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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

The ‘Revenue Opportunity’ Behind the Wheel

17 hours ago

There is a saying that goes, if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. But what if you’re paying for it – and you’re still the product?
Welcome to your next new car – previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas earlier this month – in which you’ll be surrounded by new technology designed to “monetize” everything from your musical preferences (it knows which stations you like) to where you like to go (it keeps track of where and when) and what you like to eat.
Perhaps even what you look at as you drive.
The cameras so many new cars come with already will soon be pointed at you. You’ll be surrounded sensors, too – in the seats, in the dash – anywhere they can be put where data about you can be mined.

That

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Teslas Suddenly Get Pricier

5 days ago

Tesla announced the other day that it will no longer be producing the least-expensive version of its Model S sedan – which lines up with Tesla’s failure to produce many (f any) of the lower-priced versions of its constantly trumpeted Model 3.
It’s a hint about how one of the biggest problems with electric cars – their being too expensive for most people to consider, so long as their are less less expensive options available – will be handled.
We’ll all just pay more – because their won’t be any less expensive options.
And not just at Tesla stores.
As “electrification” gallops ahead – every major car company is practically on a war footing, frantically rushing as many EVs to market as they possibly can and retiring as many

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Don’t Fall for This One

8 days ago

People are – understandably – terrified of any correspondence that looks like it’s from the government since it usually means something bad and something you can’t avoid. Scammers have glommed on to people’s fear of anything official looking and are using it to trick people into opening crap correspondence they’d otherwise just trash without even looking at.
So when an official-looking envelope arrives from the Vehicle Notification Department – and an IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO THIS NOTICE  is staring at you in all caps bold-faced type – well, one tends to give it a second look at least.
Which is about all it’s worth – if that.
The “Vehicle Notifications Department” is in fact a shystery extended warranty outfit – AutoAssure, LLC –

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Fake News?

12 days ago

Trump gets flak for characterizing the mainstream press as purveyors of Fake News. But what about no news at all?
Isn’t lack of coverage even worse than biased coverage?
Well, how much news have you heard or read about the gilets jaunes – or “yellow vest” – protests in France? CNN hasn’t got anything on its main page today (Jan. 9). Neither did NBC or CBS. Lots of the usual – endless – carpet-chewing coverage of Trump, though. And also of such important stories as “Want to Pay off Your Mortgage? Try Frugal Minimalism.”
You might think France, a major western European country, coming unglued – and on the verge of its government outright banning “unauthorized” criticism of its actions – might at least be  . . .  well,  news.

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The Unmentionable Alternative

13 days ago

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

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A License To Kill

14 days ago

Imagine being empowered by the state to threaten people with murderous violence over hurt feelings.
Or for pretty much any reason at all. Without having to worry much – if at all – about ever being held criminally responsible for such abuse.
To say that such a policy is dangerous is like saying there’s a slight problem in the Titanic’s hold, after it hit the iceberg.
It is catastrophic – as great a threat to our liberties as the gushing-in seawater was to the souls aboard the doomed liner.
In this video, a man who flipped The Bird to an armed government worker finds himself in mortal peril because he hurt the AGW’s feelings. Not because any law was broken – much less any harm done to persons or property, the only moral

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Smart Cars

17 days ago

One of the arguments used by automated car pushers (I use the term deliberately, to convey the fact that the market isn’t asking for automated cars any more than it is electric cars; both are being forced upon the market by parties who are frustrated by the market’s reluctance to “embrace” either thing) is that they are saaaaaaaafer than cars controlled by us.
In a sense, this is true.
If you begin with the premise that “us” consists of the typically dumbed-down 18-year-old driver. Whose driving has been dumbed on purpose to create the pretext for automated cars.
This process has been under way for a long time but desultorily – until fairly recently. Something changed for the much worse in the early years of this new century.
It

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Radar Invisibility?

22 days ago

Some of you may remember the ‘80s movie adaptation of the epic (and excellent) sci-fi novel Dune by Frank Herbert. The characters in this far-distant future wear defensive shield belts that, when activated, partially protect them from attack.
But they are not invulnerable to attack.

Radar detectors amount to the same thing. They offer partial shielding. They do not guarantee immunity from tickets. But they can greatly reduce you odds of getting one – if you understand what they can (and can’t) do and adjust your driving accordingly.
Radar detectors can’t detect radar that’s not on – but police radar might still be there.
Some cops keep their radar running continuously and that’s the radar detectors are able to detect. The radar

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Why No Safety Exemption

25 days ago

You may have caught my article about the brand-new 1960s Mustangs you can legally buy – upgraded in all the right places but left alone everywhere else.
They have modern, fuel-injected engines, high-capacity four-wheel-disc brakes and modern suspensions that make them the equal – or better – of a brand-new (2019) Mustang not only in terms of performance but also everyday driveability, low maintenance and long-haul durability, too.
Also their emissions – which are as low as the new Mustang’s and so Uncle-approved.
But they haven’t got any of the other stuff Uncle has been mandating since the 1960s that may have made cars more crashworthy but also less beautiful and individual. No air bags homogenize the steering wheels; no

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Leased Cars Are Wrecking Auto Sales

28 days ago

Did you know that the percentage of new cars sales that are actually leases has risen from about 3-5 percent in the early-mid 2000s to more than 30 percent as of this year?
It appears about a third of the population – about five times as many as used to be able to –  is no longer able to afford to buy new cars.
At least, not the cars they want – the $30,000 and up ones, laden with all the latest gadgets they want (plus the ones mandated by Uncle).
There are still new cars priced under $20,000 – and most people can still afford those. But they’re the slow-movers. And they’re disappearing – both because they are slow-movers and also because the government-corporate nexus is pushing electric and hybrid-electric cars, which are on track to become the only kinds of cars

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The Saaaaaaafety Exemption(s)

29 days ago

It’s a curious thing . . .
The same government which says it’s so very “concerned” about our saaaaafety that it won’t allow us to ride a motorcycle without a helmet – and will threaten us with violence if we don’t wear a seat belt – won’t allow us to disable known-to-be dangerous air bags and is  very loosey-goosey about self-driving/automated cars.
Which have demonstrated how unsafe they are.
Like air bags, automated cars have killed – unlike me not buckling up. But that’s not enough to get them banned or even restricted very much.
Uber just resumed testing its self-driving cars on pubic roads, in Pennsylvania – nine months after it voluntarily suspended testing them in Arizona, following some negative publicity about one of its

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Obergruppenfuhrer AGWs

December 22, 2018

Here’s news coverage from a local Vegas, NV ABC affiliate about the former Obergruppenfuhrer (note his four stars and “campaign” ribbons) and his stellvertreter (deputy) who were both fired after an internal investigation regarding sexual harassment, including ass grabbing.

Leaving aside the ass-grabbing, it’s both hilarious – and depressing – to see these geeks wearing military rank insignia.
Generals and majors, everywhere . . .

We hear of “stolen valor” all the time – but what about these cases?
The pictured Obergruppenfuhrer is not a commissioned officer. He is not even agefreiter.  He is certainly not a four-star general. Yet he is wearing costume jewelry so indicating. The badges of rank on my old Boy Scout uniform are more legitimate. I am, after all,

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Inside EV Baseball

December 21, 2018

Most people have no direct experience with electric cars – and neither do I.
Well, not officially.
The difference is, I should have it – because unlike 99.9 percent of the population, I am a car journalist. The car companies send me new cars every week to test drive and evaluate.
It’s been my full-time job for more than 25 years.
But I don’t get electric cars.
And not just me. Other car journalists don’t get them, either. And that ought to serve as a kind of 9 volt canary in the coal mine about electric cars. 
Why don’t some of us get them?
It’s not because we don’t want them. “Want” in the sense of professional obligation. I’ve been accused of not liking electric cars – which is true.  I also do not like minivans and most

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High Water Marks

December 19, 2018

As a guy who reviews new cars, I am often asked which cars are my favorite cars. Almost all of them are old cars – which could be nostalgia but maybe (I like to think) because they just had something new cars don’t.
Like this one, for instance.
The 1973 SD-455 Trans-Am.
This car was in my opinion the apogee of muscle cardom. It was also the last real muscle car, not only because it was built at a time when almost all other high-powered American cars had already disappeared but because it was the last really powerful American two-plus two coupe built without catalytic converters or significant emissions controls of any kind and no air bags, traction control, ABS or other electronic impedimenta. It was a raw and surly car that had

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Guillotines and Red Octobers

December 14, 2018

The French would be in the streets.
Of course, they are in the streets – but that’s in France. What about here? General Motors just announced it will be closing five plants and firing about 15,000 people – and that’s probably just for openers.
This, by itself, isn’t cause for pitchforks.
Companies sometimes have to lay people off – because sometimes, people aren’t buying what the company is selling. Even when this is the result of mismanagement, it’s a normal part of life in a free economy.
But GM used the government as its personal Luca Brasi to mulct taxpayers – including those people GM just fired – to the tune of $33 billion back in 2009 – so that those jobs would be saved.
That, at any rate, was the alleged basis for the

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The Cost of a Time Machine

December 12, 2018

The good news first.
You can legally buy a brand-new car without a single air bag or any of the saaaaaaafety equipment mandated by the government since the late 1960s.
No back-up camera, ABS, TCS or black box data recorder.
Not even a seat belt buzzer.
A car you can see out of, too – that doesn’t need a back-up camera. Doesn’t try to parent you – and never nags you.
Even better news, these cars are brand-new 1960s Mustangs. Not restored originals, but brand-new cars – built using all new Ford-licensed sheetmetal and put together to a standard that wasn’t possible in the ‘60s.
Panel fitment is exacting; the doors close as tightly as a new Camrys. These new Mustangs do not squeak or leak. Trim is not misaligned. The paintwork

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Why I Keep My Old Trans-Am

December 10, 2018

It’s strange to find myself an uncle, with a country place – and an Orange Barchetta out in the garage.
My 1976 Trans-Am.
It is a relic from the ”better, vanished time” Rush sang about in their classic Libertarian rock hit of 1981, which was inspired by a short story written in 1973 by Richard S. Foster for Road & Track magazine, about a future in which saaaaaaaaaafety mandates had turned new cars into – well, what they are today. Big Brothered, homogenized and no fun.
Older cars were banned by The Motor Law.

The Barchetta – redwood and leather, hot metal and oil and not an air bag to be found – is carefully hidden away and kept in full operational readiness by the white-haired uncle, who preserves it for his nephew as a piece

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The Speeding Exemption

December 8, 2018

In Orwell’s other book – Animal Farm – we read about a mutiny against the farmer by the livestock, who draw up a kind of Declaration of Rights premised on the idea that all animals are equal. This is painted on the side of the barn for all to admire.
Over time (and in the dead of night) caveats and exemptions are inserted – by the pigs – culminating in the new idea that some animals are more equal than others. The pigs begin wearing clothes, sleep inside the farmhouse – while the other animals sleep outside or in the unheated barn.
When it comes to driving fast, some two-legged animals are without doubt regarded by themselves as more equal than others.
And by the law, too.
If an armed government worker is in a hurry, it is

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Fun Used Cars

December 3, 2018

The ‘90s/early 2000s was the last time messing with cars was a commonthing among teens and 20s. These were the “ricers” and “tuners” – kids who worked on mostly Japanese stuff, especially Honda Civics and their higher-brow Acura cousins, which came with the hotter engines  . . . from the factory.
Italicized for reasons that will become clearer below.
The signature Ricer mod was a loud exhaust with a disproportionately huge muffler. Some put whistles in the pipe to mimic the sound of a turbo spooling up. This was Gen Y’s version of Gen X’s flipping the air cleaner lid over so that you could hear the four barrel moan when the secondaries opened.
But you don’t hear the buzzsaw sound of a tweaked out Civic or Integra much anymore.

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The Great Winnowing

December 1, 2018

GM’s announcement the other day that it will no longer make cars – or rather, just a few – follows Ford’s previous announcement along the same lines.
Chevy will lose more than half of its currently available passenger car models, including the full-size Impala sedan, the mid-size Cruze and the compact Sonic. Plus the functionally viable Volt electric car, which gets the noose for probably just that reason (separate rant; see here for more about that).
Ford has already shed its entire Mercury division and GM its Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn divisions.
More will inevitably follow.
Because how many different ways can GM re-sell the same relative handful of closely related crossovers and trucks? And how long will GM (or anyone

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Fuel Riots

November 28, 2018

They’re rioting in France over the government’s imposition of artificial fuel scarcity.
There’s no actual shortage; the country – the world – is swimming in fuel, courtesy of new discoveries and new extraction techniques.
Parisians just can’t afford to buy it because of French President Emmanuel Macron’s “hydrocarbon tax” regime – specifically designed to make fuel unaffordable, as a compensatory measure to correct for its abundance and the low prices that would otherwise be the case.
As here.
Adjusted for inflation, the cost of gasoline is less in real terms than it was in 1965. And a huge chunk of the cost today is taxes – about 50 cents per gallon. Take that away and gas would only cost about $2 per gallon.
Diesel fuel –

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Colorado Embraces EV Tar Baby

November 26, 2018

Colorado has become the 13th state – plus the District of Columbia – to embrace the fatuously titled “zero emissions” electric car tar baby.
This will ” . . . protect the quality of our air and safeguard against returning to the days of the ‘brown clould,’ ” warbled Governor John Hickenlooper – whose name sounds like a villain out of an Ayn Rand novel.
Actually, it won’t do any such thing.
What it will do is place another and probably insuperable obstacle in front of the Trump administration’s efforts to dial back federal fuel economy regs – which Colorado and those 12 other states plus the District of Columbia (and the EPA) now also characterize with a combination of illiteracy, dishonesty and halting effrontery

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The Genie Between You and Acceleration

November 24, 2018

When we were kids, we were told to wish for things. Imagine it, pray for it – and it might be so. At the genie’s whim, of course.
New cars work a lot like that. You have very little physical control over its workings.
Instead you have wireless control.
Which really means: The computer controls the workings of your car.
For example, “drive by wire,” which almost all new cars have and most cars made during the past five years or so, too. Instead of a physical cable connecting the gas pedal to the throttle, it’s all done electronically – by wire.
Actually, by sensors.
You push down on the gas pedal and the system uses these sensors to register the depression of the pedal and the computer signals the throttle to open to the

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This Election Mattered

November 22, 2018

If you don’t think elections matter, wait about five years.
Then go shopping for a new car.
You will have your choice of a small hybrid car – or an electric car. Because by 2025, all new cars will be required by federal fatwa to average almost 50 miles-per-gallon – nearly twice the current fatwa-mandated average.
And the only cars capable of doing so are small hybrids like the Toyota Prius, Hyundai Ioniq and Kio Niro.
And, of course, electric cars – which burn no gas at all. Well, not directly.
There may still be a few other, non-hybrid cars (and possibly even trucks) but these will have become very artificially expensive – so you probably will not be able to afford one.
Because the Democrats won control of the House.
These

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Post-Warranty Warranties . . .

November 21, 2018

The first thing to know about any car warranty is that it’s basically a bet.
But is it a good one . . . for you?
The issuer is like the guy running the baccarat table at The Sands in Vegas. He is wagering that you’ll definitely pay him – and that he probably won’t have to pay you.
He’s not the mark, in other words.
You are.
Warranties aren’t randomly selected time and mileage intervals. Those time and mileage intervals are based on extensive in-house durability testing of the vehicle – and meticulous cost-benefit analysis.
The “house” is betting that the warranted vehicle won’t need more than the usual maintenance-related things while the warranty is in effect. That’s how money’s made, you see.
It is always possible something

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Non-Emergency Automated Braking

November 19, 2018

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

November 14, 2018

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

November 10, 2018

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

November 8, 2018

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

November 7, 2018

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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