Department of What We’re Not Allowed Here

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To get some idea of what we’ve lost, it’s instructive to consider what we never got. 

For example, the ’96 Toyota Hilux Surf a friend of my old college buddy’s son bought recently. You have probably never heard of the Hilux – even though you have probably heard of the 4Runner.

They are both the same thing, except for one very important thing. 

The Hillux Surf is powered by a 3.0 liter diesel engine and is capable of better than 40-miles -per-gallon. This is about twice the mileage you’d get out of a 4Runner, which was only available – in the United States – with a gas engine. 

You might ask, why? – given the pretended governmental obsession with high fuel economy uber alles, the foundational justification for the federal government’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy regime. Well, because it is just that.


Or rather, it is the excuse.

CAFE – as it is known in acronym-speak – has been around since the ’70s, when the federal government first got into the weird business of dictating to the car industry how much fuel the vehicles built for sale could use – on the assumption that the people who bought vehicles could not direct the course of that via their dollars. 

How it is that the government – how is it that the regulatory apparat – acquired this power is itself an interesting question as well as a weird thing as there is nothing in the Constitution endowing the federal government with the power to decree how many miles-per-gallon the cars people buy must get. And which the companies that build cars are punished for not building, via fines that act as the “incentive” to not build them, in spite of people wanting to buy them. Viz, the soon-to-be-cancelled Dodge Charger/Challenger and Chrysler 300, all of which sell well but which use “too much” gas, for the government’s liking.

Never mind.

The Constitution has proved to be as much as restraint upon the exercise of power by the federal government as Face Diapers “stop the spread.”

It’s not as if there weren’t any fuel-efficient cars available before CAFE – before the federal government began to insist that all cars (and trucks and SUVs) be fuel-efficient. There were all kinds of cars – as well as trucks and SUVs – and people were free to choose the kind that best met their needs.

Imagine that.

Some of them were designed chiefly to be economical to operate, the best example of which may be the original VW Beetle. It was not conjured into existence by federal regulations – and the necessity of complying with them. Rather, it was built to meet the market demand for a simple, efficient and inexpensive car. It was one of the most popular – that is, one of the best-selling – cars ever made. 

It was not the only car of its type, either.

The problem, insofar as the government viewed (and still views) it was that there were other kinds of cars – and trucks and SUVs – that emphasized other virtues and people were free to choose them, if they met different needs. You could, for example, buy a large sedan with room for six and a big V8 engine. Maybe it only got 12 miles to the gallon, but no one was forced to buy such a car – and those that did paid for every gallon, freely and (usually) happily.

Else why buy such a car?

Especially when you could buy a different kind of car?

So, the point was never to rescue car buyers from the evil machinations of the insolent car industry, which was supposedly canoodling in bed with the oil industry. The ridiculous implication being that car buyers had no choice; that they were compelled to hand over their dollars for whatever the car companies forced them to buy.

Of course, what we have now is precisely that – in reverse. That is, we have the government forcing the car companies to build the kinds of cars most people do not want but which the government is doing its damndest to force them to buy, that most of them cannot afford to buy.

Electric cars, for instance.

All of them are expensive and inefficient, precisely because the incentive isn’t to make them efficient and inexpensive.

It is to make them “compliant.”

The government has also succeeded in keeping from these shores other kinds of cars – and trucks and SUVs – that lots of people would almost certainly want to buy – but which most of them aren’t even aware exist. Including sub-$10,000 electric cars available elsewhere. And also models that are extremely fuel-efficient, like the diesel-powered (and 40 miles-per-gallon) Hilux Surf just purchased by my friend’s son’s high school buddy.

Hopefully, he will not be Hut! Hut! Hutted! for having the effrontery to buy what could not legally be sold here, at least by Toyota.

He was able to buy it privately, from someone who managed to get it here while Sauron slept.

. . .

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  1. In reality, Toyota chose not to be a player in the US diesel market. And it has worked out very, very well for them. Gas engine 4Runners sold like hotcakes back then in the USA. Americans who demanded diesels were free to buy GM or Mopar trucks. (Did Ford also offer diesel trucks in the 80s and 90s? Can’t remember.)

    Australia is a different market in many ways. Toyota gave the Aussies what they needed, and maybe wanted too.

    Please don’t impose your own preferences and prejudice upon what automakers should be forced to build. Sounds exactly like the feds. Is that who you want to emulate?

    • Hi Mike,

      VW diesels were very popular here; now you cannot get them here. You can still get diesel-powered versions of numerous cars you cannot get here in Europe and other export markets. Diesels have been pushed off the market in the U.S. Just the same as air–cooled engines and (almost) manual transmissions. Soon, cars as such – unless they are electric.

  2. Eric, did you hear about “Toyota and Suzuki Teaming Up on a Lightweight Sports Car” (I saw the Car and Driver article today)? Supposedly, it will be sort of like an MR2, weigh about 2200 lbs, with a 3-cylinder engine, for less than $20,000. Of course the cynical side of me says that they’ll end up making it bloated, or too expensive, or not at all, or at least not available in the U.S. But still, I’m slightly hopeful.

    • Hi dood,

      No, I had not heard about that – but will look into it. Very intriguing! It sounds kind of like the Ariel Atom. I never had a chance to drive it, but always to!

  3. The whole lying-ass rigamarole chaps my ass: Acting like energy resources we have tons of are scarce, that we produce tons of “Global Killing Pollution”, which we don’t, and with “Fossil Fuels”, which Oil & Nat. Gas are NOT! AND people continue to buy into this bullshit more and more, out of Bureaucratic Government Manufactured Guilt! I’ve lived too long and seen better things to stomach this virtue-signalling stupidity!

  4. That Hilux is an Aussie ute. Decked out like that is common here. On the other hand, we cannot get any Hellcat engines into Australia because our petrol is not good enough for that engine.

  5. How come the people’s car is being driven out of existence and into extinction?

    Is that Imka from Munich or Stuttgart?

    Doubtful she is an existential threat.

  6. The psychopaths in charge think we need them to create order. They cannot possibly imagine a world without someone making the wise decisions for the masses.

    • Wisdom does not drive them, not even a delusion of it, enhancing their own lives and welfare does. That is the only thing that a socio/psychopath is concerned with.

  7. So-called “environmentalists” and the Biden Thing have been largely silent re that disaster in Ohio, but they’ll say that eating meat and driving a gas powered vehicle DESTROYS the planet. The EPA even says they’ll send bureaucrats to investigate the disaster when it’s “Saaaaaaaafe” to do so while at the same time telling the people there that it’s “Saaaaaaaaaafe” to return now.

  8. A little off topic, but after the CDC added the COVID jabs to the childhood AND adult vaccination schedules, some states have bills that would ban any efforts to MANDATE an experimental mRNA jab that not only doesn’t freaking work, it STILL has too many unknowns, and there’s no telling how many people who’ve taken them now suffer permanent injury or even DIED from the jab……

    • The “nice” thing about adding the covid jab to the childhood list of immunizations, is that now no can sue big pharma over them. Did the covid jab destroy your life? Sorry, you are SOL. And notice, they are back tracking…after years of trying to force innoculate everyone? They turn around and say, “you didn’t HAVE to take it”. Meanwhile, those who did eagerly line up, and who are now having health problems are now blaming us unvaxxed for not warning them! Good grief someone stop this insane merri-go-round, I want off already!!

      • Hi Shadow,

        I saw that piece a few weeks ago where someone tried to blame the “unvaxxed” for “not warning the vaxxed”. I think gaslighting is all these people have left, as THEY ended up being 100% WRONG with what they advocated, and there have been people trying to warn the masses what would happen if governments pursued such draconian measures as lockdowns, mass vaccination, vaxx mandates, etc. Such people were smeared as “Superspreaders of mis/disinformation” or even CANCELLED on social media.

        Now even Tony Fauci is singing a different tune on the COVID “vaccines” now that he’s no longer a public health bureaucrat. Prior to stepping down as head of NIAID at the end of 2022, he was all for vaxx mandates, vaxx passports, etc.

  9. “The Constitution has proved to be as much as restraint upon the exercise of power by the federal government as Face Diapers “stop the spread.”

    “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.” Lysander Spooner

  10. ‘like the diesel-powered (and 40 miles-per-gallon) Hilux Surf’ — eric

    Too bad the steering wheel is on the right.

    It’s inconvenient on two-lane US roads, being unable to see past the vehicle in front of you.

    Also, it feels awkward having to shift with the non-dominant left hand. I’ve driven right-hand steering wheel cars in several countries — UK, Malaysia, South Africa — but it just never felt natural. And probably would inhibit me from importing some of the interesting vehicles that exist in Japan.

    • I drive a Super 7 clone, right hand drive, it took a took a few minutes to get used to it, shifting with my left hand was a bit different, (5 speed), the right hand is far better trained for shifting, the worst problem is the turn signals are on the right side, I didn’t like it so I switched it to the left side.

      With the roof off visibility is great… open 360 degrees…, except it is so low (you can reach out and pick up dimes off the road), all other vehicles block it anyways. With the roof on visibility is not great, I only drive it in the sun…..

      driving these right hand drive cars is not a problem, parked against a curb….just step out onto the curb….entering the car….you have to remember where the driver’s seat is….

      When driving a Super 7 you have to watch for huge EV’s…they might run you over…people don’t shoulder check and are texting….it can survive though it is very agile, will change direction quicker then anything… instant throttle response..(no weight….1200 lb)….the thing 7 owners like about their 7’s…..

  11. A 1996 model turned 25 years old in 2021 which made them legal to import.
    Anything older than 25 is considered a collectable antique car for import purposes under the law mercedes benz had created to stop people from importing new cars they sold in other markets, namely their home market.

    • Yep! First overseas assignment in Europe son in law got a cherry 85 Defender 110, other than diapering up the leaks a bit to clear it for shipping home, no issues with getting it back here and titled/licensed. Next gig there, snagged a German Army diesel G Wagon soft top & it’s here now too! Even kept the antenna & mount, no gun mount though. 🙁

    • Why, were their home market cars better? Did they not want Americans to know they were decontenting their cars for the US market?

  12. The most recent proof that the government doesn’t give a shit about the safety of the citizenry is the East Palestine environmental debacle.

    My understanding is that the government blew the damn train up purposefully after it derailed. I wonder if they thought it was ok because that’s the “conservative” area of Pennsylvania You know, the area that (now dead) Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. John Murtha referred to about 15 years ago as “real redneck.”

  13. They want control of every move you make, and every dollar you spend. And I’m not talking about China, but I might as well be. I fail to see significant difference, except China’s economy is moving forward.

    • Total control…15 minute cities are coming….being put in place in some G7 countries now….

      The Prisoner

      Indeed, there are chilling parallels between the authoritarian prison that is life in the 15 minute city and The Prisoner, a dystopian television series that first broadcast in Great Britain more than 50 years ago.

      The series centers around a British secret agent (played by Patrick McGoohan) who finds himself imprisoned, monitored by militarized drones, and interrogated in a mysterious, self-contained, cosmopolitan, seemingly idyllic retirement community known only as The Village. While luxurious and resort-like, the Village is a virtual prison disguised as a seaside paradise: its inhabitants have no true freedom, they cannot leave the Village, they are under constant surveillance, their movements are tracked by surveillance drones, and they are stripped of their individuality and identified only by numbers.

      Much like the 15 minute city, The Prisoner’s Village gives the illusion of freedom while functioning all the while like a prison: controlled, watchful, inflexible, punitive, deadly and inescapable.

      Described as “an allegory of the individual, aiming to find peace and freedom in a dystopia masquerading as a utopia,” The Prisoner is a chilling lesson about how difficult it is to gain one’s freedom in a society in which prison walls are disguised within the trappings of technological and scientific progress, national security and so-called democracy.

      Perhaps the best visual debate ever on individuality and freedom, The Prisoner confronted societal themes that are still relevant today: the rise of a police state, the freedom of the individual, round-the-clock surveillance, the corruption of government, totalitarianism, weaponization, group think, mass marketing, and the tendency of mankind to meekly accept his lot in life as a prisoner in a prison of his own making.

      The Prisoner is an operations manual for how you condition a populace to life as prisoners in a police state: by brainwashing them into believing they are free so that they will march in lockstep with the state and be incapable of recognizing the prison walls that surround them.

      The prisoner drove a Super 7 car because it is an anti establishment car.

      check out the Super 7 and life in the 15 minute city

      Your last car should be a Super 7 as an act of defiance……..

  14. Well, WTF? I want one…

    I DID, however, just purchase an old, mid-’80s backhoe, in decent shape at that! It’s powered by a good ol’ mechanical diesel engine, and I know that, even if they cut off the hydrocarbons to the populace, I can power it with vegetable oil if necessary.

    Also, it feels great to know I can shape the land to my will. It’s about time.

  15. I’ve started thinking about getting a new vehicle (Mazda CX-5, since it is still made in Japan and they apparently still take pride in constructing an excellent product), but am very unhappy to find out that almost all now have the awful start/stop crap and engine destroying cylinder deactivation, plus a bunch of other annoying safety crap. May have to just keep 2014 Mazda3 forever, even as it gets harder to get in and out of it.

    • Order the car from a Handler in Japan and have it sent to Mexico. License it there, get insurance which covers MEX + USA and drive it to the States. Next, Duel Register it in your State with the excuse: It’s my car I keep in Mexico but I want to pay my Road Taxes if/when its in the States.

  16. ‘We have the government forcing the car companies to build the kinds of cars most people do not want.’ — eric

    For sure, the US fedgov is bad. But Commiefornia (surprise!) takes the cake, with its diktat that EeeVees shall constitute 35% of new car sales in 2026, and step briskly higher in each succeeding year until nirvana is attained in 2035 at 100%:


    Oh, wait! Last week, fanboi Wolf Richter was delirious that EeeVees reached 17% of California new car sales in 2022. Are they really going to spike to 35% by 2026, then 43% in 2027?

    I reckon not. A big miss is even more likely if a recession occurs in 2024, as an inverted Treasury yield curve currently foreshadows. Recessions hit sales of costly vehicles harder than cheap ones.

    Our job is to jeer and hurl missiles at the Commiefornians, when their command economy predictably fails to deliver the mandated percentage of EeeVee sales, just as the Soviet grain harvests never made it up to snuff.

    And then what? Make them drive donkey carts like the frickin’ Cubans?

    Socialism makes you poor, hungry and barefoot.

    • Not hard to meet those EV targets, if you just account for the overall reduction in car sales. It won’t be that EVs suddenly become popular, it will be that so few cars will be sold by those dates that if EV sales remain static, or even decline, they will reach those percentage of sales targets.

  17. There’s a group of climate change zealots running a propaganda ad for Oregon’s new anti-gas vehicle decree, claiming that all new cars sold in the state after 2035 will be “100% CLEAN”. Uh, what’s the word for such a claim? MIS/DISINFORMATION, as EVs are by NO MEANS “100% CLEAN”, but such an inconvenient truth goes against the narrative/ agenda.

  18. I’ve always wanted one of those Toyota pickups that the ragheads use to drive through the desert. If it comes with a .50 cal machine gun attached even better 😆.

    • I’ve got one. A 97 Tacoma. Interestingly enough, footage of jihadis driving them around and wreaking havoc influenced my purchase of it 15+ years ago. If it can survive having near zero maintenance, in an unhospitable environment, it should do well with regular maintenance in a less inhospitable environment. Which it has. In spades.


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