Thursday, May 23, 2013

How many miles on your car?

Energy independence? Or are government mandates for more efficient vehicles just pricing more Americans out of the new car market?

The bump in price to meet the new CAFE standards seems to offset the so-called energy savings.

Thank goodness the cars of the last couple of decades are good stock because it's looking like a bunch of folks are stuck with what they got.

We have three vehicles. All over 100k. The newest is a 2005 minvan. A comparably equipped new model of the same van today costs about 40 percent more (Got ours for about $26k, new today about $37k when I did an item by item on Edmunds a while back).

Cash for Clunkers also helped inflate car prices. Good used cars, and the good parts they contained, were crushed for the sake of a political feel good.

I have a 2000 Ford Ranger. 117k miles. Bought it used in '03 for about ten grand. Last week, I saw car dealers with similar 2000 Rangers advertised. One had 225k miles, ask was $6,200. The other had 200k miles, and was listed at $6700.

Without the government actions on CAFE and Cash for Clunkers, these Rangers would probably be down in the $1500 to three-grand range.

Cuban mechanic works on old car
US government photo via Wikimedia Commons
We had some work done on the minivan this week, and got to talking with the shop owner and some others
when picking it up.  200k mile vehicles are becoming the norm. 300K cars not unheard of. One of the guys  at the shop has more than 400k on his '92 vehicle.

So, are the CAFE standards making us energy independent?

Or is government meddling turning us into Cuba; where cars are being made scarce or otherwise out of reach by the government - and we may be handing down those we have to the next generation.

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