Investing in bargain basement cars?

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  • bill von novakbill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 891 ✭✭✭✭
    Estragon said:
    IMHO, CAFE is a good example of bad policy.  It "solves" a fairly simple problem (poor average fuel economy) in an overly complex way. 

    I think it's a _relatively_ good solution for a few reasons.

    1) It still allows car companies to make whatever cars they like - as long as the AVERAGE fuel economy is achieved.   They can still make Ford Megaliths that get 11mpg - as long as they balance that with other very efficient cars.  Thus, less impact on variety available.

    2) It helps the poor, since car companies are incentivized to make some very small, efficient cars and sell them for a low price to ensure a large uptake.

    3) It targets the right goal - changing the AVERAGE fuel economy of the industry, not the efficiency of specific cars.

    4) (perhaps most importantly) it has worked.

    If higher fuel economy is the objective, just raise fuel taxes by enough to change consumer behavior.

    That would also work, but would have the downside of higher prices for poor drivers.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    ^ While I agree in some measure with your analysis, the problem is “raising taxes” no matter what the efficacy of the goal is, is almost a complete non starter in the political climate in which we live anywhere in North America.  I personally think that CAFE standards, however imperfect has lead to huge advances in fuel economy over previous generations of automobiles.  Prius/Leaf/Volt/Bolt/EVs in general probably wouldn’t exist without the push from the US government.  The US is still the largest auto market afaik. 

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,680 admin
    edited November 2019 #34
    I if I recall correctly, the mfgs simply dumped station wagons, which used a bit more fuel than average, and replaced then with SUVs that used a bunch more fuel but were listed under light trucks which fell under a different standard.
    And the car fleet MPG went up, and so did car maker profit margin too (light trucks are high profit). While fuel usage went up and total MPG went down.
    Another change in behavior is people drive their high MPG cars much more (more and longer trips) so their actual gallons per year fuel purchase remained about the same.
    The governments also lost on fuel/road taxes. Between high MPG and electric vehicles, some of our states are looking at gps based taxes (based on miles driven, time driven and location driven). Or even a $300+ per year tax on EVs and high MPG hybrids. (Electric vehicles are avoiding road taxes and being heavier, are harder on the roads too, so I am sort of on board with the EV tax).
    You don't want that for many reasons... In our area installing lots of new car pool/tool lanes... The local paper is saying the planned commute time charge is $3.00 per mile for the toll road. For a 50 MPG Prius, that is a fuel equivalent tax of $150 per gallon.
    I don't want the government fixing things with more taxes.
    Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,494 ✭✭✭✭✭
    My understanding of the CAFE standard is the average is done by buckets.  The car / light truck / heavy truck buckets have been there from the start.  I think the current (maybe proposed/scheduled?) rules further split the buckets into smaller "footprint" buckets based on square footage of wheelbase & width.

    Ford doesn't need a cheap (low/no margin) small car to offset millions of (high margin) F150s, they just need one if they want to sell a less efficient car in that size bucket.  They've decided to pretty much abandon the US car market.  I assume they'll just pay the penalty on the Mustang (car) they plan to keep.

    I think China is the largest car market in the world at ~28mm (2017) units vs ~17mm US.

    I know tax increases are a non-starter, especially when they're broadly based, transparent, simple, and hard to avoid (a VAT, for example).  There seems to be considerable support for complex, hard to collect and enforce ones that "someone else" pays though (a tax on wealth and/or unrealized capital gains, for example).

    "Let me tell you how it will be"
    "There's one for you, nineteen for me"
    "Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman"

    I don't think J.Lennon lived in NYC because it was such a clean beautiful place back in the 70s.


    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,499 ✭✭✭✭
    If anybody seeks to gamble with bargain basement cars - they should likely invest in a scanner and software that is vehicle specific. FORScan (for Fords after 1996) is a free program, the scanners costs $25 or more. Unsure about other makes though they are likely "competitive" if a mainstream make. 

    While do gooders preach about mpg they would do well to consider the ecology of discarding disposable cars every ten years or so. It is more ecological to keep them running even if the mpg is higher. Manufacturing cars is not ecological - keeping them running is. 

    Very few industry insiders would successfully argue that automotive trends, since 2016, have been anything other than oriented towards the disposable mentality. The onslaught of absolutely massive failures in the drivetrains of cars built in the past few years is powerful testimony. Testimony that Ingsoc's Ministry of Truth is surely at direct odds with. But the truth never slows down the Ministry of Truth. 
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  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 844 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019 #37
    I do agree that the CAFE standards program was very poorly designed and implemented, and has actually been a negative, overall.Higher taxation on fuel would be a regressive approach that hurts lower income earners disproportionately. Lower income folks would immediately feel most of the pain. The people who can least shoulder the load, would take the hit first. This same negative impact would next move up the food chain to small businesses - another group who is forced to absorb the cost while waiting for the industry to react.
    Importantly, in my view: Forcing changes in consumer behavior via artificial taxation is simply a form of social engineering, which should NEVER, EVER be a function of our Constitutional Republic form of Government, at least in the USA.
    Marc

    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,499 ✭✭✭✭
    I do agree that the CAFE standards program was very poorly designed and implemented, and has actually been a negative, overall.Higher taxation on fuel would be a regressive approach that hurts lower income earners disproportionately. Lower income folks would immediately feel most of the pain. The people who can least shoulder the load, would take the hit first. This same negative impact would next move up the food chain to small businesses - another group who is forced to absorb the cost while waiting for the industry to react.
    Importantly, in my view: Forcing changes in consumer behavior via artificial taxation is simply a form of social engineering, which should NEVER, EVER be a function of our Constitutional Republic form of Government, at least in the USA.
    Marc

    Hard and fast rules are often ripe for exceptions. Most would agree that taxing the dog out of cigarettes has produced a mostly favorable impact. Cigarettes were hit so badly that their ability to pay their fines was in jeopardy. So the social engineers targeted e-cigarettes to pump more money out of the cigarette industry.

    You have got to "love" the social engineers. One step forward and three steps backward. Every. Single Time. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,386 ✭✭✭✭
    ALL taxes have behavior effects and one person's "artificial" tax is another's "natural" tax.   Taxes are required,  so might as well do some good with them.  Of course what and how much is often debated (eg, solar panel tariffs).

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,494 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019 #40
    Taxation is always and everywhere an exercise in social engineering. It's only a question of degree.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • bill von novakbill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 891 ✭✭✭✭
    I do agree that the CAFE standards program was very poorly designed and implemented, and has actually been a negative, overall.

    Given that our average fuel economy went from 13 to 25mpg from 1975 to today, it's been objectively a huge positive.
    Higher taxation on fuel would be a regressive approach that hurts lower income earners disproportionately. Lower income folks would immediately feel most of the pain. The people who can least shoulder the load, would take the hit first. This same negative impact would next move up the food chain to small businesses - another group who is forced to absorb the cost while waiting for the industry to react. 
    Agreed.  Stricter CAFE standards is a much better way to go.  And lowers gas prices for everyone.
    Importantly, in my view: Forcing changes in consumer behavior via artificial taxation is simply a form of social engineering, which should NEVER, EVER be a function of our Constitutional Republic form of Government, at least in the USA
    EVERY SINGLE TAX is a form of social engineering.  Every single one.  Have a mortgage interest deduction?  That will incentivize people to buy houses.  Child deduction?  Incentivizes children.  Property taxes?  Incentivizes rental.  Income taxes?  Incentivizes capital investments.  Capital gains taxes?  Incentivizes ordinary income.  The best we can do is pass tax laws that help rather than hurt society.
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 844 ✭✭✭✭
    I will respectfully disagree.
    There is a huge difference between the effect of various taxes vs. the intention of the tax. Your example, I do not believe that property taxes were designed to incentivize more rentals. (We will have to agree to disagree)
    Sales tax and income taxes are simply intended to provide an income stream to support public spending. I do not believe that they were specifically designed to change how people act. Certainly there are consequences - but that is not the same thing as passing a tax to force a change in behavior - like a gas tax designed to force the issue. Very different things.
    Marc
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019 #43
    Like them or not, taxes are the price we pay to live in a civil society. Most people like public education, fire departments, police departments (jails and prisons?) roads, water systems, sewers.  Some of us like clean air, clean water, parks, etc.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,680 admin
    edited November 2019 #44
    From an Austin newspaper website (link has gone stale--From around 2013 or 2014). A slight disconnect:
    https://www.statesman.com/news/business/surge-in-property-tax-bills-spurs-push-to-reform-t/ngBXt/?icmp=statesman_internallink_textlink_apr2013_statesmanstubtomystatesman_launch#c710210c.3313332.735385

    “I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.

    “It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”

    We owe it to the children, firefighters, etc. etc... We hear this almost every election in California... The bond/tax/etc. is passed--Then the state legislature redirects the funds back to the general fund, and spend it as they see fit.
    And two years later, they are again telling us how there is not enough money... Need more for the children, roads, firefighters, etc. Rinse, Repeat.
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Lets debate something that is a real problem!  This is happening NOW and needs to be stopped.......

    Estragon said :.  Maybe vape products end up being round 2?   You BET it will be in my eyes at least.

    Wife (a Nurse) and I were discussing the HUGE rise in LUNG DISEASE in new, younger smokers.
    I noted the NEWS reports always seem to show Vape-ers taking a deep inhalation of the vapour and then exhaling a massive cloud of the smoke out the nose and the mouth, far more than what my father ( a dedicated smoker) ever did while alive.
    Wife says it is probably the additives  that smooth out the tobacco taste that Vape-ers like, (then they get a real belt of the Nicotine) and that transports the fine particulate matter (smoke) deep into the lungs -> Lung Cancer..

    The only way to do that is for government (s) to make it illegal
     
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  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,680 admin
    In the USA, the problem has been (so far) 100% based on the Vitamin E Acetate that is used to "thicken" the vaping fluid. That is solely used in the THC (marijuana) fluids (so far, 100% illegal to create THC vaping fluid in the US).
    https://hightimes.com/news/vitamin-e-acetate-confirmed-culprit-vaping-illnesses/
    The US CDC (Center for Disease Control) was being highly obtuse in releasing information about the "true cause" of the lung problems/failures/death. At this point, 100% of the affected users have been using THC and Vitamin E Acetate cutting oil (thickineer).
    And, at this time, Vaping/E-cigs have had zero medical problems at this time when used as directed and only has 5% of the tar/etc. of cigarettes:
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/dec/28/vaping-is-95-safer-than-smoking-claims-public-health-england
    Public Health England (PHE), which maintains that vaping is 95% less harmful than tobacco, is releasing a short video of an experiment which reveals the amount of sticky black tar that accumulates in the lungs of a heavy smoker, collected in a bell jar. By contrast, the same nicotine intake through vaping releases only a trace of residue.
    Now, don't think I am for Cigs/Vape/Joints/etc... I don't do it. I tell my kids not to do it, I tell my kids' friends not to do it...
    However, if the "people" want to legalize MJ, and the government collects taxes on smoking, etc., I am going to follow the data on what is safe(r) and what is not. "Legal" vaping fluids still appear to be "much" safer than cigarettes.
    Long term--Any of these chemicals/drugs/etc. can have issues. None of this stuff is benign. There are people that live to >100 years old that smoke everyday, and people in their 20's that chew tobacco and develop mouth cancer.
    Are you feeling lucky?
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,274 ✭✭✭✭✭
    And now the thing is not to wait at the junkyard for a wrecked EV to salvage the battery, just burgle the battery on the street !

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  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,499 ✭✭✭✭
    mike95490 said:
    And now the thing is not to wait at the junkyard for a wrecked EV to salvage the battery, just burgle the battery on the street !

    Thievery - easily one of my top pet peeves. Stolen material has no value until the thieves resell it. Surely there has to be a way to mostly keep track of such things. Oh wait - the authorities simply do not care in most cases. Besides - it is more entertaining to hunt political dissent. Why would John Q Public have any reason whatsoever to be anything other than completely filled with bliss? 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
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