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

2016 Mazda Miata

It's Alive... For The Moment!

Another Volt... Called The Bolt

2016 Mazda Miata

If it had an accessible power point, it’d be the perfect car. That’s my only beef. No place to plug…

It's Alive... For The Moment!

Cue Borat voice… great success! The ’80 Hardley appears to be functional. Possibly, ridable. Probably for not very long. But,…

New Car Reviews

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,…

2016 Jeep Renegade

'16 Renegade in the mud

Fun cars that don’t cost a small fortune are getting hard to find. Especially if they’re not cars at all. Like this Jeep Renegade. How many small SUVs are there out there with a starting sticker price under $18 that come standard with a turbocharged engine and a six-speed manual transmission? Not many. How many have the turbo engine, the six-speed manual, can go off-road and cost under $20k? Just one. This one. WHAT…

Politics

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…

Paying for Electric Cars… Twice

EV charging station

Imagine that the government decided to tax you to finance a step ladder project to the Moon. In a very real way, that’s exactly what’s happening. In California right now – and probably soon, other states as well. The “moon shot” in question is a $22 million project (just for openers) to build thousands of electric vehicle charging stations at $15,000 a piece  in the Los Angeles area to support electric cars … which can’t get very far without an electric umbilical cord. Electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and the electric version of…