The Wave Builds

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Out on the open ocean, a tsunami is almost impossible to see; but as the wave gets closer to shore, it builds and swells and all of a sudden, it becomes extremely obvious. By then, of course, it is too late.

Consider what’s happened to Mazda an early warning of what’s coming.

It is the first major car company to become a four cylinder-only car company. All of its 2018 model year cars – from the compact Mazda3 to the full-sized CX-9 (reviewed here) are powered by four cylinder engines no larger than 2.5 liters.

No more sixes – even in the Mazda6. Which used to offer one.

This is the wave of the future – unless someone (Trump?) rescinds the fatwa issued by the federal government during the last few month’s of Obama’s presidency. This fatwa decrees a near-doubling of the current “corporate average” fuel economy mandatory minimum from 34.1 to 54.5 miles-per-gallon by the 2025 model year.

There isn’t a six cylinder-powered car on the market that can make that cut – which is why Mazda isn’t selling them anymore.

Others are following the example.

For instance, Honda. The just-redesigned 2018 Accord – which is a mid-sized sedan that weighs close to 3,400 lbs. – now comes standard with a 1.5 liter “earth dreams” four. A turbocharged 2.0 liter four  – also “earth dreamy” – is the largest optional engine available.

You used to be able to buy a V6. No dreams necessary.

The Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang have both dropped their formerly standard V6 engines, replacing them with . . . turbocharged fours.

More will follow suit – because there’s no other option. If they don’t meet the CAFE mandatory minimums, they get hit in the head with the equivalent of a sock full of quarters – those “gas guzzler” fines you’ve probably heard of. These are Uncle’s vengeful way of countermanding what the buying public wants.

Uncle claims – bizarrely – that CAFE and the “gas guzzler” fines are necessary because otherwise the mean old car industry would build nothing but “wasteful,” fuel slurping cars. But no one is forced to buy gas-slurping, “wasteful” cars; all the car industry can do is offer them for sale. And if no one buys them, why would the industry continue to offer them?

Isn’t it pretty obvious that if buyers demanded cars that average 54.5 miles per gallon, the car companies would respond to that demand?

Why wouldn’t they?

Uncle’s argument makes no sense.

It’s Uncle – the government – which is immune to demand. It decrees – and imposes. And it does so counter to the demands of the people, yet has the gal to claim it is acting on their behalf.


Force is Uncle’s stock in trade.

Uncle’s concern isn’t that people wouldn’t be able to buy “efficient” cars absent the CAFE edict. His concern is resentment that people are still free to choose – and that many people place a higher value on attributes other than fuel efficiency, such as performance.

His intention is to deny them that choice – or to punish them for making it.

An interesting aspect of this is its class regressiveness. CAFE most hurts the average buyer, the person who might be interested in a middle-priced car such as a Mazda or a Honda. Such a person’s buying decision is influenced to a greater degree by a price difference of say $1,000 than the buying decision of an affluent person shopping for a BMW or Lexus.

BMW, Lexus and other higher-end car brands – and their customers – can better absorb the price-jacking effect of CAFE. This is why V8 are still available in high-priced cars but have been eliminated – or nearly so – from the cars within the buying power of most middle and working class Americans. Before CAFE, working and middle class Americans routinely drove full-size cars with V8 engines.

Thanks to CAFE, such cars have become cars for the rich only.

And the really scary thing is there’s not four cylinder-powered car on the market right now that can make the pending 54.5 MPG CAFE cut. Even the hybrid Toyota Prius falls just short – the current model rates 54 in city driving, 50 in the highway, so not quite there  – so it would actually incur “gas guzzler” fines under the 54.5 MPG standard.

If Trump does not rescind the fatwa, the vehicular landscape is going to be very different in a few years. What we’re seeing now is just the swell out at sea, before the tsunami approaches shore.

2025 is only seven years from now. In “product planning” terms, every car on sale right now will be replaced by a redesigned successor by then. The car companies are in the decision-making stage right now. What will these 2025 model year cars be like? That will be decided, to a great extent, by the regulatory fatwas they will have to comply with.

If Trump fails to rescind the 54.5 MPG fatwa, the industry will be faced with the task of figuring out how to nearly double the mileage of every car they currently sell – or try to sell people cars that have suddenly become much more expensive to buy, because of all those “gas guzzler” taxes aded to the MSRP.

Things are coming to a head – and it’ll be obvious, soon.

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

If you like what you’ve found here, please consider supporting EPautos.

We depend on you to keep the wheels turning!

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

PS: EPautos magnets – they’re back!  are free to those who send in $20 or more to support the site. Also, the eBook – free! – is available. Click here. Just enter you email in the box on the top of the main page and we’ll email you a copy instantly!




  1. Sorry to say I am probably driving my last Mustang. I decided not to get a brand new one in spring 2017 when I was ready for a new car, opting for a 2016 V6, which I felt pretty lucky to find in such good shape. Although I would love the bigger engine, that’s just not practical for my budget, my commute and the winter weather in Indiana. V6 was a nice compromise. You still get some power and sporty pickup and a bit of a rumble without the huge initial costs, extra insurance costs, extra gas.
    I can’t justify paying $32k for a 4 cylinder car. IMO, that is NOT a Mustang. It sounds more like a golf cart. So my next new car will likely be some cheapie piece of crap that will look crappy, drive crappy and be treated crappy by me. If I can’t get the car I love, there’s no reason to look for No. 2. I’ll just go for the cheapest thing I can find.
    If Trump would rescind the CAFE so I could maybe have a 6-cylinder Mustang in perpetuity, I would be very grateful … VERY grateful. Someone tell him!

    • The six cylinder Mustang in inline and V form has disappeared and reappeared a good number of times. Four cylinder Mustangs have been with us since 1974. The current version if optioned correctly is akin to an 1980s SVO.

      BTW, I’ve been driving a V8 Mustang in winter in Chicago for a good long time. It’s all about tires. A set of modern snow tires makes it much better.

  2. Does Steve Jobs know how to code?

    Question from E-mail
    I’m a comp sci major (unfortunately not engineering) and a child development minor, so I am a really big fan of everything that you’ve been doing and am interested in doing similar things some day. I have a few questions that I would love to hear your responses to: – Does Steve Jobs know how to code? Is he an engineer (i.e. did he know what the heck you were doing when you were building the Apple?)

    Steve didn’t ever code. He wasn’t an engineer and he didn’t do any original design, but he was technical enough to alter and change and add to other designs. I did all of the Apple I and Apple ][ myself, including the feature choices. I did all of the BASIC myself (it’s in handwriting as I couldn’t afford an assembler). The only person who helped write some of the Apple ][ code was Allen Baum, who helped with the ‘monitor’ program.

  3. I’m afraid this is their subtle way to nudge the manufacturers into only producing electric cars within the next seven years. Uncle knows only force, but will sometimes try to hide the true motive by suggesting the nudge instead. See (Crass) Cass “The Ass” SUnnstein for more detail.

    I’m afraid of what the next-generation vehicles will look like, too. But maybe by then, I’ll be living on a farm in Argentina.

  4. We’re just like a bunch of old guys sitting on the porch of a country store bitching about politics.

    Everyone knows the US Ponzi economy will collapse, we’ll end up in the concentration camps, a civil war will break out, and the elites will start WWIII, but no one is going to do a damn thing?

    How hard would it be to start a website today with links to pro-freedom sites like the BurningPlatform, Infowars, Lewrockwell, Blacklistednews, Zerohedge, Whatreallyhappened, Cato, Mises Institute, Judicial Watch, Institute for Justice, Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution, ACLU, Libertarian Party, NRA, the Birch Society, militias, and John Stossel, Ron Paul, and John Whitehead articles to get the word out. Every freedom website will increase awareness and bring more people to our side.

    Most people know something is wrong, but they don’t know what and feel hopeless. The best weapon Americans have against the elites is our numbers.

    The elites can use all of the power of the media, corporations, Hollywood, Wall Street, and the government to defeat the patriots, but we must try. You have to live with your conscience.

  5. The ironic thing is that when the Feds raise fuel economy standards, people just end up driving more.

    So no reduction in fuel usage.

    The only way to make people use less fuel is to raise the price of it. Simple economics.

    • Hi Interferon,

      This is all about discouraging driving by making it more expensive, which is an outrage. Who are these people? What gives them the right to impose “incentives” upon us? If gas gets more expensive for natural, market-driven reasons… fine. The market will respond, naturally.

      But these geeks in government are all about artificially interfering with the market; they want to negate the market.

      • A little missive from Ford today revealed they have committed to spending $11B on electrics. They all done gone crazy.

        Meanwhile, back in Texas, everybody is driving a pickup or SUV. Cars are almost a rarity in the western reaches. We don’t need no edgycashun.

        • Same here, and in most rural areas, Mr. 8.

          The cars, and even SUVs today have so little space for cargo (and even many of the smaller “sissy””trucks” for that matter) that if you need to carry anything that a normal man would typically carry, or even just not want to run to the grocery store every other day, that they are all but worthless.

          I was selling something on Gregslist[sic 😉 ] a while back, and one of the tire-kickers who showed up to look at it pulled up in a new Jeep Renegade. Have you ever seen one’a these things? A thirty-something-thousand dollar vehicle, which is essentially a 4×4 car with no trunk or cargo area- it’s just a 4-people transporter. Nothing more. And ya wouldn’t dare do any real 4-wheeling with it!

  6. These edicts of near impossible standards are designed to raise the price on automobiles and make them less practical for the average user, resulting in the ultimate goal of forcing all the plebes into public transportation, restricting our movements and our liberty. On that public transportation you will be searched, monitored and tracked, not to mention being forced to live and work within an area serviced by that public transportation.

    • The baboons who abound throughout our federal and state apparati are the lowest caliber people in our nation, generally people who’d never be able to hold down any sort of job in the private (read productive) sector of our economy. Yet these literal imbeciles are empowered to dictate, destroy, and debilitate everything that those who create, invent, innovate, and make the planes and trains run on time, and make the world go’round

  7. What’s the significance of under powered engines on engine lifetime? I would think that little engines are going to expire sooner because they’re always pulling a load they’re not really designed to handle, right?

    • Exactly, Jim. Stressing small engines by slamming every last drop of power out of ’em, and making them work at near top capacity frequently, will kill ’em….but most will never even get to that point, what with a turbo or TWO, and emission controls out the wazoo; and very complex and delicate electronic systems needed to make ’em work- not to mention the crazy zillion-speed transmissions, and having to take half the car apart to fix anything, etc. etc. these cars will be economically unsustainable to own after the warranty runs out.

      • Speaking of zillion speed transmissions; the new ford ranger coming for 2019 will have a 10 speed.

        I just bought a 96 Tacoma with 300,000 miles. 5 speed tranny. Simple to fix. I’m becoming a collector of cars over the last few years. What is coming makes me want to buy more.

        • Ditto, Ancap!

          And the value of the old vehicles is only going to go up, as it becomes more apparent to more people that the newer ones are not long-term sustainable as used rides.

          Uncle is stealthily killing the later model used car market by mandating all of these policies which force the cars to be so complex.

  8. We just bought a new 2017 Frontier 2WD, V6, long bed/crew-cab truck to haul the new Casita camping trailer we just ordered. We love the smooth V6 and the truck rides like a big ole SUV. And it’s made in Mississippi instead of Mexico[like the Tacoma we also loked at]. Nissan HQ is in nearby Nashville and the wife really preferred the fronty fancy/expensive ‘navigation’or camera bells and whistles either.. tho, only trac control, 5spd AT, AC, tow pkg and AMFMCD. Long bed adds 14″ to WB which made carrying cap better + rides and tows better! We love the truck. The other vehicle is a 2014 Hyundai Accent w 4cyl/ 6 spd AT wh gets 48 mpg on the highway w both of us + luggage in it. I wish Trump wd get rid of CAFE crap tho!!

    • Go to and read. Don’t search for Nissan USA. Type in the address bar and read what Nissan motors did to the man named Uziel Nissan who registered that domain name back when they were still Datsun.
      If you have any respect for liberty you will not buy a Nissan after reading it

      • Ford has sued everyone who uses “ford” in their domain name. who has a site showing how to retrofit ford efi into older cars had to change their name to

  9. I see a future in used car parts. If the rules don’t change, I see the car companies selling fewer lower priced new cars, which a few years later will put a big crimp on the supply of used cars, which will price the used car market out of reach of the lower income groups. An entire generation of Americans will likely say ‘screw it’ and avoid owning a car at all, and maybe even not bothering to learn to drive. Oh, my. My imagination has some dark corners!

  10. And the really scary thing is there’s not four cylinder-powered car on the market right now that can make the pending 54.5 MPG CAFE cut

    Hah, my early 1960’s BMC Minis returned 55 phg at freeway speeds, didn’t matter which of the half dozen engine options they had. Sure, the 1275 Cooper S in Stage Three tune COULD gobble more, if you leadfooted it through the mountins at scary/fun fast speeds. But steady cruise? Same 55 mpg.
    that Honda Accors weighs in at 3400 lbs? Thatis INSANE!!!! My nid 80’s Mercedes 300 SD is a full sized lusury sedan with all manner of goodies as standard issue, and IT weighs in at 3500!!!

    So its obvious we have Uncle Stoopid stacking the deck against all players, favouring the House by a wide margin. Deliver impossible fuel economy, AND weigh in at nearly twice what the same car line did twenty years ago. That’s because of all the SAAAAAAaaassffteee junk they mandate. Stuff I’d rip right out if I were ever forced to drive one. Oh, and as to crash resistance.. that big 300 SD Benz was, and remains, one of the safest collisioin resistant cars ever built. And it ain’t no slug, neither. Tops out considerably faster than the Honda.

    I can forsee the street prices of the older cars that run solidly and long, and get decent mileage, will be going up sonciderably over the next few years. Looks like I’m coming into a really straight clean Honda Accord wagon, 1990, with a relatively benign engine issue, for pretty cheap. I think maybe four hours time, and its ready to flip. I don’t want it, but SOMEONE will.

    • Hi T,

      The weight of new cars is appalling. And you’re exactly right – they are heavy because of Uncle, because of saaaaaaaafety mandates.

      They have to know that this makes achieving the demanded fuel economy mandatory minimums probably impossible and certainly very expensive. So why do they push these conflicting agendas?

      And why are either any of the government’s business?

    • “And the really scary thing is there’s not four cylinder-powered car on the market right now that can make the pending 54.5 MPG CAFE cut”

      I picked up a 2010 Ford Escape about 3 years ago with a naturally aspirated 2.5 liter 4 cylinder and was pretty surprised with the power it put out, and recently I drove I-70 through the Rockies and it handled the mountain grades with ease. The only problem in the governments eyes is that it “Only” gets 27 mpg on the open road so it is a “Gas Guzzler”. I’m happy as hell with the performance and mileage and that’s all that should matter.

      Back in the early ’80s I had a motorized beer can on wheels (Chevette) that gave 40mpg from a 2.5 liter carburetted 4 cylinder. No safety devices except seat belts, no frills and cheap interior but it got the job done and I lived to tell the tale. I bet if the government got out of the way they could make such a car again and sell it new off the showroom floor at sub $10,000. I also had a 2700lb Nova with a 350ci V8 that got about 15mpg at the same time because I could

  11. I wonder how light trucks and vans will fare under the new regime of four-cylinder engines. You can turbocharge all you want, but it won’t be a viable substitute for cubic inches. My parents bought a Plymouth Champ, a Mitsubishi product, which was an excellent car with a split shift manual transmission that added up to eight speeds. They liked it so well that they then bought a fourth generation turbocharged Dodge Colt. Peppy car, until you burdened it with three of us much larger than average family members and whatever gear we carried. Heavy loads took the steam right out of that little engine.

    The American car buyer might grumble some, but most will suck it up and sing praises for the feds’ concern for the environment.

    • Hi Ross,

      The almost-here (2018) Ford Ranger will be powered by a turbo “Ecoboost” 2.3 liter four paired with a ten speed automatic. This will be the only combo available.

      This is what an “entry level” and “affordable” truck will look like from here on out.

  12. I thought the rise of the turbo-4 was due to EU taxation by displacement and the desire to sell the same cars everywhere?

    Either way, my Cherokee’s V6 (average 25 MPG highway) doesn’t seen to do much better than the F150 work truck’s V8 (22 MPG highway).

  13. How is it “efficient” to have a little 4-cylinder injun pulling around a 3400 pound car?

    Put a V-8 in that car, which would never have to work at more than 25% capacity, and it’d probably get twice the real-life mileage than the stoopit 4-banger.

    • welll, the warrent request does disclose that he had quite a few firearms, but no more thn a lot of folks I know do, and nowhere near as much ammunition. There was one reference tht MAY have been part of a string of emails that MAY have been setting u an arms sale, but at the same time, the information included in this warrant request does not have enough to verify that is the case. Could have been an acquaintnace wiaanting to try out a couple new things he’d not tried befoire…. maybe they’ll find more, but the number of arms recovered from his effects is not proof he was a “dealer” in arms.

  14. Dreamers. Make me think of DACA and replacement.

    The West is facing a wave of ethnic replacement without even realizing it

    Italian psychiatrist Alessandro Meluzzi, known for his clear vision on the migrant crisis, is being interviewed.

    Hawaii declares itself a missile free zone.

    21 African Countries refuse US Aid after Trump Comments.

        • You mean, defending themselves against the constant onslaught of terror and destruction brought agains them by “Palestine”? Tunnels under the border to let their suicide bombers infiltrate and blow up busses, cafes, etc? Rockets over the wall? And other such fun and friendly overtures from the neighbours who have sworn to destry Isreal from off the face of the earth? Or die trying (which a goodly numbe,r but not large enough, are doing)?

          • Tionico, the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is the culmination of action and reaction over the past century. To put a white hat on one side and a black hat on the other is to believe the 3×5 card version of history. It’s much more complicated, and the issue will require deep soul searching on BOTH their sides to find a remedy. Unfortunately Uncle is subsidizing both sides, so there is little motivation by either to find a resolution in order to get on with the work of living together peacefully.

          • Tio.,

            That is like saying that the colonists were justified in slaughtering the Indians because the Indians kept attacking them.

            The UN has artificially redrawn the map of the Mid-East. If someone redraws the borders where you live, and it results in you no longer having access to your backyard, but your enemies now do, and they just happen to be the most racist hell-bent-on-world-domination most heavily armed people who disregard your person and property, and who want to expand their artificially-acquired territory to include your house, are you just going to say “Oh, O-K” and just walk away?

            And it’s much more than that. It’s recorded in the pages of the Bible, that God Himself threw the Jews out of there, and forbade them to return until such time as they repent of their transgressions and believe in the Messiah- which is why, despite the fact that that small minority of people comprise some of the richest most powerful people on earth, AND have at their disposal the resources of richest, biggest empire [the US] with the most humongous military and political force ever upon the earth, they STILL can not have peace nor overcome a handful of mongrel sand-farmers- but they are Hell-bent on persisting in their unGodly rebelliousness, no matter the cost.

            This is ultimately going to lead to the final conflict of mankind- so it is prophesied, and so we see it coming to pass before our eyes.

            • Plus a new assessment of the use of nuclear weapons reveals just 10% of US or Russian weapons would result in the destruction of earth. Consider there are US politicians who want nuclear war and get re-elected. Arizona must have some really dense old heads.

              • I tells ya, 8, insanity is literally rampant!

                When I was a kid, I could never have imagined the world being as crazy as it now is. Maybe one or two bad guys….and a contingent of people who are duped into following them- sure- we’ve always had that.

                But what we are seeing today, is just utter madness, from all sides, and at all levels.

                It is openly known now that the media is utterly corrupt and perverted…and yet I see people on a scale like never before, using the media as their eyes and ears to the point where if the sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in the sky, if the media says it is raining, they will believe it.

                Corporations are willing to offend 99.9% of their customers, to make a political statement and cater to less than 1% of the population….

                And the candidate who praised Putin and promised good relations with Russia and no more crazy wars around the world, is turning out to be the biggest war-monger, and on the verge of starting WW3, now that he was elected. And here we are…the only country to ever actually use nukular weapons against another country….and we bemoan how dangerous it is for anyone else to have the same weapons.

                And most of those around us see this all as perfectly legit and acceptable.

            • The modern middle east problems stem from Wilson getting the USA involved in WW1. As a result the sykes-picot agreement was implemented and the middle east’s modern arbitrary borders resulted.

            • If a nuclear device is “lit off” in an American city, it will have Israel’s fingerprints all over it. Israel is desperate to keep the American money spigot running as well as sabotaging the Palestinian “peace process” that the world wants it to take seriously.

              The “power outage” in Atlanta was a convenient excuse for Israel to perform a logistical “sleight of hand”, as an Israeli plane was allowed to land and take off during the “power outage” without receiving customs clearance or inspection. Just maybe another one of Israel’s nukes was just being pre-positioned, getting ready for “the big one”. As most Americans are tired of all of the foreign wars being fought for Israel’s benefit, another “incident” on American soil would be enough to galvanize the American public, once again, (just like WTC 9-11) to support another war for Israel’s benefit. Israel’s “samson option” is a real threat to “light one off” in a European or American city, if Israel’s interests are not taken seriously.

              Israel refuses to abide by IAEA guidelines concerning its nukes as they are already distributed around the world. Israel would not be able to produce all of them as most of them are not in Israel, proper. No delivery systems are needed as Israel’s nukes are already “in place”. Look for another “false flag” operation with the blame being put on Iran or Syria. You can bet that some Iranian or Syrian passports will be found in the rubble.

              Israel also threatens to detonate nuclear devices in several US cities. Talk about total INSANITY; the so-called “Samson Option” is it.

              As an aside, American “foreign aid” is prohibited from being given to any country that has not signed the “Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty” or refuses to abide by “International Atomic Energy Agency” (IAEA) guidelines regarding its nuclear devices. Guess what?? Israel does not abide by EITHER and still gets the majority of American “foreign aid”. This prohibition also applies to countries that do not register their “agents of a foreign government” with the U S State Department. Guess what?? Israel (again) with its “American Israel Political Action Committee” (AIPAC) still gets “foreign aid” in contravention of American law..

              There are forty or so congressmen, senators and thousands of high-level policy “wonks” infecting the U S government who hold “dual citizenship” with Israel. Such dual citizenship must be strictly prohibited. Those holding dual citizenship must be required to renounce said foreign citizenship. Refusal to do so should result in immediate deportation with loss of American citizenship. Present and former holders of dual citizenship should never be allowed to serve in any American governmental capacity.

          • No, I don’t mean defending themselves. Don’t put words in my mouth. Read what I said. They are using our tax-dollars to fund their 3K year old Holy-War. This is not my opinion, it is a matter of historical fact. If you wish to choose sides, that’s your business, but it should not be done at MY expense. To rob me and use the excuse that doing so is to support “my values of freedom” elsewhere, is tyranny in and of itself.
            BTW, considering the fact that we must involuntarily support that war with our taxes, do you even know the root cause of their conflict? In modern terms it boils down to this: Abraham wanted a piece the handmaiden’s ass, and he got it, with the blessing of his wife! Again, not my opinion, but historical FACT. We are being robbed to support a 3K year-old Family Feud! Well, I don’t want any part of it, nor do I care to be pressured by YOU to support either side! Don’t come here to start guilt-tripping anyone for objecting to government abuse for actions that are not their own, you’re barking up the wrong tree in the wrong neighborhood!

          • So you would love to see the mass murder of millions of innocent human beings? This is the kind of bloodthirsty, brainless savagery that we as a species need to overcome if we’re going to survive. Unfortunately a sociopathic lack of empathy seems to be the current zeitgeist.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here