More on Class and Cars

signage 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.

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