One of the many Big Lies that sustain corporate capitalism in the United States is the long-running falsehood that cars are essentially egalitarian. Cars-first transportation “unites us across class, racial, ethnic, and religious lines as few other aspects of our society can,” is how Rutgers University transportation engineer James A. Dunn formulates this standard claim.
As DbC has noted before, the facts are immensely against this familiar incantation, not only (and most importantly) on the business-income side of the matter, but also in the realm of actual automobile usage.
Today, we pause to note one important aspect of the stratification of reality on the usage side — the telling divergence between interest rates on loans for buying new and used cars.
Automotive News reports on Experian’s latest findings about trends in car loans between the first quarters of 2011 and 2012. In that time:
Interest rates fell, on average, by 0.27 percentage points to 4.56 percent for new cars and by 0.06 points to 9.02 percent for used cars.
So, used car loan rates are about double, and decline less easily than, rates on new car loans. Such numbers, of course, reflect the fact that, for the rich, cars are power toys purchased with cash; for the working comfortable, they are luxuries purchased with easy credit; and for the real social middle, they are hand-me-downs bought from extreme usurers. The poor, as always, scrounge for scraps.
In the not-necessarily-news department, guess what the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers says about its members’ move to put such vital activities as Facebook and Twitter on the dashboards of future car models, despite the well-proven fact that 10 percent of all automotive crashes, including the tens of thousands of fatal ones each year, are already caused by distracted driving:
Yes, and by the same logic, we know for sure that people are going to drink alcohol and then drive cars. So, what’s the harm in having a keg-cooler and drinking hose come stock in each new auto? After all, they’re going to do those things whether it’s through the vehicle or through a handheld bottle that they bring with them in the car.
Never fear, though! Our valiant regulators are busy striking pained poses as the mass murder proceeds.
Yes, how true. Indeed, you might say we’d have saved 32,885 lives in 2010 alone, if, as in Ms. Hersman’s fantasy, car capitalists weren’t car capitalists.
Then there’s Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has obviously abandoned any glimmer of principle he once possessed on this issue:
“We don’t have to choose between safety and technology,” LaHood now says, parroting the industry’s defiant Big Brotherism.
Thank the gods we have President Obama… Oh, wait.
This Fisker Karma may be the most aptly-named automobile ever. First, it became the only car ever to fail Consumer Reports‘ pre-test drive.
Now, like the Chevy Volt before it, it is apparently spontaneously combusting:
This thing does seem to have inherited something of the sins of its forebears.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!