Automotive Affirmative Action

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Would you buy a money hog?gas lead

Arguably, that’s what any hybrid – or electric – car has become given what’s happened to the price of gas. Hybrid and electric cars aren’t selling well all of a sudden. In October of 2014, they were down 30 percent – and that was when unleaded regular was averaging $3 a gallon.

It is now averaging under $2 a gallon. Very hard to make a case for a hybrid that costs thousands more than otherwise-similar non-hybrid when you can fill up the non-hybrid for $20 again. And forget about electric cars that cost tens of thousands more than otherwise comparable non-electric cars (see “Electric Pegasus” for more on that).

The ugly truth is automakers have always had to resort to heavy discounts – and depended on government subsidies – to prop up “sales” of hybrids. But – assuming gas prices stay where they are (or go lower) – things are going get downright comical. Sad might be a better word.

Hell, they already are.GM Celebrates Production Of Chevrolet Volt

Fiat’s Sergio Marchionne inadvertently let it slip that his company loses $14,000 on the “sale” of every electric 500 they – cough – “sell.” This is fairly typical. But not well-known.

Even Toyota – which “sells” the most successful of all hybrids (the Prius) reportedly drops money on each one. It is only the profit made on gas-engined Toyotas – and the prop of government support for hybrids and EVs – that makes it economically feasible to manufacture them. If you bought a Corolla or a Camry, part of what you paid for your car helped pay for your neighbor’s Prius.

Put another way, Prius “sales” – and sales of hybrids and EVs generally – are fundamentally artificial. If such vehicles were priced to reflect their actual cost to manufacture, plus an adequate profit per car to make the effort worthwhile – and sans any numbers fudging/cost-shifting, subsidies and so on – their fate would be that of the Edsel, Pacer and Vega.

This is obvious to a sane mind. The trouble is the auto industry has gone nuts. Or rather, goes along with nuts. For the oldest and most cynical of reasons.

Politics – and payola.payola pic

What we’re dealing with here is a form of automotive affirmative action. Hybrids and EVs can’t cut it on their own. It is entirely possible they never will. Everyone knows this – but as with affirmative action for people – it’s considered impolite to openly discuss it. Instead, we’re supposed to smile at failure. No – it’s much worse. We’re supposed to bankroll it (in perpetuity) and smile. It is like putting Forrest Gump in the pilot’s seat of a 747 on take-off roll and hoping for the best.    

This entire clusterfuck would never have happened had the free market been allowed to operate. In which case, no hybrid or electric car would have seen the light of day until they were ready. Until they could be sold on the merits – at an honest profit.

But that day has been put off indefinitely because of the interferences and machinations – however well-intended – of government policies and the cynical calculations of corporate rent-seeking.

The government – meaning, the politicians that run it – is mostly driven by feel-good claptrap (e.g., “green” cars) that takes no account of engineering and economic realities because these are hard to explain and don’t sell well to a Kardashianized public that prefers emoting to reasoning. The car industry, for its part, merely cashes in. They have learned it is easier – and, apparently, more profitable – to join ’em than it is to fight ’em. This has been the case since at least the 1990s, when the entire industry rolled over like a submissive tail-tucked beagle and presented its soft white belly to NHTSA (the government bureaucracy that regulates – and mandates – automotive “safety” stuff) over the Supplemental Restraint (that is, air bag) mandate. The engineers knew perfectly well that air bags were dangerous, but rather than stand their ground, they folded their cards. And came to realize – or were simply told – there was money in it. Shut up, go along with the program.volt cartoon

Now every new car has at least four Claymores built into it – and guess who pays for that?

But while politicians are hopeless, people in positions of authority within the car industry might want to rethink the wisdom of selling cars at a loss, despite the flim-flam fungibility of their balance sheets.

How many billions have been pissed away building cars like the 500e that “sell” at a $14,000 loss each? How many more Camrys and Corollas would Toyota have actually sold – at a  profit – if the cost of each did not reflect the Prius Surcharge? GM has a whole production line devoted to the Volt – and the even more unsalable Cadillac ELR – which has been idle for months because GM literally cannot give these electric Turduckens away. They tried offering a $200/month for two years lease deal on a car with a base price of $35k (you do the math) and it worked as well as defibrillating Heath Ledger’s corpse.

It is only because the car industry is so big that it can afford to endure such losses. Because it can use high finance bamboozling to obscure failure – and rent-seeking pull to make a buck off it. Wouldn’t it be better, long-term (and for everyone involved) to see whether a hybrid or EV can be developed that makes more sense than a standard car? That doesn’t need government “help” to exist?

And if not, to call it a day – and try something else?

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72 COMMENTS

  1. The plummeting gas prices (my last fill up at Cost was $1.62 a gallon) are being abetted by the government doubling down on stupid policies — the CAFE standards that are ignoring these strong price signals by ordering auto manufacturers to build cars that only make sense at $4 – $5 a gallon gas — and then ESCALATING these already ridiculous standards.

    And I haven’t heard a single politician cave to economic reality and demand we abolish these standards — or even lower them to reflect real world. Instead they are in lockstep requiring the manufacturers to raise prices more and more to create tiny fuel efficiencies that will never repay the upfront costs.

  2. Eric,

    How about a used Leaf with about 10,000 miles selling in my area for about $13K.

    That is very competitive with, say a 2012 Civic or Elantra.

    My spouse drives no more than 40 miles a day and the car sits in the garage for probably 15 hours a day. It could easily be charged for (almost) nothing from a 110v outlet in my garage.

    I would agree that a new Leaf makes very little sense, but a two year old one is very compelling. No gas/oil/radiator/tranny.

    • Hi NDB,

      Given those parameters – bought used for $13k and used chiefly for short hops such that the range is not an issue (and recharge times not a problem) then, sure!

      But I’m assuming you guys have a second (IC) car for longer trips? That would be necessary if so. Either that, or rent/borrow another car when the need arises. Which means, taking into account (cost-wise) the necessity of buying/keeping up with two vehicles rather than just the one.

      FYI: Nissan hasn’t been able to send me a Leaf to test drive (I’ve had every other Nissan vehicle; I have a new QX80 in the driveway right now) because the Leaf can’t make the trip …. at least, not without the help of a flatbed. Seriously. I’m about 200 miles away from where they keep the press fleet. The Leaf goes about 60 miles on the highway (maybe, if you don’t drive over 55 and it’s not too cold or too hot) before it needs to re-juice. So, at least four extended pit stops each way. Not doable. Same problem with the VW eGolf and the … wait for it… the Tesla.

      Meanwhile, that gas hog QX80? It may be a savage consumer of petrol, but it can go 200 miles on a tank running 75-80. And can be refueled in 5 minutes, rather than 5 hours….

      • Eric,

        Yes, we have a “normal” car (2011 Elantra) and would use that for any longer drives, so we have that “range risk” mitigated.

        We only pay cash for our cars (normally buy used) and keep them for a long time. My wife has had her Civic for four years and has put on 25000 miles during that time.

        When we drive together, we would use the Leaf for all the in-town driving and the Elantra for all extended trips.

        I must say, a used Leaf is very compelling. I can sell my wife’s 2010 Civic EX for about what it would cost for a used Leaf; so I would be exchanging a ICE vehicle for a “free” cost vehicle for next to nothing and get rid of all our gas/oil bills.

        With both of us driving in the Leaf verses the Elantra and the wife’s solo driving in the Civic, we could probably save 15000 miles worth of gas expense each year; again for close to an even exchange (of her Civic for the used Leaf).

        I 100% agree that a new Electric of any kind makes no sense financially or as a liberty mindset minded person.

    • It might make sense now. But the government is about to impose many green energy mandates on the electric utilities. This will likely cause your electricity rates to sky rocket. Also some of the reason an electric car is less expensive to operate is because the electricity does not have road use taxes added to the price. If the government starts taxing the electricity used to charge an electric care the same way it does gasoline, the cost to charge the car will likely double. Of course this is all hypothetical. If you only spend $13K for the car and it gets expensive to operate in 4 or 5 years, you will still probably come out ahead.

  3. What Massa Uncle Sam is a doin with his fightin slaves jus aint right.

    You ought to be ashamed, Massa Obama! Accostin thems poor creatures! It’s a bunch of shameful, wicked, abominable laws you’s got, and I’ll break em, for one, the first time I get a chance; and I hope I shall have a chance, I do!

    Things have got to a pretty pass, when good christians turn they backs and won’t even give a warm supper and a bed to poor, starving creatures, just because they in lands designated as lands of drone bombed terrorist slaves, and are designated for abuse and oppression all their lives, poor things!”

    “But, just listen to me. Your feelings are all quite right, dear . . . but, then, dear, we mustn’t suffer our feelings to run away with our judgment; you must consider it’s not a matter of private feeling,—there are great public interests involved,—there is a state of public agitation rising, that we must put aside our private feelings.”

    “Now, Massa McConnell, I don’t know anything about politics, but I can read my Bible; and we’s the people slaves is the freest slaves they is and in my bible I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate; and that Bible I mean to follow.”

    Me’s and the other slaves is just about to get fed up and we’s gonna elect us another massa pretty soon. Just wait til we done harvesting massa’s cotton and paying his cotton tax, and getting our sickness and donkey cart insurance paid up and then we’s start showin them massas what it means to have unhappy slaves with internet connections.

  4. richb, we all(ok, not ALL….but a great many of us)know electric cars are simply one more aspect of corporatism controlled govt. and it’s endgame, Agenda 21, no make that 21+(everything is done overboard if govt. is involved).

    We have rain and now snow today. I don’t like snow and not much on freezing rain either. Isn’t there something Congress could do to make me feel better? Ok, I’ll fess up. I’m white and old and remember when what’s happening now couldn’t even be conceived of(they’re mostly dead and their children seem to like it) 50 years ago. Eric Holder declared me to be a “domestic” terrorist, not because of what I’ve done or said but because I’m (1)White(non-Hispanic), (2)male(can’t afford the operation to be anything else…..as if I’d trade good sense for an innee-outtee)(3) over 40, and(4) believe in the 2nd Amendment as well as the Bill of Rights, in it’s incomplete or ignored, entirety.

  5. Wow its alright for the Grubbermint to give exxon and Gm money? You know something,there may come a time when people are not taking 1000 mile trips as a matter of fact,the worlds infrastructure will not support the whole worlds population living at a lifestyle as extravagant as ours(3 or more cars,sq ft climate controlled houses2000,boats ,horse farms,airplanes,vacations from not working,half way around the world,3 or more widescreens,etc) dont know Fellas,something rotten in Denmark.
    When our “Friends” in the Muslim world decide to strangle the “Great Satan” again,were will gas prices end up,cripes the General assembly in VA wont even let the mininum wage increase to $10.00 an hour.I dont know,but its a little of everything-I do know this,the Auto industry is an industry,that cant fail.(Just think for example,there is a industry just putting exhaust systems on autos and consider this,could the current crop of autos do so well,if they were starting from basically scratch?I know the electrics were actually first,but the range limitations killed them,when America became more suburban(were is all that stay at home work the electronic industry is supposed to have fostered? commute if you like(,I despise the commute)-Kevin

  6. Yes, the EV/Hybrid subsidies are a perverse incentive.

    Yes, the coal plants shouldn’t be shut down. That reduces base load grid capacity, which is a critical problem.

    But I disagree on staying with exclusively ICE vehicles going forward.

    Some things to consider:

    1. This country is dependent on the international trade system for petroleum, and as such has to greatly subsidize its flow via military action and intrigues.

    2. Any monoculture, if it fails, is much more devastating than a diverse system. The monoculture appears cheaper and more efficient when it is working properly, but when it falls apart without alternatives, it ends in tears.

    3. Solar home solutions allow for some near-term autonomy and are made more useful when BEVs for transportation are mated with them. Other technologies would allow the BEV itself to be used for power storage in certain situations.

    PHEV and BEV provide a path to transportation diversity, even if they seem impractical now, if the monoculture fails, the fact that there are alternatives being developed means that all of civilization might not completely fall apart.

    • Actually the foreign policy and military adventures are for the sake of specific corporatist ends, they aren’t requirements for trade, just for very profitable conditions for insiders. Not to mention defense contractors.

      The best way to get alternatives is to stop interfering. This will create the fertile ground where innovation can happen.

      • China, Japan, India and Europe seem to be able to buy petroleum just fine without sending their soldiers to the Middle East.
        Otoh, the military is probably enforcing the rule of the almighty petrodollar.

        • Indeed.

          As Brent and others have correctly noted, the “troops” are there not to assure the oil flows, but rather to make sure it does not. To prevent low prices caused by “excess” supply….

        • The French were in on knocking over Libya. Why? The French oil company didn’t get the deal. It also knocked deals with the Chinese.

          That’s how it always works. It’s about having the oil contracts in the “right” hands. Which in turn controls production volumes. Remember the reason the US federal government got its ‘boots on the ground’ back in the early 1990s was ultimately because SH was pumping too much oil. Remember SH asked the US state department before he dealt with the slant drilling problem with Kuwait.

          • And don’t forget Iran. BP was ripping them off, they were getting basically nothing until Mosaddegh was elected in 1951. He nationalized the oil, (which I don’t go along with either) so BP got the SAS, along with their buddies in the CIA, to depose him and install the Shah. Asians, including Middle Easterners, have looooong memories. That’s why they STILL hate us. Not for our freedoms (what freedoms?) but because ‘we’ took theirs.

    • Hi Warp,

      I’m not sure why my criticism of subsidizing electric and hybrid cars means I am a proponent of exclusively ICE vehicles in perpetuity…

      For the record: I am not opposed to electric cars or hybrid cars or any other form of propulsion and am all for working on alternatives to ICE propulsion. If someone builds a better mousetrap, I’ll clap.

      What I’m sick of – what frosts my beard – is the tilting at windmills using other people’s money that has characterized EV and hybrid development thus far. Tesla especially really irritates me, for reasons I think anyone ought to amen. A billionaire with ample resources is tit-sucking you and me for money to build six figure exotics bought exclusively (because necessarily) by the extremely affluent. It is like being in line at the supermarket behind an EBT shopper who is loading up on steak and lobster while you put your oatmeal and chicken on the conveyor belt behind him.

      Fuck him and let him crunch fish heads for supper.

      • No disagreement re: government theft

        Be sure to recognize that the current complex of petroleum distillate is already based upon lots of government theft though.

        • Hi Warp,

          No question!

          But, ICE cars work. They don’t need “help” to be viable in the marketplace. Indeed, if government got out of the way, cars could be vastly more fuel efficient (as well as less expensive) than they are now. If EPautos had the resources I’d demonstrate this by taking something like an early ’80s Chrysler K car, fitting it with a simple throttle body fuel injection system in lieu of the carburetor it came with, an overdrive transmission in lieu of the three speed automatic it came with… and would lay money the thing could deliver better mileage than any new car on the market. Factory stock, a K car was capable of 40 MPG with a carburetor – and without overdrive. Because it was light. And it was light because it did not have to be bulked up to comply with modern “safety” standards. Was the K car unsafe? Of course not. Granted, it may not have done as well in a crash test as a current-year equivalent. But a major crash is a hypothetical; something that could happen but probably won’t – and very likely won’t, if you’re a good driver. I’d rather have the 55 MPG-capable light car and enjoy that fantastic mileage every day in the real world, as opposed to the beefy “safe” car that gets 35 MPG.

            • I wish I still had my Corvair… and the money to mess with it! I had sick fantasies of installing a mid-engined V-8 at one time. But a turbo four would have been very interesting….

              • eric, I also had the idea of a tube frame Corvair(the ’67 of which few were made were much better looking and aerodynamic)with a bad SBC and 5 speed to be my 200 mph car but the cattle market went away and so did that dream.

                A friends dad built a drag car from one of the pickups. The big problem was keeping the front tires on the ground since the BBC was such a monster for that size “truck”. It turned heads just by firing it up. The engine was back in the bed right behind the cab.

    • re: “This country is dependent on the international trade system for petroleum, and as such has to greatly subsidize its flow via military action and intrigues.”

      You mean, for individuals to sell oil from domestic fracking, or buy shale field oil from Canada, or oil from Venezuela — for individuals to do voluntary mutually beneficial transactions — the federal government has to steal money from individuals and then pay other people to drone bomb wedding parties in Pakistan?

      Perhaps you can explain the linkage a bit more, because I’m not seeing the connection.

      At all.

  7. “Because it can use high finance bamboozling to obscure failure..”

    I would have gone with “obfuscate failure” myself, but I’m just being picky.. 😉

    This hybrid/electric Edsel crap will continue until the subsidies are trashed. Hopefully by way of public force through mass dissent. Keep grabbermint out of private industry and it’ll sort itself out. There’s nothing but massive waste trying to keep companies afloat on our money that can’t make political wet dreams a success, let alone anything that the public deem a useful bargain.

  8. Was thinking about Tesla these past few days as I drove my Corolla down to Florida. It took me less than 5 minutes to refill the gas tank and be good to go for another 400 miles (40+mpg highway), so my 1500 mile trip which lasted just over 24 hours with rotating driving with my wife would probably have taken almost a week if we had to stop and recharge for 8 hours every 300 miles. An electric vehicle may be ok for a daily commute, but what’s the point if you have to own an extra vehicle for any kind of distance driving?

    • Hi Mike,

      The Tesla is a four wheeled fashion statement for the careless rich. It has no merit as a transportation device. Close to $70k for the “base” model, which is no quicker than a mid-trim (and $26k) four cylinder Mustang but which has a third the range and which takes at least an hour to charge up, assuming access to a high-volt charger (otherwise it is several hours).

  9. Look for automakers to keep offering stupid hybrids and electrics. Why? In these slow times, they don’t sell as many, hence, they don’t lose as much money. When gas goes north of $4.00 they will resume losing scads of cash selling these pigs. It’s a lose lose for all of us. They don’t care. They have a lock on the market. We can’t build better cars because of the current crop of automakers.

  10. Eric, This got me thinking:

    “This entire clusterfuck would never have happened had the free market been allowed to operate. In which case, no hybrid or electric car would have seen the light of day until they were ready. Until they could be sold on the merits – at an honest profit.”

    That not only are these POSs being sold at a loss and we are picking up the tab, but, aren’t these policies and laws also taking away from the development of technology that would actually work?

    I mean, what incentive is there for some over paid MBA bean counting idiot to put more money in R&D for this technology when he can sit back, collect his government check and do nothing?

    • Bill in IL – you’re exactly right. The tax funded ‘benefits’ of the gunvermin also come with a hidden opportunity cost, that may be the worst feature. Think what could have been done with all the NASA boondoggle money had it been left in private hands, let alone the cost of all these freakin’ wars.

      • PtB
        Not a day goes by that something doesn’t bring Bastiat’s seen and not seen scenario into play. I used to believe he lived to early, but then I realize that he’d be ignored just as bad, if not worse now. Try telling the average Joe about these types of ideas. They think you’re outta your damn mind.

      • You really want to see misallocation of resources, take a look at the electric grid. Under the guise of reducing greenhouse gas (CO2), we’re about to shut down all of our coal fired generating stations. That’s fine, we shouldn’t be burning coal anymore anyway, not when there’s much cheaper and more plentiful uranium and thorium in the ground. But instead we’re converting to wind and solar “backed” by gas turbines. At least that’s what we’re told, in reality we’re building gas turbine backed by wind and solar.

        In order to make it all work, “we” need to have a so-called smart grid. This is some sort of complex switching and power routing system that will somehow keep the lights on, or at least will make enough power to cover most of the demand. And if you think all these “smart” gadgets that were rolled out at CES have anything to do with giving you control, you’re nuts. Power companies are already experimenting with controlling customer’s NEST thermostats, shutting off their heat and AC during peak hours. Look for more of this sort of incentive pricing and remote control of appliances in the coming years, all because the greens are hell bent on enforcing a puritanical lifestyle on the rest of us.

        • The ‘smart grid’ is an example of how things work these days.

          The smart meters are sold as just being something that does away with meter readers. In fact they have much greater capability. The Home Area Network or HAN. Through the HAN the smart meter can control every compatible device in the home. Worse, there is a paper on how to identify non-compatible devices being in operation via back EMF. This means that the smart meter has monitoring and control capabilities that most people would object to.

          Of course those who know about these capabilities are branded “conspiracy theorists” and worse. Never mind that the network capabilities are in the specifications for the meters.

          The idea has always been to limit resources and control society. Large scale solar systems have been setting fire to birds (mirrors focusing sunlight to use the heat), wind mills chopping up birds, and other environmental damage like solar cells paving desert essentially. Even if these things work the excuse to not build them is built in and will be used. Artificial scarcity to justify control.

          • BrentP, even if they install a “smart” meter on my house, it’s not smart enough to sense I tapped into the wires further up stream and getting that power for free on a single outlet.

            Regardless the appliance I buy, it has power into the unit and power out to the motor/pump/whatsit. If there’s a circuit board controlling that through microwave signals it receives, it can be excised and they can’t do a thing, let alone know about it.

            Nobody controls anything I purchase – my private property – lawfully or otherwise.

            • The issue of course is tampering or interfering with the monitoring/control such that they don’t know. The government of course uses it’s monopoly on legal violence here in the USA to back the utilities.

              The so-called authorities in the USA already monitor energy consumption for the war on some drugs. This has led to mistaken raids on server farms, people growing food, and allowed anti-cop groups to troll cops with tomato grow houses.

            • Rev, nice thoughts. Are you sure about no one controlling anything you buy? Many things I’d buy have been “controlled” out of existence, or at least in this country. In the middle of nowhwere they put a smart meter on my pole. Never mind that we live in a continual burn ban for the last 20+ years that’s lifter only once in a great while when things green up and it rains for a few days in a row or off and on for a month. My point being, countless(nobody will release their figures but they know right down to the last meter)smart meters in these parts have burned down businesses, houses and started those most wonderful of things for people like me, range fires. Nothing like you and spouse coming in from a hard day(you forgot to make plans to do this that day)of firefighting. Ah, it’s fun, esp. if the power isn’t on(dipping water from the stock pond)to come into a house darker inside than out, peel off your burnt boots(won’t be wearing those again), your burnt clothes and try not to look at the hair on your head(esp. that hair or the hair that used to be there or is in tiny toasted curls), having someone douse you when you ask to wash some of that smoke and debris off and you do the same for them. You wish you knew what happened to that sun shower even though the water would still be cold, just easier than having someone help you although we’ve learned to do that alone too. The wife likes to take that stuff to the shower. I just stand on the porch and maybe the coolish air will help my anger(or not). Since the wife knows I’m near to calling everybody out on it, I try to remain silent. Neither of us know the cause(source of ignition) so my bitching will be just that.

              The point I’m making though is the cavalier attitude of forcing those damned meters on you(well, they just changed over, nothing we can do about it). Bullshit, everybody should call their hand and make them offer you your old style meter back(there are plenty of them) but the sheeple just take being burned out by the suckers and simply go on. If you think insurance is going to cover all the costs you incur, please contact me as I have a very nice beachfront property in West Tx. I’ll sell you for a really good price. You say you can’t see the water from here? Just wait, in a few years you won’t be able to see dry land for days….or weeks…….a few months before everything’s dry as a powder keg and 8′ tall, just waiting for that next “smart” meter to set it all ablaze.

                  • REV, that’s all well and good……in Australia. Where I live, the power company owns everything through the meter and nothing beyond. You are required to install some sort of circuit breaker/disconnect, within 6′ of the meter.

                    I’m not sure how the law reads though since I have built countless meter loops for customers, mainly oilfield. We sold the entire install including the meter. I can knock you out a complete meter loop installation mounted on a pole, stick it in the ground and attach a matching transformer to it toot sweet.

                    You have to pay for a meter installation though and I don’t know how they can claim they own the meter if you supply it. As far as I’m concerned, you own everything including the pot on the pole if you bought it and installed it. What they SHOULD own would be the wire to the pot and nothing else. 30 years ago Tx. made it a felony to wire around any metering device.

                • Thanks guys for the advice. I doubt they can look through several sheets of steel so I’ll leave that round baler right there in front of it till the tires rot off. I have no idea what capabilities these meters can have in them. Visual, most likely, thermal, probably and one of the most potentially damaging, the knowledge of how much power you use every second of the day. They can construe that however they like. Maybe you’re coming in and welding several hours after dark(I did this for years). The TWB (thugs with badges)crowd know this has to be some nefarious activity. Maybe the things have air samplers so a pail of rotting fruit could mean you’re distilling alcohol or making speed or preferably, both. Probably a good idea for them to get a battlefield vehicle and run over the house and barn as a preliminary measure for saaaafety’s sake. Occifer safety only don’t you know?

          • Brent, a company wants to build 67 windmills near Loch Ness, UK. The bases for the windmills will require the excavation of 22 MILLION cubic meters of stone for their bases. How much carbon dioxide will the extraction of this much stone generate, not to mention transport fuel? There are just some real loonies out there in the green farce. Note also no vegetation is seen around windmill farms. Great for the greenery!!

        • It is interesting that you mention the government’s mandates on the electric utilities.

          Between the high upfront purchase price, limited range, long charging times, and limited number of charging stations, it is hard to say anything good about an electric car. The electric car’s one saving grace was that it costs less per mile to operate if a person kept it long enough. Of course the payoff was a very long time. Perhaps a decade going by numbers that have been posed on this website.

          Now what is going to happen now that uncle is sticking his tentacles into the electric industry? (My money is on much higher electric rates.) And also now that fuel prices are dropping? The electric vehicle looked like a bad investment when gas was $4.00 a gallon and electricity was 11 cents a kilowatt hour. What is it like when gas is $1.80 per gallon and electricity is 50 cents a kilowatt hour?

    • The political ‘leadership’ sees this as leading. They will conjure the technology into being. Most people believe in this system. The politicians will force effort into the technology and it will advance.

      Americans don’t believe in inventors and engineers any longer, they believe in politicians. Over a hundred years of telling them as children that politicians give them things has been effective.

      • Not only give them things, but are not to be questioned. They’ve turned everyone into a limited liability benefit-seeker, a “person”. We’re all effectively owned by grabbermint by dint of our birth certificate registration. Without a BC, you get nothing from the State.

      • Exactly.

        You are probably as bemused and appalled as I am by the incessant talk about “creating jobs” issuing from the yaps of politicians. When – how? – did it become possible for a politician to “create” a job? Isn’t their job seeing to it that our rights are respected?

        Honestly, I think I’d rather have an outright strutting Mussolini in a funky costume than these dreary drones prattling on and on about “helping the middle class” and having a “plan” to “create jobs”….

        • Since you posted about bat crap crazy, here is a gem from the original moonbat, Nancy Pelosi:

          “Tax cuts are spending. Our whole budget is what, $3.5 trillion? So, when we talk about reducing spending, we certainly must, and we certainly have–$1.6 trillion in the previous Congress, $1.2 of it in the Budget Control Act. But spending is subsidies for big oil, subsidies to send jobs overseas, breaks to send jobs overseas, breaks for corporate jets. They are called tax expenditures. Spending money on tax breaks. And that’s the spending that we must curtail as well.”

          Our “leaders” are certifiably insane, the inmates are truly running the asylum.

          Full article here, if you can stomach it:

          http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/nancy-patricia-dalesandro-pelosi-is-a-traitor/119681

          • That Pelosi quote is almost as good as “We have to pass it [Affordable (sic) Care Act] so we can see what’s in it.
            I guess she didn’t learn to read in pre-K like my homeschooled grandson did.

            • Right Phillip? My grandson can run rings around this heinous harridan. I wish she would go away, but she is too full of herself to ever willingly give up her seat. I don;t think she’ll go until she’s dead.

            • PtB, another thing that really pisses me off about the Democrats is their taking the Shrub’s admin’s playbook and running with it as if we haven’t already seen it before.

              Do you recall the first time you ever heard the line, You have to pass it before you can read it? Patriot Act, NDAA and more. This was Republican mantra and now it’s Democratic policy, proof the difference in the two is only how the MSM spins it. It’s like a coin with tails on each side, we lose either way.

        • From my observations, they seem to be capable of destoying the currency through deficit spending, shipping manufacturing jobs overseas, importing 3rd world immigrants to kill wages in the trades, destroying our liberty, and forcing us to participate in their incompetency, with a gun of course.

          No matter what aspect you look at, in this country, at its heart, is simply a system of nested frauds backed by violence.

          Every government and corporate ‘onion’ has the same juicy center of fraud and violence one you start peeling away the layers.

      • BrentP, I (think I) remember you from rec.autos.driving back in the early 2000’s.

        I enjoyed your comments back then, and to this day.

        This place is a like reunion for rec.autos.driving.

        Cheers Eric and keep up the good work!

      • According to John Taylor Gatto, this is the purpose of tax-funded, mandatory ‘education.’ Training ‘good citizens.’

      • I can see the title in the URL. This is the idiocy complaining about GM’s beta-testing prototypes suffering the same fate as such cars have for decades.

        Funny thing is, these cars get crushed in part because of the sort of product liability and consumer protections supported by those complaining they got crushed.

        • I replied to Jerry about the EV1 – which I actually drove back in the ’90s (if I can find my article in my archives, I’ll post it). An interesting – and completely impractical car. Like most concept cars.

          It was a very small (and very expensive) two-seater/commuter with the usual electric car issues. Like the current Volt, the only way GM could put people in them was by massively subsidizing their “sales” through low-cost leases. I pointed out to Jerry that, adjusted for inflation, the EV1’s projected MSRP of $34k circa 1996 is equivalent to about $54k in today’s dollars. Madness.

          Electric motors are a fine idea. The problem, as you know, is getting power to them. Current battery technology isn’t cutting the mustard. And even if gas goes up to $5 a gallon, unless there’s a “breakthrough” in battery design/capability, the huge practical problems of too-long recharge times and too-short range remain.

            • Hi Phillip,

              IIRC, the chief issue with turbines was/is (in automotive applications) power delivery and noise. In the ebb and flow of stop and go traffic, especially, their operating/power delivery characteristics are not consumer acceptable. I think that’s the chief reason why development work stalled. There may also be issues (now) with emissions.

              Maybe Brent or another engineer will chime in….

      • Hi Jerry,

        I call bullshit on that.

        I drove the EV1. Did you?

        It was similar to the original Honda Insight hybrid (compact two-seater). It didn’t drive badly at all; in fact, it was kind of fun to drive. But unlike the Insight, the EV1’s range was only about 80-100 miles under optimal conditions. As with the Tesla, as with any electric car yet made, if driven significantly faster than 50 or so MPH for any sustained period, the real-world range was much lower. And with the accessories (AC, lights, heat) on, even lower than that. These cars were (and are) realistically viable only for short A to B hops, including spending a good while (an hour, at least) at “A” (while the vehicle recharges) before attempting to get back to “B.”

        Ever wonder why GM only leased them in areas that stayed warm year round?

        And speaking of leasing. The retail price touted was around $34,000. That was in the mid-1990s. Adjust that for inflation to get a handle on just how expensive these things actually were. Wait, I’ll do it for you: $34k in circa mid-1990s dollars is equivalent to about $54,000 today.

        Look. I trust corporations and the government probably a great deal less than you do. When money and power are at stake, they’ll do anything. But the electric car is – to date – a shimmering mirage in the desert. Something we can see just over the horizon, but which we never quite seem to be able to reach.

        I honestly wish it were not so. I’d like to see electric cars succeed. I’m all for anything that reduces the cost of getting around. But electric cars don’t do that, unfortunately.

        I’m not being paid by GM or anyone to slam electric cars. I’m simply telling you the truth about them, based on hands-on experience and facts. The truth is they can’t compete with IC cars on the merits – not yet. Maybe that “someday” will come when the “battery breakthrough” I’ve been hearing about for the past 30 years will have been achieved and an electric car will be able to go at least 200 miles on a charge at normal road speeds, with the accessories running, and be capable of re-juicing in less than 10 minutes and cost about the same – without subsidies – as an otherwise similar IC car. But until that day, these cars are losers.

        • Eric – are you ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
          “[…] an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.”
          This is a recently (2013) confirmed diagnosis of a psychotic disorder.
          http://www.acting-man.com/?p=35319

        • eric, you have an electric car(Tesla) delivered to you in Junction, Tx. You need to go to San Antonio and quickly. It’s a typical 100 degree day with a hard south wind. You jump up on I-10 and hit 80 but everybody else is moving at least 85-90 or above. You try to blend in with the general flow, 85+mph. How close can you get to San Antonio? When(if) you get to Kerrville, will the gauge be down there near empty? Meanwhile, hours earlier I fueled up my Duramax(in EP) and the 100 gallon nurse tank(@$2.60/gallon) in the back pulling a gooseneck dovetail trailer headed to Houston. Should I stop when I see a very expensive looking car on the shoulder with a guy that’s vaguely familiar standing there sweating? We won’t even discuss going west to EP.

          • Exacto-mundo!

            Now, the Tesla does have one virtue. It is very quick. (Well, the six-figure Tesla is quick. The “entry level” $70k Tesla is no quicker than a four-cylinder Mustang that costs $26k.) Anyhow. The problem, though, is that it’s only quick briefly. The analogy is a BMW M5 with a 1 gallon gas tank that you have to refill using a syringe.

            • eric, quick is as quick does I suppose. Back in high school I had a very quick auto. A Ford station wagon with discarded body, chopped to about a 5′ wheelbase with a seat, a rollbar and a piece of plywood above the gas tank and set of two wheels welded together on each side of the rear axle. Traction, and hence, acceleration were way out there…..until the engine or mostly, the transmission took a big dump. Over a couple years it had at least 9 engines(junkyard $20 272’s to 312’s) and 12 transmissions, mainly the OD 3 speed units with a clutch as big as your hand. Other people did it much better using SBC’s and 4 speed granny transmissions. Sounds like a really nice car to take the family on vacation doesn’t it? OTOH, it was a great RR vehicle. When you saw the train coming you just drove off the tracks and then back on. Back then, the RR didn’t give a rat’s ass as long as you didn’t make them hit the brakes. The Po Lease hated them though since all you had to do was turn down the tracks and get off anywhere in the country you wanted. The most fun we had was stealing a flashing red light off a federal convoy hauling tanks and ship turrets and using it(it had a rubber bottom mount with places for four rubber snubbers to hold it onto a car’s top)and stopping clovers. The DPS was really pissed and the sheriff’s dept wasn’t but had to investigate as in asking us if we had it. By this time there were several of these vehicles so “some boys on a dune buggy with dual tires on the back” was the best description anyone could give. We kept our illegal light in the back room of a friend’s dad’s Gulf service station. DPS walks in on us one day and asked if we knew anything about that light, giving us looks like they knew we were guilty. The door to the back room was halfway open and the light was in the floor right behind it. Of course we acted like we hadn’t even heard about it much less had anything to do with it. Luckily, the occifers went back out the front door instead of going through the parts room.

  11. Tesla’s entire “profit” is due to pollution credits sold to other auto makers. It loses money actually making cars, since all they build are slow selling electrics.

    By 2025, 15% of car sales in 11 states, MUST be zero-emissions, according to our “all knowing” government. Since all other auto makers really have no chance of actually managing to sell that many zero emission vehicles, they buy “credits” from Tesla. Even with the deck stacked in favor of electrics, at best they have sold a small percent of 1%. Good luck getting to a full 15%.

    • richb, it’s going to be a “perpetual motion” machine. You have a prop on top powering an electrical generator that powers the vehicle as you drive along. What could be better? Once someone figures out how to make a generator 100 times more efficient we’ll be steppin in high cotton. The catapult system that gets you going might be sorta pricey though.

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