The Hulu Model as applied to Transportation

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The car companies plan to stop selling cars in favor of selling “transportation” – as a “service” – instead.

The main reason for this reorientation of their business model is simple: People increasingly cannot afford to buy cars – the average transaction price is now about $35,000 which is  a sum roughly equivalent to half the average American family’s annual income and thus, not sustainable as a purely financial matter.

Meanwhile, cars – themselves – are becoming soul-less appliances very much like cell phones in terms of their interchangeable homogeneity and their disposability.

People are for that reason losing interest in them.

But cars are very much unlike  cell phones in one critical way: their cost. It’s one thing to throw away a smartphone after a year or two; another to do the same with a $35k car after four or five. This problem is going to get much worse, very soon – for two more reasons.

The first is the hard-pushing of electric cars, which will increase the transaction cost of buying considerably since the typical entry-level electric car costs about $40k, not counting the cost of the wiring upgrades many people’s homes will require in order to be able to recharge an EV in less than 10-12 hours. Also not counting the cost of the replacement battery pack the EV will probably require right about the time the six year loan is paid off.

Unless the cost of replacement battery packs comes way down – as in down by at least 75 percent – the EV owner will be looking at spending thousands more to keep his EV moving after he got done paying for it.

The second is that the buying power of what he uses to pay for all of the above is waning almost daily. This thing styled “inflation” – which means the diminution of the buying power of money, via the reduction in the value thereof, achieved by printing (or digitizing into existence) new “money.” In terms of this discussion, it means that a year from now it will be even harder for the average person to finance a $35,000 car absent an inflation-correlative increase in the amount of money he has available, to counteract the diminished buying power of money. That $40k (today) EV will likely be more like $45k, next year – not counting the cost of the wiring upgrades.

It could be a lot more.

Regardless, it’s not sustainable – as purely financial question – absent a by-some-miracle correlative increase in the average car-buyer’s buying power. This being as likely as water fountains spritzing us with champagne. Add to this financial problem the emotional problem arising from the increasing disinterest in new cars except insofar as they work as appliances.

Why not rent them to people instead?

This is what is meant by “transportation as a service.” With a difference – as a lease is the way people traditionally rented cars.

A lease enabled a person to drive more car than they otherwise could afford to buy. Or pay less to drive a nicer car – however you prefer to look at it. Regardless, you signed up to rent/lease a given car for a period of time, usually three years or so. At the end of the lease period, you usually had the option to buy the car at a price negotiated at the time of lease inception. Or you could assume another lease. Or just walk away.

Transportation as a service differs in that you pay to have temporary access to transportation as you need it. You don’t retain exclusive physical possession of a given vehicle for a set period of time, during which the vehicle is very much yours in every sense except the legal sense.

You will posses nothing, going forward.

It will be more like dialing up a movie on Hulu or Netflix. You view the movie and then it’s gone. You drive the car (more likely, it will drive you) and then it’s gone. On to the next drive, of someone else. You will own nothing – and you will possess nothing. But you’ll pay for it, forever.

Or at least, as long as you want to have “access” to the “service.”

Serial payments, with no paid-for date. That is what is meant – or rather, intended – by “transportation as a service,” which is congealing as a kind of side-effect, intentionally or not, of the double-tap policies of forced electrification and forced homogenization, these policies boosted by the policies of the “Fed,” the styling given to the privately owned banking cartels that were given operational control over the value of money, by being given the power to create it out of nothing, hey! presto! style.

The car industry helped all this along by going along with electrification as the path of least resistance (as they see it). By not making any real effort to contest outrageous usurpations – in an ostensibly “free” country – such as the federal government decreeing how many miles-per-gallon the cars we buy must go and that every new car must be “safe,” as defined by its compliance with a roster of federal regulatory ukase having nothing to do with whether a car is prone to crash.

But now, it faces the consequences of these things, in the form of customers who – increasingly – either cannot afford what they’re selling or don’t want to buy into it.

The consequences differ for us. We’ll be reduced to making payments, ongoing, as the price of having “access” to “transportation . . . provided as a “service.”

. . .

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

If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos. 

We depend on you to keep the wheels turning! 

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)

My eBook about car buying (new and used) is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here.  If that fails, email me at [email protected] and I will send you a copy directly!


Share Button


    • I think that may be a large part of what comes next after the jabbing. Pay to live. Like some Logan’s run dystopia where you have to pay for time lived or pay to have an immune system. Some mechanism where just remaining alive even if all the basics are covered is some sort of subscription service.

  1. Modern cars are a f***ing nightmare. Screens everywhere and gadgets that do nothing but create problems.

    I HATE the modern car.

  2. An old saying goes, “If it floats, flies, or fucks, it’s cheaper to RENT”. But that’s addressing LUXURIES.

    I can see some esoteric car rental scheme for those that the occasional rental, rather than the burden of ownership, might make economic sense. As in those that choose to live in “Jew York”, in some co-op, where parking most certainly ain’t free…with some places charging as much as $1,000/month for one! I shite you not. Under those circumstances, many of what used to be termed “yuppies” would leave their rides with relatives in the suburbs or simply rent a car when they had to have one. This lack of perspective as to how things are done out here in “flyover country”, IOW, “‘Murica”, is what drives a lot of that drivel.

  3. Here is another example of futuristic “HyperPort” bullshit being proposed in Germany. The guy doing the video does a good job of showing just what a pile of useless crap this is.
    The bottom line is that so much of this bullshit is sold by virtue of being “green” & “futuristic”, when is it ultimately wasteful & counterproductive. The proof of such unnecessary crap is the need for govt. spending and enforcement of it.

    • Hilarious and Articulate commentaries,Bravo!!!Differ on the affordability issue,though.Ladt two years,neen seeing Lots of temp. Plates and sites raving about all the new car purchases of used and new vehicles,suppisedly backed by data and facts.Of course,two years from now and on who knows the economic situation of most humans whether we will be alive or not,able to work or busy cyborging and being agrokarens screaming at oldies for not complying.Carkits,horse and buggies,motorbikes-hoverbikes in Japan as you read this,other modes of transport.Weather modification goes back to 1896,seen the docs.Weatherwars are very vibrant last several years,dont believe the climate b.s. In the 1970s it was all about impending neoiceage,now shakeandbake.Entities been doung things to the planet and us.Envirostuff is usually a moneylaundering scheme for same old lying antihuman cabal.Should we pollute less and stop paving over everything and killing off entire species,yep.Cheap energy has existed for Decades,see,and and private jets should be the FIRST TO GO AFTER THE A.HOLE OPORESSORS ARE GITMOED OR WORSE,THEN WE WILL Reasonable discuss environmental

  4. I’m opposed to this idea for various reasons. Anyone who thinks that you will save anything is just being optimistic. If you go shopping you tend to go store to store, does this mean you wind up carrying many bags around with you or are you paying for vehicle rental as you shop? Of course you won’t save anything but the vehicle company’s will make lots of money (probably the whole idea). If people wear conformity rags on their faces when in their own cars just imagine what they will be forced to wear in the transport pods. It might be a good idea for some but hey don’t we already have UBER?
    As for the rest:
    Transportation as a service violates your right to privacy as they know who you are, pick up and delivery times and where you went. I’ll concede I’m very careful regarding PERSEC but that may just be the way I view life in general. It was once said that in the course of a day most people will commit a few misdemeanors/ or felonies without even realizing it. I figure make them work at getting the information. Besides I know how well my vehicles are maintained, a transport pod? Who knows.
    And do you think anyone on this site will even have a high enough Social Credit Score to be allowed into the transport pods?

    • Hi Landru,

      As always it’s the element of free choice that determines whether this is pernicious. If some people want to ride share or Uber or walk, that’s fine. They have every right and if there’s enough demand, a service will arise to provide it. The perniciousness enters into it when it’s forced or coerced, as it will be in this case.

      • And they will argue that it doesn’t violate your right to privacy. After all, you don’t have to use their service. Just like the airlines. Don’t wanna be molested by the TSA? No problem, nobody’s making you fly. You can walk or ride your bike! Don’t want google tracking your every move? No problem, don’t have a phone and don’t have internet access. Now, without a phone, or internet, or a car, or the ability to travel, you’re probably not going to be able to work or participate in society, but hey, that’s your decision. So, doncha see? You’re still free to make choices! /s


    “…soul-less appliance….” That’s exactly what Creepy Joe, his administration, and Washington in general has become. Looking at you Republicans too. Cars were extensions of the drivers needs, wants, and personality back when there were choices.

    I swear if aliens attacked I would be tempted to help them, but I’m more likely to just steal their ride because they probably have vehicles with style, power, and soul in the design.

  6. Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” comes to mind here. Most dystopian stories are set in super-advanced wealthy societies, which is unrealistic, only Anthem truly depicts the poverty big government causes. We too are regressing into poverty because of government. How much longer until the leeches suck the productive folk dry and a gas lamp becomes a luxury item?

  7. Interesting that the crowd that laments the whoa of the poor advocates for machines & models that will ensure the poor stay that way.

    Under TaaS, you will acquire no assets, thus gain nothing of lasting value for your money. Even a crappy car can be sold for scrap.

    Will it cost more if one has bad credit, like many poor do? If the car has to traverse bad neighborhoods?
    How does the car get to a subscriber who lives deep in the woods?

    • Dan,

      No. It will cost more if you are white, male, heterosexual, conservative, and any political affiliation other than Democrat.

      Those neighborhoods are just historically underserved, and this is unfair. Service will be primarily concentrated in those areas.

      Rural areas don’t exist.

    • Does it achieve a perfect light golden brown on the outside, while keeping the inside nice and chewy but still warm?

      For that kind of money ie expect the perfect slice!

  8. Dang a couple things here, while I’ve heard before, kind of stuck out. First is the 10-12 hours for recharge at home. So that seems like it means that, if you were to not *just* go home and call it a night (after work), you couldn’t go anywhere (e.g., out to a restaurant/bar or whatever) and still get recharged. Well, I couldn’t because I leave for work at 7am. I suppose partial charge would do it — if I were forced.

    The other thing is about “the EV will probably require right about the time the six year loan is paid off”. I’d bet that, while that might be true on “the happy path”, there’s gonna be a WHOLE LOT of people where that happens “right about the time the *warranty* wears off”! And *prior* to the loan being paid off.

    Which sounds like a double whammy to me. Can’t wait to see this slow-motion train wreck in action.

    • I’m am in no way defending EV mandates or anything, so keep that in mind when you read the following.

      Currently, level 2 home chargers can pull about 7,200W (30A @240V). There are now chargers being made which can charge at 50A or even 100A, if your connection to the power company allows it. Over time, chargers will get faster, so this becomes less of an issue. These companies forced into this nonsense still want to deliver products to customers that they’ll buy.

  9. Transportation? mobility? In australia the purebloods can’t leave their home to go to work or exercise, no need for any transportation, can’t even walk..

  10. Transportation as a “service” will be yet another thing keeping teens and low income people out of doing entry level jobs. It will be just too expensive, like child “care” is.

    It will also become yet another never ending thing draining middle class peoples income like “health” insurance, property taxes and the like. It won’t be cheaper than the expenses of owning a car, in fact it will likely be quite a bit more expensive.

    Transportation as a service will likely have the same customer “service” of an utility.

    If anything we need a true OWNERSHIP society where people build wealth with owning their own homes (paid off that is), small businesses etc. Add to that additional streams of income from investments and the like. Then people could be retiring in their 40’s and 50’s instead of their 60’s and 70’s.

  11. I look for for salvage titled autos to increase to help fill the need for cars for many who can’t afford these ridiculous prices and shortages. For example, if you need a car free from computers and airbags, there are still plenty of GM G-body cars that can be refurbished and parts are plentiful from aftermarket sources.
    I think simplicity and affordability is what is needed. That could be one answer to offset the government caused problems.

  12. Transportation as a service (i.e., “The Bus”) barely exists in suburbia, and does not exist at all in rural communities.

    “Carpooling by necessity due to government fiat,” the new model, has not shown me anything that might alleviate this problem.

    Why wouldn’t it be better for a small group of family, friends, neighbors, etc. to go in together for joint ownership of one or more vehicles, if that became necessary for pecuniary reasons? The advertised model only benefits the car companies (maybe—it would likely shrink their production volumes significantly) and the banks.

  13. A fly-by-wire one or two passenger battery-powered drone will land on the X, you climb in, the drone flies you to your destination. Fly at 150 kmph, you’ll get there quick enough. You won’t even want to drive a car anymore.

    It’ll have to be one of those four propeller drones.

    No tires to roll, no road to follow, just fly by wire to party at the party place. You climb out, the drone takes off to a new stop, can be used all day and night. An owner will park a drone, can’t be used, there will be too many drones like there are too many cars now. You won’t want to be burdened with a 6000 pound metal brick, which an EV will eventually be.

    Delta Air Transportation Services will fly you there, don’t need no stinkin’ ICE, none of them. United, Southwest, KLM, British Airways will have fly-by-wire transportation services too.

    Why fly empty flights with a great big airplane to retain landing space at airports when all you have to have is multiple fleets of drones to carry people to and fro across the globe. Jet travel will wane while drone travel waxes.

    If you are allowed to subscribe for the service, might be excluded for one reason or another.

    You might have 100,000,000 drones, with no cars driving around fouling the air and causing traffic jams everywhere, a multitude of problems will be avoided and solved at the same time.

    EV ownership will disappear in the long haul. You won’t have a car and you’ll be happy.

    Self-driving trucks with no driver will be on the highways, not cars, complete nuisance for a an efficient mobility system.

    Makes for a good story, not much more.

    Buy lidar stocks and drone stocks. Lidar has real world applications other than for self-driving automobiles. Both are booming now. Surveying and mapping, gotta 3-D map every millimeter of the planet all the way to the thermosphere.

    The future of EV transportation, automobiles, is grim, in my humble useless opinion. NIO has lost 39 USD per share from its high. NIO was at 1.83 USD in the beginning, rocket shot to 66.99 USD, currently at 27.92 USD today. It was at a low of 1.83 USD in the beginning. It ain’t working for NIO.

    It don’t look good for EVs if you ask anybody, me thinks.

  14. Transportation as a service will not be cheaper than owning one’s own vehicle any more so than using taxis, delivery services, rentals, and Uber is if one has to rely sol,ely on such, because ultimately the ‘consumer’ still has to pay for the vehicles and all related expenses, plus the labor costs and profit for all involved in providing the services- just as ‘universal socialized healthcare’ isn’t cheaper when everyone must use it and ultimately pay for it, since it is not a case of a large group paying for something which only a handful of people may actually use.

    The reason this model is being pursued is because the car companies are ‘woke’, and are well aware of the UN mandates which are in place to destroy personal autonomous transportation, and that the old business model is slowly being outlawed.

    The cost of transportation as a service will be higher than most people’s car payments, and ‘you will own nothing’- it will be a never-ending payment, like an electric bill, -and their will be no cheap used cars. 🙁

      • Yeah, Pub. Remember when the Dumbold…err…Donald was touting that when campaigning for 2020? -And then he did the very opposite…as he did with every other thing he ever said.

        Sit-com character George Jefferson (Archie Bunker’s black neighbor]: “In politics lies are called ‘promises'”.

  15. Eric,

    Referencing “Star Trek” again, after proving to be inadequate at providing service as a cab driver, Johnny Cab was hired to serve as acting Chief Medical Officer on the USS Voyager.

    One day soon, it could be Tesla’s self driving software asking you to “assume the position” at your doctor’s office.

  16. I just don’t see the idea of not possessing a car working here in America. We are very spread out with suburbs and rural areas. Plus the entire function and appeal of cars is the certainty that you have the freedom more or less to go where you want when you want. This provides a powerful psychological sense of independence, anticipation (hope) and control which also limits anxiety. Even if you end up spending a Saturday at home you know you could have driven up to the mountains or the coast if you wanted to and maybe you use the weekend to plan that road trip this spring to drive to the Grand Canyon with the kids in your pickup hauling a camper. Or if there is a SHTF event happening (think fire season) and it may be necessary to bug out or evacuate you feel a more secure knowing you have that gassed up car ready to go. I almost cannot even visualize how not owning a car one could even get thru a week before experiencing massive horrible anxiety and depression.

    • Great point RS,
      I very much doubt you’ll be able to get a car to pick you up if it requires driving towards a raging wildfire or approaching hurricane. Of course the PTB have no interest in helping you bug out of a disaster, good luck getting out of harm’s way without your own vehicle. More proof that “saaaaaaaaaaafety” is only a cudgel to be used on us serfs.

  17. ‘Transportation as a service differs in that you pay to have temporary access to transportation as you need it.’ — eric

    Right on cue, the LA Times posted an article offering a real-world example of every point that Eric just made:

    ‘Headquartered in a former diesel truck garage, the growing fleet of nine electric cars managed by Mayor Rey León’s Green Raiteros program shuttles Huron residents all over Fresno County free of charge.

    ‘The Green Raiteros program’s costs are covered mostly with hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants León cobbled together from state climate programs that industrial polluters are required to fund. Passengers are asked to reserve their rides a few days in advance, and they are welcome to use the service as often as they need.

    “Transportation is usually a top-down process where a model is deployed onto a community, hoping that that community adopts it,” Alvaro Sanchez said. “This did the flip side. It comes from the community.” [says the vice president of policy at the Oakland-based Greenlining Institute]

    Savor, comrades, the rich, rich irony of presenting this wholly gov-funded ride program as a grassroots phenomenon.

    EV mandates are the ultimate top-down rule by decree. This particular program in Huron, CA serves as a kind of virtue-signaling, noblesse oblige pilot program in a poor community for which privately-owned EVs [as the article admits] are ‘accessible only to drivers who can afford a Tesla or Bolt and have a garage to equip with a charging station.’

    Scaling this up nationwide would cost trillions in digitized new “money.” But meanwhile, offering free rides in one community of noble farm workers helps us all feel good about ourselves, while artfully concealing the mailed fist behind the ostensible charity.

    • “Transportation is usually a top-down process where a model is deployed onto a community, hoping that that community adopts it,” Alvaro Sanchez said. “This did the flip side. It comes from the community.” [says the vice president of policy at the Oakland-based Greenlining Institute]

      How much do you want to bet he drives his own car and lives in a fairly large CO2 emitting house?

    • Considering the demographics of Huron, CA, those EVs probably won’t be popular…unlike a lowrider Chevy Impala, how you going to open the door and reach out to pick lettuce?

  18. If we are allowed to drive at all, and not compelled to use state owned “public’ transportation. If the extraction of what wealth remains among the 99% for the benefit of the 1% continues on its current trajectory, the only transportation we will be able to afford is “free” transportation. Provided by the state, at the times and frequency of the state’s choosing . Car companies are helping the state hold the gun while it shoots them in the foot. You can’t abide your way out of tyranny. The more you abide, the more you will get. Paraphrasing Frederick Douglas, “what amount of tyranny you will tolerate is exactly how much you will suffer”. Corporations, being a creation of the state, have no choice but to comply.

  19. Some things make sense to rent. I took my annual CD-based music budget and moved to Apple Music. For now it is working out that I’m spending about the same on an annual basis but more on any individual month. But I have no plans on getting rid of Apple products. At some point they will probably drive me back to Linux, and then it’s back to buying used CDs on eBay and Amazon. But the point is that I can listen to ANY song recorded in the last ~70 years or so. Oh sure, there are a few outliers but I haven’t found one that I’m interested in yet. And I’ve discovered many new artists that I never would have heard otherwise.

    Now imagine that model in a “transportation as service” world. Going to visit my parents for the weekend? I get in a vehicle that magically shows up at my house that takes me to the airport, I walk on a plane and land at BWI a few hours later, where there’s a rental ready to go. I need to go to the grocery store? Again a car shows up, charged or fueled, and runs me to the Safeway, with the interrior designed with grocery bags in mind. Want a night on the town without having to worry about checkpoints? The party bus shows up at my door (with stocked bar and snacks) and picks up me and my crew. Need to get the kid moved to her dorm room? A box truck or pickup arrives the day before.

    All for one monthly fee.

    Sounds great, and for some, who can afford the “Apple” experience, this scenario will be the case. Hell, for the super-rich this probably already is the case. But for more price-concious individuals it will be a constant argument with the rental company’s customer service line. Meanwhile there will be constant advertising from these rental companies who will massively overpromise, likely with no intention of ever living up to the standard presented in their commericals. And there’s the very likely problem of that fee constantly increasing so that the rental company can beat the earnings estimate, while your paycheck-to-paycheck income stagnates. Oh but then maybe the Federal Frickin’ Government can step up with a subsidy for low-income “folks,” because that’s what I want my government representitives spending their non-fundraising time debating. The international policy discussion can wait, as can the role of the FBI in domestic terrorism. That’s not important to voters see.

    • If by some extraordinary circumstance the transportation device you need actually shows up anywhere near the time you need it. The state decides your social credit score deems you less qualified, or not qualified at all, to receive such service, and sucks to be you.

    • I’m going in the opposite direction, adding to my DVD collection to bypass what the streaming services offer, which is most often B grade movies pretending to be of value. I prefer watching the same high quality movie over and over to wasting my attention on crap. I can count on one hand what I consider quality movies produced by the streaming services. On rare occasion one might find one of their productions of real value. Personally, I consider Netflix “Outlaw King” to be among such.

  20. ‘You will own nothing – and you will possess nothing. But you’ll pay for it, forever.’ — eric

    Bravo, Eric!

    Beats the hell out of Herbert Hoover’s “a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage” in his 1928 campaign.

    Only this time round, Eric’s reformulation will feature in the Democratic platform for 2024.

    Without the asterisk, stipulating that these rules don’t apply to the billionaire nomenklatura who will own everything and collect the perpetual rents therefrom.

    Impunity is the ultimate privilege in a national socialist regime.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here