Houston, We Have A Big Gas Problem

Morning Dump Gas Prices

Ford, GM, Stellantis, and Toyota want EV tax credit caps lifted, Volkswagen resumes full EV production in Zwickau, holy shit look at those gas prices. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Big Gas Prices Have Eclipsed Five Dollars Per Gallon

A Shell gas station.
Photo credit: “Shell Gas Station” by JeepersMedia is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Well, here we are. According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of regular gas in America has crested the five dollar mark. Specifically, AAA clocked it at $5.014 per gallon on Monday and $5.016 per gallon on Tuesday. While we’re still a few cents off from the most Americans have ever paid for regular gas, those really big numbers mean we might not be that far away. Let’s break it down.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average price for a gallon of regular gas hit $4.114 on July 7, 2008. When corrected for inflation, that works out to $5.58 per gallon in today’s money. A neat fact that absolutely doesn’t help the situation in any way, shape, or form. Don’t worry, things could get worse as they often do. It might not take long for gas prices to reach that adjusted 2008 peak. The EIA reported last week that America had 18,021,000 barrels of finished gasoline in reserve and ready to be run in engines, a good bit short of pre-pandemic levels of around 24,000,000 million barrels. You know, right in time for the summer driving season.

According to Reuters, OPEC+ fell 2.6 million barrels short of oil production targets last month, so it looks like the global supply side won’t be massively easing anytime soon. The only variable we seem to have some modicum of control over is demand, which sucks because easing demand means that people like you and I are requested to curb often-necessary travel that can’t be done on public transit because intercity rail largely sucks in North America.

Four Automakers Want EV Tax Credit To Apply To More Than Just Their First 200,000 EV Customers

F150 Lightning Rouge Plant
Photo credit: Ford

While EV tax credit caps are a firm check for government spending, they do have a weird side effect of punishing automakers that adopted plug-in tech early. Toyota’s been selling a ton of plug-in hybrids, GM’s been cranking out plug-in vehicles since the Volt in 2011, and Ford’s offered plug-in hybrids and electric cars for the better part of a decade. While Stellantis doesn’t have a huge history of electrification outside of recent plug-in hybrids and a few compliance-spec Fiat 500e EVs, CEO Carlos Tavares has been quite bearish on EV adoption targets. Finding common ground, these four automakers drafted up a simple joint letter to Congress asking for a removal of tax credit caps. From the letter:

“The current program only provides the tax benefit to the first 200,000 customers for each automaker. To provide greater consumer choice, we ask that the per-OEM cap be removed, with a sunset date set for a time when the EV market is more mature.”

Honestly, the brief letter makes some very good points. We’re in a shortage-of-everything crisis, and raw material costs for long-range EVs are on the rise. Vehicles that are more expensive to build cost more to buy, which could keep long-range EVs out of reach for the average American consumer. Tax credits are a way of subsidizing these costs, and the promises of both lower transportation costs and lower transportation emissions seem like they could be in the interests of citizens. Now, will a simple lifting of tax credit caps actually happen? It feels unlikely, but we’ll see what happens. Tax credits for EVs definitely aren’t sustainable in the long run, and it really feels like widespread EV adoption is a long game. However, that doesn’t mean that some form of revamped tax credit system is out of the question. Let’s wait and see how this one plays out.

Stellantis Aims For Level 3 Autonomy Come 2024

Valeo Scala 3 Imaging
Photo credit: Valeo

While Stellantis may seem to be moving slowly on autonomy, the massive auto group seems to be working behind the scenes. In a recent press release, French automotive supplier Valeo has revealed that Stellantis will use Valeo’s third-generation Scala LiDAR system to achieve Level 3 autonomy in 2024.

Honestly, Valeo sounds like a pretty solid partner. The company’s second-generation LiDAR system has found a home in the optional Level 3 assist suites on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS, and further LiDAR development will only improve imaging capability. While we can’t say for sure where LiDAR will first appear in the Stellantis range, Automotive News Europe said that Level 3 autonomy will be offered in multiple models across Stellantis’ massive array of brands. Honestly, it’ll be interesting to see how Stellantis implements Level 3 autonomy. After all, Level 3 autonomy is conditional, so we could continue to see it locked to controlled-access highways at low speeds, or we could see significant variance from current implementations. Either way, it should pave the way for future Level 4 or even Level 5 capability, although both of those are likely years out at the minimum.

Volkswagen Returns To Normal EV Production

Last Finish: Visual Check Of Flush And Gap Dimensions On The Id.4
Photo credit: Volkswagen

Hey, how’s this for good news – Volkswagen’s going back to three scheduled shifts in its Zwickau-Mosul EV plant that builds the ID.4 crossover, ID.5 crossover, ID.3 hatchback, Audi Q4 e-Tron crossover, Audi Q4 Sportback e-Tron coupe crossover, and Cupra Born hatchback.

In an era where automobile production is so fragile, it seems like Volkswagen’s successfully vaulted the latest set of supply chain barriers. According to Automobilwoche, Volkswagen’s targeting production of 1,300 vehicles per day, a solid figure that should help alleviate some backlog and temper a small corner of the car market’s current frenzy. Hey, a niche is a niche. Mind you, Zwickau-Mosul isn’t the only place where Volkswagen builds the in-demand ID.4. Volkswagen’s Emden plant in Germany also builds this electric crossover, while North American production in Chattanooga, T.N. is expected to come online this year. I know that a return to regular production for a few niche models won’t put much of a dent in new car supply, but it feels like a sign of hope. With everything so up in the air right now, it’s nice to see even small signs of normalcy.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s safe to say that Monday was a bit of a shitshow in the financial markets. Lots of talk about yield curves and bear markets and fears of a recession. With that in mind, let’s play a car shopping game. Let’s say that a recession hits and you need to ditch a car payment and pick up a cheap, reliable daily driver that costs pennies to run. What’s your money on in this bizarrely inflated car market? I’m probably going with a Toyota Echo as they’re positively plentiful in the land of poutine, but I’m curious to see what you pick. Is your pragmatic side drawn toward the indestructibility of a 3800 V6-powered W-body? Are you sitting on a secret hoard of Saab parts to keep a turbocharged Swedish bubble-wrap suit on the road? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Lead photo credit: Upupa4me, licensed under CC-BY SA 2.0

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74 Responses

  1. Is the premise of the flush that you suddenly find yourself without a car? I already don’t have a payment, and diesel is 10-20 cents more than gas here, so my TDI Sportwagen will continue to do nicely.

    Starting from scratch requires budget boundaries, because 20K is a lot for some people’s used cars, weekend project money for others.

  2. When it comes to autonomous driving I have one, and only one, desire…let me take a nap, read a book or watch a movie in the driver’s seat on the highway.

    That’s all.

    I don’t need it to drive off the highway, park itself, or anything else I can do better and safer.
    When I’m on a 8 hour drive or stuck in a traffic jam, let me have that time back.

  3. I already have a cheap economical beater that’s reliable as a hammer. If a big recession hits, I’m looking to “help” someone out of a V8 Mustang for fifty cents on the dollar, drive it sparingly, and keep daily driving the beater until things calm down.

  4. I would keep the same vehicles that I currently have. 2010 Toyota Corolla and 2006 Kawasaki KLR650. Just filled the KLR up today, 3 gallons for 180 miles for 60 MPG. That is pretty damn good to me. Plus riding is more fun than driving, even if I am taking my life into my hands with all the terrible drivers out there. Folks if you want to save some money on fuel get a motorcycle…and some good gear. ATGATT.

    1. its about a wash for me to ride. sure my bike gets 45mpg but maintenance on it is also a mother fucker. 1300 every 12k miles for a service i cant do cause ive gotta shim valves and do fork oil and whatnot. rear tires last about 9k miles and are 400 to replace fronts about 280 but lasts 12-15k.

    2. My neighbor has a 2000-something Corolla that ran when he parked it, after losing the bumper in a fender bender. He started to replace it but gave up and just got a new vehicle. He’d probably sell the Corolla for a little more than its scrap value. So I’d probably go with that for my absolute cheapest gas saver.

  5. Just a thought, but maybe injecting more money into an overheated economy where every car, EV or not, is spoken for the second it gets off the assembly line is not necessary or wise.

    In hindsight, the EV tax credit should have been based on total units sold (a million or whatever) instead of by manufacturer. They aren’t exactly wrong when they say the likes of GM and Tesla are being punished for jumping in early. But at this point extending the credits would just be throwing gas on the inflation fire.

    1. I’ve got a Lightning reservation, but I waited 15 minutes, so I’m not going to get one until 2023 at the earliest. I’d probably benefit from extending the credit. But this is exactly right.

      Inflation is what it is because the government injected too much money into the economy. Between quantitative easing, and stimulus spending. Yeah, the war, etc. But that’s a fraction of the problem. The rest – including the supply chain issues – are in a large part due to the enormous piles of cash that got handed out. And the people hurting are those who didn’t get any. Or who only got a few grand.

      Manufacturers will pocket the credits. Yes the credit goes to the customer, but the price will suck the money right back out. Kill the credits and watch companies lower the price accordingly.

      If we MUST keep or extend EV tax credits, and the premise is that they’re going to aid the development of the market, they need to be tied to falling prices. If your 100,000th EV isn’t meaningfully cheaper than the first one for the end-user, NO CREDIT.

      1. I’d also add extremely low interest rates to that list of inflation causing items. That fueled the home buying and cash out spree. It could be argued that injected more money into the economy than the gov did via stimulus.

        1. I’d add supply constraints from the ongoing global pandemic. Demand outstripping supply and prices go up is … inflation. Rolling lock downs in the worlds most populous city can’t possibly help. Food and oil supply restriction from a land war in Europe and the related sanctions are real price drivers too.

          In a shit-show this epic the idea that scapegoating some political adversary could gaslight anyone with more than a dozen working brain cells …

          1. If anything supply is the MAIN driver.

            I know people like to blame the gummint, but pandemic stimulus would’ve worked brilliantly if the private sector hadn’t cut back so far, fast and hard in 2Q 2020 (and China wasn’t sticking to the zero-covid lockdowns further crimping supply). Even as it is, the US has the strongest post-pandemic economy of any big, rich country.

            1. Interest rates and fed stimulus are the MAIN driver.

              We didn’t need pandemic stimulus. Pretty much every respectable economist repeatedly pointed out that economic downturns from epidemics and pandemics don’t last because the problem isn’t structural.

              Meanwhile we made it more lucrative to play banking games than actually build durable wealth.

              Supply chain costs can be a problem. But they’re a problem with a 1x multiplier. Injecting cheap, imaginary capital into the financial system and helping people to spend tens of thousands of borrowed dollars that they can’t actually afford to ever pay back is a problem with a much larger multiplier.

              Supply and demand is a really simplistic view of how prices are driven. Eventually, if people don’t have the money to spend, the price of supplies can’t go any higher. If you loan people money at 0% interest over infinity years, there’s no limit to how much morons (many of whom got that way through the surgical removal of their frontal lobes at MBA graduation) can spend on almost anything.

        2. What about Crypto? I feel like without those additional billions (trillions?) of dollars created from thin air, Bring-A-Trailer would still be a sleepy and pleasant place.
          As a side note, I just read a bit about the Albanian pyramid schemes of the mid-90s and that situation definitely reminds me of crypto…

      2. “Inflation is what it is because the government injected too much money into the economy.”
        I’ve read reports by economists showing the rate of inflation was steady starting in 2020 and the stimulus checks didn’t move the needle much, there is a whole constellation of factors involved.

          1. Yeah, it does actually. Fed monetary policy contributed to global inflation in exactly the same way that aggressive increases of interest rates by our central bank are going to cause massive recessions in developing countries.

            The stimulus checks are merely a small portion of the overall stimulus. So you don’t have to feel guilty or under attack when people say the stimulus caused the problems.

    2. Being punished? They had their shot at 200,000+ customers just like everybody else. (I say 200,000+ because it’s possible to game the system a bit like Tesla did, timing delivery of the 200,00th car to give more people a chance to buy during the phase-down period. There’s no limit to the number of cars they sell during that period.)

    3. June, 2008, oil was ~$140 per barrel. Gas was about $3.98 a gallon.
      Today, oil is ~$121 per barrel. Gas is about $5.10 a gallon.

      The Russian war and price gouging are the root of much of the inflation in our economy. The rest is mostly due to stimulus money far in excess of need, dumped onto businesses due to the pandemic. (Stimulus to individuals was less than 1/10th that of what was given to corporations.)

      The EV Tax credit is appropriate because it is individual relief, and at long last, a policy designed to reduce the geopolitical power of oil. It definitely should be extended deep into the future, to actually stimulate additional manufacturing, and offered as a refundable credit to all purchasers regardless of income. Every dollar that goes toward the EV credit should be taken dollar for dollar from the immense subsidies provided to oil companies.

        1. Speculation is absolutely true in both instances, but in one case, the refiners who determine the pump prices didn’t gouge the consumers nearly as badly.

          (It may also have to do with the fact that the oil companies strongly prefer Republican administrations, and are screwing the consumers more now in an attempt to influence the coming elections. But maybe not.)

      1. I tried to get a ppp whatever loan to help my business. Only to find out it was instantly dried up by big businesses. I made it but alot of the small guys like me just hang on…

  6. Nissan Versa Note with a 5MT. I secretly have a crush on these things, so if given an excuse to have to buy something cheap and terrible, at least this terribleness has a recent build date and maybe a couple years of warranty left on it.

    1. I ended up in a rental Versa Note a few years ago and was suprised how not terrible it was. I was initially terrified of the Versa name, but it was the only car in the rental place’s economy aisle that had both bluetooth (needed for navigation out of the airport) and a driver armrest (needed because I had just gotten off an international flight and my back was already unhappy with me).

      Turns out small hatchbacks are so good they can even overcome a Nissan badge. 😉

      1. And unless you’re suggesting I’ve been ‘captive’ by their non-existent ad campaign, stockholm syndrome is completely moot. And I’m favorable to them, not experiencing PTSD, so the doll reference also isn’t applicable. If you’re going to shame me, pick the right meme at least. ;P

  7. I wonder if the data will show any movement to motorcycles due to gas prices. Honda says my little Grom gets a preposterous 166 mpg. Even the Himalayan gets around 80 and is out the dealer door around $5K. But of course these are totally impractical if you’re doing much more than moving yourself, e.g. carrying kids around (or idk? maybe just save the bubble wrap from Amazon, whatever). Seems like a used bike is a decent answer to the narrow problem of “I have to get to work for cheap.”

    1. I live right in/around Boston (immediate surrounding super-dense cities).

      When ‘Rona hit and people lost jobs, definitely noticed about a half-dozen singles downsize to not motorcycles, but mopeds. Sold their beaters and got into new or nearly new mopeds.

      They’ve stuck with them. Just in the surrounding 2 blocks in every direction there’s at LEAST a half dozen.

  8. The Flush: I made that decision a couple months ago. I wanted something that costs pennies to drive. I got a 2017 Fiat 500e for $15,000 (with 26,000 miles on it). Sure, I paid the late-to-the-party premium, but I don’t regret it at all. In the almost 2 months I’ve been driving it, I’ve averaged 4.8 miles per kilowatt-hr, which is about 160 MPGe. Most of my charging is at home, at the rate of 13 cents per KWhr, so I’m paying less than 3 cents per mile. And it’s a fricken hoot to drive. Sure it only has 118 horses under the hood, but ALL those horses are available the second I put my foot on the accelerator. With the low center of gravity, it handles great, even in the extreme winds we get here in the Rocky Mountains sometimes. I wish the charging infrastructure was more mature, but it hasn’t been a major issue so far. We took a trip yesterday that was 87 miles each way, through the mountains, and after charging up to 100% at our destination, made it home with 26% charge left (I figure the real-world range is around 115 miles on a full battery). Sure, there’s a bit of range anxiety and it’s sometimes hard to find a working charger, but man, the benefits outweigh the deficits in my book. No oil changes, quiet, powerful acceleration, actually gaining energy on downhills, overall efficiency, etc. I was an electric skeptic before I bought this car but I don’t see myself ever buying a dino-powered car again. So, hell yeah, extend those tax refunds!

    1. I read up on those little 500e’s, sounds like they electrified the 500 Abarth and added range oriented bumpers and rolling stock, sounds like they’re a hoot to drive and would be even better with the Abarth upgrade suspension goodies and appropriate tires on them!

      1. Definitely. A lot of people have cut the front springs and installed Abarth rear springs for a lower, tighter ride. Apparently lowering it also increases the range by 10 – 15%. I haven’t done that and probably won’t, since I enjoy it as-is, and I have a steep drive which might be problematic if it was lowered. But I highly recommend them if you can find one available. They seem to be selling like hotcakes on the used market. I wish Fiat would make the new 200-mile version available in the US.
        https://www.fiat.com/500-electric#

        The first gen 500e was just a modified gas-version platform, so it doesn’t have some of the benefits of a dedicated EV, but the new one was designed from the ground up as an EV and it looks awesome.

    2. I’m glad you are enjoying the 500e. I’ve wanted one for many years (I remember when they first started showing up for sale off-lease, ~$10k), but with not having regular access to a charger until recently, I never pulled the trigger. Now I could swing it, but don’t have a reason to ditch my perfectly serviceable PHEV, especially with the current car market.

  9. “Let’s say that a recession hits and you need to ditch a car payment and pick up a cheap, reliable daily driver that costs pennies to run. What’s your money on in this bizarrely inflated car market?”

    Easy A free bicycle:

  10. Thankfully I haven’t had a car payment in years so if a recession hits and I have to tighten the belt for whatever reason, I’ll just drive the 2012 Volt more often so long as the battery holds up. After that would be the 2014 Spark, which is currently my crap-weather commuter anyway.

    Recent Fill-ups:
    2014 Spark: $32.00
    2012 Volt: $33.50 (first time in 3 months)
    1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham: $80.00 (just out of storage – first fill-up of the year)

    1. I was shopping plug-ins a year and a half ago, and the same plug-in hybrids that were $11-20,000 are $18-30000 now.

      Back then, I was considering early replacement of my daily driver with a plug-in hybrid to avoid trouble. It’s a very good thing that my current ride still shows no sign of deterioration in over a year because paying that much more for the same car would burn my cheap soul for as long as I owned the newer one. I would get no joy at all out of owning it.

      Now I’m shopping Ford Mavericks again, just watching where they’re available, mostly, while waiting for the F-150 Lightning Pro.

  11. I went to an auction a month ago, just to watch the bidding. It was the most depressing thing I’ve done in a very long time. The sweet spot seems to be low mileage late 90’s Caravans and Tauruses. They can be had for a thousand or so. I could use a minivan anyway but I been down that road (Caravan) before and it’s just…bleak.
    On the bright side of the inflation thing, I was paying $60 a month for insurance 40 years ago, and ever since. I still pay about that much. So my payment has steadily gone down to almost nothing, I guess.

  12. I’ll just continue to get about in my current motoring appliance (2000 Chevy Prizm) for now, as it’s been payed off since day one of ownership and shows no signs of giving up the ghost this century.

    There is a good case to be made for motorcycle ownership these days, but I want to live. My blood pressure already goes up quite a bit just glancing in my rear view at every yellow light and wondering if the speed demon in the ‘insert bro dozer here’ half a car length behind me is seeing what I’m seeing.

    KLR 650 would be my choice if I was ten years younger. Coworker of mine rides his every day, rain or shine. Has been for at least five years. He’s practically a modern day Centaur. Gotta respect that.

  13. I appreciate how all the progressive solutions towards energy and transportation are pretty much a big, punitive “eff you” to people who live in places where winter is a thing. I’d love to use a bike or motorcycle (ICE or electric), except roads are not always navigable due to weather and, y’know…actual seasons.

    I guess we should just give up our jobs, livelihood, families, and support systems just to live on the coasts where there’s crushing housing shortages and urban crowding. Sure, yep. Not all of us have the option to just walk away or work from home. How myopic.

  14. I like EVs. But all EV subsidies will do is allow manufacturers to pad their margins more. I think they should be eliminated. I also think fossil fuel subsidies of all types should be eliminated AND the externalities should be accounted for, which dwarf the subsidies EVs get by multiple orders of magnitude.

    And to answer the question regarding finding a cheap beater for transportation, I have no need for such. None of my vehicles use gasoline. They are as follows:

    -1969 Triumph GT6+ EV conversion. Set up with a 20.8 kWh CALB CA100FI battery pack, Prestolite MTC4001 series-wound DC motor, and Soliton 1 controller. Peels out in top gear at a stop.

    -Custom build microcar/ebike. I can travel 150-200 miles on $0.15 of electricity @ 30-35 mph speeds. Tops out at 45 mph, does 0-30 mph in 6 seconds, and if the battery runs dead, it’s pedalable faster than a normal bicycle due to the drag reduction. With the motor disabled, I can sprint to 35 mph straight-up pedaling it, and hold 20+ mph for hours wherever the ground is flat. It is currently being upgraded, with the goal being 0-60 mph < 9 seconds and a top speed over 100 mph when the motor is in use.

    But were this not my reality, I'd look for an old mechanical-injection diesel Mercedes and run it on waste fryer oil. I used to own a 300 SDL which was bought for that purpose. It got 30 mpg on the highway, upper-teens in the city, but could top out at just over 120 mph.

  15. Well, congratulations on your super low gas US gas prices, even though they have climbed a bit. Over here in Europe we pay the double of that. Not kidding or anything.
    My Nissan Figaro, despite being japanese and small, only gets 26 US MPGs, since it’s automatic and turbo and has small wheels and high RPMs. So not using that so much at the moment..

  16. I will be the only one to say this…
    My Ol Shitbox, is MY ol SHITBOX. Does what I ask, doesnt complain. Looks decent, runs, drives, If I want to drive’er like grand’ma.. I can. If I wanna drive’er like my hair is on fire.. I can too.

    No monthly payments. Ins went down… god fucking damn… PLEASE LORD DONT STRIKE ME!
    I dont need no elec Laptop on 4 wheels. I want what I got.. or older.

  17. Most governments have already put in place a hard ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles, effective within the next decade or so. I don’t see where any additional incentives are at all necessary. In about 10 years, you’ll either buy an electric car or walk, because that’s all that will be permitted, and automakers will either build electric cars or go out of business. Basically, they either need to liquidate their assets and close down right now, or suck it up and start building electric cars and not worry about whether people are buying them right now or not, because everyone will be required to anyway in a few years. Just ride it out

    1. I made a similar comment the other day when talking about charging infrastructure. If we’re going to successfully navigate this hard ICE cliff, we’re going to need to prepare now by spending the intervening time building out the necessary support structures. The more you encourage people to a) adopt electric cars the more demand for charging stations and such will arrive on a time horizon where it can be dealt with and b) substitute ICE cars now for EVs of some flavor the less painful that cliff will be. There’s nothing to lose by speeding up the transition and everything to gain.

  18. If you want more of something, you incentivize it. Make it a race and instead of rebate caps per manufacturer, make it a total number of rebates for the industry. The rebates also need an MSRP cap. I think if the vehicle is over a certain price (say $50,000) then it gets reduced rebates or no rebates. We don’t need to be putting the rebates on the luxury EV models anymore. The rebates need to be on the mass-market vehicles.

  19. I dunno, I totally understand why ev subsidies are anti-competitive and inflationary and won’t actually depress prices for consumers, but we spend public money on much stupider things. We should increase ev subsidies and phase out the cap, which can probably be done relatively easily. 200k vehicles is still a tiny fraction of the *annual* number of vehicles sold here. We should also encourage ebike adoption and subsidize those more heavily.

    Honestly, we should make any increase in EV subsidies tie into disincentives for big, thirsty models. A tax on supercharged v8 trucks that funds tax breaks for PHEVS, for example. An annual road use tax for each MPG under, say, 30 your new car or truck gets, without exception, mitigated by some sort of business tax reduction for actual work trucks.

    For a short-notice daily, I’d look for the newest, cheapest TDI of any shape I could find

    1. “Sure we designed entire metro-areas based around owning and using a vehicle, but now things have changed and we’re gonna make gas $10/gallon. Oh buy a bike? Well everyone already did that so they’re upwards of $600 now. But don’t worry about having to pay out the nose to go to work, you’ll almost certainly lose your job in the process. It’s the republicans fault for not helping us help you.”

    2. Back in the day (2008) someone suggested a variable gas tax which would set a floor high enough to create permanent demand for fuel efficiency, electrification (mostly hybridization at the time) and alternatives to driving, but cushion the blow of gas prices spiking on people with less income, especially over the long term.

      Of course it went straight from that think-tank or university researcher out over the airwaves of a non-flagship NPR show to…nowhere. Certainly nowhere near anyone with actual political power.

    3. Word. My question is how we sell at least some new cars which will be of interest to regular humans when used? If all new car buyers get Escalades, Lexus RXs, and German Leasing Wagens then the high gas prices will keep tormenting used car buyers forever.

      1. Some states have a vehicle excise tax. Mine does (Massachusetts).

        The vehicle valuation is based on wholesale (not retail) prices, and there’s a declining coefficient that completely falls off a cliff after 5 years — as in, you pay 10% of the normal rate once the vehicle is 5 years or older.

        So my parents pay like under $100 total (annually) for their two CR-Vs, of which the 2006 is maybe $25-30. Yet when I got my new toy 7 years ago, my first year was $5000, and I had no problem with paying well over 50x what they were. I think it’s finally settled around $400-$450/year for me, which I think is cheap considering the car’s market value.

        Basically the ones paying the most are those buying brand new vehicles or ones under 3 years old, and fancier vehicles.

  20. I’m still going to ride my 62 continental till gas is no more…IDC how high it gets. On the plus side I’ll soon start production of Bio diesel for my big hauler…should be capable of a 3k round trip from home base with a load and living quarters… So I really don’t care what the gas goes too.

      1. I bought a ’20 Fit 6MT new in February 2020. For a couple months I worried about taking on consumer debt at just the wrong time but now I feel like how people must’ve who scored a new ’42 just before Pearl Harbor.

    1. You and me both. I had twins and a2nd gen insight. It blew peoples minds that I didn’t run out and get a minivan or a three row suv. “How do you fit all your stuff?!”

      Now I have a mini clubman and two 9 year olds. We go to the beach for a week and fit everything. I got a roof rack and a box just to make it not quite so squished inside the two trips a year we take. Why buy a huge 20mpg vehicle because you need room once in a while? I have 350hp (modded jcw), awd and avg 32mpg.

  21. Although I’m locked into my JK Wrangler for a long time (by way of market, “investment,” and wife), I know how I’d play this game.

    Hit ’em where they ain’t, as they say.

    I’d go for an off-brand midsize or compact (not sure about sub). At least in my area, you can get a 2010-2014/5 Fusion for cheap relative to odometer reading and what else is around. Same deal for Chrysler/Dodge units and, to a lesser extent, Nissan. Swedes cannot be found around here at any price.

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