It’s Not About “Saving You Money”

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The federal government – which somehow got into the business of micromanaging how much gas the car you want to buy is allowed to use – says it is telling the car companies how much gas the cars they are allowed to sell are allowed to use will save you money.

Really?

Well, let’s see how much money we’re “saving” – by examining a case-in-point.

As readers of this column already know, Toyota recently announced that it will cease offering its popular Camry sedan with a V6 – or without a hybrid drivetrain. The reason why – for both – is because federal fuel economy mandatory minimums are about to rise to just shy of 50 MPG and neither the Camry’s currently available V6 nor its standard four could come close to averaging just shy of 50 MPG, as the regs require.

It isn’t a suggestion; if a car company fails to meet the requirements, the government has the power – how it got this power is itself an interesting question – to punish the offending car company for having the temerity to build vehicles wanted by those who buy them as opposed to the ones the government wants to – effectively – force them to buy.

So, both had to go.

And we’ll be paying for it.

The current (2023) Camry stickers for $26,320. It comes standard with a 2.5 liter four cylinder engine that averages 32 MPG – which is exceptionally good mileage for a mid-sized family sedan. It is so good that about 300,000 people buy Camrys each year.

But it’s not good enough for the government.

Nothing is ever good enough for the government – because if good enough were ever achieved (as by defining it) then the government would no longer have the justification it needs to continue micromanaging everything we’re allowed to do – including what we’re allowed to buy.

The model here is “Zero COVID.”

As in “Zero Emissions” – and just as unattainable, thus providing the justification for micromanagement ad infinitum. This will, by the way, eventually include so-called “Zero Emissions” electric vehicles, which are no such thing. It’s merely that for now, they are allowed a kind of grace because they are serving a purpose.

At any rate, both the Camry’s standard four and its optional V6 have been replaced by a newly standard hybrid drivetrain. Which -interestingly – Toyota already offers.

Let that sink in.

The government says it must micromanage the car companies – ordering them (effectively, via regulations) to build only cars that return “better” gas mileage in order to “save people money,” because if not the car companies would only sell “gas hogs.”

Really?

Then how to explain the availability of a hybrid Camry?

It has been available for years, too. People who want one have been free to buy one. But that is not good enough for the government. The government demands – effectively – that every Camry be a hybrid Camry.

And you’ll be paying for that.

We can get a sense of how much you won’t be saving by considering the cost of the current (2023) Camry hybrid, which stickers for $28,655. The pending hybrid-only Camry will cost at least that much – and almost certainly  more, because it will also come standard with all-wheel-drive (electrically driven) as part of the package.

As part of the necessity.

The current hybrid Camry is what’s considered a “mild” hybrid – meaning the gas engine does most of the work of actually moving the car. The electric motor is mainly there to provide an assist (as during forceful acceleration) and to move the car at a creep, when the car is hardly moving. The battery pack, meanwhile, powers accessories when the engine isn’t running, as when the car isn’t moving.

The pending hybrid-only Camry will have a more involved electric motor – and a larger battery – to further reduce the role the engine plays in moving the car. There’s more power – vs. the current non-hybrid Camry’s standard 2.5 liter engine. But much less power than the current Camry’s available V6 – which is another way this costs.

If the hybrid-only Camry stickers for around $32k to start – which seems about right when factoring in the extra $1,400 it costs to buy a 2023 Camry non-hybrid with AWD plus the $2,335 more you’d pay to get a current hybrid Camry vs. the standard, non-hybrid version – you’ll be “saving” something in the neighborhood of $4,000-$5,000 on your new hybrid-only 2025 Camry.

The government says, of course, that what it’s effectively forcing you to spend up front – assuming you buy what the government is pushing on you – will be recovered over time in the form of spending less on gas. And perhaps that is true – though it is an example of government-knows-best-effrontery. We are too stupid to know what’s best, in other words – and have to be forced to the trough, as the saying goes.

But it’s undeniable that fewer people will be able to spend what the government requires in order to “save money.”

Because people only have so much money available to spend.

A $32k hybrid-only Camry vs. a $26k non-hybrid Camry costs more than many people can afford to buy, in other words – irrespective of the (cough) “savings.” Also to insure – a definite cost that is almost never included when discussions of the costs imposed by the government upon car buyers come up. (Air bags, for instance – which have added hugely to the cost of insuring cars so equipped because of the cost of replacing a car totaled by the cost of deployed air bags).

It’s a certain fact that you’ll pay considerably more to insure a $32k car than a $26k car for the simple reason that the $32k car will cost the insurance company more to replace if it is totaled and probably more to repair, regardless.

And there are also the property taxes applied to car owners in a number of states. The $32k car will cost you more that way, too.

This is how the government “saves you money.”

But it isn’t about saving gas. Just as “Zero COVID” was never about health. Just as “Zero emissions” isn’t about that, either.

. . .

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57 COMMENTS

  1. Back in the early 1980’s, just before Reagan came into office, the last time some of this solar panel nonsense was going around. My folks used some government program to install solar panels on the house. It was for heat, not electric. My folks were promised it would save them big bucks on their heat bill. i think it cost around $5,000 at the time, I think most if not all was rebated on their taxes.

    Shortly after it was installed, Reagan killed the program. The company that had installed the system promptly went out of business as it depended on the program to exist, since nobody would install it with their own money out of pocket.

    Did it save them big money? Not really. It didn’t lower the bill at all, but it did keep it from rising as fast (they compared the bill with the neighbors, who had nearly the same house). So I doubt it ever recouped the $5,000 in the ten years or so before it wore out and was removed.

    The problems with it was: It only worked in the daytime, and couldn’t store it for later. The house was largely empty during that time, so it was heat that nobody was going to use. They would leave it turned up, so sometimes when i got home from school it was 90 degrees in the house, so not practical. Sometimes it would be enough for the regular furnace wouldn’t come on until 10 or 11 at night. But yeah, never was enough to pay for itself.

    They would have been better off spending $5000 dollars on adding insulation (house had little) and replacing the cheap junk builder grade windows. Both would probably still be in use today as well.

    These electric cars probably won’t last long enough to recoup the buy it cost just like the solar of the 1980’s.

  2. If hardly anyone’s buying a new vehicle these days, then the CAFE and emissions regs are pointless. I’m willing to bet that eventually, our leaders will simply ban vehicles that are older than whatever number they pull out of their asses.

  3. The New York Jews in New York City now hang their heads in shame and avert their eyes away from the Gentiles who announce the pejorative vocally.

    Come on, get a life. Stop Killing, a movement ordained by God! Bider God! Isn’t there a commandment out there somewhere or something?

    For Christ’s sake, stop it!

    Of course, if you want to continue the slaughter, well then, fuck you too.

    FOAD

    • Hi Drump,

      There is worry in certain corners about large numbers of young people not “supporting Israel.” This, of course, is disingenuously put. These young people (and others) are appalled by the actions of the Israeli government – and are not afraid of the usual tactic to suppress their objections; viz, that it is “anti-Semitic” to express such.

  4. There is no legitimate authority for the federal government to
    dictate health mandates, automobile mandates, etc,. If the
    feds have carte blanche on everything, sit back and enjoy
    the show, until the final curtain.

    To maintain the momentum always vote Rep or Dem.

  5. Government is going to “save us money”, ha!

    “Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer.” — Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)

  6. It won’t save anyone a dime. The petroleum supply chain depends on a very tight but predictable margin. Oil consumption is basically flat, so price fluctuation is all about supply. If consumption does go down so will production. There’s a saying in the oil business, the cure for high prices is high prices. Normally that means someone will step up to start producing oil when the market cries uncle. If demand really does drop, the markets will likely react. First by watching the price collapse, then by shutting in production, causing deficits and raising prices. This will cause roll-on effects to, as the market overcompensates in both directions. Traders will make out like bandits, which is what the point of a lot of this stuff is about.

    (yea, I’m gonna say it)

    Can’t make money when there’s plenty.

  7. It’s painfully obvious that the EPA, NHTSA, and all other unelected, unconstitutional “organizations” need to be abolished! The only good thing coming out of these ever-more-absurd regulations is how obviously more onerous the regulations have become, hopefully causing more rebellion against thus

    • I hope so, Dood. In fact, I’m counting on it.

      It is, evidently, bifurcating society, and I believe the animosity is growing and seething. Soon, perhaps, there will be a hard fracture, and while one side will see an increase in regulative fervor, the other side will finally be free of it.

  8. Ever notice that to ‘save the environment’ that governments all over the western world keep requiring people to replace perfectly good stuff they already have with expensive new stuff that won’t last as long?

    Remember when government was supposed to step in and protect us from the greedy corporations’ evil planed obsolesce? Now the government compels us into planed obsolesce. Forces us to consume.

    None of this is good for the environment. But it is good for crony government scams.

    • Lately, I’ve begun to see ‘technology’ as something which makes the simple, complex… & time consuming.
      The inexpensive, expensive.
      It takes the control one has over ‘things’ and gives ‘control’ over the object (and you and I) to faceless corporations and/or goobermint.

      Luddite: one who recognizes a scam and a shift of Power from the individual to the Power Elite? I dunno.

      …Fuckery is afoot.

      Too bad so many don’t see the two ton heavy thing swinging their way. …Wish you & I weren’t impacted by their blinders.

      • Oh crap, I forgot to mention the absolute worst part about, “technology” … it makes things less durable!

        (Reminds me of some bit about stuff they sell at WallyWorld not being durable goods, but I digress.)

        Sure, fuel injection works better in Winter than a carb, howevah; bathroom exhaust fans used to last 30 yrs. before they went kaput,… often in in reviews on the hardware store websites, LED/ECM “after only 3 yrs” they go bad.

        Then there’s analog gauges, they work when it’s -30 below,… digital crap… gets wonky/glitz.

        …A digital radio, the lifespan is narrow, while an analog radio… timeless?

        Ever take a digital camera outside in Winter?

        Via Wikki:

        “The world’s longest-lasting light bulb is the Centennial Light located at 4550 East Avenue, Livermore, California. It is maintained by the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department. The fire department claims that the bulb is at least 121 years old”

        Ya think an LED piece of crap will Ever match that?

        Then, there’s analog vs. digital TeeVee signals. …At least with analog TeeVee ya still got a signal worth watching if it was windy/stormy outside,… with digital, if it’s bad outside, forget it!
        You wanna know if a tornado is headed your way,… wait until the storm passes.

        I’m sure there’s 10,000 other examples of where digital “technology” crap fails, big time I’m forgetting.

  9. Apparently, they want to take away your freedom to choose to spend more money. I prefer my V8 and incandescent lightsin my house that don’t hurt my eyes and am willing to spend more for the benefits they offer. Sure, LED is superior for a work light or a flashlight and I accept that. If I could get a full flush toilet from the 80s I would have one. The cost is worthwhile to me and my own business. Sacrifices to save $ are made other places how I see fit, mostly through gaining skills and making repairs myself instead of outsourcing work to mechanics and contractors.

    -But thats just me

    • Anchar,

      I read where those flush toilets ended up in Russia.

      The 1.6 liter biffs don’t flush for shit these days.

      No running water and sewer systems, an outhouse is the only choice you have.

      Old New York was kind of a shithole.

      Got my 60 watt incandescent bulbs at Amazon not so long ago.

      Somebody stockpiled them and then resold them at Amazon, I think. Not a bad idea.

      In Europe, incandescent bulbs are sold as ‘heaters’, then they can be and are legally sold.

      LED light bulbs last for months on end. Light poles deter crime. Not necessary for illumination, just for your safety. Plus a firearm, those too. Firearms’ collectors of rifles and pistols don’t shy away from owning too many of them, to many, that is what they do.

      One collector with ~50 rifles is a norm here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Not afraid to shoot at anything. Guns, Guns, Guns sang The Guess Who. Far out!

      This November in 2023 CE, Christ’s Enlightenment, is by far and away the warmest November ever to remember.

      The Jews had better start doing some soul-searching, their only hope.

      Have to still pray for the commandment-breaking murderous animal thugs.

      Message to the Jews: Stop making hell your final resting spot.

      Please.

      • RE: “Light poles deter crime.”

        No. They don’t.

        I spent enough time living in The City to know that.

        …If anything, they let the bad guys see what they are doing.

        …Better, it’s pitch black. ?

        Rats, they’re not deterred by lights.

        Around here, most every property has a “free” streetlight/pole light. My neighbor says we need to get one. It’s “free” afterall.

        Nevermind the possibility of microphones someday, or who-knows-what & the inability to make it go away once it’s there. …Simply, rats (criminals) are not deterred by lights.

      • I have no problem with LED for certain things, just don’t want them in my living space or in my eyes. They do sell ‘rough service’ bulbs still- a little more expensive than the old standard, but they last much longer and are not a halogen light that puts out UV and high heat, or a CFL bulb that does the same while looking ugly and not lighting up fast.

  10. If government is such an excellent enabler of automotive innovation, where are the government mandates for fast-charging EVs? After all, if government wants us all to drive EVs, at least it should demand that EV manufacturers sort out the charging issues first, right? So, where are the government mandates for a minimum of 300 miles of range and a maximum charging time of five minutes for 0 – 100 % battery capacity, along with massive fines for manufacturers missing those exceptionally modest targets?

    After all, if the government is such a benevolent entity, it wouldn’t want to relegate us serfscitizens only to expensive battery-powered penalty boxes with short ranges and long charging times, thereby curtailing our freedom of movement… would they?

    • Where’s the government mandate for miles per kWh of charger consumption?

      It’s perfectly legal to make and sell a grossly inefficient BEV probably everywhere. Only California may have regulations for an efficient BEV charger (they do for other devices), but even they don’t regulate the efficiency of the car itself.

    • Or, they could all just quit and go home. Or to the insane asylum. Or to the jail cell. Or etc.
      We don’t need them. And we would save a lot if we could just quit paying them, and quit having them interfere with our endeavors.

  11. BTW, since I assume everyone here is an unapologetic libertarian. The first -real- libertarian to be elected in a very very long time has had his day in Argentina.

    Javier Milei won their election, Mr. 70s Porno Hair, and the leftists are already calling him “far right” even though he is anything but. This is why I cannot even speak with left leaning people anymore. They have all become hysterical cat ladies, both male & female. My friends who have been just consuming 24x7x365 propaganda are utterly feminized & brainwashed at this point.

    These were ‘normal’ guys at one time. They all sound like HR Managers & Karens now shrieking about how ‘unsafe’ anyone that doesn’t vote in utter lockstep with the far left machine is now. It’s demoralizing and also shows me how effective propaganda is.

    Anyhow, back on topic, of course all media outlets which lean far left are saying he’s the next Trump, Bolsinaro (Brazil), Hitler, whatever, because did I mention hysterical feminized screeching? In reality he simply wants government out of -everything-. Novel concept! Let’s see what he can do, it is hard when all the other politicians have their knives out for you. That was Trump’s mistake, trusting the system. It must be completely turned upside down before you even begin to try and pass any legislation or change anything.

    • Another example of how effective their propaganda is, the push to criminalize ‘election denialism’ with added enhancements for insurrection, AKA misdemeanor vandalism.

      Probably the main reason for Milei’s success is the economic basket case Argentina has become. Wouldn’t want that here, but it is, maybe the only way the R/D shackles come off. You would think, we could all just come together and demand the immediate resignation of all elected officials. Maybe stop all work/purchases until our demands were met. Either need a few more sane people, or a mountain of pain for that outcome. Bring on the pain

    • Even some libertarian scolds like Dale Steinrich on LRC today are conflating Milei with “MAGA”. It’s ridiculously misinformed but a testament to how the intelligence apparatus(es?) have pigeonholed any opposition to the regime(s) as equivalent to the absolutely unprincipled Orange Man Bad.

    • Useranon99,

      I’ve been seeing your typical “conservative” sources celebrating him as the new Trump, when he appears far better than that, espousing FREEDOM first. Orange Man, in all his campaigning, Presidency and afterwards, sparsely mentions freedom, let alone claims to be its champion.

  12. You could have 50 grand in clownbux if the government would give back all of the money in taxes and fees for the past 40 years or so you have paid to the thieves that they have become.

    Have to give them a break, they have gov bidness to do, whatever that is, you still pay through the nose to have the most expensive gov that has ever existed on the planet.

    Have some empathy, there are wars going on, they need your support and your money. They say so all of the time. Gotta wonder who they are.

    You get to lift the barge and tote the bale.

    Get to work!
    Drinking is the only solution. Not a problem there.

    • Wait until the all electric Vette comes out. That beefy sounding growl of the 6.2L V8 in that video will be gone and it will be as silent as the grave as it quietly zooms 0-60 in under 4 seconds. 🙄

      The -sounds- of speed are the thing I miss most in fast EVs. Eric has said something along these lines. He freely admits the cars are whiplash inducingly fast but it is this very sterile type of experience. That has been my observation too. Precise, very quick, and sort of pedestrian / bland / boring. There isn’t as much joy to be hand standing on a high end Tesla’s throttle. It does what I need it to do when I want to quickly pass and occasionally it can be fun to let it loose on a long straightaway, but it is not the same.

      As someone who has driven mid-range sports cars most of their life this is something I miss. The Vette Z06 had an very angry but well tuned growl that said “get outta my way”. Even the V6 turbos have their own melodies. I remember hearing the sort of noisy turbos spin up and then the whoosh of either the recirculator or the blow-off valve. Fun stuff. I suppose you could put one of those “fake” noisemakers in an EV but to me that is the absolute height of lameness.

  13. We’ve been told ad nauseum for years that driving gas vehicles, eating meat, using gas stoves, etc., DESTROYS the planet. What nobody seems to ever want to discuss is how much “environmental damage” has been caused by the endless wars that the U.S. government has been involved in for almost 25 years, not to mention the industrial use of glyphosate and other chemicals that are likely harmful to human health/ the environment.

    • Truth.

      When it comes to the environment, you can’t even ask these questions:

      What was the carbon footprint of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

      What is the carbon footprint of the wars in Ukraine and Gaza?

      Is there a connection between endocrine disrupters and what seems to be a sudden explosion in people identifying as transgender?

      Why aren’t environmental activists concerned about Iran’s push to get nuclear weapons?

      Why are so many companies who claim to be all in on ESG and all things green pushing for return to the office when remote work has proven to be an effective, easy, and cheap way to reduce emissions from all the cars on the road?

      Why does no one care about China, India, and Russia’s pollution?

      When the environmental movement started in the 1960s, (when there was REAL pollution), two of its goals were population control and nuclear proliferation. Why don’t the greens care about these issues anymore?

      Why is “climate change” the number one (and only) issue that the greens care about? Why don’t they care about other serious problems, like the aforementioned endocrine disrupters, pharmaceutical pollution, etc.?

      Throughout history, humanity has faced many problems. When we dealt with them, we increased our standard of living, not diminished it. We expanded freedoms, not curtailed them. We embraced technology and leveraged natural resources, not shunned them. Why are the solutions to climate change about making us poor and unfree?

      • Excellent questions Bryce,
        I think the PTB have managed to brainwash the greens into believing that “climate change” will destroy the planet in their lifetimes; they can’t step outside their doom loop to realize that CO2 is necessary for plant life and thus all life on earth. Definitely the useful idiots of our time.

      • Climate change might make their personal property worthless. Sea level rise will push the shoreline inland, inundating all that prime real estate in Malibu, Martha’s Vineyard and Oahu. Shifting snowfall north toward Canada makes Vail and Aspen about as appealing as Leadville.

        Poisoned food? That’s for the peasants to worry about. Depleated uranium in Iraq? Well, they shouldn’t have elected Saddam Hussein.

    • But John B, that is the purpose of the climate change hysteria, to distract the environmentalists from the actual ongoing poisoning of the planet.

  14. Eric: This is how the government “saves you money.”

    As that meme from “The Princess Bride” goes; “That word you keep using I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

    If your car runs for decades without major parts replacement it will save you money over one that needs a new EV battery every 10 years or so. But what do I know, I’m still driving a ’98 around.

    • Exactly, Landru!

      My ’02 Nissan Frontier has saved me a great deal of money – insurance and property taxes alone. Literally thousands of dollars over the past ten years. It has also saved me a fortune – by allowing me to avoid new car payments. It costs me almost nothing to drive, beyond the gas I put in the tank. Every now and then there is the cost of tires ($500 every three-four years) and oil/filter ($50, twice a year) and “incidentals” – say another $300 every other year. Excepting gas, it probably costs me around $20 per month to own this truck. That’s how I save money.

    • Hi Landru,

      Here’s something else that (unsurprisingly) the government lied to Americans about….the “Inflation Reduction Act”, which was REALLY a bill pushing the demented climate change agenda (NET ZERO, green energy, “smart cities”, etc.) disguised as “Reducing Inflation”.

      • Hi John:

        I’m still a little confused on how printing and spending trillions will reduce inflation. Maybe we should go with Ford’s “WIN” buttons; it didn’t work but was at least a cheaper and better idea.

        For you youngins:

        Whip Inflation Now was a 1974 attempt to spur a grassroots movement to combat inflation in the US, by encouraging personal savings and disciplined spending habits in combination with public measures, urged by U.S. President Gerald Ford.

  15. “Government Savings” is just that, more revenue for GovCo. It does not say ‘buyer savings’. People don’t understand the subtleties of our own language. They just ASSume what they want to believe. Just like automated cars being labeled ‘autonomous’, which is, in fact, the opposite. “Zero Emissions” is just ’emissions somewhere else you don’t see’. Or “Renewable Energy” which implies ‘creating’ energy, an impossibility as far as physics goes.
    It’s all ‘double-speak’, lies, deception, a con on the populace, which they seem content with, so on it goes.

  16. ‘The government demands – effectively – that every Camry be a hybrid Camry.’ — eric

    In parallel, the EPA is demanding — via absurdly strict ’emissions’ limits — to essentially phase out hydrocarbon power, such as natgas-fired plants, in favor of non-dispatchable green power like solar and wind.

    EPA head Michael Regan is every bit as much of a Maoist red guard as ‘Attorney General’ Beria Garland, destroying the rule of law, and enemy alien Alejandro Mayorkas, destroying border security.

    For his part, Regan is destroying our industrial base. Yet I never see him mentioned in the Lügenpresse, like the other two un-american ringers just mentioned.

    One thing’s for sure: the average auto fleet age will keep climbing — partly because buyers can’t afford new vehicles, and partly because bristling rejectionist hooligans like myself don’t want them at any price, including free.

  17. And to think it was the relatively simple sugar tax and stamp act in 1764 that promulgated the revolution. 259 years later we just bend over and take it…

  18. Was cleaning cabinets and saw the last of our incandescent light bulbs and it hit me again how the heck did it get to this point where they outlawed our freaking light bulbs! So of course they want to take away our gas cars.

  19. I got mid-40s MPG out of my 2018 2.5 L Camry LE this weekend going to an event which was located a couple of hours away in another part of Texas. Most of the miles were highway.

    In town, the vehicle averages mid-30s.

    I paid $20k for the car five years ago on an end-of-model-year closeout.

    I usually run ethanol-free gas, but I’ve not noticed a substantial difference if I put E10 into the tank in a pinch on a road trip. Maybe 2-3 MPG.

    When I filled the tank yesterday, the range estimate pulling out of the gas station read 500 miles.

    Good enough for me, but not good enough for Uncle.

  20. Unless you are a member of the “big club”, nothing the Psychopaths In Charge ever does saves you money. Nor does it ever make your life better, easier, or less painful. Quite the contrary. After all, they are psychopaths, who quite often enjoy the suffering of others. “I can’t afford a car. How am I going to get to work?” The psychopath smiles. They know that CO2 is not a threat, but they have mostly won the propaganda war claiming it is. So they can torture us.

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