Tag Archives: Autos

The Unmentionable Alternative, by Eric Peters

Cars can run on compressed natural gas. Who knew? From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The first reason originally given for the necessity of force-feeding electric cars to people was the supposedly imminent scarcity (and associated rising cost) of gasoline. This was en vogue back in the ‘90s – when the first electric cars came out – and quickly went away, because back in the ‘90s there were no subsidies to float them and no mandates to force them.

But the whole point of the exercise, we were constantly told, was that we had to find an alternative to fossil fuels right away – because we were on the cusp of running out of them.

Except it turns out we’re not.

There is so much gas, in fact, that a new excuse had to be found – “climate change,” the wonderfully elastic hypothesis that whatever the weather is doing that isn’t 70 degrees, calm and quiet is unnatural, alarming and the fault of man in general and the internal combustion engine specifically.

Actually, not – but something had to be found to make it “necessary” to replace the IC engine.

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Trump Derangement Syndrome on Nitrous, by Eric Peters

In its attempt to make us all drive electric cars, the Obama administration mandated that corporate fleets average 50 mpg by 2025. Fortunately, Trump wants to roll this impossible goal back. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

As a journalist I understand completely why so many people rightly loathe the media. It is because the media no longer understand – or just doesn’t give a damn – about the difference between conveying facts and attempting to force-feed its opinions to you – these opinions presented with the most insolent certainty, formed in such a way as to make it clear that anyone reading who harbors a secret doubt is not merely a doubter but a denier; i.e., a malicious and vile person who must be dealt with.

It’s the sort of thing which leads to fists and worse.

Well, here we go again.

Bloomberg – the organ of billionaire leftist Michael Bloomberg – is practically signing death warrants (and probably would, if it had the power) in its “coverage” of the Trump administration’s apparent intention to dial back an Obama-era increase (a near-doubling) of the federal fuel economy mandate, which is lately being conflated with the most despicable dishonesty as an “emissions” (of “greenhouse gasses”) mandate – which is an outright lie.

The mandates are Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandates and you’ll note there is nothing in that term even hinting at “emissions” – of any sort. CAFE dates back to the 1970s and the Energy Policy Conservation Act  – italicized to emphasize the emphasis on energy and its conservation rather than emissions.

It decrees that every car company’s combined fleet of cars must achieve a “corporate average” of X miles-per-gallon, that number constantly going up, along with heavy fines for “non-compliance” (the writ-large version of the “shared responsibility” fines which the Obamacare recalcitrant – including this writer – are being hit with).

One of the Obama regime’s final acts of regulatory thuggery – after all, no one votedon this – was to unilaterally decree that the corporate average MPG mandate ascend to 50-something MPGs by the 2025 model year.

This was a vicious decree because, in the first place, who are these people to be dictating the mileage of our cars – the ones we pay for? This includes the gas which goes in their tanks.

What gives them – the bureaucrats nesting in DC – the moral right?

To continue reading: Trump Derangement Syndrome on Nitrous

China’s Surveillance State Is Using RFID Chips To Track Cars’ Movements, by Tyler Durden

China gets creepier and creepier. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

China, the world’s most populous country, continues to devise new methods of keeping tabs on its 1.4 billion citizens. And after the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week about a powerful new spy camera devised by a team of researchers at Duke University who had, incidentally, received funding from the US government, America’s business newspaper of record is back Wednesday with another stunning report, this time about how China is establishing a new system to track cars using electronic tags. Indeed, WSJ describes the plan to “improve public security”, which will also purportedly help ease extreme congestion in the largest Chinese cities.

The plan, which is set to be rolled out by July 1, will rely on chips that can be identified thanks to their unique radio frequency signature. Compliance will be voluntary at first, but it will become mandatory for all new vehicles by Jan. 2019.

Of course, the plan will dramatically expand China’s ability to track its citizens’ every move – something that’s becoming increasingly important as Chinese authorities seek to implement their “social credit score.”

China’s surveillance network already includes powerful cameras that can detect an individual’s facial features from 100 yards away, according to WSJ. Meanwhile, the program will have a serious impact on China’s automotive industry, which is feeding the world’s biggest market, with nearly 30 million vehicles expected to be sold this year.

“It’s all happening in the backdrop of this pretty authoritarian government,” said Ben Green, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society who is researching use of data and technology by city governments. “It’s really hard to imagine that the primary use case is not law enforcement surveillance and other forms of social control.”

To continue reading: China’s Surveillance State Is Using RFID Chips To Track Cars’ Movements

Cars That Parent Us, by Eric Peters

Cars have become the mobile embodiment of the nanny state. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

One of the reasons for liking old cars is they don’t try to parent you. The new stuff won’t quit trying to.

The 2018 VW Golf GTI I am reviewing this week, for instance. When you put the transmission in Reverse, the radio’s volume’s is peremptorily turned down – apparently because someone decided it wasn’t saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe to back up while listening to the radio.

One can almost see the liver-spotted hand of your mother-in-law adjusting the volume control knob. Many new cars have this “feature” – not just new VWs.

It’s incredibly obnoxious. More so because it’s not your mother-in-law and youcan’t slap her liver-spotted hand down or – better – hit the unlock button and tell the old bag to get out now if she can’t mind her own business.

Speaking of door locks . . . .

They are just as peremptory. Some can be programmed not to be – but the default is uber peremptory. As soon as you get in and close the door, it locks. All locks. Some cars are incredibly aggressive about allowing access to the car, denying the owner access to the trunk or rear cargo area unless he very deliberately unlocks the locks, which the car slammed shut without him having asked it to.

Again, for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety.

The latest BMW vehicles will countermand your decision to inch the car backward with the door open – by taking the transmission out of gear and pestering you with a cloying chime that sounds kind of like this: Brrrrring! Brrrrring! Brrrrring!

Sometimes, backing up with the door open makes sound sense. You get a better idea of where the curb is and also the distance remaining between the back of your car and the car your backing up toward using your own two eyes – which have greater depth perception and peripheral vision than any fish-eye camera.

But BMW wants you to use the camera instead. No, check that. BMW insists you use the camera.  The car will not let you back up with the door cracked. The nanny cannot be told off.

There is no Off button.

To continue reading: Cars That Parent Us

Storage Cubby “Criminals”, by Eric Peters

Hidden compartments in cars may soon be illegal, even if they’re not hiding anything illegal, or anything at all. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

You may be aware that cops can simply steal – yes, that’s exactly the correct word – cash found on your person or in your vehicle, in the course of a traffic stop, say – solely on account of it being an “excessive” amount.

“Excessive” being entirely up to them to define.

It could be $10,000 – or $1,000. There is no specific amount of cash defined by statute that crosses a legal threshold. Thus, one cannot know ahead of time not to carry, say, $5,000 – but $500 is ok.

It is enough that a government worker with a gun considers whatevercash you are found to have in your possession “excessive.”

And these armed government workers can legally stealit from you on the basis of the cash being the presumptive – but not proved – fruits of some illegal activity, usually imputed to be the selling or buying of arbitrarily illegal drugs.

This bears repeating – it need not be proved in a court of law that the money found was obtained illegally.

It is not even necessary to formally charge a person to legally steal their money – provided the thief is an armed government worker stealing it on behalf of the government.

Interestingly, these armed government workers prefer to be called law enforcement, even when they aren’t enforcing any known laws and are in fact abusing the law  – it being legal to possess cash and transport cash. This of course matters not at all when armed government workers decide they want your cash. Then, they just take it.

That is, steal it.

How else to describe it?

And you are powerless – legally – to do a thingabout it.

Perhaps, later – at your expense, both of time and money – you will be able to prove your innocence of drug trafficking to the satisfaction of a judge and he may return your money. But it is no longer necessary for a court to establish your guilt.

This is not new – or news.

To continue reading: Storage Cubby “Criminals”

Whatever Happened to CNG-Powered Cars . . . ? by Eric Peters

Cars powered by compressed natural gas are, when all factors are taken into consideration, a lot “greener” than electric vehicles. They’re no longer sold because they aren’t a hybrid or electric, although CNG is clean, cheap, and abundant. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

It’s interesting to speculate about why solutions that would have actually worked – which did work –  seem to always just kind of .  . .   go away. 

Not the fabled 100 MPG carburetor. That probably never existed.

But how about cars powered by compressed natural gas (CNG)?

They did exist. And – much more interesting – they worked

Several car companies – including GM and Ford  – offered them, briefly, back in the late 1990s. Including CNG-powered versions of their full-size sedans (the Impala and Crown Victoria, respectively) with room for six and a V8 engine under the hood.

Beats hell out of a four cylinder hybrid.

And not just 0-60.

These CNG-powered cars didn’t cost a fortune – which made their economics much more sensible than most hybrids (and all electric cars).

They didn’t have functional gimps, either – and thus, were practical. Most could operate on either CNG or gasoline, so no worries about running out of CNG (as opposed to battery charge) and being stuck.

No range anxiety. No hours-long waits to refuel.

Even the infrastructure to provide for CNG refueling is already largely in place in most urban and suburban areas, because natural gas lines are already in place. If your home has a gas furnace or gas appliances you could also refuel a CNG-powered vehicle at home – and in minutes, not hours.

Massive government subsidies are not required. Not for the vehicles, not for the infrastructure/refueling facilities. As opposed to what would be absolutely necessary in order to make electric cars as mass-production vehicles functionally viable and leaving aside all the other considerations. Billions would have to be mulcted from taxpayers to erect a vast network of high-voltage “fast” chargers along the highways and secondary roads in order to keep hundreds of thousands – potentially, millions – of electric cars ambulatory.

To continue reading: Whatever Happened to CNG-Powered Cars . . . ?

A Miracle and a Tragedy, by Eric Peters

The federal government has put cars with V8 engines, which used to be commonplace, out of reach of everyone but the affluent. From Eric Peters on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Henry Ford gets the credit for putting America on wheels via the Model T – which was not only the first mass-produced car but also the first affordablecar, which is what made its mass production possible.

Ford’s other achievement, however, wasn’t a car. It was an engine. The first mass-produced and – like the T – affordable V8 engine. Chuck Berry sang about it in Maybellene:

I was motorvatin’ over the hill

I saw Maybellene in a Coupe de Ville

A Cadillac a-rollin’ on the open road

Nothing outrun my V8 Ford

The Ford flathead V8 came out in 1932 and – just like the T – it changed everything. It was light and inexpensive and easy to manufacture. So it could be sold inexpensively – and in quantity.

Previously – just as cars had once been for the affluent-only – V8 engines were ornate, complex and expensive. They were indulgences of the affluent – not unlike an electric car today.

The flathead Ford V8 upended that. For the next 60-plus years, the average American could afford to drive not just a car, but a car with a V8.

A big car.

These, too, became commonplace – and uniquely American. In no other country could you see fleets of big cars being driven by ordinary people. It was extraordinary.

V8s made that feasible.

And the V8s grew to be even bigger.

By the early ‘70s, it was common for sedans (and station wagons) to have engines in the seven liter range. These were middle-of-the-road family sedans and wagons. Not high-end models.

Everyone coulda had a V8 – or just about.

These were six passenger full-size (and rear-wheel-drive) cars and wagons – the wagons often being nine passenger-capable. The roads abounded with them. They were the analogs – from the ’50s through the ’60s and into the ’70s – of a Camry or Accord.   

Then along came Uncle – and once again, everything changed.

To continue reading: A Miracle and a Tragedy