Wednesday , March 21 2018
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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

Cars That Parent Us

3 days ago

One of the reasons for liking old cars is they don’t try to parent you. The new stuff won’t quit trying to.
The 2018 VW Golf GTI I am reviewing this week, for instance. When you put the transmission in Reverse, the radio’s volume’s is peremptorily turned down – apparently because someone decided it wasn’t saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe to back up while listening to the radio.
One can almost see the liver-spotted hand of your mother-in-law adjusting the volume control knob. Many new cars have this “feature” – not just new VWs.
It’s incredibly obnoxious. More so because it’s not your mother-in-law and you can’t slap her liver-spotted hand down or – better – hit the unlock button and tell the old bag to get out now if she can’t mind her

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How Virtual Should Cars Be?

12 days ago

Driving a simulated car – as in a game – is becoming more and more like driving an actual car – in reality.
At least in terms of the inputs.
The car in the game is steered remotely, via a gamepad. You accelerate and brake the car the same way. Soon real cars will be accelerated and braked the same way. Many already are, at least as far as acceleration. They have drive-by-wire throttle control. Your foot does not actually control the acceleration of the vehicle. A computer controls the acceleration of the vehicle. It assesses data it receives from sensors that are connected to the accelerator pedal, but there is no physical connection between your foot and the throttle.
The good news is the throttle cable can’t stick with drive-by-wire.

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Trump’s Tariff Turducken

14 days ago

Trump is getting heat for his threat to impose tariffs on “imported” cars in order to help American car companies. But what about all the “American” cars built outside America?
And what about the “import” brands that build their cars here?
GM and Ford and FiatChrysler have plants in Mexico. The American 1500 series trucks they build there are shipped here. They are objectively imported. Should they be tariffized?
Toyota has a yuge operation in California. Nissan builds its trucks in Tennessee. Honda has plants in Ohio. BMW builds SUVS in South Carolina. Are these “imported” cars? Should they receive protection from the “foreign” competition – even if the brand in question happens to have its corporate HQ here?
The fulsome scurvy truth

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4-Cylinder Auto Engines

16 days ago

How good do we have it?
If the measure of that is the power and performance delivered by the average new car, the answer has to be: Pretty damned good.
Four cylinder-powered family-haulers like the 2018 Mazda CX-9 I just reviewed haul more ass than the V8-powered muscle cars of my youth. Than the V8-powered muscle car, I have in my garage. At least, when it was new.
But it’s a story with two sides.
The first side is the almost miraculous power and performance – and drivability, reliability, durability and mileage – achieved by the designers of today’s Mighty Mouse engines. Four-cylinder engines routinely produce more horsepower – and torque – than V8s twice their size used to. Which has rendered V8s functionally unnecessary – even in

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Here’s Why There’s a Problem

17 days ago

Car companies used to be places where car guys worked. Engineers, gearheads. People who at least liked cars and thought of them as more than commodities – like toothpaste, say.
Today, they are places where former insurance company and fast food guys work.
Like Jose Tomas, who is – well, was – GM’s chief human resources officer. He’s been fired – apparently – for unspecified reasons after only about eight months on the job. Might have been an ass grabber but probably got axed because he is still a guy.
If he was straight, he never stood a chance.
Tomas previously held “leading posts” at Anthem, the insurance giant and Burger King Corp.
GM’s current CEO Mary Barra, herself a human resource veteran, said that Tomas had a “well-rounded

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Auto Cop

19 days ago

An interesting unasked question has been raised by Ford’s announcement that it is developing a cop-less cop car. That is, an automated and AI cop car that would sneak itself behind the bushes and use license plate scanners, facial recognition and other such revenue-raising technologies to automatically issue paying’ paper.
All the time. Everywhere.
For everything.
No more need to pay cops to do it some of the time.
In other words, no more part-time, scattershot enforcement of traffic laws. It would become much harder to flout – or evade – any traffic law. Everything from “speeding” to driving around without all your papers in order. Auto Cop would know – immediately.
And there’s no bargaining with him.
But why should anyone object to

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Consensual Government?

21 days ago

Most people agree that sex ought to be consensual.
Put another way, they think that no one should be forced to have sex against their will. And that if someone engages in sex without the consent of the other party, then it is sexual assault – and a moral horror.
Well, what about being governed without consent?
Does it not amount to the same thing?
Another person – or persons – force themselves on you. They violate you. They – or their proxies – literally lay hands on you if you attempt to get away or refuse to submit to them.
It may not be a sexual assault, but it is certainly assault.
There is one difference, of course.
The people who compose the government and the people who support what it does to you claim you have consented. This

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‘Heroes’ Value Their Privacy

27 days ago

Here’s a video showing some “heroes” unhappy about a pair of guys taking video of the outside their nest – which is public property and which the citizens therefore have every legal right to take video of.
But the “heroes” do not like this.
They never do.
Notwithstanding that it is legal. Mark that. When a law doesn’t suit them, they obey it grudgingly – or simply ignore it.
They take filming them as an implicit challenge, an affront to their privacy and peace – which of course are sacred. Whereas ours is held in absolute contempt by them, to be violated at will whenever they feel so inclined.
The law reflects this stilted standard, too.

For example, “heroes” may legally ride around in cars (paid for by us, with money taken by force

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How To Stop This Crazy Ride

February 19, 2018

A Florida man claims his BMW X3 accelerated unintentionally – contrary to his intentions, that is. News story here.
The reasons why are being debated. Could it have been a glitch with the BMW’s “drive by wire” electronically-controlled throttle? Many new cars no longer have a cable that connects the gas pedal to the engine. Instead, sensors translate the degree to which the gas pedal is depressed into how much the engine revs – and how fast you go.
BMW – like Toyota, after similar incidents – claims that run-amok acceleration caused by a defective electronic accelerator pedal is impossible. That it had to be the driver’s inadvertent foot (as when Audi was accused of the same thing – and nearly destroyed by the false accusation – back in

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The Trumpian Two Step

February 16, 2018

One step forward – one step back.
Maybe both – posssibly, neither.
There is a rumor that Trump is considering “action” to at least delay the imposition of the catastrophic federal fatwa requiring all new cars – and all new trucks –  average at least 46.6 miles-per-gallon beginning with the 2025 models. This fatwa was hurled during the final months of the Obama Ayatollahship and remains in effect and on schedule.
This was – and still is – touted as a boon to the buying public. As if that public were somehow oppressed by the free choice to buy either a very fuel efficient car or one less fuel-efficient. As if the car companies were forcing them to buy “gas guzzlers.”
Does anyone get a sad chuckle out of the irony?
It’s the Ayatollahs who

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Another Roadside Execution

February 13, 2018

Go ahead – make my day.
Back in 1971, Clint Eastwood’s character said it on screen – and people were shocked. But it was just a movie. And besides, Dirty Harry only shot bad guys – murderous psychopaths, as in the original 1971 film.
In the sequel film – Magnum Force – Dirty Harry shot murderous, psychopathic cops.   
Today we have Dirty Oddie – and he’s not a character on the silver screen. He’s an armed government worker – a law enforcement officer – in Tennessee. And he “loves this shit.”
Killing people, that is.    
Those are Dirty Oddie’s own words. “God, I tell you what, I thrive on it,” he adds (in between chuckles).

Dirty Oddie thought he was talking behind closed doors, among his fellow armed government workers, when he

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The Cure for Overpriced Cars

February 9, 2018

Imagine how different cars would be if people had to pay for them – as opposed to financing them.
Debt – which is what financing is – allows people to buy more car than they can afford. It hides the actual cost of the car. It enables the government to impose costs in the forms of mandates which would otherwise be unaffordable – and so, objectionable. People would complain in the one language the government understands.
They would not comply – because they could not buy.
This would put the brakes on what seems unstoppable: The endless and accelerating juggernaut of “safety,” “fuel efficiency” and “zero emissions” mandates coming out of the federal regulatory apparat. It’s lovely – to a federal regulatory apparatchik – to call a press

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California as the Boss of Us

February 8, 2018

Bad enough that we’re ordered about by the government in Washington. But what about this business of being ordered about by the government of California?
Its befehlshaber (that’s German for order-giver) Jerry Brown just ordered the tripling – the almost quadrupling – of the of the number of electric cars which must be on the state’s roads by 2025.
Instead of a ludicrous 1.5 million of them, it must be a preposterous 4.5 million.
He did not suggest. Offer it up as a worthy idea. Befehlshaber Brown simply issued an executive order – a Fuhrerbefehl (that’s leader order, in German) that it will be so. In order to “curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emissions vehicles driven in California.”
He means

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Snow Driving Etiquette

February 6, 2018

Lots of advice goes out every year about how to drive in the snow. But the single most important piece of advice about snow-day driving is almost never mentioned – probably because the cardinal rule of modern advice-giving is to never tell people the truth when it might cause discomfort or offense.
It is, simply: Stay home if you lack the skills or the appropriate vehicle – or both – to competently deal with snow on the road.
But I have to get work!
Would that fly in court, if spoken by a well-doused drunk?
We are marinated in the sickly juice of saaaaaaaaaaaaafety. When it suits.
The glaucomic old lady who “didn’t see” that the light was red and plowed into your car is treated much kindlier by the system than the young man who does the

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Techno-Economic Leveling

February 5, 2018

Cars, it’s rightly said, are becoming like cell phones – but in a way that’s different than the purely techno-gadget way most people mean when they say this.
A techno-economic leveling is under way, the same as has happened with our phones. 
The $60 smartphone you can pick up at Walmart may not have quite as much memory or as high-res a camera as a top-of-the-line iPhone, but it still has one helluva camera and does pretty much everything the $600 iPhone does. It certainly makes a phone call just as quickly. Texts just as competently. You can download and use the same apps as the $600 smartphone. Check email. Watch videos.
The screen/interface looks and works pretty much the same – $60 or $600. The meaningful differences are

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Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie

January 30, 2018

2018 may be the last year for Chrysler as we have known it. Dodge, too. These two sell the automotive equivalent of lawn darts – big rear-drive cars with big V8 engines.
At still-affordable prices.
People love them but the government bureaucrats who have somehow been empowered to countermand our buying inclinations do not. Such cars use “too much” gas – notwithstanding we’re the ones paying for it – and so the bureaucrats have been systematically working for decades to make such cars artificially more expensive to build – and to buy – via punitive “gas guzzler” taxes.
These taxes – the actuality as well as the threat – are why the average new car is compact-sized, front-wheel-drive and powered by a small, four-cylinder engine. Before

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Blown Away

January 27, 2018

In addition to “officer safety,” another de facto capital offense in this country is “failure to comply.”
This past fall, a Northern Virginia man named Bijan Ghaisar was executed by armed government workers after a brief car chase. Apparently, the man had been involved in a minor accident – no injuries and he wasn’t the driver who caused the accident –  but he left the scene regardless. It’s possible he had an expired license or some other thing on his mind and feared (rightly) what the “heroes” might do to him if he stuck around. Given the run-amokness of “heroes” these days, avoiding them is reasonable self-preservation.
We have good reason to fear for our safety.
This resulted in a car chase. Not a “high speed” or “reckless” one. The

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Who Profits

January 23, 2018

Who owns the data culled by your car? And – more to the point – who is profiting from it?
And why aren’t they cutting us a check, at least?
All new cars – and most cars built over the past decade or so – have data recorders and this data is not only stored but can be – in newer cars – transmitted back to the manufacturer (e.g., General Motors) without the knowledge of the car’s owner.
That is, you.
Nominally, consent is required before the manufacturer may filch your data  – and “filch” isn’t even the right word, because what we are talking about is continuous, real-time monitoring of the vehicle’s speed, how quickly it accelerates (and decelerates), where the car is at any given time (and how long it stays there), even what the driver

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Operational Neurasthenia

January 22, 2018

It’s reasonable to adjust speed for conditions – snow, for instance. But what about drivers who drop their speed because it might snow later?
Road (and school) closings, not because it is snowing. Because it’s possible it may.
This appears to be the latest manifestation of the hysterical – in the psychiatric sense – overfixation on saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety which has become the leitmotif of Red Giant Stage America. The slightest threat of snow – or rain, for that matter – triggers almost comical overcompensatory measures, no longer restricted the traditional idiocy of bum-rushing to the supermarket to clear the shelves of bread and milk.
In the case of rumored snow, there’s a noticeable increase in the usual hypercaution behind the

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Thou Shall Not Pass

January 19, 2018

This country is painted over with double yellow bars – a sort of rolling-ribbon prison, from which escape is not possible. Legal passing zones – always rare – are becoming almost nonexistent. Painted over – for no readily discernible reason.
Well, actually, there is a reason:
It is the purposeful discouragement of active – as opposed to passive – driving. This to pave the way for automated cars. To acclimate people to soporific transportation. To get them used to being meatsacks.
Superficially, the effacing of passing zones is justified on the claim that the act is inherently unsafe – and within the straightjacket idiocy of the laws as they exist, this is absolutely true.
Car “A” is moping along at 42 in an (underposted) 45 MPH zone.

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The Wave Builds

January 15, 2018

Out on the open ocean, a tsunami is almost impossible to see; but as the wave gets closer to shore, it builds and swells and all of a sudden, it becomes extremely obvious. By then, of course, it is too late.
Consider what’s happened to Mazda an early warning of what’s coming.
It is the first major car company to become a four-cylinder-only car company. All of its 2018 model year cars – from the compact Mazda3 to the full-sized CX-9 (reviewed here) are powered by four-cylinder engines no larger than 2.5 liters.
No more sixes – even in the Mazda6. Which used to offer one.
This is the wave of the future – unless someone (Trump?) rescinds the fatwa issued by the federal government during the last few months of Obama’s presidency.

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The Drug Whisperers

January 12, 2018

You may have heard about people getting speeding tickets not based on the reading of a radar gun or other instrument subject to empirical verification but solely on the basis of an armed government worker’s “training,” his estimation – that is is, his opinion – about how fast the alleged offender was traveling. In some jurisdictions, this is considered acceptable evidence in court – sufficient to convict.
Now comes the Drug Whisperer. A whole army of them.

These are armed government workers such as Cobb County, Georgia’s TT Carroll – who have received similar “training” and been anointed Certified Drug Recognition Experts, ready to go to war on drugs – even if there aren’t any around.
Carroll and other “trained experts” have arrested numerous motorists on the basis of the

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The V2V Bee Hive

January 10, 2018

Ayn Rand, for all her quirks, had some solid things to say. One of these was that civilization exists – or declines – in proportion to privacy. The less privacy you’ve got, the more uncivilized the society in which you live.
Which is why this business of Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) technology is so extremely uncivilized. It is meant to make sure you are never alone on the road – even if you are the only car on the road.
The concept emulates the bee hive. Each bee is an integral part of a collective and no action taken by any individual bee is unknown to the other bees, who all exist and operate in lockstep.
Your V2V-equipped car (several new GM vehicles and all Teslas already have the technology) will “stream information” to the other

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The Constitution Does What it Was Written To Do — Expand Government Power

January 9, 2018

A great many people — especially conservatives — reverence the Constitution, consider that it has been abused and that if only the doctrines expressed within were revived and respected, all would be well with America again.This, of course, is a kind of children’s bedtime story — and approximates reality to about the same degree as the story of the Three Little Pigs.The Constitution was peddled and imposed on us by men like Alexander Hamilton, a grasper after power who very openly loathed the ideas expressed by men like Jefferson in his Declaration (and even more so in his Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions).Hamilton and his faction — they were called Federalists, which meant then what it means today — intended to create a centralized government on the British model, but

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It Did What it Was Written To Do

January 8, 2018

A great many people – especially conservatives – reverence the Constitution, consider that it has been abused and that if only the doctrines expressed within were revived and respected, all would be well with America again.
This, of course, is a kind of children’s bedtime story – and approximates reality to about the same degree as the story of the Three Little Pigs.
The Constitution was peddled and imposed on us by men like Alexander Hamilton, a grasper after power who very openly loathed the ideas expressed by men like Jefferson in his Declaration (and even more so in his Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions).
Hamilton and his faction – they were called Federalists, which meant then what it means today – intended to create a centralized

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Whose Ideas?

January 5, 2018

It’s been said that good ideas don’t require force – while bad ones rarely get traction without it. True enough. But how about a qualifier?
Whose ideas?
Yours? Mine?
There is a kind of tacitly agreed upon – or at least, rarely questioned – notion that we all agree on what constitutes a “good” idea. It’s the keystone of coercive collectivism, without which that ideology loses moral legitimacy.
But in fact, we don’t agree about what a “good” idea is. Millions of individuals tend to have millions of individually variable ideas about that.
So the question becomes: Whose ideas will prevail?
If there is a free market – in ideas as well as economics – this will sort itself out naturally and non-violently, via the signals of supply and demand.

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Desubsidize Electric Cars

January 3, 2018

The strangest argument has been put forward in defense of Senate Republicans – who might as well be Senate Democrats – not rescinding the titanic federal subsidization of electric vehicles – i.e., the $7,500 an individual can deduct from his taxes (to be made up for by someone else’s taxes) as a reward/inducement for buying an EV.
The argument is that the car industry must not be rattled by “regulatory uncertainty.” It is used to the subsidization of electric cars; therefore, ending the subsidies would be as wrong as – well, let’s see – dialing back the ethanol mandate or making a bother about stoners buying sushi with their EBT cards.
They are after all, used to it, too.
The ethanol make-workers might have to find productive work.

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Why Are Power Windows and Seats Allowed?

January 2, 2018

It’s surprising the government hasn’t made power seats – and windows – illegal. Well, at least not yet. After all, they are arguably at least as “unsafe” as not wearing a seatbelt.
Maybe it will occur to someone. Give it time.
The argument for requiring the use of seat belts is that you might be thrown about or even ejected from the vehicle in the event of a crash. But you might also drive off the road, into a pond. It’s certainly possible. And if your car has power windows, you will be trapped inside because power windows don’t work underwater.
This is very unsafe – at least potentially. Just as potentially, arguably, as not wearing a seatbelt, given what might happen.
Why are power windows allowed, given that fact?
And the same goes

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Lincoln Automobiles Now ‘Partners’

December 30, 2017

Sexing up the police state isn’t easy – but Lincoln’s trying.
Ford’s luxury line now offers – scratch that, includes as standard equipment– a “complimentary” membership in CLEAR, which is the Department of Homeland Security’s “fast” and “efficient” biometric cattle tag program, already in use at public airports and other public-access venues.
Time to buy old US gold coins

But not, it’s worth a mention, at private-access airports – i.e., general aviation, where the Heimatsicherheitsdeinst (that’s Homeland Security Department in the more appropriate – and original – German) does not fondle and grope, nor body scan travelers rich enough to avoid public air travel. This includes, of course, the politicians who gave us the Heimat and the Sicherheitsdeinst.
But not themselves.

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No Exceptions

December 23, 2017

There’s a kerfuffle in Wisconsin over threatened application of The Law to the Amish.
Up to now, they’ve successfully dodged Uncle – been exempted on religious grounds from a great many busybody-isms, including laws requiring the presence and use of seat belts and child safety seats in all motor vehicles.
Their horse-drawn buggies lack motors, of course – as well as seatbelts and child seats.
They don’t have airbags or backup cameras or tire pressure monitors, either. The Amish don’t believe such things are necessary and therefore do without.
They also believe it’s their decision, their business – and just want to go about their business, leave others alone and be left alone in turn. After all, they’re not harming anyone else. And if

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