Tuesday, February 7, 2012

bin Laden's Dead, but the AQMD Lives...

Do you know who…or what…is the AQMD? If you're from Southern California, you're likely aware that this bureaucratic acronym stands for the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Sounds innocuous, right? Wrongo, oh smog breath. These are the unelected cronies of various cities and counties in our piece of the once-golden state, or current or former members of the Assembly or Senate, or just highly-placed political insiders, or perhaps well-healed donors who wrangled these high-paying jobs just to screw with your puny little unimportant lives. There are currently 13 members of the Board of Governors of the AQMD, and together they decide whether or not the air is dirty, and if so, what's causing it, and then whether or not to go after the purported culprits with the full power and authority of the State of California and all their law enforcement options. They can tell us to stop whatever they think we're doing that they've decided is bad. And if we don't, they can fine us. Or imprison us. In short, there's basically no upper limit to their power over our little lives. And, once again, they are APPOINTED!

It used to be that you could take your car to a local shop and have it repainted. Or have the bumper rechromed. Or have your furniture sanded down and revarnished. No longer. The AQMD has legislated these mom and pop businesses out of existence. Sad, to be sure, but the victims have been relatively few, as has the overall impact on our lives, up to now, at least. But now they've gone just a wee bit too far.

State air-quality regulators just passed sweeping new auto emission standards this past week that include a mandate to have 1.4 million electric and hybrid vehicles on California roads by 2025 (emphasis mine). The AQMD board unanimously approved the new rules that require that one in seven new cars sold in the state in 2025 be an electric or other zero-emission vehicle
(once again, my emphasis). The plan formed by these ivory tower pinheads calls for a 75 percent reduction in smog-forming pollutants by 2025 and a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emission from today's standards (I got tired of adding emphases, but I could have, and maybe should have).

I might mention that today's standards for vehicle emissions are over 1,000 times more stringent than those in effect in 1974
(okay, I reverted to my previous predilection for serial emphasis). According to Mary Nichols, Chairman of the AQMD Board of Governors, "Today's vote…represents a new chapter for clean cars in California and in the nation as a whole. Californians have always loved their cars. We buy a lot of them and drive them. Now we will have cleaner and more efficient cars to love." God bless her micromanaging little soul. There's just one problem. The technology to develop such vehicles does not exist. And, according to automakers, is not likely to exist by the time 2025 rolls around. But sadly deluded, but "proud," Mary seems to think she can force it into existence by simply mandating it. Poof! It will happen! And if it doesn't, somebody's going to jail!

Mary's little pronunciamento also fails to recognize another factoid. Californians don't like weenie little piss-ant electric or zero-emissions cars. And they're not buying them. The Chevy Volt, the brainchild of our Redistributor-in-Chief, was originally projected to sell 10,000 cars in 2011 and 40,000 a year by 2013. They sold less than 7,000 Volts last year. Have of those sold are still on dealers' lots, and half of the remainder were purchased by the Federal or state governments. It has been stated by those in the know that the majority of the remaining few hundred Volts were bought as a fourth or fifth car by wealthy lefty enviro-whackos so they could show their ass to their less environmentally-conscious neighbors. In fact, Chevy dealers are now refusing to take their Volt allotments, having learned that they cannot sell them. And yes, they cost $43,000 each. They are actually based on the Chevy Cruze platform, which costs $18,000. Think of the Volt this way: you'd be buying a Chevy Cruze with a $25,000 battery. The good (or bad news, depending upon your particular perspective), is that you get a $7,500 tax rebate from the Feds for buying this little piece of crap. Put another way, your neighbors will have some of their hard-earned tax dollars redirected your way by the Big Redistributor as a D.C. bribe for buying this car. Makes you feel all squishy, doesn't it?

Oh, and by the way, the Volt has a tendency to spontaneously combust a week or two after a side impact accident. Every one of them, so far. And all have been total losses. In order to sell cars in this country you have to crash them to determine just how badly they fare when squished. In the Volt's case, they squished okay but later caught fire due to battery leakage. Green energy turns into a nice bright orange, it seems.

But it's not just electric cars that are falling short of customer expectations. Even the vaunted Honda Civic Hybrid has left some buyers feeling shafted because the promised 50 or so miles per gallon has not materialized. In fact, roughly 10,000 Civic Hybrid owners have joined together in a class action suit to get some moolah back from Honda. It seems 50 mpg is more like 40 in the Real World, or even less. Just last week a nice Southern California lady named Heather Peters successfully sued Honda because her Civic returned only 30 mpg. The judge in her small claims court suit awarded her $9,867 in damages! Clearly, this "green" agenda we've been having stuffed down our throats leaves a lot to be desired.

So, you say, no biggie. I'll just go across the border into Nevada or Arizona or Utah and buy my new F-150 pickup or Suburban. Ummm, not so fast. You won't be able to register it in California. In fact, there's some talk that the AQMD may OUTLAW all non-complying vehicles a "suitable" period after these new regs kick in if enough Californians don't voluntarily submit to this tyranny and head on down to wherever they have to go to buy these overpriced, underperforming, tiny and tinny little cars.

Not to worry, says the Board. The happy new owners of these wussy cars will save enough on gas to more than pay for the additional $6,000 premium they say you'll have to fork over. I'd like know what kind of air – or other substance – they've been breathing if they actually believe this patent B.S. It'll be three or four times that premium amount, or even more, and it will take 20 or more years to recoup the investment, if it can be recouped at all. The batteries on these turkeys shoot craps after 8 or 10 years and cost a fortune to replace. And, by the way, getting rid of them requires a call to your local HazMat team. Nickel Metal Hydride, the key component in many of these batteries, is a serious pollutant, both to mine and to discard, don't you know. Maybe you could just quietly drop the depleted battery in the dumpster behind your nearest supermarket. If, of course, it didn't weigh 1,200 lbs.

The stats are clear: An average of 5.6 businesses each employing over 100 people are leaving California every week (no more emphasis required). This little AQMD should serve to increase that number markedly…

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