Cars We Might Be Able To Buy

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There is no such thing as a free market. Not in the United States, at any rate. You are free to buy what they (the people who comprise the apparat of government) allow you to buy.government mandated cars lead

Nothing more – and nothing less.

But what might we be able to buy if we did have a free market? Or even a more free market than the one we’ve got right now?

Almost certainly, we’d have access to new cars that are much more fuel efficient – and much less expensive – than the current crop of government-mandated cars.

These cars – the government-mandated ones – are both expensive and not particularly fuel-efficient because they must be designed and built to satisfy two at-odds directives: That they be “safe” – i.e., meet the government’s crashworthiness standards (which now include making the car “safe” for a pedestrian in the event the car strikes one). And that they be economical – i.e., they must meet the government’s fuel-efficiency mandates.

But the former puts the arm on the latter – and vice versa.overweight car

It’s a case of demanding to have one’s cake and eat it, too – which is the sort of thing the government specializes in.

Government-mandated cars (all types) are heavy cars. Because adding structure (steel, typically) is the only economically feasible way to make a car physically more resistant to impact forces. This, however, means increased curb weight. And the more a car weighs, the more fuel it takes to get it moving – and keep it moving. Especially if a minimum level of performance (and here we still have some free market influence on the thing) is necessary. People – generally – will not accept a car that takes 15 seconds (or even 12) to get to 60 MPH. The “bar” – the slowest most people will accept in a new car – is about 10 seconds, about what it takes a Prius hybrid. Most 2015 model year subcompact economy cars get to 60 in 8 seconds or so. They also weigh well over 2,000 pounds (the ’15 Toyota Yaris I reviewed recently weighed just under 2,400 lbs.) which is hundreds of pounds more than subcompact economy cars once weighed – in the era before government got heavy-handed with the “safety” mandates.'75 Civic pic

For example, a 1975 Honda Civic weighed about 1,900 pounds – about 500 pounds less than the ’15 Yaris. Which tells us why the ’75 Civic – a car 40 years older than the ’15 Yaris and lacking direct (or any other kind of) fuel injection (it had a carburetor) or a computer to precisely meter the fuel, and which came with a four-speed manual transmission without overdrive (a fuel-saving feature all modern cars have) nonetheless achieved nearly 30 MPG.

The Yaris tops out at 36 MPG.

Not much to show for 40 years’ work.

But what would a car like the Yaris  – with fuel injection, an overdrive transmission and all the benefits of the past 40 years’ engineering advances – be capable of if it weighed 500 pounds less?

Probably 50 MPG. Possibly more.

Especially if it weighed 1,000 lbs. less – which is almost certainly doable given advances in manufacturing, metallurgy and the availability of plastic and composite materials.

But up wells the cry: It’d be “unsafe”!'15 Yaris pic

Define “unsafe.”

And – who gets to define it?

Such a car would not be unstable, difficult to operate – a car more likely to lose control of. In fact, it’s very arguable that a car like the ’75 Civic is in a very meaningful way a safer than a car like the ’15 Yaris because it’s less likely to be be involved in an accident in the first place. Why is that? Because in a car like the ’75 Civic, you can see other cars better – and are thus more likely not to pull out in front of one. And that’s so because a car like the ’75 Civic does not have the awful blind spots most new cars have, because the ’75 doesn’t have “A” pillars (the structural supports at either side of the windshield) thicker than Hulk Hogan’s biceps, “B” pillars as thick as his legs and sail panels/”C” pillars as thick as his torso. Modern cars do because the government mandated that the roof be able to support the car in the event it rolls over. But the ’75 is less likely to roll over in the first place.

Which, then, is “safer”?

Also, “safe” is a continuum.

There is no such thing – yet (and probably never will be) – as the perfectly safe car. Even parked in your driveway, a meteor could crash into it. Must the car be made meteor-safe? An exaggeration, perhaps – but the point stands:  '15 S550 image

There are cars that are more – or less safe – than others, in terms of their ability to protect occupants from being injured in the event of a wreck.

A Mercedes S-Class sedan is “safer” than a Yaris. Drive each into a tree and see for yourself. The person who chooses the S-Class values its physical size, which confers an inherent safety advantage. Or maybe he just likes a big, imposing car. In any event, he values fuel efficiency – a function of lightness – less. He is still allowed the choice. Just as the Yaris buyer – for the moment – is still allowed to go with the car (the Yaris) that is lighter – and so, more fuel-efficient. Even if it entails owning a car that is objectively less “safe” than the Mercedes.

Why, then, should the person who places an even higher value on economy – who would be willing to accept a potentially increased risk of being hurt if there is an accident in exchange for much-improved fuel economy on an everyday basis – be denied that option?  distracted chick

The fact is most people don’t die in car accidents. Serious car accidents are actually fairly rare – and the truth of it is, they’re mostly avoidable because most “accidents” aren’t. They don’t just happen, like lightning strikes. They take place because the driver made a mistake. He wasn’t paying attention; he over-corrected the steering; he drove the car above his abilities or inappropriately for conditions. All of these factors are under the driver’s control. They are mistakes he didn’t have to make. There are drivers who do not make them. Who go a lifetime without ever wrecking a car. For them, the hundreds of extra pounds of “safety” they’re forced to lug around is expensive deadweight. Over a lifetime of driving, they are paying – are forced to pay – thousands of dollars for fuel they’d otherwise not have burned and thousands more for “safety” they never needed.

A good driver might weigh the (small, if driver error is excluded) risk of his being involved in a serious accident and – if he could – would buy the 1,500 lb. aluminum/plastic/composite car – perhaps with a small diesel engine – that gave him 75 MPG every day.control pic

Unfortunately, he’s not allowed the choice. Neither are you.

We buy what we’re allowed to buy – as determined by the arrogance and presumption of people we’ve never met, who – somehow – regard themselves as entitled to parent us.

It’s become so ingrained and accepted that most of us don’t even question it anymore.

We ought to.

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  1. Hey gang! Long time no post but I’m overseas in Thailand and recovery from festivities so had time to kill. Over here I’ve driven a Ford pickup and didn’t even know it was a diesel until my gal pointed that out to me. It was so quiet! And it wasn’t the behemoth class vehicle we see in the states either. There are a lot of nice cars here that will likely never see the light of day in the supposed “land of the free”. Or is it “fee”? Hyundai and Toyota vans to die for. Driving is an exercise in organized chaos where the trick is to navigate around while keeping ones eye stalks firmly peeled for the swarms of near suicidal motorcyclists and scooters. And if you want to wear a helmet you can if you want to. Four family members squeezed onto a bike? No problem! Cops? So few and far between its been a breath of fresh air? They simply don’t have the stolen resources (taxes) to screw with you. That’s why first world nations are so Orwellian. I’m not looking forward to coming back.

  2. Cars we might be able to buy. Ghettos we might be able to enter. Real dirt and danger flirt worlds we might soon learn to inhabit. Bubbles of suburbia and fear we might finally make an exodus from and never look back at.

    Dare you bubble bastards grok the truths of the ghettos. For you have much to reacquaint yourselves with. Dare you become a fledgling featherless bix noodist. And flock together with nature’s aviary together?

    God Is A DJ

    Can you push through the aching incisors and pulsing bicuspids. And the throbbing eustachian tubes out amid the smoking grimy sounds of the disco dystopian real world only a few miles beyond your bubbled babyfood and crib death utopia matrix pods?

    God is a DJ

    I’ve been the girl with her skirt pulled high, Been the outcast never running with mascara eyes. Now I see the world as a candy store. With a cigarette smile, saying things you can’t ignore.

    Like Mommy I love you. Daddy I hate you. Brother I need you. Lover, hey “fuck you.” I can see everything here with my third eye. Like the blue in the sky.

    If God is a DJ. Life is a dance floor. Love is the rhythm. You are the music.
    If God is a DJ. Life is a dance floor. You get what you’re given. It’s all how you use it.

    – can you grok these lyrics. is there a tear welling in your third eye as you grok these heartfelt harmonies of real bipedal humans who don’t live in first world ghettos of midas touched gold and silver tongued hates of anything not a part of their states –

    I’ve been the girl- middle finger in the air. Unaffected by rumors, the truth: I don’t care. So open your mouth and stick out your tongue. You might as well let go, you can’t take back what you’ve done. So find a new lifestyle.
    A new reason to smile. Look for Nirvana. Under the strobe lights. Sequins and sex dreams. You whisper to me. There’s no reason to cry.

    You take what you get and you get what you give
    I say don’t run from yourself, man, that’s no way to live
    I’ve got a record in my bag you should give it a spin
    Lift your hands in the air so that life can begin

    If God is a DJ
    Life is a dance floor
    Love is the rhythm
    You are the music

    If God is a DJ
    Life is a dance floor
    You get what you’re given
    It’s all how you use it

    – are you finished being a grok-block. It’s not remotely hard to see how this can apply to your own predicaments. Come on mang. You know I don’t only mean be some club chick disco ditz, don’t be a concrete minded lunkhead. you know dang well i mean follow your true inner heart, no matter what it says to do. Even if you’re this Pink chick who did find she was a club chick DJ gun moll. At least them bling chain spin rim bix noodists are doing something that makes them feel real. What are you doing with your life, humping moldy old tomes of musty shortpanted rich quislings prattling on about how you wish you could teleport back to the time of muskets and tricorned powdered wig hats.

    You’re better than that, son. Who IS you DJ? What makes you spin and dance. Get out and find that truth before it’s too late homie.

  3. Great article! You mention the “2 at odds” objectives of govt. with respect to cars (safety and fuel efficiency). But there are others, such as tail pipe emissions, which as you have pointed out, can make cars less fuel efficient. There is also the overwhelming fact that government can only justify its existence by creating ever NEW laws, and ever NEW restrictions.

  4. What’s happened in the auto industry, motorcycle industry, airplane industry, and every other industry is the same playbook is used over and over.

    Consider the modern internet with graphical browsing that began in 1993. Everything worked just fine. Everybody rushed to get on the internet, there were many ways to have access completely free. You could pay a premium if you wanted more speed, and so on.

    Then the government playbooks began to be executed.

    In addition to the code and infrastructure to run the internet. A second kind of code and infrastructure was forced on the internet by various governments at gunpoint.

    At some point, complying with all the pages of rules and satisfying all the authorities who make demands of anyone involved on the internet became more difficult than provide the communication network itself.

    Now it is the case that there is no free access. There is no way to browse the internet anonymously. There is no mechanism to put whatever you wanted to on the internet without restriction.

    Now the cost of using the internet. Providing content on the internet. Is all skyrocketing. And will exponentially get worse as the new thousands of pages of FCC rules become tens of thousands, and the people who enforce such decrees multiply in every country.

    Always, the main problem is government. When you complain about spammers. Or content thieves, and see those as the main problem. Then you are blinding yourself to the greater issue. Those are the kinds of nuisances that have always existed in nature for all of history.

    it’s the regulation and control structure that’s the new phenomenon. It’s the new paradigm of having to be identified with a unique IP and MAC address that is the new police state playbook tactic.

    Unfortunately, even so-called libertarians fail to see the big picture and what is the root of all evil. It’s the government playbook that gets between any two people doing any kind of transaction. You should hate government interference above all.

    When you ignore the important issues, and accept as a given that outside parties have any rightful place in commerce, you are part of the problem. You yourself are a useful idiot. That doesn’t mean you have to like individuals and immoral bad actors. You are of course still free to defend yourself from them and appoint others to do so on your behalf.

    But when you fail to recognize there is no benefit to a ruling class inserting itself into your life, you fail as a libertarian. Even if this ruling class does something you like. Such as lessen the extent of spam. Stop the theft of your online property. Stop the violation of your online privacy. And countless other things you don’t like.

    Hating the state and being a freedom advocate has to mean you see NO PLACE for any intervention into the auto, bike, plane, or internet industry. NONE.

    You wouldn’t let your neighbor interfere with any aspect of your life without your consent. Don’t accept that any perfect stranger or expert claiming to do good interfere with your life in any way either.

    • Mark –
      You’re preaching to the choir here. While Eric may complain about spammers, etc., I’ve not heard him say “there ought to be a law!” If he ever does, a lot of us are gone.

      • Hi Phillip,

        If I ever do that – “there ought to be a law!” – I hope one or all of you guys will put me out of my misery before the disease gets too far along…

      • You’re right Phillip, he never has. I don’t think any of us regulars would do something so obviously statist as how you’ve put it. And I mean not to single out just the class of website proprietors who directly must grapple with the miseries of leeches, and uninvited ad hucksters, who surely there are legions of.

        I mean to discuss this on an existential level. Are we not already each of us attacked every second by biological spammers and hijackers? Is not the world awash in micro-organisms, viruses, predators, and parasites? Is not part of being a man, using your own body and inventions to secure your health and well-being against this motley army of usurpers.

        I cannot relent on this issue, not one bid. I again cast aspersion on you and every blogger here. And even myself. Americans are statist scum. Each and everyone of them. It is certain.

        Americans can be conceived of as a giant collective of feminized feeble wardens of their state. They are bubble boys as seen in Seinfeld. Arrogant a-holes who bark from behind clinical glass at the normal remnant of humanity who does not require their unworldly hygienity and disease free sissy reality.

        It would be a different thing if you maintained your bubbles by yourself. But you clearly do not. You are featherless Stalin Chickens who need your tyrant to live. And you consent to the CDC and the WHO and such who tyrannize the world on your behalf, because you fear what would happen without their medical jackboots on the ground stomping every prole in every hut and injecting him with this that and the other.

        You fear your fellow Americans from south of the Rio Grande. You know in your heart in some ways they are your superior. Because they live as men in the real world. And not as hospital gown faggots who are pathetic immunal compromised shadows of real men.

        Your every premise and contemplation starts at a place far down the branches of causality. You have not even begun to examine the root of the Evil Empire that you inhabit. An evil Stalin, Mao, or Adolph could not have even conceived of.

        If you’re not a got damned Uncle Sam fellating monster. Get out of your internal combustion 6 cylinder wheelchairs and hike far into the least Borg-ified wildernesses you still have left.

        Find a stream of water, and drink from it. Bring only whatever tools to deal with this living water that you yourself can devise.

        See, there’s nothing wrong with the water in Mexico. Anyone who needs to heed the words Don’t Drink the Water. When that water is the water found in their own land. Is already metaphysically dead. He is already a drone of the termite hive of state.

        There’s logistics here to master. There are other ways to accomplish what I am proposing. Use your own minds and find your own ways out of your Government mandated bubble. But do so with all possible urgency. There isn’t much time left for you. Or for the few remaining real men who stand on their own individual legs on the surface of this world.

  5. Hi Eric,

    The same thing is happening in general aviation.

    The cost of owning your own small (2 or 4 person) airplane has gone parabolic due to the FAA dictates regarding “safety.” They’ve made it so expensive to not only design and manufacture new planes, but also to maintain them, that the only areas of growth are in homebuilt airplanes (and the Light Sport category) where they’ve eased up. Add in the $5-6 price of a gallon of avgas and you end up with about 10,000 general aviation pilots leaving every year. And, add in an average fleet age of 40 years due to “certification” costs to upgrade components (even the new glass cockpits which dramatically increase situation awareness and pilot safety) in non-homebuilt aircraft, and you end up with the perverse situation where the only aircraft you can afford to buy are ancient and unsafe compared to the rapidly evolving marketplace for new, high tech, non-certified avionics and engines.

    For example, many of the “go to” engines are still carburated (and subject to icing conditions) with manual chokes and were originally designed in the 1930’s. These “go to” engines cost about $25,000 new! There is currently newly passed legislation (2013) which aims to modify Part 23 (small aircraft) to make safety decisions for designing a new airplane based on industry concensus standards, rather than regulator issued dictates, which should reduce these costs, but I fear the general aviation industry may be in a terminal decline.

    Basically, the FAA has made flying more expensive and more dangerous, and managed to nearly kill the industry it is supposed to regulate.

    • Hi Evan:

      This is my first visit to Eric Peters Autos, having just heard about him and the website on the Tom Woods Show (.com) podcast. VERY interesting site and I’m bookmarking as a favorite. I’ll likely become a donor as I like to support libertarian operators. Good work, Eric!

      To Evan, I could not agree with you more about FAA making aviation LESS safe despite safety being their primary mission. I’m up to my eyeballs in Light-Sport Aircraft and have for 11 years published a website dedicated to this sector of (somewhat) less regulated aviation. See

      I was surprised to see your rant on a car site and I suppose most folks here would rather read about cars and libertarianism than airplanes, but I’ve long said that my one clear window into the massive federal government is aviation, where I know the terrain (airways?) very intimately. Sadly, it ain’t a pretty picture. But thank goodness a few good men inside the enormous agency (50,000 well-paid employees and a $15 billion budget) saw the light and created the LSA category. It’s still significantly regulated but less so than traditional aviation and, as Eric Peters might acknowledge, it results in far more modern engines, instruments, airframes, safety features, and even has easier-to-obtain pilot license (Sport Pilot). So, even a government agency can get it right once in a while. It isn’t enough, by far!, but it’s something.

      Eric, great website and approach … I’ll be back and will tell my gearhead friends about you and the website.


      • Hi Dan,

        It’s a small world. I began working towards my private pilot certificate 20 years ago but stopped due to marriage and child. I recently started looking into it again and have been watching many of your reviews on LSA airplanes. Just last week I subscribed to your website. Please keep up the great reviews. Hopefully, the current work to reform Part 23 will revitalize general aviation. It’s such a great way to see our vast and beautiful country.


    • Evan, there ought to be a law! If we want aircraft safety we’re going to have to stand up on our hind feet and DEMAND there are two Germans in every cockpit! Accept no substitute!

  6. Yes. The possibilities are endless.

    The A-Pillars on my 08 Civic Coupe look like they could support a suspension bridge. Can’t see a damn thing when going around a curve or corner though without back and forth head bobbing.

    I think you’d have to try really hard to roll a 2008 Honda Civic Coupe. It has a very low CG. Why do I need my vision impaired all the time for the 0.00000000002 probability I’ll ever roll my car?

    Also – have 6 airbags for me and my sandwich.

    The amount of regulations is unbelievable. We are implementing “stop-start” on the center stack of an upcoming new minivan. It has 17 combinations of “option buttons.”

    Electronic stability control, parallel park assist, perpendicular park assist, traction control, automatic speed control, active brake assist, etc.

    Sadly, no rocket launcher, machine gun, ejector seat, oil slick, smoke screen, night vision, or other options many of us would rather have.

    My favorite option would be to remotely de-activate the brake and open the throttle of the left lane clover driving right next to and within 0.1 mph of the car to his right (generally about 7 under PSL) – for miles on end.

    Think a SW guy can invent that? I’d pay. Dearly.

    Probably not today. We have drive-by-wire now. This invention will have to wait until drive-by-WIFI.

    Machine gun will have to do for today.

    How bout this? We already have active cruise control that uses forward looking radar to maintain a constant “gap” while cruise in on. It’s just a matter of SW programming to use this to say “The driver ahead of you left when the light turned green 5 seconds ago. Stop tweeting and move your fucking ass!”

    I could also say: “Dumbass – you don’t need 2.7 car lengths space at 0 mph, please move forward so people can get in to the left and right turn lanes.”

    Anyway – I had to look up the tariff to send one of these center stacks (HVAC and audio and option control) to send it to Canada.

    There are 3,560 pages of tariffs in the US. For instance, did you know Colby cheese is taxed at a 20% rate, while Cheddar is taxed at just 15%? Anybody give me a valid reason we need different tariffs on every different possible trade good? In fact – why do we need tariffs at all now? That’s what we had before income tax. Now we have both. Ask me why I don’t support a federal sales tax to “replace” the income tax.

    At least we live in a free country…

    • Thanks for that, Blake!

      Yes, it’s reached the point of comical – in a sad clown kind of way – absurdity. It’d be funny, if we weren’t forced to pay for it all.

  7. A free market in transportation would result not only in a wider variety of cars but more motorcycle based or other very light vehicles. Had motorcycles not predated regulations, the likelihood they would be “allowed” on the road today, are slim to nil. And even changes to the general form of what we think of motorcycle are unlikely due to the regulations as they would be seen by them as a new form of vehicle. One to be not allowed on roads. The only variation I have noticed lately are those three wheeled ones marketed mainly to baby boomers and older.

    Motorcycles are merely tolerated because they are popular, if they could come up with a reason the public would buy, motorcycles would be history on roads too. It will likely be safety related if history serves as an example.

    An example of a vehicle that would probably see wider use are golf carts. They are generally allowed in private communities with private roads without major problems. There is no reason why they couldn’t be used on low speed residential roads and bike paths & trails. Plus some could be beefed up to go a little faster too.

  8. Given a true free market in transportation, there’d be much more public transportation options that might eliminate the nee for many of us to own a automobile. If I could buy what I want, it would probably be a micromotorhome more purpose-built than the 1/2 ton cargo van that I live in.

    • “Given a true free market in transportation, there’d be much more public transportation options”
      First of all, in a true free market, there would be NO “public” transportation.
      But for the sake of argument, let’s assume you meant mass transit instead of public transpo.
      Have you got data to back that up? If so, why is ALL mass transit taxpayer subsidized?

      • “public” transit became so because in the USA transit was crony capitalist. Being crony capitalist they got protections from market uncertainties and competition from government in exchange for being regulated. That regulation plus competition from automobiles eventually bankrupted them. Government took over. The new “public” transit was now offered politically so you’re supposed to shape your life around public transit not transit serving your needs. Political goals are different too. Transit now aims to control costs rather than to create profit. It has been joked that the goal of a transit system is to offer one ride to one person each year that costs their entire budget so everyone gets their salaries.

        A free market transit system would serve customer needs and wants. Even in today’s hostile environment a few companies are making a go of it. But what if the environment wasn’t hostile? What if there wasn’t government run transit offering rides at below cost? What it would be then? Government sucks much of the air out not leaving the market anything to breath so we have to imagine what it would look like.

    • Hi Bill,

      “Public” is a disingenuous term. There are government-owned and controlled transportation systems such as city trains and busses, etc.

      As a matter of principle, I object to being forced to fund these things. I’d rather pay for the things I decide I need and wish to use – and leave others free to pay for the things they decide they need and wish to use.

      The problem, then, is the same: Coercion. Being forced to subsidize “public” transpo… or being forced to buy the sort of car someone else (the government) decides you must have.

  9. I’d add too that for all the brouhaha about “safety” that a car with less mass is going to slow down much faster than a vehicle with more mass. To me the first definition of safety is avoiding the crash in the first place and that only requires three things: critical/quick thinking skills, good driving habits & skills, and few distractions.

    Critical thinking = sees the obstacle, quickly makes decision, steers and changes velocity, and avoids crashing.

    No thinking = sees (rarely) obstacle, goes “oh my God! what do I do, what do I do?!?!?”, inside of head is like Humphrey/Fatso bear going in all directions at once, lets go of the steering wheel, hands flying all over the place, does nothing to avoid obstacle, crashes/totals vehicle, will depend on the safety equipment to survive (if possible.)

    Good driving skills & habits = keeps eyes on the road, doesn’t tailgate, keeps a safe distance between his/her car and the car ahead, knows how to handle skids, ice, and other conditions. You know, stuff they don’t teach in driver’s ed anymore.

    I needn’t describe bad habits, and distractions, you all know what they are; when I can reach down and turn a knob to adjust the fan or temperature without looking at it, when I can change the radio station by turning a knob or pushing a preset button without looking at it, I consider that less distractions. Good luck with the infotainment systems that rely on touch-screens, mouse-like controllers, or knobs, and have tons of & menus pages just to turn on the windshield wipers.

    • I second all that Chris, and I add – I fail to see how anyone is made safer by insisting that some of my limited attention be focused on the speedometer instead of on surrounding traffic and conditions.
      Take that, Clover.

    • You should know that tractor-trailers that are loaded to their full legal gross vehicle weight stop much faster and shorter than empty ones. Why would cars be any different? Perhaps the braking ability is greater in the smaller, lighter, cheaper cars than in the more expensive and heavier land yachts.

      • “You should know that tractor-trailers that are loaded to their full legal gross vehicle weight stop much faster and shorter than empty ones.”
        Unless there is some sort of compensation being made to keep the (unloaded) trailer from jackknifing under extreme braking conditions, this makes no sense. It seems to violate the laws of physics. What say you, 8SM?

          • in the case of a tractor-trailer it is harder to lock the brakes when carrying a load, as far as stopping “much faster and shorter” I can’t say since I haven’t tested it out. Seat of the pants says not a lot of difference fwiw

          • PtB, I simply took it as sarcasm. Absolutely no comparison between stopping distance of 33-35,000 lbs compared to 80,000 lbs. Same tires and brakes.

            Hell, everything on a big rig affects everything else including visibility, etc. I bitch about mirror housings that are too deep and wide, esp. wide.

            A few months ago I bootlegged a Cat D6 across 4 counties on backroads since I was way overloaded and had no overwidth permit. I cussed the whole time about the tractor with east coast mirrors compared to west coast mirrors I normally have that let me see much further to the side. I even hate those electronic radios with screens you can’t easily see and controls that aren’t easily worked. Gimma a on/off button, a few presets and a round knob for volume and one for tuning. I despise LCD odometers(never bright enough for west Tx). I can drive fine without a speedo or tach for almost everywhere I go. Just give me a pointer for speedo so I don’t speed through a town and a tach is icing on the cake.

            What do I want? A turbo boost gauge, a pyrometer, and a fuel pressure gauge for the most part. I like all those gauges for heat for gearboxes and everything else but can(and do…for the most part)live without them. Now if it were MY truck, there’d be lots of gauges and indicator lights right beside the switches on things like differential locks, fifth wheel lock/unlock and Jakebrake off/on.

  10. In a truly free world the “car” I would buy would be either an atv or a side by side.

    I am guessing that I am not the only one who believes in simplicity and minimalism and therefore requires only the most basic transportation (going to the store for a few bags of groceries, taking the dog to the vet, heading to the range, etc all within a ten mile radius) because 99.99% of the time I am by myself (older, single dude).

    I have said it before but atvs and side by sides, fitted with lights and turn signals etc, should be allowed on the roads same as motorcycles. Maybe not interstates because of the speed restrictions (let the engineers figure this out) but for just driving within the local area these are outlawed only – of course – by clover dogoodery, backed by the violent bureaucracy (redundant, I know).

    Also bring back the original beetle, only with a/c this time.

    • Hi dogg. A mate’s car 1976 honda accord got 46 mpg on the road. My 83 Colt, with 1.3 manual, got 54 mpg on the road, and 39 on city roads in the winter, more in the summer. My 64 Studebaker Commander got 40 on the road, that with a 170 cid straight 6 and manual 3 speed. My 1973 Dodge van got 13 with the slant 6 and auto, and then I put in a 318. Got 18 mpg with the bigger motor.

    • It’s a tire thing most likely. Balanced tires don’t shake unless the road is rough and your shocks are worn out. Even then, really well balanced tires don’t produce much shake if any. It could be mud in the wheels too. One thing very few people notice when buying tires is watching that spinning tire on the balancer. Look at that tire in relation to anything close to it that’s not moving. A tire can balance(on the machine)and not be round(a great many really aren’t that round). I used to have my dealer use his special machine to literally remove tread to the point the tire was not only balanced but perfectly round. It would add mileage to the tire and really help at speed. I often picked a certain tire because of it’s “roundness”.

    • 8, dogg, thanks for the replies.

      I should have been more specific with my question.

      See my car is fine at 70, but once you hit 80, the car starts to shake, and it makes me nervous. I grip the steering wheel, feeling like a wheel is going to come off. This vehicle is an 05 CUV, I don’t think anything is wrong with it because it’s as smooth as butter at 70mph and below.

      I drove a 7th gen honda civic with over 250k, and it shook at any speed past 55mph… This vehicle was rough though.

      I drove an 89 or 90 Silverado, with less than 100k, it shook at anything above 35mph…

      And then of course I’ve driven cars (98 camry, 150k) at 100+ with no shake…

      So I’m wondering what causes this disparity. Is it a combination of factors like wind profile and age? Weight? Are some cars just better engineered? What would feel more stable at highway speeds and beyond, a 1960 continental or a 2014 Scion iQ? Would that silverado have been fine if I drove it in 1990, or do the standards just change with time? I’ll never know because I’ll never be able to drive a brand new car from the past.

      • Hi Brandon,

        An imbalance issue can manifest at a specific speed; the car seems ok at lower speeds, but all of a sudden…

        Process of elimination:

        First (easy) try rotating the tires and see whether that has an effect. If there’s a change in the way the vehicle behaves, it’s a strong clue you have one or more unbalanced wheels or tires.

        Next (assuming the above is ruled out) check:

        Suspension components (esp. shocks/struts), wheel bearings, CV joints/axles.

        It’s gotsta be there somewhere!

      • None of them should shake at any speed. In each case something is damaged or worn out. A mild vibration at specific speed can be normal. That’s just a natural frequency for the car on that road or maybe all roads. Going a little faster or slower will make it go away.

        Wheels, brake rotors, brake drums that have lost balance weights or rusted in an uneven manner or broken suspension components or tire issues can be common causes.

      • Brandon –

        Vibration that varies with speed but not RPM is related to the rotating parts after the final drive, such as transaxles, constant velocity joints, wheels and tires. A drive train may or develop have a fixed harmonic.

        The most common problem is wheel/tire balance. Wheels that were once balanced may go out of balance if a balance weight is thrown free. I’d have my wheels balanced and proceed from there. This is known as the “replace the cheapest part first” strategy of auto repair.

  11. re this: “And the more a car weighs, the more fuel it takes to get it moving”

    true — it takes fuel to accelerate mass

    ” – and keep it moving.”

    Basically false. Once up to cruising speed, fuel is needed to overcome wind resistance, engine friction losses, and tire drag. Adding extra weight to otherwise identical shaped cars with identical engines doesn’t affect the first two at all, and only imposes minor penalties for tire drag for the same size tires. And at speed, wind resistance is the major guzzler of fuel, which is why fuel economy plummets at high speeds.

    • That might be true if it’s mostly flatlands where you drive; around here it takes extra horsepower to get up some long/steep hills. Was carrying a half dozen bags of cement mix for a home project recently and could feel the difference as my 4 cylinder Corolla struggled up some of the steeper grades.

    • Jim, tire drag? And that doesn’t enter how? Makes no difference if it’s a one ton or 18 wheeler(or your Civic), the flatter those tires are makes a big diff in speed and power needed, i.e., fuel consumed…..minor penalty? The larger the load, the faster a vehicle will roll downhill, not accelerate, roll. But the larger that load, the slower the load is once the tires are made flatter and the more power required to hold a steady speed on a flat surface. The softer the surface, the more power required because it’s not as hard and holds the tire more than a very hard surface creating more surface friction. A 30 degree day on the same surface is a great deal different than the 100 degree day. I don’t need to write a book though. Every tire manufacturer has already done it and they are there for the asking. Every fuel log book tells it’s own story too, esp. when load weights are included. Mike in Boston notices a half dozen sacks of cement and would notice them on a runway too…..esp. when he wanted to stop, start or turn.

      Lots of things affect power consumption. Hear that turbo spooling on that big Detroit? Seems like it’s trying harder today. It is….. and has to cause that’s a big load, the pavement’s hot and the air is hot and dry. I’d give it a break and stir up a light rain and clouds if I could. And back in the day when superchargers were more common than turbo’s, getting close to the coast and the added humidity felt like it added 100 ft. lbs. of torque (and probably did if you started at 3,000′ altitude in the heat of the day). When the sun went down and the pavement cooled and humidity came up you didn’t even have to look at the speedo to know how much speed you’d gained. It even relieved that “truckers tan”…..and that shutterstat finally closed and things quietened down a LOT. I give kudos to Ford for their new little “shutterstat”. What’s old became new again.

  12. The last time I drove my wife’s ’08 Camry, I pulled out in front of a car that was at a four way stop. I didn’t see the car, because of the “Hulk Hogan” A-pillars. Not to mention the “mail slot” side windows. I am a tall guy (6’5″), and the only thing that I can see when I look out the driver’s side window is the top of the door in the Camry.

    When my daughter was looking for a different set of wheels, we saw a Chevy HHR at a used car lot. My daughter could barely get it out of the parking lot due to all of the blind spots. What a turd hearse!

    • I’m a tall guy, too (6 ft 3) so I know exactly what you mean!

      Visibility is becoming a real problem in new cars – hence the Band Aids (closed circuit cameras, “blind spot monitors” and so on). It’d be much better to just have… good visibility.

      • Reminds me of that Top Gear (english version) episode where they cover the windows and drive only with GPS.

        A good vehicle I use to point out the thickening pillars, are Chrysler minivans. The pillars on the original 80’s version are tiny compared even with the first major redesign in the 90’s.

        And do any non-convertibles on any current new car even available with frameless glass on the doors? I can’t think of any. Most of the door frames have gotten way thicker too.

      • Try this one if you don’t like A pillars.

        NASCAR and the SFI are now mandating HALO seats and HNS restraints just to keep driver’s heads from popping off in high speed lateral collisions! Imagine the hubris! If I don’t care whether or not my head comes off in a collision, why the hell should anyone else!

        Seriously. This is outrageous. It’s my damned head.

        • It is my damned head (and yours, too!)

          At bottom, the most cloying and offensive aspect of all of this is the idea that others (those in government) have a claim to – literally – parent us.

          If you’re an adult, your “safety” is entirely your business.

          On can make a valid moral argument for restricting vehicle exhaust emissions (within reason) as pollution affects others. But whether I wear a seatbelt? Whether my car is capable of reducing the chances of my being injured or killed if I wreck? These are matters pertaining to me only. I impose no harm on others by not buckling up, nor by driving a ’72 Beetle (or equivalent) rather than a ’15 “safety” car.

  13. Society is being organized by Big Brother to cater to the lowest common denominator. GPS enables us to drive without looking up directions, cars are bulked up so inattentive and incompetent drivers can survive mostly avoidable crashes, and mass media ‘entertainment’ celebrates the basest human behaviors. Brave New World and 1984 are upon us, and people are too dumb or jaded to care.

  14. Off in the distance, if you listen carefully, you can hear progressives say: “Poor people shouldn’t be forced into buying unsafe cars”

    • And if the gunvermin would quit screwing up the job market, fewer po’ folk would FEEL forced to buy an unsafe car.

    • Indeed. The proglogytes have already forced the poor to buy unsafe used cars through their endless nanny state shenanigans. Of course they will never admit it to anyone, let alone themselves.

    • Chip, that’s what happens when progressives give your money to people who aren’t smart enough to earn it themselves. They go out and buy “unsafe at any speed” cars (and there’s no other kind of car a stupid person can buy), then rear end you in the parking lot of the local mini-mall and kill you, your wife and your kids.

      They get away with it every time.

      • Hi Darth,

        I’m with you, but would like to offer a qualifier. Progressives are just one variety of statist. The term is often used by another variety – conservatives. This whack-a-mole is pointless if you advocate individual liberty.

        Put another way: If you reject the use or threat of aggressive violence as a matter of principle. If you believe the only legitimate violence is in defense against aggressive violence. In the right of every individual to be left alone, provided he is peaceful. To not take his money for any reason. To respect his liberty to as he pleases – period – so long as his actions cause no tangible harm to another person or their property.

        Conservatives do not believe in the above. Fundamentally, they are no different than progressives (the conservative term of opprobrium for left-liberal collectivists whose “plans” conflict with their right-conservative “plans”).

  15. Definitions from the “text book”: Safety is a measure of acceptable risk (or lack of unacceptable risk). Risk is a measure of exposure to and severity of a hazard. Hazard is a condition, circumstance, or property that can cause harm. All of these are subjective value judgments.

    • Geoih,
      “Hazard is a condition, circumstance, or property that can cause harm.”

      Would blindness count?
      As Eric noted – modern cars are essentially blinding drivers, by preventing them from seeing.

      Long past time to start stringing up these SOBs.
      Tree, Rope, Politican*: Some assembly required.
      *:A bureaucrat is an unlected politician.


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