March 1, 2022 | View PDF
For many decades, our elected officials have relentlessly usurped our cherished constitution and fundamental civil rights more times than we could ever hope to count. Many of these violations are imposing severe restrictions on our right to travel and to buy, sell, own, and drive affordable vehicles to exercise that right.
Beginning in the late 1960’s, “Uncle Sam” began to impose mandates on auto manufacturers to “reduce emissions” and impose more “safety.” Every year, these mandates became more and more extreme, jacking up car prices and maintenance from double to over four times what people could be paying if we had a free market—where the manufacturers and the customers, not the government, made the decisions on what to buy and drive.
Today’s new cars cost from a low of about $20,000 up to and well beyond $40,000—a huge jump from 50 years ago (1972), when one could buy a new car for as little as $2000. If we had a market as free as it was back then, a new car could start at under $5000 and average less than about $10,000. With today’s technology, it could very likely be less.
Reducing emissions has lately been one big headache. Initially, cutting them by about ¾ has not been particularly difficult. But when pushing the limit much more, the law of diminishing returns rapidly kicks in, and getting the last smidgen pushes costs and prices many times beyond anything practical. But the insane government regulators are never satisfied.
We also have outrageous safety mandates—going crazier every year.
It started with little things like seat belts, but at least they are inexpensive and actually save lives. Later came more expensive air bags, beginning with just one for the front passenger seat. Now some cars have six, if not more. Why can’t we buy a new car without air bags? I fasten my seat belt. I don’t need them.
With each year, cars and trucks are becoming flimsier and flimsier. In the 1970’s, nearly all new cars were equipped with hydraulic bumpers that could withstand a 5 mph impact against a solid abutment with NO damage. In fact, it was a government mandate to help mitigate insurance claims for repeated bumps in parking lots (one of the VERY RARE mandates I could actually support). But beginning in the 1980’s, that practical feature was replaced by an opposite mandate that a car’s entire front end had to be crushable, and thus destroyed. One very light tap meant $1000 or more in damage. A 5 mph bump would likely total the car. Why aren’t the insurance companies, and the people, complaining about that?
To make cars more fuel efficient, manufacturers struggled to minimize weight. Therefore, they made everything as thin as possible and replaced much of the steel with plastic. Not only are they fragile, they are also highly flammable.
The best way to reduce weight is to eliminate the items we are better off without. Make air bags strictly optional. Increase fuel efficiency by eliminating mandates that retard it. And REPEAL that outrageous law that whacked Volkswagen for its tiny bit of emission “cheating” to enhance fuel economy.
“Big Brother” has also imposed limits on practical vehicles imported from other nations. There are numerous cars and trucks in other parts of the world that Americans would love to buy and drive, except for one caveat—our government won’t allow them. They either emit a bit too much NOx or more likely lack some of the mandated safety devices that many of us would much rather do without.
What could we get if we had a free market? You could legally drive a Mahindra Roxor—a clone of a Jeep CJ/Wrangler 4×4 that COSTS HALF AS MUCH as a new Wrangler over here. But our government, for whatever crazy reasons, claims it is not safe enough.
It’s not actually “unsafe.” It’s just not flimsy enough to pass the latest government-mandated crash tests. And it doesn’t have a back up camera and other mandated “equipment.”
Have a look at the Zhengtu, a truck made by Wuling, a Chinese subsidiary of General Motors. It costs only $9000. It also has some cool features like hinged, outward folding-flat bed walls that allow you to transport bulky items. But “Uncle Sam” will not allow it in this country, even though it’s made by an American company.
The $25,200 Chevy Colorado is the least expensive new truck GM sells in the United States. And its bed is not as wide.
The Zhengtu features a reliable manual transmission and averages 33 miles per gallon. A four cylinder Chevy Colorado struggles to reach 25 MPG on the highway with its mandated automatic transmission and its expensive electronics, should they fail, could cost more than the entire truck is worth.
What about electric cars? Surely our government would not object to any of these. After all, our rulers have been hyping them up since the beginning of this century.
Nope! Not all of them. Not the ones that low and middle income people can afford to buy. Most people are unable to shell out $50,000 for a Tesla, $27,400 for a Leaf or even $17,990 for a Volt. But in China, people can buy a variety of electric cars for well under $10,000.
They can even buy them for less than half of that—the $4,500 Wuling Hongguang Mini. It is the best-selling EV, in China. Practically anybody in the USA could afford one, even some high school students. It’s small and light—just under 1,500 pounds (slightly less than a 1960’s Volkswagen Beetle). It has a 17.4 horsepower electric motor powered by a 9.2-13.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack that weighs only 250 pounds, a fourth of a Tesla’s half ton behemoth. It can go 106 miles at 62 mph on a charge, adequate speed and range for many Americans. And being much lighter, it gets far greater kilowatt efficiency than an overpriced Tesla.
Yes, it’s made by the same GM subsidiary that makes the Zhengtu pickup truck—Wuling. BUT, also like the Zhengtu, you can’t buy or drive it in this country.
You would think our government “masters” would welcome people buying cars like these. After all, they are dead set on eliminating internal combustion engines. So why are they usurping their own proposed mandate by prohibiting the American people from buying the very practical, ffordable EVs that will meet that objective? These cars create NO emissions. In fact, because they are lighter and more kilowatt-hour efficient, they emit LESS emissions at the power plants that charge them up than their overweight brethren in this country.
We MUST put an end to this government insanity. Think about that when you vote this year.
1. Peters, Eric, Why Can’t I Have This?, September 10, 2019.
2. Peters, Eric, Why Americans Are Broke, March 21, 2021.
3. Peters, Eric, No $4,500 Electric Car for You!, December 1, 2021
Photo credits – Eric Peters Autos