By on April 9, 2013

“I wouldn’t buy a car at an auction. They’re all junk!”

Bad transmissions. Blown engines. Cars that smoke, drink and hang out with the bad boys thanks to all different types of leaks and spewage. This is the general stereotype that most uninformed consumers have of those cars at an auction.

Most folks look at auction cars as vehicles that are worth more dead than alive. Every malady and defect is assigned to these ‘red light’ vehicles that are sold as/is with no warranty.

But do you know what is the #1 issue of those auctioned off trade-ins here in the Atlanta area?

Emissions.

This is why I always look at the vehicle’s history. Every Carfax and Autocheck vehicle will list when a vehicle has gone through an emissions check.

The most common trade-in I see at the auctions will usually be driven anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 miles a year for the last several years. Then, I see a few “Failed Emission Inspection” blips, followed either by a recently passed emissions or a final failed emission.

The car will get very little driving after that. In a few months you will see a few hundred miles. Or if it is kept for a few years, you may see a few thousand.

These cars will wind up at the auctions where 99.9% of the vehicle will still be perfectly fine. Dealers who either operate outside of an emission county, or are out of state, will bid most of these vehicles up to levels that I simply can’t compete at for now. Throw in the fact that some of these guys are simply filling in orders for a larger auto finance company that is financed via Wall Street, and I have to be real shrewd with my bidding tactics in order to get any good deal these days.

Do you want this type of deal? Sorry. There are also a ton of unintended consequences from these emission issues.

Public auctions used to be prolific within the metro-Atlanta area, and throughout the country. All businesses want to sell where the general public is and a well run public auto auction is no different.

Except now they are all outside of emission counties due to the auctions getting fined for selling cars that didn’t pass emissions to the general public. Here in Georgia, a lot of folks believe that a ‘no current emissions’ announcement should be enough of a warning for the general public. 

But a lot of prospective buyers wander off from lane to lane and, even when slowly spoken to, they don’t quite understand the ramifications of no emissions.

“Oh we should be able to take care of it. Just replace the catalytic converter.” They go cheap on the catalytic converter and don’t realize that there is a lot more to these emission issues than just replacing the one part. The $200 quick fix turns into a $1000+ estimate that offers no guarantee of success.   

They get upset and try to return that car to the auction. Is it the auctions fault that these people bought a car with no emissions? With a stamp in big bold letters on the bill of sale that says “No emissions!”?

Yes. The law is the law, and that law of selling a non-emission vehicle is set and stone. So now those businesses focus exclusively on the dealer side of the business. The public is no longer invited.

Small potatoes you say? Well consider your own car for a second. It probably came from a manufacturer that tries to sell their green credentials to the public. Priuses. Volts. LEAFs. Diesels. Hybrids. That magical 40 mpg hump. All of it sounds wonderful to a public that genuinely wants the air clean and the land vibrant.

But 90+% of the vehicles these manufacturers sell usually don’t reach these summits of green efficiency. As for their emission systems, they are only required to last 8 years or 80,000 miles. After that it becomes a revenue opportunity for the manufacturer and the aftermarket.

In my experiences at the auctions, this translates into an entirely faked version of planned obsolescence. The uninformed public often thinks that if the expensive emission system is malfunctioning, God only knows how long the engine or transmission will last.

It gives me a market. It gives the public a perpetual need for auto loans. It gives the manufacturers more money and it gives the banks a fruitful source to finance a public that simply doesn’t know any better… and likely never will.

Not too long ago I bought three vehicles at a public auction that cost me all of $700 each. They were perfectly fine. Unpopular, with failed emissions, but fine. No cosmetic issues. A 1998 Suzuki Esteem wagon with only 105k. A 1992 Toyota Tercel with 180k, and a 1990 Mercury Topaz with only 79k.

How much money would have been saved by John Q Public if they could have kept those rides? I am willing to bet that these emissions issues easily add over a half million units to the new car market. I could be wrong. But whenever I inspect a car with a check engine light and see a long list of emission related codes, I feel like the public is being suckered into a Ponzi scheme of substantial magnitude.

 

 

 

 

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197 Comments on “Hammer Time: The Number One Killer...”


  • avatar
    redav

    Hmm… I thought the goal was “No emissions.”

    • 0 avatar
      econobiker

      Actually the other killer is the price of catalytic convertors and the fact that you cannot buy them from auto recycle yards anymore because of:
      1. the precious metal scrap prices and
      2. the yards worried about the EPA emissions guarantee.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    It is difficult to know what the true ramifications of ‘failed emissions’ are without a proper diagnosis (which is not possible at an auction). It could be something as simple as a clogged EGR passage, a tired O2 sensor, or a cracked vacuum line on a cannister purge solenoid.

    On the other hand, there could be expensive repairs needed if the car was driven for an extended period with certain problems: burnt valve(s) due to a vacuum leak or clogged fuel injector; scored cylinder, ruined bearings and defective catalytic converter from a stuck-open fuel injector.

    And far too many people think that trouble code = what part to replace when it comes to correcting emissions repairs.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “And far too many people think that trouble code = what part to replace when it comes to correcting emissions repairs.”

      Yes, which leads to tons of people buying extra O2 sensors at Vato Zone, instead of realizing that an O2 sensor code means you need to analyze what’s causing it.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        Vatozone… I like that. Generally, even o2 sensors arent that difficult to diagnose with a harbor freight $5 multimeter and some google skillz. especially the o2 heater circuit malfunction- very simple ohm test

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    It’s a gamble though. Especially with newer and more complicated cars. This is a good insight though.

  • avatar
    Carl in NH

    Dumping a car over 100k due to emissions might in fact be a very rational thing to do. I have been trying to address the CEL on my 140k+ 2004 Outback (P0420 Cat below efficiency) for a while myself, as the dealer wants $3,000 to address it (there are 3 cats in the system). After replacing all the sensors on one side, checking vacuum, checking for leaks, etc etc, I am going to try replacing the suspect cat with an aftermarket. If that doesn’t work, this thing is being dumped like an ugly girlfriend.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Cuz why have one headache, when you can have three?

      Emissions edicts are the back door to enforcing planned obsolescence.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Planned obsolescence? If they were trying to do that we would have never left the 1970′s when a car making it to 100k miles was a miracle.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I think we assume the majority of today’s vehicles will do 200K/20years on the road, but we base that on the cars mid-90s to mid-00s. With today’s iffy turbos, oddball transmissions, and general lapse in build quality (of some brands) I think this assumption may be proven less true as time goes on. Couple that with expensive emissions issues, the smart/able money will be forced to purchase new when the need arises. Whether the car lives on and for how long isn’t relevant, because a certain percentage of your potential customers cannot really afford you product new in the first place. You’re chasing the regular sales from those who can afford your product, but otherwise cheap out and buy used (so… me).

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            You think materials science (among other things) isn’t advancing? We have a vast new array of technologies that make for vastly more reliable car.s

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You have far more faith in so called modern technology than I do.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoTone Loser

          I have owned three 60′s and 70′s cars, and I have to say the build quality and reliability were fine, probably logged 150k of trouble free miles them, but I have a sneaking suspicion that its the lubricating Oils that are a lot better than they used to be.

          In the owners manual of my ’77 Pacer, it recommended changing the oil every 7500 miles. I might venture that with modern oil, but I wouldn’t wait that long with 1977 oil. No wonder motors wore out.

    • 0 avatar
      chrishs2000

      I live in Michigan. No emissions, no inspections. You pay them, they send you sticker.

      When (if?) the THREE CATS on my ’03 Accord V6 finally decide they’ve had enough, they’re getting ripped out and replaced with straight piping. One of the few things i love about MI.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        So tempting… but even more snow than here…

        • 0 avatar
          dolorean

          Here in Iowa they have similiar stupid thinking, which keeps vehicles that have long ago past the point of keeping. The state is rampant in rusty beaters chugging along with bent frames and dangling, scraping, and sometimes just missing exhaust systems. And the accident rate is pretty high for a state with low population, but whatever.

          • 0 avatar
            chrishs2000

            What’s the worst that could happen in Iowa, they drive though a corn field that doesn’t belong to them?

          • 0 avatar
            Nooly

            I too live in Iowa, and can say that the above statement is hyperbole. Rarely do I see such beaters in or near my rural town, nor near any of the larger cities.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        Be careful pulling the cats. The loss in back pressure will greatly reduce your low end torque. I did this to my Passat a while back and didn’t like the results. This was an OBD1 car with no post cat O2 sensor. On an OBD2 car you will have to overcome that too.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          Did you replace it or anything else in the exhaust with oversized exhaust piping? If you maintain the flow velocity you should get nothing but gains by pulling the cat. Back pressure is never desirable.

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        And your rear bumper will be covered with soot. See it all the time around here with the tuner crowd.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          Is that due to the lack of cats? I’d think that’d be due to the carbon depositing somewhere and then being blown out. The tuner crowd is more likely to do “Italian tuneups.”

    • 0 avatar
      Wagon Of Fury

      Hi Carl – dont know how quickly your CEL comes back on, but a well-timed clearing of the code with a $40 OBD2 scantool and then driving the requisite number of OBD2 drive cycles to bring it to ready state on the way to (a different) dealer might give you what you need. I’m just sayin’…

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Hey Carl, I’m sure you looked already, but on the offchance you did not, google this: subaru po420 cel code

        The first return is really quite interesting:
        http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-check-engine-light-and-code-p0420-explained/

        There are many other sites as well, because it’s a common occurence, so dumb Subie dealers should have figured it out by now. Judging by mine, though, probably not.

        I take my calibrated tire pressure gauge when they change my winters to summer and vice versa. Last time, they had 32, 32, 31 and 37. I raised a stink, and a 22 year old simian appeared with a flashy tire gauge, and told me my gauge was shit. We checked and my gauge agreed exactly with his. End of that BS argument.

        Then he told me, the spread wouldn’t affect my handling. I told him that when he had driven over half a million miles, and over 50 k on this one, his opinion might count. Otherwise, he was talking through his hat.

        Then he asked me what pressures I wanted. I told him – Subaru recommended. What are those, he wanted to know. I dragged his sorry ass round to the driver’s door jamb, and said those, bud. 35 front, 33 rear. Printed right on the goddam car.

        It took 10 more minutes to get it done correctly. I was livid and told him so. I do not pay for incompetence, bud, so suck it up.

        Good luck and raise a stink. It works.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      Chances are you arent the only person that has that problem. Failure modes tend to follow trends by make and model. Has the rear o2 sensor been replaced?

      Another trick i learned, but havent tried is to use a $15 infrared digital laser thermometer and shoot the red dot right before and right after the cat.

      Supposedly, the exhaust pipe AFTER the cat will be a few hundred degrees hotter than the pipe going into it. Because catalyzing. Worth a shot, and an excuse to buy a $15 tool

    • 0 avatar
      DannyZRC

      Carl, google “Subaru P0420 Citric Acid”, I did this just now with a 2003 Pontiac Vibe GT and the emissions came back lower even than the last time it passed with a code-clear. CEL is still not returned.

      Long story short : remove cat from car, find a good way to keep it immersed in a .1M solution of citric acid (canning section of wal-mart) and keep it at ~180* f.

      here is the study that this technique came from, http://www2.ucy.ac.cy/~chpgsc/arthra/Environ.%20Sci.%20Technol.%2040%20%282006%29%202030.pdf

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Emissions.

    What a scam.

    Another one of those things The Left dreamed up to make life more expensive and difficult.

    For the children, of course.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m as much of a free market guy as anyone and I live in a state where we don’t have emissions tests anymore but as a car guy I think that one of the reasons why we currently have a golden age of horsepower is that trying to meet emissions standards meant doing some basic research on what was going on in the combustion chamber. That’s ultimately resulted in powerful, efficient and clean engines.

      The problem that I have is that not letting you use your property because it doesn’t meet some kind of arbitrary standard amounts to a violation of the takings clause of the U.S. Constitution. The government is effectively diminishing the value of your property. Hell, it’s a stretch, but it might even be considered trespass to chattel, depriving you of your right to use your property.

      That’s aside from the cronyism of having to pay private companies for an emissions test. There are many businesses like annual vehicle testing, drug and alcohol testing, drivers schools, anger management classes and the like that exist solely because the law forces people to use those businesses. I know a magistrate and she’s told me that most of those businesses are owned by spouses of judges. I’m sure that’s hyperbole, but there still is a lot of potential for cronyism and corruption.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        Yeah, you’re right. The pursuit of efficient combustion improves the internal combustion engine exponentially. I’m all for that.

        I don’t even have a problem with lower emissions, as long as it’s a byproduct of efficient combustion, and not an end in itself.

        I was referring to the intellectual horsepower, if you will, behind environmentalism.

        It’s just Marxism in a green wrapper, and for all the lip service Marxists pay to being atheists, they’re as much a religion as Christianity or Buddhism.

        I like green forests and nice rivers and clean air, but environmentalism’s not about those things.

        Environmentalism is nothing less than crusading religious totalitarianism, just not the sort that blows up infidels or burns heretics at the stake. It wants us to live like cavemen.

        That’s my problem with emissions.

        • 0 avatar
          Sir Tonk

          “It’s just Marxism in a green wrapper, and for all the lip service Marxists pay to being atheists, they’re as much a religion as Christianity or Buddhism.”

          You might want to spend a bit less time at infowars, it’s effecting your ability to perceive reality.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            While I wouldn’t necessarily wrap religion into the issue, it is true the green movement is dominated by watermelons… green on the outside and red within.

          • 0 avatar

            You might want to spend more time in actual debate rather than in ad hominem. Of course that would require some thought, perhaps not your strong suit.

            The fact that the environmental movement is a bit like a watermelon, green on the outside and red on the inside, has been noted by all sorts of conservatives and libertarians nowhere near the extremists of Infowars.

            However, I understand that members of your faith believe that it’s both a sin to mention just how left wing the Democrats have gotten and that it’s a religious obligation to regard anyone not left of center as a right wing extremist. Yes, I know, President Obama is the most conservative president we’ve ever had.

            Of course if your strategy for getting and keeping political power is to appeal to low information voters by using bumper sticker level slogans, keep it up. Those Americans who are actually concerned with ideas will eventually reject you.

          • 0 avatar
            MeaCulpa

            Rant mode on
            One can be a low tax, keep that guvernment out of here fellow and still be in favor of emission control.
            My thinking is along these lines, the underpinning of basic libertarian (manchester liberal, classical liberal or just plain liberal to the rest of the world) ideas is “as long as I’m not harshing anybody else buzz the government should stay out of my way, but when I’m doing harm to others, the government might have a legitimate cause to intervene with appropriate measures”. If one view emissions as causing harm to others, as I’m certain that most reasonable people does, one could be right wing and still think that the government, as a representative of other people, has a reasonable reason to intervene. The question is then if the harm done to others has a clear enough causality to the action taken by me. If one thinks that causality (proximity cause would probably be the semi-jurisprudence way of putting it) is there, then one could be in favor of regulation while still being somewhere on the scale from moderate golf club republican to crazy-ass-glen-beck-infowars-survivalist.

            The case for regulating emissions, IMO given the previously stated, is thereby much stronger than the case for regulating guns, narcotics, prostitution or taxicab licenses. Emissions are by definition harmful to others, a gun is only harmful to others when used in a manner that results in harm to others, narcotics might be harmful to the user but not to other people, prostitution might feel morally wrong to some but if an individual makes the choice to provide sexual services I’m in no position to judge that person.

            You see not all right wing nuts are equal, some of us just wants to be left the hell alone, other go about blowing up abortion clinics. Some of us just want a policy that produce the maximum economic efficiency (be it Pareto or Kaldor-Hicks or some other idea of efficiency), some of us just want what’s economically beneficial for us as an individual and some of us wants the government to spend every last penny christening people by force. Viewing the “right wing” as a collective isn’t very smart, or very accurate.

            Rant mode of.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Ronnie,
            Your intolerance of “ad hominem” and desire for “actual debate” rarely seems to extend to conservative viewpoints, so politely can it, please. OneAlpha’s comment was far worse than Sir Tonk’s brief statement. Guess which one you zeroed in on?

          • 0 avatar
            SoCalMikester

            I wouldnt go that far, but all the “low hanging fruit” has been taken as far as reducing pollution. Now theyre after weedwackers and lawnmowers. No more 2stroke scooters or dirt bikes.

        • 0 avatar
          CV Neuves

          Anybody here any idea about London before strict emissions reductions – not only cars? Probably not. I suppose, people who don’t like emissions shall simply buy themselves one of these masks.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “The problem that I have is that not letting you use your property because it doesn’t meet some kind of arbitrary standard amounts to a violation of the takings clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

        How do you figure? You have no more right to pollute a public area than you do to blast your music at 2am and wake the neighbors.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          @MeaCulpa,
          You touched on the important part of the issue. The problem with emission regulations is not their intention, but how they are administered, what specifically they target and the resulting controls.

          I take issue with certain aspects of emission regulations from a technical standpoint and question their need, cost and effectiveness. Others, I don’t.

          For example no one wants to breathe unburnt hydrocarbons and we know this isn’t good for us. However the costly measures taken to control oxides of nitrogen I feel are often counterproductive, produce needless complexity and add increased cost including the need to actually burn more fuel than necessary for otherwise clean combustion.

          I know many laypeople take this is as “YOU HATE THE ENVIRONMENT, MOVE TO CHINA”, but I assure you, there is a reasonable approach to questioning the validity of emissions regulations.

        • 0 avatar

          And you have no right to pass laws that diminish the value of my property without compensating me. You want to tell me that I can’t drive my ’66 Lotus because it has absolutely no pollution equipment, then you’re going to have to compensate me for the lost value and for not being able to enjoy the use of my property.

          If the government is going to say that I can’t use my legally obtained property, then they’re going to have to compensate me for it.

          That’s what the takings clause in the Fifth Amendment says. And, yes, courts have ruled that environmental laws can indeed run afoul of the takings clause.

          Fifth Amendment:
          No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            What about the folks in LA back in the 70′s who had the value of the hillside homes reduced because their mountain view was obscured by smog? The value of their property was taken – was it not?

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Considering that a large part of Los Angeles was developed AFTER the advent of the automobile, I’m guessing that the views were already obscured when they built or bought their houses.

            The mentality for many years was that smog was the price of progress, much as Pittsburghers used to say that “smoke from the mills meant jobs.”

            It wasn’t until the early 1960s that people began to worry about things such as air quality and views from Benedict Canyon, primarily because the postwar boom made everyone rich enough to worry about such things.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “You want to tell me that I can’t drive my ’66 Lotus because it has absolutely no pollution equipment, then you’re going to have to compensate me for the lost value and for not being able to enjoy the use of my property.”

            You can drive anything you want, just not on public roads, ya?

            That said, I’d guess that a ’66 Lotus is likely exempt from emissions laws in every state in the land.

          • 0 avatar
            icemilkcoffee

            Do I have the right to poor arsenic into the drinking water then? The air is not yours. It is a shared resource. You are acting as if it’s your god given right to pollute a shared resource.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            ….And you have no right to pass laws that diminish the value of my property without compensating me…..

            But it is ok to build something next to my property that gives you income but ruins the value of my property? Sorry, we all don’t live in a bubble. One can argue with merit that the implementation and enforcement of emission laws could have been done better, but their existence today has made for far cleaner air. Go boating to smell what a non-regulated industry (from an emissions point of view) is like. Our highways once stunk like that, and now they don’t. We probably are reaching a point of diminishing returns in terms of cleaner new cars, but there is room for improvement in the long term cleanliness and a federal requirement for universal testing after five or six years. And for emissions killing “good” cars, I have kept most of my vehicles for far longer than most and have not had emission failures. The few that did require new cats did so because of corrosion, not a failed test.

          • 0 avatar
            DannyZRC

            Actually, you don’t have a claim on the value of your property, just your property.

            If a person does something that makes your property less valuable, they have not stolen from you.

            Not that I think emissions controls are well implemented as is, just a philosophical point.

      • 0 avatar
        MPAVictoria

        No one is saying you can’t use your property Ronnie. Drive as much as you want. Now if you want to use public roads….

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Ronnie, I disagree a little. We have annual inspections in my part of Texas. I believe that we need some control of the emissions of the precursor chemicals to photochemical smog and car manufacturers have done a great job of designing and building emissions control equipment.

        The problem that I see is drivers are forced to waste time and money having relatively new cars inspected. Virtually all cars less than 4 or 5 years old are going to pass inspection and the few that don’t have negligible impact on air quality. Those early inspections force drivers to fork over money and waste time with no corresponding benefit to society to go with the cost.

        The other big problem I see with private emissions testing is it’s not subject to competitive pressures to drive down the cost. The OBDII inspection is fast and easy and could be done at a profit for half the price.

      • 0 avatar
        WRohrl

        We have emissions testing here in Colorado now and it is all run by the state at state-owned and operated facilities. It is actually very efficient and a test costs $25. Certainly better than when I was in California.

        On top of that they run mobile stations (looks like an RV at the beginning of an on-ramp) that somehow monitors and measures your emissions as you drive by and if you pass that you get a waiver. I just got one on one of our cars which saves me the $25 and the time to go to the station. Overall a very good system, minimally intrusive.

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          In New York they decided in the 90s that everyone had to get their car tested on a dyno-type treadmill. To induce shops to install the equipment (inspection done at private repair shops here) they raised the inspection fee to $37. Then a few years later they decided that no CEL + all systems “ready” was good enough. The treadmills are gone; fee is still $37.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        Ronnie: i think you are mixing up the government taking rights from you and protecting someone else’s right. If all you would do is runt he exhaust into your driver cabin and die on it, the government wouldn’t care. but the exhaust is released to the outside, where other people with rights live.

        It is simple your right to not have to pay for emission control vs. everyone else’s right not to have asthma, or other diseases. and the majority of voters have decided to elect politicians that implemented the Clean Air Act. If you remember that commie Nixon signed the Clean Air Act, what a leftwing socialist he was…
        If you don’t like emission control by the bad and mean government, why not move to China? there you seem to be free to pollute, so freedom over there must be tremendous.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        Increases in the price of gasoline would have driven the search for more efficient combustion even without emissions regulations.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          A few problems:
          - Raising price takes money out of people’s wallets without giving them anything in return, e.g., clean air.
          - Raising price drives research to increase efficiency, but that’s not the same thing as reducing pollution, e.g., removing a cat may improve mileage but make pollution worse.

          I’m a fan of directly targeting what you want to affect. If the goal is to reduce fuel consumption, raising prices is fine. If the goal is to actually improve air quality, regulate emissions.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Sir Tonk

      Ahahahahaha, you’re trolling right? Thanks to noted “The Left” figurehead, Richard Nixon, we have the EPA and its behind the curve attempts to regulate industries.

      Either that, or you never lived in a major US city during the 80′s. The differences in cities like Houston and LA since all of these evil standards began, that somehow have given us some of the most powerful cars ever created, are incredible.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Yep. The air in Boston used to taste like gasoline.

        It’s much cleaner, now, because the big automakers felt a sense of responsibility and voluntarily cleaned up their cars. Voluntary corporate responsibility has also cleaned up major rivers. I have no idea why we need all these regulations.

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          Exactly. All the companies have always generously cleaned up their messes, and done the right thing on their own. The marxists and their evil regulations are cutting into the profits! How dare they!

      • 0 avatar
        MPAVictoria

        Exactly! I would love to send this guy to Beijing to go for an afternoon jog so he could see what our air would be like without emission requirements and pollution controls.

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          That’s a good idea.

          In fact, why don’t you come with me, and we can both see how a government with the power to enforce all kinds of arbitrary laws behaves toward the common man.

          My point is that whatever the issue, it’s ALWAYS better to default to freedom.

          Problems have a way of solving themselves in free countries.

          Of course laws and regulations motivated technological improvements, but sooner or later, people would’ve demanded clean air and water, and new industries would’ve been created to give them such things.

          Without the need for laws.

          • 0 avatar
            MPAVictoria

            “people would’ve demanded clean air and water”

            Exactly. So they voted for politicians who made laws that required companies to reduce pollution. Democracy at work.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            I get the feeling you’ve never heard of this:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

          • 0 avatar
            imag

            jmo: that is exactly what I was going to post. They should make everyone read that article in elementary school.

          • 0 avatar
            imag

            jmo: that is exactly what I was going to post. Almost every single post on regulation ignores the tragedy of the commons.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “My point is that whatever the issue, it’s ALWAYS better to default to freedom. ”

            Yes, exactly, this is why we never rejected feudalism as an operating structure.

          • 0 avatar
            WRohrl

            Like Somalia? A utopia without government?

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          Just get behind an old car in stop and go traffic and you can find out instantly with less expense. I was behind an old Ford Falcon last week and I could hardly stand to breathe until I got around it. There’s a group of old car owners that come out on the weekends in the South end of town, and getting behind one of them isn’t pleasant.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t know of a single conservative or libertarian that considers Richard Nixon to have been a conservative. Indeed much of the metastasized and bloated federal government can be attributed to trends that started during his administration.

        That being said, by the 1980s air was actually cleaner. I take no great issue with the need for the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, I managed hazardous and non-hazardous waste for a large industrial R&D lab. However, particularly during the current administration, which has little regard for statutory or constitutional limits on the power of executive branch agencies in general, the EPA has become a rogue agency, far exceeding any authority granted by Congress, i.e. the people. It has become a tool, actually a cudgel, with which to do whatever the administration wants regarding business and industry. Funny how those technologies that the administration favors, like solar, wind and battery power, which all have significant environmental impacts themselves, somehow never get bottled up with environmental impact delays like the Keystone pipeline.

        If there was some consistency, some actual ideological purity, I might respect them maybe a little, but it’s all about power.

        In the meantime, let’s arrest people for shooting bears that threaten them.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          “However, particularly during the current administration, which has little regard for statutory or constitutional limits on the power of executive branch agencies in general, the EPA has become a rogue agency, far exceeding any authority granted by Congress, i.e. the people.”

          What specific violations can you point to? Please be incredibly specific.

          Almost everyone who opposes the current guys in power, of any part of the political spectrum, thinks they exceed the limits of executive power. People who disliked Bush said Bush exceeded executive power. People who disliked Clinton said Clinton exceed executive power. Talking points are cheap.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The same is pretty much true for every President of the last 100 years. It’s a bi-partisan effort.

          • 0 avatar
            icemilkcoffee

            The Supreme Court has already ruled that the EPA has a right to regulate CO2. So Ronnie is flat out wrong in saying the EPA is exceeding its authority.

          • 0 avatar

            icemilkcoffee, The Supreme Court in 2007 ruled that the EPA had the authority to regulate CO2 if it could be determined to be adverse to health. How the EPA subsequently made that determination and then issued the regulations is still being litigated. This administration has ignored court rulings before, as with the unconstitutional recess appointments to the NLRB most recently, and the EPA has a history of ignoring court rulings, so I expect the EPA to continue to do what the EPA wants to do, science, cost/benefit, or public comment be damned.

        • 0 avatar
          SoCalMikester

          I remember Los Angeles “smog alerts”. I dont think theres been one in a while. And pictures of the LA basin from the 60′s? Wow.Its improved, but now theyre just tightening the screws on everything. No more of the “good” chem-dip in the bucket that actually cleaned parts. sad.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Today’s powerful cars have been created in spite of, not thanks to emission standards. We had really powerful cars in the past, it’s only taken us 40 years of R&D to overcome the regulation and bring them back.

        • 0 avatar

          Danio,

          It’s not just overcoming regulation, they’ve learned so much more about how engines work, particularly about gas flow and the combustion process.

          I was around back then. 300+ net horsepower engines were just not that common and the genuinely powerful engines, like Hemis, that had underrated power specs so people could afford insurance, were very rare. The big engine packages were very expensive, 1/3 or 1/2 the price of the base car in some cases. There were a lot more 283 CI SBCs with 2 bbl carbs and a Powerglide than 350s with dual quads and a four speed. Most of the big block installations, which generally went into big cars, not the muscle cars of legend, were tuned for torque more than power.

          In the mid 1960 into the 1970s, anything under 8 seconds for a 0-60 mph time was quick. Cobras with 427s were about the only cars in the 4 second range.

          An average V6 powered midsizer today has close to 300 real horsepower and every model of the Ford Fusion but the hybrid at is faster to 60 mph than 8 seconds and the 2.0L Ecoboost gets into the 6 second bracket. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that anyone back in the heyday of muscle cars advertised a car with more than 450 HP, let alone more than 500 in the Z06 or CTS-V or in the case of the ZR1 or the Viper, more than 600.

          I think that the combined need to meet increasingly strict emissions standards while simultaneously having to meet the market need of better fuel economy forced the car companies to up their game in terms of engine technology. They’ve learned a lot since 1968. We’ll never know how much of that technology would have been developed in lieu of emissions standards. I personally suspect that the market need for fuel economy since oil started getting expensive in the 1970s would have pretty much gotten us to the same place, since complete combustion is good for power, efficiency and emissions. Still, I’ll grant that some of the legislation has spurred the technology.

          It’s important to point out that no law has created a technology. All of the technologies that make cars much cleaner were developed by private industry. I’d feel better about the EPA if they were more like NASA, trying to foster new technologies, and less seeing themselves as environmental cops with an anti-business attitude.

          I think it’s a straw man when those who favor more and more government say that those of us who want limited government that we want to go back to absolutely no regulation.

          As I said above, I don’t have a problem with the environmental legislation passed in the late 1960s and early 1970s like the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. RCRA and SARA (the Superfund act) were also important pieces of legislation that had real world based remediation and disposal regs.

          I guess the point is how many nines clean do we want? What is the cost and what is the benefit?

          The environmental religion whose creed contains the precautionary principle is loathe to discuss costs and benefits. After all, “the children”, but in the real world we have to decide how much money and other resources we’ll spend on going from six nines to seven, from 99.9999% clean to 99.99999% clean.

          If you keep chasing after meaningless nines, you have a religion, not an engineering based regulatory scheme. Actually it’s even beyond religion: the Jewish laws of Kashrut, the dietary laws, have a 1 in 60 rule about something not kosher falling into a soup pot. If my rabbi can recognize a de minimus amount, shouldn’t my government?

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “Actually it’s even beyond religion: the Jewish laws of Kashrut, the dietary laws, have a 1 in 60 rule about something not kosher falling into a soup pot. If my rabbi can recognize a de minimus amount, shouldn’t my government?”

            That’s not the only Kashrut rule like that. Certain locusts are kosher because that’s all that was available to eat for poor people during that time.

            Technically, giraffe would be kosher if there were a tradition of eating it, from what I understand, so it’s not like rabbis let everything go.

            Also, it’s de minimis, not de minimus. The former is ablative, so it ends in -is, whereas minimus is nominative.

          • 0 avatar
            JD-Shifty

            “I was around back then. 300+ net horsepower engines were just not that common and the genuinely powerful engines, like Hemis, that had underrated power specs so people could afford insurance, were very rare.”. yep. demographics show the hard right to be old white guys who deny science. a dying out demographic.

          • 0 avatar
            jpolicke

            It’s the enviros’ “pay any price, bear any burden” mentality that presents toxic refrigerant as acceptable because it mitigates an unproven theoretical problem.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            You’re preaching to the choir, Ronnie. I’ve written papers on the subject.

            Of course engines are much better nowadays, they ought to be after 40 years. As you know, 40 years ago in the automotive world might as well be the Jurassic period.

            My theses suggest they should be even better if it weren’t for certain setbacks.

          • 0 avatar

            controllio,

            What makes something kosher, at least in terms of animals, before you get into the details of slaughter and butchering, is usually some kind of anatomical criteria, split hoofs and multiple stomachs in the case of large mammals, fins & scales for aquatic animals, etc. Plus, there has to be an unbroken chain of tradition concerning that specific species. So yes, a giraffe is theoretically kosher, but there’s a dispute over where on the long neck to make the cut. So species can sometimes stop being considered kosher if that chain gets broken. Sometimes the chain gets restored. In some cases, turkey is the most notable, there may have been some misidentification involved (turkeys are New World animals, no Jew had likely seen one before 1492).

            Some species of locust are kosher because the Torah says they are kosher. The Talmud identifies 8 species that fit the Torah’s anatomical criteria. As it stands today, a single species of known locusts has an unbroken chain of identification via the Jews of Yemen.

            In the 18th century an Italian Jewish butcher published a guide to Kosher poultry. I think he identified something like 27 different species. Today it’s something like 8. In some cases modern research has restored certain species to the approved list.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      Eh, they’ve really cleaned up the air around here in the last 25 years. I’d vote to keep them.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      Yeah! It would be so much better if our cities had air quality like Beijing. Those Chinese know how to do it. That whole air pollution thing is a commie plot!

      Oh… wait…

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      What a scam. Making the air cleaner. What will ‘the Left’ think of next? Clean drinking water?

    • 0 avatar
      reclusive_in_nature

      I think there’s a middle ground to be had between the pro- and anti- emissions crowds. That would be letting the cities and towns make their own restrictions. The state’s and federal government should butt out. There’s no one size fits all solution.
      A person should be free to move away from a city that is free to make it’s own regulations to another town or city that is free to not have/want to make their own regulations.

  • avatar
    replica

    Ah yes. Emissions. The US version of the Shaken tax.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Yes, Shaken.

      Collusion between the government and the auto industry’s a wonderful thing, ain’t it?

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      What the actual hell? Do you people not know what cars are like without emissions controls? If you weren’t old enough to remember LA in the ’70s, take a look an any city without emissions controls. The result is horrible. Over a million people die every year in China due to the air quality. Is that what you want?

      I get that people think it’s cool make fun of regulations. But these regulations actually make the world liveable. You can always move to China or Brazil if you want to enjoy emissions-free living.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        “Over a million people die every year in China due to the air quality. Is that what you want?”

        What I want is for The State to leave people alone unless they’re physically harming each other, damaging each other’s property or stealing from one another.

        If I read the Constitution properly, then I’m correct in believing that the US Government is supposed to protect me and my fellow Americans from hostile foreigners, mimimally-regulate interstate commerce, deliver the mail and support itself through tariffs on imported products.

        And. That’s. It.

        I’ll put it another way. The State does not exist to correct “social evils,” but to protect people’s liberty.

        Air quality’s a technological problem, not a political one, and so is properly correctable through technological, not political means.

        It’s absolutely not an excuse to burden me, or anyone else, with a thousand picayune restrictions on my ability to use my property as I see fit.

        As I figure it, as long as I’m not physically harming anyone else, not physically damaging anything without permission, and not stealing from anyone, then neither The State, nor anyone else, has the right to bother me.

        And no, air pollution doesn’t count as people harming each other.

        No Harm No Foul – the philosophical foundation of liberty in a free society.

        • 0 avatar
          MPAVictoria

          “And no, air pollution doesn’t count as people harming each other.”

          And how did you come to this conclusion? Because the evidence is very much to the contrary.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            I think I’m going to open a combination tannery/jet engine testing facility next door to Alpha. Oh, and we do most of the testing during the night when the planes aren’t in service.

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          Air is a commons. Please read the wikipedia article posted above about Tragedy of the Commons. Air pollution absolutely does harm others.

          I believe in individual liberty where commons are not involved. However, if you think air pollution causes no harm to anyone else, I don’t even know what to say.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            jmo,

            Jet engine test rig? SWEET!!!

            Mind if I bring my project engine over?

            I’ve got a J79 I’m not totally sure I put back together correctly…

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            One Alpha,

            I see you don’t have a serious response to the fundamental criticism of your entire political philosophy.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Your statements make it clear: I don’t need government to protect me from myself, I need government to protect me from you.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I had to triple take that, … you don’t need gov’t to protect you from yourself, if A equals B…..

            The F?

            That’s exactly what he was saying, the gov’t sees its responsibility to the people to protect them from themselves (which is fundamentally flawed)

            Let me leave a little Benjamin knowledge on you

            They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Even before the advent of federal air pollution regulations for automobiles and stationary sources, 1 million people were not dying every year in this country from air pollution (or even a comparable figure adjusted for the much smaller population at that time), unless you are including deaths from tobacco use.

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          So are you implying that if eliminating all emissions requirements would result in fewer than a million deaths in the US, we should just go ahead and do it?

          I am not understanding that line of logic.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            I implied no such thing. You were the one doing the implying – namely, that removal of all emissions regulations would have 1 million people dropping dead annually in this country from air pollution.

            There was a time when we didn’t have any federal air quality standards, and 1 million people were not dropping dead from air pollution in this country every year.

            Pollution has to be very concentrated to lead to that level of deaths.

            Google, “Killer smog of Donora, Pa.” to find out what happened when a lethal combination of pollutants from factories, home furnaces and automobiles settled on one Pennsylvania town in the late 1940s. Note, however, that even for that time what happened in Donora was considered to be unusual.

            Considering that companies have BILLIONS invested in meeting the regulations, it’s highly unlikely that even a complete repeal of all air quality regulations would result in 1940s levels of pollution in this country.

            For example, oil companies and auto companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars to develop unleaded gasoline, and engines that could run on it. Do you really believe that they will spend that much to add it to gasoline again, especially given that cars work fine without it?

          • 0 avatar
            imag

            The obvious point of the million deaths due to air pollution (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/world/asia/air-pollution-linked-to-1-2-million-deaths-in-china.html?_r=0) is that this is seriously deadly stuff. People love to whine that they are being oppressed, just as they have since smog standards were introduced in the ’70′s – but they do not understand that air pollution is actually a legitimate hazard. This is not a hazard on the level of drowning or sharks or “sudden unintended acceleration” or airplane crashes – air pollution is a massive threat to life.

            If emissions requirements are dropped, cats will be dropped too. As noted by this article, people will also drive around in old cars without refitting their emissions equipment. For that matter, folks will likely remove equipment on cars they already own. The result may not be millions of deaths, but it is likely to result in smoggier cities and deaths greater than the number of people who die in car accidents every year.

            I’m sorry, but I think the above risk is a hell of a lot more important than the residual value on some old cars. Apparently, so does society.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Once again, China is not the United States. The article doesn’t prove that 1 million people were dropping dead because of air pollution IN THIS COUNTRY before the advent of federal air quality standards.

            Today’s pollution control equipment for vehicles is nothing like the “add-on” equipment used in the 1970s. At that time, removing the pollution control equipment DID make the car run better. Since the 1980s, which brought the advent of computer controls for the engine, pollution control equipment is such an integral part of the engine that removing it most likely makes the car run WORSE.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m glad you brought up China. If you think that more powerful government is the solution, why is China more polluted than the U.S.? Go read Ecocide In the USSR by Murray Feshbach and Alfred Friendly, Jr.:
        books.google.com/books?id=CX3RW6ecq9kC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

        It’s very hard to protect the commons to begin with. Furthermore, when the government owns everything, everything is the commons and governments that own everything, like in the former USSR and China, don’t have a particularly good record of protecting the commons.

        When I managed waste for DuPont, so I could do my job professionally I took a bunch of courses at Wayne State in their graduate engineering program in haz waste mgmt. I ended up taking about 1/3 of the required courses and I remember in one of the public policy classes when they were going over the history of US environmental law, it was pointed out that even before the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, you could sue someone for damaging your property with pollution. In a sense, since nothing protected the commons, the only protection came from property rights.

        • 0 avatar
          silverkris

          The implication that the type of government has some correlation over environmental protection.
          China, for many years, has emphasized economic growth and development over protecting the environment. Sometimes the thinking is that being “ecogreen” is a luxury for more developed countries.

          Well, ever so slowly, the Chinese are starting to change that mindset a bit.

        • 0 avatar
          MPAVictoria

          Who besides you has suggested that the government should own everything? A person can be in favour of some level of government regulation without being a communist. I really think you need to live for a while someplace where people can just pollute the ground, air and water however they like. You might learn something.

        • 0 avatar
          HerrKaLeun

          If the Clean Air Act is obsolete since my 18 month old daughter could just sue GM or every neighbor personally to install emission control (if she can squeeze all the court dates into her daycare schedule), why was no actual emission control implemented in cars before the evil government took over that legal process for her?

          And since you are so against government, how can someone sue someone else if without government we would not have courts and laws to sue someone in the first place?

          you sound like some of the anti-government people that tell all day government is not needed while they collect their welfare check, drive on public roads, enjoy the protection of legal systems, breath clean air, go to school etc.

          I’m not a friend of government, I see it as a necessary evil because the alternative wouldn’t be good either.

          If you are against government, why don’t you rip out the airbags out of your car to get that smell of evil government regulation out?

          different opinions are fine, but why just copy/paste from a talk radio?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            No one here is anti-Government. You’re being an extremist by suggesting anyone who doesn’t wholeheartedly support the EPA is an anarchist.

            The people speaking against some or all emission regulations are against “excessive” Government, not all.

          • 0 avatar
            carrya1911

            Wowsers.

            There is this principle in economics called the point of diminishing returns. Some actions can be easily taken with minimal impact to the market but yielding significant benefit to the quality of air. Some actions are more difficult and costly and yield only a marginal benefit. Some are extremely expensive and very difficult and it’s difficult to measure a practical benefit.

            Environmental regulation needs to be governed by some common sense…which is not what you often get from government sectors. An expensive measure with severe adverse economic impact which yields a 20% decrease in the existence of a polluting element/compound which hasn’t proven to be harmful at a much higher concentration is ridiculous…and yet that regulation will get pushed because there’s no balance on the other side of the scale.

            And I won’t even get started on treating carbon dioxide as a pollutant, which is as hair-brained as schemes get.

        • 0 avatar
          carsinamerica

          Mr. Schreiber, you’ve just taken down your own strawman argument. Upthread, you claimed, vigorously, that environmentalism was akin to communism. Now you highlight examples of Marxist-Leninist states (the USSR, the PRC) which are communist (though less so in the modern PRC) and autocratic, yet have no respect for the environment. In fact, Marxist-Leninist regimes generally have a very low support for environmental protection, because they take a dim view of accountability and the mitigation of harm to the citizenry.

          I thank you for recognizing that communist authoritarianism and environmentalism are, in fact, not correlated. The idea that the government should act to prevent a tragedy of the commons and protect both common and public goods is one that is generally supported by most economists. No-one here is suggesting that the government should control everything. Those of us who disagree with you (if I may presume to speak for them) do not seek a Marxist utopia that eliminates private property. We simply believe that private actors will not take any costly steps to control pollution without a legal requirement to do so.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Well said!!

            ….We simply believe that private actors will not take any costly steps to control pollution without a legal requirement to do so….

            Actually we KNOW that. Our human record during the Industrial Revolution is indelible testimony to that fact. Left to their own devices, most people will do what they perceive to be best for them as an individual without regard for society as a whole. Those with the money during the Gilded Age certainly did not care about how the people who allowed them to become rich were treated, nor did they care about the filth belched out of their factories.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    My city doesn’t have emissions testing but should. Every summer, you can see the oil smoke belching out of decrepit rides. Old pick-up trucks seem to be the worst offenders. For every one of these old monsters, 10 new cars have to meet stricter standards.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    Considering I am fighting with my Mazda’s purge solenoid that in the grand scheme has jack squat to do with controlling air quality and costs a lot to replace. I can believe this… I’m glad we don’t do smog checks here… yet…

  • avatar
    Verbal

    I have a ’96 Contour, built in the early years of the OBD-II protocol, that throws cat codes. Fortunately for me, I can clear the codes, drive straight to the emissions test center, pass the test, and I’m good for two more years. Eventually the CEL turns back on of course.

    Later cars carry a cycle requirement after codes have been cleared. The car needs to go through one cool down and restart cycle, or else the ECM will show insufficient data and you flunk the test.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Yep, if there’s a P1000, gotta complete the OBD drive cycle. They recently implemented this testing method here and shops were testing people over and over again after driving until system readiness was found. This pissed a lot of people off.

  • avatar
    gator marco

    Well, enough vehicles must have kept their emissions working. The US is the only industrialized nation to meet the Kyoto protocol for emissions reductions. Too bad the Senate never joined the treaty (went down 99-0). Credit to all those Prius and Volts I see running around.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/05/usa-meets-kyoto-protocol-without-ever-embracing-it/

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      kyoto is about CO2, not emissions like NOx, CO, and HC, which are regulated in these tests.

      And reducing carbon footprint by throwing in a recession isn’t that hard either. And the US started off with the highest levels (still higher than other countries in CO2/GDP)

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The real purpose of Kyoto was to reduce economic activity in developed countries and erect a barrier to other nations joining the club, so it still counts as voluntary compliance.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Back in 1992 I was selling an ’84 Delta 88 Royale in Charlotte. It had the better looking amber taillights and a 307. Absolutely mint. Pale creamy yellow with dark brown vinyl top and brown velour interior. A billion of that combination. The technician was completely impressed with the exceptionally good numbers from the exhaust test. But it failed because the catalytic converter had been removed. I thought I’d have no problem selling it for $3000-3300, but it had to be sold over the weekend. So I got $1600.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    All the idiologues should move to China where they have less emission controls. So what if consumer have to trade old inefficient unsafe cars for better cars, isn’t there a bigger savings in less accidents,less healthcare costs from smog, better gas mileage and more jobs?

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Steven,
    Catalytic converters are one of the most durable parts on a modern car, and can easily achieve 300K miles if not killed with excessive heat resulting from overly rich fuel mixtues.
    Although the EPA only requires a 8 yr, 80K mile replacement warranty on the emission system, they do require that gas enigne cat converters be certified to meet emission limits after being aged for 150 K miles. This is done by taking the cat converter off a production car and running it on an identical engine in an engine cell for the equivalent of 150K miles, usually at 120 mph or the red line of the engine in the highest gear. After this, the cat converter is put back on the donor car and tested. It must pass all of the emission limits after the aging in order to be certified by the EPA.
    I have a 2004 Saturn commuter car with 218K on it that passes emissions with no issues. However, the cat on my wife’s 99 Oddy failed at 72K miles and was replaced free under said warranty. In those days, Honda was arrogant about their abiliby to manufacture a durable cat and paid the warranty costs. GM was imder no such illusions, and got theirs from Engelhard who could make a quality unit. Fron the anecdotal evidence I see on the interwebs, it looks like Suburu is the Honda of the 2000s with respect to emissions.

    • 0 avatar
      chrishs2000

      Great post, I was about to also state the very strict requirements.

      Any early J series V6 Honda absolutely EATS emissions equipment. I avoid 98-02 Accords, 99-03 Odysseys etc for this reason. If you’re not replacing EGR valves every 50k miles, you’re replacing a catalytic converter. Between that and the transmissions grenading themselves it’s a wonder anyone takes a chance on them. Thankfully they are vastly improved starting with the 03 Accords and 04 Odysseys/Pilots.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Chris, the big emissions problem I’ve seen with the early J series Honda V6 is passageway from the EGR valve through the intake manifold getting clogged up. Clearing the emissions code usually doesn’t require replacing the EGR valve. The corrective action is to take off the intake manifold and clean out the passageway using carburetor cleaner and small wire brushes used to clean guns. Easy DIY repair for someone who can follow instructions.

    • 0 avatar

      Catalytic Converters? 300k durable? not hardly. They are doing great if they can go half that distance.

      My box stock, and well kept 1995 Explorer’s cats died at 160,000 miles. My 1976 Chevelle again well kept and maintained, died at 160,000, Sis’ 1984 Sunbird, cat died on it at 80,000 miles. friends 2004 Avalanche, died at 170,000, my 1986 Pontiac 6000, died at 120,000 due to broken substrate. I’m waiting for the cats on my Explorer to die again since its got 140,000 miles MORE on the truck from the OEs failure. None of my other friends have had cars last as long I’ve had most of mine, but even in my circle of friends, the ones that have made it past 130,000 miles, most have had to have the cats replaced.

      All those cars were well taken care of, tune ups done on a regular basis, misfires fixed. I can believe failures on carbed cars, but the EFI cars, with regular checkups?

      Somehow the longest lived cat in the fleet of cars around me, has been in the 77 Chevelle I’ve got, and its managed 180,000 miles on a car running on 7 cylinders for God knows how long, it still has the OEM pellet cat, the super restrictive one.

      If it were such a low failure rate, why do I see shops around that do nothing but sell new replacement cats?

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        I’ve never seen a shop that only does replacement cats, but where you live are there a lot of improperly maintained cars?

        I’ve had a Malaise Toyota blow a cat below 70K (although older than 8 years), and some domestics not blow a cat at 200K or above.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      Me somewhat educated guess would be that miles doesn’t kill catalytic converters but time. The european cabbies I know of haven’t had any problems with the cat or emission equipment in general despite racking up many miles, usually what most cars would do in a lifetime within a year. The problem comes from age, bad upkeep and good old corrosion.

  • avatar
    wreath and crest

    Don’t forget 8/80 only applies to the cat,engine computer,and of course the check engine light itself.All other components are tied to the factory warranty.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    ^
    |
    |
    |

    Avatar. :)

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Contrary to your usual high level of excellence, I find this piece confusing and confused. Is the point that people are stupid if they assume that fixing an emissions problem is always cheap? Is the point that even worrying about emission problems on old cars is silly? (I rather doubt that.)

    Sadly, the environmental movement of my relative youth has been transformed into a vehicle for undereducated know-it-alls to tell people how to run their lives. The fact that the environmental movement did significantly improve both air and water quality does not mean that restrictions on carbon emissions, based on what happens in a computer model of the climate — which is inconsistent with actual data for the past 10 years — is the right thing to do.

    While it’s true that the mandate to improve emission performance has also improved fuel economy, driveability and power output relative to engine displacement, it’s not all good. Higher combustion temperatures (which promote efficiency) for example, also lead to formation of oxides of nitrogen (a pollutant and ingredient in smog), so some efficiency is sacrificed for emission performance.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    Common issue on ’99 and ’00 Miatas with Cali emissions is the failed precat in the boat anchor iron exhaust manifold. This can be resolved with a ’01 – ’05 Miata factory tubular header from a junk yard and an 02 sensor bunge welded in behind the second cat. Ask me how I know this :)

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I wouldn’t even talk about it, let alone post this information on the internet. California will issue a memo to SMOG stations telling them to check for the presence of the cast manifold on ’99 and ’00 Miatas. This isn’t about clean exhausts anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        Pinzgauer

        Then I hope they dont go on Miata.net. Also change your coil packs and spark plugs/wires if this happens as it usually caused by one or multiple of those parts causing a misfire dumping raw fuel into the cat.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    When people claim that emissions standards are the reason we have such advanced engines today, they’re also claiming that emissions standards are the reasons we have high functioning smart phones, powerful computers, and pretty much anything else with a chip in it. The technological revolution of the past 40 years was going happen without prodding by the US EPA. One of the earliest applications of modern engine management systems was a product of Ford’s work with Cosworth 30 years ago, leveraging electronics to understand and control combustion in the turbocharged V6s they were using in Formula 1 racing. No catalytic converters were present.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      This for the most part is true. Automakers were experimenting with things like EFI and electronic ignition long before emission standards or fuel economy regulations took hold in the US.

      When fuel prices dramatically increased, the writing was on the wall that consumers would be demanding more fuel efficient vehicles no matter what regulation was in place.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Just move a little bit South to Fla where there are no inspections and people do horrendous things like removing cat converters and putting in illegal mufflers, sometimes no mufflers at all.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I think Maine gets this right. ODBII cars can’t have the CEL on and pass safety inspection. With modern cars, that is good enough. Older cars don’t last long enough in this salt bath to worry about them. I can see where ancient hoopties could be an issue in areas where the tin worm dies of heatstroke though. I’m in Athens GA this evening, I followed a 70s Chevy Nova across town that was smoking like a Chinese power plant.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Wouldn’t it make more sense to use the sniffer to make sure the cars are as clean(or within reasonable parameters) as they had to be in the year they were produced? If a car passes the actual tests with a CEL thrown, I don’t think that should matter. They can certainly read the code and issue an advisement to the owner, but taking a clean car off the road makes little sense if the goal is really clean air. Scrapping cars and producing cars use energy and pollute too, although the people behind such legislation probably see each person kicked out of car ownership and productivity as a victory.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Why would the car get taken off the road? You fix what is causing the CEL, and all is right with the world. To use a sniffer means the shop has to invest in a sniffer. Our inspections, which cover the WHOLE CAR, cost only $15-18. Cheap for what should be a decent once-a-year once over of the safety systems of the car.

        The only person I know of in my rather large circle of friends and family who had issues with CELs was my buddy with the V6 Accord.

        The more I read Steve’s various articles, the more I truly think that people in Georgia are just kind of stupid. From title pawn and buy here pay here robbery to trading in cars just for emissions issues to all the other dumb sh!t that he chronicles, it just makes me wonder. Then again, the whole “panther love” thing makes me wonder about the general population of this site too.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    There are no emissions tests here in OK, so you’d be surprised at what sorts of heavily-polluting cars are allowed on the roads…

  • avatar
    burnbomber

    The solution, as it’s always been, is to fix and maintain the equipment. If the light bulb is burnt out, then replace it. Do not sell off the house!! If the CEL light is on, read the codes and begin repair actions. My guess is 85% of emissions repairs are simple sensors and other relatively inexpensive components. My beater GM N body was throwing multiple codes and the front O2 sensor replacement fixed it.

    I think Steven is correct in saying the general public just doesn’t know any better and likely never will. Most don’t know anything about the operating principles and practices. Heck, most people can’t even read and write beyond 6th grade level anymore. Do you ever wonder about Craigslist language? Too sad, too sad, the crowd of ignorant people.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’m annoyed by the uneven application of emission laws across the country, and across each state.

    I really think there should be a reasonable national standard, or at least state-wide standards, that treats auto pollution like the regional issue that it is. It seems ridiculous to do it county-by-county.

    On the other hand, eliminating testing altogether would have little impact on actual pollution, but you would still want to keep the standards in place for the mfrs. It’s not the 70s anymore, so eliminating the pollution controls on a car today will also ruin its performance.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Why aren’t regional testing standards a rational response to what you concede is a regional issue? A national standard for vehicles sold makes sense. It would save everyone money and get rid of the tyrants of the CARB. As for testing, it really isn’t worth the expense in rural areas. Many states are big enough that the usefulness of testing varies dramatically between a city and a farm community.

      If eliminating pollution controls ruins a car’s performance, why do racing teams go to the length of replacing a car’s engine management system in order to get it to function without its pollution controls? Are they trying to reduce performance? Reduced back pressure is still reduced back pressure. Less weight is still less weight. Leaner mixtures than a cat can survive still produce a better use of fuel. A rapidly closing throttle that emits a puff of overly rich exhaust still saves fuel and permits a faster gear change.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        A race engine is hardly comparable to a street engine.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          What I said applies to production engines used in racing classes. The goal is increased performance. The first thing to go is the emissions controls, resulting in superior performance.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        The “tyrants of the CARB” are the reason why we have clean air in cities today.

        And, if you are for state’s rights, shouldn’t states be perfectly allowed to set higher targets if they want to? After all, it makes sense to have stricter targets in a highly populated state with a few major driving cities than in places like Wyoming.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          The CARB was created to address an issue. It did. Now it exists for its own purposes at the expense of the people.

          • 0 avatar
            imag

            It still exists to improve air quality across the state. That is a goal that serves the people. I have interacted with the CARB. While I may not always agree with every policy, I do believe that most of the people on the board are trying to improve the lives of folks in the state.

            Do you live in CA?

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “Do you live in CA?”

            His name is “inSD” but he stated that his car needed an inspection sticker, so not sure.

        • 0 avatar

          Are we talking about the same California Air Resources Board whose expert in statistics has a degree from a diploma mill? The same CARB that then used political pressure to get the whistleblower who exposed the fake credentials, a genuine scientist, fired from his job at UCLA.

          Google Enstrom and CARB.

          Besides, why should an unelected and unaccountable board in California dictate how much cars are going to cost in the other 49 states?

          • 0 avatar
            MPAVictoria

            What? Now all of a sudden conservatives don’t believe in state’s rights? You guys need to stop defining yourselves just by being against everything liberals are for. Liberals like clean air so you are against it.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            MPAVictoria,

            “What? Now all of a sudden conservatives don’t believe in state’s rights? You guys need to stop defining yourselves just by being against everything liberals are for. Liberals like clean air so you are against it.”

            Interesting that you should bring that up.

            One of the best lines I read of late was the statement that, “every aspect of modern conservatism is an antibody response to something the Left has done over the past 50 years.”

          • 0 avatar
            MPAVictoria

            You think that maybe you would be better off defining a positive platform of your own?

          • 0 avatar

            I believe in states’ rights, not the right of an unelected board in California to dictate to the residents of the other 49 states what they should drive and how much they should pay for their cars. CARB makes all of our cars more expensive. You think the costs of developing, manufacturing and selling “compliance cars” are not passed along to folks who buy regular cars in the rest of the country?

          • 0 avatar
            MPAVictoria

            So you don’t believe in states rights then? Typical conservative hypocrit. For states rights if it happens to agree with your ridiculous ideology and against them when it doesn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            carsinamerica

            Mr Schreiber, you still haven’t answered the question. The CARB was established by the government of California, and answers to that government (which in turn is elected). ALL bureaucratic agencies are unelected, sir; that is the nature of a bureaucracy; however, they still answer to legislators, and its members are appointed by an elected governor. Your “unelected and unaccountable” claim, sir, is a red herring.

            If California wants to set air quality standards in its state, then your belief in states’ rights should endorse that notion. After all, the free market is at work: if the costs of CARB-compliant cars are so onerous, no one is forcing anyone to sell cars in California.

            This is the consequence of robust federalism, Mr. Schreiber. California sets its standards for its own citizens, and no other state is compelled to follow their lead. Now answer the question: do you believe in robust states’ rights, or not? If you do, then you have to accept that some states, like California, may do things that you don’t like. Of course, you don’t actually support that. You seem to favor a la carte federalism: all the states are free to do as they choose, so long as they support your views.

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          CARB is one of the many things that killed California and turned its corpse into Soviet Kalifornistan.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            Yeah, that was the goal of Governor Ronald Reagan, as I understand it. He was desperately trying to turn California into Soviet Kalifornistan when he signed the bill.

          • 0 avatar

            Controllio,

            And Margaret Thatcher must not have been conservative because she didn’t dismantle Britain’s National Health system.

            Conservatives may admire Mr. Reagan but he wasn’t a god.

            Did you know that John Kennedy believed in lowering taxes?

          • 0 avatar
            carsinamerica

            Mr Schreiber, even I would have been in favor of lowering tax rates in 1960: the top marginal rate was more than 90%. Kennedy wanted the top rate to be 71%. I think that’s still a bit too high. Don’t turn Kennedy — a firm believer in the power of government to effect change in society — into some kind of reflexive tax-cutter.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            “Did you know that John Kennedy believed in lowering taxes?”

            Of course, I did. I’ve made numerous points on tax policy here and how most of the rhetoric and talking points on taxes are BS. Kennedy lowered the highest marginal rates from 91% to 70%. It later went to 50% under Reagan and then to 28%. Of course, very few people paid anything approaching 91%.

            Reagan, of course, had some of the biggest tax increases in history (closing loopholes + outright tax increases) coupled with the headline marginal tax decrease in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Also, his 1982 tax increase negated a good portion of the tax cut in 1981 too.

            People who don’t know anything about tax policy point to the 28% rate and think that tells the whole story, but there was a lot more going on than that. For example, the capital gains tax rate in the IRC of 1986 was the same as the tax rate on income. This was because the architects of the tax policy felt that it was unfair to tax capital differently from labor. That would be anathema under current conservative orthodoxy, but there are a lot of good arguments in favor.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    In Washington you can spend $150 to get the car fixed and if the car fails a retest you can get a waiver.

    Only downside is that you have to take it to a shop. Guess who lobbied for that?

    Not surprised re the comments on Honda and Subaru check engine lights, seems like it’s very common with those vehicles and $$$$ + often multiple visits to fix. Toyota and Domestics are much better .

    I also think it should be uniform , ridiculous that some counties don’t have to do this.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    As a retired teacher I well remember what happened to education when it came under the Feds. You may think it doesn’t but that means you don’t understand compliance in order to receive federal funds. I don’t think anything gets better when Federal standards apply.

    In Texas the major population centers have pollution testing and the rural areas just safety inspections. If your car is 25 years old it is exempt but must still have the equipment attached. It can irritate you all you want to not test everyone but it suits me just fine. Without sounding too rabid I think Reagan was right that the most terrifying words to hear are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “As a retired teacher”

      Ironically, you were “from the government” and “[t]here to help”. You probably also got many benefits from said government, such as a pension, so it’s funny that you feel that way.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I don’t think it’s ironic at all. It is possible to work for or belong to an organization and not 100% rabidly defend everything they do. I know most card carrying Democrats/Republicans don’t see it that way, but it can be done.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          Sure, you don’t have to agree to everything, but if you’re going to work for the government, it seems a bit hypocritical to feel that way as a whole. Maybe if you’re Ron Swanson trying to take things down from the inside…

          However, I will say that’s it’s very common for anti-government people to be on government pensions or to receive other government benefits.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        You make an excellent point. My government affiliation was the school district and I knew the parents of my students. When the decisions are made by a faceless person in DC I begin to have problems and that is the gist of the comment as a whole. My state has a better idea of where the traffic is and where to spend our money. We send reasonable people to DC and they become clowns when they get there.

        DC has turned education into teaching a test. NY and LA don’t have the same needs as East Texas. Federalizing education has worked out about as well as one should expect. This smog stuff would have the same results. Last year they seemed to want CDLs for farm trucks. I think I’m glad that I’m pretty old. I don’t think I would want to know the me I would become if it keeps going this way.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          “DC has turned education into teaching a test. NY and LA don’t have the same needs as East Texas. Federalizing education has worked out about as well as one should expect.”

          This is a complex issue obviously, but like most complex issues, the biggest problem with legislators is laziness. The testing thing is silly, but it’s the laziest way people can figure out to make teachers accountable.

          There are definitely better solutions — we just haven’t seen them yet. Some of them require research, and some of them are less politically palatable for a variety of reasons (e.g. paternalism towards parents, admitting certain things aren’t working, spending money more effectively). A good example is Geoffrey Canada’s program in NY — however, getting politicians to agree on this sort of thing is difficult.

          The issue is not that government is the problem. It’s that stupid government is the problem.

          • 0 avatar
            wstarvingteacher

            I’m afraid that I am starting to like the way your thinking is trending. We might reach consensus if you were to give me that lack of accountability contributes to laziness.

            Lack of accountability is magnified as the distance from those affected is increased. Therefore, the federal government is less accountable and more lazy than the state or local government. You can say that the vote is still compelling for the feds but I say you can pork barrel a voter more easily from the federal catbird seat and that there is a massive bureaucracy unaffected by the vote. One size of anything does not fit all.

            It is pretty much for those reasons that I do not like the federal government to manage anything short of a war. So long as you receive a single federal dollar you accept their authority. I looked at the cost of education once and the increase was evident (and causality assumed) as each federal program was initiated. I must say that some were needed, however, an unfunded mandate is unfair. Education is no longer the goal it once was. Compliance is the first order of business. In Southeast Texas my administration once cancelled an air conditioning program I had started (at their request) the year before. It suddenly could not be afforded due to other requirements.

            I have no problem extrapolating to this air pollution problem. If anyone thinks the NYC and LA have the same pollution problems as Texas and/or Oklahoma you probably still believe in fairy tales. I am for curbing pollution. I contend that this, like education, welfare, medicaid etc should be managed locally. I have not problem filling needs. Just high handed mandate from someone who doesn’t live here.

            I doubt we will either sway the other and I think that is ok. I am about done with the subject. Thanks for the debate.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      So my coworker who lives 5 miles east of me doesn’t need an emissions test but she drives further in a larger vehicle to the exact same location as I do.

      That’s why there should be uniform testing across the state. It’s the same air and it seems the majority of the time the car belching fumes is from an non emission area.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    There’s a lot of this guy going on here…

    www dot theonion dot com/articles/area-man-passionate-defender-of-what-he-imagines-c,2849/

  • avatar
    kjb911

    only good thing about RI, Convo I had with my mechanic after my jeep failed emissions:

    “Kyle your Jeep didn’t pass inspection.”
    “Oh, how bad?”
    “No Idea, We would have to check it out.”
    *pulls out an extra $30 on the emission check fee*
    “Must have been our equipment, all set.”

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    YOU BOUGHT A TERCEL???!!!!!! YOU PAID $700 FOR IT????!!!! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    “How much money would have been saved by John Q Public if they could have kept those rides?”

    Although I agree with your base statestment, the thing is John Q most probably doesn’t know how to turn a wrench, has access to a OBDII scanner or is interested in any of this (which is fair enough). He’ll ask around to his friends and when the figure, just for cats, hovers over the $200-300 AND there are potentially more expenses, he’ll walk away, no matter how simple the fix may be.

    “I wouldn’t buy a car at an auction. They’re all junk!…
    …Most folks look at auction cars as vehicles that are worth more dead than alive. Every malady and defect is assigned to these ‘red light’ vehicles that are sold as/is with no warranty.”

    The few times I went to the auction lots, I went straight into the “as is” ones. Couldn’t go to the salvage one (not open on Saturdays), where along the written off cars there are lots of abandoned cars impounded by councils.

    There’s an opportunity there, but as you know well, it’s no land for novices. Or the cash strapped.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    Freedom to pollute as much as we want is something I’d expect see at a site like “the Blaze”, not this one. I get tired of the dumbing down of the Internet.

  • avatar
    old fart

    It should have been mandatory on OBD2 vehicles that the diagnostics would point you to the problem instead of just saying something is getting a bad reading . I know they want to protect the dealer and aftermarket service but when you take a car in and they have no clue where to start either and say ” It’s so much for diagnostic fee and then so much per hour but we have no idea how long it will take” The mechanics have been working on cars long enough that they should know that this code probably means this part is wrong , but the complexity and vagueness prevents an easy diagnostic . When will they stop mandating cleaner air than we already have, if cars only put out spring fresh air they would put a catalyst on our behinds . Tree huggers won’t be happy till mankind is gone from the earth .

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      So basically you want the OBD2 system to be more complex so as to avoid complexity?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “It should have been mandatory on OBD2 vehicles that the diagnostics would point you to the problem instead of just saying something is getting a bad reading .”

      That’s exactly what the OBD system does. Modern OBD codes with fault extensions are excellent at telling you exactly what’s wrong with a monitor circuit.

      It’s not the fault of the system or it’s designers if the shade-tree half wits attempting to figure it out never bother to learn the principles of how the given system operates, or proper techniques on how to prove it out.

      • 0 avatar
        old fart

        If you actually read my comments you would see I was talking about about how the so called pros can’t even diagnose it as it does not tell you what is broke, it tells you something has a bad reading. If it did a certain code it would cost “X” to fix it not charged by the hour because they are guessing what parts may or may not be bad.

  • avatar
    Cornelius Attenborough

    I like the subject of this piece. The real people that are hurt by these arbitrary and expensive emissions regulations are the poor, including young students, and elderly people on fixed incomes. Many people need affordable transportation options that cannot be satisfied by public transportation.

    Secondly, what does a “failed” emissions test really mean in the real world. It doesn’t mean that the vehicle is emitting choking smoke, it just means it has not met a standard. In fact, the most environmentally thing someone can do is purchase a used car, rather than a new EV or hybrid. The building of a new car takes energy, resources, and rare earth elements. Keeping a car, or buying used is just recycling.

    Ultimately most cars just die. This piece is asking why regulations should essentially force our hands to give a decent car a premature death. Those vehicles could be great first cars for a young car nut. Unfortunately, these barriers to entry are a factor that lead to the large number of young people who delay getting their driver license.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Air is alot cleaner in cities since the ‘glorious’ muscle car era. Sure gearheads don’t care, but tighter controls improved gas intake, and much more. Besides, #1 reason muscle car market died in 1972 was pure cost to own. Teen Boomers were crashing their GTO’s and Cudas, so up went insurance. Hence, they are worth a ton now.

    And it’s still all about who makes high quality cars, and how well owners maintain them. Don’t bother changin air filter? Expect CEL light down the line, and wonder why.

    Steve boought a Suzuki Esteem for peanuts, and that is what it’s worth, same for that Tempo. They’ll last maybe year before something breaks and “totals” the car.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I have no problem with the government placing reasonable emissions burdens on car manufacturers, but in my opinion, that’s where it needs to end.

    Consumers being forced to go through emissions truly is a scam, and it’s more about employing civil servants at $100k a pop than it is air quality. Even when a car is seriously out of tune, modern fuel injected cars simply don’t pollute much. Far more pollution from using a lawnmower or having a fire in your fireplace.

    They did a recent study where it was discovered it cost about $250k per violator to “catch” someone not passing emissions. So about the cost of a new bus. Which do you think would be a better investment?

  • avatar
    Skink

    That’s ‘set in stone’, not, ‘set and stone’.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Volkswagens and Audis have a notorious reputation for mysterious, serial, recurring ass-rape-expensive-to-track-down CELs. And GM vehicles are similarly notorious for exceeding 200,000 miles with the original cats with no CELs.

    You would think an honest and open-minded car blog would be suitably outraged over the scandal of Volkswagen’s and Audi’s hideous dealer ripoff in this regard, however as I have said this is a VW-centric, viscerally anti-GM website, so no such story will ever be written.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      What you say would be more believable if you didn’t think changing the oil every 5K, the transmission fluid every 60K, and the timing belt every 75K was “OCD.”

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Ugh, this debate again. Emissions and state inspections are mandatory in my state and county. It’s a once a year pain in the butt for both cars we have. Once a year. $60-70 depending on where you go for both stickers. It’s one day of having the car out of service. For many, it’s an inconvenience, not a hardship.

    I don’t know about you, I like have clean air to breathe. During the supposed “Golden Age” of horsepower and the automobile, cars were powerful and simple. Period. It’s taken 40 years to get back to that level and all that.

    They also polluted a ton, had terrible fuel mileage, NEEDED an oil change every 3k(another topic for debate among petrol heads), plus all the other stuff, including points, condenser,plugs, chassis lube,etc. They had awful brakes, terrible suspensions and were capable of messing you up in even minor accident(because no seatbelts and pointy interiors). They were polluting, fuel guzzling, maintenance pigs IF you took care of them. Maybe they’d last 100k, maybe not. Probably not. Even if you took care of them.

    Granted, there’s always the person “I had a 1968 blah blah that went 300k on just oil changes”. Maybe 1 of 100 cars would do this, even today? But do an Auto Trader or Ebay search. The amount of 10 year old cars with over 100k is amazing if we compare it to back then.

    I’m not against old cars for fun or show. I appreciate these cars, but I’m glad they are hobbies now. Would they still be hobbies without government intervention? Hard to say.

    Cars are faster, more powerful, more efficient and safer than they’ve ever been. The cheapest cars on the road are capable of 100+ mph and 30 mpg average. They pollute so little compared to even 15 years ago, let alone 30 or 40.

    Today’s cars are finely tuned to run with emissions controls in place. Look at the Mustang. A 300hp V6 Mustang? That, when the stars align, will give you 30mpg? A Mustang that is capable of blowing away all but a few of its early ancestors? And you can do it with the ability to stop, turn and survive a crash? Granted, that base Mustang in 1970 was about $2800 or about $16000 in today’s money. But a base Mustang is only 22,500 (with no options checked and they do exist, one dealer near me has two)

    Is the extra comfort, safety,lower emissions and fuel mileage worth the extra cost and “gummint” meddling? Cars aren’t necessarily more expensive, adjusted for inflation, we just don’t make as much money as we used. These are my dime store economic observations, those with real insight can probably blow them apart.

    Picking up any buff mag from from 87(?) to 93, your choices in Mustang power was the 2.3 90 hp Four or the 225hp “5.0″ V-8. From 94-2003 it was the boat anchor 3.8 at a wheezing 140 hp or the still 225hp-240hp 5.0 or 4.6 V8. Neither would give you anywhere near 30 mpg.

    Maintaining a car is expensive, especially for the poor. And poor is fixed income, elderly, students or single parents. Well, any parents, unless you make really good money and keep within your means. Keeping any car running on a limited budget is no fun. A failed emissions check may not poison the air immediately and kill all the bunnies, but it will decrease fuel mileage, make more pollution and more than likely lead to more emissions or engine trouble down the line. This means more expensive repairs, more repairs in general and possibly trading in one crappy car for another.

    But even though car ownership isn’t a right, it’s a necessity for people where mass transit is non existent or poorly laid out. But owning a car means you should have to maintain it, just like the other people on the road.

    All government bureaucracy is inefficient and possibly corrupt on some level. But I don’t doubt for one minute that government regulation has given us much better vehicles and other products then we would have asked for as people.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Is the extra comfort, safety,lower emissions and fuel mileage worth the extra cost and “gummint” meddling? Cars aren’t necessarily more expensive, adjusted for inflation, we just don’t make as much money as we used. These are my dime store economic observations, those with real insight can probably blow them apart.”

      The last time the Government implemented policy that effectively told the automakers to double the fuel economy of the avearge vehicle, in 1975 when CAFE was enacted, the average cost of a new car increased from $4,250 in 1975 to $7,210.00 in 1980. This rise was 11% more than the inflation rate between those years and significantly more (34%) than the average income rose in that time.

      We can likely expect comparable increases in cost as the new requirements are phased in.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Louisville, KY (Jefferson County) got rid of emissions testing a few years back. Possibly not related, we now have the number one men’s college basketball team, and usually rate in the top 10 of the nation’s worst air quality.


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