Wishful – or Vengeful – Thinking

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Better hurry, if you want a new SUV or truck you can still afford.

Or anything new you can still afford.

Twelve states – led by California – are suing the federal government to reinstate what President Trump rescinded about two weeks ago: A near-tripling of federal “gas guzzler” fines imposed by his predecessor – to be applied to all new vehicles that don’t meet federal mandatory MPG minimums.

Which are set to almost double.

Under the terms of a pair of federal fatwas hurled during the final months of Barack Obama’s presidency, all new cars will be required to average nearly 50 MPG (up from about 36 MPG currently) by 2026 – or be socked with fines to the tune of $14 (up from just $5) for every 0.1 MPG they fall short.

“Gas guzzler” fines have been around since the ‘70s – when the federal government first got into the business of decreeing MPG mandatory minimums – also known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

But until recently, the mandatory MPG minimums – and the fines – always increased gradually.

The original mandated MPG average was 18 MPG. It went into effect in the late 1970s. The current mandatory minimum of 36.5 MPG is about twice that – but it took more than 30 years to get to that.

Which gave the car industry time to develop new designs and technologies to cope with it.

Coping with a near-doubling of the current MPG mandatory minimum – in just six years’ time – represents either wishful thinking or vengeful thinking.

Wishful, because almost no new cars average anywhere near 50 MPG – except for compact-sized hybrid-electric cars like the Toyota Prius. The technology needed to make non-hybrid cars – let alone full-size trucks and SUVs – average (city and highway) 50 MPG simply doesn’t exist.

And it can’t be wished – or fatwa’d – into existence.

The car industry has already had to resort to Rube Goldberg-esque engineering extremes to deal with the current 36.6 MPG CAFE standard.

Many new cars have eight, nine and even ten speed transmissions with multiple overdrive gears, to reduce engine RPM at steady-state cruising speeds; engines that shut off automatically whenever the car isn’t actually moving (automatic stop/start), cylinder deactivation and direct-injection (an extremely high-pressure system which is replacing port fuel injection).

Very small engines are being installed in very large vehicles – the output of these little engines boosted by turbochargers, which provide the on-demand power made by larger engines, with a slight MPG uptick when not under boost – but at the cost of more parts (the turbo, intercooler and related parts) that negate the at-the-pump savings of the slight MPG uptick.

Aluminum is being used extensively for body panels (the current Ford F-150 pickup’s body is made entirely of aluminum) to reduce weight, in order to increase MPGs. Which it does – again, slightly – at the cost of more easily damaged and harder to repair/more expensive to repair aluminum bodywork.

All of this has added orders of magnitude complexity and thousands to the price of new cars – and it’s still not enough to get them to average 36 MPG.

Most don’t come close.

The only way to get to 50 MPG will be to get rid of vehicles incapable of getting there – by fining them into nonexistence. The idea seems to be exactly that: Make “noncompliant” vehicles too expensive to buy and most people will stop buying them.

Then the car industry will stop making them.

Which gets us to the vengeful part.

The fine-tripling amounts to punishing the car companies for building the kinds of cars – and especially trucks and SUVs – that buyers, damn them, want.

50 MPG-capable hybrids like the Prius don’t sell nearly as well as big trucks like the F-150, which is the best selling vehicle in the United States – and family-sized vehicles like crossover SUVs, which are the best-selling class of vehicles in the United States.

This conflicts with what federal bureaucrats and politicians – like Barack Obama – want. Which seems to be that if the proletariat is allowed to drive at all, it is to be allowed to drive only proletarian-type cars.

Or, electric cars.

The tripling and the doubling-down are also a clever way to make conventional cars – and trucks and SUVs especially – a lot more expensive, in order to make electric cars and trucks seem less so.

In order to “encourage” – as the politicians like to style it – more people to buy them. Or finance them. For longer . . . and longer.

Ideally, interminably.

EVs are a potential goldmine-at-gunpoint only just beginning to be mined. Their high cost (the least expensive models start around $30,000) can be absorbed only longer and higher payments. Or by perpetual payments, in the form of rent that never ends (leases, one after the other; ride-sharing, etc.)

The twin fatwas also “encourage” the car companies to build more electric cars – even if most people can’t afford them. Because these electric mobility reducers – they don’t go as far and take comparatively forever to recharge – up the CAFE averages.

It is probably not possible to build a full-size pickup or even a crossover SUV that averages even 40 MPG without badly gimping its capabilities/performance or dramatically reducing its size and weight  . . . which gets us back to the Prius Prolemobile archetype.

Especially without a diesel engine – and these have been curiously fatwa’d off the market.

But it is possible to build one electric car for every 30-something MPG crossover SUV (and 20-something MPG truck) and thereby average higher than otherwise, thereby “achieving compliance” with the fatwas.

Of course, the much higher cost of the electric car will be folded into the cost of the non-electric guzzler de gas.

Either way – via fatwa fines or EV cost-shifting – the cost of getting around is going to go up.

How this saves anyone money is a question which seems to never be asked.

Nor the question regarding this business of the government – in Washington or California – decreeing mileage standards in the first place. It is an idea premised on an absurdity. Which is that – absent the fatwas – the malignant car industry would build nothing but “gas guzzlers,” regardless of the market’s preference for more fuel-efficient models.

Except the car industry does build fuel-efficient models – including models like the 50 MPG (and then some) Prius. The problem – from the viewpoint of the fatwa-hurlers – is that trucks like the F-150, damn them, sell better.

And so the car industry continues to build them, too.

The real problem – the one not being discussed, that is – is that fuel (gas) is cheap and so people tend to buy more of it. Well, it’s a problem if you favor Energy Austerity. Not because energy is scarce, mind. But precisely because it is abundant and inexpensive.

The last thing the elites want is abundant, inexpensive energy. It gives the Proles too much freedom, which is expressed in the form of greater mobility – they come and go as they please, damn them! They live in the suburbs and even the country – rather than cramped cities.

They purchase F-150s more so than Priuses.

And that’s what the tripling and doubling-down aims to punish.

Which is pretty outrageous.

The president, to his credit, sided with buyers against the federal regulatory apparat – and the dead hand (so to speak) of his predecessor. California’s regulatory apparat is now fighting Trump – to punish the car buying public, as Obama intended.

If the tripling and doubling down go into effect, American car buyers are certain to have fewer and more expensive choices in the years ahead. Many won’t be able to afford the vehicles they want – especially trucks and SUVs.

If they’re even still available.

Their only choice may be hybrids like the Prius – which cost several thousand dollars more than otherwise-equivalent non-hybrid cars.

Or they’ll be “nudged” into electric cars – which use no gas at all and so won’t be subject to any fines. But they will cost you 30-50 percent more to buy than an otherwise-equivalent non-electric car.

But think of all the money you’ll save on gas.

. . .

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  1. I’d hazard the guess it also “intended consequence” of forcing families to remain small.

    Having 3+ kids and trying to fit them in anything other than a larger vehicle like an SUV or full size sedan is ludicrous.

    I traveled with my family of 5 back in 2010, 3 children under 5 and myself and my wife both over 5′ 5″ and was forced to have to accept a Prius at the Hertz lot – the larger cars were already taken from the airport lot, they were willing to provide me the original SUV reservation but I had to travel to another location to swap out the car. Just to get from the airport with 3 car seats, a pack and play and luggage for a family of 5 to stay in Florida for 8 days was putting my 1990’s Tetris skills into Real Life usage to pack this horrible car. Even before packing it you can’t see out the read window with major “Blind Spots” that no amount of head turning can compensate for. And that the Hybrid struggled to even get going with the human/luggage combined weight, I’m glad my life didn’t depend on any accelerator get up and go to avoid being squashed on the local secondary/tertiary roads, probably never would’ve made a 30 foot hill climb or highway speeds.

  2. It is all just feel-good stuff. The only real environmental problem we face nowadays is not carbon, not deforestation, not pollution, not plastics, but the collapse of world fisheries. This is our number one environmental problem by far, and no one seems to talk about it. China is the biggest offender, and the solutions are not easy. Worrying about car fuel mileage, plastic straws, etc. is just a distraction.

  3. The price of electric cars is worse pollution than gas vehicles. To refine the elements used in the batteries pollution is a by product. But the pollution isn’t seen because it’s not in our country. So the world is getting polluted only where it’s unseen. Remember there are ALWAYS the seen and unseen costs to everything.

  4. I read “encourage” here to mean: demoralize, depress, sadden, debilitate, enfeeble, hamstring, undermine, weaken, intimidate.

  5. It boils down to radical liberals and climate freaks who have been pushing fake global warming since the 1970’s. Nearly every change in the automotive industry over the last 4 decades can be tied to a false premise. All the predictions of global warming doing intense harm to the planet have not come to pass. The climate freaks insist that man is the cause of non-existent global warming and that it is primarily the auto industry providing the means to create man made climate change through the use of IC or diesel engines. Throw in the fact that they also hate the energy companies (excluding wind and solar) and we get to where we are now…the purging of all fossil fuel energy systems from the planet. Think AOC and the New Green Deal. It’s the ultimate control of the citizen using Marxist influenced tactics. Our governments are infested with control freaks and socialists and what better way to control people than to take away their freedom of mobility? This is directly headed to the end game where you have no choice but to buy an extremely over-priced and inefficient government mandated car…or live in a city honeycombed with concrete living cells akin to the city dungeons of 1960’s Russia. Again, more control and less freedom. The pattern can be seen in Big Pharma, Big Tech, Big Banking and on and on. Another great article, Eric.

    • The logical endpoint of this soft version of Marxism will be the dissolution of the formerly USofA. Think it can’t happen? It happened in the most brutal and tightly controlled police state in human history, the USSR. And the hapless Russians didn’t even have any guns. We have perhaps in excess of 100 million of them, as our Framers intended we should. I believe the current invasion across our southern borders will make this inevitable, and sooner rather than later. The citizens of this nation aren’t about to stand by idly and watch their nation stolen out from under them by hordes of foreign invaders. That’s why we had the 2d Amendment, right after the first. Lock ‘n Load!

      • Ivan theres nothing soft about cultural marxism. A former CNN host just called for the elimination – yep elimination – of alll trump supporters. And all this anger in a relatively prosperous period. Just think if the economy really goes south or bolton gets his wish for new wars. All hell will break loose. it might anyway.

  6. Huh. Suddenly states’ rights matter.

    This is the problem with giving the central authority absolute power. You have to insure your guy stays. See also: China’s Emperor Xi Jinping.

    • We did not GIVE them anything !
      They TOOK it at gun point, killed nearly a million of us, and destroyed the founding principles of the US.
      Try not to remember what happened at Appomattox in April 1865.
      Yankees rule, North and South lost.
      Slavery not destroyed.
      Oligarchy established.
      Now they want our guns…

  7. If one or more auto manufacturers produced just ONE desirable model for sale in the U.S. that met federal standards but NOT those of California, Maryland, etc. it might sell quite well in the remaining states. Also, are there laws on the books at present that would prevent people from buying such cars in the less restrictive states and then registering them in the restrictive states?
    John D

  8. Eric, please, for the love of God, stop using italics.

    You’ll still get your point across (to those of us who can read) without being so massively insecure that you feel the need to use different fonts.

      • Eric, as a former HS English teacher and SAGEL (self-appointed guardian of the English language), I bestow upon your use of italics my official imprimatur. Characterizing one’s use of italics as a symptom of massive insecurity is, well, itself a symptom of massive idiocy. Indeed, I suspect God Himself loves italics when intelligently used.

  9. And with the abundance of electric cars will come the need for more power plants, using hydrocarbon based fuels. Upgraded power lines, and transformers. And upgraded power systems in individual homes and businesses. And one can argue that since electric cars use no “fuel” as such, they should not be included in the CAFE averages, or fatwas. And isn’t it wonderful to see that the AAA is proudly and loudly standing up for motorists to be able to drive the cars they need. What is that, you are saying they don’t support free choice? Yes, I know that but I was hoping to fool a few clovers.

  10. Imagine how cheap it would be to make a new pickup or SUV equipped with an old school 350 V8, throttle body of course, and a 3 speed turbo 350 transmission. Delete 18 of the 20 airbags along with all of the computerized nonsense and put real bumpers on it.

    You would not be able to keep them on the lot as they would be flying out of the Stealerships, and they would also be user friendly to work on. Get Government out of the car business and we could have this.

    • Hi Guerrero!

      I think so, too – though there is the Open Question of the Millennials, who grew up with air bags and immersed in saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety kulture. They seem to be afraid of cars without modern saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety equipment, and are more interested in the apps and infotainment than the cost/fixability of the thing.

      • The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear- fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.

        H.L. Mencken

        Some millennials get it. Not many, but some.

      • Eric,

        Not this (late) millennial! If you’ve seen any of my posts about “the thing that gets me mobbed when I complain about it”, then you know I was brought up differently. My only concern is the driving experience; I honestly wish my car didn’t have an airbag so I could legally install a racing steering wheel.

        • Excellent, Chuck!

          I get down sometimes; then I rad a post like this one and it works on me like a pot of good coffee and a neck rub from a girl I used to know….

        • Hey Chuck,

          I’ve mentioned this before to no avail, your obsession with taking ignorant jabs at all cyclists is weird. I admit that I have a bias but you seem to hate bikes far more than you love cars, though I could be convinced otherwise. Maybe you could mention anything you are willing to do to promote your supposed love of car culture other than condemn all cyclists for the actions of some. Maybe you could stop ridiculing anyone who suggests that you do have options if you are willing to make some effort and spend some money.

          So, c’mon. Shut the fuck up about bikes, and prove to me that you are willing to do ANYTHING yourself to promote the culture you claim to love. So far, you have failed miserably.


          • Chuck may very well be the opposite of the new urbanists. The new urbanists hate automobiles so they pretend to love bicycling.

            • An inaccurate assumption. You seem to be implying that I’m only pretending to love cars because I hate bicycles. That’s precisely backwards. If it were not for cars, I would have no reason to hate bicycles.

              It’s not even that I hate bicycles outright. Perhaps in some perfect world, where it was easy to create physically separated infrastructure for every mode of transportation, I might even ride one myself occasionally. But when cars and bikes come into conflict, I will side with the cars 100% of the time.

              • New urbanists hate automobiles because they allow people not to be socially engineered to the full extent possible. Because they don’t like the look or sound of them. Because they don’t like parking lots. They don’t ever have to leave their bedrooms to hate cars.

                They even concocted that wide streets were because of automobiles. One of the reasons I got banned from that new urbanist site was because every time they made that point I would produce pre automobile photographs of wide streets sometimes even the very streets they used as examples.

                The funniest one was an article about the horrific things wide streets had done to Paris because of the automobile. I showed the example streets just as wide in the 19th century.

                The funny thing is you too oppose simply making the roadway wider to coexist more easily. You want it all for use alone.

                People hate all sorts of things even if they don’t have any direct conflict. I have little doubt that if you stopped driving today to never do so again, tomorrow you would still hate bicyclists.

                • Nope. I’m telling you the truth. I wouldn’t care at all about bicycles if it were not for cars. Mainly, this is because it’s not the machines themselves I hate, but the mentality that drives their use.

                  Remember what I said before about (non-Amish) horse enthusiasts? If they thought about the road the way you do, we’d both want them gone. The sub-bicycle speeds, the extra space taken up, the droppings everywhere spreading 19th-century diseases, the risk of spooking one to devastating effect… no one would be having any fun at all. But horse people (usually) don’t think like bicycle people, because they know that flexing their rights is just going to inconvenience everyone right up until it gets them and their four-legged friend killed painfully. So they’re extremely circumspect about when, where, and how they ride, to the point where the only road I’ve ever seen a horse or droppings on is the (dead straight, 25 PSL) road I live on, and then only because the lady down the block is running a boarding stable out of her yard.

                  This is in contrast to the bicycle mentality of “I have a right, I was technically here first, therefore I have first priority everywhere forever.” (Oops, everywhere not exclusively funded by fuel taxes.) The real problem isn’t you wanting wide shoulders; you have a right to that opinion, though personally I think wider shoulders would ruin mountain passes. The real problem is how you think when those wide shoulders haven’t been added – when a road has narrow or no shoulders and often with poor lighting and brush cutting to boot. The thought of avoiding such roads on your bike so that others may drive freely doesn’t even cross your mind, and you call it fascism when I bring it up. Instead you demand the right to ride any road you want, any time you want, 100% regardless of anything except maybe the source of the funding to build the road. If the shoulder is narrow or nonexistent, you’ll take as much lane space as you consider reasonable, because you have a right. If a corner or crest is blind, then drivers had better just slow way down and hug the center line, because you have a right. If it’s dark (in theory the best time for fast driving), then drivers had once again better slow way down and hug the center line, because you have a right. If the road is literally a freeway, then drivers can have it to themselves, unless it’s the only way (or only convenient way) to reach a given destination, in which case they still have to put up with you. Until facilities are upgraded to accommodate non-drivers better, well, shucks!

                  That’s my disagreement with you and always has been. While you call yourself a car enthusiast, your entire worldview is bicycle-centric. The 1960s, which were the absolute peak of car culture in the USA, you consider “dark days” because people were finally abandoning bicycles. The Nurburgring, you’d be happy to ride on if the tolls were lower. Yes, I was as a matter of fact the one who brought that up – as an example of an act so epiclly inconsiderate, suicidal, and flatly idiotic that I didn’t think anyone would be able to defend it with a straight face. The closest thing car culture has ever had to a sacred place, known the world over as the mother of all proving grounds for individual drivers and OEMs alike, and your only objection to riding a pedal bike around it is that the tolls are too high. Everything with you is about making it easier for bicyclists to ride wherever they want, whenever they want, and if something that benefits non-drivers also happens to benefit drivers (as in normal A-to-B movers, not car enthusiasts), then that’s fine, but it’s probably not the main point.

                  I’m the exact opposite. For me, the driving experience is paramount. Front and center. The top priority.

          • The only reason I mentioned it this time is to say that whatever I am, “in tune with the current zeitgeist of BS” isn’t it.

            Also, I’ve got lots of other things I could rant about, it’s just that most of this forum already agrees on most of them so there would be no point in bringing them up. Back when I believed you could escape the nonmotorized simply by going out late at night, my main beef was with the ridiculous Japan obsession that was running through car culture a couple years ago (and may still be). If bicycle culture finally died out to the point where I could be sure of never seeing a non-driver after 10PM, I’d probably be happy for all of about two days before finding more anger fuel, not that there’s any shortage of that around.

            There’s not much you can do to promote car culture when you’re lucky to have more than $1,000 in a single bank account more than once a year. However I do what I can; I speed up or pull over for tailgaters and if I can’t drive for some reason then I’d rather stomp through brush for miles than walk on the shoulder. Dealing with this problem properly would probably require more money than everyone on this forum combined has ever had in their lives.

            But then, that’s the thing. I’m too poor to do much for car culture other than stay out of the way, but at least I care enough to do that. So many internet car enthusiasts won’t even bother to rage against the dying of the light, frequently because they are the dying of the light. Not just road riding, but climate panic, law-worship, and safety hand-wringing have all thoroughly infiltrated car culture. It’s like I’ve said before on another forum – the real reason we no longer have truly active, healthy car culture of the kind exemplified by 1960s America or 1990s Japan, is because modern car enthusiasts don’t want it back. As long as they have their autocross and their track days, they’re happy. I do want it back, but I don’t have the funds to make it happen.

            Eric is one of the people here, as far as I’ve seen, who really understands what I’m trying to get at here – yes, technically non-drivers have always had a right to road space, but car culture was more active, easier to ethically partake of, and overall BETTER back when they weren’t around to claim it. Why would any car enthusiast not want that back?

            Yes, sanctioned racing and autocross exist. As I’ve said before, this is insufficient for many reasons, chief among them being scheduling that means anyone with a day job would be lucky to make it thrice a year, class rules that severely limit the number of models that can be competitive while forcing them to be modified in a specific rote way, and course layouts that bear very little resemblance to anything that might be encountered in the wild. It’s not just about being able to race, it’s about being able to enjoy driving at all, which should not require scheduling or class labels and which having to hug the center line around right-hand corners is the opposite of. If I had a dashcam maybe I’d be able to show you all the stupid little ways non-drivers mess everything up even when they’re not actually there – the corner that has to be taken stupidly wide (for a right-hander, or pulled in narrow at the exit for a left), the underposted speed limit (or advisory) that suddenly makes sense, the spot that has perfect visibility during the daytime but becomes a pitch-black hiding place for hitchhikers at night, and so on.

            • Hi Chuck,

              Maybe I can explain things in a way you’ll appreciate and understand. I, and other bike enthusiasts here, probably hate “bike culture” far more than you realize. With few exceptions, these people don’t love bikes. They are motivated by a hatred of cars and everything they “represent”. Those who fanatically commute do so out of a sense of duty, not love. Likewise, most of the racing enthusiasts don’t love bikes per se, they value fitness, challenge. competition, etc….

              I love bikes! I feel about them the way you and Eric feel about cars. I built my first set of wheels at age nine, and have built, or radically modified, every bike I’ve owned since then. When young, I combed dump yards and “trash picked” the stuff I could use to make custom bikes for me. When older, I welded my own frames or worked with custom builders to design what I want. I’ve spent hours in my shop machining custom parts for marginal gains. Not because it makes sense but because it makes me happy and is an avenue for my creativity. I’ve designed and built my own hubs, custom crank configurations and gearing systems that radically improve performance.

              Every one of my bikes has some of me in it, they are a part of my soul.

              Kind Regards,

              • I understand what you’re saying but my mind is made up. When it comes to the road I have but one goal, and that is to make something like the wonders of 1960s America and 1990s Japan possible again – permanently this time. If the method ends up helping non-drivers along the way then I’m fine with that, but the driving experience is, always has been, and always will be priority one.

                I often wonder what the point is of a fast or tuned car anymore when the best driving roads (and all roads in general) are randomly subject to the presence of non-drivers who make driving for fun, at any speed, frankly tedious due to the amount of shoulder-side space that must be left for them – even though, in actual practice, they are seldom around to use it. Some quick napkin math tells me that depending on the width of the shoulder you have maybe 3/4 of a lane to work with – maybe less on some especially narrow corners – and gutter hooks are right out. Once, I thought it was possible to work around this simply by going out late at night, but a barrage of late-night hitchhikers killed that theory and DUI Revocation McNoLights nailed the coffin shut. So I go to car-related forums expecting to be among fellow drivers there, but as soon as I complain, I invariably get mobbed by a herd of “car-guy bicyclists” screaming “I HAVE A RIGHT YOU’RE A SELFISH IDIOT THE ROAD IS FOR EVERYONE WHATABOUT WHATABOUT WHATABOUT (continue to infinity)”, because apparently expecting car enthusiasts to actually care about cars or driving is an unrealistic expectation in 2019.

                Frankly, as much as I hate to say it, what your post really does is show why the entire concept of a “car-guy bicyclist” just plain doesn’t sit well with me. It always implies divided loyalties and for whatever reason the bicycles always seem to take the lion’s share of said loyalties.

                This whole thing really brings to mind a lot of the dissatisfaction I’ve been feeling towards modern car culture for a long time. Real car culture is still out there and still sort of kicking, but is incredibly marginalized and rarely shows its face on the internet, because any time it does it gets immediately shouted down for being unsafe, pollutive, unsustainable, and otherwise un-PC.

                We’ve reached a point where many or most internet car enthusiasts will fight harder for bicycles than for their ability to actually enjoy driving and will side with bicycles over cars 100% of the time when the two come into conflict. Sometimes out on the road I’ll still see someone rip a powerslide as they pull out from a side street, or I’ll hit a certain mall parking lot on a Friday night and still see people being loud and rowdy, but on the internet it’s the complete opposite. Horrifyingly overzealous policing gets cheered, the safety and environmental regulations that have ruined cars are lauded, and Japan is idolized for the street scene it used to have even though modern car enthusiasts stand against everything that made Japanese car culture interesting in the first place. That’s what I meant when I compared road riding to cheering for an arrest over an 8-month-old moving violation. That wasn’t about “sadistic glee”, it was about giving cars and car culture the literal lowest possible priority while still claiming to be an enthusiast. It’s just that the people who cheered for the arrest were prioritizing safety and “the law” rather than bicycles.

                And speaking of Japan, if you were to listen to mainstream car-culture press like Speedhunters, you’d think Japan was the only place that even mattered in car culture. Well, California too, but mostly Japan. Even print magazines, being based heavily in California, are guilty of this to some degree. Somehow muscle cars and hot rods are played out and boring, but yet another Skyline/Civic/Impreza/S-chassis/Evo/E36 with tack-on overfenders isn’t. Of course this isn’t the whole story, and even my home state of Alaska manages to put on at least one giant hot rod show a year, but I do wish “pride in place” had more of a place in modern car culture.

                So real car culture is still SORT OF out there, but the massive and highly active car culture of 1960s America or 1990s Japan isn’t coming back, because modern car enthusiasts don’t want it back. But just because I can’t change the way it is, does not mean I’m under any obligation to like the way it is. Nothing can replace the visceral experience that car culture used to carry. Things like, say, the simple ability to drive without worrying about whether you’re getting too close to the edge of the road to avoid NoEngine McIHaveARight (or, even worse the random 2AM hitcher) when they inevitably materialize out of the darkness about 50 feet in front of you. So when someone comes along and insists that the ability to do that in the fist place was some kind of unnatural aberration and I’m selfish for wanting it back, well, the first thing I’m going to wonder is why you’re even on a car forum if you believe that.

                Oh yeah, that’s the other thing. “Build your own roads then.” You know what that sounds like? “I don’t care about car culture or driving any more than the bare minimum that libertarian dogma requires me to.” Well, again, I’m pretty much the exact opposite of that. To me, “freedom” and “gutter hook” are synonyms, and nothing you can say will ever change that.

                • Hi Chuck,

                  I tried, I really thought you might understand. But, nothing you say pertains to me nor validates your belief that “we” are the problem.


                  • It’s not you specifically so much except that these days you seem to be the most defensive about it. Any time I say anything about bicycles, even in the most careful possible terms, you’re the first one to jump up shouting “IT’S NOT ME!” and implying that I don’t really love cars.

                    So whatever. IIRC you really only ride in town, whatever, I guess that’s fine. But when I’m out in the middle of nowhere at literally 2 in the morning and still have to treat a massive chunk of the road as though it were a de facto unmarked sidewalk + bike lane, that’s when I start to get tilted about the whole thing.

                    • Hey Chuck,

                      I have never brought this up. I’ve only responded to your comments, which are rarely careful or considered. This topic would have died ages ago had you not repeatedly taken gratuitous, petty swipes at cyclists in posts that were entirely unrelated to cyclists. You are the one obsessed with this topic.

                      That being said, my post which started this latest round was an attempt to create a shared understanding with you. Notice, I didn’t criticize you at all. My goal was to highlight our shared disdain for anti-car zealots, clover busybodies, etc… and our shared passion for something most cannot understand. In your case cars, in mine bikes. It was a sincere gesture, not an attack.

                      Kind Regards,

                    • Jeremy,

                      I sort of get what you’re saying and I know a lot of what I mentioned doesn’t really involve you specifically. I guess I just felt like going on a rant. After a while, it all sort of runs together, and I end up feeling like the last car enthusiast on earth who doesn’t actively sabotage car culture in one way or another.

                      So you say you aren’t part of the problem. You’ve still been quite eager, several times, to jump in and tell me how selfish I am when I complain about the ones who are. So on one hand I get what you’re saying, but on the other hand I’m absolutely not just going to even pretend that I enjoy dodging literal phantoms every time I drive. Like I said before – “freedom” and “gutter hook” are synonyms to me.

                    • I’ve been thinking about this again and your mentioning an emotional attachment to bicycles has actually kind of helped me realize why this whole discussion gets me worked up. I think back over all the pro-bicycle talk I’ve had directed at me on this and other forums, and I recall lots of jaw about road funding and rights and principles and how selfish and reckless I am for wanting to drive somewhat freely… but in the end none of it was really about principle. I saw it a long time ago, but for whatever reason I never actually said anything about it. Maybe I couldn’t think of the words, I don’t know. I do know that if I’d started out complaining about the best driving roads filling up with slowpokes, or too much traffic in general, no one would have said anything and if they did they would have been agreeing with me – this despite the fact that slowpokes only have to be avoided when they’re actually there! But apparently bicycles and pedestrians (and anything else that isn’t a car) are sacred cows and you’re evil if you don’t want to have to worry about them 24/7/365 everywhere forever.

                      So to anyone who bothers to read this, if you love bicycles, I guess you have a right to love them, but don’t go around calling people selfish and reckless when the disagreement is at least as emotional for you as it is for them.

        • Same here! I, too, am a rare-bred “millennial”. My brother and I were raised by our grandmother and her siblings during most of our childhood after our mom passed. Because of this, I’ve learned to value simplicity and autonomy (i.e. doing things for myself). So yeah, I’m pretty much a “baby boomer” born in a “millennial” body.

          • Hi Blue,

            Things have a cumulative – and synergistic – effect.

            As a Gen X’er, I can remember noticing the beginning of the obsession with saaaaaaaafety in the ’80s, my high school and college years. “Baby on Board” signs suction-cupped to cars became popular. Elizabeth Dole talked up air bags. The first “checkpoints” appeared. Smoking bans. And it was allowed to pass. Most people weren’t enthusiastic, as I recall. But they didn’t fight. Precedents were set – and expanded upon. The nags were emboldened.

            The first millennials were born around this time. They grew up with this – the obsession with saaaaaaaaaafety – as the status quo. The cancer grew. It became virtuous to signal for even more saaaaaaaaaafety – and this probably at least partially explains the general risk-aversion (to the point of outright hysteria) which now characterizes practically every discussion in this country.

            Kids can’t be left alone for 30 seconds. The planet is dying. People can’t be trusted to do… anything. Someone might get hurt!

            • They tell us the slippery slope doesn’t exist. It’s a logical fallacy they say.

              The problem is there’s a difference between doing it for argument’s sake and when it is an actual plan to habituate and condition people.

      • Eric,

        I’ve been driving the carburetted, points fired ’71 quit a bit this summer, and never once felt unsafe or afraid from the lack of airbags, ABS or any of the other safety systems that are mandated on new vehicles. The sound of the slightly hopped up 350 through the dual exhaust is music to my ears, and it is just as responsive as a fuel injected motor.

        These old vehicles needed to be driven and you could sense the road and conditions, unlike today where you are in a hermetically sealed bubble surrounded by a computer.

        • “These old vehicles needed to be driven and you could sense the road and conditions, unlike today where you are in a hermetically sealed bubble surrounded by a computer.”

          I swear, y’all had all the fun. These lib-turds wanna take the fun out of everything now because we have to be, as Eric likes to put it, saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe at all costs. If a time machine ever gets invented in my lifetime (which is highly unlikely of course), the first thing I’m going to do is go back to somewhere between the 1950’s-1980’s, buy a brand new car, and just cruise.

        • Amen, Guerrero!

          There is an analogy, which your observation conjured in my mind: I used to live in tightly-packed suburbia; you generally kept the windows closed because if not, you heard constant obnoxious noise – neighbors talking, traffic, etc. I moved to The Woods in ’04 and am able to keep my windows open pretty much all summer, well into fall – and only close them when it gets too cold to keep them open. I feel so much more in tune with the world up here than I did back there.

          Same with older cars vs. current. The current stuff is a kind of extension of our cube-farmed work spaces. An isolated bubble, hermetically sealed and climate controlled.

          And increasingly under the actual control of forces we have no control over.

  11. “This conflicts with what federal bureaucrats and politicians – like Barack Obama – want.”

    It’s not about what these people “want”, it’s about under what legitimate authority are these regulations imposed.

    Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    • Oh, come on now. There is no legitimacy in government, it is a violent criminal gang. If the Constitution was intended to restrain centralized government power it has completely and utterly failed to do so. The reality is that government does whatever the hell it wants to and can muster overwhelming lethal force to press the issue home.

  12. “if the proletariat is allowed to drive at all, it is to be allowed to drive only proletarian-type cars. Or, electric cars.”

    Reminds me of how the name “Volkswagen” was created… and by whom.

  13. Perhaps Orange Crush should appoint a like-minded head of the EPA & DOT. Then issue the greenmail demand that if you either match the feds or you get your federal highway funds cut. You know, like they did to shove 55, drinking age and dui laws down our throats.

    I’m no fan of that sort of thing but, it would be nice karma.

    • Or better yet, why not just give “Commie-PHONY-a” the boot? Seriously, if the feds themselves say that you’re crazy, then yeah, maybe you are crazy.

  14. Is there any legal way to kick California out of the Union so we can be rid of these nut jobs? Maybe turn them over to Mexican authority. End result would be that we can rid our selves a big pain in the ass and let them nag Mexico. Then they would have something to really complain about instead of nit picking about the hoax called ” climate change “!

    Mexico doesn’t want anything from CA except remittances.

    Living in Texas, I see new cars with Mexcan plates, and, increasingly, the vehicles look much more appealing than what is in showrooms in the US, especially high end offerings like Audi.

    No fatwas from the Ayatollahs in Mexico. That government has real problems to deal with.

      • Oh, I agree. they already do that, though lesser $. Ask Eric.

        And Brent will tell you about how bicycles will be regulated. Agree with him too.

        The masses will keep the consumer cycle running right up until it stops.

  15. Is there any legal way to kick California out of the Union so we can be rid of these nut jobs? Maybe turn them over to Mexican authority. End result would be that we can rid our selves a big pain in the ass and let them nag Mexico. Then they would have something to really complain about instead of nit picking about the hoax called ” climate change “!

    • It’s not just california. Its New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, Maryland, Deleware, Maine, and others.

        • Jewish nationalists consider white nationalists – as in maintaining majority white nations – as their only real competition. Thus rthe demonization of Russia and the murder of south Africa nearly 30 years ago. So far asian nationalists are safe or out of their reach. that the reason of the destruction of the demographic balance in europe and the Usa but especially the south. And God help you if you’re white and you call it out. you’re raycissss

  16. Eric,

    “Energy Austerity”

    Just add a bit of Abject Penury and voila, the new freedom.

    This fits nicely with a declining life expectancy and corresponding birth rate.

    Look around this world we’ve made
    Equality our stock and trade
    Come and join the brotherhood of man
    Oh what a nice contented world
    Hold the Cell Phone proudly high in hand.


    Well maybe that should be “hold the Cell Phone stealthy in your lap.”


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