Monday , July 15 2019
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Eric Peters

Eric Peters

Eric Peters is a freelance car/bike/political columnist. He escaped the corporate-owned media Big Boys years ago. Without the censorship of the corporate tools

Articles by Eric Peters

Lee Iacocca Has Died

12 days ago

Lee Iacocca just died. And with him, an era.
The era of the car guy executive.
Iacocca wasn’t a transplant from a toothpaste company – and he was an engineer, not a “human resources” manager. He smoked cigars, told ribald stories.
Most of all, Lido knew cars – and the car business. Put more precisely, he knew how tosell cars by making cars people wanted to buy; this is art less practiced today.
He is most famous for two cars – the Mustang and the K-car (which became the basis for the tsunami-successful Caravan and Voyager minivans of the Reagan Years) though he had a hand in many other cars as well.
Both cars were just right – their timing, their execution; everything. Proof of this being the incontestable fact that

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Hidden Costs That Cost a Lot

14 days ago

Have you ever added up the cost of being allowed to keep a vehicle? Not what it cost you to buy it – nor what it cost to maintain it.
The other costs – for things you didn’t buy.
And probably don’t want.
Like the annual (in most states) “registration” fee – in quote marks to emphasize the etymological disingenuousness of the term since it is in fact just another tax. You aren’t getting anything in return for the money mulcted – other than permission to use yourvehicle (that probably also ought to be placed within quotation marks) for another year.
It’s analogous to the tax applied to your home, which the government will allow you to live for another year, if you pay the tax  . . . on the house you thought you’d paid off years

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The Coming Cash for Not-Clunkers

18 days ago

What do you suppose will happen when they build them – but no one comes?
Within the next couple of years, almost every car company will be building – and trying to sell – electric cars.
It won’t be just Tesla’s cars – which cars Tesla is already having trouble trying to sell. Chiefly, because there is a built-in limit to the number of $35,000 and up cars you can sell – regardless of the number you build.
Imagine a real estate developer who only built $350,000 houses – heedless of the ability of people in the area to buy them. The homes are “nice” – they have triple-paned casement windows and granite countertops and three bathrooms.
But no one comes.
Imagine a quadrupling of EV production – and that’s a lowball figure – for a

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One Size Fits Slow

19 days ago

We’re told automated cars will make the roads “safer.”
Well, they just might – in the same way that filling in the deep end of every swimming pool in the country with concrete would reduce drowning deaths. Better to teach people to swim – and keep those who can’t out of the pool.
It’s not a very high standard.
Automated cars certainly won’t make driving safer for those who can.
What they will do, of course, is make the roads slower – and trips take longer.
For everyone.
Think of a Roomba plodding clumsily around your living room, cautiously probing before proceeding – and then proceeding very slowly – and just like every other Roomba.

Automated cars will work like the Roomba – a brainless robot that operates within the confines

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2019 Toyota 86

20 days ago

Many people buy Toyotas because they are Toyotas – which have a reputation for being durable, reliable cars that are known to depreciate less fast than other cars.
But how about a Subaru with a Toyota badge?
Does the mojo transfer?
What It Is
The “Toyota” 86 sport coupe is the only Toyota made by another car company – with another car company’s engine under its hood.
But a Toyota badge on its hood.
It’s functionally identical – and nearly cosmetically identical – to the Subaru BRZ.
Both are similar to the Mazda Miata – their primary rival – in terms of being affordably priced rear-drive sports cars. But the “twins” have back seats – which the Miata doesn’t – aren’t convertibles (the Miata is) are powered by

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Old Car Pre-Flight!

24 days ago

Pilots usually don’t fly before they make sure the plane will. Or rather, that it will probably continue flying once it’s up in the air. They’ll do a thorough walk-around and pre-flight before slamming the throttles home and rotating.
The stakes aren’t as high with things that don’t fly, of course – but it’s still sound policy to do a “pre-flight” check of any car that isn’t a relatively new car – and especially if it’s a vintage car that only gets taken out every once in awhile.
Because in-between, things can run low.
Air, for instance.
Most cars made before the late ‘90s do not have tire pressure monitors – which you really shouldn’t trust without verifying, either – so it’s up to you to monitor the tire pressure. The older the

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How the UAW Will Kill the Big Three

25 days ago

The United Auto Workers (UAW) almost killed the American car industry once – back in the ‘70s and ‘80s – when it succeeded in making American cars too expensive (and too poorly built) relative to the Japanese competition – by demanding high wages and benefits for low-quality work.
Now comes its second opportunity.
Today, the union – which represents workers from GM, Ford and FiatChrysler – will tell Congress it opposes President Trump’s efforts to reduce the regulatory burden on the companies which employ the union’s workers and the car buyers which support them. It will tell Congress it wants the Obama-era fatwas defining carbon dioxide as an “emission” – and thus a “pollutant” – to remain in force and be enforced.
And for the

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Diversity Is No Strength

27 days ago

Sometimes, “diversity” is not our strength – as GM is finding out.
The Chevy Silverado pick-up is now number three – behind the Ram 1500 and the best-selling (and number one) Ford F-150.
This is alarming news for GM – assuming it still cares about making money as opposed to demonstrating how “committed” it is to “diversity” (see here) which is an odd preoccupation for a car company.
For example, Out With Chevy – which wasn’t a big brothery slogan ginned up by someone who doesn’t like the bowtie but invented by Chevy product PR people – to celebrate “coming out” in the you-know-what-it-means sense . . . which has what to do with trucks or Chevys I have no idea.
People who buy trucks want to know about the trucks – not what people

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Meeting Your ‘Emotional Needs’

28 days ago

H.G. Wells wrote about a time machine but Aldous Huxley – author of Brave New World – may actually have had one. And used it to to travel to our now, jotted down a few notes and then returned to the early 20th century  to write his chirpily depressing picture of what tomorrow will look like:
A world of endiapered adults who remain perpetual children, perpetually distracted by imbecile pursuits – because distracted imbeciles are much easier to herd than conscious, thinking adults are to bayonet-prod in the desired direction.
Well, here we are – almost.
Talking cartoon characters will be displayed inside the automated cars of the impending Future – to keep the endiapered imbeciles within droolingly quiescent and vacuously smiling

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Classic Cars and Classic Drivers

29 days ago

Are old cars for old people?
It seems to be so – if you go by what one typically sees at an old car show. The owners are mostly at least as old as their cars – and most of them are more than 40 years old, which is roughly the line of demarcation between modern cars – those with computers – and those without them, which were last made in the very early ‘80s. 
The owners of pre-computer (and now classic) cars are now “classics” themselves. They are into classic cars because they grew up with them and remember what cars used to be like before Uncle ruined them.
And ruined driving – which used to be fun, too.
People who are in their ’20s and ’30s today have no memory of what it used to be like. Most have never been in a car with a

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The In-Car Checkpoint

June 15, 2019

A new principle forms the basis of American criminal justice. It is that innocence is irrelevant. More accurately, it is an obstruction.
It gets in the way of what government wants – which is to bully and control everyone.
The former requirement in law – and general custom – that conviction had to precede punishment and that evidence to suggest wrongdoing had to precede investigation has been thrown in the woods – so to speak – in favor of making things easier for the criminal justice system by assuming everyone is a criminal.
And treating all of us presumptively as such.
The latest such being a proposal – a threatened law, HR 3374 – purveyed by a termagant to liberty named Kathleen Rice, who is a coercive authoritarian

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2019 VW Beetle Final

June 14, 2019

In 1979, VW stopped selling the Beetle – at least, in the United States.
Uncle would not allow it.
The car designed back in the 1930s could not meet the crashworthiness and emissions standards of the ‘70s. Plus, there was a lot of very heavy competition from newer – and more modern – economy cars from Japan.
These may not have had the Beetle’s charm – or lawn mower simplicity. But they did have working heaters, among other draws.
Fast forward.
In 1998 VW brought the Beetle back – but it was a very different Beetle. Not air-cooled, or rear-engined. With heated seats – as well as climate control AC.
It was iconic looking – but not classic driving. People loved it – all over again.
But the love waned as the Beetle aged – and was

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Funeral for Fiat?

June 12, 2019

Newspaper people know that obits are written in advance – so they’re ready to go when the inevitable does occur.
Fiat is looking a little green around the gills.
Automotive News reports that Jeep – the most profitable arm of the Fiat-Chrysler conglomerate – sells more vehicles in a week than Fiat is likely to sell this year.
There is reportedly a six month inventory of cars awaiting owners at Fiat dealers – which is actually very good news for buyers. Fiat is selling new cars for the price of used ones. You can still find leftover 2018s on many dealership lots – and this means deals.

But it’s not good for dealers to sell new cars for the price of used ones. And it can only go on for so long.
Part of the problem, says the

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Punished Regardless

June 10, 2019

Did you know that when you’re stopped for no reason at a drunk driving checkpoint – well, stopped for no reason having anything to do with something you did to suggest you might be “drunk” – your refusal to participate in self-incrimination can result in your arrest, loss of your government permission slip to travel as well as the impounding of your car?
Your “cooperation” is not only appreciated – it is required.
This not-much-discussed aspect of Checkpoint USA is arguably even worse than the existence of Checkpoint USA – which came into being in the ’80s, when the government decided to re-interpret the limits of its own authority (a problem with government) by summarily decreeing it to be “reasonable”

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Towing the Statue of Liberty

June 7, 2019

How does he get away with it?
The simple answer is  . . . the press lets him. Over and over and over again. Ludicrous claims that ought to trigger the raising of hands – if not questions about his sanity – are stenographed onto laptops and formatted into copy and clicked and sent all over the Internet as imminent, given, factual.
There will be space tourism to Mars by 2022; fleets of electrified long-haul big-rigs that don’t have to stop every 20 miles or so for recharge pit stops. A new supercar that doesn’t exist – but send me a huge check.
Remember Yul Brynner in The Ten Commandments?
So let it be written, so let it be done. Except pharaoh kept his promises.
Elon promises an electric pick-up truck that will

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Where’s Your Cut?

June 5, 2019

You’ve probably seen people driving around in cars covered over – “wrapped” – with advertisements for some service or product and wondered how much the owner got paid to allow his car to be transformed into a mobile billboard.
But he is at least getting paid.
The non-wrapped cars are working, too – but their owners aren’t being compensated with even a coupon for the data being mined from them as they drive. Data about their preferences and habits, which is sold for money to interested parties – who in turn use the information to tailor and personalize the sales pitches they make to the same person who isn’t being cut in on the action.
Who is the action.
Some of this is opt-in and even laudable, or at  isn’t objectionable –

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Veal Calves

June 3, 2019

You have probably read about the younger crowd being more interested in their cell phones than in cars. The statistic most often cited in support of this claim – which is true – is that about a fourth of those in the 18-30 bracket don’t even have a driver’s license.
Which is also true.
And it’s probably on purpose.
Most states don’t allow a teenager to get a full driver’s license until he’s almost not a teenager. He’s allowed to drive – but only by himself. Or with an adult (someone over 18) in the car with him. Not with his friends (or his girlfriend).
Not at night.
Forget beach week/spring break – unless driven there by mom and dad. Might as well stay home.
And so, they do. Which is just the point. To sever the emotional bond

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Elon’s ‘Compelling’ New Offer

May 25, 2019

Elon Musk has just announced he’s going into the insurance business with Liberty Mutual – a partnership as natural as the getting-together over coffee of the Gambinos and Columbos.
They’re really going into the data-mining and mobility control business; the insurance business is merely the storefront.
The plan, according to Elon, is to offer “compelling” premiums . . . by compelling policyholders to let him (and the sickly-named Liberty) monitor their driving via real-time telemetry – just like the Apollo program.
And surrender it, too – by turning that over to his infamous auto-pilot system.
Which for the record hasn’t exactly got a great record.
Several auto-piloted Teslas have already piloted themselves into fixed barriers and

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Replacement Revenue

May 22, 2019

If it’s no longer possible to “speed” – if cars become automated and drivers become passengers – won’t the government lose all the money they currently mulct from “speeding” drivers?
Of course not.
The revenue will simply be collected via other means. Which means will probably involve much more than merely the collection of revenue.
Distance, for instance, will probably be the replacement tax – applied generally. And emissions per distance. Too much of either – as decided by the government – and we’ll probably be more than merely mulcted.
The car – automated, remember – simply won’t motorvate.
That is, it won’t move once you’ve exceeded your allotted monthly/weekly/annual distance or emissions allowance. Those who control its

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Riding Dirty Daydreams

May 17, 2019

Lately I have been giving serious thought to “riding dirty” – without insurance. Just cancelling all of it.
The savings would be considerable – equivalent to eliminating my monthly electric bill as well as my monthly  Internet bill and a portion of my monthly food bill.
These things I need – and so I buy them, without anyone jabbing me in the back with a bayonet. I am happy to pay for these things – because I do need them. I am grateful to those who provide them.
The insurance I’m forced to buy for my vehicles? Not so happy about this. I need vehicle insurance like I need a mortgage payment on a condo in Hungary.
I have never visited Hungary.
I long ago stopped paying the home insurance mafia – which is one of the few forms of

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A Peck on the Neck

May 15, 2019

A vampire’s continued existence depends on the continuous flow of the blood of the living. The same principle animates Tesla and other purveyors of electric cars – who are about to receive another $2 billion-plus from FiatChrysler (FCA) over the course of the next three years.
This ought to stave off bankruptcy long enough to bankrupt legitimate car companies like FCA (which choose not to purvey electric cars, because people aren’t buying them).
After which, the vampire will feast on the blood of us – directly, this time.
The cash infusion is performed via what is styled the “purchase” of carbon credits. These are purchases in the manner of our “contributions” to Social Security – i.e., they are extorted payments made under

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Why You Can’t Afford Not To Buy a Classic Car

May 11, 2019

If you like cars, you probably like classic cars. Like looking at them, at least.
But if you’re like most of us, you probably don’t own one – because you’ve probbaly never been able to afford one.
Well, now you can.
At least, if you can afford a new car. Which, arguably, no one can.
New cars have passed several Event Horizons, the first and most obvious being their initial cost. The average price paid for a new car sailed past $35k for the first time last year. This is well-equipped Camry/Accord family car territory.
People routinely spend this much on minivans, pick-ups and crossover SUVs.
And more on modern muscle cars like Camaro, Mustang and Challenger.
Money in that ballpark could also buy you a classic car – a restored one,

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The Commuter (and Privacy and Other Things) Tax

May 9, 2019

If you don’t wan’t your dog to run away, you leash him. The government doesn’t want you to run away, either – but has a different kind of leash in mind.
The commuter tax.
It’s called the mileage tax but like so many things being pushed down our throats the term used doesn’t describe what’s actually meant.
What’s described by proponents such as Rep. Peter DeFazio, a liberal Democrat from Oregon who unfortunately chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is a merely modern replacement for the gas tax.
But what’s meant is a tax on driving – and the distinction is critical to grok.
When you buy gas, part of what you’re paying is tax, about 50 cents or so in federal and state taxes, folded into the price. But where

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Our Former Right To Travel

May 8, 2019

Control mobility – free movement – and you have controlled the population. Their other rights are automatically cheapened into functional irrelevance if the right to come and go without permission and free from interference is denied.
And so it has been.
It took a couple of generations, but most Americans seem to implicitly accept the idea that travel  – even on foot – is a conditional privilege conferred (and legitimately regulated) by “the government.” Which of course is just an evasive euphemism for the busybodies and control freaks who have somehow acquired a legal monopoly on the use of force – and who use its threat (and actuality) to enforce their busybody/control freak ideas.
One of these ideas is that movement beyond the

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The First Autonomous Car

May 7, 2019

You will probably never hear a TED talk about it, but the fact is the most autonomous car ever made was last made almost 100 years ago.
It was the Model T Ford – produced from 1908-1927.
Here was a car that did almost everything on its own – the defining essence of autonomous. It needed almost nothing from the external world except some gas in the tank. Not even a starter.
You were the starter.
Which meant that as long as you had at least one good arm and there was gas in the tank – gravity fed, so no worries about a fuel pump failing – you would probably not be walking.
It didn’t even have to have gas in its tank.
The Model T’s cast iron, 177 cubic inch four cylinder flathead engine could – and would – also run on alcohol or

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The Smart Car

May 6, 2019

Mercedes is giving up on the not-so-Smart Car, citing “declining micro-car market” in the U.S. and Canada.
U.S. Smart sales in 2018 plunged 58 percent from a year earlier to 1,276 cars.
What’s interesting about this is that Smart became electric-only in 2018.
Yet another example of the lack-of-demand for EVs, even when they are massively subsidized and their manufacture mandated (de facto, via “zero emissions” vehicle production quotas).
Which brings up another interesting thing.
Mercedes is going to bring a series of electric cars to market next year. Beginning with the EQC, a compact electric crossover SUV. It is the first of at least ten new electric Benzes scheduled for deployment.
Apparently, lesson not learned.
Of course,

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That First Taste of Freedom

May 4, 2019

Riding a bicycle has changed – and the change may account for the waning of interest in driving as well as the waxing hostility between cyclists and drivers.
Cycling is mostly an adult activity now. It’ rare to see kids out riding their bicycles – especially by themselves.
They used to.
A bicycle was once upon-a-time a kid’s first taste of real freedom. This appetizer tended to instill a hankering for more. An expectation. An awakening.
Those who grew up before the era of helicopter parenting commenced in the ’90s will remember it because they lived it. Saturday morning came and as soon as you were finished with breakfast, you bolted outside, got on your bike – without putting on a helmet-  and took off.
By yourself. To find your

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Grokking the Con

May 1, 2019

Anyone who hasn’t grokked the con by now is probably a hopeless case. Tesla has been in “business” for going on 15 years and still loses money despite taking billions.
Ask yourself what kind of “business” gets propped up by the government for that long – and what it implies about the reasons for propping it up.
Tesla’s purpose isn’t crony capitalism/rent-seeking, except incidentally.
Its purpose was to habituate the public to the EV as a “normal” car. As the inevitable replacement for our current (IC) cars.
To get the public used to hearing about and seeing electric cars. And most of all, to sex them up.
This was also done in order to nudge the car industry into the Electric Car Era – to nudge it into committing billions to EV

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The New ‘Stop Resisting’

April 27, 2019

Obeying the speed limit (or any other law) is no defense against vindictive armed government workers, as the first video which follows below shows.
The AGW who stopped this car with the threat of murderous violence – implicit in every non-consensual interaction with an AGW – admits, openly, that the driver was not exceeding the posted speed limit – but asserts that his not exceeding it is itself “suspicious.” This assertion of “suspicion” gives him, the AGW, pretext to stop anyone he likes and subject them to an Authority Display.
“I seen (sic) you going 31 miles per hour in a 45,” the AGW illiterately exclaims. The driver points out that this is not illegal. This fact cuts no ice. “Suspicious vehicle,” exclaims the shaved-head

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White Spaces and Write Crime

April 19, 2019

Some of you may have noticed the huge blank spaces on the site. This is my punishment for publishing “dangerous and derogatory” material; articles such as The Turbo Tax – which was “flagged” by Dagoooog for being  . . . “dangerous and derogatory.”
I committed the Write Crime of explaining to people why all of a sudden so many new cars – and even trucks – are coming from the factory with very small, highly turbocharged engines. I dared to connect this with federal fuel economy fatwas, which are orders issued by the busybodies and control freaks who constitute “the government” that all cars achieve X miles-per-gallon, or else. The “or else” being fines imposed on the car companies, passed on to you, the buyer. The other cost being

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