Money Better Spent

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If it’s true that most buyers want “fuel efficient” cars why aren’t they buying them?

It’s  a question that’s almost never asked whenever the subject of federal fuel economy standards – which are mandates – comes up. Probably because the answer isn’t what those pushing for higher federal fuel economy standards want to hear.

Their argument is that buyers pine for vehicles that use less gas but the eeeeeeeeevil car industry – in cahoots with the even more eeeeeeeeeeevil oil industry refuses to design them.

Forces them them to buy “gas hogs.”

Enter Uncle. He will fix it! Using force.

He will make the car companies build gas-sippers. The problem has been getting people to buy them. Even when they are forced into showrooms it’s very hard to get them out of showrooms.

The vehicles which are hard to keep in showrooms are the ones that use the most gas. Big trucks and SUVs. Buyers aren’t being forced into them.

They are lining up to buy them.

Models like the Ford F1-50, the best-selling vehicle on the road. The number two best-seller is another big truck, the Ram 1500. Tahoes and Suburbans, Expeditions and Explorers.

Und so weiter. 

Without these “gas hogs,” the car companies couldn’t afford to manufacture “economical” cars – because the profits they make on “gas hogs” are subsidizing the losses incurred not-selling those “economical” models.

But it’s hard to keep not-selling “economical” cars.

So eventually, the car companies stop manufacturing them – which then leads to accusations they’re conspiring to not-manufacture “economical” cars. There are “calls” (no one bothers to examine where these “calls” originate, because that would be impolitic) for higher MPG mandates.

Which the car companies never publicly question. Which amounts to their accepting the gas-lighting premise that buyers crave “economical” cars and that they are responsible for not providing them.

For denying what their buyers really want.

Ayn Rand would have called this policy the sanction of the victim.

The victims.

Because it’s not just the car companies who are victimized. It’s also the buyers of trucks and SUVs and other not-gas-sippy vehicles – which cost much more than they otherwise would because of serial financial punishments meted out by Uncle for buying them.

It’s much more than just the “gas guzzler” tax applied to any vehicle that doesn’t “comply” with federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) MPG mandates; there is the hidden hit of attempting to comply with CAFE mandates.

A truck that averages say 25 MPG falls about 10 MPG short of the current federal mandatory minimum of roughly 36 MPG. But the truck is kitted out with “fuel saving” technologies – such as direct injection, cylinder deactivation, ASS (automatic engine stop/start) and a transmission with twice as many gears as transmissions used to have only five or so years ago) in order to average 25 MPG rather than say 22 MPG.

In order to reduce the “gas guzzler” tax – by raising the price of the vehicle.

But this price-rising isn’t perceived by the buyer as the tax which it really is – and ire for the “high cost” of the vehicle is directed not at Uncle but at the car company. Which is too cucked to dare contradicting, much less explaining.

This enables Uncle – and those who “call” for ever-higher CAFE mandates – to crow about how much money they are saving buyers. Who have no clue that they are being de facto taxed to the tune of probably several thousand dollars when all is said and done for the sake of averaging 25 MPG rather than 22 MPG.

And yes, the differences are that small.

If it seems incongruous that such negligible “savings” are of such tremendous concern to the car companies, it’s because they are factored on a fleet average basis, for purposes of establishing CAFE “compliance” (or not). A 2-3 MPG difference makes little difference to most buyers; would you be dissuaded from buying a vehicle you otherwise liked, that met your needs, solely because it averaged 22 MPG rather than 25 MPG?

That’s a question with an obvious answer.

It’s a shame the car companies never ask it.

The vehicles that sell also cost more because of the costs incurred manufacturing – and trying to sell – the cars that don’t. This includes hybrids and electric cars especially. These are de facto mandated by CAFE mandates because of their use of much less or even zero gas.

This helps a lot with the fleet averages.

But that’s not much help selling them.

All their cynical (cowardly, really) virtue-signaling aside, at the end of the day, car companies are in business. You can’t stay in business by losing money. But rather than call bullshit on the “calls” for high-economy vehicles people aren’t buying, the industry builds them as if there were demand for them – and then folds the costs of lack of demand for A into the price of B  . . . the one for which there is demand.

When a person buys say a Chevy Tahoe, he is also buying part of a Chevy Volt – which Chevy just cancelled despite it being very fuel-efficient. Because there wasn’t much demand for it.

Sigh.

But the Tahoe buyer is unaware that he is paying for more than just his new Tahoe. He doesn’t realize he’s also paying for the failure of the Volt – and for every other Uncle-mandated failure forced into the showroom.

The buyer of a new Charger or Jeep is floating the loss of the Fiat 500 – an “efficicent” little car that has its charms, but just didn’t sell. Because gas is cheap and people want big.

The best-selling vehicle in the country – Ford’s F-150 full-size truck – is subsidizing the failure of the Focus and Fusion and Fiesta – all of them very “efficient” sales flops.

GM is about to bring out an even bigger Suburban – one almost as big as the old Ford Excursion. Because that’s what people want – as opposed to what Uncle mandates.

If  the car companies would spend some money on PR to counter the “calls” for “more efficient” vehicles they’d have to spend a great deal less on complying with all these mandates.

And we’d be paying a lot less for the vehicles we want – which would make up for their using a bit more gas.

With the happy side-effect that it would expose the people “calling” for more “efficient” vehicles for the authoritarian frauds they are.

. . .

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

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51 COMMENTS

  1. 90% of trucks are bought after getting an inheritance by fat graybeard boomers who never needed a truck to work with in their lives and will never use it for work. this drove up the cost of a truck some at 65K. fat cuck boomers use a truck to show what tough guys they are after being deballed by their wives jobs and society. I worked 45 years doing framing concrete and roofing work and had to buy old trucks never a new one

  2. Now follow up with a piece about why the motor industry is too chickenscheist to do what you’re suggesting. Another way to force demand in the direction of the more fuel efficient fleets is by way of the insurance cartel. I drive a crappy little fourteen year old Civic held together by pop rivets. My insurance premiums are practically half a year’s pay (granted I don’t make very much.) My neighbor’s SUV in which she ferries her five kids to every kid activity under the sun must cost half the town budget to insure. Diabolically raise her rates to subsidize mine and I’ll keep demanding the fuel-efficient putt putts. Another neighbor has one of those cute little Fiats. She loves it. Next year when my car once again won’t pass the state inspection… Hmm, there’s another hidden tax…

  3. Did any one ever think about the cost to maintain and repair these vehicles ?
    As they age and the miles add up the 8 speed plus transmissions , engine emissions devices etc. will need to be serviced / repaired. Many of these vehicles can not be repaired by any one but the factory dealer.
    Not a problem for those that can afford to purchase a new vehicle when the factory warranty expires.
    Its getting so that you can’t service / maintain these new vehicles yourself .
    What ever happened to the “KISS” principle ? Keep it simple stupid !

    • Hi Joe,

      I think it’s intentionally not kept simple – because complex increases profits (and encourages debt). The idea is to keep everyone paying… perpetually.

      • eric, I am barraged with a Ford commercial on my cellphone. It goes something like this. “(Breathless)The all new Ford F 150, a very complex truck…blah blah blah, giving your more blah blah blah.” and then continues to urge to you go check it out since it’s state of the art “complex”, not those exact words but close.

        WTF would I want a highly complex truck? Oh, I know, it’s got a wireless hotspot and all that EMF powered bs, even from part to part(tells you how much cheaper that computer crap is than copper wire).

        I’m trying to find a device to convert my Mifi into wired for the computer, tv, cellphone, etc. And that highly complex machine is the last thing I want in farming country. Can’t wait to get my Turbo Diesel with mechanical injection on the road again. No constantly flashing symbols on the dash, just gauges.

        Speaking of complex, SpaceX is trying to get approval to launch another 30,000 satellites to bring the total to 42,000 since it’s a money maker, never mind the health risks.

        If you get into setting on your cellphone, you’ll eventually come to the end of the line called “About Phone”. If you read to the end then you find the studies that have been done that date back to 1970 that assess and point out the risks of microwave. It’s a legal CYA thing they do for the few people who develop cancer and tumors because of microwave, a known carcinogen.

        In fact, some studies that were done in the 50’s that showed the undeniable risks of microwave got defunded and this was over simple EMF, the power going to your home.

        It goes all the way back to 1891 and the first assessment of danger of EMF done by Tesla and D’Arsonval. You might want to read the following link.

        https://everlast.mercola.com/r/?id=h2e2f1986,1f1314e2,1f3d7003&et_cid=DM417917&et_rid=774838662

    • KISS broke up and went their separate ways, Gene Simmons being the most successfull going on into movies and an episoded of CSI Las Vegas, where he played himself.
      I know – Keep It Simple Stupid – was too easy for the newest Generation to understand.. The last Generation to be able to understand KISS was the ones in the 70s I believe.

        • Kiss never broke up, they just fired two of the original four (Peter Criss and Ace Frehley) starting in 1980, and then hired a revolving door of drummers and lead guitarists thereafter. They were hot 1975-1980 and then again around 1985.

          Some say when Ace went, that was the end of the original Kiss. There is some truth in that. Ace was no Hendrix or Van Halen, but then again, Eddie was no Ace. Ace was really unique, not the highest technical caliber (IMHO, Randy Rhoads of Ozzy’s solo band was the best damn rock guitarist technically, ever), but the best fit for Gene, Peter, and Paul. They lost a lot when he was fired.

          Eddie Van Halen is reported to have tried to join Kiss after Ace left…imagine Kiss with Eddie!

          Kiss Army, 1976

  4. I’d like to have a station wagon like the Buick’s of the nineties. I don’t go somewhere to buy a handful of stuff. It’s mostly a combo trip of dog, cat, corn, salt blocks, groceries and often lumber. A tiny car just won’t do and a pickup is a PITA hauling stuff in the bed in foul weather. Those Buick’s with 305’s and 350’s got 28 mpg and would pull a big trailer too.

  5. All great and valid observations today. The auto mileage mania as we may recall all stems from OPEC and war related increases (temporary) in gasoline prices. Plus the false and incorrect “religious belief” that somehow we (the US) would run out of petroleum soon. “Sustainability” one of those weasel words meaning virtually nothing. Markets determine supply, not raw materials. Now of course due to fracking and incredible advances in drilling technology we are awash in oil and natural gas. Prices are barely cracking $2/gallon in parts of Texas (yea!). So the ostensible “reason” for fuel mileage averages is now obsolete and proven wrong. But the rules never changed, did they?
    EVs might have advantages/savings for inner city/suburban driving or in closely packed areas. Short trips, etc. And more charging stations. East/west coast urban megalopolises. For the rest of us, or who prefer to drive rather than fly, EVs won’t be useful until many advances are made. So why “save” gasoline when there is plenty to use? Socialism = “solving” problems that either didn’t exist or no longer do.

  6. Good points Eric. I think instead of putting money into PR, they need to eliminate PR and HR entirely. It is the SJWs in these parts of the big corporations that spread the disease that Vox Day calls “Corporate Cancer” or “Convergence” and which you might call cucked bureaucrats enforcing fatwas. It’s these HR and marketing departments that causing these formerly A-rated companies into a position of pre-junk/B+ credit ratings. They aren’t interested in making money and doing business anymore. They would rather spread a virtue-signaled agenda and collect from Uncle. Sad.

  7. Eric the proof is visual. Drive on any road in America and you will see a behemoth motor homes and travel trailers towed by 3/4 &1 ton pickups.
    No one forced these purchases. They chose them over tents and teardrop trailers.
    The government mandate for smaller is absurd as the newest trucks and cargoes are higher, wider than the 1960s to 2000 year models. Higher is safer due to visibility among other things.

  8. If a person wants and can afford to buy a big P/U or SUV or other large vehicle that doesn’t meet mandated economy standards, they should have that option. If a person wants something smaller or even an EV, that option should be made available. I would bet that the people driving big P/Us or SUVs don’t have a strict desire to force others to buy what they buy. The person buying an EV is likely a liberal planet saver type who demands that everyone else follow their lead. And just who is leading the way in this fake planet saving crusade? Big government, which itself has been hijacked into believing the Greta Thunderbergs (close enough) of the world who themselves have been propagandized by the liberal Marxists. Everywhere you look, the free markets have been destroyed…the food industries, Big Pharma, Big Tech, the banking system and on and on by government intervention as Congress has consistently been bought and paid for by special interests and control freaks. The corrupt politicians are the reason the US is going down the toilet. As far as the auto industries being forced to build and sell undesirable and un-affordable EVs, and the energy industry facing shutdown, it won’t be until people are actually forced to the ground with Big Government’s boot upon their throat that they then might decide to fight back. By then, it’s will be too late.

  9. The free market is non-existent. Without the invisible hand, there is nothing to determine the most efficient use of resources, other than the Sociopaths In Charge, which have repeatedly proven they are incapable of doing. Free markets have created the highest standard of living for the most people throughout history. Since we no longer have any part of one, the only way to keep what standard of living we have is debt, and a great many have already hit their credit limit, which means they won’t be buying cars, or any other big ticket items. Which means the auto industry is going to crash, hard. CAFE won’t have much influence on a market that doesn’t exist.

  10. Eric,

    I agree with the premise of your article, but you are giving the general population of this country way to much credit when you assert that most buyers won’t be dissuaded from buying a vehicle over 2-3 mpg’s. There are actually a lot of pickup buyers that will pay $4-5,000 more for a pickup that gets 1-2 mpg’s more than a competitive model and sometimes even the same brand.

    I have been on forums where people claim the only reason they opted for an F-150/Ram, etc. is the fuel mileage is terrible on the Tundra. While the Tundra gets the worst mileage of the bunch, the real world numbers are maybe 3 mpg’s at the very highest. You’re generally 1-2 mpg’s difference. There are many, many people that will happily finance an extra 5-10k at interest for that 1-2 mpg’s.

    It’s one thing if your’e going to spend the same amount of money, or if you like other virtues about the higher mpg vehicle, but a lot of people throw logic right out the window when it comes to mpg’s. If you don’t believe me, just try finding a prius owner that knows he wasted 10k or so on his 48 mpg prius instead of buying a 42 mpg Corolla.

    • You know it’s bad when people willingly spend $10-15K more on vehicles just to save like what, $400 on gas every year? It would take the buyer at least 20 years just to break even. Knowing the reliability of late-model cars (not to mention easy access to loans), those cars would probably be long gone by then. But I guess you could say that the higher cost is like a “premium” for the convenience of not having to stop as often to fill up.

      Of course, the irony is that these lib-turds line up for these EV’s that actually require more frequent (and longer) stops just to brag about how they’re “saving the planet”.

      • Hi Bluegrey!

        The world is turning upside down – or at least, the U.S. is. The EV Cult is the most successful new religion since the dawn of Islam and just as virulent. These people are believers – and you know what that means for unbelievers. Things are coming to a head. It’s no longer a question of years. It is a matter of months.

      • Bluegrey,

        I just talked to a friend of mine that told me a story about a guy he knows that owns a $50,000 Tesla. He was bragging to my friend about how he left Idaho Falls, ID with $20 in his pocket and ended up in Portland, OR with $6 in his pocket–all he had to buy was food–because all of his charging was free. All he had to pay for is food. Never mind that he could have probably driven to Portland on $40-$50 worth in gas in a car that cost him $35,000 less before you even factor in the interest of the loan.

        This type of dumbfuckery is abundant and makes one lose hope in the world. This is the apotheosis of government education.

        • Blue, who ever is giving electricity away is going to wise up soon. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch is going to catch up with EV’s with a jolt.

          I doubt it will be a big deal for Tesla owners since they’re not using logic in buying one, just showing off. There’s nothing the matter with spending big bucks for anything you want…..just don’t try to convince everyone else they’re “saving money”.

    • Hi Ancap,

      Sigh… you’re probably right. I sometimes forget that innumeracy abounds. And that people have been conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs to salivate over MPGs, even when gas is so inexpensive that it’s cheaper to buy the 42 MPG Corolla over the 48 MPG Prius.

      • I got a 2006 corolla, and only 55k miles on it, but I’ve never got better than 27 mpg. I don’t drive that much, so mileage is not very important. But I just wondered where you got that 42 number. Are they really that much more efficient today?

        • It’s probably more like 39-40. I was just bantering.

          Id say your corolla has something wrong. I had an 07 Camry. I never got worse than 25. Consistently got around 29-30. Sometimes 32. I’m a lead foot too. I didn’t really like the 4 banger’s. Too sloooooow. I had an 08 Lexus ES350 with the 3.5 v-6. Never worse than 24 mpg, and that sucker was pretty damn fast. Averaged 26-27 all the time. I could match your corolla mpg driving 100 everywhere. Not that I ever did!

        • Hi ET,

          If you never got better than 27 on the highway, there’s probably something wrong with your Corolla. I’ve test driven at least a dozen over the years – and my ex-wife owned (and owns) one, so I can personally vouch for the fact that these cars are capable of 35-plus on the highway.

          But averaging is another thing. If you do a lot of stop-and-go city driving, I can see how your overall mileage would be much less than the best-case (highway) number.

    • Especially insane when costs other than fuel are applied. I’m sure it’s changed, but several years ago whenI claimed operation of a vehicle as a business expense, the IRS allowed $0.50 per mile. Given that the IRS is NOT going to give any more than it feels compelled to, I would assume average cost is higher than that. Just for grins let’s assume gas at $3.00 per gallon, and 30 miles per gallon, which equals fuel cost per mile of $0.10. Change those numbers to $4.00 per gallon and 20 miles per gallon, and it’s $0.20 per mile, still less than half the IRS allowance. Fuel is a remarkably small part of the expense of operating a vehicle, just one we frequently see, and is easily related to the cost of operation.

  11. One of the reasons for the success of Crossovers and small SUVs is that they fit the needs of a large majority of drivers. Because of the onerous base price of cars these days, people have to buy something that fits their needs with as little compromise as possible. The escalating cost of vehicles coupled with government regulations has resulted in the death of the station wagon, the personal luxury coupe, the sports car, and even the domestically produced sedan. European and Japanese sports sedans will continue to be manufactured for a little while.

    Today’s car market is an artificial creation of government and automaker’s desire to force people into what they want to build. I will likely be dead and gone when and if something practical and desirable replaces the current iteration of the modern automobile.

    Buying a car today is not a ticket to happyland, but a ticket to bankruptcy. I will continue ot keep my cars on the road as long as parts are available.

  12. Hi Eric,

    “When a person buys say a Chevy Tahoe, he is also buying part of a Chevy Volt – which Chevy just cancelled despite it being very fuel-efficient. Because there wasn’t much demand for it”.

    “If the car companies would spend some money on PR to counter the “calls” for “more efficient” vehicles they’d have to spend a great deal less on complying with all these mandates”.

    All valid points but, it’s possibly even worse. Because of the fraudulent CO2 = pollution narrative, coupled with the equally fraudulent assertion that EV’s emit no emissions (they should be called REV’s, not ZEV’s), a truly sensible, efficient car like the Volt is put to pasture. Enviros dismiss it because it is still an ICE, hyper-milers dismiss it because they believe it’s not as “efficient” as a Pious, or the new KIA, people who don’t care about efficiency, well they don’t care, and affluent virtue signalers dismiss it because, as you say, driving the EV equivalent of a Corolla is an unacceptable price to pay to save the planet. Another factor is that we are told that EV’s are best suited for an urban environment, this is absurd. There is no way to charge EV’s in an environment dominated by multi level apartments without massive changes to the infrastructure that most urban dwellers would neither like, nor be willing to fund. The perfect environment for an EV, or something like the Volt, is suburban America, not rural or urban. Which brings up another tragic irony, Enviros hate suburban America and thus push the absurd notion that EV’s are good for city dwellers and country dwellers. EV’s are terrible for both, city dwellers for the reasons described above, and country dwellers because range is an issue for these people and, no matter the delusions of the EV fanatics, any ICE will always outperform an EV in this area (absent the magic pill just lurking around the corner). Enviros want to destroy suburban America as much, or more, as they want to destroy/cripple personal mobility.

    The Volt, by far the most sensible “real world” EV ever produced, never had a chance because GM didn’t understand how to market it, and Enviros wouldn’t really get behind it because it still “emits pollution” and they can’t admit, or understand, that appealing to the actual needs of suburbanites was the only sensible or possible way to get enough people to voluntarily choose EV’s to make them “sustainable” without subsidies or mandates. Instead, we have ludicrously expensive, impractical EV’s, sold through coercion, appeals to extreme “performance” and delusions about range and charge times, impossible without magic or massive, environmentally harmful, changes to the infrastructure.

    Lot’s of people live in suburban America, have a home with a wired garage or carport, and rarely drive more than 40 miles a day. An EV that was simple and affordable, had a reliable range of about 50 miles, and could be charged overnight with a standard outlet, would be extremely practical to people like I’ve described. But, the most practical, by far, would be the Volt or something like it. It has about 40 miles of EV range, which is sufficient for most suburban driving. It eliminates EV range anxiety because it carries it’s own on board generator. It can be fully charged in 10 to 12 hours with a standard outlet, which is doable for most suburban dwellers. And, unlike a pure EV, it doesn’t matter if something comes up that forces you to cut the charge time short, say a hospital emergency in the middle of the night, or a late return home.

    I am seriously considering buying a used Volt, as it would meet my needs perfectly and reduce my reliance on my beloved 2002 Dakota, which I plan to keep forever or until I die defending it. I saw a woman in a parking lot and spoke to her about her Volt. She loved it, showed me the interior (it was quite spacious) and surprised me with her comments about the actual mileage, she averaged about 80 mpg. This is another reason why a Volt style hybrid is superior to a conventional hybrid: it only uses gas when it has exhausted the battery, a conventional EV uses gas almost all the time. So, for most suburban drivers, the actual mileage of a Volt will vastly exceed that of a Pious or Ioniq.

    So, why did a car that’s ideal for many suburban drivers, eliminates all of the problems associated with EV’s (range, recharge time, additional home infrastructure, access to charging stations while traveling, etc…), and is capable of much better real world mileage than a conventional hybrid, fail? The obvious answer is that they were too expensive, but that can’t account for all of it. Enviros hate the natural target market for such a vehicle (suburbanites), GM failed to market it well, nor explain to hyper-milers the real world advantage of a generator based EV, affluent virtue signalers would never drive such a mundane vehicle and, finally, too many people believe the fraudulent EV narrative (EV’s are “clean”, CO2 is a dangerous pollutant). Hell, our own pat b owns a Volt but thinks moving to a pure EV would be an upgrade. How much EV Kool-Aid did he have to drink to believe that a Bolt or a Tesla is a functional upgrade over what he already has?

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

      • Hi Fred,

        Of course not, that’s one of the reasons I argued that the natural target market for a car like the Volt is suburban America. I suspect that women may find it more appealing than men.

        Cheers,
        Jeremy

    • A used Volt is the best way to take advantage of the benefits of EV without the gymnastic planning process required to keep an EV powered on a long distance jaunt. I’ve had mine since I bought a used 2012 in 2014 and never been happier with any car. I use no gas here in town and, on years I take no extended trips, burn off about 10 gallons of gas a year just to keep the gas from getting to old and fouling something.

      That said, an SUV or a 2-door, hard-top convertible with the a VOLTEC drive-train would have been my first choices rather than a sub-compact sedan.

      • Hi Habla,

        Thanks for the info. I found a Volt stats website that tracks mileage, % of miles in EV only, MPG and MPGe by the onboard data system, pretty interesting. The average of 2599 cars was 34,000 total miles, 22,610 EV miles, 110 MPG and 64.3 MPGe. Some people who drove 90% or more EV miles averaged over 4,000 MPG, and well over 100 MPGe. So, in real world driving, the Volt could easily average much better MPG than any other hybrid and compare favorably on MPGe to a pure EV.

        I wonder if GM could have legally claimed real world MPG at different EV %’s? For instance:

        – @ 90% 1850 MPG, 105 MPGe
        – @ 80% 800 MPG, 98 MPGe

        Such a marketing tactic may have made the car a lot more interesting to EV and hybrid buyers. I think the claimed MPG of the Volt was around 36, unimpressive to those interested in efficiency. However, unlike a conventional hybrid, the claimed MPG is misleading and irrelevant as it bears little correlation to actual MPG.

        Oh well, don’t know why I’m obsessing about the Volt. Just seems awful to me that GovCo and the Enviros seem to team up to kill the most promising technology to “fix” the supposed problems caused by CO2. Of course, maybe it would have failed even if marketed properly, to the right people and honestly. I strongly suspect that GM would have been legally barred from advertising real world MPG’s like I described above. Still, unless I’m really missing something, no other hybrid or EV comes even close to the practicality and likely real world efficiency of the Volt.

        Cheers,
        Jeremy

        P.S., do you have an idea of the upper mileage limit I should consider due to concerns about battery life?

  13. Eric,

    Why is CAFE computed across the carmaker’s fleet, i.e. the cars it sold, vs. those it has in its lineup? Why isn’t their lineup the sole criteria for computing CAFE? The carmaker can’t control who buys what; even if they offer gas sippers, if people want pickups and SUVs, that’s not the carmaker’s fault. If CAFE is going to exist, why not simply use the vehicle lineup? Seems to me that this would be fairer and more just..

    • Mark, I believe the FLEET is actually what is available as manufactured, not what actually has sold. Uncle doesn’t give a rat’s ass what actually sells, just what is manufactured. The best selling vehicles have to cover the loss of those that do NOT sell, and that is how the EV and other econo-crap is hurting the manufacturer’s bottom line.

      • But the econo-crap is necessary to keep the MILEAGE numbers up, especially if the CAFE numbers are based on the carmaker’s fleet…

    • It all makes sense once one realizes that the systems in the USA are designed around a tiny elite that not only feeds off of the masses through various financial and regulatory set ups but also by virtue of their wealth has decided they should manage all of human society. It is this attitude that produces regulations like CAFE to make it such that people can not buy what the ruling class doesn’t want them to buy. To keep it from ever being on offer in the first place.

  14. As long as we are awash in Gas people will not complain. I am glad 87 octane is $1.99 here. I am glad oil is floating between $50 and $60. My job is at risk but everything else is cheaper because of cheap gas FOR EVERYONE. EVs and other junk will never have parity because GAS IS CHEAP. There are a small fleet of refurbished excursions on Houston roads, redone interiors, new exhausts and wheels. Something must be up that people want to buy these 15-18 year old tanks USED. And their long lifed Navistar International 7.3 (god I miss those)

    • Brazos: There is a company in TX customautosbytim dot com that makes “new” Excursions out of F250s. Great stuff that! As a proud 2004 Ex. owner I can tell you a few things: 1) I have never met a former Ex. owner that fails to tell me “I wish I had never sold mine”. That reinforced the idea I might want to maintain mine with an open checkbook. Man, I’m glad I did. These beasts bring almost $40K if they are cherry. Mileage seems to be irrelevant if it’s fully maintained. 2) The bed is 10′ long and nearly 5′ wide with the seats folded down. That’s a BIG deal if you carry more than a bag of clubs or a few groceries. For example my 8 year old treats the back like his personal playground. (Shhhhh don’t tell the SS). If I had the cashola I’d put a deposit on one of the diesel King Ranch conversion with all the goodies. alas, I haven’t earned the right to write that check just yet- and I refuse to be a debt slave so I save and wait. PS my Ex. with a bulletproofed 6.0L clanker gets 23 on the highway. Not too shabby.

    • “Something must be up that people want to buy these 15-18 year old tanks USED. And their long lifed Navistar International 7.3 (god I miss those)”

      It’s because they are pre-emissions and not choked to death by mandated emissions controls. Before 2007 a diesel would run practically forever, especially the 7.3 and Cummins, but with the emission controls bolted on you are looking at major breakdowns before 150,000 miles. You never used to have to worry about running DEF or replacing catalytic converters and particulate filters. This is the reason the 6.0 was such a turd when it came out, their were some that were exempt from the fatwa (Bus and emergency vehicles) that had no problems at all.

      • The 6.0 was a turd because of bad head gaskets and a pickup design that required the removal of the front clip and body to change those gaskets.

  15. Vehicles are tools. Most tools are for a single task. A screwdriver makes a lousy hammer, and a hammer doesn’t work so well when working with screws. If vehicles are cheap enough and you have enough room for storage, you can have several vehicles and pick the right tool for the job. This is why the rich and elites are enjoying their Teslas, they have room to add one to the fleet.

    Most Americans’ garages are able to hold one or two cars, assuming they’re not full of other stuff. Not to mention most of us cannot afford to own a fleet of cars, even if we buy old and used, thanks to the onerous registration and license taxes. And even if you did try you’d probably get fined for some violation if you keep too many vehicles outside on your property. But imagine what you would buy if you did. Would you just buy a bunch of SUVs or pickups? Of course not. You’d probably own a variety of vehicles, each suited to a specific task. Maybe a sporty vehicle for remembering your youth. The SUV for road trips with the family. A pickup for chores. And maybe an electric or city car for the daily commute. And the antique Cadillac for church on Sunday.

    We don’t wear the same clothes everywhere (or at least we didn’t until the 2000s), why must we try to fit a one-style vehicle into every transportation scenario?

    • The trouble is that a “compromise” vehicle often ends up doing nothing well.

      If you sometimes need a 4wd, or sometimes need to haul more than a few people, or you haul a big load of groceries instead of making trips to town every day or two, then you need a bigger vehicle even if much of the time it is overkill. You have to put on a lot of extra miles to justify owning another more economical vehicle.

      Our little FWD car just sits around about half the year, but now it’s paid for and has permanent plates and the marginal insurance cost is small so it pays for one or two out of state trips per year. But just the extra plates and insurance when it was newer negated any gas savings.

    • What one can do is buy a vehicle that’s good for 90%-95% of their needs, then rent one for those rare occasions when your daily driver won’t do the job. For example, I have a Ford Focus sedan; I love it, and it’s good for almost everything I do. If I needed a pickup or SUV, rather than owning one, I’ll simply go out and rent one. Then, I have the benefit of having the proper tool for the job, yet I don’t have the downsides of ownership.

      Even if insurance, licensing, and registration weren’t so onerous (insurance is the worst!), I’d still have to fuel and maintain the pickup or SUV. I have to park it somewhere. Unfortunately, we do have to insure, license, and register every vehicle we own, so those costs must be accounted for too. How to get around that? By getting something that’s good for 90%-95% of what you do, then renting when necessary.

      • It’s more the other way around here. It might be useful to rent an economical car for long trips, but that would add another 250 miles or so to go to town and back twice to get the rental and take it back.

        Can’t hardly go to town and rent a 4wd when you can’t get to town without a 4wd.

      • Last summer I rented a small trailer to move a swamp cooler around. It was a pretty good solution and I’ll probably do it again. If more small vehicles had a tow hitch it would help add to its utility. VW for example, doesn’t recommend towing for their US models, but the same vehicles in Europe have instructions for adding trailer hitches right in the manual. My guess is they’re concerned US drivers won’t follow instructions and have accidents.

        • I can’t imagine not owning at least one pickup. If I only had one vehicle, it would be a pickup. Not owning a pickup is for me like not owning a hammer or screwdriver or crescent wrench (or a chainsaw!).

          Looking back though, there WAS a short time when all we had was a VW bug and a two ton, and later there was a couple years with just a Suburban. That time I got stupid and sold my 1965 stepside, but a couple years later bought the 1976 GMC.

          A few years ago I actually considered buying an M35 6×6 for a pickup – ha! But I suppose they’re not that much bigger than the new SilverRam150’s …

    • I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as well ReadyKillowatt, I’ve got a sports car that I really enjoy driving, especially on long trips as it’s really maneuverable, has great acceleration, more comfortable than a lazy boy recliner, and it’s just plain fun to drive. It gets around 25 to 30 mpg which isn’t bad for such a fun sports car. The downside is that it is terrible in the rain, sleet and snow. I got pulled over by a highway patrol officer for something, and as we were talking on the offramp, my car started to slide sideways just because of the bank of the offramp. There wasn’t that much snow on the ground at all. The problem is that I love this car too much to part with it. It’s the most reliable car I’ve ever owned, but I need my SUV for everything else.

      When I was in my twenties, I used to only insure one or two vehicles at a time, and then when I wanted to work on one of my bikes, I’d just call the insurance company and tell them to switch my coverage from the bike I wanted to work on to one of the other bikes. I guess the laws have changed since then because I don’t seem to be able to do that anymore.

      There’s a few videos online of these HHO systems which are evidently legal in every state except maybe California. Supposedly they boost fuel mileage by a good ten miles per gallon. Do you know anything about these things? I’m thinking about getting a newer SUV, and slapping one of these things onto it.

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