As expensive as gas is getting, it’s the cost of government that’s making driving unaffordable. These costs dwarf what we spend on gas – even at $5 per gallon, as seems likely to be the going rate by the time I finish typing this sentence.
But most people don’t see these costs and so aren’t as furious about them. That’s just how the government likes it – in the manner of what is styled ”withholding,” government’s term for seizing your money before you even possess it, however briefly. The idea being to psychologically condition you to not missing what you never possessed. Thus, people have been conditioned to regard the amount they’re actually paid as what they earned – as opposed to thinking overmuch about how much of it was stolen.
It’s similar with regard to the costs government imposes on drivers.
First, there is the car itself – which government (via its endless reams of “regulations”) has made exorbitantly more expensive than it could be. The hidden miracle is that cars cost as “little” as they do, relative to what they should – because of all those government “regulations.” I place the term in air-fingers quote marks to emphasize the fact they aren’t really that, either. Regulation once meant something along the lines of good order, not chaotic. This is how the term was used – and meant – in the language of the Second Amendment, as a for-instance. It did not mean government should be decreeing what kinds of guns Americans could own; rather, it referred to the militia being in good order.
“Regulations” – as they pertain to cars – are a kind of binary alternate to market forces. Rather than cars being designed and built according to the needs and wants of those who buy them – as expressed by their buying preferences – government decrees what you’re allowed to buy as well as what you must buy and may not buy.
You may not, for instance, buy a new car without air bags, a back-up camera and several hundred pounds, at least, of added curb weight (the extra steel needed to “comply” with the “regulations” pertaining to crash-impact standards decreed by the government). The “safety” equipment – which you may not want (and not want to pay for) adds at least a few thousand dollars to what would otherwise be the price of the vehicle while the weight increases the cost of gas – by causing the car to use more of it.
Most people have no idea just how fuel-inefficient new cars are – relative to how efficient they could easily be. A current “economy” car such as a Honda Civic or Hyundai Accent is capable of going about 40 miles on a gallon of gasoline on the highway. This is about par with what the economy cars of the late 1970s and early 1980s were capable of – and most of them did not have efficiency advantages such as electronic fuel injection, cylinder deactivation, transmissions with multiple overdrives to reduce engine speed on the highway – and so on.
But they also didn’t have something else.
Those several hundred extra pounds of government-mandated weight. If modern “economy” cars could be built as light as the actually economical economy cars of 40 years ago – and with all the efficiency advantages of modern technology – they’d be averaging 50 (if not 60) miles per gallon.
Even so, the economy cars of today cost about as much as the economy cars of 40 years ago – adjusted for what is styled “inflation,” the blase term used to get people to think that the government/central banking system’s deliberate devaluation of the buying power of money is something like an act of God that is both mysterious and something that cannot be prevented. No joke. Look it up.
Or, allow me.
In 1980, you could buy a new Chevy Chevette for about $4,400 (see here). Today, that same car would cost you almost $16,000 – in devalued currency (better hurry, before it devalues some more). Today, $16k will buy you a modern equivalent of the ’80 Chevette such as the 2022 Hyundai Accent – which stickers for $16,645. Unlike the 1980 Chevette – which did not have AC or power windows or a stereo – the ’22 Accent has all those things. The amazing thing is that it costs about the same as the ’80 Chevette even though it has all those things.
How much less would it cost if it weren’t required to have all of those other things?
The car manufacturers have worked nothing less than a meerakuhl in terms of reducing costs in other areas (e.g., leveraged economies of scale, automated assembly processes) to make up for the government-added costs. They have used lower-cost materials (such as painted plastic bodywork rather than steel and especially chrome-plated steel) to offset the costs imposed by government.
This had made it possible to offer more car (like the ’22 Accent) for about the same money as 40 years ago. But it would be possible to offer it for thousands less, if the government were to allow it.
Imagine being able to buy that ’22 Accent for $12k or even $10k – and yes, the latter number is realistic; similar cars are available in – of all places – places like China. Just not here. If you paid $10k for a car rather than $16k, you’d have spent $6k less on the car – and even at $5 per gallon, that $6k buys a lot of gas.
You’d have even more than $6k to spend on gas – rather than government – if you weren’t forced to serially buy things like insurance you may not feel the need for, or those pretty little stickers government “sells” you each year (or every other) to affix to your license plates and windshield.
I’v written before about how much I’ve saved by not spending money on some of these things – and recommend you consider doing the same. Fair play, after all. The government makes cars more expensive than they ought to be and then compounds this by making them more expensive to drive than they need to be.
Perhaps the time is at hand to give ourselves a discount.
. . .
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