Cheap Gas… Big Problems

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Some happy news: Gas is officially cheaper than it’s ever been.as prices lead

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 50 years ago.

It is the one necessity of life that – for now – costs less now than it used to.

But, it’s weird – like a 70 degree January afternoon up here in the hills of the Blue Ridge (we’ve had that, too).

Makes you wonder.

Is it a bad omen of not-so-happy things to come? Like the out-rushing tide, just before a tsunami arrives?

Yes, I think it is.gas prices in '67

I know for a fact the car industry is having a quiet meltdown. They – the car companies, all of them – have sunk multiple Trump sums into the future, as they perceived it, of the electric car and also the hybrid car. And of the economy car. But what is the motivation for the purchase of such when the cost of a gallon of gas is – literally – less than the cost of an equivalent measure of bottled water?

Go to any 7-11 and see for yourself. How much are they charging for a quart bottle of “filtered” (and Mad Men-marketed) tap water?

Which is a way to measure the cost of buying a hybrid, or an electric car or an economy car.

Why do so?

Why not treat yourself to size, power – fun! – instead?

Expecting people – most of them –  to purchase “sensible” cars when gas is nearly free is akin to expecting them to down a plate of boiled Kale when a plate of cheese fries beckons.54.5 MPG CAFE

Meanwhile, CAFE regs – the federal mandates requiring each car company’s fleet to achieve a certain average MPG – are set to uptick to almost 55 (54.5) MPG by 2025 (see here) which is not only not far from now it is very close to now in terms of product planning.

This is the car business term for the development process of tomorrow’s cars. They are typically working about five years out from now, meaning that the cars they expect to have in showrooms come 2020 are being designed and tested and generally being made ready for their not-too-distant launch right now. And they are thinking – hard – about 2025.

They stuff they are selling at the moment may be “new” – but it’s already old.

The car companies must bet on what the market will be like tomorrow rather than how it is today. And if they bet wrong… .

You can perhaps see the problem.

Ford (just one example) bet long on its new line of micro-sized but heavily turbocharged “EcoBoost” engines, banking (they hoped) that the 3-4 MPG advantage these engines offered over a comparably powerful (but larger and thirstier) engine would balance out the much higher cost of the engines themselves. Which it might, if a gallon of gas cost $4 or even $3.

But not $1.

Whoops.Obama CAFE

GM was smart (or lucky) enough to stick with its conventional (and simpler, cheaper to make and to sell) big V8s sans turbos in trucks and such. But was dumb enough to “invest” in shit statue-carving craziness such as the $37,000 Bolt electric car (more on that here).

Which could only make sense if gas cost $8 a gallon.

The root cause of it all is the LSD-like distortion of natural market signals by our friend Uncle. He issued the most recent fuel-efficiency fatwa back in 2012 – when gas prices were high (because Uncle) and seemed destined to remain so – and even become more so.

But what now, brown cow?   

The market discovered lots of oil. Which is why gasoline is very cheap now.

Obama crowed that his 54.5 MPG fatwa would result in savings to the consumer “comparable to lowering the price of gas by $1 per gallon.”

Well, the market just did that for him. Without him.

In spite of him.

Meanwhile, the costs imposed by the 54.5 MPG fatwa will most definitely be imposed on the American consumer – in the form of more expensive “fuel saving” technologies – as well as loser technologies like the electric car and (arguably) the hybrid car.wrecked Smartcar

A not-happy-with-me (for writing publicly about the Bolt’s absurdity as a transportation device) GM engineer noted – correctly – that they (GM) committed all that capital and all those engineering resources to the Bolt idiocy not because of public demand for such but because of government’s demands for such.

Exactly.

And the government’s demands grow more cognitively dissonant, more out of tune with reality, the lower gas prices go.

A train wreck is about to happen … a big one.

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132 COMMENTS

  1. I tell ya, one information religion I’ve been better off without, is watching the local news, reading a newspaper, or reading drudgereport.

    Not even sure how long Ive been in You-Stun Tech-Suss now. But its been long enough avoiding all them news preachers, that I have no earthly idea what the consensus scare-ative is even sposed to be any more.

    Why I ever let those bullies pollute my mind in the first place is still a mystery to investigate. But, thankfully, whatever the reason, I am free at last.

    • Hi Tor,

      I, too, have tuned out. No more TeeVee (except Hulu and Netflix; Better Call Saul is exceptional!) and newspapers are things I glance at sometimes when I am waiting to get my coffee at Starbucks.

      I am proud to tell you I have no idea who played in the Stoopid Bowl. Let alone which team won.

      • Wow ,have to pretty much ditto the boob tube list ,I hear they are making some more Breaking Bad shows and Saul is really starting to get interesting (I wonder how much “they ” are willing to pay to make Vince Gilligan go away ?

      • “I am proud to tell you I have no idea who played in the Stoopid Bowl. Let alone which team won.”

        You say that like it’s important… 😉
        I WATCHED the damn thing and I cant’ recall!!! 😀

      • But that’s the difference between us and regular people. It’s like Alex Jones said. We study the world we live in, they study TV and football.

        I’m very close to turning off the TV. The price is getting way too high to have some background noise.

        Speaking of netflix, which I don’t have, See the trailer for the new Pee-Wee movie? It seems they really made an effort to choose cars for the film. Even the background vehicles. Also they appear to parody “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!”

      • eric, no mo satellite in early ’09 and no OTA since we live so far away it would take virtually satellite price to get it……so I opted out. Thought the wife would die, she didn’t(dammit ha ha) but she eventually got used to it. Thankfully for her, Yahoo has every damned lie you didn’t want anyone to read or see right there every day. There was one nice thing about high speed internet and that was streaming hulu type stuff you might want to see. I rarely have time to watch more than a movie anyway and they’re all bullshit, a good thing, since that’s simply the way you take it. Yep, govt. screwed itself when it mandated digital tv. So many people can’t get OTA and can’t afford satellite or have access to cable, etc. so they’re missing all that great stuff.

        I realize I’m well in the minority but I love fishing, what a show and all the fascinating things you witness….. and get to eat…..plus hunting and just hanging outside near the tank and watching various vermin, varmints and larger animals come do their thing.

        • Had the fortune of being largely TV free in formative years ( we couldnt afford one -only thing I liked were”Mission Impossible ” and “Star Trek ” anyway ” when the hand me down TVs gave up that was it fo a long time ,we had an old console Radio with a huge Dynamic speaker “pane rattling bass,tuned to the local AM station made some interesting listening ,the old commercials for airlines ,grocery chains etc ,had entertaining jingles ,many of which I still remember.
          Sat TV has been out of the casa ,for almost 6 months now (cant say I really miss it ) I have OTL ,believe it or not in this fringe locale (60 miles or so to the transmitters-because of the lay of the land its almost line of sight )anyways I dont watch it either ,I do stream video with Amazon fire,some pretty interesting stuff on there if you take a subscription or two (netflix ,Curiosity Stream ) of course if my present financial state persists ,I may not even have that ,but the point is like Eight said ,there is plenty going on right outside your threshold to keep you occupied ,the gummint hasnt figured out a way to tax you for the enjoyment of nature yet
          The last conversation I had with a Lady representing the Sat providers went like this ,” When you all start an Ala Carte service and stop charging to watch commercials ,I will seriously consider subscribing again ” Her reply went something like this ” that would make headline news ” So that is the Zeitgeist (I still miss “Primestar “.

          • I used to sell Dish and DTV. One of the common failings were all those channels you don’t want you get charged for and with good reason. If the person was Hispanic it was always why not Telemundo and a couple others and the rest in English but no, you couldn’t mix and match, both had Hispanic packages but no Englise and vice versa.
            I had no answer for not wanting to pay for all that crap I didn’t want since I felt the same way. I know a lot of people who want all those SW Sports channels but many more who don’t. And then lots of the crap is fluff or outright govt. propaganda. When Bushco was in office the History Channel and even NatGeo were just shills for war. It was sorta chilling to see NatGeo doing pro-Bush gungho shit.

            • ” It was sorta chilling to see NatGeo doing pro-Bush gung-ho shit”
              Yeah, well I never watched the cable channel, but I can tell you that the print mag is sold out on anthropogenic Climate Change. Not to mention evolution over millions (or is it billions?) of years. Sorry, I consider myself a man of faith, but I don’t have enough faith to believe that.
              And no, I’m not paying for the subscription. My boss’ wife retired from there and I get it for Christmas.

              • I just cant hardly accept ,the ape -man business ,some of the anthropologists seem to make a heck of a lot of assumption.
                That part of Darwinism ,I consider hypothesis .

  2. You may recall that when the halfrican assumed orifice the nationwide average for reg unleaded was $1.85/gal, and that was still high.

    We purchased diesels in 2000, and IIRC that was in the realm of $0.75/gal diesel.

    Gotta long way to go. Down.

  3. Commodities implode before high inflation sets in. With all the “financialization” that has substituted itself for actual industry, making observations based on classical criteria like supply and demand is probably going to be dicey at best. Even the usual screw job we get from summer gas prices is going to get unpredictable.

    As far as abiotic oil or the traditional view goes, how many chemical reactions take millions of years? It seems more likely we have been fed a pack of lies to justify enforced scarcity and misery. The Proglodytes have been trying to get people out of their autos since they were invented. It offends their delicate sensibilities to see people who are not being put into cattle cars.

    • The term “fossil fuel” was coined in the 1950s when not much was known about the nature of naturally-occurring hydrocarbon products. Environmentalists have used this misconception about naturally occurring oil to their advantage; hence, the now-discredited concept of “peak oil”.
      Oil is abiotic in nature, being produced deep within the earth by yet-unknown processes. Russian oil interests have been drilling deep wells, as much as 30,000 feet deep and coming up with oil deposits–far deeper than that of decayed plant and animal materials.
      It turns that many of our depleted oil wells are “filling back up”; oil is migrating from deep within the earth, upward to many of our present drilling sites.
      There are certain interests that do not want to see oil as a plentiful natural resource–FOLLOW THE MONEY…
      As to vehicles, it’s about CONTROL. The powers that be want us OUT of our vehicles, relegated to high-rise, soviet-style apartments using bicycles, trains or buses for transportation–limiting us to certain areas. Of course, the pristine “wilderness” would be restricted to the “elite” with their “dachas” would be reserved for the “elite” environmentalists and their ilk…

      • Our dear government supported scientists just ignore how deep hydrocarbons have been found. They also ignore the implications of hydrocarbons being found throughout the solar system. It should be obvious now. Some oil is from decayed plant and animal matter but much of it has probably been part of the earth since the beginning or produced by it.

        In any case, this is a living planet and as such carbon must be cycled into the atmosphere as C02. Human technology of this phase I believe is the same as bacteria that supposedly changed the atmosphere to make conditions better for animals and plants. We are supposed to take the carbon from the ground and put it into the air to keep the planet alive. Too much of it had become trapped over billions of years. Something had to restore the atmosphere, and the internal combustion engine and other technologies showed up to do it. CO2 is a life giving gas. Without the planet dies the more of it, the more lush it becomes.

        Environmentalists should focus on real problems like destruction of the rainforest and animal species because of the tragedy of the commons. But it seems those who know what the real business of environmentalists should be have been marginalized if they haven’t been pushed out entirely.

        • Thats the problem is it is the relatively non reactive gas called CO2 ,Volcanoes as a rule do not spew out oil , as science has proven CO2 can be used as a building block to form long chain fragile hydrocarbons ,which heat pretty much destroys ,I dont recall anyone saying anything about crude oil gushing out of the Marianas trench ..
          At least no one has claimed the coal beds are abiotic ,( some may claim the Demons put them there to decieve Mankind )

        • Concern for dying species is proof that Darwin was wrong. If they are dying, they are obviously ‘not fit,’ so why care?
          BTW, I know this does not discredit evolution, only Darwinian evolution. But while no serious scientist still believes in the Darwinian model, they still insist that it be taught in GIC Bio textbooks.

          • There’s a difference between being fit and just killing off the ecosystem. Just because elephants haven’t developed fully automatic rifles shouldn’t mean they are unfit.

  4. Unfortunately Saudi Arabia sets on this sea of oil ,I wasnt aware that high altitude deserts had much oil .( a lot of Antarctica )

    • Hi Kevin,

      I’m not an oil geologist by any stretch; I don’t know whether there’s oil there… but there might be. It’s an entire continent, after all. And it’s one that was once very temperate, even tropical. Frozen desert now – but not millions of years ago…

    • The largest known reserves(KNOWN)are in Russia and virtually untapped several years ago but now they are sorta, kinda free market, it’s starting to really flow. Neocons know this and want to start WWlll over it…..as if we could use it after that. Stupid(and greedy)is as stupid does.

    • Hi Kevin,

      Whether abiotic or “dead dinosaur” (dead algae, blooms, actually…from what I’ve read) my sense of it is there are vast reserves left. Probably most of the potentially recoverable oil hasn’t even been found yet. How much oil might be under the ice sheets of Antarctica, for example? How much oil might be out in the deep Pacific? Etc.

      “Peak Oil” – written decades ago – assumes static technology; that whatever discovery/extraction methods were available circa 1967 is the only way economically recoverable oil can be discovered and extracted. It’s silly. Like insisting that circa 1967 engine technology is the most we’ll ever get; that flat tappet camshafts, for example, limit how much streetable horsepower a V8 can produce.

      It’s bunk that we’re running out oil. Just as AGW is bunk. Just as almost everything coming out of government and its proxies is bunk.

      It’s all about control of resources – and thus, of people.

        • “Peak oil is the overpopulation myth dressed in different clothes to cover up the same bullshit.”

          Exactly, ancap. Note the shrill tones adopted by the “scientists” who keep promoting it.

          • Like this: ‘if “we” dont enact drastic measures right now, we are all going to die’. Or something like that. Thats the shrill you are referencing?

            • Yep, like that. Of course the “we” they’re referring to is our beloved big ol’ government and the “drastic measures” are kind of left to the imagination.

              “Shrill” also applies to the way some of the scientists quoted in articles have to preface their arguments with descriptions of the abiotic theories as “balderdash” or “nonsense”.

              • But of course “we” means the government. “We” are the government. I just love all those nifty little lines. The “implicit social contract” that “we” get the privilege of partaking of merely because “we” live.

                You are “free” as long as you recognize that all that freedom comes from “we”. If “we” decide to murder, rape or pillage you, it’s no crime because “we” decided it isn’t.

                • The almost constant use of “we” in a discussion disturbs the individualist, whose idea of “we” is much more narrow than that of the collectivist.

                  To an individualist, “we” is a term with meaning, while the use of “we” among collectivists is made meaningless by its inaccurate application.

                  • Of course when ‘we’ here on EPA (not the EPA) say ‘we,’ ‘we’ are referring to those of us who are like-minded enough to participate here. So ‘we’ becomes ‘wheeee!’

      • My biggest problem with ABIOTIC oil is this ,its “pie in the sky ” Dr Gold has never been proven right that often . .My life experience tells me if its too good to be true ,it is . Hubberts theory didnt take into account the modern methods of extraction ,which makes some old wells seem like they are regenerating .If Abiotic oil would have been true the Axis would have won ,WW2 or at least made it drag out longer .Dr Golds theory indicated that large numbers of carbonacecous chondrites were gathered up by the Earths increasing gravitational field as it was being formed and that accounted for enough carbon to make crude oil and natural gas .
        There are eight requirements for finding crude oil and generally if you lack one ,you dont find any .Texas oil and refinery came through this area about fourtey years ago and temporarily leased all the willing landowners land (they never came back ) and the Colorado Institute of mining did a seismic survey a bit earlier ,(as far as i know they found nothing ) which proves nothing of course > An old oil guy bought a farm near here and amongest the anticlines drilled a hole and finally found a bit of saltwater ,but that was it .
        Why dont the fumaroles and volcanoes proper belch out millions of barrels of crude oil ? I forgot ,the heat and pressure disasocciates the hydrocarbon molecules forming water and co2. A growing group of scientists now think most of earths carbon lies in the outer core forming Iron carbide ..
        Hope you are right Guys ,but I wouldnt bank on it .
        Eight ,I hope the truck Nazis get reined in a bit .

        • Hi Kevin,

          I don’t know, either – and I don’t assert that abiotic oil is a fact. But it may be a possibility. There is strong evidence that certain hydrocarbons can form that way (e.g., seas of liquid methane on Jupiter’s moon, Titan). But – regardless – my suspicion is that oil reserves (from whatever source) are vastly more than advertised. Perhaps – probably not – an indefinite supply. But we’re nowhere near “running out.” Probably, there’s oil enough for a very long time to come. Perhaps 100 years or more.

          I do not believe we’re going to “run out” (reach the point of economically diminishing returns) within my lifetime.

        • “My biggest problem with ABIOTIC oil is this ,its “pie in the sky ” Dr Gold has never been proven right that often ”

          So, it’s ‘pie in the sky’ (by and by, when you die?) because Dr. Thomas Gold hasn’t been proven right…..”that often”?

          It’s a theory, Kevin. That kind of presumes that it hasn’t been proven, doesn’t it? There’s really a lot to read on the subject. Here’s one index of articles:

          http://www.peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:Abiotic_Oil

          I’m sure that any web search will turn up more.

          Each of us may come to our own conclusions, of course. To me, the idea of petroleum being long decayed animal/vegetable matter is kinda counter intuitive . The fossil origin theory hasn’t been proven to my satisfaction. To each his own, at least until one theory or the other is proven, agreed?

          As far as I know, there are many more dry holes than producing wells. That being the case, oil exploration isn’t truly an exact science, or so it seems to me.

          • RE: PesWiki

            Ed – “I’m sure that any web search will turn up more.”

            While the links shown on the page may have some value, beware that the PesWiki site is full of Bizarre Woo of the highest order. Have you actually read through anything on the PesWiki?

            Do some reading about Sterling Allen on his site. It is disturbing and hilarious at the same time. What it isn’t is logical or reality based.

            BTW, this is neither here nor there regarding abiotic oil, just a warning that NOTHING from that site should be considered as factual, researched or often even sane.

            YMMV

            • ME2, that was just a single page from a web search. There are some links on the page to scientific sources (phys.org for one). I had never heard of the PesWiki or of Sterling Allen before, but thanks for the heads up.

      • The solution to cheap oil according to the old oil guys is cheap oil. Exploration drops. Drilling drops. Expensive ways of getting oil stops. Then the price goes up. There is an oil/gas war right now. Just like your local gas stations do sometimes but it only will last a short time.

        Eric says we have all kinds of oil since he only plans on driving the next 30 years or so. What happens after that? Eric does not care. The world is using more oil than ever. Millions of barrels of oil a day. That will not last forever no matter how many lies you tell us. Anyone born today will likely see $1000 a barrel oil in their lifetime at the present rate of usage. If we got the same gas mileage on vehicles today like we did 30 years ago, like Eric wants us to, then we would be using millions of more barrels of oil a day and we would have gas lines today. The cheap oil that Eric wants to use all up today will be impossible to get 100 years from now. Eric says let it run out and then come up with a solution. Eric if you ran a large business like that you would be bankrupt very quickly. Logic is something that was left out of your brain. Clover
        I still can not figure out why the hell you would ever change your oil in your car. That is preventive maintenance that might help some day. Any other preventive actions is a bad thing according to Eric. We need to come up with alternative power sources starting today rather than wait for the cars and trucks to come to a stop and then start working on a solution. Anyone that has dealt with long gas lines in the past would say so but not Eric.

      • Correct. Oil is not a fossil fuel. But the *price* of oil (and subsequently gas) is not dropping solely based on production, on getting oil out of the ground. We (me, my company, my industry) are also refining more efficiently. Our VPS system now makes 3x the gasoline with half the energy, effectively 600% more bang for your buck. And we’d make it even cheaper if EPA would allow new refineries to be built, which they haven’t, since about 1979. All new units are repurposed units. Old units torn down and rebuilt new. So there are limits.

        Get the Feds out of my way. See what happens.

        • Chris, That’s some interesting stuff about refining. Thanks for posting your views. What kind of bugs me about some of the criticisms of abiotic petroleum theory is that it’s being criticized as being a “free lunch” theory. I don’t see how they can make that claim since exploration and recovery are still going to be expensive.

          It’s like they’re saying that abiotic theorists claim that oil will be found anywhere, easily and cheaply when that doesn’t seem to me to be what they’re actually saying.

          Also, some of the scientists can’t seem to restrain their snarkiness, like Jon Clarke

          “The fact remains that the abiotic theory of petroleum genesis has zero credibility for economically interesting accumulations. 99.9999% of the world’s liquid hydrocarbons are produced by maturation of organic matter derived from organisms.”

          He’s claiming as fact several of his own assumptions and using a number pulled (apparently) out of his butt. The peak oilers do tend to get a little shrill, at least to me.

  5. I think the biggest problem we are currently facing is Obama. He has openly stated that since he has not succeeded in getting his personal agenda approved by congress, he will force his agenda via executive order before his presidency is over. Gun control and climate change legislation are his biggest. This was posted earlier today by David Frieburger (editor of Hot Rod Magazine). Obama will use the EPA to forbid turning street cars into race cars in an effort to minimize climate change!

    Huge problem here.

    EPA Seeks to Prohibit Conversion of Vehicles into Racecars
    SEMA To Oppose Action As Threat to Modified Racecars and Parts Suppliers

    Washington, DC (February 8, 2016) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a regulation to prohibit conversion of vehicles originally designed for on-road use into racecars. The regulation would also make the sale of certain products for use on such vehicles illegal. The proposed regulation was contained within a non-related proposed regulation entitled “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles—Phase 2.”

    The regulation would impact all vehicle types, including the sports cars, sedans and hatch-backs commonly converted strictly for use at the track. While the Clean Air Act prohibits certain modifications to motor vehicles, it is clear that vehicles built or modified for racing, and not used on the streets, are not the “motor vehicles” that Congress intended to regulate.

    “This proposed regulation represents overreaching by the agency, runs contrary to the law and defies decades of racing activity where EPA has acknowledged and allowed conversion of vehicles,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Congress did not intend the original Clean Air Act to extend to vehicles modified for racing and has re-enforced that intent on more than one occasion.”

    SEMA submitted comments in opposition to the regulation and met with the EPA to confirm the agency’s intentions. The EPA indicated that the regulation would prohibit conversion of vehicles into racecars and make the sale of certain emissions-related parts for use on converted vehicles illegal. Working with other affected organizations, including those representing legions of professional and hobbyist racers and fans, SEMA will continue to oppose the regulation through the administrative process and will seek congressional support and judicial intervention as necessary.

    The EPA has indicated it expects to publish final regulations by July 2016.

    • Hi Pedro,

      I agree Obama’s a problem, but he’s just one of an endless field of whack-a-moles. Expecting “change” is like Charlie Brown expecting Lucy to not pull away the football this time.

      As I see it, the only hope is to delegitimize the government in the minds of a critical mass of people such that it no longer has the necessary willing compliance to enforce its edicts. That it comes to rely openly on force, increasingly oppressive and obvious.

      It may get ugly. But that may be the only way it ever gets better.

    • ” he will force his agenda via executive order before his presidency is over.”

      So he thinks. Wait until his beloved government goes broke and they don’t have the money to pay for his SS bodyguards for life. Ol’ graymeat will be trying to hide under his granny’s bed in Kenya.

  6. So, then. Here’s a question to ponder. What brand new, off the lot, vehicles could be bought today and realistically be drivable in 20 years? This is actually a tougher question to answer than at first blush, here’s why I say that:

    More than ever, new vehicles are so heavily computer-controlled that if the ECU/BCU/etc. breaks, the vehicle is essentially scrap until a new computer module can be plugged in. Also, more than ever, computerized systems are integral to the basic operation of the vehicle. Fly-by-wire throttles, brakes, gear shifts, etc. all depend on functioning computer somewhere to operate basic aspects of the car. It’s one thing if the stereo goes out in your 15 year old car. You simply don’t have music. If your electronic shifter knob blows out, you’ll have to replace an expensive part to get up and running. Until then you’re stranded. Now also consider how much emissions equipment is built in, monitored, and computer-controlled and that any malfunction in any of these sensors or aspects of the emissions system will, at best, hobble a modern car and, at worst, make the computer refuse to permit it to be driven (because of environmental laws). Add to this the likelihood that such replacement computer parts will grow ever more difficult to source and possibly more expensive.

    Now, keeping that in mind, here’s some features and considerations.

    Reliability – Reliability is probably reasonably important, but maybe not the ultimate factor. As long as it is above average, other factors likely will play a bigger role in long-life. The more it can be repaired, and for reasonable cost, the more that absolute reliability will take a back seat to other factors.

    Simplicity – Though not the same as reliability, this is related. The fewer complexities, the fewer areas for failure. Complexity is the enemy of reliability and repairability. A naturally aspirated V8 will be superior in this regard to a turbo V6, all other things being equal. A shade tree mechanic will find the V8 far easier to wrench on, and the parts will be far cheaper, and the whole thing will likely be more reliable 100k miles or more down the road.

    Commonality – This is a double-edged sword. The more popular a particular model is, the more parts availability there will be, both OEM and aftermarket. Yet the more popular a vehicle is, the more demand there will be for those parts. This is sort of a supply and demand challenge, yet I can’t help but think that the more common a vehicle is, the more likely it will be to have a usable lifespan into the future. At the very least there will be more parts at the u-pull-it lot. Bear in mind, though, that we’re talking about basic running gear to keep the car usable as a daily driver. Lots of cars share powertrains that otherwise wouldn’t have much in common (I’m thinking corporate GM V6s and V8s, for example).

    Ruggedness – Think heavy-duty. The more robust the basic design, the more abuse it will handle in the form of miles on the odometer as well as potholes and such. Also the more likely it will be to survive a collision in working order.

    Lack of pervasive electronics – The fewer things that are electronically controlled and involved with the car functioning as a car the better. I don’t care if the rear seat DVD system goes out as much as I care about some sensor that detects whether my door is open and won’t permit me to move the electronically controlled transmission out of Park (so as to tightly monitor my parking in close quarters by opening the door and hanging my head out to watch the ground).

    Obviously the list above is likely not complete, but it gives us a starting point. Also, you can tell that the above factors will work directly against things like absolute peak fuel economy, emissions pristineness, etc. In other words, these vehicles are most likely on the government’s chopping block, and many have already been killed off because of that. This also means you’ll pay more in fuel, but you’ll save a lot more in repair costs and truly be doing the environment a favor by not “needing” a new car every 3 years.

    This also yields some answers to other questions such as why older model diesel trucks are prized so much more than their gasoline counterparts (and vs. new diesels). It’s because of simplicity and durability.

    So, without further ado, what sorts of vehicles would be a good “investment” today, brand new, as a hedge against future regulatory intrusion?

    In my mind, modern diesels are already nixed. With their unreasonably strict emissions requirements that include exhaust fluid and particulate filters along with hampered computer programming to meet these emissions requirements, they are no longer the bastions of long-life and dependability that they used to be. They may still do well for the long term, but these emissions add-ons will kneecap a lot of the historic advantage. Add to this the US Government’s apparent war on diesel, and I just don’t see much of a future for an otherwise wonderful powerplant. Thus we’re looking at gasoline-powered machinery.

    Consider that the end of the ethanol mandate does not seem to be anywhere near at hand, and if anything there seems to be a greater likelihood of E20 or E30 being mandated sooner rather than later, something capable of tolerating E85 would be a plus, even if it requires a computer reprogram and some new hoses under the hood.

    Body-on-frame designs may offer some advantage over unibody, though within the time frames we’re talking about, that may not be necessarily true. They do offer greater ruggedness, but there are plenty of unibody designs that have weathered the test of time from the 80s as well. Just not as many as body-on-frame designs.

    So perhaps a pickup or SUV with a largish displacement, unstressed, naturally aspirated engine and a rugged transmission would be a good start. Something with lots of units produced (or likely to be produced) and that is generally reliable. Something designed to be pretty heavy duty and long-lasting for harsh conditions.

    Maybe, and I haven’t taken the time to do so, it would be worth taking a peek at the mostly stock classes of off-road and desert racing competitions. How hard is it to keep the vehicle running once you’ve stripped it down to the bare bones? That ought to tell you something about the simplicity of the underlying platform. How well it survives thousands of miles in off-road racing conditions ought to also give some information, the more stock the vehicle the better. Maybe also look around the world a bit and see what vehicles best survive harsh environments.

    My guess is that Toyota products, especially the Tacoma/Hilux, would fare well as would its Land Cruiser variations (of which we can get two in the US, the Lexus GX and the Toyota Land Cruiser/Lexus LX). Nissan likely has some representation with the Frontier. Heavy-duty models of Ford, Chevy, and Dodge pickups will also likely serve well. What about cars? Again, probably things like the Toyota Camry and Corolla, the Honda Accord and Civic, a few Mazdas, some Subarus, etc. They all might be lesser than their truck brethren, but they also cost much less and as long as they’re not forced into hard labor, should last pretty well. If we weren’t limited to what Uncle Sam permits to be sold in the US, we might have many more interesting options, too.

    • Hi SJ,

      Assuming the car is daily driven during those 20 years… I’d say virtually none. After 20 years, most will have reached or be very close to reaching the end of their economically feasible life. The engines may be in good order, but the deterioration of the various electrical/computer-related components (especially emissions-related) will lead to a cascading series of failures such that the car becomes too expensive to keep going – at least, without skirting the electronics/emissions (which of course is illegal).

      We should keep in mind the cost for the not-handy/mechanically proficient person – who would have to pay for new parts and labor to install.

      For example, having a muffler shop build a new exhaust system for a current car (20 years hence) that needs four cats and 02 sensors, plus the pipes and the mufflers and the labor. Figure $200 per for the cats (lowball) plus $50 each for the 02 sensors and you’re already over $1,000 in parts before you even buy the pipes and mufflers. Probably the total tab would be around $1,500… for an exhaust system … for a 20-year-old car that’s probably not worth $3k by that point.

      Crusher time.

      Contrast that with a pre-emissions car (or even an early emissions/’70s-era car).

      Just one cat (maybe) and one 02 sensor. Economically feasible to replace.

    • “What brand new, off the lot, vehicles could be bought today and realistically be drivable in 20 years? ”

      Can’t see the future but I can see the past.

      Picked up a 1995 S10 Blazer 4×4 a few months back, very cheap. 220,000 miles, chassis in fairly good condition.

      This 20 year old vehicle had only electrical faults. The power mirrors and rear window washer don’t work. Pretty good so far.

      However, the oil filter is a remote located unit. Two days ago the pressure line (rubber) cracked and I had a dry dipstick before I noticed when I parked at my destination. Got lucky and did not run low enough to damage anything.

      Looks like it will be a (miserable) day job to replace all the hoses by myself. Quote from auto shops was in the $600 range so not even remotely considered as the truck is worth MAYBE twice that.

      Now this is a relatively simple vehicle compared to the spaceships of today and has held up better than most of the other vehicles of the era.

      So, 20 years/200,000miles seems to be the financial wall for many vehicles from 20 years ago. The number of hoses and seals that start to fail around here make them unreliable and financially questionable. I have also noted that the electronic brains in many cars seem to get dementia after about the same time/mileage and used ECUs are pricey. NOS ECUs are hard to find for many older vehicles leaving the choice of putting in a high mileage/age ECU or scrapping the vehicle.

      Of course the 1981 Chevy yard truck just keeps on going. Not surprising as there is a 350 with a carb, distributor and pretty much nothing else. I can keep it going with tape, wire and a hammer. Oh and the oil filter is attached directly to the block rather connected by 6′ feet of ‘bound to fail catastrophically’ rubber hose.

      In conclusion, from my experience, almost nothing sold today will be financially viable to use in 2036, as few (of the relatively simple ones) from the mid 1990s are. Assuming private vehicle ownership is still even allowed.

      • The reason the filter is remotely located is because it is a 4×4 – the front axle interferes with locating the filter (oil pan is different too). Any shop charging you $600 to replace the lines doesn’t deserve your business. I bet your DIY cost is $100 or less, not including your time/frustration. That stuff is just routine maintenance.
        Every vehicle has it’s annoyances, I’m not exactly looking forward to overhauling/replacing the optispark on my ’95 Roadmaster but it’s better than the alternative. That car has been my daily driver for the last 4 years and I have about $3100 in it including purchase price and all maintenance done except oil changes (front brakes/rotors/wheel bearings, tires, misc. exhaust work, outer tie rods/alignment, rear glass – thanks vandals, fuel pump, front shocks, blower motor, coolant temp sensor, upper radiator hose, serpentine belt, oil cooler lines, pass side headlight bulb, and a relay for I forget what). Obviously I did all the work myself except the alignment and some of the exhaust (I suck at welding). FWIW, if I had to pay for all that work it would make sense to look for another car
        @ Eric, not sure where you are finding $200 cats but one of the exhaust shops here only charges $70 (each) to install a ‘universal’ cat. The second set of O2 sensors is just to monitor the functionality of the cats and can be spoofed with a cheap resistor but no exhaust shop will do this for you, they’re all too scared of the potential liabilty these days.
        You could pay $1500+ for an exhaust system but it had better be lifetime warranty mandrel bent stainless steel for that kind of cash.

      • ME2, that oil line can be replaced easily. Remove both ends and take to a shop that makes lines. They can reproduce that line with triple steel core line. It will still be there when the vehicle falls apart. It’s OD will be larger but so what? It’s what I do for fuel lines and transmission lines.

        • Thanks Dirtybob & Eight

          I realize the oil filter location was a packaging constraint, it just annoys me that there seems to be no safeguard for a critical system that WILL eventually fail. Seems it was a known (not to me, my bad) issue with the 4.3 chev. I just got lucky and did not run it dry.

          I had already looked into the DIY fixes, there are lots of them on youtube. There is a clearance issue where the lines are routed that causes some folks problems as you can’t slide the fittings though. Others say they had no issues.

          I’ll certainly be fixing it with quality hose and doubt it will ever need to be done again.

          I was just highlighting that even this fairly simple vehicle needs a fair bit of rebuilding after 20 years and that there is significantly more to go wrong on the newer stuff.

    • Great post! I have an interesting case study. My personal educated opinion is that our cars peaked out about 96-98. My personal experience running and keeping going dozens of older cars for my large family and a few acquaintances have led to this conclusion. I’ve had to work on my son in law’s 2006 Monte Carlo SS twice in the last month- a broken power steering cooler line and a broken serpentine belt tensioner/belt. Both jobs should have required the entire cradle being removed with probably at least 6 hours of shop time each- probably 12-1500 to replace a low pressure return line, a plastic pulley, and a belt.

      As a lab experiment, I have 2 1998 Explorers. The one with the exotic german SOHC v6 and the french 5 speed automatic, cost me 2800 in repairs in a year before I gave up and parked it o the third bad trans and the second destroyed interference engine. The one with the pushrod 302 V8 and the truck 4 speed auto is still struggling to go less than 80 down the highway with 330k on the clock.

      I used to like exotic. DOHC, SOHC, overdrives, etc. I’m older and wiser now, won’t deliberately buy anything without pushrods and if its a transverse front drive it had better be a 4. I found the Ford Tempo’s with the pushrod 2.5/4cyl and a not overdrive 3 speed auto to be an undiscovered gem- people will give them to you and they run with minimal maintenance until they rust away. And if you pull the cat, nothing happens but better power and mileage.

      I work professionally with electronics every day and avoid them like the plague in my cars.

      • The 4.6L V8 at least in SOHC form is known for a long life as well as the old 302.

        On Tempos…. those cars can not get out of their own way. If reasonably taken care of they’ll last well for how cheap of a car they are. But damn they are so freaking slow with the 4 cylinder an the AT. I could not live with one of those because of the slowness. Maybe an MT would be better.

        • HI, Brent.
          They can and do last well. Modern tolerances and metals are really good. But when you have to change a head gasket on your Modular V8, I can do 6 pushrod 302 head gaskets in the same amount of time. And the pushrod engine doesn’t have sacrificial plastic timing chain tensioners to let go and kill the whole engine.

          As to the Tempo, ugly as sin and slower than a snail on ice, rock simple and anvil rugged, all are true and all are virtues when you are maintaining them for a couple of teenage daughters! Perspective is everything…

          • Amen, Ernie!

            I can pull apart the entire top end of my ’76 TA’s 455 in a couple hours – and have it back together the same day. The intake comes off in less than half an hour with hand tools; re-install in less than half an hour. Assuming installed properly, it ought not to need anything for decades. And when it does, it’ll be just gaskets, usually- $40 for a good set, plus a $5 tube of RTV for the end caps… and done.

          • GM has been using nylon chain guides since the 1960s.

            Yes, with overhead cam *gasp* that means removing the timing chain to remove the head. Or you can use the special tool someone came up with that wedges the chain in place from the top without removing the timing cover and then it shouldn’t be really any different than push rod engine to remove the head. Extra step of removing the timing gear for that head. I believe in the 4.6 anyway the cam stays on the head, removed as an assembly much like one would leave the rockers and such on a pushrod head.

            • Chain guides, yes. Tensioners, no.

              Trust me, I’ve done it. On a Mercedes it’s not too bad because they usually have a master link. In a good design you run the cam through the block on a good double roller chain or better yet, gears.

              The Ford xOHC stuff uses a cheap endless chain. And while that has technical advantages, when you have to work on it it is a PITA. You can wedge the chains. You can leave the cam sprocket in the chain if it will pass through the head when you lift it off. You can cheat, but getting it on, and off, and repaired without a great deal of swearing and misery is not going to happen.

              And the Explorer 4.0 SOHC Cologne is even worse, with a decent OHV V6 turned into a POS by running a jackshaft through the cam bearings, driving the passenger bank off a back single chain with plastic guides and tensioners, the drivers bank off a front single chain with its own tensioners, driving the jackshaft off the crank with a single roller chain, and just for good measure, driving a balance shaft with a fourth single chain on 4wd versions. And the cams are not keyed to the sprockets, you have to index them and force them onto a taper when you hold cam, crank, and all in position with $300 of factory fixtures. And it’s an interference engine, so you will bend valves at least when one of the tensioners or guides fails.

              Exotic, yes. Good running, when healthy, yes. Reliable after 120000? Nope. And i get nearly the same mileage with the 302!

              • The 4.6 has a hydraulic tensioner made from cast iron and steel. It pushes on a guide that is made from what looks like powdered metal or diecast (using online photos) with plastic overmolded (or otherwise attached) on top of it to keep friction low against the chain. If the plastic wears out it will just make noise. The static guide on the other side is of similar construction, but with no tensioner pushing on it.

                120K? I hope you’re speaking of the V6.

                • After a fiasco in the 80s with crummy ,expensive timing sets ,I actually sought out vehicles with timing belts and my question is ,a timimg belt is a wear item ,how come they cannot be made as easy to replace as a serpentine belt ?is it that much problem to make a split timing cover ? while i am on the subject ,why all these seals on everything (i know they are very good now-but if I remember correctly some old heavy duty truck transmissions didnt even have seals -just slingers for oil control) The old 8N Ford tractor had a joke for a seal system on the old 8N tractors ,they had seals on the differential ,but the integrity was compromised by splines running through the seals on axles (which would make a mess and ruin the brakes {someone said it was because of patent trouble between Henry Ford and Ferguson on the 3 point lift system ,when they parted ways }
                  Anyway can someone give me some hope on the seal business and timing belts ,I’m interested .

                  • I am very partial to old school timing chains (the old style American V8 style) that almost never break and will usually last as long as the engine itself does. Oh, they’ll stretch over time, but I’ve yet to experience a failure. And this replace the timing belt every 75k or so as “routine maintenance” stuff is obnoxious. It’s a major job – and if you can’t do it yourself, a very expensive job.

                  • The first timing belt change I did was on an 1986 Mazda 626. Pretty straightforward. It was just sort of annoying because of the small space. They even made the crankshaft pulley such that it was held on by several screws to a small hub. (like many water pump pulleys) This way no puller was required to service it. The timing cover came off in a straightforward manner once the accessory belts were removed.

                    My present mazda is much the same but they have the valve cover partially as a timing cover so it has to come off too. The crank pulley is now held on with a big center bolt so I had to make a crank pulley holding tool to remove it. The water pump is no longer turned by the timing belt so it’s pulley has to be removed to get the timing cover off and it’s a very tight space. Also an engine mount has to be removed to get the belt off and the new one so the engine must be braced. (I have the proper brace because I got one on sale plus coupon for cheap at HF. Bought it cause it was cheap and I might need it some day. Some day came and I’ve used it three or four times now on this car.

                    Why they are making it more painful as the years go by I can only guess. The changes between the 80s and 2000 don’t make much sense to me and I think it’s gotten worse since.

                    Theoretically it should be an easy job, but it seems like everything else takes priority including how the engine looks when the hood is lifted.

            • Hi Brent,

              my ’75 Kawasaki 900 also has a nylon chain guide; when I rebuilt the engine, I was amazed the engine ran as well it did prior to the teardown. The guide was chewed down to effectively useless and the chain had so much slop it was downright hilarious.

              But it ran… not badly, either!

              • eric, the japanese car engines had nylon chain guides with chain tensioners and 150K it all looked like new. I’m guessing it was the chain tensioners that really kept it all timed well and in tune with little wear showing. If they’d only had good cooling systems there would still be a plethora of them in this state. It was the same old story though every time. a hiccup and then another and you’d better be tearing it down quick, fast and in a mofo hurry.

                • Hi Eight,

                  Yup!

                  Ever see the bottom end of an old Kaw 900 from the ’70s? They overbuilt it, Giza Pyramid style. Indestructible. Massive, heavy crank and roller bearings. It’s prolly why these ancient engines are still very popular as drag engines.

      • Ernie,

        Is it more about being a pushrod, or more about the design? The most involved thing I’ve done is spark plugs, so I don’t have much experience.

        But to change the spark plugs on a 1996 GM 3.1 OHV, removing the front engine mounts and tilting the engine forward was required to do all 6.

        A 96 Accord with the 2.7L SOHC requires removing a few hoses to get to the rear ones.

        Of course, this could just be a GM thing. You have to take the freakin engine out of the 3.4L OHV minivans do do the plugs on those.

        I would love more opinions on the easiest 80’s-90’s engines (6 or 8 cylinders) to work on, one of these days I’ll get out of the rust belt and be able to own a nice older car.

        • Hi, Brandojin.
          See my long winded reply to Brent above… but you’re right its about the design. When you have to do major work, generally but not always the pushrod design is simpler. I hate timing belts, but at least they are usually designed to be changed. Whether that is easy after 10 year of service is another question, because timing belt engines usually have aluminum heads and fasteners are seized which are hard to get to regardless.

          And the design is key. If you have a small vehicle, they put 40 lbs of stuff in a 10 lb sack so you have to do the kind of stuff you’re describing (pulling motor mounts, going through the wheel well, etc). They just didn’t leave enough room to change plugs, etc. That’s why I prefer 4cyl in a front drive car if I have one.

        • Yeah, but 260,000 miles on one and I’ve had to change plugs once, well, changed plugs once and the old ones didn’t look bad at all. It’s not hard to pull the engine forward and easy to change the plugs. I’ve seen lots of 3.1’s that went 3-400K with almost no maintenance beyond oil and filter changes. Stick in an Amsoil dual air cleaner and need to buy a can of tack oil every decade or so.

    • NW Indiana $1.32 (about $1.60 next door in Chicago) Never thought it would EVER get that low again. With the taxes we pay here (Indiana), that means the gas is under 80 cents. It won’t stay low long, the summer blends are just around the corner and that is always higher.

    • “He adds that there is no way that fossil oil, with the help of gravity or other forces, could have seeped down to a depth of 10.5 kilometers”

      Duh, big red truck.

  7. If uncle’s goal was only to get us off of foreign oil, I would still not agree with their over-bearing methods, but could possibly understand the motive. Yet uncle does not even know what uncle is doing. As they mandate high mileage throwaway appliances, formerly know as cars, they also mandate the most ridiculous pollution standards. I fully expect the EPA to declare that CO2 is a pollutant (if it hasn’t already), take that you trees! A third tentacle of uncle wants to make sure that the too big to fail car companies keep as many employed as possible, at whatever the cost to us. So it’s perfectly fine to build cars that will be obsolete in a few years, so you can buy a brand new one that will also be obsolete in a few years. It’s unsustainable madness.

    • You said, “I fully expect the EPA to declare that CO2 is a pollutant (if it hasn’t already)…” It did so back in 2009. Not a big surprise.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/18/science/earth/18endanger.html?_r=0

      From the story: “The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday formally declared carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that endanger public health and welfare, setting in motion a process that will lead to the regulation of the gases for the first time in the United States.”

      I work for Mazda at a low level and speak strictly for myself, not for the company. A number of commenters online have said that one big reason Mazda pulled the plug on offering the little Mazda2 in the US and Canada was the low cost of fuel here at the moment. The 2 had received excellent reviews, but few want such a small car when gas is cheap. (Also, a sedan version is already being sold as a Toyota/Scion in both countries, and competing directly against it would be bad form. However, the actual Mazda2 is sold in Mexico and Puerto Rico for those there who want a low-priced new car.) The whole situation is a shame, as I was interested in leasing the car as an employee…

  8. Assuming gas prices will be this low (crazy low!) forever would be a mistake. Which is why FCAs decision to drop the Chrysler 200 makes no sense. The car didn’t even make it to a mid-model refresh before the ax was swung.

    I can only assume we’ll see rebadged Fiats sold as Chryslers in the future, much like the Jeep Renegade (Fiat 500X), when gas prices reverse direction.

      • My understanding is that the decision was purely financial. They can make more money selling Jeeps & SUVs than sedans.

        We’ll see if this was short-sighted or not…

        • I don’t want a pickup, I need one. When $120/bbl oil returns there’ll be plenty of these ads: Like new 3 year old SUV/Pickup, take up payments, 2 yrs. left.

          • You got that right. I bought my 2005 Denali for a steal when gas was expensive. I will snag a 2015 for a steal when it is high again.

            • ancap, i don’t see cheap gas as a good thing in any other way though. WWll changed the US and every other country too, from coal to petroleum. The petro-dollar is what keeps the country going, in fact, the world economy. Cheap oil is going to have us in the bread lines. Big banks are doing their part to ensure their own demise even though some will be “too big to fail”. We’ll all have to pay again for their largesse and incompetence.

              Brentp pointed out that according to someone, manufacturing is up to a 7 year high. Yep, it’s up alright, up shit creek without a paddle.

  9. It would be a strategic mistake to assume that today’s low prices will continue too long.

    Right now, gas is selling for less than it costs to produce. That is not economically sustainable.

    Besides, we’re just one Middle East war away from $7 per gallon prices…or higher.

    • I dunno dude. They’ve made fuel expensive which is troublesome. We in turn have made food expensive via the ethanol mandate. The Arab Springs will continue because the average Arab can hardly afford to feed his family any more. Kinda pales in comparison to our dilemmas.

      • The Arabs converted all their fertile fields from thousands of years ago into dust fields when they became islamized. No islamic country is completely or even partially food independent. That’s the reason for the halal tax, a tax on us to feed their jihad and self hatred appetite. Halal is a total ripoff of kosher.

        • If I insisted – threateningly – that Barry White is god and all must prostrate themselves before him (perform the rituals I insist they perform) never speak of him in less than reverential terms – else be punished, violently, by me – they’d lock my ass up.

          Throw all the Abrahamic religions in the woods.

          • Some are worse than others.
            I’m also becoming convinced that Islam is in fact worship of Beelzebub. (Can’t say Satanism, as satanism is predicated on selfishness as a virtue. Only at the esoteric high levels do you realize that helping others also helps you. But it’s not focused on actively harming others “just because.”)

            Islam is about depopulation, using food as the example here.
            Islam is about violence, often for the sake of violence.

            Judaism isn’t, to my knowledge. And though they are disruptive (per articles I’ve linked to before), they are a smart “parasite,” in that they don’t want to just destroy the host.
            Islam does.
            Islam wants the whole world to be subjugated.
            Islam claims Allah is the greatest deceiver…

            Between words and actions, they worship Legion… Not even Beelzebub.

          • “If I insisted – threateningly – that Barry White is god and all must prostrate themselves before him ………. – they’d lock my ass up.”

            Lock yo’ ass up? They’d SHOOT yo’ ass. ahaha

            Riteon, baby, riteon riteon,riteon…./Barry White

        • I hadnt heard that claim before. Do you have a source.

          I know the ancient aussies killed all their large animals ruined their land and almost all died. Dont think they had any Islamic interference at all.

          Any belief system that lays its hands on you to rule you is your enemy and belongs in the woods, Id say.

  10. I’m amazed, with the current price of gas, that 15-20 year-old diesel pick-ups are still going for OUTRAGEOUS sums of money- often more than double the cost of a gas version of the same truck, even though there is no longer an economic advantage to having that diesel -and much less if one has to pay double for it.

    Yes, Uncle screws up the free market, but I think the above paragraph also proves that the market is now insane (And why not, since it’s participants have been non-educated in government schools?).

    And now I’ve been seeing that both state and federal Uncle are whining that they are not getting enough of our money because the price of gas is so low, so you can bet that it won’t be long until they raise the taxes on gas, again.

    And oh, but Eric, don’t you remember that “we are running out of oil, because we have depleted all the oil in the earth”? Funny, how so few seem to remember that BS from the 70’s, and here we are 40 years later, and the tap is still flowing. Life in the Orwellian state is just one big lie after another.

    I’m so sick of all the shit, I just want to go to some remote place in Africa or somewhere, where they will leave us alone, and where we can lead a normal life, dealing with reality on our terms and by our own abilities, instead of having everything perverted by elected criminals whom our stupid neighbors vote for.

    • You have heard that The Magic Negro is now raising the taxes on gas by like 136%? Per facebook…
      Posted on DC Clothesline,
      http://www.dcclothesline.com/2016/02/06/in-case-you-missed-it-obama-just-proposed-raising-the-federal-gas-tax-by-136/

      Yeah – prices are going up ASAP again. As soon as Uncle gets his beak wet(ter).

      And this is the train of abuses, as long as they can get away with it, they will, in escalating quantities of abuse, and when you object, they’ll kill you. How dare the tax cattle complain! We give them the nice warm barn to live in… They get to eat their dead (causes mad cow disease. Cow products were used in cattle feed, remember…)

      The animal is always the same.
      They are the scorpion, we are the frog. They don’t care that they’ll drown, if they even think it’s possible. They just want to watch US die. Survival is gravy…

    • Their whining about the lack of fuel tax revenue is just a scam to get tracking. The cause of any shortfall is their own greed and financial actions from mismanagement to fed created inflation.

      Of course all that ZIRP money is why the shale boom happened. It had to go somewhere so it was invested into making shale oil viable. Of course now those operations are closing as they become unprofitable but the demand side for oil isn’t coming online to bring prices back up. Oh the messes of intervention. But never fear the fedgov wants a new tax to fix these problems.

      one intervention begets another.

      • Does everywhere else like Chicago have the electronic toll payment tracker in place? There’s some beltways and exits I can’t use here in Houston because EZPAY. It’s free to get it,It’s also cheaper to use than the cash price. But I’d rather take a longer route< or pay more and throw coins in a basket, rather than volunteer for yet another got-dam tracking system.

        • “There’s some beltways and exits I can’t use here in Houston because EZPAY”

          Tor, with my left arm out of action, EZPASS is the only way I can use the toll roads here. I just hafta let’em track my ass.

        • Yeah, I don’t like that crappy system either. They have recently converted toll booths on the Hardy to ez tag and also on the east side of the beltway over the channel. It amazes me how many people voluntarily sign up for this bullshit. Not everyone is missing a left arm.

          • I have an Ipass. I don’t miss stopping for tolls and waiting in queues every few miles. Oh waiting waiting waiting…. the person in front of you gets to the toll basket and now is the time for them to start rooting around the car looking for change. They had ten minutes or more to find the change waiting to get up to the basket.

            Oh and here’s another thing, they are grabbing your plate number at the toll booths anyway so paying cash isn’t any less tracked.

              • Well at least that one is interesting and avoids IL’s plate covering law. (any lens over the plate is illegal) Trouble is so much of that stuff is just snake-oil.

                • Yeah, I don’t know how well it really works. I’d like to see some actual real-life test results before spending the money on something like that.

                  It seems to me that there should be some kind of countermeasure possible. I’m way beyond caring what the scumbags’ damned “laws” demand. If it’s something that’s tough for them to detect and would work I’d be on board with it.

            • Its like an electronic wallet tattletale though right. Wherever the car is theres yet another system.

              Do you get an invoice others in your household can read. I dont report my spending or location to anyone ever. I dont use plastic often for the same reason. Dont want political PTB nor household PTB to have any data on me at all ideally.

              I dont know all the facts so how much additional tracking an ipass brings is unknown. Seems unlikely its not at least marginally significant.

              We have lanes that make change here. Always a free feeder road to use as well. Each of us doing our own thing. I will get one when i have a more secure less family surveilled locale probably

              • Tor, if you use the H.E. Bailey turnpike in Ok. be sure to hit an ATM ahead of time. They charge by number of axles…..but it doesn’t matter how many axles you’re using so one axle up on a tri-axle tractor and a couple up on a 5 axle lowboy, you still pay for 9 axles…..and that’s one expensive sumbitch to boot.

        • No ,EZ pay costs a fair amount here ,I saw two state Guys (blue uniforms ,baseball caps ,et al: ) in the courthouse whilst I was going to get my taxes filled out ,my angst increased considerably ,Troopers dont bother me as much as the guys in blue .
          The problem with the shortage definitions are oft times the definitions themselves ,in the next century there seems to be a shortfall of metal predicted , as in the petroleum industry it doesnt matter as much as it did with centuries old extraction technology ,better recycling ,low grade ores can now be utilized, any natural resource can be utilized better ,by better less wasteful methods of production ,some things are relatively scarce(gold ,silver,copper ,most heavy metals as reflected in their value and uses ) but the good news is we find substitutes and others are common place and plentiful and carry a high energy cost to refine ,magnesium, aluminum ,silicon ,etc .And not to mention the most desirable materials are among the most durable unlike this faux business of plastics ,we need plastics ,but less of them
          I have helped put in septic systems back in the boonies that didnt use one scrap of anything local (except soil for backfill ) the balance was plastic made from good ol crude oil(probably from the burning sands )
          You better start liking your cheap fuel for now ,its not going to last ,practically everything is tied to the price of cheap energy (crude oil) When demand outstrips supply ( as it will) the price of everything will skyrocket,the Chinese have no intention of cutting consumption .

    • “that BS from the 70’s” – actually the ‘Peak Oil’ theory was first floated in the mid-50s. What many (most?) seem to forget is that the reserves available at any given time depend on the price. At a higher price, more becomes economically feasible to extract.
      And of course there is always the possibility (I’m not yet ready to proclaim it as troof) that the dead dinosaur theory is false and petroleum is abiotic.

      • PtB, for some reason that reminded me of adiabatic which reminded me of Smoky Yunich once saying he was working on an adiabatic engine design. i don’t know if he was speaking tongue in cheek or out his arse. He had the press going though. I wanted to call him and tell him it had already been done and they called it a “diesel”.

        I do occasionally find someone in the biz who also speaks of abiotic oil. No one says that is the case but the question often arises when an old field that was deemed “played out” begins to produce again.

        There is a fairly new pipeline of high pressure CO2 near us that is being used in a few old fields to increase production. It’s standard industry practice now to not use the gas in cases where the oil and gas are in the same zone.

      • The peak oil formula was for a very narrow situation. I believe it was just Texas oil production or some such. It was correct for what it was made for. It was not to be applied globally and to apply it globally is foolish.

  11. WOT.

    You’re in the top 44 at LewRockwell
    https://www.lewrockwell.com/about/

    Is it true I wonder if LRC only updates on 6 days. If so, perhaps on the 7th day we discuss the prior 6 days in a recurring article series. Also Reed et al that don’t have a comments section maybe.Having the best open libertarian pro markets anti state anarchist forum around Become more lucrative if we better served this cohorts needs.

    You’re in my top 2 along with Fred Reed. He isn’t NAP kosher to be sure, but like LRC says: I don’t endorse all his views, but he’s definitely worth reading.

    Just rambling for a minute using BK wifi to download something.

    Also a voracious consumer of everything Nassim Taleb and Larken Rose on deface book. I think they use that platform because of top-notch spam and troll defensive tools.

    • There’s lots of people looking for something to be offended about. I read that India is upset over the costumes in the half-time show, as they don’t reflect India of 2016 (what, women no longer wear Saris in India?). I thought it was fun and colorful.

      I did see the Prius ad, and I thought it was amusing. Especially when they crept by the sleeping highway patrol using the quiet electric motor. They should use that scene in the next “Supertroopers” movie.

      All those people need to look up the definitions of “farce” and “comedy” and get a life.

  12. Now, if only someone in the corporate world had the balls to get their cohorts and counterparts together and give a united one-finger salute and an enthusiastic chorus of, “Go to hell!” every time (a) the EPA requires them to do the impossible or (b) the president opens up his useless mouth.

  13. My bet is that 20 years from now, there will be maybe 1% of the 2016s still on the road. Since 2011, cars have become underpowered, heavy and heavily computer dependent. The stability control technology alone makes for expensive repairs. When they go out, you can expect that the cars will be unsafe to drive as cars in and of themselves might be statically unstable, like an F-16 fighter jet that cannot fly without active flight controls.

    Since 2012, we have been treated to cars with back up cameras, forward looking radar systems, keyless entry and touchscreens everywhere. None of these cars has any appeal to me.

    The purpose of a car is to get you from point A to B quickly. Since around 1965, cars have fit that bill. While I own a 2007 Mustang GT 5 speed and a 2010 Subaru Legacy, they don’t have any of these aforementioned features. I don’t want them. The new cars suck through and through.

  14. This is one of the myriad reasons that until the auto industry decides to stand up and tell Uncle where to shove it (where is Henry Ford when we need him?), I pretty much refuse to waste my money on a new pile of ecologically friendly plastic and stick with my fleet of aging, easy to repair rides.

    I fail to see the environmental benefit in making disposable cars that aren’t going to see the 20 year mark before they are headed for the junkyard. Wouldn’t a steel bodied midsize with a virtually indestructible straight six that lasts 20 or 30 years without issues be more ecologically responsible in the end, even if it did burn an extra hundred gallons of gas a year?

    I’m currently trying to stop myself from the purchase of a single owner 1958 F-100 pickup (223 “mileage maker” 6 and a 3 on the tree) that only needs a paint job and the awful Juarez redone seat upholstery replaced to be as good as new again. How many uncle friendly pickups have headed for the junkyards and landfills in the time that this old hauler has been paying the bills? Granted, this one belongs to an anal retentive retired machinist that has babied it since it left the long defunct dealer’s lot, but still I wonder how many 2016’s will even be viable 60 years later?

    • El Guapo,

      That is an excellent question that should be left to the individual to decide for themselves.

      Would someone be willing to forgo some fuel efficiency and modern conveniences for a vehicle that is easier/cheaper to maintain though it may require more frequent attention?

      At some point there is a trade off.

      ♦Some people would prefer a vehicle that can be used for 10-15 years with little attention required of them besides basic maintenance.

      ♦Some people would be willing to put up with more frequent maintenance, if the vehicle was inexpensive to maintain for 20-30 years or more.

      ♦Some want to change their vehicle every 2-3 years.

      There are many different people with many different needs/desires. It is not difficult to understand that no single type of vehicle will meet everyone’s needs/desires.

    • El Gaupo,
      Like many here, and elsewhere, you’re putting the cart before the horse.
      “I fail to see the environmental benefit in making disposable cars that aren’t going to see the 20 year mark before they are headed for the junkyard. Wouldn’t a steel bodied midsize with a virtually indestructible straight six that lasts 20 or 30 years without issues be more ecologically responsible in the end, even if it did burn an extra hundred gallons of gas a year?”

      The objectives being, usable, durable, solid goods? Yes, it makes no sense.
      If the objectives are to force consumerism? To isolate people? Impoverish people? frustrate people (E.G., induce mental illnesses, anxiety, and general malaise?)

      It’s spot on.
      That’s why people see me as “violent” for advocating we go skinning the SOBs alive… I’m “not right” because, after years of living it, and reading about it in the past, I know EXACTLY what is being planned.
      And they don’t need to fool everyone. Not even part of the time.

      Just ENOUGH people need to go along to get along….
      And successive generations are acculturated to less and less value, and more and more confusion and distraction…
      And eventually? They win.

      Won’t be Gen 1. Won’t be Gen 2. May not even be Gen 2,022.
      But they’re taking a VERY LONG time view. So they’ll pervert or control everything along the way (E.G., Facebook won’t allow “anti-Islam” posts. But it WILL allow violent PRO-Islam posts.)
      Same basic deal. CONTROL. Dissimulation. Dilution of meaning. Destruction of Value.
      Humpty-Dumpty Through the Looking Glass, a word means what they want it to mean at that precise moment in time…

    • It’s common to see 80’s vehicles with the plastic pieces between the body and the bumpers without those pieces. I guess the car works ok like that but looks like hell. Still, the more plastic the faster the degradation.

      Since “pedestrian friendly” pickups that don’t have real bumpers, the price increased for $1,000(or much more) cowcatcher/pusher bar for the front and half that much again for a good rear bumper(or more).

      Chrysler has a class action lawsuit for it’s shitty plastic dashes that literally fall to pieces in Tx. sun, collapse in on themselves. We didn’t have to wait 60 years on those, less than 15 for many. I haven’t noticed 20-25 year old GM pickups losing their plastic grills but there’s enough aftermarket suppliers you can still buy a new one or a new one in metal.

    • There is a lot of great things about the old stuff.

      For me, the best of all is that, like the Amish, we can pick and choose our technology. That old Ford will work just fine as it is, if you treat it as intended. Drive it gently, be proactive on maintenance, treat it like the capital investment it is.

      But, if you want, you can upgrade to a rear end from a 90’s Ford pickup (same wheels, but better axle steel, more efficient gears, better bearings, newer brakes.). Same for the tranny- a mid 90’s vintage 5 speed manual or auto overdrive will be better designed with better materials than the original. Probably don’t mess with the 223 except to add electronic ignition and maybe port injection from an open source.

      There has been some really great tech improvements, right up until the whole thing became a computer after about 98. And even electronic trannys are pretty nice with an open source controller you can troubleshoot and fix.

      Buy it!

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