Throw (Clean) Diesels in the Woods?

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Diesel engines could deliver us – from high transportation costs.

There is no reason – well, no technical or economic reason – why consumers couldn’t have access to $15,000 subcompact economy cars powered by high-efficiency turbo-diesels capable of 70 MPG, 50 MPG family cars -  and 30 MPG trucks and SUVs.

Except for the only reason that ultimately matters most – government.

We do have the technology. In Europe there are already subcompact diesel-powered cars that rate 70 MPG. They’ve been in circulation for years.  For example, the VW Lupo – a two-thirds scale Golf powered by a 1.2 liter, three-cylinder diesel. The car only weighs about 2,100 pounds and – not surprisingly – delivers better than 70 MPG.That’s easily 20 MPG better a Prius hybrid – and for about $10,000 less up front, too.

Its successor, the Polo, is only slightly less consumptive.

Neither is available here.

Part of the reason – well, all of the reason – is …. government.

European diesel models didn’t comply with various federal ukase (emissions and bumper-impact) and the cost of modifying them to comply so they could be sold here was too high to make it worth bothering with. So we don’t get them.

The majority of the diesel-powered cars we do get – of which there are just a handful – are high-dollar. There’s the BMW 330d (base price $44,150), the Mercedes E350 BlueTEC (base price $51,690) and a couple of high-end SUVs, including the Audi Q7 TDI (base price $51,450).

These models have many virtues, but economy is not among them.

The few diesel-powered cars that are almost manageable to buy – like the new Audi A3 TDI ($30,250), the VW Golf TDI ($23,225) and its sedan cousin the Jetta TDI ($23,965) are not-so-economic to operate.Once again, thanks to … government.

Specifically: Thanks to federal “ultra low-sulfur” diesel fuel requirements, diesel now costs significantly more than regular unleaded – about 30-40 cents more per gallon – negating the diesel’s efficiency advantage.It costs about the same to operate a gas-powered car that gets say 40 MPG as it does a diesel-powered car that gets 50. But the diesel-powered car typically costs a few thousand dollars more up front relative to the gas-powered equivalent.

But wait – there’s more.

Also because of Uncle, all diesel-powered cars (high end and moderate end) now have to be topped off with pee – literally, pee – every couple of weeks. The pee – politely called urea and then re-branded again to more appetizing-sounding things like AdBlue – is contained in a special separate tank from which the fluid is drawn and then sprayed into the exhaust, to chemically alter the exhaust byproduct in such a way that Uncle is pleased with the end result.

It’s not just repellent – it’s another expense. The urea (depending on the model and how much you drive) may cost you another couple hundred bucks each year, on top of the higher up-front cost of the diesel engine (and the higher cost of the “clean” diesel fuel at the pump) which further chews up whatever economy advantage you’d otherwise get with a diesel engine over a gas engine.

And that’s not all, folks. Of course it isn’t.

The urea-fed “clean” diesels are also not as economical as the old, non-Golden Shower diesels. In fact, diesel-powered cars are the only class of vehicle whose mileage is going down – not up. Example: The 2012 VW Jetta TDI is rated by the EPA at 30 city, 42 highway. But 15 years ago, a 1996 Jetta diesel was returning 34 city and 44 highway. This, despite the ’96 model not having the current (2012) car’s technology advantages, including a six-speed transmission with steep overdrive gearing vs. the ’96 model’s old-school four-speed transmission. People who can remember the ’70s may recall the old Rabbit diesel. It was a solid 50 MPG’er… 30 years ago.  Nothing we have – that is, nothing that’s available new – can touch this. At least, nothing that’s not an overpriced hybrid. And hybrids – unlike diesels – don’t last 400,000 miles.

It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. No wait, so god-damned stupid.

The clowns in charge want us to “save energy” – so they make cars less efficient. They say they want to make cars more efficient – and end up making them more expensive. This is what comes of having arrogant know-nothings pulling levers whose function they do not even begin to comprehend. Is it not breathtaking? The spectacle of a wheedling “community activist” lawyer issuing engineering fatwas? Do you suppose that Barry B. (or Johnny B.) have any clue as to the principle of 4-stroke combustion? Would you be willing to bet that either of them can tell you what an Otto cycle engine is? And compression ignition? If that were the final round question on Jeopardy – and Barry B. and all the rest of them were at the podium – do you think even a handful would be able to come up with the answer?

No?

Well, now you know the answer why cars cost more than they ever have (and rising) and why current diesels make no economic sense and deliver fewer MPGs than their ancestors of 20 or even 30 years ago.

Lovely, ain’t it?

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

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  53 comments for “Throw (Clean) Diesels in the Woods?

  1. Gil
    August 13, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Or another reason is fuel isn’t that expensive for people to buy teeny tiny cars.

    • August 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      It doesn’t matter whether you’re driving a 2500 series dualie or a tiny little Lupo. Diesel costs more than gas – significantly more – enough (by itself) to cut deeply into the mileage advantage of the diesel relative to a gas-powered equivalent. Then you need to factor in the “clean” diesel’s higher operating costs, including urea, as well as their higher maintenance costs and reduced longevity.

      And for what?

      The dirty little secret of the car biz is that emissions (from gas and diesel passenger vehicles) are already nearly-nil. Every time you hear some bureaucrat or politician talking about “lowering emissions by 20 percent” what he is really saying is reducing the remaining 5 percent or so of the total emissions output that is still “dirty” by 20 percent; in other words, a fractional improvement – usually, at high cost.

      We long ago reached the point of diminishing returns with regard to motor vehicle emissions.

      • BrentP
        August 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

        The federal government’s low sulfur requirement was supposed to make the european diesel technology work here. Diesel fuel in europe naturally has a lower sulfur content than diesel in the USA. It’s not man, just nature that makes it so. It’s due to what is pulled from the ground. Which in turn means that european diesel engine technology is designed for use with a low sulfur fuel.

        Now if the USA had a free market diesel technology would have developed for the high sulfur fuel of the USA. There’s no reason to in a corporatist environment. A corporatist environment may use the government to force the costs out of product development and on to the customers and fuel manufacturers. That’s politics. Could go the other way around too. That’s how the battles between fuel producers and automakers is decided these days, by politicians who have no understanding of technical matters.

        Which brings another topic to mind… If electric cars really worked well, we’d have them. Automakers would cast off the oil companies in heart beat because big oil often does not want to make the fuels that automotive engineers want to make better product. This goes back a 100 years or more. It’s a battle of who designs around who.

        Our overlords don’t know anything about science and engineering. I was long ago convinced of their inability to see the fine art of engineering balance.

        On diminishing returns. We are most certainly looking at other goals being sold as cleaner air or at the very least vote pandering. More the former than the later. We can see it in the behaviors of those behind the policies. They don’t practice what they preach and usually make themselves exempt. All for them, none for us, that’s the game they are playing.

        • Edward King
          August 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm

          I think a lot of the nonsense about reducing emissions, has little to do with reducing particulate matter so much as reducing CO2. As you noted, cars are the cleanest they have ever been and any further reduction only seeks to add a needless additional cost to vehicles. It is the nonsense about AGW that is really at the heart of the call for lower emissions.

          Unfortunately politicians don’t seem to understand the concept of opportunity cost. All the extra money that is paid to have these zero or near zero emissions vehicles, is money that CANNOT be used to fund other endeavors that could increase the quality of life of the human race. It seems that while politicians are always bloviating about how much they care for the poor and the middle class, they don’t seem to care that the policies they enact result only to make living standards decrease.

          With friends like these, who needs enemies?

          • Boothe
            August 14, 2011 at 3:58 am

            Ed, I think you give the ruling class too much credit for being stupid. Everything our “public servants” have done since at least 1836 (the last year we had a debt free federal government…okay…the only year) has resulted in more taxes, less freedom, more government, monetary inflation and a “stupidized” public brought to you by the education bureaucracy. The emissions standards are adders the auto manufacturers profit from (you don’t think they sell you a cat or any other emissions control gadget or gimmick “at cost” do you?). As most of us already know, carbon dioxide is (a) plant food and (b) something you exhale. They are literally trying to tax us on breathing. It’s not that they don’t care what effect these mandates have on the “small people”; they know good and well what will happen to us and it’s being done intentionally.

          • Edward King
            August 14, 2011 at 8:54 pm

            I agree with you 100%. I have no doubt that they know what they are doing. Enslaving us is their ultimate goal, but no tyrant ever said he was breaking legs and crushing skulls to increase his or her own power. Tyrants and would be tyrants always trot out some noble sounding reason to achieve an increase in their power.

          • August 15, 2011 at 10:40 am

            “Democracy” is the most ingenious tool they – the “men behind the curtain” – ever conceived. It puts people in chains while convincing them they’re “free.” It provides the illusion of consent but the reality of total domination.

            I see now way out except finding a new Earth somewhere else… and trying again.

          • Gil
            August 15, 2011 at 11:11 am

            Yes instead it should all Monarchies – all people who own land get to rule over it and answer to no one especially governments.

            Clover

          • August 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm

            This is too incoherent to even try to deconstruct. I allow it through as an example of the Cloveronian brain in action…

            No Clovers

          • Gil
            August 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm

            What? Your own your land and house outright therefore anyone who wants to drop for a chat has to abide by your rules.

            Clover

          • August 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm

            Here we go again… the Clover trying (very clumsily) to make a package deal argument. The Clover trying to twist the concept of land ownership into a license to assault/murder people. It’s too retarded to even bother with again, so I won’t.

            No Clovers

          • Gil
            August 17, 2011 at 8:14 am

            Once again what happened to notion that if you emigrate to country X then you have to find out what the laws and customs of country X are so you know what to do when you get there? In Libertopia there is no government therefore the people who private own land decide what the laws and customs will be over their own private land but they do not decide and have authority over others’ private lands. In other words, Libertopia would be made of private auotcracies. The question of what happens when assaults and murders occur is answered by it’ll be up to the parties concerned as opposed to government which forces everyone to get involved through taxes.

            Clover

          • August 17, 2011 at 10:03 am

            How many times must it be repeated? Libertarians are not in favor of “do anything you like to anyone you wish” – that is your twisted construct. We are in favor of being left alone unless – and until – we do something to harm someone else. In other words, until there is an actual victim. Only when there is a victim can it be properly said that a crime has been committed. Otherwise, leave people alone.

            That is the concept, Aussie Clover: Liberty. And an essential aspect of that is the Libertarian loathing of those who initiate violence against others. In other words, people who commit assault, murder and so on. But also people like you who advocate the use of the government’s police power to criminalize actions that have no victim (for example, smoking pot or prostitution) as well as force people to do (or not do) as you and your fellow Clovers think they ought to do (or not do) “for their own good.”

            This has been explained to you one too many times, now. It is becoming obvious you are either a troll – or just dumb.

            No Clovers

          • Boothe
            August 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm

            Eric, so far Gil won’t answer two questions for us: (a) What he does for a living, and (b) whether he would rather have a 5 trillion dollar Zimbabwe note or an ounce of gold. I vote for dumb and troll.

          • August 17, 2011 at 1:07 pm

            Interestingly, I had the same problem with our original Clover (aaleroy), the one who inspired the term. I and others here repeatedly queried him about his means of support, his education and work background… which was met with evasions and then silence. Like you, I’m convinced that Clover Mark I and Clover Mark II are either on the dole, or “work” for either the government directly or for some corporate cartel that does “business” with the government. The near-illiteracy of Clover Mark I and his turgid, almost sexual worship of “the law” led me to guess that his likely source of employment was as a DMV bureaucrat – perhaps a toll booth guard. Or maybe a publik skool wet nurse/propaganda conveyor.

            As for Clover Mark II: He’s slightly brighter (at least, more able to construct a paragraph that’s not suffused with infantile spelling and grammar errors) but shares the same Clover hallmarks of “thought” – emoting, ridiculous exaggerations, the endless straw man arguments and of course, the underlying lust to control others.

            They’re a plague. Mindless, devastating and impossible to reason with.

          • Gil
            August 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm

            And pray what happens when something does goes wrong in Libertopia? Presumably the PDAs of both parties investigate and as well as some sort of private arbitration agencies decide what restitution and or punishment will occur?

          • August 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm

            First, Aussie Clover, you posit another straw man argument: I made a Libertarian argument and you come back with an anarchic counter-argument. And as always, it’s an exaggerated, hysterical counter-argument that assumes the atypical is typical; that the worst-case scenario is the normal, to be expected scenario.

            I’ve already gone over this (as have others) endlessly with you. Libertarians – at least, this Libertarian – don’t have any issue with police as such. Provided they are only enforcing laws that involve actual crime (meaning, acts that leave a victim) then there’s no trouble that I can see. Courts, cops and prison to support the enforcement of laws against violence, theft, fraud. Paid for by general sales/use taxes – which would be ample for legitimate “rule of law” enforcement (we only have a problem now because so many actions that have no victim have been criminalized, which in turns creates a “need” for a vast “law enforcement” apparatus).

            Do you see?

            No Clovers

  2. methylamine
    August 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Eric, the analogy with pulling levers reminded me of those commercials a while back with a bunch of chimpanzees in a board room. The lone human presenting noticed the profit/loss chart was upside down and corrected it, so the head chimpanzee motioned with is hand to turn it back…and the party re-commenced.

    Indeed I can see Washington as a bunch of chimps let loose in a nuclear reactor control room randomly pulling levers. Funny but frightening thought–only much more lethal than just a nuclear reactor!

    It’s my understanding that many modern cars’ exhaust is cleaner than the ambient air in dirty cities–I think at that point, call it quits and quit regulating more!

    BTW the clean standards are now impacting the effectiveness of our lubricating oil. The newest standard SM has fewer extreme-friction additives like ZDP and ZDDP–to preserve the increasingly exotic catalysts, at the expense of your bearings, tappets, followers, cams, etc.

    Solution? Buy Royal Purple XPR–has all the good stuff still! I run it in the Miata and the M5…wonderful stuff, mileage increases and according to Blackstone Labs I’m abrading off less metal than ever.

    • Boothe
      August 14, 2011 at 5:30 am

      Methy, thanks for the tip on Royal Purple, I’m still running Mobil 1 in my Miata. I think one of the things we’re missing here in the corporate owned and operated U.S. is that the “Seven Sisters” (big oil companies) aren’t going to let vehicles that are truly efficient into the country until they’ve practically exhausted the entire oil reserves of the world. But at the rate the military is burning hydrocarbons in Iraq, Afganistan and Libya, that shouldn’t take too much longer……..

      • August 14, 2011 at 10:26 am

        I use Royal Purple in my ’76 Trans Am, supplemented at each oil change with Comp Cams additive (which has the ZDDP, etc.). This (modern oil formulations without ZDDP) is apparently a potentially significant problem for older engines with flat tappet cams.

      • Gil
        August 15, 2011 at 5:24 am

        Really? You suppoose electric and steam cars are secretly way more efficient but are being held down by the Evil Big Oil Companies?

        Clover

        • August 15, 2011 at 10:49 am

          Aussie Clover, once again you miss the point completely.

          If all the government-imposed rigmarole didn’t exist, if the car companies (if individual inventors) could freely build cars based solely on consumer demand – what people want, not “their” government – there would be no obstacle to the manufacture of 80 MPG (or better) economy compacts that cost less than $10,000 brand new – making electrics/hybrids and so on economically irrelevant.

          No Clovers

          • Gil
            August 15, 2011 at 11:08 am

            LOLOLOLOL! Since when did masses want super-duper-economical cars? Small cars that run on the smell of an oily rag have existed for ages. If anything it’s the Libertarians who complain that forcing people to buy small cars will lead to more deaths when they crash into people who can still afford to drive large cars. Traditionally tiny cars have been the preserve of weirdos and misers.

            Clover

          • August 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm

            Really? You mean like the (old) VW Beetle? The world’s best-selling car, ever? (Until the Toyota Corolla – another small economy car – finally surpassed it.)

            The Old Beetle would still be in production, too, were it not for Clovers… it was Cloverism (government edicts regarding crash test standards and emissions) that killed the Beetle. Not lack of consumer demand.

            Poor ol’ Aussie Clover…. lots of opinions. Very few facts. Even less comprehension.

            No Clovers

          • Gil
            August 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm

            Seriously how many drive large vehicles because they can and not because they need the extra size and power? Similarly many would drive an economical car but how many would drive some piddly small car that really, really efficient and is virtually a golf cart? When you get that small and fiddly you’d probably be as well off with a pushbike (or a motorbike). Are they really safe and have good grip in the wet? Surely you would agree that when cars get really small they do start to become potentially dangerous in bad driving conditions?

            Clover

          • August 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm

            I notice – again – that you skip right over the point. The fact that the best-selling car ever, for decades, was the VW Beetle. A subcompact economy car. (And that the model that finally outsold it – the Toyota Corolla – is another small car.)

            So, your original (ignorant) post was blown right out of the water. Again.

            But as usual, you won’t admit you were wrong – you just ignore what has been pointed out and go off on another Cloverite spew.

            No Clovers

          • Fritz
            August 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm

            Who cares how many would drive the small, uber-efficient cars? Why won’t you let them? You can pay 20K extra for a catalyst the size of my house, and 63 airbags, and even keep your stamped-can chassis. Now, quit with the crabs in a bucket mentality, and let the non-troglodyte population progress.

            All that said, small cars START TO BECOME POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS… in BAD DRIVING CONDITIONS. Yep, and Cheerios can help reduce the risk of heart attack, uranium is good for you and fluoride prevents cavities.

          • Brent P
            August 16, 2011 at 3:35 am

            Gil, without government imposing the way some people think everyone should live and its countless regulations, taxes, etc to make things needlessly expensive many people could afford BOTH a truck and an economy car. This way people could use the truck when it was time for a truck and use a economy car when it was time for that.

            People need to learn how to stop meddling.

          • Gil
            August 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm

            Last time I looked it was the Libertarians who complain that government taxing large cars will lead to more deaths by forcing people into small cars.

            Clover

          • August 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

            What Libertarians object to, Aussie Clover is forcing people to do (or buy) anything. Libertarians believe in liberty – in choice.

            So (in an ideal world, free of Cloverism) if your needs/situation or simple preferences were such that a large vehicle met them, you should be free to buy one – built/equipped as you want, not they way some government bureaucrat/Clover thinks it should be equipped (or designed).

            That it might not get great gas mileage would be your business.

            Conversely, if another person preferred to buy a very compact/light car because it got great mileage – even at the potential cost of being less “safe” in the event of a crash – that, too, would be his choice to make.

            The car companies (ideally) would respond solely to the preferences of their customers, not to the diktats of control-freak Clovers who imagine they have the right to impose their preferences on others.

            Is it really that hard to comprehend?

            And why are you so opposed to leaving others alone, to respecting their liberty to decide for themselves what’s best? Do you think you are smarter than others? That someone who claims to be smarter than you should have the right to force you to make choices in life as he deems fit?

            No Clovers

  3. Vincent Mohan
    August 14, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I think that an important point is being missed here. The ruling class in D.C. doesn’t want us in cars; they want us in mass transit. Cars for the masses equal freedom, and THEY want us under their thumbs and surveillance at all times. This attitude goes all the way back to that busybody Woodrow Wilson. The best way the rulers have come up with to accomplish this is to regulate our vehicles to the point where only the wealthy can afford them. They then rub salt in the wound by telling us “It’s for your own good.”

    This attitude is not exclusive to our shores, either. The upper class in the UK is all in favor of the restrictions on travel and enjoyment proposed by Bonnie Prince Charlie. These people have always wanted to get the underclass back where they “belonged”, and using the environment as an excuse is a noble way to do it.

    • August 14, 2011 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Vince,

      I think you’re right. I think the ultimate goal is to get as many of the Mundanes (us) out of cars and into mass transit, because mass transit is controlled by them whereas owning a car allows much greater individual choice, freedom of movement and so on.

      Another – and related – aspect of this drive to push us “back where we belong” is the systematic destruction of the concept of owning anything beyond the clothes on our backs via endless, ever-increasing taxes on land/homes so that we are forced to work/earn “income” endlessly in order to pay them – which amounts to rent (and reduces us to tenants) which amounts to a modern, very cleverly obscured re-establishment of feudalism.

    • RebelKnightCSA
      August 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

      About the Royals – what, exactly, does the Bentley State Coach that the Queen uses produce for emissions? How about Chuck’s Aston-Martins? Even if they do run on biofuel as Buck Palace proclaims, do they have to fuel up the same way we do, or do they have their own private fueling stations? I am guessing that it is the latter case, right? One thing is for sure – you wont see either Obummer or Queen Elizabeth riding the bus anytime soon.

      • August 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm

        The presidential limo is (according to public records) a converted Chevy Suburban with armored body paneling designed to make it look like a Caddy DTS limo. It reportedly weighs well over 6,000 pounds and given the huge V-8 it probably eats it at the rate of around 4 miles to the gallon. Oh and let’s not forget the custom 747s, the special choppers… the retinue of flunkies…. these pig fuckers burn more fuel and add more CO2 to the envirrrrrrrronment each month than a small town does all year long.

        • Anthony
          August 15, 2011 at 4:20 am

          But Eric, they need those jets. They need the limos. They need to get around to educate us. We serfs just need to understand that they are here to help us discover the lost treasure of being limited to a thirty mile radius and only seeing grandma every five years. /sarcasm

          I wonder how many tons of CO2 have been dumped into the atmosphere in Lybia so far.

          • August 15, 2011 at 10:37 am

            Indeed. Our “defense” machine probably consumes more precious natural resources (and drives up the cost of those resources) than the entire private motor vehicle fleet of the United States. How much kerosene does just one M1A tank eat in an hour of operation? How about a carrier air wing? The 700-plus bases for “the troops” we have all over the world?

            Oh, I forget…. they’re fightin’ fer our freedoms…. god bless Ahhhhhhhmerica…

          • Brent P
            August 16, 2011 at 3:45 am

            Interesting article I found on military fuel consumption:

            http://www.energybulletin.net/node/29925

            3000 gallons per hour for the machines they use to bring death to others and our fuel consumption is an issue?

        • Boothe
          August 15, 2011 at 6:29 am

          Emission controls and CAFE standards are for the “small people” (as the head of BP called us). Limos, free fuel and taxpayer largesse are for the ruling elite. Isn’t it wonderful to have equal protection under the law?

          • methylamine
            August 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm

            Some are more equal than others, Boothe!

    • Boothe
      August 15, 2011 at 6:44 am

      Vince I strongly concur with you and Eric on this subject: private transportation, sound money, allodial property title, firearms and secure communications are all serious threats to the ruling class. This is why we get a deed (color of title according to the courts) for our home, a certificate of title for our car (where’s the actual title?), paper bank notes or a debit/credit card instead of specie and back doors and surveillance on our phones and email. The dream of any parasite in government is to have us all in little concrete boxes, walking to work, given just enough pay for food, clothing and entertainment. Be need to be totally unable to defend ourselves against their minions. This is apparently a utopia for the clover, but a true dystopia for the rest of us.

      • Mithrandir
        August 15, 2011 at 7:36 am

        I think this was the general plot of the matrix. :(

        Boothe,

        I agree with your post.

        Private transportation:
        Ability to travel where and when you want to travel.

        Sound money: A dollar today has the same value (purchasing power) as a dollar in the future. What you earn today can hold its value for some time.

        Allodial property title: The property is yours and no one can legally take it away from you.

        Firearms: Defend your rights, property and life.

        Secure communications: Give ideas and thoughts to other people and receive ideas and thoughts from other people. There is no gatekeeper for these ideas. Ideas can be transmitted with little if any restrictions.

        • Gil
          August 15, 2011 at 8:54 am

          Gold lost value between 1990 and 2008.

          Clover

          • August 15, 2011 at 10:44 am

            And?

            That period also happened to be a period of massive unnatural “growth” driven by fiat currency bubbles in consumption. The “wealth” created by this ploy – such as the increase in home equity – was false; it do not reflect actual value, or increase in real wealth. In the blink of an eye – poof – the “wealth” manufactured by fiat currency consumption and debt bubbles just… disappeared.

            Your “argument” is another non sequitur.

            No Clovers

          • Gil
            August 15, 2011 at 11:04 am

            The “exception that proves the norm”, eh? Not “gold’s value fluctuated over time and depending on when you buy it you could be out of pocket or wait for decades to break even.

          • Fritz
            August 15, 2011 at 4:25 pm

            How long do you have to wait to pull out of a 401K penalty free? And what is it taxed at on top of that? What about the minimum devaluation over 18 years holding cash? 36%? Pretending metals is a bad idea, it’s still the best idea.
            The argument for gold isn’t dollar valuation anyway. It’s buying power. If it is currency, then it’s ability to purchase is how it’s to be measured. Oh and the market for metals has been severely manipulated by the federal government for 80 years. Including outright confiscation…

          • methylamine
            August 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm

            @Salamander-in-training:
            Well then, suggest a better alternative for money. One that is:
            * not manipulable by greedy banksters and fraudulent politicians
            * portable
            * divisible
            * durable
            * recognizable

            Gil, you’re truly a sophomore–a wise fool.

          • Gil
            August 16, 2011 at 4:29 am

            Yeah methyl it’s not like the U.S. Government would ever try to seize peoples’ private gold stores.

            Clover

          • August 16, 2011 at 10:09 am

            And have you ever asked yourself what that implies about gold? And about fiat currency?

            No Clovers

  4. methylamine
    August 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    From Gil:

    Yeah methyl it’s not like the U.S. Government would ever try to seize peoples’ private gold stores.

    To which I would reply, Molon Labe–Come and Take It.

    According to many calculations, during the 1933 confiscation, the gubmint got only about 22% of the gold.

    What are you so afraid of? And what would YOU suggest as the perfect monetary system…greenbacks (gov-issued debtless unbacked fiat)?

    As for the rest of us non-Clovers: keep stacking that gold and silver, it’s gonna be a fine ride.

  5. Nick
    August 19, 2011 at 4:44 am

    I had a CRX “HF” model that had a wide ratio gearbox and was lighter than the “Si” model in the same year(87? I can’t remeber).

    I was good for 50mpg without being delicate on the highway…if I was gentle I could get mid 50′s. It was an amazing vehicle. With all the regs on safety with door reinforcement and the like I don’t think they can even cost effectively make a 1700 lb car today with the size of the crx…

    I also had a 2000 Jetta TDI and did lots of highway miles with it….higher diesel costs and increased maintenance(timing belts) really made any fuel savings negligible compared to a decent mpg gas powered car. I have no doubt that if we had access to the European options for small diesel cars they would be far superior, but either way you slice it gov’t regs have moved us backwards in terms of mpg, not forward.

    • August 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

      I remember them! And: Imagine that old CRX HF with a modern six-speed transmission (and the gearing advantage it would give). Probably close to 60 MPG….

  6. Jersey Devil
    August 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I dont think there is an evil conspiracy. European cities have been very dirty thanks to diesel fumes, I have nearly choked to death in both Rome and Paris, trying to have dinner with the cars and two stroke cycles choking me to death. Yuk. Now, mostly because of the US effort with low sulfer deisel, those cities are less onerous to sit outside in, Europe is cleaning up.

    I live in Philadelphia, a city patterened after those cities. Center ciry is small, very crouded, with very small streets. It would be a disaster if non-clean deisels took over. If it takes a spray of pee to loose the fumes, so be it. Now even alot of the buses are hybrid, thank god. I remember unhappily being covered by a cloud of diesel fumes when they took off.

    I dont like gas OR diesel fumes.

    As for the safety equipment, I beleive that European standards for cars is fine. Ours are constrictive. However, road deaths and injeries would undoubtably go up.

    • August 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      Of course, there are pros and cons on both sides of this issue. The pros you’ve covered; the cons include the higher cost (and lower efficiency) which not only makes diesels less attractive, it also arguably encourages (via negative incentives) people who have older (dirtier, less efficient) diesels to hang onto theirs. Also older gas-powered cars – as a result of new cars (all types) becoming more expensive.

      On safety stuff: Also a mixed bag. Safety is to a great extent theoretical in that most people don’t have major accidents and thus, the safety advantages of things like air bags are irrelevant. But the increase in cost (and weight) affects people every day. So, who should get to decide? The individual consumer, weighing the pros and cons for himself? Or the government?

      I believe it ought to be up to the individual; that government mandates are fundamentally at odds with the right of free people to make their own choices in life.

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