Clovers’ Union

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The Clovers who style themselves Consumers Union – not having been elected to this status by any actual “consumers” – have decided they want the government to impose a new mandate on heavy-duty, 2500/3500 series pick-up trucks. They are demanding they be tested for fuel economy and that these figures be published.

Currently, these trucks – which have a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 lbs. or more – are not subject to government mileage tests and their manufacturers are not required to post mileage stats.

Perhaps they should post them – but shouldn’t that be up to actual consumers – that is, to buyers –  as opposed to the self-appointed “union”?

It never seems to occur to these professional busybodies – who represent no one other than themselves – that if the people buying these trucks had a burning desire to know how many miles-per-gallon a 2500/3500 series pick-up will deliver, they’d have made such desires known to the manufacturers of the trucks, who would then oblige.

Buyers of these vehicles are interested maximum tow ratings, bed load capacity, the horsepower and torque produced by the engines these trucks offer. And so, the manufacturers publish this data. Not because the government or some pushy “union” has demanded it, but because the buyers do.

And fuel economy?

Buyers don’t care much about that because it’s an irrelevance when it comes to heavy-duty work trucks. There are probably a few people who drive one as their commuter but for the most part, 2500 and up trucks are used to haul and pull things.

Heavy things.

These are trucks with tow ratings pushing 20,000 lbs., and if you need to pull that kind of weight, you are worried about MPGs as much as a fire fighter is worried about how much water is coming out of the hose as he is working a blaze. You are trying to get a job done.

It is what you bought the truck for.

Odds are you know what you need from it – and don’t need  a “union” of busybodies to snatch proxy power from you, represent themselves as your spokesman without your consent and – while you are out working and trying to mind your own business – pestering the government the pester the companies that built the damned things to give you something you didn’t ask for but which will be added to your bill.

The “union” will not be covering the cost of the testing and the posting. They never cover the cost of such things . They do make a fine living, however, presenting themselves as your duly-appointed proxy and making nuisances of themselves at your expense.

Often, they do so without a clue about the nature of  thing they’re making a fuss over. As in this case.

The “union” claims that diesel-powered versions of the Chevy Silverado 2500 HD, the Ford F-150 Super Duty, Ram 2500 and Nissan Titan XD2500 don’t get better mileage than the gas-engined versions of these trucks. Their argument is that people are being gulled into paying extra for diesels, thinking that – as is the case with diesel-powered cars – they will save money overall because of the diesel engine’s greater efficiency.

But people who buy diesel-powered trucks buy them for a very different reason. They buy diesels because of their usually much greater capacity to pull and haul vs. a gas engine and to continue pulling – and hauling over many years and lots of miles.

The “union” did not ask consumers about this. They presume that consumers are as obsessed about fuel economy as they appear to be – notwithstanding any evidence that actual consumers share that concern.

In addition, the tests performed by the “union” to impugn the diesel-powered 2500s were flawed at best and purposely misleading at worst.

How so?

By testing them unloaded and not hauling or pulling anything.

Passenger vehicles – including 1500 series light-duty trucks – are tested this way because that’s in line with the way they’re used and the uses to which they are put. Most of the time, their beds are empty and most of the time, they’re not pulling a trailer.

But 2500s and 3500s are usually pulling – or hauling – something. It’s what they do.

And while a  gas-engined version might perform better, city/highway-wise when unladen, a diesel-powered version will usually do better when it’s pulling/hauling (vs. the gas-engined version) because it isn’t working as hard to pull or carry the extra weight.

That’s what people buy them for you, see.

The busybodies at the “union” do not see it, of course.

Or, care.

Why would they? After all, they are not the ones buying – and using – the trucks. Or the fuel, for that matter. It is of a piece with busybodies demanding you build your house a certain way, according to their liking – but at your expense.

Even unladen, the diesel-powered heavy-duty trucks’ tested mileage was within anyone’s margin of error – “1 to 2 MPG less” than the gas-engined versions. This is what has the plumage of the birds at the “union” all fluffed up.

If there isn’t a problem, make one up. Then demand “solutions.”

Naturlich, it’s a frau that’s in charge at the “union.”

In this case, it’s not the mileage – or the mileage difference –  that’s the real problem. The problem – from the viewpoint of the “union” – isn’t merely that 2500/3500 series trucks aren’t being tested for mileage and the mileage not advertised; it is that these trucks are not subject to the fuel economy fatwas that afflict all other vehicles.

That’s the end goal here.

First, mandate the tests – and the posting of mileage stats. Then decry the “wastefulness” of these trucks which, being heavy and heavy-duty vehicles, do not – and cannot, without severely gimping their ability to do what they do – deliver particularly fabulous city/highway mileage.

It is akin to expecting a Corvette to be as off-road capable as it is capable of running a quarter-mile in 12 seconds or less.

Horses for course.

But the “union” – the Clovers within – cannot abide such choices, which differ from their choices. They insist that everyone make the same choices as their choices. Be nudged and compelled to make them.

How did this busybody-ism become so entrenched in American culture and society? It is startling – and depressing – that so few object. Which explains why busybodies such as these – self-appointed, not proxied by anyone – can tub-thump as they do without risking being run out of town on a rail, old school style.

Perhaps the time has come to resurrect that ancient and sometimes necessary curative.

. . .

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  1. The one thing I remember about Consumers Report was a long ago test on a Mercedes. Their one complaint was that it was hard to reach the brake pedal with the left foot. Never thought much about them after that.
    As to diesel v gas: My Cummins Ram with 1/4 million miles still gets the same mileage towing it did when new.
    Some of the other campers in our group have gas trucks. Their towing mileage is roughly half the unloaded rate.

  2. Consumer Reports’ reviews are like hearing a story on the news that you were an eyewitness to. Or one about a topic you’re an expert in. You immediately see all sorts of problems with the results, testing methodology and just incompetence.

  3. If these dweebs are going to do this – they should publish multiple economy figures for these vehicles. Empty – just for the curious (has little real-world meaning) and then towing in 5,000 lb increments up to the chassis limit. Both across flat land and up the hill on the Eisenhower Pass.

    Can we expect them to restrain their outrage at the single-digit MPGs? Nahhh. They’ll still call for improvements in spite of the engineering hard limits. But at least buyers will get a better idea of what to expect.

  4. A fuel economy figure for a hauling vehicle is ultimately pointless. Tested with what load, with what sort of trailer or none? With what sort of body configuration? Is it set up as a pickup truck, a bus, or a box truck? What sort of road? Weather? The figures could vary widely for the same truck. The figures are damn near pointless for passenger cars but are at least comparable to each other since usage will be similar. With heavy duty trucks the usage varies widely. The figure is entirely worthless.

    A buyer of a commercial vehicle needs to know the fuel economy in his _application_ and they are so varied and numerous there is no way a manufacturer can provide a useful figure. This is a role for industry specific publications.

  5. Wait until the “Consumers Union” finds out the M.P.G. of the average fire truck, deuce & 1/2 troop transport or M1 Abrams tank; their heads will explode. Let’s see if the “Consumers Union” starts working on THOSE mandates.

  6. “So, somebody go tell these clovers they’ve overstepped their bounds.”

    Good idea. I nominate Josh to go tell’em. Go get’em, Josh.

  7. My impression is that an organization called Consumers Union should not be concerned at all with such vehicles for a simple reason: these sorts of vehicles are not (usually) consumer goods but are higher-order capital goods.

    Full-ton trucks are heavy machinery used by farmers and builders and tradesmen to get a job done. Except for the occasional redneck who buys one and immediately drapes it with truck nuts and modifies the engine so as to roll coal, but that’s an anomaly and they don’t care about fuel mileage. Everyone else who buys one of these trucks is investing in a business, the same as they do when buying a tractor, or a bulldozer, or a jet, or an IT company buying a $10,000 server computer.

    So, somebody go tell these clovers they’ve overstepped their bounds. Unless they’re going to start reviewing the fuel efficiency of ditch witches or something (heaven forbid) and change their name to Busybodies Union. (Come to think, they should do that last bit anyway.)

  8. Eric:

    Although I love your articles, my blood pressure probably spikes 20 points whenever I’m reading the political ones.

    This is a compliment – since the late, great William Norman Grigg had the same impact on me.

    Then I read THIS from consumers union website about the frau in charge:

    “She began her career in the consumer movement and has 25 years of experience as a frontlines advocate and leader for social justice.”

    I see: “Social Justice.” Great person to be in charge of technical matters.

    Also this:

    “Born in Cuba and raised in New Jersey, Marta began her career in public policy, advocacy, and social justice working alongside consumer advocates Ralph Nader and Joan Claybrook at Public Citizen.”

    So she was born a Marxist and remains one today. And she worked alongside my other 2 least favorite people. To top it all off, her “expertise” and schooling was political science.

    And SHE gets to dictate “policy” to engineers. Aargh.

    Where does this madness end?

    • Hi Blake,

      Thanks! It’s worse for me… I have to deal with the researching and writing part; it’s like working an endless conga line of toilets rendered inoperative by an “upper decker.”

    • So her resume’ could be summarized in one sentence:

      “Has never worked a day in her life.”

      We produce enough excess to allow people like her to have a full belly despite adding little to improve the human condition. Truly an amazing time to be alive and a testament to just how productive the worker minority is.

    • I’ve always believed that CU was Claybrookian and that proves it. Consumer Reports’ tests and methodologies have always been in many cases apparently designed to produce results that fit their biases and agendas. Their TV commercials that said they were unbiased from not having ads were so absurd. Since when does one need advertising money to be biased?

      It is amazing this society has been able to go on for so long with so many people influencing and deciding things they have no understanding of. Not to mention the economic dead weight of it all.

  9. Ha! It’s kinda funny in that I (as a Harry Homeowner, 9-5’er, commuter) am seriously thinking @ a bare-bones F-250 PRECISELY BECAUSE they do not have all the techno-crap that the light duty trucks have. Sure, I’ll get 14mpg, but that would be the price I pay for none of this stuff.

  10. Something like consumers union would be great, if it wasn’t for the hidden (and not so hidden) agendas there.

    Their bias against certain companies and products doesn’t help either.

  11. Democracy at Consumers Union: In the past, board members were chosen, and elected, by paying subscribers. That changed. Now, Consumer Union Marxists create a “slate” and the mere subscribers (union members) can only vote the slate up or down – in former USSR fashion.

    “Naturlich, it’s a frau that’s in charge at the “union.” – Where engineers and technicians are needed, she’s an arts major – and worthless in her capacity.

    Consumers (Clover) Union is one of the most anti-consumer organization existent and deserves to disappear.

  12. Feminism and Consumerism are part of the cabal of “witch doctors.” These mystic “witch doctors” provide the justification and rationale for the tyrannies of the Attilas.

    When an entire society is approaching bankruptcy, there are two courses that those involved can follow: they can evade the reality of their situation and act on a frantic, blind, spur-of-the-moment expediency—not daring to look ahead, wishing no one would name the truth, yet desperately hoping that something will save them somehow—or they can identify the situation, check their premises, discover their hidden assets and start rebuilding.

    America’s intellectual leadership has collapsed. America is a country without a voice or defense—a country sold out and abandoned by her intellectual bodyguards.

    The professional businessman and the professional intellectual came into existence together, as brothers born of the same industrial revolution. Both are the sons of capitalism—and if they perish, they will perish together.

    With very rare and brief exceptions, pre-capitalist societies had no place for the creative power of man’s mind, neither in the creation of power nor in the creation of wealth. Such societies were ruled by faith and its practical expression: force.

    The man of faith and the man of force, they are the actual leaders of most of mankind’s societies, who rise to power whenever men abandon reason.

    Attila, the man who rules by brute force, respects nothing but man’s muscles, and regards a fist, a club or a gun as the only answer to any problem—and the Witch Doctor, escapes into his emotions, into visions of some mystic realm where his wishes enjoy supernatural power unlimited by the absolute of nature.

    Attila feels no need to understand, to explain nor even to ponder, how men manage to produce things he covets—‘somehow’ is a fully satisfactory answer. His view of the universe does not include the power of production. The power of destruction, of brute force, is to him, metaphysically omnipotent. Attila never thinks of creating, only of taking over.

    The Witch Doctor’s method, is the conquest of those who conquer those who conquer nature.

    With the Witch Doctor, emotions are tools of cognition, and wishes take precedence over facts. Knowledge of the universe will be granted to him by blind, unfocused stare of his eyes turned inward, contemplating the sensations, the feelings, the urgings, the muggy associational twistings projected by the rudderless mechanism of his undirected consciousness.

    Whatever his mechanism produces is an absolute not to be questioned; and whenever it clashes with reality, it is reality he ignores. The only validation of his consciousness he can obtain on earth is the belief and the obedience of others, when they accept his ‘truth’ as superior to their own perception of reality.

    While Attila extorts their obedience by means of a club, the Witch Doctor obtains it by means of a much more powerful weapon: he preempts the field of morality.

    They come to need each other. Attila feels that the Witch Doctor can give him what he lacks: a long-range view, and insurance against the dark unknown of tomorrow or next week or next year, a code of moral values to sanction his actions and disarm his victims.

    The Witch Doctor feels that Attila can give him the material means of survival, can protect him from physical reality, can spare him the necessity of practical action, can enforce his mystic edicts on any recalcitrant who may choose to challenge his authority. Both of them are incomplete parts of a human being, who seek completion in each other.

    The power of ideas has no reality for either of them, and neither cares to learn that the proof of their power lies in his own chronic sense of guilt and terror.

    Thus Attila and the Witch Doctor form an alliance and divide their respective domains. Attila rules the realm of men’s physical existence—the Witch Doctor rules the realm of men’s consciousness. Attila herds men into armies—the Witch Doctor sets the armies’ goals. Attila conquers empires—the Witch Doctor writes the laws. Attila loots and plunders—the Witch Doctor exhorts the victims to surpass their selfish concern with material property. Attila slaughters—the Witch Doctor proclaims to the survivors that scourges are a retribution for their sins. Attila rules by fear, by keeping men under a constant threat of destruction—the Witch Doctor rules by means of guilt, by keeping men convinced of their innate depravity, impotence and insignificance.

    Against whom is this alliance formed? Against those men whose existence and character both Attila and the Witch Doctor refuse to admit into their view of the universe; the men who produce. In any age or society, there are men who think and work, who discover how to deal with existence, how to produce the intellectual and material values it requires. These are the men who produce the means of survival for the parasites of all varieties: The Attilas and the Witch Doctors and the human ballast. The ballast consists of those who go through life in a state of unfocused stupor, merely repeating the words and the motions they learned from others. But the men from whom they learn, the men who discover any scrap of knowledge, are the men who deal with reality, with the task of conquering nature, and exercising their rational facility.

    A Producer is any man who works and knows what he is doing. He may function on a fully human, conceptual level of awareness only some part of this time, but, to that extent, he is the Atlas who supports the existence of mankind.

  13. The verdict is in….and now everybody has mostly quit reaching for the pie in the sky solution. A big pickup cutting a big hole in the wind and weighing 3 or 4 tons isn’t going to get great fuel mileage unless you can arrange to be going down a steep grade with a hard wind behind you everywhere you go.

    The Big 3 keep changing buyers for the most part simply because people are seeking reliability, nearly a thing of the past with EGR and DEF choking hell out of these trucks. Where I live, and I know this will change because of busybody fools who have no clue as to being a productive person, will scream until the biggest fools of all in the state lege or the ultra-fools in DC mandate every county check every vehicle for compliance as they were produced. Until then, EGR delete kits will sell like hotcakes. Getting rid of the DEF is a boon too.

    • 3 real world examples with and without 3500LB trailer: 2012 3500HD DEF Duramax Silverado without = 13 MPG, with = 13 MPG. 2006 1500 Silverado 5.3L Vortec rated for 7K towing without = 16MPG, with = 9 MPG with the redline being approached frequently on any kind up uphill grade. 2006 2500HD Duramax Non DEF, EGR Delete, Turbo back 5 inch exhaust no Cat Convertor, Programmer = 26 MPG without, 24 MPG in Economy mode still pushing 700 Ft lbs & 400 HP. Both Dmaxes never downshift out of O2 even on the steepest grades New Mexico and Colorado present as long as the speed limit is 60 or above.

  14. Ooops……Correction to point A: Emotionally based decisions are not always “bad” ones. Please remove “emotional”, and substitute “hysterical”. Thank you.

  15. A: A woman in charge……most often means uninformed, emotionally motivated, irrational decisions.
    B: The rest of them are equally talent-less followers of their “visionary” leader who doesn’t give a damn as to all the harm he/she will do.
    C: My father said this to me 30 years ago, “the world has too many talent-less, boring people with nothing better to do than to get paid to aggravate the rest of us who are trying to be productive, and it will only get worse, so don’t be one of those worthless assholes”.

    • I wouldn’t necessarily say women can’t be effective leaders, in fact one of the best managers I worked with was a woman. But she also ran her department like Major Houlihan and didn’t put up with much BS. No one really liked her but she was respected.

  16. Consumers Union has never been honest when testing cars. When the Plymouth Horizon and Dodge Omni were tested, the “unbiased” testers threw in a steering maneuver (violently whipping the steering wheel left and right) and declared that these two cars had “handling problems”. This “steering test” had been used only on these two cars, and was never used on others. Sorta tells you something…
    Consumers Union may be OK when it comes to appliances, but when it comes to cars they FAIL…

    • They are pretty terrible with appliances too. Computers in particular. Reviewing macs like they were windows machines, and nothing about linux at all.

    • Actually, they turned the wheel full lock and let go. At the time the steering wheel on these cars was part of the “crush zone”. As such they were made to collapse at a certain rate and because they were designed to withstand the impact of a human body they were heavy, VERY heavy. When they let go the rotational mass took over and it went lock-to-lock several times before settling down. It whipped the car back & forth but, was totally unrealistic in a real world situation.

      BTW, did you know if you duct tape the safety guard on a circular saw in the open position and then put your hand on the rotating blade you’ll get cut?


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