Sunday , September 22 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

California Risin’

2 days ago

The South will probably not rise again – but California might, for the same reasons. And if it does, maybe the right thing to do, this time, would be to let it go in peace.
Provided, of course, that California returns the favor.
On Wednesday, the state got some of the same medicine Abraham Africanus I administered to the South almost 160 years ago. This time, it was the Orange Man administering the corrective.
The state had issued a regulation on its own authority which would have required all new cars sold in CA to average almost 50 miles-per-gallon by 2025. This was done as a kind of here’s-mud-in-your eye maneuver to register the state’s irritation that a federal regulation which would have decreed the same thing nationally is

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Our Favorite Price

4 days ago

Ass, gas or grass – no one rides for free. So said the once popular bumper sticker.
Unless you drive an EV.
Then you can use the government to force someone else to “help” pay for your ride – and your road. Because you don’t have to pay any of the gas taxes that fund the roads.
It’s quite a five-fingered discount, too.
Gas taxes – federal and state – tally about 50 cents on average, added to the cost of every gallon of gasoline (and diesel) sold. If your car’s tank holds 15 gallons – which is typical – you’re paying about $7.50 in taxes every fill-up, regardless of the cost of the gas.
If you fill up twice a week, that’s about $30 per month – or $360 annually. Over the course of a six-year new car loan, the bite comes to $2,160.

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The Off-Road End Run

6 days ago

Speed does kill – if you get caught doing it.
We live in the Hut! Hut! Hut! era. Armed government workers (AGWs) wearing Batman-style utility belts packed with multiple mags and high-powered “assault” weapons over their Robocop body armor are far more likely to end your life than doing 70 in a 55.
Every encounter with them is a threat to our safety.
Even if you aren’t Tazed and dragged out of your car by one of these odd juxtapositions of muscled-up and tattoo’d poltroonery (I feared for my safety!) and hair-trigger brutality (stop resisting!) most people just can’t afford to “speed” anymore.
The extortion note – styled a “ticket” – the AGW forces you to sign at gunpoint (see what happens if you decline to sign) is just the

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VW, Victory Gin and the Chestnut Tree Cafe

9 days ago

In the final pages of Orwell’s 1984, we find Winston Smith – the novel’s main character – drinking Victory Gin at the Chestnut Tree Cafe. He’s been released by the Party after years of torture for Thought Crime but rather than hate the Party for what it did to him, Winston has come to love Big Brother.
VW, too.
After $30 billion and counting in fines and buybacks for “cheating” on government emissions certification tests, the manufacturer of people’s cars has committed to building nothing but high-dollar/short range/long-recharge-time electric cars, commencing with the ID3, a Golf-sized five-door hatchback electric car just unveiled in Germany ahead of the Frankfurt Auto Show.

Next will come the IDCruzz – an electric crossover

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Cleaning Up

10 days ago

One thing you can still do yourself is wash your car.
And just as you used to be able to save a lot of money by working on your car, it’s possible to save money – and more than you might think – by cleaning your car yourself.
It typically costs about $12 to run through a basic automated car wash; if you opt for the wheel/tire cleaner and a spritz of wax – which isn’t worth much – the tab can sail to $20 or more.
That’s a couple hundred bucks a year – assuming you like to keep your car clean. Which you should, for self-interested reasons (more coming).
You can keep your car clean yourself – better – a  dozen times for the price of one full-service car wash. A jug of high-quality car wash soap, some wheel/tire cleaner (and a brush,

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Why Can’t I Have This?

11 days ago

A reader asks me why he can’t have a Mahindra Roxor – which is basically a Jeep CJ/Wrangler 4×4 that costs half as much as a new Wrangler. One’s legal to drive on public roads, the other’s not.
So, you can have it . . . you just can’t drive it. Not on “public” roads, that is.
Because the government won’t allow it. The government says it doesn’t comply with various saaaaaaaaafety standards – though neither did a Jeep Willys back in the ’50s or a CJ in the ’70s and you could buy – and use on public roads – either of those when it was new. Also air-cooled/rear-engined VW Beetles and all kinds of other vehicles which we’re not allowed to drive anymore on the roads we pay for but which the government asserts ownership over.
What’s

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The Orange Car Guy

12 days ago

Some people are single issue voters; if a candidate is in line with them on guns, for instance, they’ll support that candidate even if on other topics they’re as far apart as a Chevette and a Corvette.
This brings us to Trump.
If you care about cars, he’s your guy. He may not be a Car Guy, per se – but he’s the only guy who isn’t an obvious enemy of Car Guys.
Like his predecessor, for instance.
Barack Obama – after his anointed successor  lost the election – had his regulatory apparat fatwa a near-doubling of federal mandatory minimum gas mileage requirements (CAFE) out of pure spite, to punish the filthy deplorables who didn’t elect her – and who continued to express their lack of interest in high-mileage-uber-alles cars by not

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You’re in Good Hands With Elon

15 days ago

Imagine if your insurance company knew about it immediately every time you drove faster than any speed limit, anywhere. That you failed to come to a complete dead stop at every stop sign before proceeding – regardless of the need to come to a complete dead stop.
Every instance of seatbelt scofflawism.
That you drove eight hours straight to visit friends in another state; that last Thursday, you “accelerated aggressively” while trying to merge with traffic. That you turned off the traction control the other day – and squealed the tires.
And here comes the bill, custom-tailored just for you.
This is what Elon Musk has in mind next. The King of Mandated Business is getting into the insurance business – a logical thing since car

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Arrivederci Autopsy

17 days ago

The truth gets out every now and then – not that many are paying attention. And the truth behind Fiat’s slow-motion exit-stage-left from the North American car market is that Americans just aren’t very interested in “efficient” small cars.
If they were very interested, as the government (and media) constantly claims that they are, then available efficient small cars like the 500 three-door hatchback would be selling well.
They’re available; anyone who want one is free to buy one.
Instead, they hardly sell at all. Fiat had counted on 50,000 sales annually – on the assumption that Americans hungered for efficient small cars denied them by the evil entente of Big Oil and the Big Three, which forced them to buy “gas hogs”

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Bicycling vs. Driving

18 days ago

There’s North and South, liberals and conservatives; Star Trek people and Star Wars people . . . but few divides are greater than that which exists between drivers and cyclists.
The etiology of the thing is interesting.
It bugs some drivers that cyclists have the gall (as the drivers see it) to ride on roads which they – the drivers – consider their own or at least, not suitable for bicycles, because they aren’t able to keep up with the flow of traffic and thus slow down the flow of traffic.
This is certainly true. Bikes sometimes can’t keep up with the flow of traffic.
It is equally true that slow-moving RVs, garbage trucks and commercial vehicles slow/impede the flow of traffic as much as a cyclist struggling to keep up – and

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The Offloading

20 days ago

When the car industry begs to be regulated, you have to wonder about the regulations. And the motivations.
Is it a case of being crazy . . . or crazy like a fox?
The car industry – well, about a third of it so far (Ford, Honda, BMW, VW and Mercedes) wants to be forced to make cars that average close to 50 miles-per-gallon by 2025, as fatwa’d about four years ago by the federal regulatory apparat.
The current head of the federal government – President Trump – is trying to rescind the fatwa or at least dial it back to something more technically and economically feasible. In a startling turnabout, the car companies have stated that even if Trump dials back the federal fatwa, they will impose it upon themselves by embracing

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The Pointless Flex

27 days ago

It’s amazing what you can do in a three-row/eight passenger SUV   . . . but not many people do it anymore.
This 2020 Kia Telluride I’m test-driving right now (reviewed here) can hustle through the curves faster and with less effort and much more margin than my ’76 Trans-Am. Which is no small thing because in its day, the Trans-Am was the best-handling high-performance car made in America. It was designed for speed; everything else was secondary. The Kia is a family hauler.
But it hauls better.
One hand on the wheel through the esses and not even close to pushing it at speeds that would have the Trans-Am’s rear end slip-sliding and near the break-loose point. Its 15×7 inch BF Goodrich radials as dated as the 8-track in the

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The Rear Wheel Drive Resurgence

29 days ago

Two things once defined American cars.
They were almost always rear-wheel-drive – even the economy cars – and they sometimes could be had with V8 engines. Or at least they fit.
The  Pontiac Tempest was one such. Add a 389 and it became the 1964 GTO.
Slide one into a Vega or Pinto . . . even a Chevette.
Many did.
The economy car became a high-performance car after a weekend’s knuckle-banging in the garage. One capable of outperforming high-end European cars. Which were defined by one other thing:
Their (usually) high prices. Not many Americans could afford an E-Type Jag, Mercedes SL or a Ferrari Daytona. But many could afford a Camaro.
Almost anyone could afford a Nova.
And either – plus many others – could give an E-Type or

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Soy Soup

August 23, 2019

They must serve soy at GM’s corporate cafeteria. It could account for the strange statement released the other day by GM’s CEO Mary Barra. It says that the main purpose of GM is to make sure that “each person . . . lead(s) a life of meaning and dignity.”
Wasn’t it to make cars?
Emphasis on was. It isn’t anymore – apparently.
“The purpose of a corporation,” the statement continues “is to serve all of its constituents, including employees, customers, investors and society at large.”
Italics added.+
“Society at large”? This smacks of social(ist) studies rather than STEM.
But that’s what happens when a person with a background in human resources becomes the head of a car company.
And it’s not just Barra.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett affixed

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If “Emissions” Actually Mattered…

August 21, 2019

The only electric cars that make sense are being phased out in favor of those that don’t.
Hybrids are electric cars without the electric car’s gimps – or costs. They can run without burning gas – but when you run out of electricity, you don’t have to wait for a charge to get going again  . . . because hybrids carry around their own chargers.
They do have batteries – but they’re smaller and so cost less.
And because they’re used less – hybrids alternate between gas and electric power for propulsion – they last longer. And even if an aging hybrid’s batteries do wear out and won’t hold any charge, you’ll still have more range than a new electric car with a new battery pack.
They also emit less – more on that below.
Naturally,

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Are Car Dealers . . . Evil?

August 17, 2019

Is the place where you go to buy a new car a kind of Dark Church where very bad things happen?
Not necessarily – and if it turns out to be so, it’s probably because you were forced to “worship” there.
There should be at least two ways to buy a new car – via a dealership or directly from the manufacturer. But in most states, you can only buy them one way – through a dealer. A pick-up at the factory is possible (for example, Chevy offers this with Corvette – so you can actually see the line and maybe even see your car roll off the line) but the transaction has to go through a dealer.
Because that’s the law.
It shouldn’t be, for reasons that don’t require much elaboration. But free trade became a crime decades ago – along with free

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‘Zero Emission’ Electric Cars

August 16, 2019

Did you happen to see the picture of the electric car “fast” charger being charged by the diesel generator? It’s Kodachrome evidence of the Moon-baying lunacy of this whole Electro-Kool Aid slurping.
Better to forget the EV charger, use the diesel engine to power a car directly – cut out the middleman – and be done with it.
Instead we are hectored about the virtues of the middleman – the EV charger. Which enables the EV owner to pretend – and posture – that his car is “zero emissions.” The picture makes it clear there are emissions – just usually emitted at a distance.
In this case, it’s just a few feet from the EV – which conveys the inconvenient truth pretty succinctly.
It’s easier to pretend – and posture – when the source of

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Turbocharging Hits the Wall

August 14, 2019

You may have noticed the odd – and artificial – juxtaposition:
Cars have been getting bigger – and heavier –  while engines have been getting much smaller. It’s not uncommon to find engines in the 2.0 liter range in vehicles in the two ton range.
Why not appropriately sized engines – V6s and V8s – for these vehicles
Ask Uncle!
Larger, roomier – and heavier – vehicles continue to be very popular with buyers. So the car companies continue to build them. But Uncle insists (and decrees) that all vehicles must use and less less gas.
No matter what it takes – and no matter what it costs. Because the object isn’t really “saving gas.”

Uncle is opposed to what buyers want – and he’s been trying his best for decades to prevent the car

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How Not To Sell Your Old Car

August 13, 2019

You want a new car – or just a different car. What’s the best way to get rid of your current car?
For most people, it will be the way that puts the most money in their pocket.
Which isn’t the way many people do it.
Trading it in –
This is probably the number one way to lose money on your old car – because you are usually in a hurry to get rid of your old car. Probably because you need to convert it into cash in order to buy the new car. This puts pressure on you to accept whatever the dealership is offering.
That offer will almost always be significantly less than whatever the car is really worth.
Which isn’t entirely unreasonable given that the dealer will then have to sell your old car.
This will mean, at the least, doing any

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Range Reduction

August 12, 2019

All electric cars come standard with range anxiety – having to think about how far you can go before the car comes to a stop  . . . and what you’ll do while you wait for it to recharge.
If you can find a place to recharge.
But Elon Musk’s electric cars offer a unique “feature” their owners didn’t know they paid for:
Range reduction.
Not because the batteries are running low – but because Elon decided to reduce how far they can go.
Well, now they know!
To keep more Teslas from burning up while recharging -an embarrassing as well as fatal problem with Teslas – the company recently transmitted a “software update” to its Model S and X vehicles that limits how much charge the battery will accept.
The reduced charge capacity translates

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Gimmicks and Their Downsides

August 10, 2019

The problem with new cars is they’re too good for their own good. Well, too good for the car companies trying to sell new cars.
Rust has become almost a non-problem. Reliability is a given.
The internal combustion engine has been refined to near perfection; the huge gains made in the past – from flatheads to overhead valves, from carburetors to fuel injection – are no longer being made.
Hard-starting/stalling, hesitation and surge – these are things which haven’t been “features” in new cars for at least 25 years.
All new cars are largely maintenance-free for the first several years of driving. Most will run for 12-15 years before anything major requires repair. This has been true since at least the early 2000s – almost 20 years

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The Out of Touch ‘Car Guy’

August 8, 2019

Jay Leno used to be funny – and now he is again. Just unintentionally.
“There is almost no reason to have a gas car,” he announced on CNBC the other day. “I have a Tesla. I’ve had it for three years. I’ve never done anything. There’s no fluids to change. There’s nothing.”
Nothing?
Jay – who styles himself a Car Guy – ought to know better. Assuming he knows anything about cars.
No fluids to change?
Well, no oil/transmission fluid to change.
How about brake fluid? Electric cars have this fluid, just like any other car – and it does need to be changed. It’s a good idea to change it about once every  . . . three years. Tesla recommends a check every two.
Jay apparently didn’t read the manual.
Electric cars also have tires and brake

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Wishful – or Vengeful – Thinking

August 6, 2019

Better hurry, if you want a new SUV or truck you can still afford.
Or anything new you can still afford.
Twelve states – led by California – are suing the federal government to reinstate what President Trump rescinded about two weeks ago: A near-tripling of federal “gas guzzler” fines imposed by his predecessor – to be applied to all new vehicles that don’t meet federal mandatory MPG minimums.
Which are set to almost double.
Under the terms of a pair of federal fatwas hurled during the final months of Barack Obama’s presidency, all new cars will be required to average nearly 50 MPG (up from about 36 MPG currently) by 2026 – or be socked with fines to the tune of $14 (up from just $5) for every 0.1 MPG they fall short.
“Gas

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The Dangers – and Causes – of Unintentional Idling

August 5, 2019

If you don’t think your engine’s still running, you might forget to turn it off. Well, you might forget to push the ignition button off – because the engine isn’t running right now. It seems to be off.
So you think it is, don’t push Off  . . . and leave the car.
Which starts running again a few minutes after you left.
This can – and is – happening because of Automated StartStop (ASS) the new “feature” many new cars come standard with as a fuel-saving measure. Whenever the car stops, so does the engine – the idea being that a non-running engine doesn’t burn any gas or emit any gas. The gains – and reductions – are almost immeasurably small per car but necessary from the standpoint of regulatory compliance – the fuel economy and

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Recharge Anxiety

August 3, 2019

It’s not so much the range that’s the primary electric car gimp – it’s the time it takes to recharge.
Which is a minimum of 30-45 minutes, assuming you have access to what is hilariously styled a “fast” charger. These are 240 volt rigs (twice the voltage of standard household outlets) that can reduce the time it takes to recharge an electric car from several hours to under a hour.
But that isn’t very “fast” compared with the less-than-five-minutes it takes to refuel a non-electric car.

Especially given the non-electric car can be refueled to full in those five minutes at any gas station – while the not-so-fast-charging electric car can only recoup a partial charge – about 80 percent of its full-charge capacity – at a “fast”

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People Aren’t Buying . . . Here’s Why

August 1, 2019

New car sales are down – again – for the seventh month in a row. Which means they’ve been slipping all year long so far. The last time it was this slow was about ten years ago – which was the last time the car business fell down and almost couldn’t get back up again.
Several factors are in play – some of them undiscussed.
One, interest rates on new car loans have been inching up slowly but steadily since 2013, when they were near zero or actually were zero (free financing).
The average rate – assuming excellent credit, which many people haven’t got – is currently about 4.74 percent. It was closer to 4 percent a couple of years ago. It’s still extremely low relative to the double-digit financing that was common in the ’70s – but

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The California Tax

July 31, 2019

In 1861, eleven Southern states decided they no longer consented to be governed by Northern politicians – who had acquired de facto political control over the federal government – and thereby, over the entire country – by dint of the North’s greater numbers.
In an election, numbers matter.
But what happens when you’re not even allowed to vote for those who rule you?
California regulators have acquired de facto control over the cars you’re allowed to buy – even if you don’t live in California – by decreeing their own California-specific mileage and emissions standards. These end up having the force of national standards because the car industry – which wants to sell cars in California – can’t afford to build cars

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2019 VW eGolf: Electric Boogaloo II

July 30, 2019

I made it home – without a flatbed!
And without having to plug the eGolf in – and wait – before I could get home.
But the most interesting thing I discovered about VW’s first electric car wasn’t how far it can go, or how long it takes to recharge before you can get going again.
Drive an electric car and you will quickly discover it is not like driving a gas-engined car. Not just the immediate torque-pull of the direct drive electric motor under the hood – and not just the Stealth Mode silence of the thing.

There is another thing. A good – and bad – thing.
My round trip test loop was just under 70 miles – about 34 of them “down the mountain” to do a little work on my laptop at the coffee dive I frequent and then – remaining

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Is Nissan About To Go Belly Up?

July 27, 2019

Some very bad news today – for Nissan.
Profits are down 99 percent. Not a typo. A near-total wipeout – which triggered the wiping out of 12,500 jobs, the immediate suspension of manufacturing in Indonesia and Spain and an announcement that Japan’s second-largest car company will reduce its model lineup by at least 10 percent by 2022.
Nissan’s U.S. market share is down to 7.9 percent; it was 8.1 percent a year ago.
It is quite possible there won’t be a Nissan by 2022.
So, what’s gone awry?
One thing – a thing which is going awry generally – is the money being wasted on electric cars for which there is no market. Or rather, which there’s no money to be made from making.
Nissan’s Leaf – the company’s first electric car – cost Nissan

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The Car That Almost Was

July 25, 2019

In the department of What Might Have Been, we find a car almost no one who isn’t a car industry insider has ever heard of – but which very nearly was.
You haven’t heard of it for good reason.
Well, good reason . . . from the point of view of other insiders. The ones inside the government.
It is a car VW briefly brought out to show what could be done – and just as quickly withdrew. Probably because it showed what could be done..
This car was powered by a 1 liter diesel engine and achieved a verified 170 miles-per-gallon. With its hybrid drive engaged, the mileage rose to an incredible 235 MPG. Put another way, on about two gallons of diesel, this VW could go almost 500 miles before it needed more diesel. And it would only need two

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