General Info/News Archive

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A 4 Gallon Minimum?

Eric Peters with another great article.  As far as I am concerned, ethanol is the “devil’s lube” when getting piledriven by the guvthugs. 

I won’t try and explain it or comment on it, just read what Peters has put in front of us.  I dare you to not be insulted.

 

EPA Mandates How Much Gas You Must Buy

September 25, 2012

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The government can force you to buy health insurance – so why not gas, too?

The EPA has just issued another mandate – this one requiring that people who buy gas at stations where E15 (15 percent ethanol content) is sold buy at least four gallons of fuel. (See here for the news story.)

Why, you ask?

Because EPA knows that E15 – which it is pushing aggressively (because of aggressive pushing by the corn lobby, which makes billions off the force-fed “sales” of its product) is extremely bad news for any vehicle made before model year 2001 – and nearly all outdoor power equipment such as lawn mowers and chainsaws and so on that were not designed to deal with high alcohol-content fuels. Alcohol-laced “gas” is extremely corrosive and – in older vehicles (and power equipment) that lack the ability to automatically adjust their air-fuel ratios to compensate – it causes a lean-running condition that can quickly overheat and destroy the engine.

So: On the one hand, EPA knows ethanol-laced fuel is bad news. On the other hand, it is pushing for ever-higher ethanol content fuels like E15. And in order to prevent what EPA surely realizes could be a potential PR disaster – and spoil its goal of mandating widespread use of E15 – it has decided to force us to buy at least four gallons of fuel at any station where E15 is sold, so that (for the moment) the damage caused by high-alcohol content fuels is minimized.

Here’s the deal: Many stations have multi-fuel pumps. You have probably used them. You select whatever payment method you’re going to use, then you select the type of fuel you want: regular, mid-grade or premium. It flows from the same nozzle. Which means, if the person before you bought E15, some of the backwash is going in your tank (or your lawnmower’s gas jug).

By forcing people to buy at least four gallons, the EPA is trying to make sure that enough real gas (or at least, “gas” with relatively low ethanol content) gets mixed in with the 15 percent ethanol E15 it is trying to cram down our throats at the behest of the agri-business cartels, under the guise of “renewable” and “clean” energy ( which, of course, it’s not) in order to avoid potentially embarrassing mass carnage of older vehicles and power equipment… at least, for a little while. Here it is, directly from the horse’s ass… er, mouth:

“EPA requires that retail stations that own or operate blender pumps either dispense E15 from a dedicated hose and nozzle if able or, in the case of E15 and E10 being dispensed from the same hose, require that at least four gallons of fuel be purchased to prevent vehicles and engines with smaller fuel tanks from being exposed to gasoline-ethanol blended fuels containing greater than 10 volume percent ethanol.” (Italics added.)

This is going to be fun for motorcycle owners  – because many bikes have tanks that don’t hold four gallons of fuel. Bikes with larger tanks only have slightly larger tanks. Most would have to be on the verge of running on fumes, in most cases, to take on four gallons of fuel. What happens when they can only take on 3.5 gallons? Or two? Will they be arrested? Tazered? What?

Gas is also heavy. It weighs about six pounds per gallon. This matters when you’re filling up a gas jug for outdoor power equipment. It’s why most jugs are 1 or 2/1/2 gallons – manageable. The next-up size is five gallons. It weighs 30 pounds – not quite so manageable. Will people be arrested – fined – or Tazered – for filling up gallon jugs instead of five gallon jugs?

But, all this is merely preliminary. A temporary inconvenience. The purpose of EPA’s four gallon mandate is to grease the skids for the bet-your-ass-it’s-coming mandate of E15 “gasoline.” Once E15 replaces E10 (the current mandate) then the problem is solved. No more need to fret the backwash – because all the “gas” will contain 15 percent corn piss.

And the reason for that, if you’re “paranoid” (read: someone who notices trends) is – beyond the obvious rent-seeking of the agri-business cartel – the EPA’s determination to end-run exterminate older (especially, pre-computer) vehicles. This serves several purposes. First, it “helps” another corporatist cartel -  the auto industry – since it de facto forces people to buy new cars – once their old cars have been rendered kaput. The corporatist state wants everyone on the monthly payment plan. Debt-free is anathema to its workings.

Second, killing off older vehicles eliminates the problem (for the government and its corporate cronies) of people outside the control grid. If you own an older, pre-computer car it is a threat to their plans because it is not subject to easy monitoring and control in the way a new car – fitted with mandatory Event Data Recorder black boxes and (almost always) a GPS receiver tied into its operating systems – is. When, for example, it becomes “the law” for all vehicles to be fitted with real-time data transponders that record everything you do behind the wheel (see Progressive Insurance; voluntary… for the moment) no vehicle not capable of being so monitored will be allowed.

Rather than the old frontal assault – an overt ban or even restrictions on their use – the subtler solution is to poison them to death. Feed them caustic fuel – and the “problem” takes care of itself.

Once E15 is mandated – and it will be mandated – the die will have been cast. Within a handful of years, anything not built to tolerate the alcohol-swill will be “retired.”

It’s devilishly clever, I’ll give them that. But it’s the work of the devil, nonetheless.

Throw it in the Woods?

Original article can be found here.

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Auto Consignment

Used car lots that operate on a consignment basis is something I have never noticed or dealt with, but the premise is sound. 

For E. Peters’ friend it all worked out in the end but it just as easily could have gone incredibly wrong.  It is a real possibility that someone else might benefit from his experience as well. 

Just another reason to make sure you have you and the sellers ducks in a row whenever you purchase something bigger than a kit-kat.  There certainly are quite a few d-bags out ther.

 

Dealer Douchebaggery

September 4, 2012

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It really can happen to anyone – even someone who is pretty hip when it comes to cars. Hell, it recently happened to me!

About six weeks ago (the date’s importance will become apparent in a minute) I went car shopping with a good friend of ours. She was interested in a convertible Toyota Solara that was for sale on the lot of a local – and higher-end – used car lot. The car itself was not the problem. Low miles, great condition, as advertised. It checked out – and my friend negotiated a fair price for it. She drove the convertible home with her dealer 30 day tags that very day. But when a month had gone by by and she hadn’t received her actual tags – or her title – she went back to ask how come. Usually, you get your permanent tags within a couple weeks or so – and the title paperwork should be handled within a few days of sale. Most dealers handle all this for you – just as this dealer promised to do. That’s when the proverbial cat leapt out of the bag.

Turns out, this used car lot is also a consignment lot – a fact which they neither advertised nor disclosed.

Now, there is nothing shady or unethical about consignment lots. What is a consignment lot? It’s a place that sells cars on behalf of their owners. You have a car you’d like to sell, but you don’t want to deal with tire-kickers or the paperwork. A consignment lot handles all that for you – plus puts your car on their lot, where it will probably get seen by more people than it would parked in your driveway. In return, you either pay a fixed fee, or a commission based on a percentage of the sales price, when the car actually sells.

Again, nothing shady or unethical about any of this – as such. Consignment lots can be a great way to sell-off your old car, when you’d prefer not to sell it yourself and aren’t looking to trade it in on a new car.

But there are some issues with buying a car this way that a prospective buyer ought to know about – and more, has a right to know about. And which the dealer/consignment lot has an obligation to put on the table.

Enter the problem. Because this dealer didn’t.

This car my friend bought? The dealer didn’t actually have the title to it. So they could not transfer it to her. The car was not only still technically the legal property of the person who gave it to the consignment lot to sell on their behalf – it had a bank lien on it. It was not paid-off. The title could not be transferred  until the lien holder had been paid off.

These facts were never mentioned to my friend during the transaction. Probably, the dealer figured they could get the paperwork sorted out quickly and no one would be the wiser. And no harm done.

But harm could have been done.

Since the dealer- the consignment lot -  didn’t have clear title to the car, technically, the car was not their legal property to sell. If, say, the price my friend paid was not sufficient to pay off the actual owner and the lienholder and one or both declined to sign off the title, my friend could have found herself out the money – and without the car. She’d have had to sue – or threaten to sue – the dealer/consignment lot. A huge PITAS, no matter how it turns out. Or, let’s say she had an accident a week after she bought the car. The fact that she wasn’t technically the legal owner could have resulted in serious headaches with her insurer – which assumed it was insuring her car and not some other person’s car.

Luckily for my friend, it turned out ok. Six weeks after she handed them a cashier’s check for the sales price, they finally handed her  the signed-over title to what is – at last – her car.

For the first six weeks, at least, it wasn’t.

I felt had. Probably as much as my friend did – only more so, because she had relied on me to suss out any cheesiness. This time, one slipped under the radar. As OJ might say, it happens. I’ve bought (and sold) dozens of vehicles over the years – and I know to ask to see a title with no liens on it before any money changes hands when you’re dealing with a private party seller. And also, to make sure that the person representing himself as the seller is also the legal owner of the vehicle he is trying to sell (or at least, that the title he has is signed-over already by the legal owner).

But at a dealership – a higher-end store, with no “consignment” signs anywhere – well, who’d a thunk it? I freely admit, I didn’t.

Point being: Assume nothing. In fact, assume the worst. It may be cynical to adopt that attitude, but it’s also the best way to avoid getting the short end of the stick.

Throw in the Woods?

original article here.

 

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The AE86 is back

There was a certain amount of excitement surrounding Toyota when they were offering the Supra, MR2 and Celica in the 90′s.  It was Colin Chapman (founder of Lotus) that summed it up best when asked how to make a car fast, he responded “Add Lightness.”  One thing that has been missing from the current market is a lightweight, affordable, front engine, rear-wheel drive sport coupe.  No more with the launch of the Scion FR-S (and Subaru BRZ).  I have (and still do) own(ed) quite a few Toyotas, 2 MR2′s, 2 Corolla’s (one being a 4ag powered AE86 coupe), 2 Camry’s and a Tundra.  I am active in MR2 clubs and have been pulling for Toyota to come up with a winner and this might be it.

I will get the negative out of the way, the biggest complaint I have aside from the hype is the name, I wish the USDM version shared the JDM version’s name of ‘GT-86.’  The AE86 was obviously an inspiration, why not benefit from the classic 1980′s RWD lightweight Corolla?

From looking at the specs I like most of what I see.  The exterior is great (reminds me of the Lexus LFA supercar) and the interior looks quite good for the price in my opinion.  I had a mark2 MR2 turbo and currently own a SC’ed mark1 and I am disapointed in the lack a forced induction (or v6) option even if that version would have caused the price to creep closer to 30k.  The engine is a new design and it’s “flat” layout allows for a lower than normal center of gravity which will likely make the handling quite good.  I have much faith that HKS, Apex and Greddy will solve the horsepower problem in the aftermarket.

I typically drive by the local Toyota Dealership once a week in vain to see if they have one available.  I figure if I show up in my new-ish Tundra or my modified ’89 supercharged MR2 I will be able to sweet talk a proper test drive even though there is no chance I would buy one new.  I’ll keep this up until I get my opportunity and then I will share my firsthand thoughts.

 

Until then here is the Car and Driver First Drive from a few months back.

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