Cars aren’t just in short supply – they are getting older all the time. IHS Markit – which keeps track of such things – just reported that the average age of a currently in-service car is 12.1 years.
Almost a teenager!
This is a trend that has been ongoing for some time. It is not a function of the ‘Rona and the imprisonment – the “locking down,” as it is styled – of the population, which was stymied from driving and from buying a new replacement car for most of the past year.
People have been hanging onto their cars for longer for a long time, for some time.
It is merely getting longer.
If you’re over 40, you can probably remember when a twelve-year-old car wasn’t just an old car. It was a worn out car. Crow’s feet – in the form of spider-webbing paint; arteriosclerosis – in the form of hard-starting and stalling, the oil and alternator lights flickering. Rust – like decaying joints.
It was getting to be time to get a new car.
But that was 30 years ago and the times they are a changing. Have changed.
People are holding onto their old cars for longer – or buying an old car and driving it rather than buying into a new car. The reason why is simple. They are doing it because they can.
And – schadenfreude moment – we can thank the government for that.
One of the unanticipated consequences of Uncle’s brutal regime of mandates and fatwas, especially as regards vehicle exhaust emissions – of which practically nil have been permissible since the mid-’90s – is that engines made since the mid-’90s have been designed to such fine tolerances and are generally of such high quality – in order to be as efficient, tight and thus, “clean” as possible – that they last almost forever.
And the rest of the car usually looks good for that long, too. Or close to it.
A 70,000 mile engine runs like a new engine. It is common for gas engines – not diesel engines – to rack up more than 200,000 miles before they need a repair expensive enough to make it not worth repairing it.
Especially a new electric car.
This sets up an interesting dilemma – for the government and the big corporations that have become its unofficial agencies as well as its lampreys. Both want very much to get people into electric cars – for reasons that are different but also complementary.
The government wants to tether the driving public’s mobility to the electric umbilicus, which government already controls – as the source of the high-voltage electricity electric cars sup on is controlled by what are styled “public” utilities. Which are like “public” schools in that they are both functionally under the control of the government.
The car companies – which are corporations – need to get people into electric cars, having gotten into electric cars themselves, in order to get along with the government they’ve become both parasitically dependent upon as well as the virtue-signaling (and virtue-enforcing) stooges thereof. The managers of these corporations are not stupid people; they know there is at best a very small market for the electric cars they need to sell – having bought into the politics of the electric car.
But if not enough people buy what they’re trying to sell, it will mean the end of many of them, probably, given how much money some of them have put toward the making of electric vehicles that have proved to be very hard to sell – without massively discounting them or getting the government to partially buy them, using other people’s money – of which there’s only so much it can spend before people chafe at the taking of it – and stop making it to be taken.
Normally – historically – attrition would solve this problem. New cars became worn-out cars pretty rapidly. One didn’t see that many old cars in regular service because they were rarely capable of it. They were teenagers’ first cars – the hand-me-down beater cars they drove to school and to their part-time jobs after school at a fast-food place – not cars driven to work every day by their parents.
But the cars made over the past 20 years or so can be driven until their teenagers have teenagers of their own – by which time the old car will finally have become a worn-out car.
That is a long time to wait, for those pushing electric cars – and those needing to sell electric cars, right now.
Or at least, very soon.
2030 – the date by which time EVs are supposed to be the only cars on the road or at least most of the cars in the showroom – isn’t very far down the road. A very large percentage of the cars currently on the road – which are not electric cars – are likely to still be on the road in just over eight years from now.
How much longer can the electric car pushers afford to wait? And what will they do – about all of those old and getting older but not getting worn-out not-electric cars – when they can’t afford for buyers wait any longer?
It is likely there will be a push – literally – to get those old but not tired cars off the road.
Japan has been doing it for years, via pedantic “safety” and “emissions” inspections called Shaken that regulate older cars off the road by denying them registration renewal if some petty – but often hugely expensive to fix – excuse can be found to fault them for being not quite new-car perfect in some way. Several excuses are often found.
It is also why the average Japanese lives in an apartment hive not much larger than the typical American home’s foyer.
The Japanese being among the first in the First World to live the WEF’s Third World mantra about owning nothing – or almost – and being happy about it.
Will Americans also be happy about it?
We’re likely to find out pretty soon.
. . .
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