Accelerated Obsolescence

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You have probably heard the term, planned obsolescence. You may not know that it did not mean building cars cheaply, in order to assure they fell apart quickly – so as to make it necessary to buy a new one, repeatedly.

That is the common, generally understood meaning.

But it isn’t what was actually planned.

Rather, the plan was to make people want to buy a new car – by regularly changing how the new cars looked, relative to prior model year cars. The idea being to leverage the desire many people have to have the latest thing and to keep up with the Joneses. If your next door neighbor – Jones – just parked a brand-new ’57 Chevy in his driveway, maybe you felt your ’55 was looking a little old and fogey. So you drove it to the dealer and bought yourself a brand-new ’57.

That was the idea.

The fact was that your ’55 was probably still a perfectly sound car in ’57 – and if you didn’t care about having the latest thing – such as bigger fins – and keeping up with the Joneses, you could keep on driving it for many years to come.

Today, there’s a new take on the idea.

Call it accelerated obsolescence.

It is a response – conscious or not – to the problem of vehicles lasting much too long, as they have been since the late ’90s, by which time the typical vehicle was so well-built that it would run reliably for 150,000 or more miles and at least ten years. It was – it is – common for vehicles built around that time to still be running reliably enough today to  continue driving them regularly, even after they have accrued more than 250,000 miles and are old enough to legally buy beer.

This longevity made it much less necessary to buy a new vehicle more than once every dozen or so years. You might want to, of course. But that is not the same thing. A large and growing cohort of people did not want to – in part because of the unprecedented increase in the cost of new vehicles since circa the mid-2010s, especially new trucks and SUVs, which are the kinds of vehicles many people want but can no longer afford to buy new. So they hold onto their old ones.

Because they can.

Also, the older ones do not come with features – including “advanced driver assistance technologies” – many people do not want but which everyone who buys a new vehicle has to buy because the vehicle manufacturers have made them standard rather than optional.

These features are more than just annoying to many people. They are also based on throw-away electronica that, when it fails, will make the car difficult if not impossible to continue driving without fixing. That is to say, without replacing the electronica – which may no longer be available when the fix is needed.

Most new vehicles, for instance, have smartphone-style tap/swipe LCD screens that serve as control interfaces for the vehicle’s air conditioning and heating system as well as the audio system and so on. More and more new vehicles have the same type of LCD displays in front of the driver, rather than the formerly typical set of analog (non-digital) gauges.

Like the smartphones they emulate, these systems are not built to last. Nor are they built to be repaired. One throws away a four or five year smartphone and buys a new one. It will be no different for the smartphones we’re driving now.

And it’s more than just the peripherals.

The mechanicals aren’t made for the long-term, either. You may have noticed that V8 and six cylinder engines have largely been replaced in new vehicles that typically used to come standard with them by four cylinder (and even three cylinder) engines that used to be used almost exclusively in very small, very light vehicles such as subcompact and compact-sized economy vehicles. They are now standard in mid-sized family vehicles and even some full-sized trucks (e.g., the Chevy Silverado 1500, which comes standard with a 2.7 liter four cylinder engine).

These little engines are heavily boosted – i.e., turbocharged – to make up for their small size. They are powerful but under a lot of pressure (literally) and for that reason are not likely to last long enough to be able to legally buy beer. These engines keep getting smaller – and are under more and more pressure, too. A good example here is the 1.2 liter three cylinder engine that’s the only available engine in the 2024 Buick Envista, which is a nearly 4,000 pound crossover SUV. An engine that small is sized right for an 800 pound motorcycle – in which application it would not be be necessary to pressurize it to the tune of nearly 20 psi of boost in order to get things moving.

This new crop of heavily boosted, undersized-for-the-application engines are not likely to still be running reliably 150,000 miles and a dozen years from now – and the same is probably true of the eight, nine and ten speed transmissions paired with them. When they fail – and need to be replaced – the cost is likely to not be worth the expense.

Related expenses include repair costs for otherwise fixable body damage in the wake of a relatively minor accident because of the cost of replacing all of the cheap plastic and almost-aluminum-foil-thin skin (sometimes, actually made of aluminum) that wraps the exteriors of new vehicles. Plus the cost of  gutting and replacing most of the interior and the air bags that destroyed most of the interior when they exploded.

All of this is accelerated by frequent full-redesigns of a given model after as little as four years – after which it gets harder and harder to the point of impossibility, eventually, to find necessary mechanical and electrical parts to keep the older model running. Just the same as it is hard-to-the-point-of-impossible to keep a smartphone for more than about four years before it either fails (and isn’t worth fixing or can’t be fixed) or is rendered obsolete and no longer functionally viable, via the latest “updates.”

That’s how you accelerate obsolescence – and solve the problem of things lasting too long and people not having to buy as often.

. . .

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55 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry I’m late to the “party” I’m quite behind on articles. Referring to this one……When I see OEM’s spec-ing 0-W20 oil my first thought is planned failure of the engine waaaayyy before 10 years old I mean geez that’s water viscosity! lol

    • My Thought has a self-coded firewall preventing attacks of the “accelerated obsolescence” propaganda (aka car advertising campaigns)!

      For that I’m tagged as a “very BAD modern moron slave”.

  2. The logic when I bought my “new” 2001 GMC pickup was driven by what you pointed out. Old enough to buy a beer, currently 181k on the ticker. Well-made. They made so many that I’ll be able to buy parts (although possibly of questionable quality) until I die. V-8 engine and a reasonably stout transmission. No nanny crap. Now that 3G is gone the OnStar doesn’t work, either.

    I make derisive noises in the direction of those who are buying new pickups.

    • I agree, though I did buy a new one this year. The 2023 Crostrek, just to get last manual tranny. My other vehicles are older. The best car I ever had was a 2003 Buick Le Sabre I put 360K on that beast before it rusted out. Tough to keep em going when you live in a frozen well salted environment.

      • RE: “The best car I ever had was a 2003 Buick Le Sabre”

        Good to know. The ’90’s weren’t shabby, either. I had two I put through the ringer and they came out shinning.
        From time to time I see a well preserved one here in The Northland.

        If I can’t get a pickup, a Buick might be a great backup.

  3. I thought of a good analogy for the debt money scam. Imagine a hamster wheel, and the hamster is John Q. Public. To be fed, the hamster has to spin the wheel.

    But as debts accumulate, the hamster must run faster. As prices go up, the hamster has to get two jobs and overtime. The hamster has to run faster and faster just to get fed. Industry also, has to sell more cars to service debt. So the finance money men, come up with planned obsolescence to keep the hamster wheel going – that is like oiling the hamster wheel bearings.

    But there is an end to the hamster wheel of doom story.

    Currently, the hamsters have to run full speed just to stay even, and the bearings are smoking, the hamsters have to pay exponentially inflated prices for cars they do not want. Industry is forced to convert their production lines to EVs that they do not want to produce.

    What is happening is the fiat money debt scam is reaching a limit.

    Then the system reaches a point where no matter what they do to stimulate, the hamster wheels can not keep up with the cost to service debt. Then the system implodes.

    And here is the graph of the implosion:

    https://i.ibb.co/89HZmmg/Fed-loss-chart-100-billion.gif

    Quite literally, the hamster wheel has come loose and is off it’s track.

    • Come Sep 30th, in two weeks the USGov faces another shutdown – and budget standoff.

      The last standoff cost those fools a drop in their credit rating.

      USA Today – “A group of ultra-right lawmakers from the House Freedom Caucus has drawn hard lines even before the House comes back into session, openly threatening to leverage a shutdown if a continuing resolution does not include deep spending cuts or other demands, such as more security on the southern border. ”

      Matt Gaetz is threatening Speaker Keven McCarthy with removal, wants a balanced budget.

      The Lunatic in Chief impeachment coincides with the budget crisis, and there is no telling if sniffer Joe will go nuclear.

      And, NO PIVOT. Wall Street keeps expecting the Fed to pivot (lower rates or at least stop increasing the Fed Funds Rate).

      What we are witnessing is the slide into banana republik style politics – and it is only a matter of time, if social security payments get threatened, for the shrill call to end funding for the Ukraine genocide.

      The shit is about to hit the fan come Oct.1

      • …I dunno, they do this very same sheet every year, for how many years now?

        This is just negotiations & bluster.

        …When the Crack-Up-Boom happens, there won’t be any advance notice or negotiations. I think, anyway.
        …WHO knows?

      • Hartnett says….

        “the cash goes to bonds in hard landing, stocks & credit in soft landing, or stays in cash & goes to commodities in no landing.”

  4. A Soviet innovation reaches America:

    ‘Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson appears to be moving toward a pilot program with great significance for his socialist supporters: state-run grocery stores.

    ‘Rising taxes and crime have led many businesses to leave, including grocery chains [such as] Walmart, Walgreens, and Aldi.

    ‘The Chicago Tribune reported the start of the feasibility study to open government-run stores as part of Johnson’s pledge to advance “innovative, whole-of-government approaches to address … inequities.”

    ‘His Economic Security Project senior adviser Ameya Pawar said that government-run stores are no different from other government programs, “the way a library or the postal service operates.” It is all part of “reimagining the role government can play in our lives.”’

    https://jonathanturley.org/2023/09/15/chicago-mayor-johnson-moves-toward-city-run-grocery-stores/

    Already, you can imagine the sign in Govmart’s fruits and veggies department:

    ‘Yes, we have no bananas.’

    Too many bonobos, too few bananas … 🙁

    • When Wal-Mart wanted to come to Chicago about 15-18 years ago, city hall fought them tooth and nail. The rich liberals in the city council created as many roadblocks as they could. The thing was, the poor and middle class neighborhoods actually wanted Wal-Mart to come in so those aldermen had to support it. Most poor neighborhoods have little or no retail anymore.

      But in the mean time as the city created red tape, Wal-Mart opened many stores in suburbs bordering the city. The stores would be directly across the street from Chicago! A good example is the second Wal-Mart in Hammond, Indiana. It faces the city, turning its back to Hammond. I have heard that store is one of their most profitable locations. In the out lot of that Wal-mart is a 48 pump gas station (Indiana has lower gas taxes as well) so city residents gas their cars there too. Hammond BTW is served by another (much nicer IMHO and newer) Wal-Mart in a more central location.

      Finally the city relented and “allowed” a number of locations to be built. But they, surprise, surprise, didn’t make money! In many cases lost a lot of money. Wal-Mart stuck it out for a number of years, but combined with high taxes, covid, shoplifting and the like, have now closed most of those hard fought locations. Most city residents it seems continued to drive to suburban supermarkets and big box stores. Suburban stores are less expensive due to no city taxes etc…… Most poor people in Chicago still manage to have cars.

      • Hyde Park has the University of Chicago, so its never been a “food desert”. One of the stores in the article (posted 2017) has gone out of business since then, the Treasure Island. The thing is, it doesn’t matter that much if your hood has no options if you own a car, but that is never pointed out. Most people in Chicago still have cars.

        • IF – “if you own a car,”.

          I guess, if you don’t, you’re S.O.L.?

          While I’m entirely against goobermint grocery stores,… Wally World ain’t much better,… in that it drives local mom & pop type stores outta business.
          …Does WallyWorld do so without goobermint tax breaks & incentives?

          Without a true free market, we just won’t know what works best for people.

          …Joe Chicago, who owns a few pear trees,…does he needs a permit/extra insurance, etc…and xyz to sell his pears.
          I imagine if he added some value to his product & it needs refrigerated, forghetabboutit.

          Nevermind, Jane Chicago who owns a few chickens or turkeys,… there’s no way in heck our overlords are gonna let her sell her wares without paying up so much$ that the profit goes poof.

          … endless.

  5. There is so much more in play here than any kind of intentional accelerated obsolescence.

    First, consider that for the last two generations, we have been getting poorer relative to our predecessors. The dollar has lost a lot of purchasing power due to the brilliant monetary policy instituted in 1971 (temporarily, ha!). We have not felt the full brunt of this inflation in terms of price, because manufacturing has changed; producing cheaper, lower quality products abroad. We’ve felt inflation here through the loss of quality.

    One of the ways to lower costs is to standardize components. This is a bit indirect, but it’s one of the factors behind all kinds of products being similar to each other. The internal components for pretty much anything are from a the same suppliers, which is why everything seems to have similar behaviors and lifetimes, cars too.

    So, we’re getting poorer, the quality of components for everything is decreasing, all the while technology marches forward, makes some things better. Car companies slowly improve their products to stand out relative to the competition, so features increase over time and drive up costs. We’re now at the point where feature creep has made cars more expensive, despite the lowering of quality.

    IMO, we’re not intentionally accelerating obsolescence, we’re just living in a world where the quality of everything is decreasing as manufacturers strive to drive costs down at all costs in a worldwide inflationary regime.

    • ‘The dollar has lost a lot of purchasing power due to the brilliant monetary policy instituted in 1971.’ — OppositeLock

      When OPEC belatedly realized this two years later, the price of crude oil tripled in 1973, then quadrupled again in 1979:

      https://macromon.files.wordpress.com/2022/03/real-crude-2.jpg?w=988

      Oil production technology has marched forward as well, with hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling. Yet the real price of crude oil remains about quintuple its 1973 level.

      This explains everything: the stubbornly static living standards of the last fifty years; the steadily degrading quality of goods (as you noted) to offset the immovable millstone of direly dear input and transport costs.

      NetZero bids to change the meaning of post-industrial from a macroeconomic metaphor to a literal reality: goods made by hand, in a world lit by fire.

      Tread the road cross the abyss
      Take a look down at the madness
      On the streets of the city
      Only spectres still have pity

      Patient queues for the gallows
      Sing the praises of the hallowed
      Our machines feed the furnace
      If they take us, they will burn us

      — Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Knife-Edge

  6. I have been pondering what it would take to simplify the controls of a modern car. It may not be worth it, though.

    For some of the cars built in teh 1990s through mid 2000’s, you might be able to rig up a control system with commercial off the shelf PLC’s in case the electronics become unavailable.

    • Hey Swamprat,

      I think with today’s microcontrollers, replacement of any car computer and its control interfaces is possible. I find it pretty exciting, though I may never get the time to play in such arenas.

      Also, one could simply go old school and replace the computers and touch-screen interfaces with toggle switches, dials and some hand soldered circuits behind the dash.

      Sounds like lots of fun. *sigh*

      • FPGAs are the key. Not only can you emulate ARM and RISC-V cores, you can recreate obsolete processors. Harder but not impossible is recreating hardware components like coil packs and fuel pumps, but as 3D printing tech continues to improve it should be possible. Issues now are with the tradeoffs of PLA and materials that can be used in the printer holding up under a high pressure and temperature environment.

        As part of an academic project I’m going to be looking at the pros and cons
        of re-producing microprocessors in current FPGA technologies that are no
        longer available on the open market. This is to address the problem that
        occurs in some specialised areas where the lifetime of a product is very
        long and the cost of rewriting the software is prohibitively high (e.g. it
        was written in a language and/or tools that aren’t supported anymore). The
        idea is to be able to use an FPGA implementation an either a drop-in
        replacement component onto a legacy board or to produce a new board but of
        identical functionality. Either way, no changes to the application object
        code stored in ROM is required.

        https://comp.arch.fpga.narkive.com/SgNOS5nF/obsolete-processors-resurected-in-fpgas

    • I’ve had the same thought. Need an electrical savant to gin up replacement controls. There are aftermarket TBI systems so shouldn’t be much of a stretch to sort out HVAC controllers as well. My 1991 Silverado has an electronic HVAC controller which luckily still functions. I’d gladly give up that touch screen in the Jeep for a panel with knobs and switches.

  7. Planned Obsolescence is an obsenity if there ever was one, and a giant scam in the Federal Reserve Ponzi system. No one knows the real skinny – when everyone is up to their eyeballs in debt, the capitalist system must have more and more sales just so those in debt can stay liquid.

    So what that means is manufacturers want to sell you flimsy crap so it falls apart so you are forced to buy new again – and this is especially true in the car business.

    If we had a sound money system, and money kept it’s value, then you could buy 1 car that lasts your entire life.

    But we do not have a gold backed money system, we have fiat money debt system – where the government scams us by running huge deficits that are inflated away – making for continous inflation and industry in debt – thus planned obsolescence.

    This chart is trending on Twitter:
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RESPPLLOPNWW

    The day of reckoning has reached the Federal Reserve, the buyer of last resort of US Treasuries.

    As interest rates go up, previously sold bond values go down. The Fed is eating commercial bank bond losses.

    The Fed is also privately own, it has stock issuence, some rich f-cks are losing their ass as interest rates skyrocket.

    Just remember – the days of “pivot” are over. Inflation and interest rates are going to the moon – thus no pivot like everyone on Wall Street believes.

    • As the world speeds down the Albert C. Pike freeway to hell, everyone must run on the treadmill faster and faster for the exponential debt bomb to stay afloat. People have million dollar mortgages just to sleep in a bed.

      The world is over 250 trillion in debt. And the debt is going straight up hyperbolic curve.

      So to save the debt system the governments must stimulate with new infrastructure investments – like converting the economy to electric cars. Politicians are literally whores of debt based Ponzi bankster scam.

      Electric cars are also part of planned obsolescence:

      https://freedomfirstnetwork.com/2023/09/the-electric-vehicle-house-of-cards-is-collapsing-honeymoon-is-over-dont-expect-the-marriage-itself-to-last-much-longer-either

      “(Natural News)—We were told they would be one of the key facets of a “clean, green” future, but electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly losing their luster – and here is why.

      You see, the EV scam was hastily hatched by far-leftists who are so detached from reality that they actually believe it is possible to just stop using earth-based fossil fuels on some arbitrary timeline with nothing viable to replace them.

      Not only that, but “green” enthusiasts seem to lack the cognition necessary to see that there is no workable infrastructure in place to even accommodate the use of EVs as a total replacement for cars with internal combustion engines.

      “The mass conversion from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs) to electric vehicles was never more than a Democrat / environmentalist hallucination anyway,” says Dr. Ron Ross, PhD.

      “It was the most ill-conceived government policy objective in modern history. The transition should have been a nonstarter. It’s riddled with numerous deal killers. It’s like having a dozen fatal diseases all at the same time.”

      When the EV house of cards finally falls, TRILLIONS of dollars will have been lost”

      —————–

      I agree with that article, EV’s are a gigantic malinvestment of Biblical proportions. The market is not choosing EVs, they are being shoved down our throats and it will be a huge Lefty fail.

      Normally, a new trend has to be 3x more efficient of the one it replaces for the market to accept it. EVs are less efficient, thus they will never dominate.

    • I wouldn’t say the Fed is eating commercial bank gov’t bond losses. Rather, they are engaging in some ledgermain to avoid the potential for losses, should a bank need to sell to pay depositors a la SVB. Here is language from the Fed’s 3/12/23 press release:

      The Federal Reserve is prepared to address any liquidity pressures that may arise.

      The additional funding will be made available through the creation of a new Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP), offering loans of up to one year in length to banks, savings associations, credit unions, and other eligible depository institutions pledging U.S. Treasuries, agency debt and mortgage-backed securities, and other qualifying assets as collateral. These assets will be valued at par. The BTFP will be an additional source of liquidity against high-quality securities, eliminating an institution’s need to quickly sell those securities in times of stress.

      With approval of the Treasury Secretary, the Department of the Treasury will make available up to $25 billion from the Exchange Stabilization Fund as a backstop for the BTFP. The Federal Reserve does not anticipate that it will be necessary to draw on these backstop funds.

      —-

      Just more “full faith and credit” smoke and mirrors. Take bonds from banks that you couldn’t sell anywhere near par and mark them par (full value). Give banks that amount as needed pay depositors. They don’t even think it will be necessary to use this “facility.”

      I wonder if the whole SVB and Bankman Fried shop scenarios were targeted bank run actions to do exactly this in the face of steeply rising interest rates.

  8. Accelerated obsolescence is immediate in every new car out there, buyers are not going to fall for the new shtick anymore.

    Drove through 36 miles of dense fog this morning, you can go 55 mph, be very careful. Fog lights are a big help.

    In Uzbekistan, vehicles are fueled with natural gas. Lots of natural gas in the Baku region where there is Baku white, best oil in the world. Louisiana sweet is at par, though.

    Gas at four dollars per gallon is twice as good compared to two dollar per gallon gas.

    Just makes sense.

    Less than 500 feet of visibility makes you straighten up and drive right.

  9. Soda used to be sold in 8 and 12 oz glass bottles. You emptied them out, maybe gave them a rinse, then took ’em back to the grocery store to get your deposit back. They’d be taken back to the bottler, properly washed (hence the term “bottle washer”) and refilled. Effective way to reduce use but labor intensive.

    Sometime around the early ’80s glass bottle manufacturers began marketing single-use glass bottles to the soda industry, duplicating their success in competing with canned beer since the 1930s. The bottlers were happy to see the reusable bottle go, as were customers who could now get the convenience of cans in a glass container, in a 16 oz container that had a shape that fit into coolers.

    https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/NRBeers.pdf

    After a time (late 1980s?) there was a push for higher margins in the soda bottling industry, so the glass was replaced with plastic. Plastic had lots of advantages for the bottler: It was much lighter, cheaper, and the bottles were sent to the plant in a form that resembles a test tube, then finished by heating and inflating on the filler line, so warehousing took up much less space.

    But the plastic didn’t recycle well, if at all. So it got tossed out. Everywhere. And because it is light, the plastic blew everywhere too. Sure, you toss that empty Coke bottle into the bed and drive off, and it blows out on the way home. Oh well.

    Cars follow a similar arc. When cars were “planned” to be replaced, they were largely iron, steel, wool, cotton and leather. Then the leather was replaced with vinyl, the cotton replaced with nylon, but still the bulk of the vehicle was recycleable, thanks to the electric furnaces that used recycled steel. Then more of the interrior became plastic. And finally designers figured out that injection molding plastic parts was easy and cheap, so that’s what we got.

    Cars lost their repairablity, and most of the their recyclability. But it was good for selling cars (and car loans). People came up with ways to repair plastic parts but they never looked quite right. So if you couldn’t find a replacement panel, it was either live with tape jobs or buy a new vehicle. And now major sections of cars are plastic, and not recycleable. Yet the manufacturers and dealers continue to expect everyone to buy a new car every few years, and toss the old one.

    But one of the reasons why plastics are so cheap is because of oil and gas. If fossil fuels go away and the only use for them is to make plastic, the cost of plastic will skyrocket because the feedstock materials will become scarce. Just one more reason why cars will become scarce for most, and transportation-as-a-service will gain traction. If they can just get that pesky self-drving car thing figured out…

    • ‘If fossil fuels go away and the only use for them is to make plastic, the cost of plastic will skyrocket because the feedstock materials will become scarce.’ — ReadyKilowatt

      This the immortal advice given to young Ben Braddock by Mr McGuire in The Graduate (1967): “Plastics. There’s a great future in plastics.”

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

      You realize, Mr Kilowatt, that nasty, polluting oil wells cannot be kept pumping in a NetZero society, even to make the plastics we all love.

      It falls to some Einstein among us to invent green plastics, made from some unimpeachably non-hydrocarbon feedstock such as crapalloy, tungsten cowhide, or flubber.

      Call me when you get famous. 🙂

      • If fossil fuels go away, you will learn to farm and raise fuels from plants and/or train workhorses. You’ll be using plant fuels to run the combines, tractors, and diesel pickups.

        If there are no hydrocarbons for farm machinery, you will learn to farm.

        Canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, all can be formulated to be fuels to have a Rudolf Diesel diesel engine to run smoothly and efficiently.

        More than one way to skin a cat.

        Canola, corn, soybeans are now the major crops, they are in demand in the food industry. Those oils from carbohydrates do work too, peanut oil is the first choice Rudolf used to power his diesel engine. Give credit where credit is due.

        An internal combustion engine is the bomb, Gene made a machine, Joe made it go.

        Elon Mush for Brains should do some homework there.

        You can remove fossil fuels from the economic supply chain, just stop all deliveries, it will be a death sentence.

        Instant black market and there will be blood.

        Green Farmer on YouTube gets you there to see what is done.

        • And chew up even more land, use more water and starve people. And still not get as much useful work out of a gallon of the stuff.

          Or pump oil and gas out of the ground for almost free, use the land to feed people and enjoy life.

      • Corn starch is made into compostable plastic bags.

        If you want corn starch, hydrocarbons to the rescue. If you want 225 bushel per acre corn from Illinois, fertilizers, diesel fuel, herbicides, pesticides, most of all, electricity, will be the answer.

        The stupid fucks who think they are smarter than all of the rest of the stupid fucks have a lot to learn.

        If they can stick around, they might learn a thing or two about a thing or two.

        100 million barrels of oil and 20 million tons of coal each day is what makes the world go ’round.

        Nothing will change that except for some kind of die-off.

        Maybe a safe and effective vaccine can do the job, not necessarily safe. Kind of a neat way to do it all. Ain’t that sumthun?

        Who knows?

        Who knew?

        Plastic bags discarded in Nunavut will eventually degrade and become natural in existence.

        Discarded plastic in the open oceans are teeming with marine life beneath the floating morass of human refuse.

        More cowbells!

  10. I drive cars / trucks until the last trip they make is to the junkyard. Based on my experience with new junk & Eric’s analysis, those trips will become more frequent.

  11. Planned obsolescence is one thing then you have legislated obsolescence.

    During the Obama administration there were edicts issued on incandescent bulb they were to be designed by law to fail after 2000 hours of use to help nudge people into CFL and LED bulbs. Which nobody asked and few people wanted at that time. Even now the ROI on LEDs in residences is a hard sell. Lighting is about 10% energy usage in the average house.
    Then you look at diesel engines regulated to the point of absurdly complicated emissions systems that are problematic and expensive to fix. Then every single thaaaafeteeey feature and environ-mental excuse for making things suck more.

    I think the bill is coming due for some campaign donations and the podium puppets have got to push the right buttons and make some mouth noises,because somebody needs to up lithium and nickle production/sales and get those utility bills back up. Or, whatever (current thing) is disseminated over the airwaves.

    I may be Cuban-izing my vehicles and just sticking with older repairable models as long as possible. This crap has to hit wall at some point.

  12. Always hated the term planned obsolescence. It was a factor of making cheaper products so more could be sold.

    If something was made to break, someone else will just offer a better product (Maytag repair man)

    I will give credit to the engineers who keep finding ways to make things work under increasingly stupid government regs. The lessening of longevity is a result of government.

    Once upon a time, it was recognized that government was a necessary evil by which man protected his rights. Now it is the vehicle by which the elite control man.

  13. ‘That’s how you accelerate obsolescence – and solve the problem of things lasting too long.’ — eric

    Not enough,’ hisses the New York Slimes — literally:

    ‘Under Mr. Biden, the EPA has proposed the phaseout of gasoline-powered cars and coal-fired power plants.

    And yet, it’s not enough.

    ‘That makes businesses like steel and cement manufacturing — among the most difficult to clean up — the obvious target for the next round of climate regulation.

    ‘The Biden campaign messaging steers away from regulations and highlights the impacts of extreme weather and climate denial.

    ‘At a Sept. 10 news conference Biden said, “The only existential threat humanity faces even more frightening than nuclear war is global warming going above 1.5 degrees.”‘

    https://archive.ph/iAnz5#selection-1047.35-1051.157

    To summarize, in a second term, ‘Biden’ plans to reverse the entire industrial revolution since 1780, shutting down steel and concrete production and forcing us to live in mud huts.

    ‘Biden’ rants about ‘climate denial’ as an existential threat, even as his Ukrainian proxy goads Russia with rocket strikes to launch World War III.

    Speaking of which, like a bad penny, Volodymyr the poison dwarf will turn up again next week in DeeCee to pick our pockets of 24 billion dollars.

    Seriously, who is nuts here — us, or the cabal trying to drive us back into the Stone Age by shutting down industry, or simply blowing it up with mushroom clouds? I ask you.

    • Hi Jim,

      Get a load of this…..Apple put out an ad recently suggesting that ALL carbon be eliminated to “Stop climate change”. The problem is, if we were to take that to its ultimate conclusion, “Stopping climate change” would require eliminating ALL carbon based life forms on earth, which includes humans, animals, plants, etc. The climate change zealots in the Biden regime might pursue eliminating ALL Americans who don’t subscribe to their demented ideas such as NET ZERO….

      https://www.wnd.com/2023/09/apple-ad-blasted-suggestion-people-eliminated/

    • >steel and cement manufacturing — among the most difficult to clean up
      LOL. Yes, folks, these are energy intensive industries. So is aluminum, and other metals mining and refining.

      Manufacture of cement requires trainloads of limestone and trainloads of coal, all of which must be quarried and crushed, using petroleum based fuels and steel implements. The only way to “clean this up” would be to not make the stuff.

      Leave the limestone, coal, iron ore and petroleum (rock oil) in the ground, and go back to wattle and daub
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wattle_and_daub
      construction, with bridges make of vines to connect your “settlements.”

      • Personally I rather look forward to gadding about my village in nothing but a modest loincloth exhibiting my rippled physique, as shy maidens mark my passage clad in skimpy deerskin bikinis.

        At least I hope they’re maidens, not creatures of transition from pre-NetZero days. :-0

  14. Landru is right: I’d rather have something like a ’91 Spirit R/T than just about anything new due to the reasons Eric mentioned.

    I have a question. Would it be easier in the future to find parts for certain near-classic cars than more recent ones? If I wanted to drive that Spirit with the 2.2 turbo into my retirement, for instance?

    Probably a fox-body Mustang 5.0 would also work. A Buick with the 3800?

    • I recently got 3 VW Rabbits for $1000. The gas pickup with no title I sold to the first looker for 500. The diesel pickup I replaced tires, brakes, fuel lines, belts, windshield and grille with new for about $600. It is now a very nice ride capable of hauling 2 people and an engine at 53mpg. The final one is a gas/automatic coupe, which I hoped to keep as a parts car. Turns out early 80s Rabbits are now a collectors item, being simple, cheap, and fun. Moral of the story? Buy old.

  15. I see a lot of new Nissan Rogues rolling around Texas lately. It wasn’t until recently that I got a look at the engine specs — 1.5 L, turbo, variable compression, 3 cylinder.

    Those won’t still be rolling around Texas 10 years from now.

    The curious thing is that Brie isn’t shilling “empowerment” via the Rogue in the TV ads at the moment.

  16. As the owner of AGCO Automotive used the say on his syndicated call in radio show; “You’ll never save enough on gas to pay for the cost of repairing that 8 speed transmission and the rest of that technology” ( more or less, he retired and the show has been gone for over a year).

    Yep, government regulations to make your broken down car impossible to repair forcing you to buy a new one. Rent seeking economy, yep.

    And yes I’d rather be driving that ’57 at the top than a 3 cylinder Buick, heck who would have thought a K car would come standard with a bigger engine than a Buick?

    • Exactly Landru,
      The $5 worth of gas you “save” with the auto stop/start abomination will be dwarfed by the cost of replacing the battery and starter motor every year; not to mention the extra wear on the engine from the drop in oil pressure every time it shuts off.

      • Apparently the starter on a 2016 Camaro has a book time of 6.5 hours to replace. In that case better put in a good one because with that kind of a labor charge who would put in the $86.79 starter from Rock Auto?

        • Hi Landru,

          Isn’t GM lovely? Here’s another. My buddy’s ’02 Trans-Am needed a new slave cylinder for the manual transmission. To replace it, you must pull the transmission – because the slave cylinder is inside the tranny case.

    • My brother bought a 1964 Ford PU. I am helping restore it, actually in pretty good shape. I was able to remember how to use a timing light and set the gap. 3 speed on the tree. Pretty fun to drive, get a lot of looks.

  17. “Chevy Silverado 1500, which comes standard with a 2.7 liter four cylinder engine”

    Also the 2024 Chevy Traverse will drop the 3.6 litre 6 cylinder and will be replaced by a 2.4 litre turbo 4 cylinder. The changes are accelerating. The new world is arriving and us old people will grumble as most people will slowly become the new peasants.

  18. Isn’t it curious how the Psychopaths In Charge promote the landfill economy with their regulations while pretending they do so to “save the planet”?

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