Smaller Engines… Big Problems

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Downsizing is no longer the answer, apparently.ban-pic

Of engines, that is.

You may have noticed.

Even big vehicles come – increasingly – with startlingly small engines. Two-point-oh liter fours, for example, have become the go-to engine in mid-sized cars like the BMW 4, the Cadillac ATS and Mercedes C. These cars used to come standard with sixes in the 3-liter-ish range.

Several new cars (Ford Fiesta, Mini Cooper) come with three cylinder engines of less than 2 liters’ displacement.

All have turbos to increase displacement (on demand) in order to maintain the power/performance levels car buyers want while also delivering the higher mileage and lower emissions the government

Whoops, scratch the latter.

It turns out that small, turbocharged engines are producing more politically incorrect emissions in real-world driving than expected – and allowed. Because they are pressurized (a turbocharger is an exhaust-driven device that compresses the incoming air, resulting in a more energy-dense air-fuel charge and thus, more power when the mix is burned) they tend to run hotter – and hotter-running engines tend to emit higher percentages of compounds called oxides of nitrogen (NOx).

They pass the government tests – were designed (and tuned) to pass the government tests. But when actually out on the road, driven the way people actually drive them, their NOx output apparently exceeds the allowable threshold.

Higher-than-permitted NOx emissions out on the road (as opposed to hooked up to a test rig) are also what got VW in trouble.

Now it appears everyone is in trouble.

Times two.

Because the only technically (and economically) feasible way to reduce NOx to within what the regulators are demanding in real-word driving is to nix turbos and the high pressure/heat they create… and bring back the displacement that the turbos were intended to replace. But the problem then become carbon dioxide “emissions” (in air quotes for a reason, bear with) which necessarily go up the larger an engine is because a larger engine necessarily burns more gas, all else being equal – and that results in more gasses exiting the tailpipe.electric-detail

But carbon dioxide is not an “emission” in the way that NOx or carbon monoxide and unburned fuel remnants (volatile organic compounds) are emissions. They are all byproducts of internal combustion – but carbon dioxide, unlike the others, is an inert gas.

Not reactive, like NOx emissions are.

It doesn’t create or even contribute to smog. It doesn’t aggravate respiratory problems.

C02 is, in a word, harmless … unless you buy into the religious doctrine of unnatural (and man-made) “climate change.” Then it is considered an emission subject to regulation, the same as the others. Not here in the United States (yet) but in Europe, which all but assures it will be here as well.

Hillary is champing at the bit – and the election is just three weeks away.pants-suit

And even if by some miracle she is bound and gagged and rendered inert, we will still feel the effects – because car companies are global and have to design cars for more than just the U.S. market, which is no longer the world’s largest market for cars.

Thus, what occurs in Europe concerns us very much, like it or not.

Hillary or not.

And what’s going to occur is another price hike, because the cost of making cars (making car engines) just went

Huge sums have been invested in the design of families of small, turbocharged engines (both gas and diesel) which were presumed to be the means by which customers could be pleased and government bureaucrats appeased for the next decade-plus at least.

Now it appears that these engines will need to be prematurely retired – long before their R&D costs are amortized over a lifetime production run.

More gratuitous waste – brought to you by government.

Two examples: GM sells a 1.2 liter turbo-diesel in several of its European Opel cars. It’s being tossed into the trash in favor of something larger and less turbocharged. Maybe not turbocharged at all. Likewise, VW is kiboshing its high-economy 1.4 liter three-cylinder, which will be replaced (also prematurely) by a larger 1.6 liter engine.c02-graphic

The larger engines will make the NOx cut – but their “greenhouse gas” emissions (C02) will be higher.

Which brings us to the brick wall at the end of the alley.

C02 is the unanswerable trump card thrown down by the enemies of internal combustion because no matter how “clean” in terms of actually harmful emissions, an internal combustion engine will always produce C02. The car industry has managed to almost eliminate the meaningful, genuinely harmful stuff coming out of car’s tailpipe.

Even the NOx (and other stuff) is mostly a bogey. Emissions measured in fractions of a percent that are a negligible problem if they are a problem at all, in terms of actual harms caused to actual people (as opposed to offending a regulatory standard).paris-car-ban

But C02 can’t be eliminated without also eliminating internal combustion.

This is the increasingly obvious – the explicit – regulatory goal.

Germany’s government has openly announced its intention to ban internal combustion-powered vehicles as a class by the year 2030. There are already “ICE No Go” zones in major European cities. VW – licking its wounds from the beating it tool over the NOx emissions “cheating” scandal – has announced its intention to abandon the IC engine in favor of the electric motor by 2025.

There is no way out – except by going all-in for electric cars (and, maybe, hybrids that mostly motivate on electricity).

But this leads us to another wall – an economic one.ELECTRIC CARS ON CHARGE IN WILTON STREETPICTURE JEREMY SELWYN17/11/2008

The performance of electric cars has improved. Some have real-world viable range (though still nowhere near that of any IC-engined car) but the problem remains: They cost far too much to be sensible as an economic alternative to an IC-engined car.

Forcing people to buy electric cars will have the effect of forcing people to not buy cars, period. To “ride share” – or ride the bus. Which will have the effect of making it untenable for most people to live much beyond a certain radius of urban cores.

And that appears to be the nut of it. depends on you to keep the wheels turning! Clovers hate us!

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  1. We’ll only see 100% electric cars in the streets of America when the population grows over several years in popular cities/areas that don’t accommodate for growth. This is not to say that the Earth has a population problem because it doesn’t.

    But, bureaucratic city planners aren’t adapting to the needs of commuters that travel between cities on a daily basis for work. I live in the Bay Area, it’s nuts, how during the week at certain hours so much traffic makes 40min drives into an hour and a half. Imagine longer commutes. Anyways, traffic at times is nonexistent.

    The population stretched over maybe a hundred years (?) will make these traffic issues worse. Enough “emissions” will exist then, in “correlation” to the “immense” population growth which is really due to the inability or unwillingness to address the traffic issue in large cities, etc.

    Oh that reminds, if or when gas begins to soar again, and it’s inevitable rise over a hundred years (if gas stations exist by then lol!), will make a much stronger cases for making electric vehicles the only street legal car.

    Everyone thought that people would buy gasoline no matter how much it cost. Yet, when gas has soared people exert effort to consuming less fuel. If people cannot afford the car, they won’t buy it (at least the smart one’s won’t pretend too by taking out a loan they cannot pay back).

    As long as gassers are more affordable and available to the majority of consumers will avoid expensive electric cars. It’ll probably take hundred years to make the electric vehicle on par, or at close to it, with the internal combustion engine.

    • Hi Mad,

      The wild card no one expected (me included) was a return to $2 gas. The car industry – which invested big bucks in hybrids and electric car development when gas was $4 a gallon (and seemed on the path to ascend from there to $5 or $6 a gallon) is now squealing like Ned Beatty in Deliverance.

      Hybrids are selling poorly and electric cars not selling at all. They are being given away, at a net loss per car.

      Neither makes economic sense absent $4 (and more) gas.

  2. The only way I see electric cars being viable is if there is a parallel logistical development equivalent to the ubiquitous gas station of the past 90 years. The main problems with electric cars are their limited range and the amount of time required to recharge them. I think a better solution would be to ditch the idea of in-place recharging, and instead make the batteries a trade-out item like the propane tanks of a barbecue grill. But even with that, how feasible can it be for a driver to swap out battery cells that weigh over 100 pounds and to do so more frequently than a gasoline car requires a fill up?

    CO2 as “pollution” is one of those Holy Grail items for the State. As you point out, it’s an intrinsic product of combustion of any hydrocarbon and thus can always be held over the head of industry and consumers by busybody bureaucrat regulators. I’m reminded of the dialog in Atlas Shrugged, about the true purpose of byzantine laws that are impossible to obey or objectively define. They’re never for the purpose of actually compelling particular behavior, they’re for giving the State a weapon to be used against virtually anyone should you appear on the State’s radar for some other reason.

    • The problem is battery packs are very expensive and doing a trade in-and-out is roulette.
      You can give up your good well cared for or new pack for a beat up, used up one. But then people say the exchange system will inspect them. Sure, but you get the beat up that has little life left. So the system has to be modified again where the exchange owns all the batteries. But that’s going to be costly. Likely there will be some monthly charge involved so you can do battery swaps plus a cost for each swap. And still of course they will try to hold someone responsible for damaged battery packs. People will get ones that are damaged but slipped through.

      • I’m sure you are right, which only further invalidates the push for electric vehicles in my opinion. I’m simply not aware of anything else that offers the combination of economy, energy density, and portability of petroleum. Car makers claiming they will be all-electric by 2030 will look a lot like those assertions in the 70s that we’d have moon bases by now.

        • Hi Owen,

          I think it is entirely possible that only electric cars will be offered for sale by 2030; perhaps sooner. But only a few people will be in a position to afford one.

          You see, perhaps, where this is headed…

          • You may well be right about that. I suppose I continue to place unwarranted faith in an eventual popular uprising against the very premise of a technocratic elite micromanaging every detail of our lives.

            I know they certainly have fantasies of forcing us all to live in a Human Ant Farm (they openly brainstorm about this in their white papers and academic conferences), but I wonder how they could actually expect the economy to adapt to a scenario where only a minority can own the means of transportation…and in barely more than a decade from now.

            Meanwhile, massive new oil deposits continue to be discovered and the notion of Peak Oil pretty much discredited.

            • When it comes to micromanaging, it seems any excuse will do.

              The Samsung “fireball” 7 has provided a new reason to search our persons at train stations and bus stops.

              I’ll sleep better tonight (if I get hammered enough) knowing the authorities are able to demand my phone to make sure it is safe.

              • So true.

                Any excuse will do.

                The “ratchet effect” of creeping totalitarianism is especially frightening. Freedom is always lost, never to be regained.

                Even gun rights, which have seen some surprising gains, what with “must issue” concealed and open carry and constitutional carry, remain at risk. All it takes is some “national emergency” as pretext.

                Hurricane Katrina Door to Door Firearms Confiscation

            • Hi Owen,

              Orwell explained the “how” and “why” through his character O’Brien in 1984. The inner Party member has a “nicer flat” and a car and perhaps even a servant. These privileges place him in an orbit much closer to the sun – so to speak – than the distant, cold orbit occupied by the Outer Party member, to say nothing of the Proles.

              But most of all, the Inner Party is rewarded with the thing that matters most to such creatures: Power. The ability to control (and hurt) other people.

              • I’m going to put forth a theory I’ve been milling over for awhile.

                The way I am I find social things very difficult and the doing of productive things quite easy. Over time I’ve learned that for almost everyone else it’s the opposite way around. They find work difficult but social things easy. Hence why merit based human society is so infrequent and so brief while organizing rewards based on the ability to socially manipulate and so on is so frequent.

                Those with these social skills believe everyone has them innately and those who don’t something is wrong with them. Being an introvert is considered a pathology, a disease. Not being able to turn a wrench or understand basic biology or chemistry or anything else might get an occasional laugh but it won’t get someone shunned.

                So we get things like communism and socialism because everyone figures they got a shot at getting the rewards for little or no effort. Or at the very worst the effort in the dramas they find enjoyable. Work is hard but it’s not well rewarded by humans except when there is freedom. But freedom means work so people don’t like it. They want to be taken care of by others.

                Throughout human society it’s the person who can best manipulate others, lead others, etc and so on that is better rewarded than the person who can summon the wealth into existence. The manager who can make people believe in a product not the guy who can create a product worth believing in.

                The same is true through government and every other human institution.

                Anyway it’s just a thought on how things get this way. It’s considered that everyone has a chance to socially manipulate his way to the top but not everyone can create something to get there. A new invention, a good book, whatever.

                • Dear Brent,

                  That’s a very good theory. Very Randian if I’m not mistaken.

                  As Rand framed it, there are “first handers”, and “second handers”.

                  The former survive by dealing with reality, i.e., nature, directly. The latter survive by dealing with reality/nature indirectly, through other people who deal with reality/nature directly.

                  The former — farmers, ranchers, et al, extract wealth from nature. They are producers. The latter — politicians, tax collectors, welfare recipients, extract wealth from the producers. They are parasites.

                  • I’ve not read any Rand besides a few passages here and there.

                    The primary/secondary aspect certainly plays a role. However I am trying to figure out why instead putting the rewards of human society towards creation people want social abilities rewarded.

                    When someone creates something, summons something into existence with his gifts and skills everyone in human society benefits. The better plow the better factory machinery the better computer the better car the better blender…. whatever it is so many human lives are made easier and presumably better.

                    So why are these things considered less than social ability? The social ability yes sometimes gets people to work as a team but more often is used to pit people against each other, strip mine them for wealth, mass death, cultism, etc. When used wisely it may speed up some processes of creation but if creation is what is rewarded most by society then it would happen anyway.

                    People like HRC wouldn’t get very far in a creation rewarding society. But in a social rewarding society look where she is.

                    This social rewarding society doesn’t advance humanity. It retards it. It creates misery and divisiveness. I get why some of the traits work as I mentioned, but why is given priority? It doesn’t make much sense genetically/evolutionary. Human society doesn’t need parasites or to be organized around parasites. So I am trying to figure out why.

                    Is that because people perceive it as giving them a shot without hard work developing skills? They see a path of least resistance? It’s the best I can figure atm.

                    • BrentP,

                      “However I am trying to figure out why instead putting the rewards of human society towards creation people want social abilities rewarded.”

                      Humans spend an incomprehensible amount of time developing ways to kill their fellow man.

                      Since there is nothing larger than the individual, in order to have a society, you must have a symbiotic relationship between the producer and the parasite.

                      Society is a fiction, just like the corporation.

                      The “social skills” you claim to lack are really just a lack of being able to manipulate others. You’d rather trade with other individuals.

                      Note the irony in the logo “In a world of compromise, some men don’t.” Heckler & Koch makes some of the finest tools to quickly and efficiently kill your fellow man. One of the top choices of the parasites.

                      Rand IIRC, used to say that compromise was quid pro non as opposed to quid pro quo.

                      The whole idea of “society”, like George Carlin said, “It’s Bullshit, Folks. It’s All bullshit, and It’s bad For Ya.”

                      Time to stop trying to wrap your head around a fiction BrentP.

                    • I often call “social skills” manipulation. Because that’s what they are. I can only conclude people want to be manipulated, they want misery and poverty that comes with it. But why?

                      Maybe it doesn’t matter. It’s just part of the simulation. Maybe all of life is a fiction.

                    • Morning, Brent!

                      Rand is a clunky read. But worth reading. Her presentation/deconstruction of archetypes (especially the villains) is perhaps her greatest achievement. Ellsworth Tooey in the Fountainhead is a kind of King Clover – one who manipulates the Ordinary Clovers and is entirely conscious of his actions.

                      Where she falls flat – my opinion – is her presentation of heroes, who are not nearly as human as her villains. Her portrayals remind me of a Leni Riefenstahl production.

                    • BrentP,

                      “I can only conclude people want to be manipulated, they want misery and poverty that comes with it. But why?”

                      Do you want to manipulate people?

                    • Dear Eric,

                      “Where she falls flat – my opinion – is her presentation of heroes, who are not nearly as human as her villains.”


                      Rand heroes are “Mary Sues”.

                      A Mary Sue is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through unrealistic abilities. Often this character is recognized as an author insert or wish-fulfillment.[1] Sometimes the name is reserved only for women, and male Sues are called “Gary Stus” or “Marty Stus”; but more often the name is used for both sexes of offenders.[2][3]


                    • Morning, Bevin!

                      I think Rand’s chief defect was her blind spot about her own defects; about all our defects as human beings. That we all struggle with things, especially emotions – and holding ourselves to a Spock-like standard of Perfect Reason with regard to everything, including things that are beyond the realm of reason is profoundly (to borrow her own term) anti-Man.

                      Rand appeared to brook no difference of opinion on a variety of subjects and regarded those who had different opinions as moral/psychological cretins – which is deranged and Stalinist, too.

                      A huge practical problem arises from this. Rand was personally unappealing as a human being; her writing revealed a coldness and lack of empathy that is off putting to many people (me included).

                      I was attracted to Libertarianism (as distinct from Objectivism) because it is a human moral philosophy. It accepts that we are each individuals, with our own desires, quirks and idiosyncrasies. And is accepting of these. So long as no one tries to impose their views on others, everyone is free to pursue their own form of happiness. No collective standard. Live – and let live.

                    • I don’t. But I am off on the edge of every bell curve. The middle wants to be and thinks that’s the way it should be best that I can tell.

                    • Dear Eric,

                      Agree. Her one time “intellectual heir” Nathaniel Branden broke with her for just that reason.

                      Branden eventually realized that Objectivism, at least as practiced in real life by Rand herself, had serious emotional defects, leading to a “Great Schism”.

                      I took many workshops with Branden before he passed. He deeply regretted the way the treated “students of Objectivism” when he as a “Randroid”.

  3. Geez, I miss the old Remon, my yellow 74 Toyota with a 1600CC engine. I ackshully got it up to 105 MILES per hour. Of course, I was coming down the Queen E past the Ford Plant at the time.

  4. CO2 is a REACTIVE compound. If it were non reactive, there would be no plant life, or any other kind of life. Now helium is truly non reactive. It takes tremendous pressures in reactors to make it react.

    • It’s non-reactive, moron. Learn yer chemistry.

      Inject ENERGY into the equation and PRESTO, photosynthesis works! Otherwise, you can have carbon and oxygen bound up like that ALL DAY LONG and absolutely NOTHING will happen. No plant matter is generated, no oxygen released, no water vapour produced.

      Did you learn your organic chem from AlGort? MANBEARPIG!

    • Hi Joe,

      In terms of the discussion (air quality/emissions) C02 is not reactive.

      Many industrial applications requiring an inert gas use nitrogen or carbon dioxide for that purpose. While not truly inert, they have very little reactivity under normal pressure and temperature conditions and are much less expensive than the other “inert” gases.

      The naturally inert or “noble” gases are members of “Group 18” of the Periodic Table. They have their outermost, or valence, electron shell complete (with two electrons for helium and eight for the other gases). The “noble” gases are all monatomic.

      Nitrogen (N2) and Argon (Ar) are commonly used in the gaseous form to shield potentially reactive materials from contact with oxygen. Nitrogen will react with oxygen at very high temperatures, as in furnaces, but it is inert under most other circumstances. Argon, helium, neon, krypton and xenon are “noble gases” that are extremely inert under all conditions.

      Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is also used as an inert gas in some applications, in particular for fire fighting. Both portable fire extinguishers and total room fire extinguisher systems use carbon dioxide to extinguish flames without damage to materials and without the risk of short circuiting electrical systems or damaging electronic components.


  6. “Hillary is champing at the bit….. if by some miracle she is bound and gagged and rendered inert”

    Now there’s a pretty picture.

    • Hi Jimmie,

      Maybe, but SkyActive engines are very high compression, almost diesel-like, and that may be an issue as far as future (very strict) NOx standards.

      The real issue is they – the regulators – are trying to make it impossible for an IC engine of any type to meet their standards, so as to regulate them out of existence.

      It sounds crazy, I know. But look at the facts:

      Punitive regulatory/tax policy toward IC engines and vehicles. Regulatory/tax incentives for electric/hybrid cars.

      “No go” areas for IC-engined cars.

      Current regulatory standards are at (or very close to) the “partial zero emissions” (PZEV) threshold. How much stricter can it be made? Current engines emit almost no harmful emissions. The “problem” is not only solved – it was solved years ago.

      At this point, it’s about placating regulatory bureaucrats – at any cost – not “clean air.”


    This, over 15 year old, speech provides the best refutation of the climate cult I have ever seen.

    • Hi Poodris,

      “Climate change” is political speech, first of all. Like the “Patriot” act. The term is designed to de-legitimize any questioning of the dogma by making the questioner appear to be a cretin for daring to broach the question. Who could question “patriotism,” after all?

      The same with regard to “climate change.”

      The oily package deal being that the climate changes (of course) and that – ipso facto – it is bad and caused by us. Raise your hand to ask a question and you are immediately derided as a cretin.

      Orwell wrote an excellent analysis of political speech; I recommend it.

  8. Another unanswered problem is that IF we are forced into all-electric powered vehicles or even hydrogen-powered vehicles, this new “fuel” has to come from somewhere. Currently the electrical generation system and the network this electricity travels upon is pushed beyond capacity. Power plants are being shut down and few, if any, are being built because of prohibitive regulations. Those that are in existence already generally emit too much CO2 and other byproducts to pass current and pending short-term regulations and it will be far too expensive to upgrade them or develop further emissions technology to trap or otherwise cope with these new regulations. The only “emissions free” power generation technology capable of keeping up is nuclear power, and that’s even more of a no-no to regulators than fossil fuel burning plants. And nobody knows what to do with the leftover radioactive waste from these facilities.

    The electric grid itself is a house of cards. Because of regulation and price controls, what little money exists in the electricity business is frittered away on ungodly-expensive emissions equipment and not on maintaining or improving the grid itself. Whole departments of hundreds of tree cutting crews have been eliminated because of budgets being cut to the bone and beyond. Every time there’s a big storm, cutting crews and repair crews have to be pulled from all over the nation, now, not just the region, to deal with the disaster because there aren’t enough local resources to cope. Had the tree trimming crews not been reduced in the first place, the disaster would have been mostly mitigated in terms of power loss. Now consider all these new electric cars putting double or triple the demand on household electrical systems, multiplying that demand a thousand-fold as it reaches up to the more and more centralized power generation infrastructure. The grid will neither be able to produce nor deliver such quantities of power.

    And hydrogen-powered cars require hydrogen fuel, which currently is most efficiently produced by electrolyzing water. That requires electricity in far greater amounts than the fuel equivalent output of the process. And again, same problem.

    Solar power is untenable. Even at 100% efficiency, solar panels would be unable to provide sufficient power to make up the difference unless huge swathes of land were turned into solar farms, where they couldn’t be used for nature, or farming, or anything. Wind power only works for a very, very small portion of the nation. Water power requires the proper natural resources, which are not widespread, and dams are major environmental no-nos right now. For all of these, the production of the materials needed to collect these energy sources (e.g., solar panels, wind turbines, dams) are far costlier to the environment, not to mention far more expensive to build, than could be justified by the cost.

    In the end, even if man made global warming were true, the most moral, ethical, and environmental option is to continue to use fossil fuels and perhaps even expand their use through deregulation, that is unless the Europeans propose to simply eliminate humans en masse. I say this in jest, but there’s a real possibility that this will become true. Just look at Hillary’s (and Barry’s and W’s) foreign policy.

    • SojournerMoon,

      I understand that government will tell a man with a blowtorch and a cup of water that he can make ice.

      But given that humans produce CO2 and government can ONLY control humans, I’m pretty sure the only way to significantly reduce CO2 is to reduce the number of humans.

      Once it becomes “untenable for most people to live much beyond a certain radius of urban cores”, disease can run a “natural” course, the herd can be culled without foreign policy considerations.

    • Hi SJ,

      It has taken me a long time (decades) to come around to the ugly conclusion that the end goal is not “clean air” or “protecting the environment: but rather to corral and control the human herd. The elites do not object to material well-being… for themselves. They object to material well-being for the masses, which (by their standards) diminishes them.

      General affluence, a comfortable/happy life for the average person, has long been anathema to the elites because it renders them unnecessary. Keep in mind that these are people who produce nothing. They exist as parasites, feeding off the creative work product of others, using the shibboleth of “fixing problems” to justify their ruling status.

      If there are no problems that need fixing… one no longer needs “leaders”….

      • eric, mark my words, we have in store for us, in the near future, terrible lab(govt. funded)produced viruses that will reduce the human…and animal effect to a great degree.

        The AIDS virus comes to mind as does some of the worse forms of influenza. Lyme’s disease is another. Now govt. is importing diseases that could only exist in very localized areas and finding like conditions in the US(esp, the US)and other countries where these diseases can proliferate.

        Of course the good ol US military brought us heartworms and ehrlichiosis.

        Lyme’s disease was supposed to only affect very wet areas of the country which means most of the world at some time of the year. Mosquitoes, ticks and fleas are hauled around worldwide no matter what precautions are used. The first outbreak of Lyme’s disease in the wetlands(desert)of Sweetwater, Tx. happened over 15 years ago.

        Only those who believe the dope story of 9/11 straight up can believe the stories of non-transmissible diseases because of local conditions where they were first identified.

        Back in the ’50’s small towns in west Tx. began to get jet fighter fly-overs. It was astounding to us kids since the only places we’d seen them before in real life had been in cities where USAF had a base. We had some nasty flu outbreaks back then that filled hospitals and killed people. Decades later some of the pilots came clean and the AF had to admit to spraying various influenzas to small populations to determine their effects. These planes came from Big Spring, Tx. and that base no longer exists. Out of sight, out of mind?

        If the AF came clean finally, on that, not many people must remember that or ever knew of it(I don’t recall it going national network news) lest they wouldn’t believe the 9/11 bullshit.

        V for Vendatta never had a good critique, just like Fight Club although both were excellent movies. The problem with both was their anti=govt. stance. And V wasn’t some farfetched notion, it had already been done many times. All of these things are nothing more or less than control of humans. Scare shit out of em and then offer to “save” them if only they’ll do what govt. says.

        Meanwhile, underground cities for the elite continue to be built with not a word in the MSM of them. We’re doing it for the good crowd in DC and their controllers and buttlickers.

      • Eric,

        “If there are no problems that need fixing… one no longer needs “leaders”….”

        Always gonna be space men, sea monsters, bogeymen, and clowns.

        And always gonna be Top Men eager to help.

        But don’t worry, you can trust your car to the man who wears the star, the big, red, Texaco star.

        The good will out.

        • Hi T,

          What is it with people? This cattle-like instinct to (mooooooooo!) be herded and led? Maybe I am in the wrong business. Maybe I should have grabbed my chance at becoming one of… them.

          Sometimes I think so.

          Not often, but sometimes.

          And such a chance did present itself. A long time ago… far, far away.

    • When I see the DOE revise their onerous regulation of the commercial nuclear industry I’ll start to worry about global warming.

      Here’s a way to produce electricity who’s waste products can be easy tracked, stored and recycled. You want to see it? Here is an example of an on-site dry cask storage pad. It’s all right there (and oh, by the way still has 95% or so of its potential energy just waiting to be extracted through recycling of the fuel). That’s several decades of spent fuel. Compare that to the amount of CO2 going up the smokestacks of gas turbines every hour of every day that they have to be available, basically spooled up but not outputting power, to cover any shortfall of wind power.

      The problem is that the politicians have chosen to listen to crackpots like Amory Lovins who just tell them what they want to hear, that somehow efficiency and intermittent sources will lead to prosperity. He always talks about LED lightbulbs and how they’ve been a big success. He never seems to talk about how many glass factories his beloved wind turbines run (hint: none). We all love our glass beer bottles, and it has to come from somewhere. We’re all told that CO2 is a global problem, so producing glass overseas doesn’t do us any good, but at least the greens can hold hands and drink their craft beer from “recycled” glass bottles, knowing that they are doing their part to solve the global warming problem. (oh wait…)

      One of my favorite things to see is the huge generator running those Earth Day rally stage shows. Oh, we all love our solar power, but if I’m going to sing Joni Mitchell covers and lecture you about how terrible consumption is, I need a 10 KW generator to run the sound and lighting system.

    • Hi CC,

      When I was just starting out as a car journalist, I was struck dumb by the discovery that most (almost all) the regulatory “decision makers” had no specific technical knowledge and in many cases (as regards car regulations) didn’t know enough about how a car works to do the most basic maintenance on their own. Yet these people – who would by stymied speechless if asked to explain the operation of a four-stroke engine – are empowered (by themselves) to issue fatwas to engineers.

      Make it so! they exclaim.

      • Dear Eric,

        The “elites'” mindset is the clearest evidence of their psychopathology. Any rational person would think to himself, “A rising tide lifts all boats. How wonderful!”.

        But the “elites” don’t think that way. They can’t stomach the prospect of a world that is flat. They often invoke egalitarianism in order to achieve their political goals, but genuine equality is the farthest thing from their minds. They are determined to ensure that the world is a pyramidal hierarchy, and that they occupy its apex.

        This is not mere “long distance psychologizing”. They’ve openly admitted their agenda in moments of rare candor. I doubt I need to collect the memes of the globalist elites talking about population reduction. We’ve seen them often enough.

        This may well be behind their reckless disregard for the fact that their relentless military provocations against Russia and China are on the verge of igniting WWIII.

      • Eric,
        Professional bureaucrats are like professional journalists. They live to be bureaucrats, and they don’t really care about what they’re regulating. “Good” middle managers and salesmen (the kind who get promoted to upper management) are the same way. They talk about how they’re in the “people business.” They give not one whit about the product, just what control they can have over the greatest number of people. The revolving door of bureaucracy means that if you have time in place at the regulating authority you can write your own ticket to the businesses regulated, since you’ve obviously been able to build your contact list, and your high status in the regulated company is due the potential for damage caused by regulators. We’re now at the point where having an MBA is more important than having a masters in engineering, the latter actually more of a liability in many industries because you’re priced out of the market.

        Oddly enough, the same thing seems to have happened in journalism, for much the same reason. Most tech journalists, for example, just spout the marketing bullet points, while enjoying junkets and trade show meetings with the marketing folks. I’m sure if there’s an opening in the company they’re writing about they’ll be high on the list of potential candidates, and then it’s no more ramen noodles in the 5 floor walk-up. Nice work if you can get it.

        • Hi Eric,

          When I got started, back in the ’90s, a majority of the car press cared about cars as such and knew something about them. I got to be friends with several older guys who were also engineers, pilots and so on. But a new “type” began to come online in the early 2000s. Women (usually cute, their main attribute) and metrosexual urban guys who often didn’t even own a car, much less wrench. I even got asked advice once by this kid who had been hired to write about motorcycles for a major paper who admitted to me – without shame – that he had never ridden a bike but was looking forward to learning how…

          • Hi both Erics
            The same thing seems to have happened to at least one alternative power magazine. A couple of decades ago I was a subscriber to Home Power magazine. Back then they had articles about DIY energy solutions. I let my subscription drop, but I saw an ad for the magazine several years ago and subscribed. Issue after issue only covered alternative energy products which are dealer or “professional” installed. I let the subscription end, and they sent me a letter asking why. I told them and never heard from them again.

            • Good for you. Maybe it will register and affect what they do.

              Then again, maybe not. At least you spoke your piece.

              None of this creeping disempowerment of the individual is accidental. It may not be planned in advance in all cases. Statists are not omniscient after all.

              But every time a choice is there to be made, one can count on statists moving the goalposts in the direction of diminished individual control.

              Self-driving cars are merely one of the more obvious signs of this relentless dumbing down and disempowerment of the individual.

              • Let them first develop and perfect self driving lawn mowers. I want to see how well that works first. Gardens, beware!

                I know big ag has made significant inroads but marginal errors within a crop field isn’t catastrophic. A spray boom clipping a utility pole along the edge of the field is rough on the boom but not unexpected. Allowing the Tesla to duck under a trailer is more concerning.

                • Large tractors already steer themselves via GPS. I look for them to be cabless soon. Now the operator lifts the implements, turns them around and uses GPS to lock on coordinates at which point he only has to drop the implement(and they’re set to a specific depth and can keep it no matter the terrain), push a button and the tractor takes over steering and keeps a pre-set speed. I saw a John Deere combine harvesting a field years ago with no driver. Harvesting speed varies by measuring the crop being fed.

                  Now there are cotton strippers that virtually gin the cotton and produce plastic covered round bales or bales similar to a conventional bale.

                  Many crops that were previously planted as seed are now automatically sprigged as seedlings. Cameras, radar and GPS can do anything an operator can do plus sensors can detect a problem when it’s small before it becomes large enough to destroy various parts.

                  GM vehicles communicate with a computer constantly now which allows them to monitor various systems for problems. Once enough show similar symptoms it becomes part of a data base so parts can be redesigned. Of course this data probably contains the location of that vehicle as well as a running data set on how it’s being operated. I’ll continue to monitor parts via old school.

  9. Do you think that politicians’ goals are to ban cars for the common person, or that they’re true believers in the church of climate change? To me it seems that politicians are willfully blind to the repercussions of their policies, assuming that things will just somehow magically work out and people will find some way of complying.

    Take the ACA. Any economist with a few active brain cells predicted that medical costs would rise. The politicians pushing this on us argued about economies of scale, negotiating power, blah blah blah, which would drive costs down. That became the rhetoric – this would both drive down costs and somehow cover more people. They got up there and said that with a straight face.

    This willful blindness affects everything they do – We’ll kill Hussein, Qadaffi, topple the government and peace will reign. We’ll build solar – it’s more reliable and cheaper.

    I’m starting to believe we’re being led by incompetent morons. These are people with zero practical experience, full of ideology, who think that we engineering people can work around all their requirements magically.

    The laws of physics are starting to catch up to this, we can’t comply with car rules anymore. There’s a fight coming – politicians vs real people. I’m hopeful that people won’t stand for this bullshit once their own lives are materially impacted.

    • Hi Opp,

      “who think that we engineering people can work around all their requirements magically.”

      You left out willingly.

      I’m sort of looking forward to the day when engineers are “given a fair trial and then taken out back and shot” for failing Govco.

      “I’m hopeful that people won’t stand for this bullshit once their own lives are materially impacted.”

      They have been materially impacted for decades as their choices are continually restricted. Humans are very resilient and adaptive. War, concentration camps, death marches, they still do the Energizer Bunny routine.

      Sorry to tell you, it is the fault of the engineers for not saying no.

      So when they tie you up in front of the firing squad, maybe you can try to reason with them one last time.

      But I still think your chances of getting that last cigarette are slim to none.

    • “Never attribute to malice what can be easily explained by stupidity.”

      I’m afraid that in the case of government actions, this doesn’t normally apply. You give them too much credit for benign intentions.

      • Dear BJ,

        “Never attribute to malice what can be easily explained by stupidity.” This applies only in civil society.

        In the “public sector”, the correct rule is “Never attribute to stupidity what can be easily explained by malice.”

        The Church of the Leviathan State has the masses convinced that government is a “shmoo” whose raison d’etre is “to serve man”.

        It is, but only in the sense that Rod Serling meant it in his Twilight Zone episode of the same name.

        Once people come to that realization, they are no longer surprised when governments callously benefit their cronies even though they know wealth is being destroyed within the economy as a whole.

          • Dear Tuanorea,

            It is.

            I mean, think about it.

            Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution:
            “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises… ”

            Translation: I’m allowed to rob you.

            This means Americans, like tax slaves in other “unexceptional” and “dispensable” nations, have only been free for the 12 years after the Declaration of Independence (1776) and before the ratification of the US Constitution (1788).

            They (we) were not free before then, and have not been free since then.

            • Bevin,

              Then I guess as “The Obsolete Man,” I’ll be having the long pork for my last meal.

              (I tried to find you the link to the TZ Radio episode with Grorge Costanza, but no joy.)

              • bevin, I’d really like to see that episode.

                I briefly considered myself a Constitutionalist because I’d read the main parts and must have been smoking something when I read those. But it’s like a TV ad or radio ad(fast talking guy you can’t understand with disclaimers) and when I read the “fine print” I realized they had always expected everyone to read the basics and not the entire thing and this must have been true at the outset, at the Constitutional convention where the richest orators who shilled for England shouted down the more “common” man who they didn’t think deserved to be there. It was even then, a party for the elites.

                Wouldn’t we like to be privy to the thousands of back room deals discussed not only at the convention but all over the country….and other countries.

                Bankers in England were rightly relieved to see the final draft. Ah, boys, we have em by the nads now.

                  • They run the old episodes of The Twilight Zone on me TV ( AT&T) Uverse
                    I record them all.
                    Just watched that episode recently and it was very good..
                    It took a little to long to decipher their language

                • Don’t feel bad. I considered myself a constitutionalist for a lot longer than that. For a couple of decades at least. And I don’t even have the excuse that I was using. I’ve never been a “recreational user”.

                  • bevin, is that opposed to a “professional” user? I’m not sure there is such a thing as recreational at some stage in life. If you smoke something, anything, and it makes your life better, improves your health, then I’d say “recreational” might more aptly apply to some of the stuff the doc has given me….and then we get into the stuff that’ll really mess you up. In my old age pot really shines as a mild analgesic even though it lasts too long in your urine for me to chance using it since I’m subject to random drug screens even if I’m not driving a truck, just simply being employed as such. What’s bad is I never used it when driving since it made me too sensitive. I could feel and hear every rough bearing, every valve not perfectly adjusted, or anything that wasn’t perfect including tires and alternator whine. It all drove me crazy. Back in the day before drug screens though, it didn’t bother me in the sleeper… all. You know you’ve been driving too long when you can’t sleep in bed, get up and go out and crawl in the sleeper……aaahhhh. I was thinking of George Costanza, he really cracked me up.

                    • No criticism of “recreational use” was implied.

                      As it turns out, cannabis is a marvelous alternative medicine that actually cures cancer.

                      Who knew?

                      I was merely saying that I never got into the habit of smoking anything, including tobacco or anything else.

                    • 8,

                      Costanza does the role in TZ Radio. Can’t find it free but just a couple bucks on iTunes.

                      It is funny as hell when the Govco guy thinks he is going to die.

                      Back to hearing everything, you ever burn one around a straight 5?

                      Supposed to be something musical about the detonations at 144 degrees vs. 180.

            • I have always been awed by them, to think that every single facet of every life is regulated
              and directed from within! Our books, our music, our work and play are all looked after by
              the benevolent wisdom of the priests…’

        • ‘government is a “shmoo” whose raison d’etre is “to serve man”. ‘
          You mean like the cannibal who enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu?

    • They are not incompetent.
      Their goals are not what they say they are. Their actions work towards their actual goals or the goals of those controlling them.

      The ACA like reforms before it was supposed to preserve and increase high prices. That’s the design. The mandate was to force people with no claims to subsidize those with claims. Medical reforms since the first in 1910 have been to increase prices and find ways for people to pay increased prices. It’s working as it is designed to work. In fact it’s working too well and going far too fast such that people might catch on.

  10. It’s almost like people like Hillary want our cars to be like those in Cuba, frozen in a time period starting with the revolution where nothing new wound up on the island.

  11. I love it when you have news from Norway. Nonetheless right is right and fair is fair. As far as I can read norwegian properly, it appears that the politicians want to face out fossil fueled cars to decrease the emission of CO2. To decrease the emission of NOx does not seem to be the intension of the proposal, although diesel engines are presently again generally unpopular, because of NOx.

    • Hi Jone,

      You write: “… it appears that the politicians want to face out fossil fueled cars to decrease the emission of CO2.”

      That is the stated reason. But the real reason is that it’s a way for them to phase out cars… for us. They will continue to motor around (and be motored around) because for them, it is “necessary” and of course cost us no object, having limitless access to other people’s money.

      You seem like an ok, guy – just a little naive.

      • You are an OK guy yourself. After all I found your articles on “”. I am also a libertarian, although it is called “Liberalist” in Norway. (Liberalist in Norway actually means a supporter of capitalism).

        • Hi Jone,


          Some definitions are in order, though: A Libertarian is not defined by his support of capitalism. He is defined by his rejection of the use of force in social/political interactions with others.

          He accepts that, as he is the owner of himself, others are the owners of themselves – and no human being has any rightful ownership claims to another human being.

          Or their property.

          Libertarians oppose the criminalization of actions such as the consumption of (and manufacture/possession/sale of) “drugs” and utterly reject such things as government requiring people (that is, forcing people) to wear seat belts or buy insurance of any sort.

          The idea that “someone” might cause harm is insufficient justification – in Libertarian terms – to pre-emptively punish (or even control) any person. A person must have actually caused harm (as opposed to offended a statute) before it is morally legitimate to to hold him accountable for the harm he has caused.

          Note the distinction: Hold him accountable for the harms he has caused …. as opposed to punishing him. Libertarians believe in restitution.

          Libertarians oppose any restriction/interference whatsoever with freedom of association, which flows from the concept of every human being having absolute sovereignty over himself and whatever property he has rightfully acquired. So, for example, the owner of a bar or restaurant has an absolute right to serve (or not serve) whomever he likes, according to whatever standard he wishes to apply.

          I may develop this into a full-length rant, but it’s a start!

          • I like this quote from CS Lewis:

            To live his life in his own way, to call his house his castle, to enjoy the fruits of his own labour, to educate his children as his conscience directs, to save for their prosperity after his death — these are wishes deeply ingrained in civilised man. Their realization is almost as necessary to our virtues as to our happiness. From their total frustration disastrous results both moral and psychological might follow.

            It is a neat summation of liberty, imo. Looking forward to your rant!

          • No problem. My definition of libertarian/liberalist (in Europe) was a bit “thin”. I just wanted to to write a short comment, signaling that we probably are on the same side politically, although my comments sometimes are challenging.

            • Hi Jone,

              The thing that defines a Libertarian is his rejection of the use of aggressive force (or its threat) against other people for any reason but in particular, to compel their obedience to his “plans” or his notion of what’s “best” for them (or “society”).

              A Libertarian regards force as morally acceptable only in self-defense against the initiator of force.

              This sets the Libertarian apart from the modern “liberal,” who believes in using force and threats of force to impose what he considers to be “fair” on society generally – and from the modern “conservative,” who also believes in using force and threats of force to impose what he considers to be “good” for other people and society generally.

  12. This is a typical government regulatory problem. These small engines pass the government tests just fine. That’s what they were designed to do. The regulators want products that pass their tests. The politicians want the passing grade to be lower emissions so they can say they granted the people ‘clean air’. How the vehicles actually perform emissions wise in the real world is of no concern of either party.

    Even from the outside it was pretty clear that these small engines got by with producing more emissions and horrible fuel economy at WOT and then used WOT more often. But the federal emissions cycle isn’t driving at WOT, it’s driving like Mr. and Mrs. Clover. These engines are better at that wrt emissions and fuel economy than a more traditional size. They are simply screaming when that old V8 would be loping along.

  13. It amazes me how easily and effectively this CO2 lie has been sold. Everything we’re told about it is in violation of my third grade science class.

    We, and other animals, take in O2 to burn and derive the energy from the food we eat. The byproduct is CO2, which we exhale. Plant life takes in this CO2 and uses it with sunlight and what it derives from the soil to make the nutrients it needs. It, in turn, releases O2 as the byproduct.

    It’s rather a nice balance. Almost like it was designed that way.

    • I’m into gardening somewhat, and I grow my plants using extra CO2 in a concentration of 40,000 ish ppm. I figure my mini greenhouse should be about…oh, 1,800 degrees right? 🙂

    • Yep. the way the analysis and presentation of data is done violates the rules of science that are taught in grade school. But they get away with it because they don’t tell the public what they are doing, those who learn what they are doing are called deniers and other things, and because people believe in authority. They will not accept that authority is conning them.

      • There has to be some very lawyered up way of figuring what companies are subjected to the carbon tax and how it’s figure. Obfuscation is the word of the day with that law no doubt. I’m sure it drew a lot of lobby money.

        • Very easy.
          Companies that manufacture in the USA get carbon taxed. Companies than manufacture in China don’t. CO2 doesn’t count if it comes from China. See Obama’s agreement with China. China will keep increasing CO2 as it wants until 2030 something where it will then decide if it wants to reduce from there.

          • Works out good for corporations like GM. Last I knew they had 5 car plants in China with 3 of them being state of the art…..and of course nearly no labor costs. Every law that’s been passed for the last 25 years has put some onus on US companies.

    • When CA won the right regulate CO2 in the early to mid 2000’s, some nit-wit of the CA gov’t proclaimed – “I look forward to the day CA is CO2 free.” I laughed out loud and agreed. I have tried desperately to find that quote since the left accuses “deniers” of being anti-science. I think that quote shows who’s being ignorant more than any I have heard before or since. I suspect it’s been scrubbed from the interwebs to hide proof of incompetence.

  14. Another thing to note with turbos is that fuel mixture is often put rich of stoich (11-12:1) because effective compression ratios spike to 13-14:1 under boost, which is also really bad for HC emissions (carcinogens). It’s also why my little 1.6 4-pot can do 7 mpg on track day.


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