Taxing (and Antiquing) Them Off the Road

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For planned obsolescence to work, you’ve got to keep the conveyor belt rolling. And most of all, prevent anyone from getting off.

It is a problem if people “cling” to their old cars instead of regularly trading them in – ideally, to be crushed – for new ones – hopefully, heavily financed.

But how to get rid of the old cars when people decline to get rid of them voluntarily?

Democratic politicians in Oregon have just the thing.

It is House Bill 2877 and – if it becomes law – it will impose heavy taxes on cars 20 years old or more to the tune of $1,000 payable every five years, in perpetuity – unless the owner obtains Antique Vehicle registration and tags for the vehicle.

The Antique tags, of course, cost extra – and once registered as an Antique, the vehicle may no longer be legally driven regularly but only occasionally, to “parades” and “shows” and so on. It’s one step away from drilling holes in the engine block and turning the car into a static display.

The legislation would make older cars either functionally useless – or usuriously expensive to drive . . . if you insist on clinging.

A grand every five years. So, two every ten. Four every twenty. In exchange for the privilege of being allowed to keep “your” car.

And that’s in addition to all the other assorted fees, such as annual registration dunning-for-nothing (unless you consider a little government-issued sticker getting something in return for your money) and the mandatory “safety” and emissions rigmarole.

Old car collectors might be able to afford it – though that’s a pretty twisted standard, when you think about it: Punishment applied based on the victim’s ability to absorb the blow. Don’t kick the old lady; sucker punch the young guy instead! He can take it. 

This is, of course, the operating principle behind what is called “progressive” taxation, of which this is a sub-species.

And it is punishment that we’re dealing with here.

The Bill reeks of how dare you own an old car. Its language is victim-blaming, describing the punitive taxes as “impact fees,” as if the state were merely recouping money for costs imposed.

But what is this “impact,” exactly?

It is not specified in the Bill itself (PDF here, if you’d like to read the thing) but whenever that term is used in the context of cars you should always assume they mean environmental impact.

The magic words.

Older cars are not as “clean” as new ones – which is true, as far as it goes.

But it doesn’t go very far.

New cars are slightly cleaner than circa 1990s-era cars.

Slightly meaning a percentage or two; maybe three – that’s it. Really. People don’t grok this, in part because it is never explained to them.

You have to go way back to the era before three-way catalytic converters and computer-controlled fuel injection (which would be early 1980s and older) to find cars that produce significantly higher Bad for Gaia exhaust byproducts and now you are dealing with cars more than 35 years old – and the number of those still in use as daily drivers is so small – fewer than 3 percent of the cars registered – as to render whatever their exhaust emissions may be irrelevant as a public health issue.

However many pre-early ‘80s cars may be running around in Oregon (or any other state) they are emitting a fraction of the Bad for Gaia materials that the government’s vast fleets of exempt-from-any-emissions-controls-whatsoever MRAPS and Humvees and assorted Peasant Control Units in inventory spew every single day. 

This is never explained, either.

Instead, the impression is left that any car not brand-new or nearly new is a kind of mobile Chernobyl and its owner a vile misanthrope who probably also pours used motor oil down the storm drain.    

And of course, such people must be dealt with.

Note that it’s not even material whether the old car is actually running. Many cars more than 20 years old are not. They are in the process of being restored – or just being stored for now. In which case, of course, such a car is as much a “zero emissions” car as a new (and Green Approved) electric car.

Still, its owner must either pay the impact fees – or accept what amounts to vehicular disfranchisement, his car prohibited from ever again being more than an occasional-use-only toy.

Which brings us to the real heart of this particular darkness. It is an elitist measure – ironic, given the peasant-hugging pretensions of the Democrats pushing it.

If he’s not a collector, the owner of a car 20-years-old or older is probably someone just trying to live inexpensively. He probably owns his car. He bought it for cash, perhaps. He’s not in debt. His insurance costs are lower. He pays less in personal property taxes – which are based upon the retail value of the car.

This is good for him but bad for the state, which is not getting its pound of flesh out of him.

And the beast’s belly growls.

The guy who drives a 20-year-old or older car probably also does most if not all of his own repair work, too. Those cars are simpler – and they lack a lot of the creepy Big Brother Tech that new cars have.

This is freeing – which is another reason why the New Car Reluctant are being targeted – and not just in Oregon, either. Whether this bill sinks or swims, it’s not the last – and it’s not an isolated canker sore.

We just can’t tolerate people driving around in cars they can fix themselves, that are paid-for and which aren’t generating enough “revenue” for the government.

They won’t put it in such honest language, of course.

They never do.

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  1. I’m in Oregon and heard this didn’t pass. A guy could just do what some illegals do- buy a dirt cheap beater car , don’t pay to register it in your name , no insurance , and when it has a bad breakdown you leave it where it is and go buy another one like it.

  2. I suspect that the real reason to keep older techjology off if tge riad is so that the non-internet, non-government accessable automobiles won’t be on the street. Image how horribke it must be to the government, if tgey can’t listen in on your conversation as you drive, and dusable your steering and brakes if what you say is something they think is dangerous.

    • Hi Mark,

      Yes. I rant all the time about the significance of that term, incidentally. Law enforcement. What do people suppose that means? There is a law. It must be enforced. Could there be a more precise definition of authoritarianism than that?

  3. UK now wants to tax formerly “clean” diesels (that the government encouraged motorists to buy because they were “environmentally” friendly).

    “Diesel vehicles could be banned from some of the worst-hit areas.
    But experts slammed the “staggering ignorance” of the Government’s plan to tackle toxic air.
    Campaigners pointed out that diesel vehicles are responsible for just ten per cent of all emissions.

    Huge cargo ship vanishes in the South Atlantic with 22 crew members on board after sending out distress signal
    In an extraordinary attack on ministers, the FairFuel group said: “Their myopic and out-of-touch dogma that taxing drivers more will solve the issue is tantamount to pre-kindergarten levels of intellect and stinks of incompetence.”
    It added: “Why should hard-working drivers, families, White Van Man, small businesses, be held responsible for 90 per cent of the issue?”
    There was also fury at ministers targeting drivers coaxed into buying diesel cars by Gordon Brown, who as Chancellor cut taxes on them as they were thought to produce less pollution than petrol vehicles.
    Tory MP Charlie Elphicke said: “Many drivers feel they were encouraged to buy diesel by the last Labour Government.”

  4. Politicians, have the courage to tell the truth. It’s not the cars, it’s the money. This scheme is just a sneaky way to squeeze money so politicians have more money to harass us and tell us how to run our lives.

  5. I live in Portland.

    My rides are a 1996 Nissan Maxima with 210 k miles. Excellent condition.

    1992 nissan pickup. Ugly, passes emissions.

    Soon a 2003 toyota corolla. I’m rebuilding the engine, myself.

    All of these will pass emmissions and safety inspections.

    I would have to pay 4000 bucks to keep the older ones on the road. They are worth maybe 1500 bucks each. Since I can maintain them myself, it would make sense to pay the tax. Yet for most folks, the right decision would be to drive a perfectly good running and looking car on the freeway all the way to the junk yard.

    • JvG wrote:
      “I live in Portland.”

      My sympathy goes out to you. My sister also lives in the Soviet Republic of Portland. It’s a beautiful place being run into the ground by far left, neoMarxist politics. I like a lot about Portland but I refuse to visit anymore because it just is so fucking uncomfortable all the time. Oh well. Same goes for Austin, where I lived during the best of times…..I’d never consider living there again for all the tea in China.

  6. If a politician had to tell the truth for more than five minutes a day, the government would stop functioning.

    That’s because every one of their ill intentions would be exposed, identifying them as fraudsters. And this is why good Americans are having continuous problems with government activities. Everything they do is based upon lies and finding ways to separate the citizens from their ability to live in peace.

  7. Boy you have really hit on something. But you are missing the real issue.
    By definition an “old car” is reliable. Portable. Durable. Maintainable. Inflation hedge. What an awesome asset!
    The Government must eliminate ALL such assets as they can be used to TRADE in place of Government money. I would rather have an old ford truck than $10,000 paper dollars. Why do you think they keep wanting to outlaw guns? It isn’t to prevent violence. It is because they can be used as “Money”.

  8. “the owner of a car 20-years-old or older is probably someone just trying to live inexpensively… This is good for him but bad for the state, which is not getting its pound of flesh out of him.”

    They certainly are saving a lot of money (I own 3 cars that are 16 – 21 years old), but the state will still get their pound of flesh – through federal and state gas taxes on every gallon of fuel we burn.

  9. This definitely smells like a tax on poor people. And the retired, driving their Buick Centuries that they only put 2000 miles a year on.

  10. Never mind the fact that there are still plenty of liberals driving around in old Jeeps, BMWs, Range Rovers, and VWs, even quite a few TDIs. Or that (warning, racist generalization) many immigrants drive old cars, not only because that’s all they can afford, but because (as Eric points out), they are easy to repair yourself.

    Oregonians are a bunch of racist conservatives!

  11. bad boy, bad boy, watcha gonna do , when the bald head muthas come for you, bad boy ., anyway here in the good “old Dominion” apparently the state inspection is little more then a wallet lightning farce ( remember when it was twice a year ?) I happen to glance at the worn out tires on cars in the Wally World parking lot and frankly its a bit scary , the Storm Troopers used to ticket for bald tires. My penurious less then honorable ex employers have a lot of “Farm use ” tags ( the state issued kind ) on a lot of their company vehicles , I guess being able to hoard a lot of land has something to do with whether you can qualify for FU or not. As penurious as these Guys and Gals are there must be a dodge somewhere. Desperate times call for desperate measures I guess , the company pres ( the one who fired me a couple of years ago ) called me up and offered me a job , apparently truck drivers and holders of CDLs are not a dime a dozen any more . I thanked Him and politely declined the invitation , starting to have to jump through too many hoops to have a CDL now . When conditions and Finances allow , going to drop my CDL like a hot potato.( You wouldn’t believe the raking I got from the Medical examiner( despite having 20/15 vision at 60 – guess seeing isn’t that important) because I take meds for borderline hypertension . I have to get my groin and balls fondled every year and I am starting to get tired of this blatent bureaucratic BS.
    The noose is tightening and the “Orange Guy ” is not our Messiah .

  12. Wel, Oregon is one of the insane states trying to figure out how to tax every car by the mile actually driven. They’ve had some issues, and rightly so, getting that one down our throats…. what, roadsice scanners? A black box to transmit miles deriven every time the key is switched off? Maybe a fuel registry? Annual inspections to include mileage readings? Checkpoints? But what if I live in Portland and mainly use the car in Washington? What if half my annual driving is outside Oregon? Spotting someone on one road one place does not necessarily mean hes driven where they think he has…. number plate scanners are an intrusion of privacy, too… they’ve not yet figured out how to milk the cow for more than she’s got… but they’re working on it.

  13. Destruction of old cars, like the abolishing of cash, is a way of advancing government control of our lives but only, of course, for a “good cause.” Despite some people’s rosy-hued views of Millennials, they as a group will be part of the problem, not the solution. The succeeding generation will be even more indifferent.

    Oregon’s assault is merely the first wave. Usually once such an idea is broached it will return again and again. Big Brother only has to win once, and it’s done. My old Mopars would be toast under such a regime. He can have my 440 and 360s and slant sixes when he pries the torque wrench from my cold, dead fingers.

  14. Get your subway passes ready, and do your part for the country and the world, conserving gas for Uncle Sam’s jackbooted missionaries to go save the world.

  15. This bill got canned, but on another site that covered it I had an uphill battle explaining to the well conditioned under 35 crowd the great battle to save the hobby from 1987 to 1996. In this regard I feel like the little girl staring at the TV static….. “They’re back”

    For those that don’t know beginning in the mid-late 80s there was a push to ban/crush/destroy all cars made before 1980. Yes, they wanted to destroy cars that were less than ten years old. This is where the clunker and crusher laws began. For the environment. They were fought. The hobby pushed them back into the dark corners from which they came. Cash for clunkers, the attempted ban on road cars being turned into race cars, and now legislation like this being floated tell me they are getting ready for another war. Like cylons not showing up for the meetings they are off preparing. They are now seeing how much we will push back. If our legions are still on guard. So far so good. People have screamed back loudly.

    From my cold dead hands.

    • Yeah, I remember back in the 90’s, Missouri was trying to ban older cars. Freaking MISSOURI!

      Some states are defacto doing already through inspections. Like MA. where a lot of perfectly good vehicles, often 10 years old or less, get junked, because their inspections have become grueling that it would cost thousands to make the vehicle “compliant” if you’re paying to have the work done (Especially there, where the shop labor rate is well over $100/hr.).

      My Excursion LTD came from MA. from a salvage auction. The thing is mint- looks and drives like new (it’s an ’00)- Why was it junked? Needed exhaust manifold gaskets and a brake line and brakes all around. This thing is so cherry, it’s amazing! MA.- one of the most heavily taxed and highest cost-of-living states in the union. Apparently, the more ya pay, the more they screw you.

      I thank God that MA’s former gov. Mittens Romney never made it through the presidential primaries…our whole freaking country would be like that hell-hole, which is even more hellish than the hell-hole the rest of the country already is!

      In fact, wasn’t he the one running against Obozo the first time? Talk about a no-win situation!

  16. i live in portlandia and heard this bill didnt make it, thankfully.but they will keep trying for sure? art tax , sanctuary city, bottle tax , left lane driving fine, whats next! wher e does it end for heavens sake-this town is so gone. sad , used to be the best little city in the country off the map!..last century of course..

    • Hey Anonymous. I lived in the south coast of Oregon for many years. I loved it but the liberals in portlandia have ruined the state. We used to say there are two states: The state of Oregon and the state of Portland. Oregon is the only state in the union controlled by a single city (portlandia). Can’t say that for any other state. New York city, as big as it is, does not control the state of New York. I couldn’t stand the liberal BS anymore and moved out of the state. I miss the beautiful countryside but don’t miss the political bull shit. The whole left coast is rot and nothing short of a major earth quack or tsunami will fix it. I now live in the gun-shine state. No mountains here but plenty of wildlife. It has its problems but they appear fixable.

        • I am expecting a special “climate change surcharge” to be levied on older cars, or driving restrictions (as in Europe). It’s coming. But the collapse of this Jenga Tower might happen first…

      • I know a Portland chick. She’s very nice… but an open communist. It frazzles my mind. These people just do not grok that communism and niceness are as compatible, in the end, as matter and anti-matter. That one fine day, the ideology she reveres will turn back on her.

        And it won’t be very nice.

        • n open communist is not very nice.
          You should shun it scorn it and avoid it.
          I wouldn’t touch it with yours, as they say in Liverpool.

          • Hi Bill,

            Don’t worry, I won’t.

            I’m pretty much retired from dealing with women, regardless. I’ve got all I can do just keeping my eyes open at this point. I would put up with a lot – sacrifice a lot – do a lot – for my ex. But some new one? Nope. There’s just no fuel left in the tank. That realization made me realize it’s time to DOR.

            I’d rather just make a BLT, read a little and then take a nap. Seriously.

      • Larry, As an ex-NYer, I can tell you that NYC certainly DOES control all of NY state (And at least half of the rest of the country, as well). You could live up in the Adirondacks, but you still pay taxes for NYC and have to have license plates on your tractor and abide by all the rest of the BS liberal loony laws that come from Albany via NYC.

        Cut off NYC, and NY would have been a Trump state- but thanks to NYC, all of their electoral votes went to the Bitch. Even long-liberal Long Island (NYC’s skilled white work force) is sick of all the BS- There’s been talk for a long time of LI becoming a separate state, because all of it’s wealth goes to NYC/NYS- and as even MORE immigrants take up residence in NYC, even the ghetto crowd are now moving out and ruining the suburbs.

  17. Eric. Great article.

    I’m not sure if my already high blood pressure is helped by your writing, since it probably spike even more. This is a complement BTW.

    Do any of these morons consider the “impact” of crushing a perfectly drivable vehicle? Do they consider the “impact” of scarce raw materials being used to build a new car to replace the perfectly good one they doomed to the dustbin of history? Do they consider the “impact” of the massive power, driving, and human resource moving that are used to create the “clean” new car?

    Of course they don’t.

    Just as they banned incandescent light bulbs (or damn near), do they consider that I live in Michigan? Do they consider that I heat my home 8-9 months of the year? Do they consider that the “10% efficient” incandescent light bulb is actually 100% efficient during the heating season? Do they consider that incandescent lights don’t wreck your vision like fluorescent or LED lights due to the fact that your eyes need near infrared radiation?

    Of course they don’t.

    Environmentalism is a disease and its members need to be quarantined from polite society to live in their own “environmental” commune.

    I have 120 100W bulbs, 644 60W bulbs, and 420 40W bulbs. The “real” ones – not the “60W equivalent” expensive ones they pawn off today.

    I wish I didn’t have to keep a dedicated shelf filled with bulbs that wont wreck my vision, make me angry, and make my stuff look like muted, lifeless garbage for the REST OF MY MISERABLE LIFE. All due to a bunch of stupid commies who actually think politicians and rich famous people actually give a fuck about them (despite centuries of evidence to the contrary).

    Anyway – if you ever get through to Trump, have him repeal the incandescent bulb ban so I can take some shelf space back.


    • Environmentalism isn’t a disease; government is THE disease. We have gone far too long in this empire between revolution.

      Pretty soon, with all the fatwas from auto’s, healthcare, guns, and my toilet capacity, non-compliance will be cheaper and reasonable. Don’t piss people off or eventually they will get real angry, and those 300 million or so guns will come out of hiding.

    • Get the “warm ” LED bulbs , the high color temp(5000 K or so )are almost as bad as those silly ass blue retinal burner head lights .

    • Environmentalism was just an excuse to kill off the incandescent. The real reason was because it was a low margin commodity business that was fully automated and not worth moving from the USA to China. Bulb makers wanted to sell higher margin products.

      BTW, not long after the law took effect someone came up with a simple laser treatment to the filament that makes the incandescent energy efficient. It would have required adding a station to the automated line. But alas, all that capital was probably scrapped by then.

      • The other nasty little secret is the collusion between the bulb makers to reduce the lifespan of LED’s. Remember when they were good for 20,OOO hours?

        It as not coincidence that GE, Phillips and Sylvania all ended up producing incandescent bulbs with a life span of 1,000 hours.

        • I noticed when I was a child that old light bulbs lasted longer than new ones. Although I believe it is more competitive price pressure than collusion. The longevity costs money and people generally won’t pay for it for it up front.

  18. The lentire left coast, and the northeast need to fall into the ocean. They emit nothing but constant insanity, and act as role models for deviant politicians in other states to get ideas from. And I have zero sympathy for anyone who continues to live in such places. This crap has been going on in these places for 40 years now; those who are willing to tolerate it at this point deserve what they get.

    And it’s spreading. It used to be mainly CA. on the left and NY, NJ, MA on the right coast. Now it’s CA OR WA ID BV AZ NM CO UT and NY NJ CT MA NH VT ME OH IL. Most of those Western states now have federalized police; are comprised of a lot of Gov’t land (even though according to our Constitution there shouldn’t be such a thing! -From Military bases, to gov’t office complexes to BLM range land to parks… would make Hitler and Stalin salivate- and all with their own agencies and police at varying levels from fed to local….

    If there’s enough time before it all implodes or someone has the good sense to nuke us, at some point, that paradigm will just overspread the entire country, and there will then be more of them, than us. (It’ll probably take until then for it to implode, because that will be the point at which the parasites will outnumber the hosts, and there will no longer be anything productive- just consumption till it is all gone.(

  19. In contrast, Montana allows you to permanently register any vehicle that is greater than 10 years old for like $180. No inspections, emissions. I’d prefer to never have to register, but you know…

    • At minimum, that’s the way it should be. You get rewarded for living simply instead of being cr*pped on for “polluting”. Of course not having to register to begin with would be the best.

  20. All little steps towards no personal cars for regular folks.

    Make new ones expensive, make driving expensive and annoying, buy old cars and crush them. Then move on to making old ones expensive to license, get people used to renting and ride sharing.

    Ban cars entirely from city centers (at some point even electric ones), ban pre 1990 cars completely (this time no buybacks). Hobble the remaining new cars (by making them low range electrics).

    Yup, its coming along nicely.

    • when I lived in Sodom on Hudson, I got a rent-controlled apartment on Fifth Avenue by payment of a three thousand dollar cash bribe. It cost 80% of the rent to park my Landcrusher on the next block.

      • “Sodom On Hudson”- I like that!

        Probably paid $4K a year for car insurance too.

        Remember when Katherine Hepburn was still alive and had a rent-controlled apartment on c. 72md St. for $200 a month??!!!!!

  21. The last three paragraphs describe me to a tee! Here in the Commonwealth (of VA) I get the “personal property tax” for all the cars I own. It goes to zero once the assessed value is $1000 or less. There was sweet rejoicing when my 1995 Subaru went under the $1000 mark two years or so ago. I still daydream of buying, say, a 1997 Buick LeSabre and totally getting new upholstery, paint job, engine & transmission… but to the state of VA it’s just a ’97 Buick! (One way of getting it over on the Man). However, the best way here in VA to do this is to get “FARM USE” plates! I need to figure out how to get on that boondoggle!

    • I have Farm Use plates in Virginia. I bought them at Tractor Supply for $2.99 each. That’s all it takes, but you do have to have insurance. You also have to meet your county’s standard for farm property ownership. No inspection sticker is required for a farm use truck.

      Lots of us out here in the sticks will just cancel heh registration on a truck when it fails inspection and buy a pair of FU plates. My ’68 F250 has been running FU plates for 10 years or so, and I’ve driven it all over the state.

  22. Oregon’s state government is at least as twisted, and possibly even “more” evil than Kali.

    I predict this new law won’t work for them. An extra $200 per year does suck. But it’s still way better than buying a new car, with hefty monthly payments, and all its big bro tracking features.

    They are going to have to increase that tax much higher to get their intended effect.

    And you can be sure they will.

  23. The bill was reported killed off. “In any event, we come not to praise House Bill 2877, but to bury it: This is exactly the kind of legislation that Oregonians point to when they argue that state officials pay little heed to the needs of the rural portions of the state. The bill, for example, didn’t include any provision for farm vehicles, many of which are older than 20 years but which nevertheless are in good working condition.
    And the bill also would have done a disservice to those Oregonians who still are economically struggling and must drive older vehicles.

    Rep. Sherrie Sprenger of Scio said it well: The bill was a “legislative indictment of poor Oregonians.”
    “When I first heard about this, I thought it was ridiculous, just one more way to punish folks who can’t compete with Portland liberal standards and don’t want to,” Sprenger said, noting that she and her husband, Kyle, own two vehicles that would have been subject to the impact tax.”

    Of interest was the fact that it was a “anonymous” bill.

    • Hah!! Ever driven, walked, or biked around Portland? There are probably more old wierd cars in Multomah and Clackamas Counties than in all the rest of the state combined. Then get out east, where its nice and dry and cars don’t rust much. Population is sparse there, as is income. Old iron is everywhere.

      Oregon do not charge an annual fee based on value, like an excise tax. Nope, Flat fee for anything for two years. But it ain’t that cheap. Hah, my 98 van would begin having to pay that fee starting next year. They’d have apoplexy if they knew of my 77 Mercedes 300 D that runs like brand new, and excelt for some slightly ragged seats, looks that way too. In ten years its needed one water pump, and a set of brake pads up front. Oh, and batteries and tyres, but a 2015 will need those before long. Starts every time, runs and drives perfectly. My total cost in? Under $500. Ya think I’d be parting with that one any time soon?

  24. From the bill:

    “and providing for revenue raising that requires approval
    by a three-fifths majority”

    Assuming the bill were to proceed to a vote by the full House, and assuming it was a completely partisan vote, the Ds would be one vote shy, with the current 35-25 party breakdown.

    My guess this is more about finding coins under the seat cushions to pay for a voracious state, with the environmental thing as a “bonus” in oh-so-green Portland.

    • I am sure they will find a Republican to vote for it. Here in Indiana, it’s the Republicans that are increasing the car taxes, and only a handful of Democrats are resisting it. They are even trying to toll all the interstates as well.