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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

Revenue Collection and Something Else

2 days ago

It used to be that roadside mulctings were primarily, even exclusively, motivated by simple money-lust. Traffic enforcement as a kind of random tax-raising effort.
Many towns and even cities in the United States are extremely dependent on the “revenue” – as it is styled – which is generated by the fleecing of motorists. This is why there are so many “infractions” – and it is why many of them are deliberately contrived so as to assure almost every motorist will be “guilty” of at least one “violation” every time he drives.
Examples include absurdly under-posted speed limits that are often functionally impossible to comply with – unless you want to get run over. And pedantic requirements about exactly where one must stop at a stop

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The Panopticon Expands

4 days ago

Precedent always becomes practice.
Having established as legitimate the use of cameras to robotically ticket people for “speeding” and “running” red lights – timed to go red quickly, so as to ensnare as many drivers as possible – it was only a matter of time before the principle was extrapolated – now to include automatically ticketing people for using their cell phones while driving.
But it’s more than just cameras now – and it will be more than just cell phone use that’s targeted for confiscation (of your money, that is).
Because why shouldn’t it be?
If it is okay to steal people’s money (which is what we’re talking about here, shorn of the euphemistic language about “fines”) for those things, why not this thing?

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The Throughput – and Other – Problems

6 days ago

There was an interesting story over the holiday about electric cars piled up at “fast” chargers  . . . waiting in line for other EVs to finish “fast” charging. This brings up the problem of throughput – another of many EV problems not being reported by the general press as well as the car press (the latter being inexcusable).
It is a function of the EV’s much longer recharge time vs. a non-electric car’s time to refuel. Even in a best-case scenario – at what are hilariously (and depressingly) styled “fast” chargers – an EV takes at least five times as long (about 30 minutes) to recover a partial charge as it takes to fully refuel a non-electric car.
Consider what this means in terms of how many electric cars can recharge in one

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Electric Cars Cost More Than Too Much

9 days ago

Electric cars are costing us more than just too much money.
They’re also costing jobs.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Audi announced the end of 9,500 of them – to help finance the development of electric cars. “We are now tackling structural issues in order to prepare Audi for the challenges ahead,” said Audi’s CEO Bram Schot.
The “structural issues” he speaks of are the outlawing of other-than-electric cars by the German government, effective come 2030.
The jobs lost amount to 15 percent of the company’s German workforce and by eliminating them, Audi will “raise” $6.6 billion – that is, cannibalize itself of that sum – to manufacture products it can’t make money selling but which the German government is forcing them to make.

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The Sovietization of the American Auto Industry

11 days ago

Pavolv’s dogs salivated whenever they heard the bell – even in the absence of food. They had been conditioned to associate the sound with the appearance of food.
The press reacts similarly when they hear the sound of Elon  . . . and that word.
They are currently salivating over what Elon tells them is going to be the Truck of Tomorrow.
Which is quite possible – as we live in a lunatic present.
How to explain the demented approbation for the Cybertruck?
In any other context, its debut would have resulted in peals of laughter based on its cobbled-together and spray-can-painted appearance alone. All that was missing, when the curtain came up, was Gil Gerard stuffed back into his silver thermal underwear for a reboot of

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If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…Sue ‘Em!

13 days ago

When you can’t beat ‘em in the showroom, go after ‘em in the courtroom.
General Motors says the lawsuit it filed against FiatChrysler is all about FCA supposedly  graft-giving union bosses under-the-table cashola to gain some kind of competitive advantage on labor costs.
The allegation is that FCA’s former head, Sergio Marchionne funneled payments to United Auto Workers bosses to secure wage and benefits deals more favorable to FCA and less favorable to UAW workers – which gave FCA an unfair competitive advantage over GM, which had not-as-favorable deals with the UAW.
But the numbers don’t appear to support GM’s claims.
The average FCA assembly line worker earns about $22 per hour while the average GM assembly line worker makes

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A-Bombs in the Neighbor’s Basement and the NAP

18 days ago

Objections to the Libertarian foundational premise – the non-aggression principle – often raise  outlandish, even hysterical scenarios designed to push the envelope of people’s fear tolerance  . . . in order to get them to accept being restricted and punished for actions that have not directly or actually caused harm to others.
Thus, the atom bomb in the neighbor’s basement – and the “speeder” doing 120 in a cul-de-sac.
Both scenarios are possibilities, of course. It would be silly to make the argument that, in the absence of laws prohibiting it, someone might decide to build himself an A bomb or drive 120 in a cul-de-sac.
But here’s the thing: Laws prohibiting such things do not absolutely preclude those things, either. Some

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Hurt Feelings Now Hut! Hut! Huttable!

20 days ago

A New York County just passed a law that makes it an arrestable offense to “annoy” an armed government worker. In other words, one can be Hut! Hut! Hutted! in Monroe County, NY for hurting the feelings of an armed government worker.
And not even that.    
How do we know – how would a court establish – whether the AGW’s feelings actually were hurt? Leaving aside the derangement of subjecting people to arrest – and a year in jail – for hurting someone’s feelings.
Well, not just someone. Only AGWs are to be accorded this special privilege of being able to cage anyone they claim hurt their feelings. It does not work the other way around. There are no special protections accorded ordinary citizens whose feelings were more than hurt by

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Nissan’s Nosedive … and Possibly Why

24 days ago

Nissan’s in trouble. More trouble, maybe, than former (and frog-marched) CEO Carlos Ghosn.
Reuters reports a blanching 70 percent drop in operating profit last quarter due to plunging sales and unfavorable foreign exchange rates
Net income fell by more than half to 59 billion yen ($546.8 million) in the July-September period. According to the Reuters piece – and a public announcement by Nissan – revenue decreased 6.6 percent to 2.63 trillion yen ($24.4 billion) over the past three months and global retail volume declined 7.5 percent to 1.27 million vehicles.
Part of the problem is heavy discounting, which gives any brand that does it the aura of a K-Mart Blue Light Special. Nissan also has several very old models in its new

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The Big Plantation

26 days ago

Are you more likely to be injured in a car crash because you weren’t wearing a seat belt – or because you were?
Both are possibilities – and sometimes, actualities.
An unbuckled driver might be hurled out of the vehicle and crushed by it (this happened to someone I know). But he could also be trapped inside the vehicle and burnt to death (or drowned) because rescuers couldn’t reach him in time to cut him free.
But the proper question isn’t which is more likely to happen but rather, who has the right to decide which of these two risks alarms them more.
Is it ourselves? Or is it someone else?
The government asserts – via laws and men with guns – its power to make that decision (and many others) on our behalf and contrary to our own

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Ode to the Air Cooled

27 days ago

No new cars – and just a dwindling handful of new motorcycles –  have engines that rely on the air to cool them.
Technically, it’s airflow – which washes over the exterior surfaces of the engine (in some cases, is forced to wash over the exterior surfaces by an engine-driven fan – that’s you, old Beetle, old Corvair and also not-so-old Porsche) and that – along with oil – cools the engine.
Both transfer heat.
But no water is involved – which means no radiator; which means no water pump buried deep in the guts of the engine, or hoses or thermostats and (best of all) no road trip-ending leaks. Ever. As well as no ever needing to replace any of those many and often expensive parts – which the air (and airflow plus oil) cooled engine

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The Selectively Closed Eye of Sauron

November 9, 2019

Our sssssssssssaaaaaaaafety matters  . . . but only when it suits.
No other conclusion can be drawn from the cognitive disconnect that, on the one hand, the merest assertion of potential risk is sufficient to justify the government’s forcing us to wear a seat belt and buy a half dozen air bags, to not make rights on red and accept being interviewed by roadside cops at random to make sure we’re not “drunk” (without having given any reason to suspect we might be) and – on the other hand – its lawn dart insouciance toward the actually dangerous . . .  which has been forced upon us by the very same government.
Consider the latest example – the news that over the course of less than two years – from September 2016 through March 2018 –

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Ex-Post Fatwa’ing

November 5, 2019

One way to avoid having Big Brother ride shotgun is to buy a ride built before Big Brother came with the car – or the truck.
(Italics for a reason; bear with.)
It has been legal – since the dawn of the automobile age – to buy a vehicle made before the advent of air bags, back-up cameras, driver “assistance” technology – and all the rest of it – and drive it on public roads.
The roads the public paid for.
Colorado just made it illegal – in principle.
And the precedent this establishes could become the practice whereby we’re forced out of older vehicles that aren’t “compliant” with the latest sssssssssssaaaaaaafety and emissions regs – including the new “emissions” regs that portray carbon dioxide (which has nothing to do with air

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The Mafia Is Disappointed…in Millennials!

November 4, 2019

The insurance mafia just conceded the obvious – that sssssaaaaaafety systems are dangerous – and then faulted people for disabling them.
A PSA created by the Liberty Mutual “family” – listen to it here – says that many drivers are “not embracing”  technologies such as Lane Keep Assist, Automated Emergency Braking – and so on – “due to their distracting sounds and lights.”
Italics added.
We truly live beyond the looking glass.
In the same mouthful, the soy boy consiglierie of the “family” who did the voice-over for the PSA admits that it is “distracting” – and distractions are unsafe – but bemoans the fact that drivers are taking steps to turn off these distractions.
It takes a moment to recover from that.
But such cognitive

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Schumer’s Electric Escort Service

October 30, 2019

If you have to pay a girl to go out with you, there’s probably something wrong with you. Especially if you let yourself believe she is going out with you because she likes you.
The same applies to electric cars – which most people, if they’re honest with themselves, only “date” because they’re handed wads of bills as compensation for the EV’s many functional deficits – as well as its much higher expenses.
The compensation is tendered in the form of  tax kickbacks (paid for by other taxpayers) and various special privileges, such as “free” (and tax-free) electricity  . . . also paid for by others.
That this is absolutely essential – in terms of perpetrating the fiction of EV viability – tells us all we need to know about the

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Another Auto-Immolation

October 28, 2019

Pity the fool who buys a Tesla. It could be the last car he ever owns
Omar Awan, a 48-year-old anesthesiologist, was driving his leased Tesla in February when he lost control on a south Florida parkway and the car slammed into a palm tree, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed in state court in Broward County.
Would-rescuers couldn’t open the doors to extract Awan because the handles were retracted; bystanders watched helplessly as the car filled with smoke and flames, according to the complaint – which alleges the fire originated with the car’s battery.
The door handles on the Model S are flush with the car and pop out — “auto-present” in the words of Tesla – when they detect that the key fob is nearby.
But when the power

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‘Concern’ in the Wrong Quarter

October 24, 2019

Clearly, pedestrians and bicyclists are unsafe and must be banned – or least, fatwa’d.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – an apparat of the federal government that by some ineffable self-accretion acquired legislative power over all of us without having been elected by any of us – is “concerned” about an increase in the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths, 3.4 and 6.3 percent respectively.
This is said to be the biggest increase in 30 years – which timeframe interestingly jibes almost exactly with the manifold increase in government mandated ssssaaaaaaafety equipment in new cars.
Three decades ago – back in 1989 – no cars had any form of driver “assistance” or even back-up cameras. Yet people were backed

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Stockholm Syndrome

October 22, 2019

If four-year-old Chevys, Fords or Toyotas were bricking – going inert, not moving – and needed thousands of dollars of repairs to get going moving again – the people who owned them would demand a recall and other people would never buy a Chevy or a Ford or a Toyota, for the obvious reasons.
The government might even get involved!
But when it comes to electric cars, there’s a sort of Stockholm Syndrome. No matter how outrageous the defect or inherent the flaw, EVs remain the object of doe-eyed reverence and limitless apologia. They can do no wrong. Or rather there is – apparently – no amount of wrong they can do that the people who own them aren’t willing to abide.
The latest being as above. Teslas less than four years old (which

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Automotive Pre-Emption

October 21, 2019

New cars do lots of things cars didn’t do in the past – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Convenience has its merits.
But what about pre-emption?
Cars once did as they were told by their owners – and no more. If you didn’t want the doors to lock or the lights to come on they didn’t – until you locked them or turned them on. You could spin the tires – and lock up the brakes – as you liked.
New cars take those choices away from you – like a parent schooling a child.
It is about to get much worse.
Volvo – which is not-coincidentally owned by the control-freak Chinese – intends to include an upgraded version of its “Volvo on Call” technology in its cars within the next couple of years. What it means is that your Volvo will make a

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The DeadWire

October 16, 2019

People aren’t getting a charge out of Harley’s first electric motorcycle, the LiveWire . . . literally.
Owners – and there aren’t many – have been advised not to plug their bikes in at home or anywhere else except a Harley Davidson dealership, where “special equipment” is available.
This means the LiveWire’s already limited radius of action due to its being electric is now limited to no more than about 70 miles away from a Harley dealership – the there and back trip amounting to the LiveWire’s maximum best-case range of about 140 miles. (Italics to emphasize the fact that best case assumes low-speed, “urban” use; on the highway the bike’s actual range will be considerably less.)
Once you’ve made it to there, you’ll wait for about

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What’s it Going to Be?

October 15, 2019

Something’s got to give – and will, soon.
Odds are it will be us. Giving more money, that is. Our punishment for not buying an electric car. Or put another way – to make it just as expensive for us to continue driving a non-electric car as it is to buy an electric car.
In order to “level the playing field.” Get ready – it’s coming.
It’ll be done in any of several ways. In China, people are allowed to drive non-electric cars, provided they pay an exorbitant  fee – $14,000 – for the privilege. After winning a license plate lottery that allows them to pay the fee.
Winning the lottery can take years. But EVs can be registered immediately . . . and without the punitive fee.
In Western European countries, so-called “polluter pays”

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Rearviews in the Rearview

October 12, 2019

Elon Musk wants you to pay more for your next new car – even if you don’t buy one of his cars.
The CEO of Tesla is “petitioning” the government to allow him – and everyone else – to eliminate rearview and exterior mirrors from new cars – in favor of in-car displays fed images by cameras. He says this will result in better aerodynamics and so, improved efficiency.
He doesn’t say what it will cost.
And not just Tesla buyers.
If this “petition” is successful, the rest of the industry will ape Elon – for the same reason you can’t find a new car without an LCD touchscreen or with a physical key for the ignition and door locks.
Elon is a media (and mandate) manufactured trend-setter. He is presented as “hip” and “with it.” The rest of

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Not-So-Smart Summoning

October 10, 2019

If you doubt there’s a double standard when it comes to saaaaaaaaaaaaafety, consider the fact that the government isn’t recalling or even investigating Teslas equipped with something called “Smart Summon,” a feature that is causing driverless Teslas to bump into other cars and – inevitably – people who happen to be in the way.
Tesla owners who are too lazy to walk to where their car is parked push a button on their remote to summon the car, which drives itself from wherever it is parked to where its owner is waiting. The problem is the driverless Teslas are glaucomic; their hazy electronic eyes don’t see cross traffic in time – or they back into it. They have very poor peripheral vision and – if we were dealing with a human

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The Dangers of Saaaaaaaaaaaafety

October 9, 2019

Safety is getting pretty dangerous.
In particular, the driver “assists” (as they’re styled) being added as part of the standard equipment suite in almost all new cars. These are really driver-pre-emption technologies which countersteer – and apply the brakes – when the computer decides that these interventions are necessary.
Leaving aside the nannying issue, there is a safety issue with all this “assistance” – which is sometimes provided when it’s not wanted much less needed.
I’ve experience this myself, test-driving new cars. I was driving one of these – a new Prius, equipped with Automated Emergency Braking – when it applied the brakes – full force – for no apparent reason. I almost had dashboard for lunch. There was no deer in

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The Vampire Effect

October 8, 2019

One of the subtler – and most vicious – ways the government renders us more dependent on it is by rendering us less able to help ourselves and one another.
I just got the second of my twice-yearly bills from the government demanding about $1,000 in rent – it is styled “property tax” – on what is absurdly styled “my” house, in order to be allowed to continue living in it (hence rent, notwithstanding I am technically the “owner” of my house, having paid the former owner in full for it many years ago).
It’s a lot of money for me – and for most people.
It’s also just about the same amount of money a family member needs to cover rent they can’t pay this month.
I would like to help – and would, were it not for the fact that I haven’t

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Facial Recognition for Your Car

October 5, 2019

If you’ve ever wondered why so many new cars have Angry Samurai Face, maybe it’s because they’re annoyed about being watched all the time.
There is something called the Digital Recognition Network – which operates kind of like the fingerprint database the FBI maintains to keep track of criminals. The difference here is it’s our cars that are being kept track of.
Also that we’re not criminals.
This is a distinction of no particular relevance in the “Homeland” (doesn’t the eructation of that word make your right arm want to voluntarily snap outward and upward like a baton?) where the possibility that you might be guilty of something is sufficient to presume you are guilty.
The burden of innocence resting squarely – and perpetually

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Another Way EVs Will Cost Us

October 3, 2019

Lost in the fatuous fake news juggernaut about the supposed misdeeds of the relentlessly besieged Orange Man has been real – and important news – about the longest nationwide strike by autoworkers in almost 50 years.
The target of the strike is General Motors. The United Auto Workers haven’t been working since September 16. Almost all GM plants have been idled since then, with the exception of the truck plant in Silao, Mexico. But a shortage of parts caused by the idling of the plants north of the border will almost certainly cause the truck plant to go silent soon, too.
The closures are costing GM about $25 million per day in lost profit, according to analysts.
But they could cost autoworkers – and us – much more.
The UAW is

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The Corn Lobby vs. Orange Man

October 1, 2019

The corn lobby – which benignly styles itself The National Corn Growers Association – is upset with the Orange Man for – as CNN puts it – “reducing demand” for its crops.
What he’s actually done is reduce the mandate for them by granting waivers to refineries which would otherwise by forced by a federal law called the Renewable Fuels Standard or RFS to douse the gas they make with ethanol – which is made (in the United States) using mostly  . . . corn.
Almost all of the “gas” sold in the United States actually contains 10 percent ethanol (E10) because of the regs that require, not because American motorists want it. If they did want it, there would be no need for the mandate.
Which mandate puts a lot of corn into American

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The Unforgiving Electric Vehicle

September 28, 2019

Electric cars are unforgiving things. If you forgot to plug in the night before – or just didn’t have time – they’ll make you pay for it . . .  in time.
My 18-year-old non-electric truck is much more forgiving of my forgetting . . . to fill it up.
I was driving down to Lowes the other day – and from there to the coffee shop where I spend a few hours each day composing the rants – when I glanced at my fuel gauge and realized I was almost running on empty.

No worries – as the Aussies say.
There’s a gas station just up the road. I’ll roll in – maybe on fumes – and roll out just a couple of minutes later with a full tank. No planning – or waiting. A minor detour and back to my day.
But what if I’d had an electric car?
Lots of

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A Tale of Two Sales

September 27, 2019

BMW announced the other day it is cancelling production of the i3 – its first and so far only electric car.
The reason is pretty straightforward. They’re not selling well.
Correction: They’re not selling well here.
About 350-400 of them per month for the year so far – which works out to about seven or eight cars in each state per month. Which is probably why you haven’t seen an i3 yet.
And now you may never see one.
But in Europe, it’s a different story. BMW has sold lots of i3s over there. About 2,300 of them each month so far this year – which works out to five or six times as many there vs. here.
Why the disparity?
Probably because Americans are still free to not buy the i3 – while Europeans are increasingly not free to buy

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