Monday , November 19 2018
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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

Non-Emergency Automated Braking

12 hours ago

Something strange – and dangerous – happened to me the other day while I was out test-driving a new Toyota Prius.
The car decided it was time to stop. In the middle of the road. For reasons known only to the emperor.
Or the software.
I found myself parked in the middle of the road – with traffic not parked coming up behind me, fast. Other drivers were probably were wondering why that idiot in the Prius had decided to stop in the middle of the road.

But it wasn’t me. I was just the meatsack behind the wheel. The Prius was driving.
Well, stopping.
Like almost all 2019 model year cars, the Prius has something called automated emergency braking. It’s a saaaaaaafety system meant to correct for distracted driving – or just

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The Electric Suicide

6 days ago

Imagine a Harley that doesn’t vibrate. No bark through the straight pipes when you push the starter button. No nothing through the pipes – which aren’t there anymore.
There is no starter button.
Just an On/Off switch.
No shifter, either. Because no gears.
All that remains is the “Harley” name on the tank – which isn’t one because it will never be used to store any gas. Might as well paint it on the side of your toaster.
Welcome to the 2019 LiveWire – Harley’s first electric motorcycle. The first of a whole line of them – intended to be ready by 2025.
They’re betting the future of the company on it.
If you have any Harley stock, better unload it.
Quickly.
Because an electric Harley is as silly as juice-bar speakeasy. It runs

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It’s Not Just the Time That Changed

10 days ago

This is the time of year when we’re forced to reset our clocks – Daylight Savings Time. There’s something else that needs re-setting, too.
Our frames of reference for cars.
Let me explain – using some specifics:
There is no longer much amenity difference between “luxury” cars and other cars . . .
There is more price difference than there has ever been.
You can spend as little as $13,000 or so for a new car – or six figures plus. That gap is much wider than the price gap between a 1972 Pinto and a 1972 Sedan deVille.
But today’s $13k car is a lot closer to the six figure car in terms of amenities.
Both will come standard with air conditioning – which was hugely luxurious (and almost always extra-cost, if it was even offered) in

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Obamacare on Wheels

12 days ago

Ferrari just reported a third quarter sales sales uptick of nearly 11 percent, which it attributes to demand for its V8 powered Portofino. Sales of the V12 Superfast rose 7.9 percent. The best-selling three cars in the U.S. are big trucks – the Chevy Silverado, Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram 1500. These are not being produced at bayonet-point, via mandates – and the people buying them don’t need their palms greased as inducements to buy them.
Contrast this with the sales of electric cars so far this year  – of which there were none.
A number of them did change hands, it’s true. But to describe the exchange as a “sale” is to abuse the language, akin to referring to Bruce as “her.”
Each one must be given away at a net loss. This includes

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The Auto-Stop-Start Systems

13 days ago

I wish I could take credit for this one, but I can’t. However, I will shamelessly use it – and credit the reader (Jim H) who made the analogy:
Auto-stop/start systems – which have become de facto standard equipment in almost all new cars – are the automotive equivalent of the low-flush toilet.
You may recall.
The government decided that people were using “too much” water in the bathroom. The solution was a fatwa outlawing toilets as they had been and requiring that new toilets be designed to use less water (1.6 gallons, about half the volume of water used in the old, “wasteful” toilets).
Everyone knows what the result was.
It now took two or more flushes to get the same job done – which ended up using twice the water.
Sometimes

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A Colonel Bogey Salute

14 days ago

While every other car company is doing its best to clap loudest for Stalin – building electric cars for which there is no real market (while pretending there is one or will be, just around the corner) in order to solve problems which don’t exist, but which will create problems that didn’t exist – Dodge has built the Redeye.
The only battery this thing has is the one which starts up the 797 horsepower supercharged 6.2 liter Hemi V8.
There is no place to plug it in.
You fill it up with the highest octane gas you can find.
You won’t have to wait long, either  – whether at the pump (less than five minutes) or getting to the next one. The Redeye – which has 90 more horsepower than the 707 horsepower Challenger (and Charger) Hellcat

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Free at Last…

18 days ago

A four-wheeled Shawshank Redemption is under way. About 240,000 wrongfully convicted diesel-powered VWs are about to be paroled. The doors of their cells open; the harsh light causes them to blink their eyes. Some are brand-new 2016 and 2017 models that were never sold; others are older models that were – and then bought back by VW after the “cheating” scandal broke.
They’ll be released for sale at VW stores around the country – with luck, one near you.
All have been “fixed” – their computers reprogrammed or other adjustments made to make them Uncle -compliant. This also means they’re less fuel-efficient than pre-fix. Apparently, part of the reason being that to achieve Uncle-compliance, some of the cars require a “trap” to

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The Gov’t Promotes Electric Cars

20 days ago

Why is General Motors  – which only sells one electric car – pushing for a national electric car mandate?  Honda and several others, too.
It is not unlike a steak house lobbying for a national vegan menu requirement.
One wonders . . . why?
In the words of Jules from Pulp Fiction, allow me to elucidate.
The federal government has already de facto outlawed non-electric cars, using a kind of slow-acting poison that is already causing symptoms to appear and will shortly fell even the healthiest-seeming non-electric vehicles (big trucks and SUVs).
That poison is the federal fuel economy fatwa known as CAFE, which has been around since the ‘70s but is on schedule to almost double and within about five years. By model year 2025,

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1987 Again…

21 days ago

Yesterday, I had an encounter with an armed government worker on a motorcycle, running a speed trap. And running laser, which is kryptonite to even the best radar detector because you get no warning. If the detector detects laser, you are already detected.
Which is just what happened to me. Bingo! You “win.”
I was on my way to the coffee shop where I go to work almost every day – in part to get my divorced/recluse-inclined self out of the house – and in part because I’m better able to work in that environment, where cats aren’t crawling all over me, importuning me scratch their backs or give them something to eat… times five of them. I love them, but working with five cats sequentially head-butting you, flopping themselves on the

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The Real Killers

22 days ago

Back in the ‘90s, a movie came out accusing GM of killing the electric car. The movie was wrong. The real killer wasn’t GM.
It was a tag team of the market – and the government. One of those killers was innocent.
The other is still at large.
The market killed off the GM EV1 – the electric car that was the subject of the movie – because it was still allowed to work back then. It was a mercy killing.

Justifiable homicide.
There weren’t any “zero emissions” mandates or carbon credits back in the mid-’90s and while CAFE – the government’s fuel economy edicts – did exist, back then it was only 27-something miles-per-gallon and so it wasn’t yet necessary to build EVs as compliance cars, just to even out the MPG math (as it is now;

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Always-On High Beams

25 days ago

High beams used to be usually off. You turned them on if you needed them – which wasn’t usually.
That’s about to be turned on its head if a new “safety” proposal (yes, another one) under consideration by the National Highway Safety Administration becomes the latest safety fatwa. High beams will be default on, all the time. They’ll dim only when sensors detect an oncoming car.
Assuming the sensors detect the oncoming car. Which assumes the sensors will always work.
NHTSA says always on – or mostly on – high beams have “… the potential to reduce the risk of crashes by increasing visibility without increasing glare.”
Except high beams are glare personified.
That’s why they’re usually turned off. And now the government wants to pass

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Civilian Interaction Training

26 days ago

It’s not surprising that kids in government schools are taught the government’s point of view about pretty much  . . . everything.
Including “behavioral expectations” when interacting with armed government workers (i.e., the police).
There’s a new video not merely circulating in government schools but mandatory viewing for teenagers seeking the government’s permission to drive. It is titled Civilian Interaction Training, an interesting title given that armed government workers (assuming they are not actually in the military) are also civilians, their four-starred and campaign-hatted delusions to the contrary notwithstanding.

The video asserts a number of legally dubious and dangerous things – above and beyond the silly thing

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The Turbo Tax

27 days ago

You’ve heard the saying, your mileage may vary?
Well, there’s a new variable you ought to take into account when you go shopping for a new car. You might call it the Turbo Tax. It’s paid two ways – up front and down the road.
And it’s becoming harder to avoid either tax, because about a third of all new cars on the market come standard with a turbocharged engine. Within the next few years, it will be tough to buy any new car without a turbocharged engine.
But what is a turbo? Why are turbos being put under the hoods of so many new cars?
And why is it . . . taxing?
A turbo is a compressor. It pressurizes the incoming air that would – ordinarily – be sucked into the engine’s cylinders very much in the same manner that we draw in a

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Libertarians and Tesla?

October 19, 2018

I received a letter (below) from a reader who took issue with my taking issue with electric cars generally and Tesla specifically. This reader claimed to be a Libertarian – which staggered me like a punch from Ali in his prime.
I figured it was worth an at-length reply since there are actually a lot of people out there who think Elon Musk is a Libertarian.
Which, to me, is like believing Caitlyn Jenner is a woman.
Paul writes: I’m a libertarian Tesla owner and also a writer on the costs of the car and have written on how the costs of ownership are similar to a Camry, but the car drives better than most Porsches, is safer than any other car tested and very economical if you drive a lot.
You talk constantly about the 45 minutes it

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The Electric Surtax

October 17, 2018

Porsches have never been inexpensive – but they’re about to become more so. You could call it the electric surtax – because that’s what it amounts to.
And it’s probably going to be applied to us all, eventually.
Porsche corporate – the company –  just announced that it will expect all 190 of its U.S. stores to install high-voltage fast chargers at a cost of $300,000-$400,000 per store as part of the company’s “commitment” to “electrify” half its product portfolio by 2025.
The problem – which Porsche openly concedes – is that while electric Porsches are fast, they’re slower than a ’72 Pinto with a slipping transmission when it comes to recharging.
This is a problem with all electric cars, not just Porsches.
It’s a much bigger

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Perpetual Taxes on Property

October 13, 2018

They aren’t merely a means of mulcting us, as other taxes (such as the income tax) are. Property taxes are the means of assuring that we never truly own anything by making us pay for the thing in perpetuity.
The true owners of the thing in question being those who collect this rent in perpetuity.
But don’t take my word for it. Read about it. In The Communist Manifesto. Here.
You can stop paying income taxes and not go to prison. Just stop earning income. But you can’t stop paying property taxes – without being homeless, at any rate – and so are forced to continue earning income in order to pay both income and property taxes. In order to keep you working, you see. So that you are never at ease; never secure.
Property taxes are also enormously regressive – ironic,

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The ‘Safest Car Ever Built’?

October 11, 2018

At Tesla, wishes are the same as facts. So when Tesla wishes the Model 3 to be the “safest car ever built” then it must be so.
Except NHTSA – the federal saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety regulatory agency which rates the saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety of new cars – takes exception to Tesla’s claims.
The feather-ruffle began over the weekend, when Tesla let loose  a lengthy blog post claiming that it had engineered the Model 3 to “be the safest car ever built” and that NHTSA’s tests show that it has “the lowest probability of injury of all cars the safety agency has ever tested.”
But in a statement released on Tuesday, NHTSA disputed Tesla’s claims.
“A 5-star rating is the highest safety rating a vehicle can achieve,” the agency said in the

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Mazda Cries Uncle, Too

October 8, 2018

Depressing news. Mazda – one of the very few major car brands to not embrace the electric car tar baby – just did.
The same company that – just a year ago – said that “driving matters” has now officially announced it will “electrify” all of its cars by 2030.
You should know why.
It’s not because there’s huge demand for “electrified” cars. There is in fact almost no demand for them. Only about 1 percent of all cars sold last year were “electrified” and those were sold almost entirely in California and Arizona, states where car companies are forced to build them in order to comply with “zero emissions” car quotas. These cars are economic throw-ways. Built because the government requires it, then unloaded (and written off) at a

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Well, Now We Know

October 5, 2018

Well, now we know… how much Uncle’s persecution of VW is costing us – on top of the billions it has already cost Volkswagen.
Are you ready, Freddie?
About seven miles per gallon.
That’s how much the mileage of a 2015 Jetta TDI droops after it gets “fixed” – a term also used by farmers and used in the same manner here as well.
The VWs in question – like young male calves – were not broken. “Fixing” is a euphemism for taking something away . . . .
In the case of the VWs, what’s being taken away – by those who brought their cars in for “fixing”- is their formerly exceptional fuel efficiency.
And now we know exactly how much of that has been lost.
Originally, a 2015 Jetta TDI carried a window sticker that read 30 city and 44 highway.

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$20 Million Isn’t Much

October 4, 2018

If you’re a billionaire.
Count it out. One billion dollars is one thousand million dollars. If you have one thousand million dollars, $20 million is of the same consequence as losing a $20 under a sofa cushion is to the rest of us.
Elon Musk is reportedly worth somewhere in the vicinity of $23 billion. For him, the  $20 million fine imposed by the SEC for fraud amounts to the same as losing a penny behind the sofa cushions for the rest of us.
So, effectively, a slap on the wrist – for fraud. For actually causing harm.
Contrast the kid-glove treatment meted out to Elon with the NKVD-style inquisition visited upon Martha Stewart – a productive woman whose businesses didn’t have a taxpayer pickpocket division
She was vengefully

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Electric Cars Aren’t Exotic

October 3, 2018

Is it just speed – and exclusivity – which make a Maserati (or a Porsche) exotic? If that’s all it is, then electrified versions of these and other exotic cars ought to continue to sell.
Maserati thinks they will.
The exotic Italian carmaker just announced its intention to sell mostly electric exotics by 2020-2021. Fire and spark will recede. Henceforth, it will be mostly just the silence of electric motors
Four new EVs are on deck, including an electrified Quattroporte.
Porsche is plugging in, too – embodied by its Mission e all-electric concept and its recent publicly expressed “commitment” to a plugged-in future.
But what if there is no such future?
Of all the types of cars on the road, exotics are bought for emotional as much

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The Gov’t Has Long Ridden Shotgun in Your Car

October 1, 2018

Big Brother has been riding shotgun for years, but he’s never been able to actually watch what we do in our cars.
That’s about to change.
He’ll soon be able to tell whether we’re sleeping or texting or doing other things unrelated to driving. Which isn’t the bad part.
BMW just publicly revealed their new camera-based driver monitoring system. It is called Extended Traffic Jam Assistant and will be available in the 2019 X5, the company’s best-selling mid-sized SUV.
The assistant is part of what’s styled Level 2 automated driving tech. The 2019 X5 can drive itself – including steer itself – without the driver touching anything – all the way up to just under 40 MPH. But for obvious reasons – including legal liability reasons – BMW

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California

September 29, 2018

A huge battle is brewing between the state of California and the rest of America over who gets to decree national fuel economy standards. (Which have morphed into something other than just fuel economy standards.)
It’d be nice if car buyers got to decide, via their purchasing decisions – but that’s off the table.
On the upside, President Trump walked back the had-been-pending federal fatwa that would have required all new cars to average 50-plus MPG by 2025 – citing compliance costs and even (heresy!) questioning whether the government has any business fatwa’ing fuel efficiency requirements in the first place.
California responded with foot-stomping threats to issue its own counter-fatwa, which would impose the 50-plus MPG

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Rims and MPGs

September 28, 2018

One of the teeth-aching disconnects of our time is the feigned obsession with MPGs on the one hand – and the very real obsession with huge wheels (and tires) on the other hand.
The two together amount to weight loss on the Burger King Plan.
Not that there’s anything wrong with big wheels as such – if that’s what you like. Just as there’s nothing wrong – as such – with Whoppers. What makes the teeth ache is people who talk about losing weight  . . . and eat Whoppers.
Also people who talk about saving gas . . . who buy cars with big “rims.”
Just as a diet of Whoppers adds to your waistline by adding calories to your diet, larger wheels and tires hurt fuel efficiency because they add weight and increase rolling resistance.
But

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Stormy Daniels

September 26, 2018

Everyone knows about Stormy Daniels. How many know that the United States is now a net exporter of oil? That more oil and natural gas are produced here, inside than the United States, than the Unites States needs for its own purposes – and that we sell the surplus to other countries?
Whatever happened to “Peak Oil”?
Weren’t we supposed to be running out of oil?
They – the government and the mainstream press – have been saying just that since the early ’70s and their saying so served as the justification for velocity rationing (the infamous Drive 55 national maximum speed limit law, which abused motorists for 20 years before it was finally repealed in the mid-’90s) and for CAFE – the federal law which imposes fuel rationing on the car industry. It is compelled – by

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No More Chrysler 300

September 22, 2018

No big surprise – but now it’s official: The Chrysler 300 sedan will be retired after the 2020 model year.
But, it’s depressing regardless.
First, because the 300 still sells well. And that is a surprise. Chrysler has sold about 3,000 of them each month so far this year – which is steady as she goes and about the same as were sold last year and the year prior (see here). Which is remarkable, because the 300 hasn’t changed much in years. The basic car dates back to 2005.
And yet it sells.
Much better than the electric Turducken that is slated to replace it.
That Turducken is something tentatively called the Portal. It will be everything the 300 isn’t – and that is going to be a problem for Chrysler.
What’s left of it.
The brand

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The eTron Con

September 20, 2018

Some inside baseball that’s relevant to the bum’s rush (Uncle’s rush, really) toward an Electric Car Future:
They don’t send me electric cars to test drive. Not one. Not yet. Probably not ever.
They send me everything else – except for GM, which stopped sending me cars to punish me for expressing un-PC opinions about the company’s leg-humping of “diversity” (see here for more about that). But the point is, GM  did send me cars and could send me cars.
Just not electric cars.
Why is this relevant to the EV discussion?
Because it demonstrates badly how gimped EVs are – and I figured someone (it won’t be the “consumer” press) ought to tell you about it, in case you’ve taken too many pulls on the electric car crack pipe and actually

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The Never-Ending Attack

September 17, 2018

If you thought it was over, think again. The government may have torn off its pound of flesh; now it’s the lawyers’ turn.
Arguing that VW “embezzled from the environment” and “polluted portfolios,” a class action suit is demanding an additional $10.6 billion in damages from VW – on top of the estimated $32 billion the affronting of Uncle has already cost the company.
The argument is that VW didn’t alert investors to the “notice of violation” the government (EPA) sent to company higher-ups on Sept. 18, 2015 until four days after it had been received – depriving them of the opportunity to unload their stock before the story became public.
Following which, the value of VW’s stock cratered by 34 percent.
True enough. But their loss

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Camaro’s Crisis

September 14, 2018

It’s 1975 all over again – for the Chevy Camaro.
That year, there was no Z28 and the next year there was almost no Camaro. Chevy – GM management – came very close to cancelling both the Camaro and its sister car, the Pontiac Firebird, because of wilting sales.
Things are much worse now than they were back in ’75.
So far this year, Chevy has sold 29,551 Camaros.
In ’75 – a bad year for Camaro – 145,770 were sold.  The more relevant figure to GM’s current predicament may be last year’s sales – which were more than twice this year’s – 67,940 cars sold.
There are still four months left in this year, so it will probably not be that bad by the end of the year, but it is still bad enough. GM is publicly worried enough that it has

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France Is Freer Than the US

September 12, 2018

Americans talk a lot about freedom but have less of it in many ways than people do in other countries.
France, for instance.
Over there, you can legally buy and drive a car without a license – sans permis – which is something that’s very illegal to do here.
In France there is a whole class of cars – everything from clapped out Hoopties to brand new and warranted – that are not only legal to drive without any kind of government-issued permission slip or ear tag (as here) you don’t even have to be sixteen- years-old to do so.
You can drive a voitures sans permis – a “car without a license” – at fourteen and not have to worry about being hut! hut! hutted! by a gaggle of tacticooled and buzz-cut armed government workers. It’s all

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