Transportation as a “Service”

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Car ownership will soon be a thing of the past, some say.

Some wish.

Instead of buying a car every so often and driving that car for a period of years – and owning the car – people will simply tap an app and rent a car by the hour or day; whatever their need at the moment happens to be.

It sounds breezy – and oh-so-easy!

This may indeed be our metrosexualized future  . . . god help us. But not for those reasons. There are always other reasons. The real reasons.

There is money to be made, naturally. Great huge stacks of it. Someone with a calculator and the instinct of a Don King or Colonel Parker did a little math and figured out that it would be orders of magnitude more profitable to rent people cars than sell people cars.

You can only sell a car to one person at a time, after all.

But rent? By the hour?

Theoretically – and probably, actually – you could keep a given car working like a Filipino Lady Boy, almost 24-7. Pimping the ride to one “John” after the next. With carpet vacuuming and Febreze in between.

Almost no down time.

The car that brings in say $400/month as a sale brings in that much – or more – in a week – as a rental. No wonder the stampede toward “transportation as a service.” GM especially – which is already implementing this via its Maven app in the New York City area.

It is the equivalent of discovering a new Ghawar oil field under Brooklyn. The price of real estate just went up.

It also gives the manufacturers – the GM corporate – direct access to your wallet (via revolving credit) which must be giving multiple orgasms to the people in GM’s accounting department. Dealers will be cut out of the picture – at best, reduced to parking lot attendants and service depots, the business side of that between them and the manufacturers, all costs of course folded into the rental fee charged to you.

Or did you suppose that eliminating the dealer would reduce the cost to you?

Like relocating assembly plants in Mexico and China, for instance? The Mexican line workers do not receive UAW wages or benefits – but somehow, amazingly, these savings to the manufacturer are not reflected in the price of the vehicles assembled.

Neither will the elimination of dealerships lower the cost of cars. It will just obscure them.

It will work just the same as it works if you rent an apartment. You do not pay anything for maintenance of the building or property taxes. You just pay rent, which payment takes full account of maintenance costs as well as taxes paid by the landlord. Or did you suppose he pays them out of the generosity of his kind old heart?

Suffer the children.

But we are only considering one angle of this transportation as service con. The really evil genius of the thing is this:

It is a way to stave off the looming crash of the car industry and to hide the real reasons why it is on the verge of crashing.

First, it is a way to hide the cost of government mandates – safety and fuel efficiency fatwas in particular – which are already at the point of being beyond the ability of a critical mass of individual buyers to afford. Six – eight – air bags don’t come without cost. And that is just one of the many costs incurred by the government but charged to your account, as the buyer.

The problem, though, is that the buyer is increasingly tapped out. The average “transaction price” of a new car now pushes $35,000 – which to give you some idea is the equivalent of about $5,500 in inflation-adjusted 1970 dollars (calculator here).

How much did the average car sell for back in 1970?

A new 1970 Corvette – Chevy’s most expensive model – stickered for $5,192 (here).

You could buy a full-size/six-passenger family car like an Impala for about $3,500. It, of course, did not have even one air bag and its V8 engine was subject to no federal fuel economy fatwas.

Which is why it could be financed over three years rather than six or seven, as now.

It also lacked power (and heated) leather seats and automatic climate control and all the many electronic baubles that fascinate people today much as seagulls are enraptured by pieces of aluminum foil. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with power (and heated) leather seats or even electronic gadgetry. But it costs. And the problem is that most people cannot afford these things.

As distinct from financing them.

But six or seven years is just about as far as it can go. The cost-hiding expedient of stretching payments out another year has reached its terminus – or soon will – because of the reality check of depreciation. It is not financially viable to continue making payments on a car that is worth less than what you still owe. Which happens after about six years, for the typical car.

People won’t sign up – and more critically, neither will lenders.

Dead end.


Transportation as a service – the ultimate cost-hiding expedient.

By renting the use of the car for a brief period of time, the cost of the car itself is cleverly hidden from everyone except the people collecting the rent. It is analogous to renting hotel room as opposed to buying a house (with several rooms). Considered in isolation, the overnight rental for a room seems quote reasonable when compared with the cost of a mortgage. But add up the cost of numerous overnight stays at the hotel and the math begins to tilt the other way – and at the end of the day, you own exactly nothing.

Transportation as a service is not just a money pit, it is a money vortex – a black hole connected to your bank account, withdrawals in perpetuity. Instead of payments for the next six years, payments forever.

Each individual payment will be smaller – and you will think (and be told) you are saving money. But like that hotel room – or that $3 cup of coffee at Starbucks that doesn’t seem like much considered one cup at a time – it adds up.

And at the end of the day, no matter how much you pay, you will end up with exactly what’s left in your Starbucks cup after the last sip you take.

Which will be precisely nothing at all.

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  1. Great points. The biggest issue I have with this “prediction” or possibility is the cultural value/importance of owning a nice car. It’s the ultimate status symbol today, which is why too many people pay more than they can afford or should pay on a vehicle.

    So for this to work, the government would either have to create so many more regulations and barriers to buying a car that people would be incentivized to rent, or, the cultural obsession our society has for cars as a status symbol would have to disappear, which is unlikely because human nature will still result in people feeling like they need to look richer than they really are.

  2. Some months back I left a warning about the developing self-driving car “craze” (note sneer quotes), which has as its objective what Eric discusses here: the end of personal vehicle ownership in favor of communal on-call use. That warning needs to be repeated early and often, because some of the people who advocate this future for motor vehicles still aren’t paying attention to the likely reality. So here it is again.

    Elon Musk and the rest are completely ignoring what the bureaucrats, greens, and urban planners really want. Those groups don’t want car use in urban areas at all. They don’t want fleets of self-driving cars clogging the cities. They want no cars. Understand that. The bureaucrats et al. want everyone in mass transit, meaning buses and trains. And with projections published last year about the likely congestion problems if large numbers of on-call self-drivers come into use, as Eric mentions, these groups actually have a point. Buses and trains can haul people using far less road space and fuel/electricity than can individual vehicles.

    Self-drivers are the answer to a question no one was asking. Musk and the other advocates need to ponder why no one was asking it. The rulemakers have other ideas, and cities full of driverless Ubers are not one of them.

    • A lot of these elite “solutions” come from crony institutions. This one is from MIT.

      2,000 10-passenger coordinated Ridesharing minibuses could replace 95% of NYC’s 14,000 Taxis, delivering similar travel times, while reducing traffic 75%.

      Or 3,000 4-passenger carpooling vehicles from Uber and Lyft could serve 98% of NYC taxi demand.

      That’s $14 billion worth of taxi medallions and unsavory cabbies NYC could jettison.

      • The tyranny of these seemingly innocent social engineering ideas is that they’re too often used by the Left as justification for laws and regulations that restrict individual liberty and personal freedom.

        All it takes is a well funded marketing and propaganda campaign that uses misleading and deceptive “social justice” or “public good” rhetoric to create activists and true believers who form the social movements that give politicians a reason to pass laws and regulations which effectively prohibit private car ownership or use and compel “ridesharing.” Tons of ways they can achieve these same ends, but they all rely on governmental power and coercion.

        • The problem is the nietzschean paradox.

          When problems are solved via dehumanizing and objectifying men as mere test subjects.

          You’ve artificially created an abyss and stared into it.

          Now the abyss is within all involved. Control becomes impossible. Maniacal visions spread.

          A greater entropy results. Far more damaging than the original variable of focus and enthalpy gained.

  3. Have to vote for ownership here. It’s true that the costs of taxes, registration, technical inspections and insurance are the background noise, but all can me managed well. Registration in the correct jurisdiction avoids those property taxes, not keeping something too new and having nothing owed on it tamps down those insurance costs. I keep a 12 year old high end luxury SUV and a 20 year old American heavy metal work truck in my garage. They are each hovering in the $2K/year range total cost of ownership and that luxury SUV looks like it just rolled out of the factory (stays in the garage 90% of the time). No property taxes, no sales taxes, no dealership delivery costs, minimal liability-only insurance costs. I am certain that, were I to rent-an-appropriate-truck for each function for which I needed transportation, I would come out well in excess of that $4K/year all-in cost. For the moment, stay off the radar of new car purchases, accept the older immaculate high-end car + daily beater truck and you’re well ahead of anyone who rents their transportation by the ride. One of the major contributing factors to very low all-in costs are the mandated technology from the late 90s and early 00s. Single old-school airbags. No small windows for the muscular A-posts. No complicated air pressure sensor and backup camera electronics. No urea tanks (I love diesels, I drive high end diesels, both for the personal luxury ride and the big work truck). No complicated double-return exhaust system. Basically, year-year, the systems that break most often just aren’t there to have to be replaced.

  4. I totally agree with you, Eric. Excellent article. But if I may ask you a question (since it pertains to your knowledge base of transportation industry):
    What is the end game of this? and… “is this tied to the self-driving craze currently going on?”

    • The end game is Utopia.

      History is filled with enthusiastic reformers who have attempted to end all pain and suffering and create a world of no pain and all pleasure. These reformers try to fix society by concocting solutions to perceived problems they try to force on society via the power of our government.

      The Left loves big government and sees it as the key to fixing problems. Just like the communists, the Left loves social engineering projects. This is just another one. Whether it will gain steam and become a social justice movement will depend on how much money is put into the propaganda campaign that will propose this ridesharing system as the only solution to whatever life-threatening boogeyman the Left makes its villain.

  5. If the EPA was so concerned with gas mileage, they would issue Fatwas first and foremost against the various authorities responsible for traffic control devices. How much gas is wasted stopping and starting at poorly (at best) synchronized traffic lights?

  6. One other thing not noted in article is that ‘transportation as a service’ means your every move with be tracked , monitored & logged and used against you for what ever BS reason the ‘state’ claims.. no tnx

    • Also everyone knows how rental cars are regularly abused ( aka never buy a used rental car ) because non-ownership = ‘I don’t give a crap about it’ as its not ‘mine’ mentality

    • And because it will be a service the government heavily regulates, you will be all the more dependent on the government for personal transportation.

      And as less and less people own cars, more and more rental cars will be owned by fewer and fewer companies, which only makes it easier for a future government to control and even prohibit transportation on a mass scale.

  7. This is similar to the latest coffee fad, where you get to pay over 8 times as much (I figured it out) for your coffee grounds, which now come in little 1-cup plastic thingys that you throw away after 1 use. Yay! More money for the Man and more trash for me! No, thanks. I’ll stick with my aging Mr. Coffee pot and my 3-lb, $9.87 cans of ground coffee from Costco, and my thermos, as well as my old, self-driving (and self-owned) vehicles. And I can use the coffee cans to store stuff in the garage…

    • Great Jim, just great. You are not mindlessly consuming over priced stupid crap. And this is how the “terrists” win. Traitor! ; )

  8. Theoretically – and probably, actually – you could keep a given car working like a Filipino Lady Boy, almost 24-7.

    You say that as if it’s a bad thing, but it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I love having my own car(s) and wouldn’t give them up, but it IS kind of sad that they spend most their time sitting around aging in the sun, not doing anything useful.

    Like relocating assembly plants in Mexico and China, for instance? The Mexican line workers do not receive UAW wages or benefits – but somehow, amazingly, these savings to the manufacturer are not reflected in the price of the vehicles assembled.

    Really? You have figures to show what a car would cost had those plants not been relocated? Also, why should I not celebrate the creation of jobs in Mexico and China as much as jobs created somewhere across the country, but within U.S. borders? I’m not much of a nationalist, I must admit.

    I see these upcoming services as a good thing, another set of options for people to choose from. Are they a springboard from which control freaks may try to force us to give up private automobiles? Of course, but that’s a reason to denigrate the control freaks, not the new options.

    • Hi JdL,

      The 1500s made in Mexico are priced the same as 1500s made here. It’s labor arbitrage. A way for corporations to offload manufacturing costs without reducing the cost to buyers.

      The real problem, of course, is the mandates (OSHA, EPA) that have made making anything here difficult and expensive.

      On perpetual rental cars: As I wrote, it’s primarily a way to sweep costs under the rug. The costs do not go away. It enables them to perpetuate a debt-driven economy. Including the imposition of new, even more expensive saaaaaaaaaaafety and MPG mandates – which would otherwise not be economically supportable.

      And the worst part is it creates a kind of rip tide that carries everyone along with it, including those who would rather not live as perpetual debt slaves!

      • Vehicles are mostly made elsewhere. There are 940,000 Motor vehicles and parts manufacturing jobs here in the US. Those jobs support 332,000 Motor vehicle and parts wholesaler jobs, 1,981,000 Motor vehicle and parts retailer jobs, and 914,000 Automotive repair and maintenance jobs.

        263.6 million vehicles are registered here. 4,167,000 vehicle industry jobs are here. Jobs that pay $22 an hour with a 45 hour work week.

        Households are mostly made here. Those jobs support many household parts wholesaler jobs, many household parts retail jobs, and many household repair and maintenance jobs. Maybe 40 million jobs if comparable to the vehicle industry.

        There are 126 million households here. 10,000,000 housing industry jobs are here. Maybe 4X more if you include related jobs. Jobs that pay $26 an hour with a 40 hour work week.

        If all car-penter jobs were American like construction jobs are. If the car industry needs double the workers to produce twice as many car units as house units. If efficiency was was similar. We’d have 80 million more jobs and a lot more dignity too.

    • Tribalism maths. Understanding the US Feral budget wealth transfer scheme.

      If you are a white American, over the course of your lifetime the federal government will, on average and on your behalf, transfer $384,109 of your wealth and income to a single black individual.

      According to the data derived from the 2014 feral budget, the average annual net tax/benefit breaks down as follows:
      White: -$2,795 loss to the system annually.
      Black: +$10,016 gain from the system annually.

      Over the course of an average 79-year lifespan, a white individual contributes a net $220,805 to the system, whereas over the course of an average 75-year lifespan, a black individual receives a net $751,200. However, since there are 4.6 times more whites than blacks in the USA, the black share has to be divided among the smaller pool of contributors to sort out a one-to-one comparison.

      The net cost to the average White American of the average Black American is $384,109. Married? That’s $768,218. Got 2 kids? That’s $1,536,436. 4 kids? Now we’re talking $2,304,654 lifetime.

      Diversity is expensive. Now you understand why you won’t have much of an inheritance to leave to your children.

      Surely those natural conservatives to the south, the Hispanics, will improve the situation, right?

      After all, immigration helps the economy! Well, no. Not so much.

      Hispanic: +7,298 gain from the system.

      In fact, since there are more Hispanics in the USA than Blacks, Hispanics are already a bigger cumulative net drain on the economy, $411,950,000,000 – beaners to $389,710,000,000 – niggers.

      Needless to say, the ongoing demographic change from a predominantly white society to a less productive, less white one can be expected to have even more serious negative effects on the long-term economic prospects of the United States that it already has.

      The negative fiscal impact of blacks and hispanics is significant. All of this discussion about the “national debt” and “deficit” is primarily of function of blacks and hispanics.

      Without them, we would be running budget surpluses today.

    • Hi,

      A lot of libertarian wisdom there. 🙂

      “Don’t get me wrong, I love having my own car(s) and wouldn’t give them up, but it IS kind of sad that they spend most their time sitting around aging in the sun, not doing anything useful.”

      Yes, consider that most cars spend more than 90% of the day parked. They’re depreciating, the owner is paying for insurance on them, they require a garage or parking lot/parking deck, they need to be warmed up or cooled down to be comfortable on a cold or hot day, etc. Now imagine an autonomous vehicle…most likely full electric. It arrives when needed…no need for a garage or parking lot/parking deck on either end of the trip. Door-to-door service. It could easily do 60,000+ miles per year…500,000 miles in a lifetime. It always arrives warm on cold days or cool on hot days. No range anxiety, because the company providing the service makes sure the car has enough battery power left for the journey. No need to charge the car yourself. Finally, the car is perfectly suited to your needs. Just one person? Why not get a single-seat vehicle?

      “I see these upcoming services as a good thing, another set of options for people to choose from. Are they a springboard from which control freaks may try to force us to give up private automobiles? Of course, but that’s a reason to denigrate the control freaks, not the new options.”

      Yes, haters gonna hate. Control freaks gonna try to control. Maybe most people on this site don’t know about it (yet) but concern about not being able to drive is a huge issue for people who are elderly. Not to mention people who are blind or otherwise can’t drive cars. And then there are kids/young teens. Transportation as a service provides *more* options. There’s no legitimate reason why there could not also be individual ownership for those wanting to pay the likely higher expense per mile traveled.

    • JDL, “…another set of options for people to choose from…”

      You use the word “options” like it is a real thing. People who can no longer afford the “luxury” of owning a new car will not have an “option”. And that is exactly the goal of the control freaks aka the government.

      It is all about gaining control and sucking every last nickle out of the populace.

  9. Here in Australia mostly all cars and trucks are leased for a period of time such as 3 years or perhaps longer depending on the bank financing available. The bank owns the car and leases it to the buyer/lessee, at the end of the term a balloon payment is due unless you want to “trade the vehicle in” or extend the lease. Effectively people continue to lease cars and trucks forever. This is great financing for the banks, like 30 year mortgages. There are of course private sellers who sell the car at the end of the lease term for the amount of the balloon payment. This is the best way to purchase since the car has usually been well maintained by the lessor (bank)/lessee and of course you are not paying $35,000 for a car or truck but you are not getting a brand new car with all its warranties unless the original lessee has an extended warranty which is transferable.

  10. Linh Dinh

    The Plight of the Underclass with Linh Dinh

    A man who leaves his wife is also a kind of immigrant. He rejects the home he’s always known for another. Is it a surprise that Americans have the highest divorce rate in the world? If ditched lovers are also counted, then our rate of betrayal becomes truly stratospheric. To start over and advance or save ourselves, if only in our minds, we’re willing to destroy everything.

    Soaked in a depthless, sampling culture, we’re also expert at forgetting. Not only do we have no historical memory, but our personal past can be willfully and instantly erased, with hardly a ripple in its wake, and there’s no one around, no community, to remind us of our shames. Extreme narcissists, we cling to bizarre narratives that allow us to make the most preposterous statements without flinching, or indulge in the most perverse and damaging behaviors.

  11. Listen, and understand. These metrosexual cuck techs are out there. They can’t be bargained with. They can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or emasculation fear. You can’t rustle non-existent statist jimmies, they’ve transcended masculinity. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until every vestige of your privately controlled self autonomy is dead.

    • From a Linh Dinh article:
      “Unable to read or write, we will still have to obey innumerable rules. At a supermarket, the cashier asked near-death, stooping Rudy for his ID as he bought beer. “It’s the rule,” she lamented.

      “They’re getting so intrusive.”

      “I know.”

      “And prayers aren’t going to help.”

      “I agree.”

      “Maybe a gun will!”

      “I’m with you.”

      They both laughed.

      Back in the car, Rudy further observed, “Not only do they care what you do, but pretty soon, they will tell you what to do, and observe that you’re not doing it. It’s that bad.””

      I thought that was apropos to what you were saying about the cucktechs, Tor.

      • Awesome article Ed.

        1 cu ft of natural gas = 1,030 Btu

        1 cu ft of gasoline = 932,500 Btu

        Electricity: 1 kW = 3,413 Btu/hr = 3.32 cu ft of natural gas/hr = 0.0036 cu ft of gasoline/hr

        Ave home = 14,640 kWh/year = 14,640 kWh = 50 million Btu/year =
        53.5 cu ft of gasoline / year = 400 gallons of gasoline per year.

        Average guy’s residence would run on 1.1 gallons of gasoline a day.

        • comparing a gas and a liquid in Btu or dollars is not a great comparison.
          How about using the mass figures? I think things might be closer together.

          How about coal, or dry hardwood firewood?
          Of one thing I’m pretty certain: if a typical house could be redone to use natural gas as its primary fuel, even to the point of a generator powered by it for what few electric needs remain, I’m certain it would be far cheaper than the rapidly rising costs of electricity, thanks in the main to gummit meddling (and unconstitutionial meddling at that) with the means of power generation.

          I’ve seen some Amish homes where propane is the main fuel…. it runs lights, generator for certain things like the well pump when the wind don’t blow, they’ve often got fridges run on propane, if they don’t heat with wood (most common, as its cheal and abundant wherever they seem to live), they heat directly with the propane. Some guys will even go so far as to use a wet hose to refill barbecue bottles, then mount them on a tractor and use the propane for fuel instead of gasoline, far more dear.

          • Comparing a gas and a liquid in Btu’s and dollars is a difficult but necessary comparison. Perhaps some unit conversions are less precise but are likely close enough.

            How many of these 4.50kW generators would you need to power your residence?

            How many gallons of diesel per day would you need on average to run them?

            If I’m way off somewhere in my maths, where? Everything I said was equivalent is easily falsiifiable. Even if its just your gut, what feels right to you? Feel free to flesh out your ideas.

            I’d love to see that kind of fluent numeracy become commonplace here.

            A chemist will tell you 4000 excess calories will put a pound of fat on you. Now they say you need-to-burn 7000calories-to-lose that pound

            You Need to Burn 7,000 Calories to Lose a Pound, Not 3,500

            4000 calories is 16 Btu’s. How many pounds of fat would you have to burn to get enough Btu’s to power your home for a second?

            • Energy Content of Fuels

              Coal 25 million BTU/ton
              Crude Oil 5.6 million BTU/barrel
              Oil 5.78 million BTU/barrel = 1700 kWh / barrel
              Gasoline 5.6 million BTU/barrel (a barrel is 42 gallons) = 1.33 therms / gallon
              Natural gas liquids 4.2 million BTU/barrel
              Natural gas 1030 BTU/cubic foot
              Wood 20 million BTU/cord


              If you have coal with a density of 52 lbs/cu. ft. How many cubic feet of coal in a ton?


              short ton = 2000 lb
              volume = 2000 ÷ 52 = 38.5 cu. ft. per short ton

              long ton = 2240 lb
              volume = 2240 ÷ 52 = 43.1 cu. ft. per long ton

              metric ton = tonne = 1000 kg = 2204.6 lb
              volume = 2204.6 ÷ 52 = 42.4 cu. ft. per metric ton

          • No Amish here about but lots of propane and Natgas heating. Propane was always much cheaper. the point when a couple winters many had furnace orifice changed, bought a tank and now use propane.

            We produce a glut of Natgas in the Lone Star state to the point it’s exported but we pay less for imported propane.

            Almost all our electricity used to be produced with Natgas but government pushes heat pumps now with coal powered electricity (OklaUnion)and wind powered.

            No doubt our new Sec of Energy could explain it…..if he would being the former CEO of XOM.

        • 1 gallon to run a house? Not my experience. We get to “try out” using Gasoline to power our homes every time a hurricane comes. And it takes way more than 1 gallon just to keep the fridge cold and run the well twice a day.

          • It’s 1.1 gallons per a single day of an average annual residential electric bill actually, whatever that means. (homes, apts, mobile homes, shacks, etc.)

            Average bill I found on net was $104 a month.

            Current Average gas price is $2.24 right now. It’s been over $3 in the recent past.

            A $104 monthly bill divided by 30.4 days with 1.1 gals used each day would impute $3.11 cents per gallon gas.

            Seems possible to me.

          • Hi Johnny,

            My generator (5,000 watts running) goes about 10 hours on about 5 gallons; that’s running a well pump, fridge, house lights and Internets.

            I’m planning on rigging it up to run CNG – costs less and easier. Plus, connected to a say 250 gallon tank, you’ve got power for weeks.

            • Eric,
              We had a 22kw Generac installed a year and a half ago. It’s the largest air cooled genset, I think. Any bigger and they are water cooled = more maintenance.
              It’s connected to the hard natural gas line/utility. The analysis we did (one of the few good uses of a smart meter) showed our power use in 15 minute increments over a year. Our peak was 17kw. It’s Dallas: a/c running, fridge keeping the beer cold and steaks frozen, etc. The coolest part is the smart switch that brings the generator on line in 30 seconds. Battery backup for computing and tv barely get a workout.
              HOA will not allow a bolted down propane tank (we’re in the way middle of town) but large portable bottles can be plumbed in and the generator can be switched back and forth as needed. The DFW area had numerous power outages last night with no public explanation (yet), a sadly common thing. We did this due to that aging infrastructure and having elderly relatives in the area. (Few/no retirement homes have backup power…)
              We had a couple of extended outages a couple of years ago that triggered this decision, outages due to “equipment failure.” Ours has kicked on 3 or 4 times due to an outage (storms) for as little as 3 minutes and as long as an hour.
              Very highly recommended, and we expect to recoup the cost when the house sells.

        • One cubic foot of fart-gas at one atmosphere could heat one cup of tea (5.5 oz) to 140F. We need just this sort of out-of-the-box thinking if we’re to deal with tomorrow’s energy needs

  12. Eric,
    If what you say is true about the manufacturers trying to hide cost by providing cars as a “service/rental” I thin they’re not taking one vital factor into consideration of renting, who gives a rip about how you treat it?

    If it’s “my” car I will treat it fairly well. Yes, I know most folks don’t do basic maintenance, etc. but, what I’m talking about is just abusing it because it’s not yours.

    Recall the Seinfeld episode when he rented a car? After all the hassle he’s finally signing the papers. The rep at the counter asks if he wants the insurance. “Yes, he replies, I gonna beat the crap outta this thing.” Spill red kool-aid, who cares? Banged into that bollard a bit, so what? Park right up front next to some other slob that’s renting, oh, well, so he opened the door and gave me a ding and a scratch. And that’s just for starters.

    These things won’t last 2 years before all the snot is beaten out of them.

    • Mark, exactly. And as such how much will the insurance cost to rent these cars to cover the certain abuse? The ol’ hidden cost scam. “It only costs $10 a day to rent one of these babies! Now that is a bargain!”*

      *Insurance and other fees not included.

  13. Don’t forget the multiplier effect of having a large family too. If you have a bunch of kids (more then two or so), paying for individual rides will get very expensive, very quickly, even if the individual rides don’t seem very expensive. Each kid could end up running up a bill of a couple hundred a month. I can’t see any ride costing less then five dollars, I am betting that would be the minimum cost of getting into the car. Maybe they will do a monthly unlimited ride thing, but it won’t be cheap or it will be so limited it won’t be very helpful.

    It will be too much like a taxi. Never very good, and not inexpensive. Too many times a filthy dirty car will pull up late, with no chance of making up the time somehow.

    The monthly cost of that owned minivan may seem far less expensive when those services spread out.

  14. Another angle of all of this is the control aspect.

    Government declares a “state of emergency” (which they seem to do now, every time somebody cuts a loud fart) and no car for you!

    I can envision hundreds of scenarios where the rent by the hour systems are shut down for “public safety” reasons.

    • They just shut the road down now, is it any different?

      This will only ever effect people in large cities, don’t know why those people would have cars anyway.

      • Todd, shutting down a road affects the populace at large and causes a backlash (or should if US amerikans had any sense, but they do not). But shutting down certain individuals will not affect others so the others will not care. No need to cause suffering on everyone just the “troublemakers”. Efficient control.

      • The issue isn’t whether there is any difference between the govt. shutting down cars on a mass scale and shutting down roads. The issue is the simple fact that the govt. would simply have more control. Yes, the government can shut down public roads. The fact the government has that power currently isn’t justification for & doesn’t excuse the government creating more ways to control the people.

        The essence of the issue is the importance of personal property rights and individual liberty. Even if it would make more sense or be more beneficial in some way for someone to rent the cars they use as opposed to buying one they own, why would anyone want to render themselves & their ability to travel so helpless and dependent on others (not to mention the govt.)?

  15. How would this work in rural areas (imagine waiting hours for the vehicle to arrive upon request)? How about trade workers and families that normally keep all their gear in their vehicle all the time?

    • Hi Dood,

      It won’t work.

      But it’s a way to keep them “selling” cars… without doing anything to reign in the cost of the mandates (and other things) that are making them unaffordable…

      • Outside of a handful of already expensive urban areas, it wouldn’t be “convenient” for very many. Those people in those urban areas are already trained to overpay, to over-wait, etc. So they will think it’s great (since it will likely still be better then taxis and buses). There is a reason why those who think these things are great are often urban dwellers. It actually could be a small improvement.

        However for an area like my unglamorous suburban area (the majority of the population by the way), it will likely be underserved by one or two lousy big companies. It will be just like our utilities (because many places will then regulate it like one, keeping out competition), two lousy expensive cable and internet companies, one lousy electric-gas company, one really terrible cab service, uber and lyft are still spotty (lyft STILL hasn’t unrolled “officially” yet, uber only did last year).

        I am guessing the automakers will not only want to push out their dealers, but also the current rental car companies as well.

      • None of us here owns our piece of the internet. Most surprisingly not even you Eric.

        There is no reason why you couldn’t own the 32 bit decimal number of this website’s IP as a piece of fee simple absolute internet property.

        Your exclusive epautos IP address would then entail permanent and absolute tenure of an estate in virtual land with freedom to dispose of it at your will.

        But that isn’t yet what happens.

        Instead, you’re a prole like me with my leased Cox Netgear router which leases me internet permission one hour at a time.

        We are all DORA vagabond migrant explorers without tenure at the mercy of the cyber plantation masters.

        What is the DORA process in DHCP and how does its enslavement work? How do we drive our device onto the internet super serfdom highway?

        DHCP (D)iscover
        DHCP (O)ffer
        DHCP (R)equest
        DHCP (A)cknowledgement

        Step 1:

        Your computer or device sends a “Discovery” request, asking for its IP information from any listening DHCP servers.

        Step 2:

        Any listening DHCP servers will “Offer” their configuration information to your device.

        Step 3:

        You device chooses the best lease then “Requests” that lease from the corresponding DHCP server.

        Step 4:

        The DHCP server you requested the IP configuration information from then “Acknowledges” your request and leases you the IP configuration information.

        Enjoy your free speech and media, we the plantation bosses reserve the absolute ownership of your free speech and media in perpetuity.

        You have the right to sue us and compel performance but doing so requires use of a justice system you fund and we also own and control.

        Could libertarian car guys become virtual aristocrat virtual land guys?

        Could we own an IP provider and each individually own our IPs like we own our cars I wonder.

  16. How much of the cost of a car is regulation, and how much is that everything is going more upscale. Pretty much everything has dual zone A/C, power seats, integrated infotainment, and all that stuff. Your basic Ford Focus or Honda Civic has more luxury equipment today than a luxury car from the ’90’s. We’re paying for all that stuff too, and it doesn’t seem possible to opt out.

    I’m sure regulation is a big part of it – crashworthiness requires structure, which is heavy. Fuel efficiency needs high tech engines because the car can’t be light. However, I’d love to know what it would take to build a car with manually adjusted cloth seats, a standard off the shelf stereo, and just basic, good quality parts which is compliant with all the modern fatwas. I would love to be able to buy something simple.

    • Hi OP,

      The drivetrain technology (engine/transmission) alone has added hugely to the cost of cars and for no good reason. Incremental upticks in mileage; fractional reductions in emissions.How much does it cost to integrate DI in lieu of a TBI system? An eight or ten speed automatic vs. a four-speed overdrive? Extensive use of aluminum panels over stamped steel?

      Now add at least six air bags and related sensors – the interior built around them.

      Integrated back-up camera (the display plus the cameras plus all the wiring and integrating it into the car).

      A basic car without all that – and with AC, a TBI-fed four cylinder and a five-speed manual – could be made and sold for less than $10k.

      • But would anyone buy them? There are some pretty cheap cars out there and for the most part it is not what people want. I often wonder if we are getting what the majority wants, I suspect we are.

        • Hi Todd,

          Yes, I think so – were it not for the fact that people are enabled to buy more than they can afford. As with houses – and cars.

          If loans were still three or four years, the market would change quickly.

          Americans want to live beyond their means. They used to try to live below them.

          • Often that more expensive car is “only” $20-$40 more a month
            (or its the same monthly price, but you go from four to five years of payments). When your sitting there in the showroom, that doesn’t seem like much. So most pull the trigger.

            Later however…………

            • You have to keep in mind how cars are made now too. Things are so integrated, especially with computer controls. It often costs more to keep a stripped down car in the lineup, then to just install something on every car. For example electric windows vs a simple crank. It’s literally cheaper for each car coming down the line to have electric windows installed then to keep two different kinds.

      • My old Benz diesel sedan (has power steering, four speed auto trans, four wheel disc brakes, power windows central locking, automatic climate control with AC, and sold new in 1977 for about $3000. Still one of the best crash-safe cars ever built, they typically run three hudnred thousand or more with near nothing ever done to them. Oh, it has cruise control, too. And power sunroof and full independent suspension. Decent quality AM FM Blaupunkt radio, too. It is still a VERY comfortable car to drive, handles incredibly well, though not plenty of power (for that, there was the same body bit fitted with a twin cam inline six fed by a VERY sophisticated Bosch CSI fuel system, putting more power to the road than anyone needs. I’d take either version of that 123 body over anything made today, or for about the past ten years.

        • Hi Tionico. I wonder where that Benz diesel came from at that price? During the ’80’s I bought a used ’73 Monte Carlo that still had the new car invoice stored in the glove compartment. This car had a 350 cid engine with a 4 bbl; carb and a Turbo-hydro auto tranny.. It also had the following extras: Swivel Strato front bucket seats, 15″ Rally wheels, In dash tach, floor shifter, A/C, and rear window defroster. The price was $4400. How would a diesel car 4 years newer with those extra things cost $1400 less than a Monte Carlo? Did the Dollar/Mark exchange ratio make up that difference?

  17. “Those who give up possession for convenience deserve neither.”

    Actually they probably won’t get convenience either. For most trips it won’t be a big deal to book ahead, but impulse and emergency trips are going to be difficult because there probably won’t be a vehicle nearby if you live out in the ‘burbs. But then again, is that worth having a $50K depreciating asset sitting in the garage just because you might want to run down to the grocery store to pick up a jug of milk? Are medical emergencies something that warrants it? Of course the flip side of impulse travel is automatic delivery, something I think will be much better suited to automation. I would love to have a way to schedule a delivery from Fed-UP-Ex or UPS, especially if it requires a signature. FedEx is the worst, they will not leave anything on my porch even if I leave a note telling the guy it’s OK to forge my signature. So I have to work from home and hope I don’t get called out before the package is delivered, or take time off. But if I could tell FedEX to deliver the package at 9:00pm, or 6:00am, when I’ll actually be there it would be much better.

    My big concern isn’t the hidden cost of renting an automobile, it’s that they’ll be very bare bones and generic, at least for what the companies design for us to use. Think city bus level of comfort and economy class seat space, but with limited range and probably a lot of noisy marketing and vending machines. Maybe pick up a few more people along the way, like chatty Cathy, or the teenagers who can’t keep their hands off each other. And in no way would I order one on Sunday morning, unless I wanted to sit in the equivalent of the back alley of a nightclub. And because it isn’t yours, you won’t have any say in if it is safe to travel. I would imagine someone in an “operations center” watching a weather forecast and deciding to shut down the fleet because it might snow. Or that algorithm that they tout as so great at predicting traffic needs doesn’t work for anything but the usual M-F 9-5 schedule.

    • “But then again, is that worth having a $50K depreciating asset sitting in the garage just because you might want to run down to the grocery store to pick up a jug of milk?”

      When autonomous vehicles are common, you won’t go to the grocery store to pick up a jug of milk…the jug of milk will be delivered to you by a computer-driven delivery vehicle. Autonomous vehicles will obliterate brick-and-mortar stores of all types…Walmart, Costco, Target, Walgreens, Kroger, Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. etc. People won’t go to stores, goods will be delivered to homes.

        • I just got in at the beginning of “Saving Private Ryan” (before the boats get to the beach). So…….it’s all relative. (I switched channels…I’ve seen that opening sequence enough for many, many years.)

          The good news is that things will be less expensive, and less time will be spent doing things like shopping. The bad news is I don’t see any obvious other jobs for a whole lot of people…or obvious uses for a whole lot of buildings.

          Two things that won’t help: 1) pretending it isn’t going to happen, and 2) criticizing the people who can see it’s going to though they somehow could change the future if they didn’t point it out.

          • Mark,

            Your certainty about all this is what I take issue with. Just consider the complexity of the thing – and what it would take to make it happen and keep it all operating safely.

            Yes, saaaaaaaaafety!

            Think about what goes into managing commercial aviation – only sort-of autonomous, but the principle is similar.

            The inspections and rigid procedures.

            You have this idea of a sanitized, Jetsons-like Future in which perfectly operating self-driving cars in their millions whiz saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafely alongside each other all day long.

            The technical and cost issues (the latter always ignored by the modern Chautaquans) will prove prohibitive. The only way this works, technically – saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafely – is if cars are taken in for extensive regular checkouts and major rebuilds – just like airplanes – or thrown away and replaced with new ones every two or three years at the most. Your assumption that the computers, cameras, radar and laser and all the other Stuff would not develop faults, or seriously degrade or just stop working within a relatively short time is among the biggest flaws with your Vision of The Future.

            Hombre, I test drive brand-new cars every week. These are carefully gone over by the manufacturers before delivery to press – for the obvious reason. Even so, there are frequently software and electronics glitches. But these are annoying more than critical because I still control the got-damned car. What happens when there is no control – except whatever the computer decrees and the sensors sense… and they get it wrong? Or don’t get it at all?

            Ever try a car fitted with some of these technologies in a heavy downpour or fog? I have. You should. It would open your eyes some.

            Similarly specious, your notion that this is economically sustainable. Technology costs. It is why new cars cost so much. Your autonomous cars will cost even more. But people can’t afford more.

            Oh, yes – I know. Ride Sharing will solve that one.

            No, it won’t. It will simply spread out the costs while eliminating ownership – as well as our autonomy.

            It’s all a dodge, amigo. It is about increasing control over us and rendering us Serfs even more than we already are. Imagine being eight years old again and a passenger in Mommy’s minivan, all buckled in for saaaaaaaaaaaafety. Only it’ll be worse because you’ll be grown man who has no choice but to be taken where you want to go on terms dictated by the people who control the car, which isn’t under your control anymore.

            That is your Future, amigo.

            • “Your certainty about all this is what I take issue with.”

              It comes from having spent hundreds of hours examining the issues. And interacting with many people. It all fits together.

              “Think about what goes into managing commercial aviation.”

              Commercial aviation is significantly different. Look at the ratio of fatalities to accidents in commercial aviation. It’s much, much higher. Planes are going hundreds of miles per hour, and they fall out of the sky.

              “Your assumption that the computers, cameras, radar and laser and all the other Stuff would not develop faults, or seriously degrade or just stop working within a relatively short time is among the biggest flaws with your Vision of The Future.”

              What other researchers/industry experts have expressed similar concerns?

              “Similarly specious, your notion that this is economically sustainable. Technology costs. It is why new cars cost so much. Your autonomous cars will cost even more. But people can’t afford more.”

              No, autonomous mostly-electric cars providing transportation-as-a-service will cost *less* per mile. Significantly less. The depreciation per mile will be less. The operating cost will be less, for many reasons: vehicles will be tailored to needs, energy use will be less, ride-sharing will be much more prevalent, vehicles will gain revenue from electrical grid support, etc.

              “That is your Future, amigo.”

              Yes, autonomous, mostly-electric vehicles providing transportation-as-a-service are the future. As Rick Blaine (aka, Humphrey Bogart) said, “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But soon…and forever.”

                • Social engineers & reformers always seem to be the most confident people in society — confident that if we simply let them use the government to create the reality they’ve perfectly imagined, then all the problems will be solved.

                  What’s that? You have a few questions & doubts about the reformers’ plans & the social system they’ve envisioned? Well tough sh*t. Get lost and quit trying to hold them back from fixing everything! Quit denying the realities of the future. After all, they just explained what will happen if you don’t listen to them, believe their prophesies, & give them the power they need to make everything all better.

              • Mark,

                The fact that you have “examined” something doesn’t endow you with infallible predictive powers. (How many new cars with elements of self-driving technology have you personally driven?) Especially when you leave out important variables, especially the cost of all this. It is of a piece with the electric car flapdoodle. Most of the coverage assumes everyone – most people – will be able to afford $40,000 electric cars. It is demented economic thinking.

                You will reply, no doubt, that costs will go down. They will have to decrease by at least 50 percent for these things to make economic sense – and that is no small thing. Leaving aside the functional gimps – which most people won’t put up with and regardless, would gridlock the country. Imagine say a third of the cars on the road off the road, waiting on line for 30-45 minutes each to recharge…

                Ludicrous. Not to mention the billions in infrastructure that will be needed to support all this.

                The fact that the safety/durability issues aren’t being widely discussed in the mainstream media means as much as the fact that the Federal Reserve being a private banking cartel that issues debt-based money produced out of thin air isn’t discussed often on CNN.

                You assert it will cost less. You just assert… over and over. While ignoring the facts presented that it will inevitably cost more. That the technology involved and infrastructure needed for this to even conceivably work will impose massive costs.

                And: Are you so naive as to believe that the majors are pushing this so as to reduce their profits? Has it not occurred to you that – per my article – this while business is the only way to hide and so continue escalating the cost of cars? By further spreading out the costs of the mandates and the gadgets?

                I am getting tired of repeating myself – and not having these points addressed with factual responses . . . as opposed to breezy assertions about a Jetsons-esque future. Which, by the way, will be a tightly controlled future.

                Your controlled, non-autonomous vision would have us all herded into the equivalent of single-seat government-run Metro busses.

                Only more expensive than taking the bus.

                When people begin to realize what “autonomous” cars will really mean, I expect they will buck at the prospect. And if not, feed them fish heads.

                I am outta here.

          • But Mark, the people are issue No.!! Do they not deserve to live? Is saving the lives of X number of people per year by reducing accidents matter if the same number of people cannot support their own lives? Many libertarians cheer all technological advancements as if they are free-market solutions. They cite past examples of technological job losses leading to more employment opportunities for the newly unemployed. The goal of businesses for decades has continued to be to reduce the costs of employment. What happens when technology finally succeeds in eliminating many or most human jobs? The statist answer continues to be the expansion of the welfare state by taxing “the rich”. I guess that I am an oddball libertarian anarchist who opposes all forced centralization efforts including technological ones!

            • “But Mark, the people are issue No.1! Do they not deserve to live? Is saving the lives of X number of people per year by reducing accidents matter if the same number of people cannot support their own lives?”

              1) I agree. People are issue number one. 2) Of course they deserve to live…I assume you mean “have a living”…I agree there, too…people who want to work should be able to. 3) I know three people who died in their teens from car accidents. I can’t even imagine the pain that would come to parents who lose a teenage child in a car accident. But we can’t make “choices” like that.

              Let’s look at a real-life example. Most weeks I shop at Walmart for…essentially everything. Groceries, over-the-counter medicines, household goods, etc. It takes me…say, 23 minutes door-to-door one way. So 45 minutes round trip. Then maybe 45 minutes to an hour shopping (including waiting in the long lines). So that’s 1.5-2 hours. Suppose maybe 10 years from now, I can order all the stuff. It will take maybe 5-10 minutes, because most weeks I get the same things. And it gets delivered to my door maybe an hour later…and for say 20 percent less than I’m paying now. (So that might be $100 a month in savings.) But essentially all the people in Walmart lose their jobs, because there’s no need for cashiers, or people to clean the aisles, or frozen food display cases, etc. etc.

              What should be done?

              • I think most us understand the blue pill libertarian theories. It’s not that you are smart and we are dumb, I’d hope you’ll at least concede that.

                The question is are you at least willing to consider the red pill realities?

                Or just proselytize more neo-hayekian Cato/Reason boilerplate?

                Virtually everyone here “carefully studies the subject and can see that the future” as you said in your first post.

                Why are gas prices so varied worldwide? Is it the market or the Crony Control Matrix?

                Be careful, thorough and honest with your answer.

                1. Venezuela

                Price per gallon: $0.02

                Average daily wage: $16.14

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 0.95 percent

                2. Kuwait

                Price per gallon: $0.88

                Average daily wage: $68.69

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 1.27 percent

                3. United States

                Price per gallon: $2.57

                Average daily wage: $156.34

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 1.64 percent

                4. Luxembourg

                Price per gallon: $4.69

                Average daily wage: $285.13

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 1.66 percent

                5. Saudi Arabia

                Price per gallon: $0.91

                Average daily wage: $52.77

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 1.72 percent

                6. United Arab Emirates

                Price per gallon: $1.80

                Average daily wage: $90.13

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 2.00 percent

                7. Switzerland

                Price per gallon: $5.58

                Average daily wage: $213.60

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 2.58 percent

                8. Australia

                Price per gallon: $3.57

                Average daily wage: $134.27

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 2.58 percent

                9. Canada

                Price per gallon: $3.45

                Average daily wage: $110.41

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 2.96 percent

                10. Norway

                Price per gallon: $6.53

                Average daily wage: $190.47

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 3.40 percent
                Related: Why Oil Prices Might Not Rebound Until 2019

                Least Affordable

                1. India

                Price per gallon: $3.75

                Average daily wage: $4.77

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 80.20 percent

                2. Pakistan

                Price per gallon: $2.32

                Average daily wage: $3.97

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 56.71 percent

                3. Philippines

                Price per gallon: $3.17

                Average daily wage: $8.14

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 39.69 percent

                4. Nigeria

                Price per gallon: $1.94

                Average daily wage: $8.00

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 34.85 percent

                5. Egypt

                Price per gallon: $2.66

                Average daily wage: $10.25

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 28.40 percent

                6. South Africa

                Price per gallon: $3.19

                Average daily wage: $13.03

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 23.64 percent

                7. Indonesia

                Price per gallon: $2.23

                Average daily wage: $9.89

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 22.36 percent

                8. Thailand

                Price per gallon: $3.44

                Average daily wage: $16.23

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 21.84 percent

                9. Turkey

                Price per gallon: $5.77

                Average daily wage: $26.13

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 21.22 percent

                10. Bulgaria

                Price per gallon: $4.05

                Average daily wage: $18.93

                Daily wages spent on one gallon of gas: 21.19 percent

      • Mark, “…goods will be delivered to homes.”

        Or maybe not. Depending on one’s support of the “correct” policies.

        “That guy is a ‘Nazi’ therefore company X will not do business with him because he does not share in our company’s ‘values'”.

        • “That guy is a ‘Nazi’ therefore company X will not do business with him because he does not share in our company’s ‘values’”.

          There’s going to be more than one autonomous vehicle company (unless the government decides otherwise). And even if there was only one company providing transportation as a service…people have owned cars for more than 100 years. There’s no reason that should change. (Unless the government decides otherwise.)

          • One thing that is already different with the “new transportation economy.”

            You have to have a smart device and a credit card.

            I’ve lived in poor neighborhoods for over 30 years. A few might have a non-smart phone. Almost none of them have credit cards. Many have no banking provider whatsoever.

            Just how do the lower proles participate in this brave new world you envision?

            These same people are also walled off from using Amazon, Apple Pay, and all those other fancy new innovations.

            Being a pay as you go low monthly nut cash customer is becoming impossible.

            As of 2014 only 7% of American transactions used cash.

            In 2013 the world average was 85%

            What do you imagine will be different when no one is allowed to use cash anymore?

            The most dramatic nudge toward “less cash” was experienced recently in India. Last November, the Indian government demonetizing the 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes, in effect voiding 86 percent of cash in circulation. New 500 and 2,000 rupee banknotes were issued, so consumers had to go to a bank and exchange their demonetized currency.

            In a country that is almost 90 percent reliant on cash, this move led to disrupted enterprises, unpaid wages and long lines at banks.

            Do you think Modi did this because he sincerely believes in the benefits of a cashless future in India? Isn’t this a North Korean dictator dick move? Much like America’s jailing of a VW Executive for months now because of tailpipe emissions?

            Wake up Mark.

          • Hi Mark,

            You haven’t responded to the following:

            * Cost-no-object
            * The fact that we lose autonomy when we no longer control our cars.

            • Hi Eric,

              My apologies for not commenting more, but I have a lot of other things on my plate.

              I have responded repeatedly to the “cost-no-object” comment by pointing out that autonomous, mostly-electric, transportation-as-a-service will be far *less* expensive per vehicle mile traveled, and I’ve repeatedly explained why (many more miles per dollar of depreciation, lower cost per mile for fuel, lower insurance cost, more appropriately sized cars, and more ride-sharing).

              As far as losing “autonomy” with computer-driven cars, I’ve pointed out that children and young teens will gain freedom of movement, as will the driving-disabled and elderly. It’s possible that the federal government might ban people from driving cars when it’s shown how much safer computer-driven automobiles are. Of all the evil things the federal government does or could do, that wouldn’t rank anywhere near the top of my list. YMMV as they say.

              • Hi Mark,

                But you haven’t responded; you’ve simply asserted.

                The cost of the cars themselves will be higher due to the technology as well as the necessity of much more frequent service/safety checks, per my commercial aviation analogy. Can you provide an example of government mandated “safety” equipment that has reduced the cost of a new car? How will it cost less to service/replace cars much more often?

                Insurance will also probably be higher for the same reason that you’d better wear three rubbers when screwing a $20 backstreet ho’ . . .

                Your point about teens: This will infantilize them; turn them into meatsacks and Elio. Dependent.

                The old: Yes, they’ll have more mobility… and that mobility will be geared to the level of the old. Slow, hypercautious.

                A world of regimented, controlled, “mobility.” You pay less per use – maybe – but you pay more overall since you never own anything. And what price being free to drive where you want and how you like?

                This whole thing is the wet dream of frog-faced technocrats such as Elon Musk. Who not only think they know best but are determined to impose their views on everyone else.

                • “The old: Yes, they’ll have more mobility… and that mobility will be geared to the level of the old. Slow, hypercautious.”

                  Heh, heh, heh!

                  The “Cannonball Run” record for coast-to-coast travel by an automobile with human drivers (*two* drivers, not one) is a little over 28 hours. I predict that by 2030, a person over 80 will break that record in an autonomous vehicle.

                  • Wanna bet?

                    What on Earth makes you think that in our Cloverized/Safety-Obsessed society, these cars-controlled-by-the-government (and corporations) will be controlled on any other basis besides the Least Common Denominator basis? Have you ridden in a bus? Or the automated trains at airports?

                  • Mark, the record for human drivers can’t be broken by a passenger in a driverless car, any more than a track record for horses can be broken by a motorcycle.

                    • Hi Ed,

                      Mark strikes me as a guy who doesn’t like/care much about driving. He regards it as transportation. He is probably a city boy. Wanna bet?

                      For him, taking the bus or riding the metro is just fine. If he drives at all, no doubt he drives the speeeeeeed limit and obeys all the traffic laws – because it’s the law! – and would love it everyone else did, too. Notice his emphasis on “mobility” for kids and old people – the least common denominator. More dumbing down. Transportation – contra driving.

                      Hence, his approbation for these automated cars.

                    • “He is probably a city boy. Wanna bet?”

                      Yeah, Eric, I’ve lived in all the big cities around you: Blacksburg, Lynchburg, even Roanoke.

                      Not downtown in those big cities, of course. But in the suburbs.

                  • Won’t be allowed.
                    The push to automated cars is in part to force us all to drive in the manner that The Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash was designed to protest.

                    • “Won’t be allowed.
                      The push to automated cars is in part to force us all to drive in the manner that The Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash was designed to protest.”

                      Yes, humans averaging ~100 mph for 28 hours straight is dangerous. Computer-driven cars averaging 100+ mph (and separated by a couple car lengths) for hours on end will be commonplace when most of the vehicles on interstates are computer-driven.

                      As far as it being “allowed”…the public will demand it. That’s why speed limits on some Texas interstates are 85 mph.

                      Even in the nanny-state of California, when voters see that a computer-driven car or bus can easily and safely go from LA to SF averaging 100+ mph, the voters will demand that it be allowed.

                    • Hi Mark,

                      “Even in the nanny-state of California, when voters see that a computer-driven car or bus can easily and safely go from LA to SF averaging 100+ mph, the voters will demand that it be allowed.”

                      The naivety of this astounds me.

                      It is right up there with believing those nice guards just want to make sure you’re not infested with lice… a quick shower will take care of everything…

                    • Mark B, who is in power in government?

                      The disciples of Brock Yates or the disciples of Joan Claybrook and Ralph Nader? Who’s in charge?

                      Just answer that simple question and that will tell you how automated vehicles will be used.

                      So tell me, who is in power those that still believe in every falsehood every spread claybrook and nader with regards to driving or the people who would read Brock Yates’ column, articles, and books and believed in what he said?

                • “Mark, the record for human drivers can’t be broken by a passenger in a driverless car, any more than a track record for horses can be broken by a motorcycle.”

                  If the record is “time for a passenger car to travel on roads from coast to coast,” the current record is a little over 28 hours. That record will be *routinely* broken by computer-driven passenger cars (and buses) by 2030.

    • Ready, “FedEx is the worst, they will not leave anything on my porch even if I leave a note telling the guy it’s OK to forge my signature.”

      Well, no shit. Why would a company set itself up for legation by “forging” someone’s signature?!

      • OK. So let’s say that, instead of paying 35K for the car, you pay only what you use, as a taxi service of sort. You really think that you will pay more for the car use in the 5 or 7 year period than you will pay for a lease on the car? i did the math a little, i would pay 700€ a month lease on that car, plus gas, plus insurance, plus taxes (depends on the engine, in europe yearly tax varies from 50€ to 1.000€ to 3.000€ per year), plus parking.Clover

        • This assumes, for openers, that one lives like a Good Prole in an urban center and only needs a car every now and then – like a taxi. That one – mostly walks. Or takes the bus/train, etc.

          Of course, most urban proles also rent their tiny hive apartments, too. So hourly/daily rental of cars is what they are used to. They exist to pay rent; they never accumulate tangible assets, real wealth.

          What happens to your math if you need a car every day? Most people do. What about owning something more than the clothes on your back?

          Don’t you see the shove toward not owning anything? Do you really imagine that will be liberating? When you yourself are owned by the people you rent your life from?

          • You’re assuming somebody is gonna take your car away în the next 20 years. Not going to happen. Your little dream cars in Virginia will be safe. Clover

            About that last part, while there is a push to a world of functioning slaves and a few masters (the 1%), i like to think that would be a nightmare in terms of management and will not happen.

            • Clover,

              Who said so? Not I.

              What I did say is that transportation as a service is a dodge used to hide the cost of cars and to further erode the concept of ownership.

                  • well, this whole thing sucks. i thought higher of you. but to stoop to “clover”, that was dumb and stupid all at once. good luck, i will refrain from comenting from now on. Clover

                    ps: my clover car is a forester xt 🙂

                    • MSRP: $34,295+
                      Curb weight: 3,686 lbs

                      Fuji Heavy Industries(Subaru) is a Japanese multinational corporation involved in aerospace and ground transportation

                      It manufactures Boeing and Lockheed Martin helicopters and airplanes under license.

                    • And I’m sure you spend your time in the left hand lane, or the diamond lane, or which ever lane you choose to travel in “cucking” the rest of your fellow citizens by driving at or below the speedlimit, while blocking their ability to travel the roadway in speed and comfort….for saafffeety…

                      PS: a Forester XT has a very high level of Virtue Signaling and ego emissions, and should be banned from US roadways as a gross emitter

                    • Clover,

                      You didn’t even respond to his argument. If you thought higher of Eric, you could have at least mustered up enough disingenuousness to “counter” his valid concern that, much like housing, the cost of cars is out of control, primarily due to all kinds of government-mandated rubbish those of a heartier generation would have rejected. Voluntary air conditioned seats? Fine. 40 mandated airbags in a car occupied by 1 person 99% o f the time? Bullshit.

            • It already happened. We’re slaves/serfs already. Property tax, income tax, permits, regulations, obamacare, federal reserve, and much much more. Put all these little systems together and the effective end result is little removed from the slavery and serfdom of old. Our cages are nicer for the time being but in the end we are human resources in a giant company town.

              • I cannot agree more fully to your post BrentP! I feel sick and disgusted every year around the massive July 4th celebrations!: Freeedommmmm! Yeahhhhh!, Liberteeeeee!!!!! Yeahhhhh!!!!!! Yaaaaayyyyyy!!!!! Hurraaaaayyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!, Hurraaaaayyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!
                Yet cops are at every street corner openly telegraphing to everyone who has eyes and can think that the freedom celebration is purely fictional.

              • Too true Brent, especially on the 4th of July it kind of makes me nostalgic for King George the 3rd. At least the colonists only paid about 3% in taxes, the average Amerikan coughs up more than ten times that.

            • Vali, Europe is at the forefront of managing the populace. Hence the immoral anti-freedom laws rampant throughout Europe like gun control and anti-free speech laws.

          • I think the plan is to force most of humanity into big cities, leaving the countryside for large automated farms and for the dachas of the elite.

            • He who controls the drawbridge controls the castle.

              The funny thing about castles though is their similarity to prisons.

        • Perpetual payments is the problem. The desire is to move society to a system where those who run the collective can pull the plug on disruptive people. You’re going to stay in line to make that monthly nut on your car, home, etc. Keep your nose to the grindstone.

          This modern system is one where people can’t even see the chains.


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