The Trumpian Two Step

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One step forward – one step back.

Maybe both – posssibly, neither.

There is a rumor that Trump is considering “action” to at least delay the imposition of the catastrophic federal fatwa requiring all new cars – and all new trucks –  average at least 46.6 miles-per-gallon beginning with the 2025 models. This fatwa was hurled during the final months of the Obama Ayatollahship and remains in effect and on schedule.

This was – and still is – touted as a boon to the buying public. As if that public were somehow oppressed by the free choice to buy either a very fuel efficient car or one less fuel-efficient. As if the car companies were forcing them to buy “gas guzzlers.”

Does anyone get a sad chuckle out of the irony?

It’s the Ayatollahs who comprise the (not “our,” speak for yourself) government who are the ones forcing people to buy a certain kind of car, not the car companies – who would rather sell you what you’d like to buy. The government has guns. The car industry has marketing people.    

And these cars the government intends to force us to buy will be expensive cars. Because there is no such thing as a free lunch – another concept the Ayatollas hope you don’t understand. They fatwa – we pay for it. In the case of the fuel economy fatwa, payment comes in the form of the technology necessary to achieve an average of 45-plus MPG.

Have a look at the roster of cars you can buy today. Not one achieves an average of 45 MPG or even close to it except for the hybrid Toyota Prius. A few non-hybrids can manage 40 or so – but only on the highway. When their (always lower) city mileage is factored in, the average lowers.

Deep within the EPA . . .

The best are around 30 MPG overall.

This leaves hybrid gas-electrics, which get over the 40 MPG hump by running on battery power as often as possible. And, naturally, entirely electric cars – which don’t have to sweat miles-per-gallon at all, because they use no gallons – just kilowatts.

But hybrids cost extra. Electrics a lot extra.

A new Prius has a starting price of $23,475. A Toyota Corolla – which is actually a larger and much roomier car – stickers for $18,600 to start. This is a difference of just under $4,900.

It’s the price you pay to “save gas.”

Which you do. The Prius averages 52 MPG, the Corolla 32 – a difference of 20 MPG. But it does not come free. See that part about the $4,900 more you pay to buy the Prius. (Which makes you pay in other ways, too. It has a very tight back seat vs. the Corolla’s – 33.4 inches of legroom in it vs. 41.4 inches in the Corolla. The Prius – being a hatchback – does have a larger “trunk.” But if you need that, you could buy the hatchback version of the Corolla. It cost a bit more than the sedan – but not nearly as much as the Prius – and it has more cargo space.)

Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself – or should.

This price difference is – at the moment – voluntary. You can choose to pay more to save on gas – by purchasing a hybrid like the Prius. Or you can choose to pay less by purchasing a lower-priced car such as the Corolla.

The threatened fatwa will eliminate this choice.

You will have no choice – assuming you want a new car – but to pay a lot more for your next new car. Which will – barring an engineering miracle – have to be a hybrid or electric car, as these are the only known ways to achieve an average of 45-plus miles-per-gallon given existing technologies and given that diesels have been fatwa’d out of existence and given it isn’t legal for any car company to sell a lightweight/high-efficiency car as that light weight part runs counter to other fatwas having to do with saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety.

Which requires structural beef, which makes the car heavier, which makes it use more fuel.

Trump took a step forward – or at least, it seems as though he might – by hinting recently that he might rescind the MPG fatwa. This is good. It’s as much the rightful business of the government to dictate fuel economy as it would be for the government to dictate portion sizes at dinnertime (ack; the government has already done that).

But then he took a big step back by hinting that he is he is amenable to jacking up the federal tax on motor fuels by 25 cents per gallon –  which would raise the federal tax from the current 18.4 cents by more than twice to 43.4 cents per gallon. This to “pay for roads” we’re already taxed obnoxiously to pay for – and for other things, too.

It used to be the case that motor fuels taxes were used primarily for the roads; it is now the case that they are used for things besides roads – including the funding of government mass transit projects. About 15 percent of the total (see here).

Anyhow, the net effect of doubling (plus) the gas tax would amount to the same thing as not rescinding the fuel economy fatwa.

Either way, we pay more.

Either way, our free choices are stifled – by secular Ayatollahs who may not wear turbans but who are just as insufferable as their religious brethren.

At some point, we either stand up to this – or accept being sat on by them from here onward.

. . .

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  1. Its kind of like the never-ceasing toll, some roads were promised to lose their toll gates when completed and paid for, what happened, in reality, is that very few toll gates were taken off line. The same will happen with any new taxes, they are like the Uncle who comes to visit but never leaves.

  2. I always cringe when I read about these parts of the government that create rules that run counter to other aims of the government, sometimes even at the same rule-making body. I’m not going to go much deeper on that; you already did in this article.

    But apparently, choice is being phased out by fatwa.

    I would like to see (though I doubt it will happen) at least one automaker decide that they will make one line of vehicles designed specifically for and only sold in California. Call it the Cali-car line. And all the other cars be designed for the other 49 states. Instead of doing the old Chrysler K-Car thing, of designing one platform that every model was based upon across all their product lines. Maybe Ford will make their Ford line for sale in 49 states, and revive the Mercury line to be sold only in California.

    In other words, bring the free market back to car design.

    • In order to be sold in Commiefornia, they have to be labeled with the precautionary cancer warning.
      Warning: this car causes cancer!
      Gov. Moonbeam would make sure all those cars manufactured for his wonderful state are made from non cancer causing materials and to politically correct standards on inclusion and diversity.

    • I’d love to see all of the car companies just decide that it’s just not worth it to meet CA’s commie regs, and to just stop making cars that meet those regs- and thus to stop doing bidness in CA. See what CA. does then! Let Elon Musk[rat] or the CA. commies and the people who choose to live in that Hell deal with it.

      I’d be more apt to buy something from a company which proudly proclaims: “None of our products are legal for sale in Chlorifornia”.

      • The boardrooms of all of the west’s automobile manufacturers would have to staffed with Marxists to have that happen, and they’d never turn a profit.

      • Nunz, I would like to see all car companies make just one “49 state” version of their models. If California wants more requirements than that then they should have to pay for it. All of Ca’s demands would be added on as options – expensive options. Let these “love to smell their own farts” sanctwits* foot the bill themselves alone instead of having the added costs spread out to everyone else living outside of their asylum’s rules.

        *Sanctwit: the merging of sanctimonious and twit.

        • Exactly, Skunkz! “Here’s the car we sell. You want special crap? Buy the car and add it yourself, or pay us extra for it, IF we choose to offer that option”.

          Pretty sad when everything from cars, to lawnmowers to string trimmers have to be made special for California! Funny, they work in the other states just fine -in places where the polulation density is often just as high or higher- without filling the air with smog or the cemeteries with emphysemic corpses….

          • Hi Brent,

            You may remember when Chevy sold a “California” Corvette with the 305 (not the 350) and that Pontiac (RIP) could not sell manual/400 Trans-Ams; only the 403/automatic combo, in California.

    • There are only 5 mullahs and only one of them appears to be napping, instead of 9 with the majority of them acting like they are pre-Alzheimer.

  3. Here’s one thing that’s been bothering me, and my apologies if it’s been dealt with before, but if these regs are so terrible for carmakers (and they most likely are) why on earth don’t they fight back? If anyone has the dough and the interest in rolling back the green/safety mania, it’s them. But I’ve never seen anyone in the industry questioning the validity of CAFE, mandatory “safety” standards, and the like. Not even in a subtle or humorous way.

    Are their execs and employees brainwashed, or just scared of the politically correct jackals, such as the ones at the EPA? I can imagine how they would give an auto maker a hard time for making fun of their “work”…

    • They aren’t financially independent anymore. Remember we “bailed out” GM and Chrysler just a few years ago instead of allowing them to go bankrupt. The federal government holds the purse strings now. So what the politicians and more importantly the “professional” bureaucrat want is what goes. See Eric’s article

      Cars are basically designed by these people in DC now, not in Detroit. They aren’t designed for drivers, but to follow some rules dreamed up by these insane people. Because they hold the money (which is not theirs but OURS). Ford, the Asians and the European automakers are is similar situations as GM and Fiat-Chrysler. The uncles of the world are pretty much united towards heavy handed regulating of the vehicle market.

      Up until the 1960’s the big three (and AMC) were able to tell DC no, because they were profitable, with much less regulation, so they could fight back, which they did successfully. Henry Ford II could tell some government drone like Bill Nadar to f**k off. Bill Ford Jr. couldn’t dream of doing that now. When the regulations became much more burdensome and increased in the early 1970’s it was largely over for the automakers financial independence. They have struggled to remain profitable ever since. If it wasn’t for pickup trucks and SUV’s the automakers would probably need subsidies at all times. Its very difficult to operate a struggling business for a half century. Basically they have all worn thin.

        • Doesn’t really matter what the financial instrument is, as long as it’s a government holding the string. Yes, there are always strings attached when you’re borrowing or getting money. Try not insuring a house you got a mortgage for, you will never get a loan without it. You have to comply with their conditions. There will always be conditions.

          You can only protest or go it alone if you have your own money to fall back on. They no longer have that fallback.

          They have to behave for the next time they need to be bailed out. And yes, they will be bailed out again. Unless something fundamentally changes they will go broke every time the economy is in the dumper or the whims of DC suddenly change.

          In the current “market” the big 3 can only profit from making pickup trucks and SUV’s, and those only sell in profitable amounts when the economy is doing better. Which isn’t often anymore. This is the condition they have been with since the late 1960’s. The government elite hate that we buy those pickups and suv’s, and are working to make them unprofitable.

          So if they want money from the taxpayersuckers, they have do things like build electric cars nobody wants (or could even afford even with an easy payment plan). Or build little cars that sell poorly and have little if any profit.

          Imagine if lets say, Fiat Chrysler, would announce that in order to make a living decides to only make trucks and jeeps. All other development (electric cars, small cars are cancelled). Do you really think they could get away with that now?

          Not a chance in h*ll.

          They are all wards of the state, no different then the welfare mom on food stamps in the public housing. You do what your told.

      • Ford was “bailed out” in 2008 and GM(illegally replaced CEO by Obummer)and Chrysler were also “bailed out” but as Bill points out, they got cheap loans which all companies have paid in full. It’s not like a WICS card…and anyone in their right mind(US citizens anyway)wouldn’t want any car company to fail.

        When the price of oil went from $120 to $30 there were 25,000 workers laid off in Tx. alone not counting ag work rolls laid off. I’m willing to live with a bit higher priced fuel to put people back to work. The Texas Workforce Commission recently released stats showing they’d placed 500 people per week into jobs. I wouldn’t necessarily say they were good jobs but it beats being on the dole.

        I was building a road down into a valley yesterday to some oil storage tanks and the road becomes a 4 way intersection of pasture/lease roads. I couldn’t always get back out quickly so where ever I wanted to find a place to turn around(no turning off the road)was ok. I went 3 directions at different times and every time I’d find a new panorama of workover units and drilling rigs after going over another set of hills. It was nearly enough to bring tears to my eyes. Well, that could have been all the dry crap in the air since we’re in a bad drought.

        • Speaking as a free marketer, I wouldn’t worry about any corporation failing, because that is what clears the dross out of the economy, replaced the inferior competitors with their betters. Anyone who thinks that a government should bail out any private business believes in fascist government. There is nothing the least bit free market about any government interference in private enterprise, let alone subsidies to those that should be allowed to fail if they can’t continue on their own.

          • Bill, I agree completely…but, when govt. is the cause of a business not being able to be profitable then you probably readily agree it’s not a free market. Not trying to put words into your mouth.

            • No free market has existed in America since the very early 19th century, thanks to people like Alexander Hamilton.
              It doesn’t matter who or what introduces the interference or manipulation, because both preclude the existence of a free market. There is no home for a free market on the left-right political spectrum, only at the top of the Diamond Chart.

          • Indeed and it also chains those companies to the government like a dog.
            Fascism is defined as the marriage of state and corporate power, each serving the other’s needs and interests.
            Just exactly what we have today.
            Along with that is the creation of a police security state, armed with military weaponry, licensed to kill; a surveillance state that would surpass anything Orwell ever dreamed of and a sovietization of the nation that will silence any and all dissent.
            Will this actually happen?

    • Hi ReallyfarSouth,

      They did fight, once. But that was long ago. What changed? Several things but probably the one that matters most is the cultural shift; “car guys” no longer run these companies. Harpy women do (e.g., Mary Barra) or men who would be content running a toothpaste company. They don’t care about the things we care about. They care about playing ball – and when it comes to all the mandates and so on, they realized they can make more money on the front end and back end by embracing the mandates. Air bags are an excellent example of this.

      • It’s also the result of “top” people not staying in the industry they start in. You began your career in the auto industry, you likely retired from the auto industry. Yeah, you may have had worked for several companies, but they were all auto related.

        Today CEO’s are marketing people, accountants, and MBA’s. It’s not just the vehicle companies, it’s every fortune 500. Remember the story of Steve Jobs of Apple recruiting Pepsi CEO John Sculley to run Apple in the 80’s? Steve tells John, “you want to do something far more important then selling sugar water?”. Sculley signed on and then ran Apple into the ground, in the process stabbing Jobs in the back (pushed him out of his OWN company). I am guessing even today Sculley really has no idea what Apple does for a living. He should have stuck with selling sugar water.

        My late grandfather was the CEO of Western Electric, the semi-independent engineering and manufacturing arm of A&tt (they did have other customers). My gramps was not a MBA, marketing person or accountant. He was an engineer first and foremost. So he could make choices that he knew the company was capable of doing. Because he had worked in lower level jobs earlier in his career as an engineer. He started on a drafting table at an engineering firm in his early 20’s and retired the CEO of an engineering firm in his late 60’s. Most CEO’s today haven’t got a clue about what their employer actually does to make a living. They don’t care if they sell soda pop or an imac. It does show when you look at what they chose to do with the companies they often mismanage badly.

        Companies like UPS once only allowed CEO’s to emerge from within the company. Up until the 1980’s, every CEO had once worked a loading dock and driven a brown truck.

        Whey did they stop doing that?

        • Maybe the union payscale was more attractive to people than having to add letters behind their names to make more, most of whom had never sat in a university lecture hall.
          My father worked for Walmart for the last 14.5 years of his life. He started out, in his 60s, in the back of the store, as Sam Walton had required all male employees to start. One day he was throwing boxes around with the kids and the DM walked in. He made a beeline to my father and asked him if he didn’t have any retail skills. My father had managed Sears stores until he was given an early retirement at 55. The DM took my father to the store’s new manager and told him that my father had more experience in retail management than he did, and if he couldn’t find my father a position in management, the DM was going to make my father the store manager. My father was the assistant manager of POS when he left that day. He eventually became the department manager of POS and continued until he fell ill and passed away from pneumonia secondary to interstitial lung disease. My father never attended any post secondary educational institution.

        • They stopped with the rise of the MBA. In which coursework revolves around telling the moronic students that it doesn’t matter what your company does, a widget is a widget. Whether that be food & beverage, cars, tractors, even a service, it doesn’t matter. You simply run all companies the same way, cut costs, reduce labor, raise prices and enjoy the HUGE profits! Or not.

    • The last great fight they put up was against airbags. I think being demonized over fighting against a device their own data said would kill children and losing simply took the will out of them. The regulators demanded the airbags at deadly force to smaller people despite the data. Then the automakers were proven correct and still lost when the regulators covered their own asses.

      It was after that they stopped fighting and fell back to using regulation as a market protection only. There was something about that last great battle and I think it was when the government people showed they were willing to kill children to get their way.

    • New regulations create a demand for new cars that meet them.
      Why wouldn’t the automotive industry like something that sells more new vehicles?

    • RFS, the car companies are part of the international bank cartel. As all major corps run on loans obtained through the ibc, they are beholden to the ibc, which takes money from the poor to hand to the rich. There is much on the web about the ibc, and how the banks are the supreme controlling entities who are not beholden to the laws of any country and who have no liabilities. As governments, also controlled by the ibc, are out to make us slaves, the governments and car companies work together to remove our freedom of mobility.

  4. The gas tax increase won’t make it through the Republican Congress. So this is a typical Trumpian misdirection. He’s getting the Dems to salivate like Pavlov’s Dog over “tax increase,” while he rolls back the CAFE edict. He knows that would help U.S. automakers and workers, who are better at making “gas-guzzling dinosaurs,” as Mitt’s pa George Romney branded them, than the foreign auto companies. At least I hope!

    • Don’t be so sure about the gas tax being blocked by congressional Republicans. They managed to screw things like this up badly. Local Republicans recently raised the gas tax here in Indiana in spite of much opposition by both Republican AND Democrat voters.

      A gas tax will probably pass late at night on a weekend between news cycles. Not that the media would care, they largely would support a large gas tax increase.

  5. All the rules, regulations and taxes on automobiles and driving, as well as the mandates for self driving cars are being implemented in a well conceived and executed plan to separate us from our mobility. Nothing gives you individual freedom like being able to get in your car and move about taking care of your business. The Marxists who run the show hate that we have that ability ad they’d like nothing more than to take it from us. They despise individual freedom and taking away your ability to freely travel in your own personal automobile forcing you into the public transportation of the collective makes it so much easier to control and restrict your movement and keep tabs on where you are and what you are doing.

  6. I recently worked for a lady that had just purchased a new BMW (Cooper) that weighed in at a whopping 5300 lbs. While she was telling me about all the doodads and gadgets, I just kept thinking about how her car outweighed my 20+ year old full size 1/2 ton pickup by 1300 lbs. Whether the weight is added by safety/emissions requirements or through technological advances achieving 45 mpg isn’t going to be realistic without a major uptick in initial cost to the consumer. Been a longtime reader and very much enjoy your work Eric, thanks!!

    • That had to be a gross weight (fully loaded with cargo and people) number not curb weight.
      Although the curb weight is probably still absurd.
      What I am finding online is that for the Mini Cooper the curb weight is 26-2700 lbs and the GVWR about 1000lbs more.

  7. Can anyone answer this one? I lived in Serbia for a while and saw plenty of mercedes a & b class cars. They seemed to be pretty nice cars given the size, and the seemingness to be larger inside than they looked. These cars get 45 city 65 hwy on gas engines, diesel is even better, and this on top of the worst quality gas in europe being sold there. So why are these cars not available here? I am old enough to remember hondas that used to get that kind of mileage, or pretty close to it, so what happened?

    • Hi Steve,

      Among other things, what happened is that emissions regulations went from defensible/reasonable to absurd/indefensible. Modern diesels – like all modern IC engines – are within a few percentage points of being zero emissions engines, in terms of genuinely harmful to humans exhaust byproducts. But that is not enough. They must be zero emissions.

      Also, the government has taken it upon itself to mandate “safety” – and that has made cars heavy.

      While it is possible to make a moral/defensible argument in re exhaust emissions as these at least entail the possibility of harm to others. But my “safety” is my business, as your is yours.

    • The reason the everyday MBs are not available in the USA is due to due MB marketing and the law that MB had passed in the 1980s. MB wants to be a luxury brand only in the USA with highly optioned cars and absurd markups. Back in the 1980s and before companies would import the lesser optioned and lesser model MBs, do the changes fedgov required, and then sell them for less. MB and it’s US dealership network did not like this. MB then had the 25 year import law passed. This prevents the importation of any foreign market car that is less than 25 years old.

  8. There’s another way to pay for infrastructure repair and upgrades: Reduce military spending ny60%. No more over expensive planes that can’t fly(F-35), no more ships that fall apart at sea, close all foreign bases and bring all our people home, no more useless, needless and costly wars that are bankrupting America and close down other stupid wastes of tax payer’s dollars like the TSA, DHS, FBI, DEA, IRS, BLM, EPA and put an end to all foreign aid, which ends up getting stolen anyway.
    That way we could have the best roads including rail service on the planet and even high speed rail system…the one that Reagan wanted, but never got but that’s another story in itself.
    Military spending is the most wasteful of all; rank with corruption and fraud that almost never gets “discovered” , the only exception is the Fat Leonard scandal involving the Navy…..60 admirals being investigated as well in that deal……but the fraud and corruption continues to rob Americans and contribute to the bankruptcy of America.
    Trump’s latest of course is the insanity of adding even more military spend and congress adding another $50 billion on that.
    America’s war mongering and out of control military spending is bankrupting America while contractors get fat. In the meantime Americans get hit with another tax increase, this time at the gas pump which will wipe out any tax savings that you just got.
    Tax and spend is all the government knows and when it can’t tax enough it borrows from the Fed.
    In a few years America’s debt will be close to $25 trillion.
    Better be prepared for what’s coming. It won’t be very pretty and will probably makes the crash of 1929 look like a market adjustment.

    • Hi John,

      Triple amen to that.

      Note that China has excellent roads and infrastructure; better than here in the U.S. And that is because the Chinese government – communist though it may be – spends money on infrastructure rather than “defense.”

    • Remember how before Clinton was in the whitehouse the left used to argue to cut military spending for social programs and such? That just doesn’t happen any more. I now shame leftists into shutting up by saying they can have whatever they are demanding if they take it out of the military budget. They won’t do it. Why the change? I think since Bill was in office they realize that the US military is useful to them.

    • One more Amen to that…. Out of curiosity, anyone here still have any hope trump will in any way change Americas trajectory of warmongery and foreign intervention?

      • Nope, but I knew he wouldn’t even before he was elected. But Hillary would have likely been even worse. You can see it in her eyes.

      • One does not become Pope without being Catholic to the Nth degree. Same idea/truth in analogy goes for the Presidency of the US. So yes, the WHO got it right: “Meet the New Boss, same as the Old Boss” Stand by for a taking down of Syria, NK and Iran, but at least we get a few judges to make proper decisions out of the Trump deal….LOL

        Might add that one does not get a High Rise built in NYC without payouts to the proper permitting “Authorities”. In the back of our minds we all know this to be truth. Nevertheless, Trump proved himself to be the better Orator/Tactician in overcoming the DNC Illegal vote scam.

        • True. I dont get this thing how the media and powers that be keep presenting him as an “outsider” to us, not part of the media or politics. Correct me if im wrong – but theres never been anything political in NY without him present. He was Hillarys buddy (from what I recall, wasn’t that his whole spat with Obama, that he supported her and Obama took it from her). When I was a kid in the US, all I can remember on the business news in the late 80s is how trump messed up this and trump messed up that. But ofcourse he always had some new glitzy thing or another, like his plane or his line of cars or something or the other. Basically, from what I remember, he was the closest the 80s had to the Kardashins.

          Then I left the US, went east in the mid 90s, and for the most part never followed the western media…. when I came to the UK in the mid 2000s, i was told he was somehow a great, wise, successful, hardcore businessman on something called the Apprentice…. i laughed because all I could remember were his bankruptcies…… thinking of all the great business minds in the US, who made something from absolutely nothing….. TRUMP has a show like the apprentice?!?!

          A short 12 years later he is presented as a successful businessman, somehow earned billions himself, a complete outsider to the media and politics, an underdog, someone outside the political and media bubble, someone who knows how to run a business….. and now he’s the president….. quite funny I find that….

    • Wow, JohnZ, you and I think very much the same thoughts on military and all the 3-letter gov’t agencies. Love your post, I could not have stated it better myself. And, yes I believe this economy will tank and it will be very very bad.

    • JohnZ, you are on to it! The Chinese and Russians and others are cooperating and working to build more infrastructure including a rail system from the East to Europe.

      Meanwhile what is the US doing? Fixing its own aging infrastructure? Nope. The US is building more ways to destroy others’ infrastructure. The “evil” Russians and Chinese are expanding peaceable commerce while the “good guy” US is expanding war. They build, the US bombs – and on an already maxed out credit card.

      Such Madness will eventually take its toll.

    • Whoa Whoa whoa… you my friend sound like a person that some ability of critical thinking and in today’s society we can’t have that.

  9. Am I mistaken, or does the Prius not qualify for the $7500 subsidy from the taxpayer? When doing the price vs. fuel cost comparison, shouldn’t the subsidy be included? This would make the price we pay for “fuel efficiency very high indeed.
    And to make matters even worse, if the sticker price on the car is not the actual price, but rather a price dictated by the ayatollahs, doesn’t that activate the Misesian calculation problem, rendering it impossible to make a rational economic decision?

  10. I retired to Thailand a couple of years ago. A few months back I bought a 2013 Honda Brio Amaze. I’d bet not many of you recognize the name. Most Thais respect their vehicles and this one was immaculately clean. It’s a little smaller than a Fit (named Jazz here), but with an amazing amount of interior and trunk space. It’s got a small four but is peppy and fun to drive. Going real fast on Thai roads is not a good idea in any case. Thais are poor drivers and rank high in the traffic fatality registry: 75% of the deaths occur to motorbike operators. I paid $9900 for what is essentially a new car. A true new one runs about $18,000. It gets 50+ mpg. The car is designed for emerging economies and couldn’t be sold in the US. I love it.

    Unfortunately, Thais, and other Asians, prefer large SUVs and pickup trucks. Most Americans aren’t aware of the vast market for these vehicles here and the demand keeps increasing as the economies keep getting better, creating a real middle class. The air in almost all cities here is almost unbreathable as a result. Nothing is simple anymore. Sometimes it’s better not to get what you wish for.

    • Hi John,

      My theory is that a car such as you describe would sell here, were it not for the availability of easy credit and the public’s general acceptance of the Debt Lifestyle. These two things are, arguably, the bigger problems – even more so than government mandates which the government has no business mandating, such as saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety mandates. The government of a free country, if it has any justification for its existence, is to protect people’s rights, which means respecting their right to be left alone by the government unless they have caused harm to some other person or their property.

      • People do not stop and think, one successful chap( who gives financial advice) sez” A vehicle shouldn’t cost more than 10% of your income” on reflection,I think He is right.

        • Even 10% would be way too much if the cars were not durable, and that 10% were a constant expense.

          Really, when ya think about the way things are, it’s absurd- and also very indicative of the overall economic problems, when people spend tens of thousands of dollars on “appliances” that don’t really last very long these days without requiring repairs which cost thousands of dollars.

          I’m always amazed at the young age of cars in the parking lots of many factories where the average worker is making $10/hr! (And even the cars that are a few years old, are usually bought at top dollar from a car lot AND financed at high interest!(

          • I almost had a falling out with my favorite dealer, because of the new prices they had on 2-3 yr old popular model. It is easy to buy there, just buy a new one and probably get a better warranty, don’t buy the used ones they are not a real deal(I just couldn’t reconcile paying in the mid twenties for a 2-3 yr old CRV.)

        • Hi Kevin,

          I’ve advised every young person I get the chance to speak with that one of the smartest things they can do as far as their financial future is concerned is to never buy a car they can’t comfortably pay cash for. Perhaps when one is established in one’s career and has sufficient steady income, a loan might make sense. But when one is in their teens/20s and they have no significant assets or wealth accumulated and – probably – aren’t earning much money and so haven’t got much money for “things that come up,” buying into 6-8 years of debt is a major mistake. It will make it that much harder to save, make the person that much more vulnerable to “things that come up.”

          If you can’t come up with $4,000 or so in cash to buy a solid used car, you have no business shopping for a new car.

          • Eric, what kills me too, is that I see more young people- many in their teens, financing cars today, than ever before. And not some $2K hooptie from Billy Bob’s Buy Here Pay Here…but expensive cars!

            I bought my current F250 off of a 15 year-old. It wasn’t good enough for him. He was using the proceeds from that in conjunction with financing to buy a $10K better truck… I’m 55- I’ve never spent $10K on a personal/pleasure vehicle! (Only for commercial vehicles which I was making money with- and even then, $10K was about tops). It boggles my mind!

          • Eric,
            I interrupted a career path several years ago because it would have lead into becoming a high-pressure salesman with all the trappings: late model upscale car, fashionable wardrobe, endless hours of dedication. I’m sure that the mid-7 figure sales manager who was grooming me to be his next salesman wouldn’t have understood why a guy that bought office casual clothes in a thrift store to get and keep the job never wore them elsewhere. I had 3 changes and washed them with whatever else anyone in the house was washing, hung dried them, and bought a steamer to take out wrinkles.
            Perhaps you haven’t heard the much ballyhooed news story that has made its way to almost every pigeon hole in the media: most Americans couldn’t raise $400 in cash to deal with an emergency without a payday loan. I, on the other hand, have paid cash for all but one car I have bought, and the lone car was needed to deliver pizza and was paid off in half the time I was given. None of them would have been the least bit acceptable as a salesman.

            • Hi Bill,

              Indeed – and agreed!

              I buy my clothes at this thrift joint called Plato’s Closet; two or three pairs of slacks, the same number of cargo shorts and a buncha T shirts. All I need – and they last for years.

              I may look like a redneck, but I’m a debt-free redneck!

              The main indulgence I allow myself is the $3 cup of coffee at the place where I go to work most days. A $2 cookie in addition, if I’ve earned it.

              • Eric,
                I’ve been thinking about getting a QSL/business card to give people who want my contact information. I’m toying with putting “SSB” on it after my name. It would stand for Social Security Bum. I was worried by whether I’d be able to live on $952 a month. Not only can I live on it, I’m saving up to a couple of hundred dollars a month. This fortuity allows me to add to my cash stash and leave my PM hoard in its nice safe hiding place.
                I don’t drink coffee, but I splurge for a bottomless cup of ice tea most days in the snack bar next to the laundromat, where I have access to all the free wifi I need. $3 lunches at the senior center vary in value, but I get a free one for every trip I drive one of their vans on. Dollar General has a $1 dark chocolate bar that is wonderful and has little sugar compared to a cookie. I’ve learned to live so frugally that I don’t have to consider anything to be an indulgence as long as it has a tangible benefit beyond pleasure.

                • Hi Nunz,

                  It is… but dammit, I gotsta have it!

                  It works out, though – because I almost never drink (not opposed to it, just don’t do it much) and that saves me a fortune. Booze – even beer – adds up, fast. One liter of decent Scotch, for example, is equivalent in price to a daily cup of good coffee for a month just about.

                  Besides which, the coffee helps me earn a living!

                • no coffee,
                  no tea for me,
                  only bottled water,
                  and beer you see.

                  in the early ages,
                  the people knew,
                  poluted water was bad
                  and beer was the brew.

                  the moral of the story
                  if it can be said
                  best to drink beer
                  or you will wind up dead.

                    • Isn’t that just about all bottled water? In the case of Pepsi it is the same water running out of my tap right now. Good water, what a premium you pay for a filter.

                    • Far as I can tell Crystal Geezer(Guyser) is the only real natural spring water, actually bottled from natural springs- Seems to be the case, because every time they set up a bottling facility at a spring, the greenies start protesting about how they’re “raping the earth” and “stealing all the water”, etc.

                      So, it’s the only one I drink.

                      Most others don’t even claim to be from a natural source.

    • That’s because in Thai pickups are used to transport up to a dozen workers around by most of the people sitting in the pickup bed. That’s what I saw in Rayong province when I was last there in 2004. And families of 4 fit onto small motorcycles.

  11. There is an importaint difference- us paying at the pump or paying at the dealer for how efficent the engine is.

    IF the fuels tax was doubled, but the CAFE fatwa was placed on hold at current levels untill President Trump leaves office and a bilderberg-group annointed candatate gets in office, then perhaps manufacturers planned models for 2025+ that can fit a engine they currently make will end up with one.
    They could sell their work-in-progress trying to meet the unmeetable demand engines as options, or offer alternatives until the mandate gets reinstated. Would they spread their cost of development soley onto the alternatively avalible hateful horsepower oriented options? Would they right the ship and put the cost of the eco-development where it is and sell a lot of cars they never would have equipped with reasonably and some desirably powerful engines at an affordable cost because thats where the money’d be?

    Perhaps of the 2025 chassis that arn’t dedicated hybrids, that were meant to accept Skyactive-X or a eco-warrior 3cyl turbo will end up for sale with an alternatively abalible turbo 4 or NA 4, or Veesixes that have recently been put off the market in anticipation of the 2025 fatwa.

    Because they would not be fatwa’d out of existence at the tailpipe and therefore never made for the next generation of vehicles.

    Personally given the choice of fatwas, In 2025 I would much rather pay 20-40cents more more to feed a heavy eco box with a current gen turbo 4 (more chances for OEM turbos of today still out to see small reliability inprovements by then) then to never have been offered an engine that meets current CAFE, or if it is offered alongside 2025 CAFE than to be carged outrageously because they shouldn’t really be offering it to us lowley populist scum to meet the anticipated 54.5mpg.

    • hows about rescinding the entire CAFE freakshow? And the EPA Horse it rode in on. NONE of this is constitutional. HERE in that short little document does FedGov get ANY authority to meddle with any of this sort of stuff?

      Let the ones with the money in their pocket buy whatever they want, and let they who build them learn what the pubic want and dliver it at a price acceptible to the guy with the bux in his jeans. If that means a lightweight flivver with a two litre NA four cylinder pushrod engine that delivers 42 mpg whilst cruising at 85 mph all day long, then so what? (I just described every model VOlvo built from about 1959 to 1971). I’ve had and worked on a few dozen of them, and they all could and did do that. Leave the airbags out if the new owner so chooses, too, and forget all the sky hactive insanity.

      • Morning, T!

        I agree. I rant about that often. The government has no legitimate business involving itself with the fuel efficiency of cars whatsoever. The fuel economy of my car is my business since I paid for it as well as the gas it uses. Other people have every right to buy the type of car that suits their needs and wants – and to use as much or as little gas as they pay for.

        The busybody-at-gunpoint system has to be put down.

  12. Hi Eric,

    Unfortunately, it probably won’t matter much if Trump rescinds the looming cafe fatwa. Economist and historian Robert Higgs suggested that “regime uncertainty” partly explains the length and depth of the Depression. Business, when facing a capricious and unaccountable regulatory environment, was reluctant to invest in growth because of fear that a change in regulation could destroy the investment.

    The same is true now. Whatever Trump does, the auto industry knows that the next president can, and probably will, support whatever draconian MPG requirement the EPA dreams up. In a country that blindly reveres “democracy”, it is interesting that most simply accept, without thought, that the edicts of unelected, and entirely unaccountable, bureaucrats should carry the force of law. Unless that changes, Trump’s fiddling will be mostly symbolic.


    • Hi Jeremy,

      I agree – unfortunately . . . not much hope, I guess. Still, I feel it’s important to not give up, so long as there’s some small chance things may improve.

      • Good morning eric. What chance do you see? As in how small? To me it appears we slid down that slope and chances of recovering are similar to a frac water reservoir that’s not being used and you can’t get your fingers through the covering or have a knife. Seems like the longer we founder we sink even further into bureaucratic quagmire. Give a bureaucrat even the slightest power and they’ll do everything they can to increase it……by any means.

        I’ve just seen so much bureaucratic oversight lately I’m totally bummed out on seeing the least amount of liberty returning in any sector.

        I speak to a fair amount of working people these days who have given up trying to get ahead in the typical fashion and have resorted to a prepper style of life regarding vehicles. Why spend that huge amount of money when one can take their hard-earned cash, invest in a much older vehicle and have a very reliable one with very little insurance costs? The value of 90’s pickups and SUV’s seem to be increasing and now I see a movement to rejuvenate the old square style pickups and even SUV’s.

        This all makes sense since those vehicles have fallen off the taxable base, another big benefit. Even the same holds true for big rigs and those new, slippery tractors won’t hold up to many types of hauling as well as the older one and the negligible increase in fuel economy makes little difference to pulling loads that gut any fuel economy gained by a more wind friendly new truck. Hell, I don’t even want a new pickup or even close to it. I have everything I need to fix anything on an early 90’s light truck. The benefits of a coil per spark plug are lost on me when a pickup like that gets less mileage than an older one with a rotary distributor and simple fuel injection.

        • Unless there could somehow be a mass philosophical change in the hearts and minds of the population of the Western world, there is not even a shred of hope for positive change- but rather an inevitable descent into further tyranny and devolution of society.

          We are living at the culmination of a few thousand years of history, in which the trend towards tyranny, brutality and uncivility have only gone in one direction- and now there is less hope than ever of reversing such, because of the massive scope of government on a worldwide level, and institutionalized lifelong propaganda in the form of mass media.

          Even the internet which once held out a hope of offering a degree of freedom, has become a largely highly censored and controlled means of surveillance and control and propaganda.

          It would be bad enough if our fight were “only” against the gov’t- although with it’s vast array of top-notch arms and technology we wouldn’t even stand much of a chance against that…but it is even worse, as our struggle is against the gov’t AND the majority of the common people, who are as bad as or worse than the gov’t.

          Witness, even when a pig’s actions are distasteful enough to the state, that the state prosecutes their servant, how often is it that the PEOPLE on the jury let that pig go?!

          Even if one could teach people to love freedom and hate tyranny, we would not stand a chance against the government schools, the media, the logn-established ideas of “patriotism”, the 501c3 churches which preach obedience to the state rather than God and conscience, etc. But even if not for all of that, still….either one hates tyranny when he sees/experiences it, and yearns to be free, and wants to uphold his neighbor’s right to be free….or he doesn’t- and just complies, so he can get whatwever benefit is proffered.

          Since we are a mere grain of sand in the scheme of this massive system of government and human belief in authority, we are not going to change it. Not if we had 500 years. Our best efforts might encourage a few other liberty-minded people, or help one or two who are presently on the fence to choose the right side a little sooner- but ultimately, our best efforts would be spent in doing positive things for those who actively seek freedom- such as by scoping-out places where we night go to find the freedom we no longer have here. Not only woukld that benefit us, but at least those who are on the fence and who are putting a foot down on the right side, would then have a hope of actually being able to practice a lifestyle of liberty, as opposed to just merely holding the ideals as a philosophical concept, but having no practical benefit from those concepts.

          And THAT would probably do more to help our cause than anything. I wonder how many people who do already love liberty, are turned-off because they know that there is no viable way to practice it, and thus they figure “Why pursue something which has no practical benefit to us in the present or near future?

          It’s like “Be a Libertarian/Anarchist. You can’t really practice it here and now…but at least you know you’re on the right side!” vs. “Move to Tonga [or wherever] and be free!”.

          • Good post. Both sets of my Grandparents left Germany in the late 1880’s. They saw the writing on the wall and interpreted it properly.

            We have to fight, there is nowhere to go to escape this. But will we?

            I can well imagine that Rome had folk like us in it as it burned under the Socialistic Democracy that it became.

            Immigration to this country used to consist of Freedom loving people. We are their heirs, let’s not let the Heritage die without a fight. It’s in our Blood.

            • Hi KB,

              I’m getting old . And I am very tired. The divorce about killed me. But I will fight, to the extent I am able. With words, first – and hopefully that will be enough. But if it’s not enough, I will do what I can via other means, to the extent I am able.

              I have no wife or kids. I am expendable.

              • Hey Eric. I love the attitude, sounds like mine.

                I have a wife (40 yrs next month) and 2 Adult children and 4 grandchildren. My motivation is for them and because Right is Right and Just is Just.

                For the life of me I’ve never figured out the why as in why some folks just feel obligated to “RULE” over others and impose their ideas on us. Yeah I know, “Power and Authority”.

                Instead of serving others they seem to demand being served. To me this is such backwards thinking and selfish to the nth degree.

            • Immigration to this country still requires more knowledge of American history and law than Americans are taught in the public fool system. I have encountered new immigrants that know more than anyone else I know. They routinely express more concern about America’s future than most Americans I know. They revere our forefathers more than most Americans do. They are less tolerant of oppression because many of them saw oppression in their ancestral homes, sometimes by American troops, and would fight harder to stop it here than most of us would recognize it. They find modern culture more disgusting than I do, and that takes a lot.

            • Bill, you will see this especially in people who escaped the eastern bloc countries, who experienced the horrors of Stalin’s terror. They appreciate freedom and liberty more than a lot of Americans who take it for granted but are willing to give up liberty for the illusion of safety. They will have neither.

            • KB, there’s no fighting it. You could fight a regime; you could fight a segment of the population; but you can not fight a whole society of people who are essentially an extension of a humongous empire, and whose conduct and beliefs have been instilled for generations with authoritarianism.

              There was no fighting Nazi Germany from within- and that was miniscule compared to what we have here today; and it’s not just here, but essentially the whole industrialized world.

              WE are a much smaller minority in this world, than were the Jews in Germany.

              There may be no place that is perfect; no place where anarchy exists; but there are places where one is just left alone- as long as you don’t mind giving up the conveniences and infrastructure of the statist world.

              And really- if we want to fight….why fight Muhammad Ali, against whom we are guaranteed to lose- when if enough of us assembled in some small place, we could have a fight that is winnable? (Not that I advocate that).

    • He could eliminate the EPA. We all know that would never happen but imagine the heads that would explode if he just shut the doors. It would be great, I’d probably get back on FB or Twitter to watch the show. We can dream right?

      • If it wasn’t for government the EPA would have never been created. We had a pollution problem because government courts decided against property rights of the middle and lower classes. Fix that decision and the pollution problem could have been adverted. Now perhaps the technological issue would have been a barrier to work out. What defines doing one’s best? But the gross issues like dumping waste into waterways would have easily been stopped. The entire mentality would have been different from the get go and we would have gotten to ‘clean’ a lot faster had property rights been respected and defended. Had government done its job.

        • Morning, Brent!

          Of course, the EPA – like so many other ugsome things, including HMOs – can be credited to Richard Nixon. For those who haven’t already read it, I commend Hunter Thompson’s funeral dirge for the Great Dick of the 20th century…

          • Nixon was in a bind. On side he had the people with pitchforks and torches and on the other side he had the ruling class. The EPA or something like it was his only choice. Government enforced market protections for the ruling class and clean air & water for the peasants. Had he found a way to enforce property rights and had government protect the commons for the people the ruling class would sacked him or worse (which they did anyway). Had he allowed the then status-quo to move forward the peasants would done away with him.

            • If he hadn’t been a lawyer, and so provably ignorant of the Constitution, he could have stood up for and on it, and done what was right at a time when there were enough real republicans to back him up.

        • And if government didn’t exist, we would have no Fukishima[sp?]; Chernobyl; Three-Mile Island; Love Canal; Detroit; Desert in the once fertile Owens Valley in CA. (They siphon off the water for use in L.A.); Centralia, PA. etc. etc.

          What kills me, is they push the idea of their tyranny being about “conservation”. Oh, they have to “license” all fishing- commercial AND pleasure, because otherwise we’d wipe out all of the fish. So what happens? Ya pay them a fee for the “privilege” of catching wild creatures which somehow now all belong to them [“All your fishes are belong to us!] so they can have armed goons hassle you for throwing a line in the water….and what ever happened to the fish? They are now well depleted! (The difference is staggering- just from what I was able to catch as a kid in the 70’s and 80’s, vs. the 90’s and early 00’s- it was like 90% of the fish disappeared!)

          Like everything else, whatever government says; whatever they purport to do…just think the OPPOSITE of what they say, and you will know the true purpose, and or the final results of anything they undertake to do.

            • If it were not for government, there would be no liability-limiting corporations/no multi-national corps; no one willing to assume the risk of storing nuclear waste on their property; no one willing to have a reactor in their backyard, without gov’t saying “This is the way it’s going to be and you can’t do anything about it”; and without the various and sundry round-about subsidies the nukular energy industry receives through various governmental means, nukular power would not be price competive- and therefore would not exist.

              • There is nothing that any government can do to make “nukular” power competitive until they stop turning them into Rube Goldberg nightmares by requiring them to be continuously re-engineered during their construction. If it weren’t for government making them uninsurable like they have pharmaceutical vaccines, neither would exist.

                • Fission just has too much liability potential under a property rights scheme. Which is why it exists under a herd management scheme where the government can screw over those who are harmed.

                  Now maybe without government they would have been made far safer but more than likely fission produced power as we know it today would have been skipped over for something better. Now its politically impossible to get something better.

                  • There is no way to make anything safe when the government keeps redesigning it while it is being built. Once they have approved the final design and plans, any change will make them moot. Fusion is no less nor more inherently dangerous than fission aside from the fact that the nuclear process shuts down faster in the former. Both create radioactive containment and waste. Fusion has never achieved breakeven, regardless of the scale.

                  • And just think: Without the military-industrial complex, the amount of energy used by many nations- ‘specially the US- would be a LOT less!

                    Ditto, without all the government offices; millions of school buses making twice daily journeys; NASA; jails; etc. etc.

                    • On a normal morning the traffic going the opposite direction is all jammed up. On a government employee only holiday it’s not. Traffic in general is rather light.

                      If there’s that many people in government and government related work to measurably impact traffic, there’s a problem.

                    • I love it too, Brent, when ya hear some Clover preaching the “virtues” of mass transit….

                      My friend back in NY works for the NYC transit authority… commutes 1 to 2 hours each way every day to work- and so do a lot of the other c. 35,000 (!) employees of the NYC TA.

                      Even on the days when “normal” gov’t empl;oyees are off, these guys still go- so imagine how much lighter still traffic would be, if these guys were out of the mix as well?!

                    • Beel….where have nukular powerplants existed without government? Actually, if you look around, the most heavily-governed/socialistic countries are the ones with the most nukular reactors.

                      All that goes into mining the raw product; transporting; handling; using; dispersing the by-products, and getting rid of the waste, while protecting all involved from the massive liability of the inevitable accidents and results of waste storage and contamination, etc. would NEVER occur in a free-market- nor should it. Just like electric cars and “cheap” mass transit….such things which transgress the bounds of nature and economics, are only viable via artificial and coerced stimuli.

        • If the founders had known what presidents would do a century or more after they wrote the Constitution, they would have restricted Executive Orders and mandated that agencies created by a presidential EO, as the EPA was by Nixon, would be abolished when their creator left office. There is longer list of agencies that would be gone than would remain under those premises.

        • The EPA helped get rid of Tetraethyl lead in motor fuel , and that my Friend was a good move. I would dare say the Ethyl corporation was sad, you cannot trust industry to do the right thing.

          • MTBE was not an improvement on tetraethyl lead.
            It is now in all of our ground water, something that lead never was, from the fuel.

            • I guess all the people with high levels of lead in their system inhaled it then, seems the accursed Alcohol is taking a lot of the MTBE out of the picture( BTW plenty of ground water was poisoned from by lead and benzine from leaking gas storage tanks at old service stations and it was a pretty bad problem too, there is no RDA for Lead or Benzine)

              • It really doesn’t matter since RDAs are established for laboratory animals rather than humans, something you can tell by them all being suboptimal.

  13. Well, maybe it’s *not* about increasing mpg’s but all about an excuse to levy a surcharge to collect. This would be in the form of a “gas guzzler” tax, or “CAFE noncompliance fee”, call it what you will. Just give ’em the cash, that’s all that matters. The arithmetic logic for hybrids doesn’t make any sense until gas is north of $3.00/gallon. Back in the mid to late 2000’s when gas was $4.00+/gal, hybrid sales skyrocketed. (& truck sales tanked) That was the market reacting. Since gas is cheap now, there’s no market force to these small cars. If they were to jack up the gas tax, rather than a CAFE surtax on new car sales, that would collect more $$ in the aggregate.


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