Regulatory Logic

My son in law sadly reported to me that he kissed his eighteen year old Honda van good bye. The van was still in good running condition and he wanted to keep it as a working truck. Since he is in the business of fixing air conditioners and furnaces he has opportunity to make a few bucks on the side. The company he works for provides him with a work truck, but they don’t allow him to use it for jobs not company assigned. Thus a handy vehicle with his tools loaded would be a great assistance.

The Honda began to alert him to problems with dashboard icons that warned of impending doom from air pollution devices. The Honda doctor wanted nearly two thousand dollars to fix the problem, but the van is worth much less than that. He was not in the mindset to spend that much money to repair a truck that might last another year before the next large expense occurs. The truck has over 210,000 miles on it’s odometer which is credible for a car these days.

The son-in-law called a junk dealer who gave him $500 bucks for it. The man hoisted the van onto his flatbed hauler and told him that he will remove and recycle the catalytic converter and then the van goes into the crusher. In the good old days backyard mechanics would disable these non-essential devices and sensors and continue running the van. Today, we have laws they stipulate with holding a license plate if the vehicle does not pass the yearly emission control test, no plate, no car.

Now here is my dilemma. My own Toyota is seventeen years old, has 182,000 miles on it, has a rustless body, the interior looks like it did when new, it has no dents, the paint still shines, and I still like it’s style and looks. Then why would I trade it for a car that is newer and doesn’t appeal to me? Because Uncle Sam has this thing about keeping air pure. I remember when driving in California years ago that the air seemed to be foggy, and the residents dismissed my complaint with “oh that’s only smog.” We see similar pictures of smoggy days in China, and hear stories about the government forbid driving cars on days when the Olympics were being held. Yet, the same government that withholds personal freedom and liberty of it’s citizens does not have regulations that require smog control devices on their cars. We, on the other hand, have some personal liberty and freedom, but are hampered by laws and regulations that really contradict everything our constitution stipulates. Since we claim to be a Nation of Laws and we try to mean that by enforcement our liberty and freedom are often limited. Why we even have two sets of justice, although that is not stipulated it is very clear that some people play by a different set of rules and regulations.

If I were a rich man, I would have new car every year, and a paid driver to haul my ass to the library, and the pharmacy once a month. I am not rich, but I am not poor, so I must provide my own transportation, and that means driving myself around in a car. When my dash board lights up I’ll have to move to a State that doesn’t require emission control testing.

When I was a teen my home town of Chicago had a public transportation system that allowed me to get around town for a nickel a ride. It was cheap, and easily accessible. No one had to walk more than eight city blocks to catch a streetcar, and the cars came by every fifteen minutes. Today, when I could use a system like that, the tracks are buried under asphalt and the streetcars are replaced by buses that come every hour. It is worse in the suburbs where transit systems are a dirty word, and the infinitely wise city planners don’t even provide sidewalks to link one neighborhood with another. The younger planners argue that we don’t need public transport any more because self-driving cars will replace the need for a personal transportation device, and the next day we read about someone getting killed in a self driving car accident.

About twenty years ago, I thought it would be cool to come back a hundred years from now t see how the world had changed. Currently, I am only fifteen years away from being able to remember what it was like a hundred years ago, and it ain’t pretty. I don’t imagine the world will look like it did in Star Wars or Star Trek. The flying car will still be grounded, people will still have to work, and they will still have to commute to a job on out dated and scarce transportation. I think a hundred years from now people will still be blogging about how much better it was in the “good old days.”

3 Responses

  1. It isn’t just Uncle Sam who has this thing about keeping air pure. Many other uncles and aunts are doing the same. In India, a petrol car cannot be run for more than 15 years. Diesel only 10. Then they should be junked. Isn’t this creating a pile of junked cars somewhere faster than it needs to? My mother has an 8-year old petrol car. She hardly uses it. It has done less than 10,000 km. Km not miles. Come 2030 and she will have to hand over the keys to the scrap dealers even though it would probably have done less than 20,000 km.

    • I am happy to report that in the USA we are not yet told what to do with the car. My friends in Singapore tell me that when their car reaches ten years old it is often shipped to a third world country.
      One day these countries will wake up to crystal pure air but will complain of the many unsightly junk yards that block the pastoral views.

      • 🙂

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