Benz Gets Dieseled

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It’s not just VW’s diesels that were targeted for termination. Mercedes has also found itself in the crosshairs – allegedly for the same reason, i.e., “cheating” on government emissions certification tests. In fact, for selling cars that posed an existential threat to the electric car.

There is no other reasonable explanation.

Car companies are routinely choke-chained for running afoul of various regulatory ukase; mostly, though, it’s not a garish public inquisition and ruinous fines are not applied. As an example, the treatment meted out to Ford over the Pinto’s tendency to burst into flames if hit just right in the tail (the actual number of fires was low relative to the huge number of Pintos built). In that case, there were actual victims – i.e., human beings actually killed.

Not many – but some, at least.

Which was enough to justify action by any reasonable standard.

Neither VW nor Mercedes diesels have actually harmed anyone – let alone killed anyone. The unreasonable basis for VW’s persecution, which far exceeded the fury felt by Ford over the Pinto’s tendency to cremate its occupants.

Harm has, of course, been asserted.

But one can also assert that the WuFlu Bogeyman will get you – and that wearing a dirty old bandana “face covering” will keep him at bay.

It says nothing about the truth of the assertion.

Nonetheless, VW was practically totaled – by fines amounting to tens of billions of dollars – and forced to fund its own public excoriation and signal the virtue of its government-mandated “competition” – the EV – via cringeworthy TeeVee spots.

It has also “committed” to building solely electric cars within ten years or less.

And now, Mercedes enters the gantlet.

It has just agreed to pay out several billion to make amends for the harm it didn’t cause, either. And – as in the case of VW – to cease selling diesel-powered cars, in favor of – you guessed it – electric cars.

This is the key to understanding the unusual regulatory attention given to diesel-powered cars. They were embarrassing electric cars. Which can signal virtue, but cannot match the practicality and longevity of diesel-powered cars. Which also cut the throat out of electric cars in terms of their cost – in dollars as well as time.

VW had the effrontery to offer an entire lineup of affordable diesel-powered cars. And not just relative to electric cars. One could buy a diesel-powered family sedan like the Jetta TDI (last available in 2016) for about $22k – about the same cost (without any taxpayer kickbacks) of a gas-powered otherwise-similar car but capable of delivering 15-20 more miles per gallon, traveling 600-plus miles on a single tank and (being a diesel) likely to continue traveling for a quarter-million miles or more before anything major needed fixing.

In effect, twice the IC car for the price of one – and not even considering vs. the electric car, which costs twice as much and lasts half as long, if that (due to the inevitable loss of its battery pack’s capacity to retain a charge and the disproportionately high cost of replacing the battery when that becomes necessary – which will be much sooner than a quarter-million miles).

This was a dagger aimed at the heart of the electric car.

But it isn’t even about electric cars as such. It is about eliminating car ownership as a thing – and replacing it with serial debt. With subscriptions to cars, with “transportation as a service.”

Electric cars are the perfect cars for that.

The car companies are open about their agenda, too. It’s just not reported much – like the facts about the Wuflu, as opposed to the cases! the cases! –  and so people in the main are unaware of the truth and buy the fraud.

The EV costs too much for most people to buy and becomes economically improbable to keep by the time it might be paid off – due to the disproportionately high cost of replacing its battery pack years before a non-electric car would require a new engine.

So – like a dying cell phone – you trade it in for a new one. You sign up for a new plan. You never stop making payments.

Diesels were especially dangerous because of their exceptional longevity and – in the case of those not “compliant” with all the very latest emissions requirements (which effectively require zero emissions) their exceptionally low maintenance costs.

There is a reason why it was once common – in Europe – for taxis to be Mercedes. Diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz sedans. It wasn’t because they had leather seats and climate control AC. It was because they could be driven for half a million miles – and 20 years-plus – before needing major work.

This is the reason Mercedes was targeted. It is the same reason VW was targeted. The “cheating” was just the excuse.

Like the manufactured hysteria over a sickness that doesn’t kill 99.6-plus percent of the healthy population or even induce a bad cold in most of them has been used as the excuse to impose a national Sickness Stasi regime – and substitute the electric car equivalent of a “new normal” on a terrorized and demoralized population.

They’re both different cons but they serve the same purpose – and target the same marks.

Us.

. . .

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

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Ah yes..god bless my 2012 TDI Passat SEL. Best road trip I Ever took was over 1300 miles, ave speed 63 mph, ave mpg, 53. Approx 25 gallons of fuel burnt, at $3/gal, $73 spent. Range ‘anxiety’ starts around mile 700. ‘Recharge‘ time under five minutes. Yeah I want an EV. 🤣

    • Hi Dip,

      I’ve test driven literally thousands of new cars; the only new cars I ever test drove that exceeded the advertised mileage were VW diesels. I miss them.

  2. Mazda is showing a diesel Mazda6 as an upcoming US model on MazdaUSA.com under “Vehicles”. Probably going to be a 2021 model. FYI.

    I work for Mazda at a low level and am not privy to upcoming plans, but happened to spot this and thought some of you might be interested. So at least one automaker is still trying…

    As far as the 2019 CX-5 diesel is concerned, I never heard a good explanation why the engine was dropped in that model for 2020, except possibly to simplify the number of drivetrains offered in North America. I dunno. Haven’t heard of any problems with the ones that had the diesel.

    It’s clear that European governments have deliberately targeted the diesel for extermination, and “cheating” is simply a flimsy excuse.

    • Hi ek,

      The problem, I think, is now economics more than emissions. In order to make a diesel-powered passenger car “compliant,” it has to be made so complex that it becomes too expensive and the efficiency gains aren’t high enough relative to what modern gas engines can deliver to make up for it. In trucks, diesels still have a towing edge, but in cars, that’s largely irrelevant.

      • I have a pristine 2002 F-250 with the 7.3 turbodiesel. No pollution controls, no DEF or any other Uncle mandated bullshit bolted on. They will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands.

  3. First they came for the muscle cars, and I didn’t care because I didn’t drive one.

    Then they came for the big sedans and wagons, and I didn’t care because I didn’t drive one of those either.

    Then they came for the small cars, and once again, I didn’t drive one, so I didn’t care.

    Then they came for the diesel cars, and yet once again, I didn’t care, because I didn’t drive one.

    And now, they are coming for all internal combustion cars, and nobody cares because of electric cars.

    Then one day, they will come for the electric cars…and by then there will be nothing at all to drive, and no one left to care.

  4. The little green figures that dance on his screen
    say everything you want to hear and nothing
    they mean

    – Elvis Costello, This Town

    Someday (don’t know when since I’m not a high priest of the numbers, but someday), society will stop listening to experts’ predictions about how the world is going to look 10 minutes from now, let along 10 years from now. We have developed tools for measuring minutia that are unprecedented in human history, yet we’re still trying to judge the figures using our (slightly better than ape) brains. Oh sure, some people had enough prosperity to soak up statistics classes at the Ivy League school and societies lucky are willing to fund their continued existence in exchange for confirmation of their superiority, but those days seem to be numbered. But again, not being in the prediction business I can’t say what’s going to happen this afternoon, let alone 10 years out.

    Much of this started with measuring nuclear isotopes from atomic bomb testing. Kodak was having problems with their x-ray film getting spots, starting in 1945. The prevailing winds moved fissile material over the midwest where Kodak had two production plants. It got so bad during the above ground testing days that they got advance notice when the tests would occur so they could shut down production for a few days. Geiger counters can measure single atoms decaying (every click of the speaker is a subatomic particle hitting the tube), so it is a way to detect if a nuclear power plant is leaking. And the extremely flawed linear no-threshold model (LNT) basically says any exposure to ionizing radiation is bad (even though we evolved many ways to repair the damage, living in a nuclear universe and all), and epidemiologists extrapolated that any “man made” chemistry is bad. Then the hunt was on for ways to measure everything with the precision of a Geiger counter, or at least fake it ’til you make it.

    Too bad it all breaks down in practice.

  5. First let me give a bit of my background. Before my current position with an automaker that I cannot name, I was a tech for Mercedes for about ten years. Their emissions systems did work to meet the regulations. They had the same issues as soon SCR was introduced, as an other automaker’s do now after they were repaired to meet regulations. If they were lying, they were doing it wrong, because they were paying crazy amounts of warranty claims for diesel emissions components. So many SCR cats, NOx sensors, AdBlue tanks and heaters. If they were actually cheating, those parts wouldn’t fail, because they wouldn’t be used.

  6. They came for the fuel, too, not just the cars. Over the road use Diesel fuel used to be 20 cents/gal less than RUG, now it’s averaging 20 Cents/gal MORE. Why? Middle distillates traditionally are easier (less $$$) to get out of a barrel of crude than RUG. Emission regulations that forced extensive desulphurization, amongst others. Right out of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, pick your target, personalize, freeze…in this case, the target was the Diesel engined passenger car, and they used every slimy envirolawyer trick in the book, including targeting the fuel itself.

  7. Eric,

    I don’t know WHY TPTB would come after Mercedes, because: 1) they’re making EVs already; and 2) they participate in Formula E racing. How much more virtue signaling could they do?

  8. “I keep telling myself there has to be an opportunity here somewhere,” commented Ernie on the Boosting You post.

    Unfortunately for IC engine fans, many opportunists have latched on to ripping the beating heart out of vintage vehicles to replace it with an electric power pack. From the WSJ:

    ‘Michael Bream of EV West said his goal is to make driving “guilt-free,” to allow drivers to go flat out through a chicane without feeling bad because their vintage car was belching smog. Most of his clients are new to classic car ownership, he said, and more than half are women.’

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/electric-engines-give-classic-cars-a-recharge-11600282781

    YEAH, RIGHT — I feel so ashamed when I launch into the S-curves on a mountain road in a manual-shift, IC-engined vehicle that I pull a ski mask over my head … NOT! This ain’t Kalifornia, thank Goddess.

    ‘More than half are women’ — it figures. Two pedals good, three pedals baaaaaddd. And with an EV conversion, you don’t even have a confusing pernundle (P-R-N-D-L), as Zsa Zsa Gabor used to call it.

    Why oh why did IC engines become the opposite of modular plug-and-play? Trying to transplant a modern high-performance IC engine into a vintage vehicle presents nightmarish computer interface problems that may be insoluble. How is this problem solved, and is there an opportunity here?

    • JWK, even in the misty distance days of my misguided youth, I never once entertained the idea that our Dear Leaders, have anything but contempt for us. The vast majority consider the masses to be little more than tax cattle. To be kept in line by their Enforcers (who are also considered expendable…), so that they can be sheared and sent off to slaughter in distance lands. Any even semi honest study of real history, leads one to that conclusion. Which of course is why real history is never taught in the governments indoctrination systems.

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