one can realistically operate entirely on electricity. Fully charged, it has a range of about 14 miles or so so – enough to make it to the office for many people. If they can plug the car in at work, they might be able to make it back on electricity, too.

And that’s the rub.

Do you suppose the same government that will soon force eBay users to file 1099s and which is going to apply taxes to all formerly “tax-free” online purchases will stand back and do nothing as hundreds of thousands – then millions – of people buy a car that uses no or very little gas – and so pay no or very little gas taxes? Do you suppose it is possible the government will make electricity more expensive? Perhaps even limit access to it?

Right now, it costs very little – almost nothing – to charge up a plug-in hybrid like the Prius. The DOE says  the Prius needs about about  3.2 kilowatt-hours of  juice to travel 25 miles – which works out to about 75 cents’ worth of electricity (see here for more stats.) Put another way, the cost per mile is about 2-4 cents on electricity – as opposed to about eight cents per gallon for a vehicle burning $4 gas that gets 30 MPG.

Keep in mind that each gallon of gas includes roughly 60-75 cents of tax (federal, state,local). While electricity is also taxed, it is taxed far less. Right now, anyhow. How long do you suppose that’s going to last? What will the government do when a third of the vehicles out there burn no – or very little – gas? And their owners pay very little in the way of taxes? Will it stand idly by as revenue is diverted from its pockets back into the pockets of those who earned it (and who are trying to save it)?

Expect electricity to be heavily taxed in the near future. It will be sold as necessary for “conservation” and “the environment” – since so much of the electrical generating capacity of this country is based on coal and oil-fired utility plants. Instead of being the playthings of OPEC, our controllers will be much closer to home.

In our homes, in fact.

You may have heard about “smart meters.” These are being installed in homes all over the country – often, against the wishes of the homeowner. One guess why people might object…


Here’s why: Smart meters make it possible for the power company to closely monitor your home’s electrical usage in real time – and gives the power company the ability to “adjust” how much power you may use at any given time. In New York – fief of Gauleiter Bloomberg – the power company can (and already does) turn down people’s home AC units while they’re away – in the name of “energy conservation.” The homeowner can – for the moment – over-ride the power company and turn the AC unit back up to whatever level he likes. But this “demonstration project” should give any thinking person the creeps. (Read up on smart meters here.)

Back to hybrids and electric cars. Imagine five or so years down the road. Millions of these cars are in circulation. They are drawing a considerable amount of power from the grid (or at least, that’s what we’ll be told).   The grid – already on the verge of blowing a fuse in 2012 – can’t handle the additional load.  Brown-outs (real or contrived) become routine. Go to the head of the class if you see where this is headed. Yup – restrictions on the use of electricity. In particular, its use for private transportation purposes.

Now here’s where it gets really clever.

Not only will Smart Meters allow the PTB to limit how much juice you’re allowed to download – into your home as well as into your hybrid/electric vehicle. Your vehicle – which will be equipped with a GPS transponder (as almost all new cars are already equipped with) can – and will be – turned on and off remotely, by the same PTB. Those of a certain vintage will recall the days when gas was rationed.

In the future, private transportation itself will be rationed.

You will be permitted to “fuel up” – and drive – only when (and where) your controllers say you may. And unlike the old days, there will be no end-running around this control grid.

High ethanol-content fuels such as E85 and E15 will eliminate most older vehicles – forcing people to buy a new vehicle, equipped with all the technology needed to keep track of them and control them. (Cars without this technology will be deemed “unsafe” – and either outlawed outright or required to be retrofitted with the required technology).

It’s all coming – and soon.

The moment hybrids and electrics actually work – that’s the moment when the hammer will come down.

Expect it.

Depend upon it.

Throw it in the Woods?

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  1. Eric,

    Though you wrote this a few years ago, I wanted to comment on the smart meters. Though I haven’t had a problem with mine; though my bill has actually gone DOWN since its installation; I do have a problem with HOW the electric company installed it, because they were sneaky and underhanded about how they did it.

    I live in a small row home, and the electric meter is out back. Because I have neighbors on either side of me, the meter isn’t accessible from the street; the meter reader needed me to BE here in order to give him access to the meter. Because of life, I’d sometimes go 4 months without a reading and the electric company would give me estimated bills in the interim (between readings).

    I was home one morning when someone from the electric company knocked on my door and asked me to let him read the meter. I told him to go downstairs, and I’d let him in through the garage. After I let him in, I went upstairs to do other things. After a period of time passed, it seemed like the reading was taking longer than usual, so I went out to the back to see what was up.

    When I got out back, I saw the box open and the meter REMOVED. I asked the guy what he was doing; he said he was changing my meter and installing a new one, which he showed me. It had the digital readout vs. the analog readout electric meters had always had. I asked him if it was a smart meter; he said yes. A couple of minutes later, he finished, I walked him out through the garage, and then lowered the door.

    It was AFTER this episode was over that I was upset. Why tell me you’re going to read my meter when that’s NOT what you came to do? Why be so SNEAKY about installing a smart meter? Is it because there’s fairly widespread opposition to the things? The whole episode rubbed me the wrong way, because I might not have consented to the installation of the smart meter. Keep in mind I’ve had no problems many have reported with the smart meter; I’ve had no problems and my bills have gone DOWN. What I object to was the UNDERHANDED manner in which it was installed-under false pretenses.

    Oh, and there’s something else to keep in mind: where I live, these things will be MANDATORY, per state law, by 2022 or 2023! When was this ever brought up for public discussion? I remember hearing about smart meters in 2010 or so at Tea Party meetings I attended back then, but I never heard much after that; I thought that they’d been beaten back in my locale and therefore not something to worry about. I don’t remember the local news even MENTIONING smart meters, let alone telling us what our state gov’t was planning! And gov’t workers wonder why we’re SUSPICIOUS of them and their intentions…

  2. Before that happens, I expect them to institute a mileage tax: Every time you put gas in your car, you will have to pay an additional tax based upon the miles you drove since the last time you put gas in your car. There will be a requirement (for SAFETY reasons) that you have a GPS device embedded in your car’s circuitry, and that you have some pre-paid account tied to it, where your account will be debited every time you add gas to your car. The electricity disaster will happen soon after.


    • Doah – you used the word VOTE on this forum – prepare for incoming verbal fire…as I have previously found out that seems to be a dirty word around here…

      • It’s the result of cynicism – a cynicism based on experience; on an awareness of the facts of the political situation in this country.

        At the national level, it is of no importance – in terms of liberty – whether a socialist or fascist (that is, a Democrat or a Republican) wins.

        There may be some minor, temporary reprieve from authoritarianism accessible via the vote at the local level.

        But the larger point – that our liberties are on the table and subject to being voted on is the the underlying problem – and the best reason I know for not being complicit in your own defenestration.

        • I still haven’t decided if I am going to sit it out or not…I do know that I won’t be voting for BS BARACK or MITT THE TWIT…maybe a write-in as a protest…BIG BIRD maybe….?

  4. This thought comes to mind:

    Riding Into The Sunset Or A Brick Wall?

    “… So it’s not QE-Infinity, it’s QE until the Fed either recognizes the brick wall and slams on the brakes, or doesn’t and crashes into it.” …

    The best laid plans of mice and men get a change-up then and these scary-assed centralized plans will just disappear like the old USSR.

    Sooner rather than later. … Until then, I suppose the beatings will continue until moral improves?

  5. “Back to hybrids and electric cars. Imagine five or so years down the road. Millions of these cars are in circulation. They are drawing a considerable amount of power from the grid (or at least, that’s what we’ll be told). The grid – already on the verge of blowing a fuse in 2012 – can’t handle the additional load.”

    This is true. The national power grid, like most of America’s infrastructure, is poorly maintained… on the verge of obsolescence…..and collapse. Electric cars will just accelerate the process.

    So when the grid “does” crash, those drivers will have at best, 15 or so miles of mobility. (it is very easy to predict that most electric cars won’t have politically incorrect back up gas engines like this Prius.) Then, if I may use a less than precise, but oh so apt metaphor…..they will be Dead In The Water.

    • To amend what I said above….I guess some electric cars may be good for more than the Prius’ 14-15 electric miles.

      So let’s say they may have up to what…..50 miles or so of mobility?

      “Then,” they’re Dead In The Water.

      • Probably your best backup option if/when things come to this would be to buy a pack or 2 of those solar panels from harbor freight and carry them with you. Then you can at least keep re-charging and stay somewhat mobile, albeit that would be a very inconvenient way to go given the charge times. There would also be the issue of having to bypass part of the charging system that converts the ac current and steps it down to complete the dc charging process otherwise you’d need an inverter to plug right into the existing charge port. I’d have to look further into the best way to accomplish this because I honestly haven’t even given these electric cars much consideration.

        Also, in an EOTW type situation do you want to be stranded somewhere having to wait 2 hrs to charge your car so you can drive for maybe 20-30 mins before having to repeat the process? I don’t care how much firepower you’re packing, you’re a sitting target and likely to have an entire gang of thugs to contend with if/when that happens.

        I’d likely go the Amish route if and get me a horse and buggy if this type of event was to unfold in my lifetime. I’ve seen them all over central Kentucky with these horse and buggy setups and they seem to get around just fine. At least you’d be able to remain moving so you’re not a sitting target. And if need be, you can always unhook the horse and make an even faster getaway if the situation comes to a roadblock.

        • Shhhhh – next thing you know the govmint will require a GPS on the horse…and start taxing hay at the same rates they do gas and electric…

  6. Sure, the DOE “says” that the Prius needs about about 3.2 kilowatt-hours of juice to travel 25 miles – which works out to about 75 cents’ worth of electricity…but given the gov’t propensity to cook numbers on just about any statistic they deem fit, how much faith can you really put into that statement. Unless you personally tested the charge time/consumption rate using an older mechanical meter(not one of those new smart ones) with absolutely nothing other than the prius hooked up to it, I have little to no faith in that number stated by the DOE. I mean it’s not like they would resort to cooking the numbers in a desperate attempt to boost sales of the volt or one of their other tax-payer subsidized companies involved in this green technology …now would they?

      • Most of the Clover majority are too lazy and/or stupid to verify the figures for themselves. OTOH, and to be completely fair, even if they were motivated to do so, it wouldn’t be practical. The complexities of creating a sound, reliable testing environment using the right tools, formulae, and calculation factors would make it a Herculean task even for experts, never mind laypeople with limited time and resources.

    • It’s a fair point, Turd –

      I’d like very much to personally verify the cost to drive on electricity, but as you point out, this is all-but-impossible to do at the moment unless you have access to specialized equipment. In my case, even if I did shut off every other power draw, it’d be hard to separate out what the Prius used because of the way the bill cycles. I’d have to have everything off just before a new cycle started, then use the Prius, then not use anything else for the remainder of the billing cycle. Just not doable, unfortunately.

    • Turd, why would the majority owner of a company deliberately skew statistics concerning the value of the product they sell? It defies logic. Where’s the motive, method and opportunity?

      I just don’t get it.

  7. Not that the totalitarian fuckers will get “innovative” about reducing spending and actually WORK at being creative in devising better and more efficient means of transportation. Their whole raison-d-etre is to “Get mine now and screw you buddy”. They’re collection agents, arm-twisters, for leviathan. This so-called “system” deserves to DIE!

  8. I have no reference for this at this time, but I have read that something similar has already happened to owners of vehicles using alternative fuels like cooking oil. The “gas tax” is actually a “road tax”. Tacking it onto sales of gas was just a convenient way to collect it. Owners of vehicles using alternative fuels have gotten dinged by the government for dodging this tax. I can’t believe that electric cars will escape this tax for long.

    • Absolutely.

      There was a guy in my area who became the object of a federal raid for the “crime” of brewing biodiesel for himself and some friends. He sold it without collecting taxes. They crucified him for this.

      The same will happen to those who “dodge” utility taxes by erecting off-the-grid arrays or water/wind-powered generators.

      • Now if you were to produce it for yourself, like micro-brewing, I can’t see where they have a say in anything. His mistake was in letting others in on the deal. But, then again, you happen to live in the heart of Mordor.

        • Well, according to a little Supreme Court decision called Wickard v. Filburn, it doesn’t matter if you are only producing it for yourself. IN that decision, a farmer who was growing wheat for his family was ordered to destroy his crop and pay a fine, because he was growing more than the Feds allowed at the time – even though he wasn’t selling the wheat. See, since he was growing more than allowed, that meant he didn’t have to BUY the extra wheat he needed to feed his family, and that impacted Interstate Commerce (or so they said). So trust me, they would find a way to outlaw producing your own electricity…

        • [Eric’s neighbor’s] mistake was in letting others in on the deal.

          Yep. Eric, correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect that your neighbor was less than circumspect and discreet in his advertising of his product and that’s what got him nailed. THAT is what ALWAYS gets “underground” entrepreneurs in trouble: advertising in a very public manner, at “radar level.” They key to any successful underground enterprise is knowing to whom and how to make your product known in order to avoid the State’s claws. (One can sympathize with bootleggers of yesteryear and drug dealers of today).

          • I didn’t know the guy personally; just heard and read about what happened. He wasn’t advertising, apparently – but he was selling home-brew to about a dozen people and apparently someone talked too much….

    • The Illinois Department of Revenue goes after home fuelers. Demands they put up the bonds and get the licenses for a refinery operation which are a few tens of thousands of dollars. Something like thirty grand. Oh and then the taxes and penalties of course.

      Do anything odd long enough in great enough volume and the jackboots arrive. Of course all the conforming people think it doesn’t happen or if they do know it happens they think it should happen far too often or is so rare not to be worth mentioning. It’s only rare because people that kooky are rare. If scaled to the kooky population I’d figure the enforcement rate is extremely high compared with ‘crimes’ of the general population.

      • I’d watch using the word “kooky” to describe intelligent people who come up with creative solutions to economic problems. Just a suggestion. If you do it long enough you’re very likely to piss of intelligent people who come up with intelligent solutions to complex problems. That might be very, very bad for you.

  9. I understand the concern but the fact remains that these cars will still use PUBLIC ROADS, which will still require PUBLIC MAINTENANCE as well as EXPANSION OF THE FEDERAL INTERSTATE SYSTEM.

    I’m sure by now there is a better way to collect the need taxes, but these expenses will not disappear!!! If they do, just remember “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR WICH WILL MEAN HIGHER FOR ALL WITH A FAILING TRANSPORTATION NETWORK!!!

    • Given that anything smaller than a box truck subsidizes everything the size of a box truck and bigger the system is hardly fair now.

      Passenger car use should have very light charges because of the cost in the design/construction of the road system to deal with the loads and wear of heavy trucks. Yes trucking would have to pass those costs on to their customers which is fairer than passing them on to everyday motorists getting from A to B.

      • Regardless of H20 load design factors and allocation of costs to various vehicles – the end result is the consumer gets screwed – so bend over and group your ankles…

        • If we had free market roads there is a better chance that trucking would be charged appropriately. This would then encourage those with stuff to ship to look towards more efficient means.

          The end user would save under a free market system. There’s always a reason to lower the cost to ship goods from A to B that one pays, but never a reason to lower the costs someone else pays. With passenger car owners paying the bill trucking has every reason to destroy roads to improve their bottom line.

          • Roads run as a business by people providing a service.

            For instance a roadside eatery won’t lose money on truckers and make it up on car drivers. I wouldn’t expect a road business to do so either.

            However a political road system, a government road system, is not motivated by profit and cost. They are motivated by social climbing, by politics. Thus a government road system is losing money on every truck that uses it because the trucking companies play the political game. Individual motorists operating private passenger cars largely do not.

            Not too many people would spend millions on a road and then not charge trucking companies for all the wear and tear they cause to it.

  10. Being ‘smart’ meters they can and will be hacked. So how are they going to control that?

    With the cost of solar panels going down a lot of people won’t need the grid to charge their cars. You can buy solar panels in major box stores now that are used for charging car batteries.

    • control hacking? The usual, something that gives them more power over us. Or they just won’ care, that will be our problem to secure their insecure device.

      They will use code enforcement to make people connect to the grid. So far it has been a technique to force people off their property, but it will work equally as well against those who disconnect.

      Solar is like wind. It’s only there to justify limiting energy usage. When it starts to work and is economical there will be all sorts of new environmental reasons why it can’t be used.

  11. Smart meters can tell what is running in a home via back EMF and load. They can then report this back to the mothership. Smart meters are also equipped with a yet unused communication feature which will allow them to communicate with appliances set up to talk with the smart meter. That means when the mothership commands your new coffee maker not to turn on, it won’t.

    The government is already getting prepared to tax by the mile. Pilot programs have been running for years now. At like most things it will be media telling the people to demand that electric and hybrid car owners pay their fair share and government will their power increasing solution waiting. It will be as quick as body scanners after the passportless underpants guy was able to play with matches on plane to Detroit.

    I see a soviet system building where roads are only for good party members. But like Eric says they need to do something about old cars. Cash for Clunkers got rid of a lot of them. How will they deal with the rest? Fuel is one way but it will be the tax by mile system and safety that really do it. E15+ will only reduce numbers to accelerate people who would have gone along eventually anyway. Those who won’t go along will simply adapt. The taxing systems and the conditioned desire for safety and the environment will be leveraged to simply destroy the old cars or force them into hiding. It’s been tried before. It will be tried again when the time is right.

    The catch is that electric cars could be taxed for road usage in a simple manner. A separate or dual-head electric meter for the chargers. For practical charging 120V 15A won’t do. It has to be 240V and some higher current to be viable. So just measure that. Or use a not so smart meter that can just identify the car charger and just records its use. Or put a meter on the car that just records energy input. There’s lots of ways to do it that don’t tattle about a person’s travels. But that is unlikely when there is an opportunity to increase power.

  12. They’ll just raise gasoline taxes to make up the difference in the short run. But long term they’ll just use the old tried-and-true method of getting revenue when the source dries up: They’ll just borrow more cash into existence.

    Now, your insurance company, OTOH, will be VERY interested in getting that GPS data…

    • This reminds me of just what happened recently in my former West Texas town. Seems that after years of drought the City “Elders”, aka ‘Crooked Knuckleheads’, decided that the best way to conserve water was to force everyone onto a rationing schedule for lawn use. So you could only water your lawn twice a week at most and only on certain days. For those of you where it rains regularly this must sound funny but in the desert it’s just a fact of life.

      These watering operations were to only occur at night when evaporation was slower. Later the restrictions became more severe and you could only water once a week! They even had their “Water Nazis” cite you if you violated this ordinance. Sweet Jesus! As a result you can imagine all the once green lawns have shriveled up or been paved over and yard care businesses have likewise dried up and blown away.

      But the powers that be did get what they wanted: a REDUCTION in water usage. In fact the people were so conservative in their use of water that the City was now “losing” money! Imagine that. Their middle finger “Thank You” for asking people to see their yards destroyed and businesses fail? TO RAISE THE WATER RATES! Why? Well, because now, after being warned for years and years, they’re now going to build a pipeline at great expense for something they could have done far cheaper and less costly so long ago. And do you think the rates will go down after the thing is paid off? Hahahahahah!

      • That is very similar to what happended in Raleigh,NC. People were encouraged to conserve water during the drought years, with restricted times for watering. But the revenues of the Water Treatment profit center plummeted too. Then the city fathers raised the price of water to compensate.

      • They did the same in LA. People started to save so much that there was not enough pressure in the pipes and they collapsed one after the other. Real fun, you drive and suddenly there is a 12 foot hole in front of your car.

    • Too bad the US does not have privacy laws (regarding driving record) similar to Germany.

      The insurance industry must be salivating on what they can charge the public based on what someone might do.


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