By on March 29, 2011

I know, the sniping at Jalopnik is getting old, and I’m sure this article will receive a lot of complaints. But this is The Truth About Cars, and the truth must be told. Banking on the limited attention span of its readers, Gawker’s outlet for things remotely related to cars headlined yesterday: “European Union wants to ban gas, diesel cars by 2050.” A headline like that is sure to produce clicks. Too bad, clicking readers are being had.

Just for this occasion, we break the TTAC rule of not copypasting whole articles. Here is the Jalopnik article in full length:

“The European Union’s transport chief wants to ban diesel or gas-burning vehicles in cities by 2050, mainly through higher taxes and new rules. Maybe now’s the time to start broadening those U.S. import rules…

That’s it. No more. Where’s the beef the Jalopies have with the brutal transport chief?

The site that just a few days ago did pride itself of its investigative journalism skills, not only fornicated the puppy on this one, it also missed out on the juicy stuff.

Fornicating the puppy dept.:

  • Of course the EU does not want to ban gas and diesel cars by 2050. That becomes clear to the intrepid few who venture beyond the headline. Someone may want to discourage ICE city driving 40 years from now. Manhattanite Gawkers should have noticed that their hometown had declared a war on cars decades ago.
  • Jalopnik became the victim of a badly written article in London’s Telegraph that talks in tortured grammar about a plan of “Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission.”  Mr. Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport  (that’s his correct title) and former Prime Minister of Estonia, published a white paper with the boring title “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system.” If you want the original, here it is.
  • Mr. Kallas does not and cannot ban anything. He wrote a white paper. He might as well have written an op ed piece in the New York Times. He has his job until 2014. It is a long and arduous road before anything becomes unanimously accepted by all 27 members of the EU. In the meantime, a commissioner can write all the white papers he wants.
  • The white paper does not talk about a ban. It says thatthe gradual phasing out of ‘conventionally-fuelled’ vehicles from the urban environment is a major contribution to significant reduction of oil dependence, greenhouse gas emissions and local air and noise pollution.” But there is a gotcha in the next sentence.” It will have to be complemented by the development of appropriate fuelling/charging infrastructure for new vehicles.” It’s more fluff than Obama’s plan to put a million EV’s on the road by 2015.
  • There is nothing in the white paper that calls for a ban of diesel or gas-burning vehicles in cities by 2050 through higher taxes and new rules. There is a mealy-mouthed passage that calls for “developing and deploying new and sustainable fuels and propulsion systems” in order to “halve the use of ‘conventionally-fuelled’ cars in urban transport by 2030; phase them out in cities by 2050; achieve essentially CO2-free city logistics in major urban centres by 2030.” Again: If there are no new and sustainable fuels and propulsion systems, no change. The white paper might as well have called for eternal happiness, the elimination of heart attacks and a worldwide ban of the common cold. Actually, the paper has an even nobler goal: “By 2050, move close to zero fatalities in road transport.”

Missing out on the juicy stuff dept:

We must wag a finger at Jalopnik for neglecting its usual mission of wallowing in juicy scandals. Justin Hyde must have been in an awful hurry when he cranked out the two sentences. Now, TTAC has to do the heavy lifting.

  • Hugh Bladon, a spokesman for the Association of British Drivers recommended that Commissioner Kallas “goes and finds himself a space in the local mental asylum. If he wants to bring everywhere to a grinding halt and to plunge us into a new dark age, he is on the right track. We have to keep things moving. The man is off his rocker.”
  • Christopher Monckton, spokesman of the anti-EU UK Independence Party opines that “the EU must be living in an alternate reality.”
  • UK Transport Minister Norman Baker said “We will not be banning cars from city centres anymore than we will be having rectangular bananas.” With that vote against, the measure is dead.
  • Environmentalists blast the paper. Franziska Achterberg of Greenpeace says: “This Commission paper blatantly passes the buck to the next generation.”  Jos Dings of the Transport&Environment group says: “This is a manifesto for inaction. The only concrete action the Commission proposes within its current mandate (2010-14) is to expand airport capacity, which will make the headline targets even harder to reach.”
  • Commenters at Jalopnik immediately created a European flag with tiny hammers and sickles. Jalopnik was derelict in its duty of informing its readership that Mr. Kallas was formerly a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. He should be comfortable as a Commissar.
  • Totally overlooked by Jalopnik: Baden-Württemberg,  that German state that Porsche, Daimler, Bosch and Gemballa Tuning call home, will be the first German state to be ruled by a Premier of the Green Party. They won by a landslide last weekend. Now that is a story worth watching.

Jeez, must we do all your work?

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39 Comments on “Oxymoron Alert: Jalopnik Has Lost Its Mind...”

  • avatar

    They’re Gawker, but for (marginally) car-related stuff.  Amusing stuff, but I’m surprised anyone expects anything meaningful out of them.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I could see electrics becoming the preferred choice of city dwellers who don’t have to venture more than about 40 miles in a day but… we don’t have than many “clean” sources of power yet and storage of energy from things like solar when the sun’s not shinning hasn’t exactly been solved yet.  Then we have everyone soiling themselves over the reactors in Japan… (BTW that plant is older than I am, of course it had issues during a record quake and tsunami.)  [rant off]
    But yeah, Jalopnik is pretty misleading on this one.

  • avatar

    You guys point the finger for shoddy journalism, but you in turn missed the real meat of this story, too:  Where can I get some rectangular bananas???

    • 0 avatar

      In Brussels. They grow them on the Canary Islands

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe you missed the big ‘hoo-har’ that a certain piece of EU legislation caused when introduced back in the 1990’s…
      Basically the EU legislated what grade a banana is by what it looks like. Yes, thats right – the EU – a body which the United Kingdom pays huge sums of money to every year (and get infinitely less back) and which the people of the UK never actually had a choice in joining in the first place, uses all their tax money to employ armies of bureaucrats to decide exactly what a grade a banana is, and by including the description “- free from malformation or abnormal curvature of the fingers” it defined that certain curved bananas were not bananas at all and therefore could not be labled as a banana.

    • 0 avatar

      So does that mean that if it’s not curved, it’s not real?

    • 0 avatar

      So does that mean that if it’s not curved, it’s not real?

      That’s what she said.

    • 0 avatar
      Alessandro and

  • avatar

    Bravo! That kept me from going over there for visit #7! I hope to remain at six times total. Even the high-quality artwork of the hammer-and-sickle image is not optically or dimensionally correct! I bet Jack could fix that in a heartbeat, no crowding or kerning necessary! Kind of reminds me of mis-represented articles by sensational headlines on Drudge Report! At least they linked to the story you put up here.

  • avatar

    I blame the telegraph more than Jalopnik.
    @Educator(of teachers)Dan;  hybrids and electrics are great for city dwellers.  The problem, as James May points out, is that when you park in underground garages and on the street running power lines to your cars is a bit iffy.
    In any case, my mileage per year is so low I’m holding out for $15/gallon gas to scare the other drivers away.  It is still less than I pay for parking.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I’m just saying I could conceivably see it happening.  The barriers to it are not as great as say, an all electric car taking me from Gallup, NM to Toledo, OH in the same 3 days that I’ll do it in this summer.

  • avatar

    As much as it pains me to admit it, Jalopnik’s quality has been down as of late. I love the site but there seems to be less a focus on cars and more on things that vaguely have to do with cars (I’m not talking about planeopolik or whatever because that stuffs always really cool). That being said, Jalopnik did cover (albeit briefly) the German Green Party taking over Porsche’s home state. Here’s the link:!5786402/green-partys-win-in-porsches-home-state-dooms-unrestricted-autobahn

    • 0 avatar

      The Social Democrats had demanded 120 km/h speed limit in Baden-Württemberg while they were in the opposition. It was an easy demand, they never dreamt of getting into power in that conservative state. Now they will, as a junior coalition partner of the Greens. The Greens are always for speed limits, so I guess Daimler and Porsche will have to test drive elsewhere. While it lasts: The A 81, Heilbronn to Lake Konstanz  is a great race track scenic route.

    • 0 avatar

      I think it’s gone down dramatically. So much so that I checked out and haven’t been back since. They’ve lost their way, somehow, and maybe it was just the redesign that made me realize it. When I started thinking about it though, I realized that the writers I always really liked weren’t there anymore, and then two words came to mind: Murilee Martin. So now I find myself here!

  • avatar

    Now this non-news about nothing made it here… At least in a “processed” form.

    How can one seriously consider any initiative that talks about something 40 years away from now? It is a purest form of hot air and it seems it’s been a really slow news day for scribblers to even mention it.

  • avatar

    Mmm… rectangular bananas.

  • avatar
    maximum bob

    TTAC and Jalopnik are pathetic.  TTAC used to be something special, it used to mean something.  Farago had an opinion and articulated it forcefully.  While many times I found myself on the other side of his points, I appreciated his thoughts.
    Jalopnik has gone goofy, too, in the name of clicks.  How is this article any different?
    This is just mindless.  TTAC and Jalopnik have both lost their way.  Anyone have any good replacements for these former loves of mine?

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. The death watch series (and the subsequent bankruptcy of GM) really earned TTAC a reputation. But since then? Are the reviews really better than those of “Car and Driver?” And yeah, the demise of Honda has been greatly exaggerated.
      As for “marginally car stuff”, so is this piece.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree. An article on the EU banning cars is entirely relevant. I am glad to be properly informed.

      Find your own replacement.

    • 0 avatar

      Honestly, if you like how the original Jalopnik was, I’d suggest you check out Hooniverse (Clunkbucket isn’t bad either). While it’s not exactly new car news, the writing style falls more in line with what Jalopnik used to be (Hooniverse). Personally, I like TTAC more than Jalopnik now (used to be the reverse) but I’m tired of the fighting.

    • 0 avatar

      I respectfully disagree. I find post-Farago TTAC to be more balanced and the car reviews are  less juvenilistic and are actually relevant now.

  • avatar

    Introducing the new Jolopnik…  Inaccurate, and hard to navigate!!

  • avatar

    More taxes on cars ay?

    Meanwhile right here in the Netherlands a RR Sport Supercharged goes for 151.500 Euro and gas is at $9,53/gallon already. Then there’s also a tax on owning the vehicle based primarily on the car’s weight that can be zero for a Citroen C1 or 140Euro/month for said RR and everything in between.

    If you factor in the cost of parking in a city like Amsterdam (parking spot can set you back 300K at some spots) it’s already impossible to own a nice car in some cities except for people with 1) considerable wealth, 2) the ability to mentally overcome the knowledge that they’re being fornicated by the state.

  • avatar

    Ban gas-powered cars by 2050? Why bother? Oil will hit $200-$300/bbl by then (in 2011 dollars!).

  • avatar

    Baiting reactionaries is and old journalistic sport, albeit on par with shooting fish in a barrel.
    It’s made worse by the planetwide game of Chinese Whispers that goes on as a news story is, ahem, professionally re-tweeted by second-rate newspapers and blogs.  In this case, the original story is condensed, op/ed’ed and sensationlized two or three times before we get the idiot-cousin version.

  • avatar

    Ray Wert’s dingler is tingling.

    Where is he?

  • avatar

    You are correct in your assessment that the headline was sensationalist, but it wasn’t the headline of an article at all, merely a “blip”.

    Jalopnik posts several such blips a day that are little more than links to external articles with a brief, snide, throwaway comment. They never intended to follow through on this story, just make readers aware of it, and they can read more if they wish. It’s nothing to “lose one’s mind” about.

    Ironically, a blip yesterday did in fact mention the Green Party’s win in Baden-Wuerttemberg, predicting it will mean the end of the unrestricted Autobahn. To my knowledge, no TTAC articles yesterday mentioned this:!5786402/green-partys-win-in-porsches-home-state-dooms-unrestricted-autobahn

    It’s true, they didn’t exactly go in-depth on that either, but they did at least mention it. That’s the truth too.

    Finally, as a frequent reader and commenter on both sites, I resent being characterized as possessing a “limited attention span.” I question the truthiness of that claim. I also like chicken tamales. Oh, a robin!

    I’m sorry, what were we talking about again?

  • avatar

    Well-spotted, TTAC; and as I was going to write last time before Bertel started pacing around with the BanHammer like a grumpy Thor:
    Ray Wert coming over to TTAC to criticize kerning on a silly image is like Houston taking time off from “The World’s Biggest Gangbang 3: The Houston 500” to critique the placement of crustacean forks at Emily Post’s White Tie Thanksgiving Dinner Cotillion at Marble House,
    -while palming a basketball with her anus.
    SO: I’m glad to hear that Gawker-for-Cars has at last done a 180 and proven us all wrong. Who knows, maybe they’re just borrowing a few Psalms from “The AOL Way”?
    Which might just work on a site like that.
    Imagine the ad rates on a story with a header like, “Lindsay Lohan’s Mesothelioma Weight Loss Impossible Without Penis-Enlarging Acai, As Seen on TV Aston-Martin Virage Natural Breast Enhancement That Could Kill You CLICK HERE!”
    Pssst! … That’s no bustle Mrs. Post; it’s; … -a Spalding.

  • avatar


  • avatar
    Sgt Beavis

    Since when did Jalopnik (or Gawker for that matter) have a mind to lose?

  • avatar

    Jos Dings of the Transport & Environment group says: “This is a manifesto for inaction.”
    Sounds like the greenies need a rebuttal, perhaps an Awesomeness Manifesto?

  • avatar

    “Totally overlooked by Jalopnik: Baden-Württemberg,  that German state that Porsche, Daimler, Bosch and Gemballa Tuning call home, will be the first German state to be ruled by a Premier of the Green Party. They won by a landslide last weekend. Now that is a story worth watching.”

    This battle of the blogs is not what TTAC should be about, please stop it. Anyway if you are going to criticize Jalopnik or anyone else about not fact-checking or reviewing their sources, don’t make that very mistake in the same article:!5786402/green-partys-win-in-porsches-home-state-dooms-unrestricted-autobahn

  • avatar

    ….Claws Up!  Another day, another catfight.  The judges give this round to TTAC on points.

  • avatar
    Dave W

    This is what, the fourth? mention of Jalopnik here in a couple days. The only place I ever hear anything about Jalopnik is here.
    Maybe you should listen to your own comments “I know, sniping at Jalopnik is getting old.” Yes it is. I do not know, nor do I care, why  your shorts are in a twist, but you’re advertising for them while giving me reason to not care about you. I thought this was “the truth about cars” not the truth about web based pissing matches.

  • avatar

    I think the TTAC/Jalopnic hissy-fit meltdown, ‘am not-are too’ festival has reached the ‘jumped the shark’ has ‘jumped the shark’ moment.

  • avatar

    Jalopnik’s content is occasionally excellent, but more often than not it’s sensationalist fluff. Coupled with the frequently crass, ignorant and offensive commentary that goes unchecked for the most part, it makes for a depressing experience. I used to really enjoy the site, but now I find myself visiting less and less.

  • avatar

    If I really wanted to read about Jalopnik I’d be over at their website, not TTAC’s.  Please stop this foolishness.  There’s enough automotive news to go around for everyone without stepping on each other’s toes.

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