Wednesday , May 24 2017
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Eric Peters

Eric Peters

Eric started out writing about cars for mainstream media outlets such as The Washington Times, Detroit News and Free Press, Investors Business Daily, The American Spectator, National Review, The Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal.

Articles by Eric Peters

Nothing Runs You Like a Deere. . .

18 hours ago

We are allowed to use the land as the sovereign sees fit – and not otherwise. If we use it in ways forbidden, the king – whoops, Uncle – will punish us. He can also just take it from us via another noxious doctrine – that of eminent domain.
But until recently, we at least owned our incidentals – the small-potatoes stuff, like the clothes on our backs. Our cars.
Our tractors, certainly.
Not anymore.
Not if it’s a John Deere tractor.
When you buy one, you’re actually purchasing an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.“ Basically, a rental contract. With the difference being that even when the rental is paid off, you are still bound by the contract.
Time to buy old US gold coins
Yes, really.
It has to do with two things – the code

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A Great Time To Buy a Used Car

5 days ago

You might want to buy a used car while they’re cheap – but not just because they’re cheap.
And cheap they are.
Because of unprecedented desperation tactics to sell new cars – including under-bid incentives, cash back offers and “free money” loans at zero or nearly zero interest. Which the car companies have had to resort to during the past year in order to fluff up wilting sales (and sales are wilting regardless).
When you make new cars so attractive – so cheap – to buy, what happens is that used cars become even cheaper to buy.
It is hard to sell, as a for-instance, a $17,000 three-year-old Camry when you can buy a brand new one for around $22k out the door – especially when the payments on the new car are lower because the interest on the loan is less  and

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‘Autonomous’ Cars

7 days ago

Within 12 years, only 5 percent of the driving done in this country will be done by “autonomous” drivers – according to a study that is getting huge play all over the mediascape.
That is to say, only 5 percent of the driving will be done by people like you and me – ordinary people going where we like, when we like and controlling the car ourselves.
That is autonomy.
Sans the air quotes.
Not this Orwellian doublespeak about cars programmed by others and so controlled by others and which drive themselves without our input and which are subject to outside intervention contrary to our own wishes being characterized by the media as – ahem – “autonomous.”
That’s an inversion right up there with the “patriot” act – and Social Security “contributions.”
Time to buy

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Living in the Homeland

9 days ago

One of the truly scary things about living in The Homeland, as it is officially styled nowadays, is that you are subject to punishment prior to conviction. Merely to be accused is sufficient to deprive you of liberty and property.
And even when – after much expense (yours) and time forever lost – you are eventually able to prove your innocence (rather than them having to prove your guilt) those who abused you are never themselves punished for what they did to an innocent person – and good luck getting them to make you whole for what they did to your innocent person.   
The WarrnTrr – and The War on Some Drugs – account for much of this, but the rot goes deeper. The Homeland’s armed goons – and the Homeland’s robed goons – can summarily seize your person,

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The Danger of Low Speed Limits

13 days ago

Almost every new car I test drive – even the humblest hybrid – has a speedometer that reads to at least 120 mph.
140 is common; 160 not unusual. Some cars have speedometers that read to 180 or even 200 MPH
And some of those are capable of pegging them.
Few ever do.
It would be interesting to know how many cars are ever driven faster than 100 MPH. And also how many ever see 130 – even briefly. My bet is maybe one out of ten and then only for a brief moment of furtive lawlessness.
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First, of course, it is extraordinarily dangerous to drive that fast.
Not the speed, per se. In a modern car, 100 MPH is safer than 70 was in a 1960s-era car. Whether the measure is braking distances, lateral grip,

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Cars Are Better Than the Gov’t Intended

15 days ago

Cars are so much better than the government had intended that one can only imagine how good they might have been had the government not been involved at all.
In the first place, the government meant for most of us (but not them) to be driving small cars with not much power. This was the purpose of Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements, which first went into effect back in the 1970s.
And initially, it worked exactly as intended.
Cars got “downsized” across the board. The typical layout of the American family car went from rear-wheel-drive with a V8 engine up front to front-wheel-drive with a four-cylinder engine parked on top of the front wheels. Cars shed horsepower and engine displacement as well as curb weight, as the engineers groped for more MPGs.

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The $94,000 Traffic Ticket

20 days ago

Imagine a ticket for “failure to display a front license plate” – not even a moving violation – costing you almost six figures. Nathan Cox of Mechanicsville, VA doesn’t have to, because he lived it.
Well, he paid it.
$94,000.
And it could have been worse.
Initially, he was looking at $1.3 million. Technically, it wasn’t the fine for not having a front plate – which in Virginia is a $75 hit to the wallet (plus court costs, of course). But the vengeful Virginia State (Storm) Trooper who pulled him over for the absent plate was determined to make Cox pay.
Time to buy old US gold coins
Cox, you see, was one of those pesky people who make a fuss over trumped-up laws and codes that empower Storm Troopers to hurt people who’ve hurt no one – but who’ve affronted the

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Irreparable Damage

21 days ago

You’ve heard the saying – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? True enough. But there are also things you can’t fix once broken. The car will never be quite right again – and may be a lot wrong.
These Irreparables include:
* Water damage –
This has alway…

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Demonized

26 days ago

Really, it’s surprising it took them so long.
But it is much more surprising that automotive journalists are leading the chorus ululating for the outlawing of the Dodge Demon muscle car. The automotive journalists at Automotive News – which is (or was) to the car world what The New York Times once was to the news-gathering world, cree that the Demon is “inherently dangerous to the common safety of motorists” and demand that it be “kept off our roads.” See here.
This is not much different than discovering an editorial in the morning paper written by Bernie Sanders arguing that the IRS should be abolished. When did automotive journalists morph into Safety Nags? And when did our roads become their roads?
It’s embarrassing.
First, on account of its general

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Is Slower Safer?

27 days ago

The mantra is that Slow is Safe. But Slow is often also oblivious – and sloppy.
Which tends to be dangerous, the opposite of safe.
The priests – and priestesses, more often – of The Safety Cult have not noticed.
The other day, I rolled up behind a car descending a mountain pass. The speed limit is 55 – the car was moping along at about 38 MPH. No, moping isn’t exactly the right word. It was randomly sashaying left then right, onto the shoulder – then across the double yellow.
Time to buy old US gold coins
But well below the Speed Limit.
[embedded content]
By Clover Standards, the person behind the wheel was thus, ipso facto, a Safe Driver.
Exceeding The Speed Limit is a kind of original sin within the Safety Cult. It must be obeyed, rigidly and reflexively.

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Snitch for the State

April 25, 2017

Late last week, it was revealed who squealed.
The Clover responsible for making it impossible for any of us to buy a diesel-powered Volkswagen henceforth – and a lot more – is Stuart Johnson, the former head of VW’s Engineering and Environmental Office in Auburn Hills, Michigan. He was outed in a book written about the VW “cheating” business by New York Times reporter Jack Ewing.
Johnson, of course, is about to get everything short of a ticker-tape parade. A bust of him will likely be cast and placed in the Hall of Mirrors – or whatever the equivalent is in the foyer of the EPA. He is already being lionized in the Usual Corners as a “hero” (that term, along with “community,” has worn out its welcome and ought to be etymologically euthanized).
You’d think he

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Hose Heroes?

April 21, 2017

Law enforcers aren’t “heroes”  . . .  but what about firemen?
Are they Hose Heroes?
People are pressured to regard them as such. Much as they are pressured to genuflect, North Korean funeral-style, before the Presence of a law enforcer.
You are probably forced to pay for fire “services” in your community. Just as you are forced to “help” pay for law enforcement – even if you yourself feel no need for either service and would rather opt-out, if that choice were available to you.
But of course, you have no such choice.
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And because you are forced to pay, there is no check on what is spent. The formerly small-scale local all-volunteer FD becomes professional – with salaried full-time firefighters who

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The Hero Problem

April 17, 2017

When the state and its media bullhorns refer to armed government workers – law enforcers – as “heroes,” it’s a sign the hour is getting late.
When most people don’t draw back and spit coffee all over the keyboard at the idea, it’s minutes to midnight.
How did it become “heroic” to enforce laws?
And if it is “heroic” to enforce laws then – ipso facto –  the East German Stasi, the Soviet GRU and NKVD were “heroic” also.
Right?
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Crickets, usually.
Well, cognitive dissonance. Too many people don’t make such connections; see the concept behind the particular.
“Law enforcement,” like references to the United States as the “Homeland” (mein Fuhrer! I can walk!) are relatively recent rust spots on the American quarter

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Desperate Solutions to Made-up Problems

April 11, 2017

Desperation brings out the worst in people – including engineers. But then, you can’t really fault them. The government issues its fatwas – which aren’t suggestions – and it is the job of the engineers to figure out ways to comply with the fatwas.
Hence, the becoming commonplace use of turbochargers and direct injection. Neither makes much sense except as measures to achieve compliance with federal fatwas, chiefly the one ululating that every new car must average at least 35.5 MPG and if not, its manufacturer will be caned in the public square.
Well, financially caned – via deliberately punitive “gas guzzler” taxes that are applied to the not-compliant cars. The taxes are passed directly to the buyer, who thus becomes less apt to buy – which renders it more

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Taxing Them Off the Road

March 30, 2017

For planned obsolescence to work, you’ve got to keep the conveyor belt rolling. And most of all, prevent anyone from getting off.
It is a problem if people “cling” to their old cars instead of regularly trading them in – ideally, to be crushed – for new ones – hopefully, heavily financed.
But how to get rid of the old cars when people decline to get rid of them voluntarily?
Democratic politicians in Oregon have just the thing.
It is House Bill 2877 and – if it becomes law – it will impose heavy taxes on cars 20 years old or more to the tune of $1,000 payable every five years, in perpetuity – unless the owner obtains Antique Vehicle registration and tags for the vehicle.
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The Antique

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German Engineers Outsmart DC Bureaucrats

March 28, 2017

You make the rules, we’ll find new ways around them.
That could be AMG’s motto and maybe is . . . unofficially. The Rhinoceros Thing you see before you is somehow fully compliant with every government reg; and yet… well, just look at it.
Al Gore does not approve.
But it’s all – for the moment – perfectly legal. There is nothing they – the short-haired termagants at EPA and the beetle-like killjoys at NHTSA – can do to stop you from buying one or Mercedes (via AMG, Benz’s in-house high-performance skunkworks) from building it.
Why are the most advertised Gold and Silver coins NOT the best way to invest?
It’s got to be making them nuts.
WHAT IT IS
Start with a GLE – a big and very heavy (5,000-plus pound) Mercedes SUV. Shave and swoop the roof but keep the

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Brock Yates, Phone Home

March 25, 2017

The car press has become the propaganda ministry of entities and individuals who either know nothing about cars or who loathe cars.
Whichever it is, the end result is the same: The writing of serially dishonest stories (and that ancient journalistic term is most apt) that anyone who does know something about cars – even if he loathes them – would notice immediately.
Example:
“The cost to implement tough fuel efficiency standards for cars imposed by the Obama Administration for the first half of the decade could be up to 40 percent lower than previously estimated using existing conventional technologies, according to a report from a nonprofit group released on Wednesday.”
Why are the most advertised Gold and Silver coins NOT the best way to invest?
Note the

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Subprime on Wheels

March 22, 2017

It’s a good time to be a repo man. . . again.
Lots of business picking up used cars people stopped making payments on.
According to S&P Global Ratings and an article in Bloomberg News, defaults on these subprime loans are at their highest water mark since the subprime collapse of 2008 and the “recovery rate” – what the lender ends up recouping of the original debt principle – is a mere 34.8 percent.
It’s a lot of money flushed.
But how is it that cars – all of them, not just the used ones – bleed value this quickly and this much?
It’s because they’re not really worth that much, to begin with.
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As distinct from what their price was, to begin with.
New car prices are hugely inflated – mostly because of

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Why the Press Is Hated

March 20, 2017

The press wonders – or pretends to wonder – why it’s held in contempt by more than just a small handful of people. Maybe the pressies should read what they publish.
The other day, Automotive News published the following:
“Dozens of U.S. cities are willing to buy $10 billion of electric cars and trucks to show skeptical automakers there’s demand for low-emissions vehicles, just as President Trump seeks to review pollution standards the industry opposes.”
This slurry of dishonest or simply idiotic “reporting” is stupendously revealing – all the more so because it is representative of the norm. Where to begin?
Let’s work from the back since the worst lie – and that is exactly the correct word – squats toward the end of this vile dreck:
Why are the most

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Trump Thinks Your Car’s Gas Mileage Is Your Business

March 17, 2017

The Clovers are aghast that Trump is threatening to do the unimaginable – and stop threatening the car companies with federal fuel economy fatwas (and add-on fatwas forbidding or restricting how much plant food – carbon dioxide – cars may emit).
He appears to be entertaining the horrible idea that the people who buy cars ought to be free to decide for themselves how much fuel economy matters to them – since they will be the ones paying for both the car and the gas. And – oh my god! – that this is really none of the business of the “concerned” scientists and other professional busybodies who regard their opinions and preferences as holy writ enforceable at gunpoint.
“We’re going to work on the CAFE standards so you can make cars in America again,” said Trump.

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If Cars Are So Safe Thanks to the Gov’t

March 15, 2017

New cars are – supposedly – “safer” than ever. Right? That’s what the government has been telling us.
Each new fatwa – backup cameras, tire pressure monitors, all those airbags – forced down our throats accompanied by the ululations of the regulatory ayatollahs that they would make cars . . . safer.
But then the news. Motor vehicle fatalities are suddenly going up.
And not just a little bit, either.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety (there it is, again!) Administration, motor vehicle fatalities are up by 8 percent – and that’s for 2015, the most recent year for which complete data are available. Preliminary data for 2016 suggest an even sharper spike – possibly into the double digits.
Why?
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The

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The Compliance Car

March 9, 2017

There’s a new model out you may not have heard about – the compliance car.
It’s a car that, for one reason or another, almost no one is willing to buy – and so must be given away at a loss.
Well, that part isn’t new.
From the Edsel to the Pacer to the Aztek, there have been errors of judgment – and marketing or design/manufacturing problems – that led to automotive belly flops. Cars that just didn’t do well. It happens.
But it wasn’t intentional.
That is the distinction between a belly flop like the Aztek – and a compliance car. The latter – the compliance car – is a car designed to fail. A car they know ahead of time won’t sell, that they’ll have to give away at a loss.
And they build it anyway.
And continue to build it.
Here’s the latest for-instance: The

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Apocalypse Avoided?

March 7, 2017

If this one thing happens, electing Trump will have been worth the bother.
It’s actually two things.
Trump’s EPA will be “revisiting” the Obama EPA’s last-minute fuel efficiency and emissions fatwas, hurriedly ululated just two weeks before the end of the Obama EPA.
It might just prevent a catastrophe worse than the implosion of 2008 – when two out of three of the Big Three went bankrupt. This time, the industry could go bankrupt.
The first fatwa would require every car company to build cars that average 54.5 MPG by the model year 2025 – irrespective of such banal things as what this will cost the people who have to pay for it all.
The Obama EPA’s imbecile reasoning – if taken at face value – is that the government decreeing cars must average 54.5 MPG will

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Silence of the Lambs

March 6, 2017

You’d think maybe he killed someone.
Oliver Schmidt is facing 169 years in prison.
Earlier this week, the 48-year-old German national was frog-marched before the judge who will preside over his coming criminal trail, shackled at the ankles and waist, wearing an orange, Hannibal Lector-style one-piece jumpsuit.
All that was missing, really, was the face mask.
That – and a victim.
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Schmidt is one of several VW executives implicated in the diesel “cheating” scandal. He is the former chief of the now-writhing-on-the-floor, hoping-for-mercy German car company’s Environmental and Engineering Center in Detroit. VW has thrown him – and six other executives and engineers – under the bus, having already agreed

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Close Your Garage Door!

March 3, 2017

Drive around almost any neighborhood and you will find homes with wide-open garages, expensive tools and equipment in plain sight . . . and no one around.
Tools are portable. Often, they come in their very own carrying case – with a handle and everything.
Anything on wheels – like a generator or air compressor – rolls.
A bold thief could just walk right up in broad daylight, grab your expensive set of Snap-On wrenches or your digital torque wrenches and say sayonara. Maybe a neighbor will notice but probably not. If the guy acts like he’s supposed to be there, most people assume it’s ok for him to be there.
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Bye-bye tools.
Garages are goldmines – full of easy-to-steal stuff that’s even easier to turn

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If Safety Mattered

March 2, 2017

In several objective ways, new cars are less “safe” than cars built decades ago.
A strong statement. One that probably seems ridiculous, too, given all the “safety” features new cars have that old cars did not – and also given the fact that new cars must pass a battery of crash tests before they may legally be sold to the public.
But “safety” is a slippery thing.
An analogy may help get the point across.
Battleships were considered virtually invulnerable; they had armor belts more than a foot thick in some cases. Then came naval aviation. And the air-dropped torpedo. One or two of these – a few thousand bucks each, maybe – could slide under a battleship’s armor belt (which generally did not extend below the waterline) and make short work of a billion-dollar

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Self-Driving Cars?

February 27, 2017

What does it mean when people talk about self-driving cars? We really ought to be talking about programmed cars.
And about who does the programming.
The “self-driving” car doesn’t decide for itself how fast it goes or what route it takes – at least, it won’t until it becomes an autonomous thinking machine, an artificial intelligence. We are not quite there yet.
So, in the meanwhile, who decides?
And it is a who – a flesh-and-blood someone (or someones). Guess what? It’s not you. This whole “self-driving” car thing is about taking you out of the driver’s seat. And putting someone else in control of “your” car.
Myths, Misunderstandings and Outright lies about owning Gold. Are you at risk?
That part stays the same. Nominal ownership. You will make the

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GM’s Newest Rip-Off

February 14, 2017

Renting is a much better deal than buying . . . for the landlord. You – the renter – never own anything. But you pay for everything.
Forever.
This appears to be GM’s view of the future of cars, which it plans to rent to you rather than sell to you.
It’s actually sound policy – for GM – given the cost of new cars (not just GM’s) as well as the declining affection for cars, especially among those in the 35 and younger bracket – many of whom aren’t interested in ever owning a car but occasionally need one.
GM launched Maven – its in-house ride-sharing (renting) service last January in anticipation of a radically changing car market, one presaged by services such as Uber and Lyft. The difference here is that Maven is GM, while Uber and Lyft are simply

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A Tire Too Good To Be True?

February 10, 2017

You can’t inflate it – and you can’t puncture it. It always runs flat. Potholes don’t faze it – and there’s no possibility of bending the wheel because there isn’t one to bend.
That’s the hype for the non-pneumatic tire (NPT) and wheel – an integrated assembly made of a flexible polyurethane material formed into a spoked/honeycomb-like lattice around a central hub. The wheel/tire combo can deform with road imperfections and eliminates even the possibility of a flat tire, as well as the need to worry about keeping track of air pressure.    
Some lawn mowers, golf carts and commercial equipment such as skid steers already have NPT tires – and the military uses them on rough terrain and in hostile conditions, where a flat tire can be more than just a hassle.
Resilient

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America’s Exotic Car

February 8, 2017

The Corvette used to be America’s sports car. It will soon be America’s exotic car.
Something gained – maybe something lost.
The next one – on deck for 2019 – will apparently be mid-engined, exotic in itself and certainly by Corvette-historic standards. The pushrod/two valve V8 will still be there, of course – one assumes – but beyond that and the name, what else will this Corvette have in common with all the ones that came before?
Very little.
Probably this will also include the car’s price.
Why are the most advertised Gold and Silver coins NOT the best way to invest?
It is already high. Not yet quite exotic (six figures being the watermark) but. . . . getting there. The current car’s base price – $55,400 – is still a steal compared to what

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