Up on Blocks . . .

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Want to know why used cars cost so much?

It’s because new cars cost too much.

The industry trade magazine Automotive News reports that the number of new cars you can still buy for less than $20,000 is single digits – and falling. That the average price of a new car is now more than twice that, $42,000.

For some context, as recently as five or so years ago, every non-luxury brand had at least one model that started under $20k.

Just wait until the only cars you can buy are $40k electric cars.

Joe Biden has promised that “we’ll take, literally, millions of automobiles off the road.” What he meant by that, in his fumbling way, was that his pushing of electric cars – and trains – will take millions of non-electric cars off the road. But what may well happen – what is already happening – is the taking of “literally, millions” of new cars off the road, by keeping them parked on dealers’ lots.

The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) for new car sales has collapsed to around 16 million – a number that seems big if you don’t know know what it was.

It had been on track to crest 18 million – but that was when Orange Man Bad and gas prices low. Also, the economy not bad.

Today, it is very bad.

Consider how the price of gas – just gas – has affected what it costs to drive. The average person is now spending close to $50 to fill up the same 15 gallon (average) tank that it cost him about $30 to fill up just ten months ago. For the average driver – who fills up once a week – that’s $100 more per month to drive the same car, about $1,200 per year.

Now consider the cost of food. That $100 buys what $60 bought when Orange Man bad. On just these two fronts alone, the average person is paying several thousand dollars more per year to drive – to live – than he was paying just two years ago.

Just ten months ago.

But the cost of cars continues to increase – because the price of government is unrelenting. Old Corn Pop’s promise to “take, literally, millions” of cars off the road is being fulfilled by taking – literally – millions of people out of the showroom.

One of the ways this is being done is by pressuring the car companies to “electrify” – and most are complying, at least partially. Toyota – one of the last major holdouts – yanked the gasoline V6 out of the Sienna minivan in favor of a hybrid drivetrain, which means two drivetrains. One of them is the underpowered (for this size/weight vehicle) four cylinder engine; the other one is the electric motor/battery pack that augments the power of the undersized four. This does increase the 2022 Sienna’s gas mileage, which now averages (city and highway) 36 miles-per-gallon, which is an uptick  over the 2021 V6 Sienna’s 19 city, 26 highway.

But there’s also the uptick in the new hybrid Sienna’s base price – to $34,560 from $31,415. You pay $3,145 to “save gas”  . . . assuming you can afford to.

It is much more affordable to buy a used Sienna – even if it doesn’t average 36 MPG.

Similarly, you can save a lot on a truck by not buying a new one. In part because there aren’t any small ones (the not-yet-available 2022 Ford Maverick looks like a small truck but it is in fact a car made to look like a small truck; a small hybrid car made to look like a small truck).

The mid-sized trucks you can buy (new) are almost as big as full-sized used trucks and less useful, since they all have beds about the same size as those attached to the compact-sized trucks no one sells (new) anymore. They’re also higher-priced. One of the newest new ones is the 2022 Nissan Frontier, which starts at $27,840. It used to be possible to buy a Frontier – when it was a compact-sized truck – for less than $20,000.

How many people aren’t buying new Frontiers because they can’t afford to?

Full-sized (super-sized, really) new trucks routinely sticker for three times that $20,000.

They are powerful and capable, certainly.

But neither matters much if you can’t make the payments.

If market forces were still operative, the car companies would be looking for ways to reduce the cost of cars (and trucks) as by making them simpler, as by making some (many) of the features that have become standard optional.

Instead, they add more standards – especially electronic ones, most of them features few if any buyers seem to really want but which every buyer is expected to pay for. Huge touchscreens; hybrid drivetrains. Electrified – and electronic – everything.

But that only sells when people can buy.

. . . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in! Or email me at [email protected] if the @!** “ask Eric” button doesn’t work!

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69 COMMENTS

  1. I paid $12k for my Hyundai, and $8,5k for my truck. The Dodge dealer offered me $15k for the trade in on my Hyundai and $14k for the new Challenger. The Ford dealer is offering me $15k for my truck. I know it’s still a rip off, but they’re getting desperate. The Dodge dealer looks like he’s got a used car lot and the Ford dealer’s lot is almost completely empty.

    It costs $100.00 to fill up my truck and that gets me 300 miles, and that’s with a lot of coasting. Insurance is $600.00 per year so I’m starting to think maybe it might be better to just sell the thing and rent a truck when I need it.

  2. The dealer where I bought my used vehicle 3 years ago is always trying to get me to sell it back to him. Looking at the prices for the same car I bought 3 years ago is crazy. Today, similar cars are selling for more than what I paid off the lot in 2018.

    I think used car prices are higher because there are fewer new cars due to various part shortages. Add in joey’s 10% inflation/year and a new car is a total waste of money. This is especially true if and when we are locked down and unable to drive due to the renewal of the fake pandemic. Or, they won’t let me drive because I am a firm anti-vaxxer for life. I fear that if I have a computer part problem, it could be months before a replacement part is available.

    I have been wanting to buy a new mini-computer for months…but they are in very short supply. I have a hard time believing there is a chip shortage. In one respect there isn’t…at the local Walmart a few days ago, some things were not to be found, but the snack food isle was 90% filled up.

  3. Hi Eric, you are a bit off on this article. The reason new cars arent being sold is that they are not on dealership lots. Here in the seattle area, new car dealerships have become premium used car lots, as the manufacturers cannot source all of the computers to run the annoying features we dont want but have to have with a new car. And probably 10,000 cars are sitting around California ports, no one knows what is on the cargo boats.

    And I feel safer in a 90s car if it works properly.

    • Hi Anon,

      Chip issues play a role – but it’s also undeniable that the cost of cars has increased markedly, at a time when people have less money to spend due to the rising cost of . . . everything. How many people can genuinely afford a $40,000 car? I don’t mean – can they finance it. I mean – can they afford it?

      • “let him with reason understand…”
        This is all being done on an Agenda, as in the 2030 type.
        Manufacturers are in on this also agenda also.
        Slowly, the Powers that Be are turning up the temperature,
        on the pot of water all of us frog-like proletarians are stuck in together.
        Regular new ICE vehicles will become unaffordable for the poorer of us,
        then also the same fate for used cars, which will become likewise for even those of us well off.
        Simultaneously, the cost of petroleum based fuel and lubricants for ICE vehicles will also be escalated into the stratosphere of unaffordability and unavailability.
        In conjunction with this sabotage, the sirens song of “the body Electric (vehicle)” is the panacea we will, and are being sold to cure our planet of what ails it, and be the death of our pocketbooks, and our mobility.
        All of this disaster is being driven by government regulations and requirements….not by the markets and by consumers needs or desires.
        Sure seems a long ways from “just a few weeks to flatten the curve….”

  4. I bought a 1990 Isuzu Trooper and it is my favorite vehicle. Compared to my other rides (02 Jeep Wrangler and 11 BMW 335), it is like driving a time machine. You would need two pages to list all the options it does not have, and I’ve found that I actually prefer the simplicity.

    • My dad has a couple of those. They feel very much like an early 80’s Toyota Hilux- sturdy, simple, and rugged. Much like a CJ jeep but not quite as tough- but better made.

  5. Used cars and trucks are where it is at. The ultimate green thing to do is to keep the old cars on the road. They are easy to work on, they are cheap, they don’t spy on you, they are disgusting to snobs. It is a win any which way you look.

  6. Scam alert:

    Stalingrad & Poorski
    @Stalingrad_Poor

    Tesla has gained over $200 BILLION in market cap after an announcement by Hertz to buy 100k cars. Tonight Elon admits no actual contract exists between Tesla and Hertz for such deal!!!! WTF.

    12:55 AM · Nov 2, 2021·TweetDeck

    This all ends in tears, with TSLA’s $1.14 trillion market cap now exceeding 14 other global auto makers COMBINED. Pie chart:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FCoWep9XsAUPduN?format=png&name=small

    Lock him up!

  7. co2, ice cars pollute, stop burning gas, back to the stone age, meanwhile our leaders…..

    On Sunday, MailOnline observed at least 52 private jets landing at Glasgow – while estimates put the total number flying in for the conference at 400. Conservative predictions suggest the fleet of private jets arriving for COP26 will blast out 13,000tonnes of carbon dioxide in total – equivalent to the amount consumed by more than 1,600 Britons in a year. then there was Biden with his 85 vehicle motorcade.

    Prince Charles was among those travelling by non-commercial plane from the G20 in Rome, MailOnline can reveal. Flight records suggest the plane was an MOD jet. -Daily Mail

    Yes, the same Prince Charles hypocritically calling for a “vast military-style campaign” with trillions at it’s disposal in order to force “fundamental economic transition” when it comes to the environment (the reset).

    charles owns forests in wales where trees are harvested for profit, he is the biggest slum landlord in london which produces lots of pollution. he is also at the top of the elite nobility at the very of the control group running the planet and the lockdown/cull you are enjoying right now.

    not vaxxed, no cull or sterilization, no masks, no social distancing, no tests, no green passports….they are exempt, that is just for the slaves/cattle…

    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/jeff-bezos-leads-parade-private-jets-cop26-his-65m-gulfstream

    • Don’t forget the Davos crowd arriving on their private jets to plan the “great reset” for us plebes. Trust me I will not “own nothing and be happy”, but I will be happy to give Klaus Schwab a swift kick.

    • moron at the top of the elite nobility/.0001% satanic cabal running the planet…..

      Prince Charles was among those travelling by non-commercial plane from the G20 in Rome, MailOnline can reveal. Flight records suggest the plane was an MOD jet. -Daily Mail

      Yes, the same Prince Charles hypocritically calling for a “vast military-style campaign” with trillions at it’s disposal in order to force “fundamental economic transition” when it comes to the environment (the reset).

      charles owns forests in wales where trees are harvested for profit, he is the biggest slum landlord in london which produces lots of pollution. he is also at the top of the elite nobility at the very of the control group running the planet and the lockdown/cull you are enjoying right now.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFftQwHUyOg

  8. What do auto companies do when people can’t afford their EVs or real cars?

    I smell large subsidies. Maybe based on income, so you (your grandchildren) can help your neighbor pay for their car.

    • They become banks and “transportation services.” They’ll just rent you a car, or worse, just deliver one to you on demand. The delivered car, possibly with autonomous driving, will resemble a city bus to save on cleaning and interior maintenance. In places like NYC and SFO they’ll have a patina of shaker-can pant and piss.

      Happy yet?

      • They already have.
        GMAC financing and FOMOC financial divisions, which both are responsible for loans to vehicle buyers, have made more income for GM and Ford than the vehicle production divisions.
        SINCE THE LATE 1990’s!!!!
        Agenda 2030, here we come, we’ve been herded that way for decades now…
        At least people are putting together the dots…better late than never.

        • Without the production division they would have made zero. The finance divisions while they have low costs they are dependent. But of course the executives don’t understand that. They just see the costs on product development and production side. So they move it to China or something.

  9. Off topic:
    I just read that the state of Utah is planning on rolling out a digital drivers license which I understand will contain a lot of personal information about the driver. I understand there will be information on outstanding tickets, health care records, banking, travel information, entertainment, restaurants and shopping, and something called a “social credit score”.
    What is a “social credit score”?
    This sounds like it could be easily hacked, and could be used by the state to limit travel.

  10. This reliance on electric everything is just nuts. CapCon, a newsletter of Mackinac.org, a conservative think tank published an article Oct 14, 2021 titled:

    “Consumers Energy Analyst: Renewables Plan Could Mean Significant Periods With No Power – Potential rolling blackouts and involuntary rationing are among the solutions”.

    “Consumers Energy Analyst: Renewables Plan Could Mean Significant Periods With No Power
    Potential rolling blackouts and involuntary rationing are among the solutions
    By Jamie A. Hope | October 14, 2021

    “In public testimony, a Consumers Energy employee admitted that relying too much on intermittent renewable energy sources could mean the company won’t generate enough electric power to meet customer demand at times. Among other things, this could mean the company imposes “demand response” on customers. Such measures often include charging higher prices during peak use periods, but the definition also extends to rolling blackouts and involuntary rationing.”

    “Consumers Energy says that under its renewable energy action plan, it will stop using more reliable conventional energy sources by 2040.”

    “Sara T. Walz, an engineering analyst for Consumer’s Energy, submitted testimony to the Michigan Public Service Commission about the company’s integrated resource plan, which outlines its future. Under the Integrated Resource Plan, Consumers Energy would replace most electricity generated by coal, gas and nuclear plants with intermittent renewable sources, including wind and solar. Walz stated:

    “The results of the electric supply reliability studies show that dependence on so many intermittent sources of generation results in significant periods of time for which the potential loss of load may occur,” Walz said.”

    So – They’ve got blackouts planned. We just had one a few weeks ago. 48 hours with no electricity and our gas generator ran non-stop for 48 hours – A workhorse, but loud and annoying. We’ve got a wet lot that requires a working sump-pump plus a couple of refrigerator/freezers that need power.

    I’m doing the suburban version of planning for a season with sporadic electric power, trying to diversify my sources. Gas generator for the essential appliances, Charcoal for the grill, Wood-burning fireplace, not so much for heat but alternative cooking surface, New gas grill with extra propane tanks. We may shiver this winter, layered in blankets in front of the fireplace, but we probably won’t starve.

    But, we need electric cars? Why??????

    • Rationing is the GOAL.
      1930s technocracy economics is based on energy rations.
      Remember, the so-called elite see us as livestock they own like they see everything on the planet as their property. They want to control and lower costs of the human herd.

    • Yes, Texas in February 2021 is living proof of the evil scam. TEXAS for Heaven’s sake, the state that put the bidness in the oil bidness! Idiot state grifterment led by that RINO globalist Abbott incentivized environazi whirligigs, and let Luminant et. Al. close dependable lignite and coal plants. No incentive to add units to STNP and Comanche Peak either. The result? 2-3 days of average power outage on the coldest day in something like 20 years across the state. I guarantee you none of the “right people” suffered one moment’s chill from a lack of electrons. Never forget.

    • I’m still waiting for my battery, ordered back in April. Seems the Californians are getting first dibs. I’m not really pushing my solar installation company for it because my electricity co-op is extremely reliable, but anything can happen as we get closer to 2030.

    • Worldwide 80% of electricity is produced by oil, gas and coal. electric cars aren’t zero emission they are remote emission. the new gas powered cars run so clean they have very very low emissions, very close to zero.

      NOTE: The biggest pollutant emitted are from tires wearing out while driving, tire particles. electric cars weigh 50% more than gas powered cars so have higher tire wear, so they pollute more.

      In their entire life cycle including manufacturing, electric cars in total pollute more than gas powered cars. Most electric cars are designed as performance cars so they use far more energy and resources than they should. (the government regulations don’t allow the manufacture of small light electric cars which would make more sense, china does).

      The grid can’t handle large numbers of electric cars charging, if all cars are electric the grid capacity has to be increased 500%. Only 5% of electric car batteries are recycled, a huge pollution problem. Open pit lithium mining for battery manufacture, often done with child slave labour, is as bad as tar sands mining.

      Electric cars are expensive, they are only for the rich, but they are heavily subsidized by the government with taxpayer’s money, including taxes from the poor, the poor subsidizing the rich. the poor can walk. electric cars, toys for the rich.

      The first people to buy electric cars were the most sold on the idea, the biggest believers, 20% of them are switching back to ice powered cars because of the inconvenience factor, the charging hassle.

      Another problem EV shares with new ice powered vehicles: Electronic components have a limited life, even if you do not use them. It’s the nature of the P-N junction that forms a transistor. So the new electric vehicles like the new computerized ice vehicles will have a limited lifespan, when these electronics fail the car will be scrap, too expensive to fix, more recycling and waste. Only buy cars with no computers.

      But mechanical systems, like Jay Leno’s 1832 steam engine can last for centuries.
      Steam powered cars have the same advantage as electric cars, instant torque.

      • Nice summary, Anon. You’ve hit on some of the key points that are pretty obnoxious, such as waste, and the other biggy: emissions and fossil fuels. They don’t magically go away, they’re just at the power plant or in the trucks at the mines that dig up the metals used in the batteries, or the factories that make the batteries and cars.

        Electric cars aren’t going to save the earth. It’s just a fairy tale.

    • “This reliance on electric everything is just nuts.”
      Indeed it is. It is one of, if not the least efficient means of energy transmission.

      • Indeed, who would put up with a pipeline which leaked out 20% of it’s oil? And yet we have transmission line losses and transformer losses exactly like that.

        • I’ve often thought that wind and solar would be more efficient if the solar panels and wind turbines were attached directly to the house or building needing that energy, then you wouldn’t have that transmission loss, but best of all. . . no ugly solar panel and wind farms blanketing large swaths of land.

          I guess it could be argued that they make the buildings ugly – but I think engineers could come up with ways (especially in new buildings/homes designed to function with them) to integrate them into the structure of the house and produce a nice exterior.

  11. Question. Take the average family electric vehicle. It’s batteries are down to 25%. Does someone know roughly how many kilowatts of energy are required to bring them up to full charge? With a national average electric cost of $13.9 cents/kw, I’m curious about how much the recharge costs.

    • Good question. Here’s one answer:

      ‘If electricity costs $0.13 per kilowatt-hour, charging an EV with a 200-mile range (assuming a fully depleted 66 kWh battery) will cost about $9 to reach a full charge.’

      https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/electricity_charging_home.html

      Not crazy high … for now. But wait till electric utilities start hiking rates. And FJB’s network of charging stations starts applying ‘service fees’ out the wazoo.

      This is still the early-adoption phase discount stage. When everyone (except you and me and Eric) gets on board, the incentives disappear and you pay full freight.

      • The battery EV fan bois keep denying that prices for home charging will go up, that taxes will be applied or government subsidy to purchase the vehicles will ever end.

        Why am I on this rock? Being surrounded by stupid people is very trying.

      • Our electric company is pushing time of use rates; great for anyone wanting to do their laundry after midnight and dial back the a/c during the day, when you actually need it

      • Thanks Jim H. I looked at the ‘State and utility incentives available to help offset the cost of charging equipment.’ And folks think anarchy is too radical? Maybe so, but it’s a great start.

        • Hi Montana,

          I agree. At least with anarchy, there is no centralized monopoly on power.I’d rather deal with the possibility that my neighbor is a dick than the certainty the government is.

        • Folks think anarchy is “too radical” because the Psychopaths In Charge have equated it to chaos in public discourse. Excuse me, but the majority of us LIVE in anarchy most of the time. One does not see enforcers that often, and the rest of the time, you decide what you will do, how you will treat people, what you spend your money one, etc. The Psychopaths In Charge cannot abide you making those decisions, which is why they pooh pooh anarchy.

          • That’s why newspapers are the friend of the tyrant. As long as they keep putting the exception to the rule on full display it keeps everyone scared of each other.

  12. ‘The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) for new car sales has collapsed’ — eric

    It sure has. The chart above shows annual averages. But the monthly frequency source data, updated through Sep 2021, shows something uglier: a one-third drop from 18 million to 12 million SAAR.

    https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/US-auto-sales-SAAR-2021-10-04.png

    Party line from the auto industry is that this headlong collapse reflects production shortfalls due to part shortages and plant shutdowns. And certainly there’s some truth to that.

    What they dare not say is that with the end of expanded unemployment benefits in September, demand is tapering off too.

    As Big Gov pulls back from extreme deficits (spending twice its revenues) to ‘normal noise’ deficits of only a trillion or two a year, consumer demand is plunging and the economy might even tip into recession.

    A house down the street from me was listed at $569,000 a month ago. Then it was cut to $549,000 … and now to $525,000.

    The bloom’s off the rose, folks. Shit’s gettin’ real. Save us, FJB! /sarc

    • Dealers think they can get over sticker for everything now. So guess what? All the people who can actually afford to buy sit on the sidelines. All they can get are the monthly payment buyers. People for whom the price doesn’t matter, only the monthly nut.

      • Brent – do you think there are many who actually buy on cash out in the US ? I thought everyone just buys on mortgage in the west, and just looks at the monthly nut….

  13. yeh i think its going to get much worse Eric – not sure if you’re following the happenings at cop26 – yes the party where all they flew in from all over the world in hundreds of private jets to tell us all not to drive our cars.

    • Oh man, this is so bad for business. Why would a small business do this? We see large businesses do it all of the time, but for a small business to strike a political note you are basically saying FU to 50% of your clientele. It doesn’t matter which side of the political field one falls on….keep politics out of business.

      They deserve the backlash they will receive will this.

  14. It seems as though auto manufacturers did everything they can to get themselves into this position. They thought they could just lobby and legislate everything into being that favored their fancy features. Especially the European manufacturers. Just love their commie bullshit and have despised Americans and their big cars. But didn’t do anything to solve these problems for their customers. Like insurance companies, they apparently figured they could get government to hold a gun to peoples’ heads and make them reluctant customers.

    Thought it’s not what I wanted to happen, looks like I will only be driving used cars for the rest of my life. I nearly worked myself into a position where I could buy one new. But buy an EV new?! Oh hell no. NFW.

    • I have been working on my vehicles a lot lately. I think it is going to get much more difficult to find car parts. I am hoarding filters and oil as well as things that I believe will wear out and break.

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