Drive Shafts Industry Tricks
Dealing With The Dealer Consumer Tricks
Consumer Driven Deals
More Auto Consumer Resources
Grand Theft Auto: Industry Cases
Last VW Mistake
Other Car Not A VW
True Costs of Driving
15 Sec. Car Deal Lecture
Eco Orgs & Auto Industry
- GOT ASTHMA?
GOT TOXIC LOADING?
Car Makers To Make Cleaner-Air Vehicles
Click here to Jump Start Ford toward a cleaner-air
- Up-armoring Car
Deals - Do-It-Yourself Troop Support
"Consumers are more
protected when they get a haircut then when they buy, lease,
or service an automobile..." - R. Rand Knox
- For cleaner
air, a healthier planet, healthier environment, & healthier
- Auto Alternatives
- (Dec 2009)
Those five year 20,000 mile free service, 10 year 100.000 mile
warranties are mouth watering, eh? Or perhaps they would be if
one could bank on the company being solvent or even in business
a year or two out.
- (Nov 2007)
See what Coop-America is saying about America's energy future
as it relates to automobiles.
mini "Smart ForTwo" 40 mpg vehicle came to the US in
2008. It still makes sense
to go carless, but if you think a small vehicle, with only marginal
fuel efficiency for a vehicle of it's size/class (a vehicle in
this size/class should be getting 100 mpg or more), then, maybe
this is an option.
Outside the Car... Everyone
benefits (cleaner air, shorter commutes, etc), even--especially
us auto addicts, when everyone has auto alternatives available..."
R. Rand Knox
- Zap Powered Bicycles For Auto-motive Alternatives
- Zap World's SMART CARS Right-sizing the automobile
- We have not
given ourselves much in the way real and meaningful variety and
diversity in transportation alternatives. Essentially, we have
created a monoculture where the auto is basically the only thing
going for us. This means that there is hardly any real transportation
competition, so we end up paying inflated auto related costs.
However, there are some things we can do as communities and individuals
to attenuate the high costs of our cars-only approach to personal
and public transportation.
- Don't Be Fueled
Sierra Club's Auto Oil Freedom Package
Project Bio Bus
Bio Diesel Project
VW Lupo Available In Europe
SUV Info From Friends of the
1. Support auto-alternatives for others.
- 2. Drive less.
- 3. Drive smarter.
- 4. Drive
- 5. Drive
- 6. Commute
Different - RIDES for Bay Area Commuters
- 7. Bike
to Work Day
Go Carless. And save $450,000 over a lifetime of merely average
automobile ownership and operation costs.
10. Car and drive share.
11. Support anti-sprawl smart-growth measures for all.
12. Buy smaller and greened cars, and rent up or larger as needed.
13. Base mode on trip distance.
- 14. Negotiate
a 3 to 5% environmental impact education from the auto manufacturer's
invoice to the dealer, and donate this to a reputable environmental
non-profit for the industry's efforts to water own environmental
protection an clean air legislation at state an national levels.
15. Whether you drive or not, drive large or small; write to
auto maker CEOs an Boards of Directors and demand that existing
fuel efficiency technologies be incorporate into their product
lines as soon as possible. These technologies will save SUV drivers
the cost of the new technologies by a factor of three in fuel
savings. And, these technologies would free the US up from dependence
on Saudi Arabian and middle-east oil.
"Don't Have A CAR, Man!"
- Invest your
$550,000 (the current average lifetime hard, out-of-pocket costs
for automobile ownership and operation),
or part, for personal needs (reTIREment) or social or environmental
- By conservative
estimates fraud, waste and abuse (unfair, manipulative and fraudulent
auto industry sales and service practices see TRICKS) in auto sales and
and service practices costs consumers over $76 billion annually.
Think of these 76 billion dollars as 76 billion good reasons
to not reward the auto industry for theft from our friends and
Practice safe Car Deal sex. Many Americans voluntarily go carless. They avoid the expense
and trouble of the automobile for personal transport. Consider
carlessness options. A well planned life could include car avoidance,
selective car use, or complete carlessness -- Planned Carhood
or Carlessnesshood. Avoid the down-time of the commute. Smell
the roses along the way, -- cough, sputter, hack-hack, cough...
Have an out-of-car experience today, and regularly up and down
the road... telecommute!
Don't own a car, become a billionaire? Recently it was
reported that a self-made (well, relatively so perhaps) billionaire
gave away a fortune to charitable trusts (his own as it turns
out). This billionaire does not own or drive a car. So, make
like a billionaire, try carlessness. Well healed friends have
decided that the depreciation costs of new cars are not a good
value and have bought pre-owned cars for years now, and this
has not impacted their self-esteem or sense of self-worth negatively.
In fact, their "worth" has appreciated.
Saving over $550,000 (a
very conservative estimate based on government "per diem"
reimbursement for mileage rates) on an average lifetime of
auto ownership and operation costs is only one personal benefit
of the out-of-car auto alternative experience. Break the
car addiction, save a bundle, and we all breathe easier and longer.
Even car addicts benefit when others do not drive or when they
use other forms of public transport. Subsidizing mass transportation
is a good value additive to the automobile juggernaut.
IT'S ONLY MONEY - Does money matter anymore? Opps, here it
goes, mattering again.
The cost of gas and subsidizing the automobile: Michael Mechanic
on the Opinion Page of the San Francisco Examiner (April 13,
1999) makes the case that auto subsides cost each American
man, woman and child an estimated $4,000 in direct consumer
costs and indirect government subsidies of the gas, auto and
He quotes a
"Road Kill" report by the Conservation Law Foundation
(CLF) which concluded that motorists paid 40 to 64 cents per
mile based on CLF's study of driving costs in Portland, ME
and Boston, MA, published in May 1994. Then the CLF studied the
less tangible but no less real associated costs of driving which
are born or subsidized by all taxpayers [even the carless] including:
the costs for infrastructure and maintenance, traffic-related
public health and safety services including police and fire;
court expenses, energy subsidies, tax breaks to businesses for
employee parking, health costs and economic loses related to
air pollution, the impact of noise pollution on property values,
and impacts of importing foreign oil;--.these added up to between
79 and 94 cents per mile for solo driver's costs in the
Boston, MA area.
(his real name) he also quotes "The Price of Mobility,"
a 1993 report by the National Resources Defense Council (Co-authored
by Peter Miller and John Moffet) which computed the national
average costs of 38 to 52 cents per mile for all U.S. drivers.
The $4,000 per man, woman, and child total costs for auto use
in America adds up to $1.2 to $1.6 Trillion ANNUALLY (every
covered by non-drivers was noted to be between $380 billion
and $660 billion yearly. This was calculated to be equivalent
to an incremental or unit cost of $3.70 to $6.50 per gallon
of gas according to Mr. Mechanic of the report's authors.
[Note: in other areas of these pages we note a CEEE estimation
of the real costs of gas to be between $5.15 and $15 per gallon
compared to the price reflected on the gas pump gauge --
so assuming accuracy of delivery and the posted pump prices,
say one big THANK YOU to the non-driving carless who so graciously
subsidize the horrendous costs of our auto addictions.]
Mr. Mechanic noted that neither study reflected the economic
benefits of driving, nor the harder to derive costs of urban
sprawl [which the automobile helped spawn] on our quality of
life, resultant loss of farm land and open space, wetlands; health
and economic impacts of water pollution from oil spills, storm
water runoff and leaking underground fuel tanks; and the impacts
of industries such as mining, chemical and waste operations which
support the auto industry and related auto industrial complex.
[How much more gridlock are we willing to "spring-for"
before we decide that more substantive and sustained investment
in public transit, trains and similar auto alternatives is a
benefit to all of us, even -- especially -- us auto addicts?]
[You may find these estimated costs helpful in calculating your
real per tankful monthly, yearly, or lifetime of auto and auto
related costs. Compare this cost with the benefits of sitting
pretty in gridlock in your inanimate, pollutive shiny thin tin,
plastic and glass status and sex symbol.]
See Mother Jones' April 1997 issue on Natural Capitalism (Organic
Capitalism?) to obtain more information on the inefficiencies
(the automobile is not only over-priced and a bad investment,
it is whoa-fully inefficient as a mode of transportation), and
hidden costs of the automobile.
MJ suggests that if we were to calculate the full costs of gasoline,
including our military presence in the Mideast Golf area, that
the actual price would be closer to $7 or $8 per gallon. We guess
it to be far more when you consider all the costs and factors
such as roads, air pollution, health problems, etc. "Natural
Capitalism" is a good read and perhaps is as articulate
a presentation of the structural problems of our economy as may
So, what's so conservative about "liberalized economic policy"
-- or being economically frivolous?
Capitalism: Eating the competition and smooshing consumers...
'Nothing personal, just business... we're capitalists!' Stay tuned for the
Divine Right of Corporations and the Separation of Capitalism
the auto industry has a rather unsavory history in wrecking the
trolley system in Los Angeles, California, and 27 other cities
around the US. It
has been reported that the auto industry: General Motors in concert
with members of the tire (Firestone) and oil (Standard) industry
worked concertedly to dismantle public rail service in LA and
27 other US cities in order to corner the personal transportation
market and to chill public support for public transportation.
Free (to plunder) market economics, anyone?
to the Automotives
Smart ForTwo 40 mpg vehicle came to the US in 2008. It still makes sense to go carless,
but if you think a small vehicle, with only marginal fuel efficiency
for a vehicle of it's size/class, then, maybe this is an option.
getting a bicycle instead of or in addition to buying a car if
you are physically fit and able to ride safely. Bicycles are
a good supplement to the automobile for short personal trips
or when your car is in the shop (;-(. Consider alternatives to car ownership
(which are much less expensive and better investments) such
as B I C Y C L E S (negotiate price and profit here too);
public transportation (demand political action, funding and support
for good and more civilized train and light rail service and
public transit); renting or "buying down" (purchasing
smaller - less expensive vehicles which meet 95% of your personal
transit needs), and renting up for those few special needs and
occasions when you actually need a larger or different or special
purpose vehicle); communal or shared ownership options; donating
used vehicles to charities (Carefully); car pooling; and ride
Invent an improvement
to the automobile, or make it more efficient and less polluting,
and less of a drag on our budgets, economy and environments and
Supplement your auto purchase with a bicycle. Use
the bike when the car is in the shop, or when the car is overkill
on short trips to the store or around the neighborhood. Find
times and list locations where bicycles are preferable to the
automobile. Mountain bicycles are superior for commuter and roadway
or street riding to the traditional narrow tired ten speed bike.
Mountain bikes handle the imperfections in street and roadway
surfaces better than the narrower tired bikes. Get a cranium
appropriate technology. Use appropriate transport modes for short,
medium and long distance travel needs: walking, bicycling or small electric
cars are perhaps best for short hauls or trips: cars, bicycles,
bus or car pooling for medium length hauls or trips, and public
or private transit for longer hauls or trips. Plan personal travel
to avoid congestion and gridlock. Avoid driving during peak commute
- 20 relatively easy things to do to
clean up the air and environment
- Consider an electric vehicle as an alternative
to gas or diesel powered automobiles.
of AFVs (Alternative Fuel Vehicles) California
Air Resources Board (916) 332-2990, (626) 575-6632
- Consider the
"Think" City Car
by Ford (Ford has abandoned this project and has been backtracking
on earlier pledges to make it's vehicles more efficient) (Unfortunately,
the THINK is no longer available... Thank you Ford?
renting a car or a bigger vehicle for special needs, car sharing
clubs, communal or shared car ownership, public transit, or other
auto alternatives as options in your personal life-time transportation
- Check out
the, GO-4-Interceptor, made by Westward Industries, Manitoba,
Canada (204) 857-8109 (Distributed in the US by White Bear Sales,
Inc., POB 16718, Milwaukee, WI (414) 783-6868. You may have seen
this three wheel vehicle operated by your local parking control
department. There are electric and gasoline powered models available.
They are not currently priced competitively as the company making
them is small and demand exceeds supply. This vehicle is reportedly
licensable as a motorcycle in the US. Even though this vehicle
is slightly more expensive than the average automobile, its is
smaller, more maneuverable, possibly less expensive to operate
(fuel and maintenance) and perhaps better for personal transport
in an overly automobiled urban environment.
your savings from
reducing your use of your automobile or from going carless totally,
and from adopting appropriate alternatives to the common car
for personal transportation. Often only minor changes in one's
life are necessary to adapt to carlessness. And it pays great
dividends. It adds up quickly -- no new car depreciation costs,
no maintenance and operating costs, no pollution -- and more
savings when you make your government reward and incentivize
less car use, carlessness and efficient and convenient alternatives
to the automobile. The average cost for a lifetime of car ownership
and operation in the US can exceed $400,000, more than twice
the median priced American home. Double, triple and quadruple
this amount (or more) to calculate the lifetime costs of luxury
or high-end vehicles.
funding, planning, design and construction of light-rail public
transit systems for commuters to central employment hubs
from surrounding suburbs. Even if you drive, you'll benefit when
those who do not drive use public transit instead of driving.
Our habitual dependence and addiction to the automobile is fouling
our nest and poisoning our air and environment for ourselves
and future generations.
the funding, planning, design and construction of a comprehensive
system of commuter and recreational bicycle lanes and facilities
for promoting bicycle use as an alternative to driving to and from work
and from home to shopping and other local events. Even if you
drive everywhere, you'll benefit when opportunities exist for
alternative transport modes for others. Fewer drivers and lighter
commutes benefits everyone, especially those who commute by auto.
An important aspect of bicycle commuter lanes is long term maintenance.
Support on-going maintenance of at least a workable skeleton
of bike ways within your city or county and on inter-city and
inter-county commuter and recreational bike paths.
- Car pool.
Share the ride.
or motor scooter if
you are willing to assume the additional risks. We recommend
protective body and headgear. Head wounds suck, too!
- Pool car-appropriate
uses and trips
with neighbors and friends. Group and share daily vehicle trips
and offer to run reciprocal and mutually beneficial errands between
family, friends and trusted neighbors. Shop less, spend less.
have a CAR, Man!", (although even the carless subsidize the auto
industry 24/7/365/ad infinitum, the lifetime costs for carlessnesshood
is considerably discounted) or Buy down & rent up. Buy the smallest or least "amount"
of car that meets 90% of your personal transport and driving
needs. Rent a bigger or different vehicle when special driving
needs require it. You could save tens of thousands of dollars
doing this, especially when calculated over a lifetime of automobile
ownership and operation costs. Indeed, consider carlessness and
renting or borrowing when other avenues of transport are unavailable.
Avoid buying into the current advertisement propelled popularization
of expensive sport utility vehicles (SUVs). These vehicles often
do not meet minimum Federal sedan safety and equipment requirements,
and they are seldom used for their intended purposes. They also
consume more gas and maintenance costs are higher for these vehicles.
They are not a good consumer value. Some SUVs are reported to
be at higher risk of rollover in evasive steering maneuvers.
Consider whether higher centers of gravity and shorter or narrower
wheel bases (spacing) wouldn't make a vehicle subject to overturning
in emergency or evasive steering situations. These vehicles may
also be more difficult to steer safely back onto the pavement
when they veer onto soft roadway shoulders or when driving on
icy or wet surfaces. Put those Michelins on safer and less expensive
it was reported that U-Haul may have rented trucks which had
severely worn tires and other vehicle maintenance and repair
problems or deficiencies. It bears mentioning that when renting
any vehicle you should do your own vehicle safety check, or have
it checked by your trusted auto mechanic or a public safety officer.
creating or joining an auto cooperative where several individuals or families,
clubs, neighborhoods, or organizations purchase an automobile
or vehicle fleets together and workout mutual usage arrangements.
This concept has apparently caught on in Europe. Just do it!
the Austin-Healy (British, Now BMW) Mini, and the new Fiat. Now available in
the US. Small, miniature car, good for around town errands. Supposedly
good mileage. Consider repairability. Really kewl, man!
2000 Issue of AutoStyle (A special advertising supplement
prepared by the San Francisco Newspaper Agency for the SF Chronicle
and Examiner and possible others) reports that the Mini is
coming back in 2001. BMW now owns the Mini and will try to
capitalize on the small cute car market, apparently in competition
with the VW insect, er., "New" beetle. No matter how
big or small you are, take advantage of any potential cost savings
in smaller cars if the auto fits...
- The Victoria's Secret) Car Share Co-op
good information about Car Share Co-ops and links to Portland's,
Oregon, and San Francisco's, California, and other Car Share
Co-ops in Canada and Europe. Also see the San Francisco
- Go carless. If not completely,
then schedule regular carless days or periods. Impose
a car free day on yourself this year, month, or this week. Try
not driving on the weekend, etc. See if you can get there by
- Have an
out-of-car experience more often, regularly once a month, once a week,
or more often. Schedule it today.
(carefully) other smaller, higher mileage vehicles:
- such as:
Suzuki Swift, Geo Metro, Honda Civic, Austin (BMW, now) Mini,
Fiat, Etc. - The Yaris, the Fit, the Versa, etc., of the hybrids
should help economize in the gasoline and emmission efficiency
categories, not as good as carfeedom, but...
11, 1997) The
Marin Independent Journal reported that the Insurance Institute
for Highway Safety IIHS tested 11 models of small four-door cars
and none rated IIHS's "good" crash worthiness/safety
rating. The IIHS report rated the Kia Sephia, Dodge and Plymouth
Neon and Mitsubishi Mirage as "poor." The Honda Civic,
Toyota Corolla/Chevrolet Prism, Ford Escort/Mercury Tracer, Hyundai
Elantra, Saturn SL, Mazda Protege and the Nissan Sentra reportedly
rated IIHS's "acceptable". The Volkswagen Jetta/Golf
reported received IIHS's "marginal" rating. The MIJ
report indicated that the Civic and Corolla could have received
IIHS's "good" rating with minor improvements.
an Electric or Alternative Fuel Vehicle.
Search the WWW for similar sites. (Shop & Buy carefully,
electric technology for cars is not perfected nor fool-proof,
and there are some active recalls... heads-up!), AND BEWARE THAT
SOME ELECTRIC VEHICLES ARE LOAD LIMITED OR RATED FOR CARRYING
if you have the time, money, and space to keep one or more.
Club's Auto Oil Freedom Package
University Bio Diesel Project
Don't Be Fueled
can't beat'em, join'em. Open your own dealership, or encourage your
children to become car dealership owners or franchisees -- at
least while the pickings are good. And, there'll always be a
market for "Honest John's Auto Sales and Service" shops.
and use, sell, and service bicycles. Encourage bicycle-safe recreational
and commuter resources and facilities as an alternative to the
automobile. Even us auto addicts benefit when everyone has handy
and efficient auto alternatives. (Less gridlock, and cleaner,
Become an Auto-Alternative
activist: We all benefit, even, especially us auto addicts, when
everyone has viable and efficient auto alternatives: Visit
Critical Mass and their Webring in virtual space:
[List All Sites] [The
Critical Mass Web Wheel Homepage]
Critical Mass Hub...
Sitting Pretty & Fouling Our Nest[s]
- Help reduce
the size of the urine stain in the sky that we cause by driving and which
we breathe in everyday due to our addiction to the polluting
automobile. Drive less, save more. More money. More clean air.
- Ask you local
government to reduce or minimize road
building... minimize the graffiti of asphalt. Lets maintain and
repair what we've got and improve public and mass transit as
auto alternatives before we make the existing traffic situations
and gridlock worse.
- You may not
have heard about the study done recently on bridge toll takers.
The sperm of male bridge toll takes who are subject to high concentrations
of automobile exhaust was less motile (more lethargic) than was
the sperm of a control group of males. If you drive in congested
urban traffic, and unless you can shut out exterior air from
being drawn into the vehicle by recycling interior air, you may
be concentrating polluted road air inside your vehicle. This
is especially possible when the air conditioner, the air fan,
or heater are operating. Consider the recycle-interior-air option
if it's available when buying new vehicles.
"Earth to Earth: Get a clue...man!"
REduce, REuse, REcycle, and REstore; its the Earthy thing to
Have an out-of-car experience today! Take twelve-steps away from
Emptor - Tricks of the Great American Car Deal ©
© copyright 1995-2012, R. Rand Knox, All Rights Reserved.
Not for use, reuse, sale, resale or fee unless
so licensed, permitted, or released by R. Rand Knox in writing.
Happy motoring, wheeling & dealing
-- virtually and really.
or more and we will email to you a 4 page Adobe Acrobat .pdf
file with 19 car deal tricks sellers often use to inflate automobile
costs, and additional auto consumer resources.
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Help us help you help others.
What's In You?
GOT ASTHMA? Yet?
GOT WAR FOR OIL?
GOT TOXIC LOADING?
GOT GLOBAL WARMING?
GOT EXPENSIVE FOSSIL FUELS?
Have you told your auto maker, or the
auto industry to make more efficient and cleaner-air vehicles?
to copy and post). Have you asked others if they have? It wouldn;t
kill you to do so! It may even help prevent or reduce asthma
and global warming.
Air, Planet, & People: To Save Y'our Breath, Lives, Money
Tell Car Makers To Make
Jump Start Ford For A Cleaner-air Future
2 Jump Start Ford
NHTSA to Improve Fuel Efficiency of SUVs
Car Makers To Get Their Gas In Gear Flyer 2-up
Save Your Breath, Life, Money
& Planet Flyer 1-up
Be A Fossil Fool - Fossil Fools Day
Save Your Breath, Life, Money & Planet (The breath, life,
money and planet you save may be your own.)
Literacy Self-help - Auto Consumer Resources:
Support - Up-armored Car Deals
Real Conservatives Conserve (The money you save may be your own.)