Take Your Pick of the "Isms"

Manual Transmissions: Tomorrow's 8-Tracks?

2016 Nissan Maxima

Cheap Gas... Big Problems

Take Your Pick of the "Isms"

Is this con really going to sell… again? The neo-con intellectual Francis Fukuyama claimed the “end of history” after the…

2016 Nissan Maxima

Toyota’s got the Avalon … for people who want a larger, nicer Camry. That’s more or less the role the…

Cheap Gas... Big Problems

Some happy news: Gas is officially cheaper than it’s ever been. In my area – southwest Virginia – it is…

New Car Reviews

2016 Nissan Maxima

'16 Maxima lead

Toyota’s got the Avalon … for people who want a larger, nicer Camry. That’s more or less the role the Maxima has played lately in Nissan’s lineup. In theory, it’s the car for people who want something a bit more than the Altima offers, especially performance and style-wise … but not quite as much as an Infiniti (or a Lexus or a BMW) price-wise. The problem in recent years has…

2016 Mazda Miata

'16 Miata lead

If it had an accessible power point, it’d be the perfect car. That’s my only beef. No place to plug in the radar detector. Which is as necessary in this car as a dozen juice box holders are in a minivan. Well, no good – that is, accessible – place. It took thumbing through the owner’s manual to find the got-damned thing – after a fruitless 20 minute snipe hunt trying…

2016 Lincoln MKX

'16 MKX lead

It’s a tricky thing, re-selling a mainstream model as a luxury model. Audi and Acura are two who do it pretty well. So does Cadillac. Can Lincoln? The key to success is not just slapping a “premium” badge on the same basic ride… along with a premium price tag. It’s ok if car A is related to car B. So long as they’re cousins – not brothers.      Like the…

2016 Mini Clubman

'16 Mini last

Mini is relative. Relative to the Mini hatchback, the just-updated Mini Clubman is a much larger car. Especially on the inside. It has about twice the cargo capacity – and several inches more backseat room. But relative to other cars, the Clubman is still a small car. On the outside, that is. Though it’s almost a foot longer overall than it used to be, it’s still about a foot shorter…

2016 Subaru Legacy

'16 Legacy lead

The car business is weird. On the one hand, you can’t stick your arms out sideways from your body without touching an all-wheel-drive crossover SUV. These things are like Pez dispensers. They keep coming up with new ones. And yet, the feature that has arguably made them so popular (all-wheel-drive) is all-but-absent in family-priced mid-sized sedans. Or, if it is available (few and far between) it is invariably optional. The…

2016 Scion iA

'16 iA & Mazda3

Does it matter what the wrapper says if it’s the exact same Snickers bar inside? That, as the saying goes, is the question. Toyota’s small car spin-off needed a new model; Mazda had one to spare. A deal was struck and – voila – the (ahem) Scion iA. Mechanically, it’s a Mazda2 – which is sold as the Deimos in Japan – and also as the Toyota Yaris in Mexico,…

Politics

Cheap Gas… Big Problems

as prices lead

Some happy news: Gas is officially cheaper than it’s ever been. In my area – southwest Virginia – it is about $1.59 per gallon as of Feb. 7. Of this, about 60 cents (18.4 cents federal, 36 cents state)  is taxes, so the actual gas costs about $1 right now. Back in 1967, the low water mark for cheap gas, it cost about 30 cents … in 1967 money. That 30 cents – in 2016 money (inflation-adjusted) is $2.13.  In other words, gas currently costs us about half what it cost back in ’67, almost…

Electric Cars Could Work… If The Government Got Out Of The Car Business

obey!

The tragedy is, electric cars could probably work. If the government would get the hell out of the way. The feds postulate requirements – basically, design parameters – that are at odds, that conflict – and make an economically sane electric car absolutely out of the question. The government insist, for example, that every electric car be as “safe” as every non-electric car. This being defined as complying with every last federal standard – not necessarily meaning that the car in question simply refrain from being a death trap. Most people outside the car business…

Another Volt… Called The Bolt

bolt lead

Why does GM continue to throw money at electric cars? Perhaps because it’s not their money. It’s yours. And mine. In the form of apparently endless taxpayer-extorted “help” (via federal taxation) to spur the design and manufacture of vehicles that have to be given away at a loss because – channeling Donald Trump – they are losers. First the Volt – so few of which were offloaded (“sold” would be an affront to honest English) GM had to idle the plant devoted to their assembly. Then GM doubled-down and ginned up the ELR –…

Is it a “Good Idea”?

Whiskey rebellion image

The other day, I wrote about ethanol – the corn-sourced alcohol that’s used as a fuel additive in almost all the “gas” sold in the United States. Air quotes used because the “gas” is actually 10 percent ethanol. Or, more. I got replies – mostly favorable, a few not. Some of the nots touted the virtues of ethanol – and I will freely admit there are some. As I hope the nots would acknowledge ethanol’s downsides. It’s neither here nor there. Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that ethanol is the ideal…

Cruzing on Empty

Cruz lead

Ethanol – corn alcohol – won’t take you as far as a gallon of gas. But that doesn’t mean it is isn’t powerful stuff. Politically powerful stuff. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is feeling the heat right now as the ethanol lobby pressures him to openly commit to expanded support for federal ethanol mandates – a kowtow every recent presidential candidate from both parties has done up to now. The ethanol lobby’s potency derives not only from the money it has and the campaign contributions it can make (or not) but also from the fact that…

Anarchy Works!

anarchy lead

“Anarchy” is one of those words that many people react to emotionally – having been conditioned to do so. The word has become generally synonymous with chaos and disorder. Dog eat dog. As EPautos’ king troll (Clover; see here for more about him) puts it, anarchy means “do whatever the hell you like.” Well, no. Anarchy, strictly defined, means simply the absence of government. It does not mean people won’t – much less can’t – govern themselves. The fact is most people do exactly that. And they do it without government. Already. Do you need government – its threats…