This is the monthly online newsletter for the car club council. All car hobbyist events are listed on this site under "Calendar." Just click on the link above to view the list of car shows and other activities.
I wish to encourage you to attend our car show on May 15th. This year we have additional food trucks including a couple for desserts ($5 food coupon if you are a participant), revised parking, more sponsors, more silent auction items and other improvements. We will need help with parking spectators. I look forward to seeing you at the show.
Our first meeting of the year was on April 26 and we had a surprise. For the first time we went to a restaurant where we had a reservation and it was closed for "spring cleaning". I had even checked a couple of days before. My wife and I and others I have spoken to have had problems with restaurants - changed hours, menu items not available, etc. I picked River City Diner because the other restaurants we usually go to would not have us because they still thought there were limits set by the governor even though they had been changed. I think we will continue to see the effects of the virus lockdown for some time. I am going to explore different restaurants. Keep in mind there are few places that still have meeting rooms and even fewer that do not charge an additional fee for using a meeting room even if purchasing food.
Things are changing quickly both at the federal and state level on climate change and the push for electric vehicles. The council will continue to monitor and keep you informed. Please scroll down to the TCI petition article and read it and take a look at the video. I believe it is very important to sign this and let our state lawmakers know how we feel about increasing the tax on gasoline just to encourage people to buy electric vehicles. Electrics still need infrastructure, better range and quicker charging before they become mainstream. DMV says that there are about 150,000 or 1.7% of all vehicles in Virginia that are hybrid or electric. We don't know how many electrics there are but they are few. There is a reason for that low number.
They'll see you at the show on May 15
The next meeting will be Monday, August 30 at 6:30 PM at a location to be announced in the August newsletter.
2nd Annual Breakthrough Car Show - CCCCCVA 26 Years
Here is an update on our show set for May 15.
We have the trophies and dash plaques (dash plaque image below). This year there are more classes and more trophies.
We have more food trucks committed to the event than last year.
There will be more silent auction items, better signage and revised parking layout.
We also have more sponsors. We are renting a nice PA system.
The show committee is working to make this big event a real experience.
You don't want to miss this event.
See all the details, show flyer and registration at this link Car Show.
Car Hobbyist News
I needed motor oil for an upcoming oil change. I went online to a well known auto parts store because I thought they had the oil on sale. Their website had 5-quart jugs for $17.99 and I thought that was a good deal. I called the store and they had two in stock. I went to the store and grabbed the two jugs and went to the counter to pay. The guy scanned them and they came up $19.99, not 17.99. He said the difference was the online price was lower. I said “I could have bought both of these online, not only saving four dollars but I’d also get them delivered to my house for free – that makes no sense”. The guy replied “Buddy, nothing in this world makes any sense anymore”. And he was right.
Just take a look at what both the state and federal governments want to do: end cheap, plentiful, easy to use energy and replace it with more expensive forms that are not plentiful. Look at what the General Assembly passed: low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program, electric vehicle rebate program, electric vehicle grant fund and program. About 2% of vehicles in America are electric and for good reasons: they are more expensive than gas vehicles, they have lower range, long charging times and you could spent 10K on a super charger for your home. But that isn’t stopping the feds or the leadership in Richmond from pushing something that just doesn’t make sense. Let’s add in the fact that Virginia imports electricity from other states because we don’t produce enough for the needs of today. Replacing oil and diesel with electric vehicles will put an increased demand on electricity. Which of course means the government will have more control over us. In fact we should stop calling it climate change and start calling it climate control.
The Biden administration is moving forward with the Paris Accord and other climate change actions. He wants us to pay (literally) for climate change while China and India are moving forward with building over 100 coal fired plants. China has a pass on the Paris Accord until 2030 and I can honestly say they do not believe in manmade climate change.
At this writing at least 10 attorney generals of states are suing the Biden administration over the climate change directives. Why? Because they just don’t make any sense. We do not have enough electricity now and who really thinks that going to undependable wind turbines and solar panels are going to cure this?
What does this mean to car hobbyists? The answer is the government wants all of us to replace gasoline and diesel vehicles with electric ones. Steps have already been taken to increase the price of gas and diesel. This has to be done because people will not consider an electric until gas prices go up over $5 a gallon and stay there. You can see from what the General Assembly has passed that they want to fund rebate and grant programs to get people to buy electrics. The rebates are for the rich and the grants are for the poor and the middle class gets to pay for them all.
In fact if you look carefully at the agenda being pushed by both DC and Richmond nothing in them makes sense. The people pushing such agendas need to be removed from office. And we can’t simply vote them out because many of these people have been appointed to positions.
Governors of a dozen states are urging Biden to end gasoline vehicle production by 2035. We are in for a rough ride over the next few years.
Powhatan Cruise-In April 3rd - See all the photos at Powhatan Cruise-In. Photo by Ron Clark
They passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act, requiring an end to natural gas electricity generation, dependency on unreliable solar and wind power, and the clear-cutting of forest and farmland equal to 20 times the size of Manhattan. They also imposed a carbon tax on electric bills.
They voted to allow regulators in California to impose engine fuel efficiency standards and electric vehicle mandates on Virginians. When California’s regulators ban the sale of internal combustion cars and trucks, so will Virginia’s regulators.
Their next step will be to approve the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) – an inter-state compact with 13 other Northeastern states. It would raise gasoline taxes to 50 cents or more a gallon, impose gas rationing at the wholesale level, reduce revenues for road repairs and construction, and devastate Virginia’s rural economy.
The stated goal of its leaders: End the use of gasoline and force you to subsidize someone else’s shiny new electric car.
The Thomas Jefferson Institute invites you to join the war for economic freedom and individual choice by signing our petition and demanding Virginia’s leaders oppose joining the Transportation and Climate Initiative.
We, the undersigned, oppose Virginia’s participation in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). TCI will raise gas taxes on Virginians, force rationing of gasoline at the wholesale level, reduce state revenues for road repairs and construction, and devastate Virginia’s rural economy. We reject TCI as nothing more than a tax on poor and working Virginians to subsidize electric vehicles for wealthy Virginians and urge you to oppose any measure that would bind the Commonwealth to the TCI.
Fuel Tax and Caps Detailed in TCI Model Rule, Now Open for Public Comment
By Stephen D. Haner is Senior Fellow with the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.
How would TCI regulate and change the motor fuel business in Virginia, should the state decide to join in 2022? What are the initial carbon taxes likely to be? Some details can be found in a draft model rule published March 1 and now subject to an open comment period through May 7.
You can find the 153-page model rule here. There is an open portal for any public comments you wish to provide, and you can also find summaries of the comments filed to date. Certainly, all fuel wholesalers and retailers and businesses dependent on transportation need to study this document and the regulatory structure it creates.
The Rhode Island and Connecticut legislatures are currently considering legislation on TCI. Massachusetts intends to join with its governor claiming he already has authority to sign the interstate compact. If Virginia joins in 2022, that is still in time for it to be in on the first carbon dioxide emissions allowance auction in 2023.
Asserting that lower income urban communities have suffered the most damage from the use of fossil fuels, a premise treated as a given, the model rule insists that each state must commit “no less than 35 percent of the proceeds from the auction of allowances to ensure that overburdened and underserved communities benefit equitably from clean transportation projects and programs.”
How to spend the funds would be determined by a state advisory body “with a majority of members being representatives of overburdened and underserved communities or populations.” In Connecticut low-income advocates have already increased that in their pending bill to 50% of the proceeds which must be focused on that segment of its population.
More than 30 pages of the model rule focus on another aspect of this ignored so far: Carbon offsets. Extensive use of offsets would mean that the goal of 30 percent or more reduction of fossil fuel use is even less likely to come to pass. By planting trees, capturing animal-emitted methane, or engaging in other “offset projects that have reduced or avoided atmospheric loading of CO2 equivalent or sequestered carbon,” the firms can be awarded “offset allowances” to continue selling fuel. Expect the cost of those offsets to also end up in the consumer price.
The heavy focus on addressing alleged inequities makes TCI a major income transfer mechanism, as most of the TCI carbon taxes will be paid by business entities and people with long commutes. The opportunity for offsets provides a direct subsidy to the burgeoning and highly-lucrative industry of claimed environmental interventions that do not really reduce the use of CO2 fuels on the region’s highways. Are these the real goals of this proposal?
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s decision to not press the issue in the 2021 General Assembly gives the state’s voters a chance to weigh in during the November election. The 2021 General Assembly did move forward on creating possible ways to spend the TCI carbon tax revenue the state would reap. Advocates will likely point to them as uses for the tax money to come.
Legislators approved a state-funded subsidy program for the purchase of new or used electric vehicles. House Bill 1979 calls for the subsidies to begin January 1, $2,500 for any EV buyer but that increases to $4,500 for lower income buyers. The Assembly, however, provided no funding in the final budget despite a fiscal impact prediction of almost $70 million by 2026. The TCI carbon taxes are a natural source to fill that gap.
Another measure signed by the Governor creates a different state fund to finance electric school buses, again with no funding or funding source identified.
In the discussions underway in New England, a minimal future tax amount is being discussed, perhaps about 5 cents per gallon. But previous data provided by the advocates themselves, analyses by outside economists, and the model rule itself all point to much higher figures.
The model rule, copying other systems that use allowance auctions to set a commodity price, sets floor and ceiling prices. An emissions containment reserve (ECR) sets the floor price and would reduce the number of allowances for sale if the auction price falls below $6.50 per ton of carbon dioxide in 2023 (about 6 cents per gallon). That target then rises to $12.30 (12 cents per gallon) by 2032.
The ceiling price, a cost containment reserve (CCR), provides more allowances for auction if the bid prices go too high. The published CCR price starts at $12 per ton (about 12 cents per gallon) in 2023 and rises to $30.16 per ton in 2032. So under that document the likely starting tax in 2023 will be 6-12 cents per gallon, rising to 12 to 30 cents by 2032.
So the likely first year carbon tax will be between 6 and 12 cents per gallon in the first year, and between 12 and 30 cents nine years later in 2032.
This would be on top of Virginia’s existing gasoline tax, which goes to 33.8 cents per gallon on July 1 of this year, then even higher in 2022. It is worth noting that in his recent infrastructure proposal, one thing President Joseph Biden did not do is propose raising the federal fuel taxes, unchanged since 1993. Perhaps that was to leave states room for this approach, but it might also reflect voter antipathy to higher fuel taxes in general.
Dive deep enough into the wormhole of broken project cars and pampered race cars, and you’ll eventually find yourself backing up to a car trailer for the first time. Here in the United States of Freedom, the options for trailering are restricted only by your skills; for the most part, drivers will never need a CDL (commercial driver’s license) to haul around a car. Of course, this open-season approach to trailering means it can be difficult to source information concerning where to start, the equipment needed, and the skills necessary in order to safely tow a trailer. We’ve all spotted people who shouldn’t be anywhere near a car hauler, often pulling those infamous orange and white rental trailers, and simply put, we don’t want any one of our dear readers to end up being lumped in with these meme-able novices. At the very least, knowing what you’re dealing with on the trailering front could prevent a serious accident.
Let’s start with one of the trickiest components: the hitch. This is the most important area of operation, where attention to detail is crucial. A little slip-up could mean the trailer unhitches while moving over the crown of a driveway, or you end up being that guy going viral for ghost-riding a trailer as it escapes down the freeway. You can imagine worse consequences, and I can speak for a good friend of mine when I say that being hit by a runaway trailer while eating tacos is plenty unpleasant. The hitch system you end up with will ultimately be determined by the trailer and tow vehicle’s capabilities, so we’ll dive into some of the most popular configurations and show you how to equip yourself for whatever come across your hauling radar.
The vehicle carries the receiver and the hitch mount (be it a ball, pintle, etc), while the trailer holds the coupler, safety chains, and electrical connections. We’ll start at the front and work our way back.
Largely dependent upon the vehicle’s GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) and towing capacities, the universal five-class hitch rating system matches the hitch type to the trailer’s size and weight. You’ll often see unibody vehicles with a smaller, 1-1/4-inch receiver hitch—Class 1 or Class 2—because it (ideally) limits the weight of the load by using a hitch system that only fits smaller trailers. Classes 3, 4, and 5 utilize the familiar 2-inch receiver hitch found under most pickups.
Most vehicles use a receiver-type hitch, as opposed to a fifth-wheel or bumper-mounted hitch, though most everything we’re discussing will translate. A receiver hitch bolts to the chassis of the vehicle and uses a standardized size square slots that receive the necessary hitch mount. The standardized sizes for these receivers and mounts are dictated by the hitch’s weight rating.
While they’re much less common today, older truck bumpers with hitch ball mounts were generally rated for Class 3. Still, if you use one, make sure of the rating and your load to avoid brewing a recipe for disaster. Keep in mind, too, that even a factory receiver hitches can be classed lower than what the vehicle is ultimately capable of handling, and it’s common to upgrade a factory Class 3 receiver to a Class 5. The 5s are typically built with thicker steel and utilize more attachment points on the frame to better distribute the load.
Pickups generally employ fifth-wheel hitches, or similar goose-neck hitches, for extra heavy and long trailers. These place the tongue weight of the trailer over the rear axle instead of behind it, increasing the towing capacity.
With the placement typical of a “bumper pull” hitch, any movement of the trailer has leverage over the rear tires due to the distance between the hitch, while also affecting the weight on the front tires as the rears act as a fulcrum; as weight is applied behind the rear axle line, it eventually teeter-totters the weight ahead of it. We’ll get more into this later, but for now, just remember that tongue weight is critical to ensure that the front tires aren’t unloading and reducing their stopping capability and that the tow vehicle can manage the trailer’s weight shifts. A fifth-wheel hitch largely alleviates issues in this context, with the tongue weight in that setup sitting over the axle and removing the incidental fulcrum. All that said, weight distribution hitches can be particularly useful for SUVs, for which the fifth-wheel/goose-neck hitch option isn’t available but the towing capacity is still high enough to haul a load that would create a significant amount of weight on the tongue.
Once the trailer is hitched up, loading it is the next adventure. There’s a near-infinite number of trailer and load combos out there, so let’s focus on more universal advice on securing loads. At the end of the day, everyone’s situation will be a little different given the variables of each particular job.
One of the biggest mistakes new trailer users make concerns balancing the weight of the trailer such that it doesn’t oscillate or “sway” laterally. Generally, you want the weight to be balanced forward of the trailer axle(s) or centered on them, to ensure that the tongue weight is correct for the given load. Concentrating the weight behind the axle(s) is how you get a tail-wags-the-dog situation.
Tongue weight should be roughly 10-15 percent of the trailer’s total weight. Like we mentioned before, in some bumper-pull applications tongue weight can upset the balance of the truck itself, and weight distribution hitches are available to alleviate this issue. How does the distribution work? A pair of torsion bars are sprung between the truck and trailer, resisting downward motion and preventing any twist at the hitch, effectively acting as a sort of anti-sway bar to keep the trailer level.
Straps are also critical—worth spending money on from the get-go. A broken strap or a chintzy ratchet mechanism can make a routine road trip with a trailer turn into a nightmare. If you’re hauling a car, it’s worth spending tens of extra dollars to get the proper straps than to cheap out on some hardware or discount-store finds. How best to strap a vehicle down for transport is an age-old debate, but generally, experts agree that it’s better to strap the vehicle at four points to the trailer corners, without crossing the straps in an X-pattern left-to-right. The theory is that if one strap breaks, there isn’t a large radius for it to sweep along if the vehicle wants to roll back and forth as the tow rig accelerates or decelerates, pulling it straight-on instead.
For smaller loads, use what’s appropriate for the weight. Tension, or cam-lock, straps can be useful for light items, but ratchet straps are the norm for anything heavier than an average-weight person. The working load of the strap should be more than the weight of whatever it is that you’re hauling, as it may be the only component directly supporting the weight if loads move around.
I can already hear the scrolling and clicking away because safety is boring to talk about, but trailer preparation could be the difference between a minor blip and a DEFCON 1 traffic incident.
About once a year, put the trailer up on jack stands and inspect everything. It doesn’t hurt to nut-and-bolt-check every bit of hardware; this is a great time to inspect brakes and hub bearings or fix wiring underneath. (And let me tell you, cops love to harp on details like malfunctioning trailer lights as cause for tickets, so getting everything ironed out ahead of time means you’ll be ready for these surprise inspections even when a haul comes up on short notice.) In the spare parts department, extra wheel bearings and hubs can be life-savers, because finding the correct parts locally can be tough even in small-town America. It’s not unheard of for some folks to even carry spare trailer brake light kits, so the trailer’s electrical system can be repaired on the fly.
As for the hitch itself, there are several different locking mechanisms out there, all of which have a different operation while securing the trailer. Safety chains, however, are universal. Once crossed, they act as a catcher’s mitt for a loose hitch, allowing the tow vehicle to control and stop the trailer with relative ease. Their effectiveness is related to how much slack there is in the chains; there should be enough for the trailer to articulate through its range of motion without pulling the chains taut, but if they’re too loose, the trailer has more room to free roam until you come to a stop, like a long playground swing. The secret sauce is to twist the chain, which shortens its effective length. And once you put a few miles on the road, it’s worth stopping to double-check everything once your load and trailer have had a chance to settle—especially those straps securing a load.
Get it, got it? Good!
These tips are just the foundation of good trailering habits. There’s a wholenotha-can-o-worms of guidance for actually driving and maneuvering with a trailer in tow, but this 101 overview hopefully helps cover some common rookie mistakes. Americans enjoy nearly total freedom in their choice of trailer (with rare exceptions for states like California, which does regulate routes for large recreational vehicles), and that freedom comes at the price of self-enforced safety precautions. If you’ve been paying attention to the pushback that people who roll coal have been getting from the government, you’ve seen how certain behaviors can become subject to heavy restrictions once enough people ruin it for everyone.
So now that you’ve got the basics in mind, go forth with that haphazard Craigslist buy and trailer to your heart’s content. Stay safe, know your vehicle’s limits as well as your own (towing is more exhausting than an average cruise), and let us know if there’s any particular aspect you’d like us to dig into deeper for a future overview.
Time Bandits Amelia Cruise-In April 10th - See all the photos at Amelia Cruise-In. Photo by Ron Clark
How Old Is Too Old For Tires
Tires, even those not used, do not last forever. Precisely how long they last is a matter of some debate, but most sources agree that 10 years (and some say seven years) from the date of manufacture is the cutoff between safe and potentially unsafe. Tires can degrade internally, meaning that a safe-appearing set may be a blowout waiting to happen. But, if you didn’t buy them new, how can you tell the age of your tires?
Beginning in 2000, the U.S. Department of Transportation required that tires carry a code specifying the manufacturing plant, the tire size, and the production date. Look for a label that begins with “DOT,” then jump to the last four digits. Of these, the first two show the week the tires were produced, while the last two digits show the year. A code of 5016 would indicate that the tire was made during the 50th week of 2016.
It gets trickier for tires made prior to 2000 (which shouldn’t be used for more than show duty, anyway). Look for the DOT code as with newer tires, but here, the sequence ends with three numbers, not four. A code of 264 means the tires were built in the 26th week, but could be from 1994, 1984, or earlier. Play it safe, and budget to replace them.
Apple's Tiny Solution to Never Losing Your Car Keys Again: AirTags
This little Bluetooth puck attaches to whatever you don't want to lose, and it works in a uniquely Apple way.
We've all been there. The moment when you realize your car keys aren't in the first, second, third, or fourth place you normally leave them. Now you're late for work, or for a doctor's appointment, or whatever equally dire situation that presents itself. But luckily, Apple has launched what might be the best addition to its product line in a very long time: AirTags.
Each AirTag is a quarter sized, battery-powered Bluetooth puck that passively keeps track of, well, anything you latch it to. The AirTag itself uses Apple's U1 chip with ultra wideband technology to improve the unit's location accuracy. Bluetooth LE ("low energy") means the CR2032 battery (those flat ones found in watches and most key fobs) should last about a year before it needs replacing.
Because AirTags work within Apple's tightly integrated ecosystem, they're ideal for anyone with an iPhone or a Mac. If you've lost an item and you're out of the AirTag's Bluetooth range, whenever someone with an iPhone walks within 30-50 feet of the lost AirTag, its location is passively updated and stored in the "Find My" app. The process is secure and doesn't update anyone on the location of the person who pinged the tag, just where the tag is. Should you find a lost AirTag, the owner's information (like their phone number) will populate your screen so you can let them know you've found one of their belongings.
At this point it's worth noting that Tile has been in this exact space for years, but Tile's system lacks the native ecosystem integration that Apple has created. Apple is selling a single AirTag for $29 and a four pack for $99, and there will be a series of keyrings and "loops" that will allow you to lash your AirTags to different belongings like a keychain, a backpack, or a set of luggage. Those range from $29 to upwards of $299 for the Hermès special edition items.
Price aside, AirTags seem like a great idea for anyone who chronically loses anything, especially their car keys.
How did the 1963 Jeep Wagoneer drastically change the future of the SUV? Wagoneer was the first 4WD vehicle available with an automatic transmission.
Larry Lee Harris, 66, of Willcox, Arizona, was arrested after chasing a caravan of three National Guard vans carrying COVID-19 vaccines out of a truck stop in Lubbock, Texas, on March 22 and trying repeatedly to run the vans off the road, police said. WAFB-TV reported Harris finally turned his vehicle into oncoming traffic and stopped the vans, then allegedly pointed a gun at a guardsman, identified himself as a detective and insisted on searching the vehicles. He told Idalou police, who found a .45-caliber pistol and loaded magazines in his possession, that he was looking for a kidnapped woman and child. "Mr. Harris appeared to be mentally disturbed," Idalou Police Chief Eric Williams said. All 11 unarmed uniformed guardsmen escaped unharmed.
A motorist in Delray Beach, Florida, stopped to investigate the screaming she heard on March 23 and found a naked woman trapped in a storm drain 8 feet below street level. The Washington Post reported first responders pulled the unnamed 43-year-old woman to safety and took her to a hospital as investigators discovered she had been reported missing by her boyfriend three weeks earlier, Palm Beach County sheriff's officials said. The woman told officers she had been swimming in a canal when she noticed a door leading to a tunnel, which she entered, and then became lost, wandering for weeks in the tunnel system and surviving on a bottle of ginger ale she found. Ted White, a spokesman for the Delray police, was skeptical: "Was she actually down there the whole time?" Health officials think she might have been in the tunnels just a few days, he said.
Phedeline St. Felix told police in Pompano Beach, Florida, she had gone to a city park in mid-March to settle an argument with another woman when she allegedly drove her car over a gate and into a playground, accidentally hitting Chaunda McCleod and her 3-year-old grandson instead, injuring them both. "I was attempting to run (the other woman) over," St. Felix said, according to WPLG-TV. McCleod said she saw a fight brewing in the park and "started to get all the kids together to get them out of the park. ... As I'm picking (my grandson) up, she's just hitting us both and we just went flying over the car and finally we hit the ground." St. Felix was arrested and ordered not to have any contact with the victims.
Andreas Flaten of Peachtree City, Georgia, quit his job at Walker Luxury Autoworks in November, visibly annoying his boss, he told WGCL-TV, but he was promised his final $915 paycheck would be paid in January. When the check didn't come, Flaten contacted the Georgia Department of Labor, and one night in mid-March, 500 pounds of oily pennies were anonymously dumped in his driveway, presumably totaling $915. Flaten has been storing them in a wheelbarrow, but they can't be cashed until they are cleaned.
Robert Radek, 29, of Marlboro, New York, scored a hat trick on March 7 when he was arrested three times in one day, the Daily Freeman reported. First stopped that morning in the city of Newburgh, driving a Jeep Cherokee, Radek was found by the trooper to have a suspended license and crack cocaine with him, for which he was charged with a misdemeanor and released, according to authorities. At 2:30 p.m., police said, the same trooper stopped him again, this time in a Honda Civic, and again found him in possession of crack cocaine, along with heroin. His final arrest came at 5:45 p.m., when Radek was stopped driving the Cherokee again and detained after the trooper determined he appeared to be under the influence of drugs, said police. Radek was released with tickets on all three violations and ordered to appear in court in April.
Volusia County (Florida) Sheriff's deputies responding to a fire at Myers Marine Service in Deland on March 13 were met by witnesses who said they saw Sean Sword running out of the building saying, "I lit a tow rope on fire." Sword, who was severely burned, told deputies conflicting stories about his motives, according to court papers, but after being interviewed at the hospital, he admitted he was looking for a vehicle to steal, but "it didn't work out," so he set a tow rope on fire and the flames spread, adding that he hoped to be in jail for a long time. Boats and equipment valued at nearly $100,000 were damaged, records show, and Sword faces arson and burglary charges.
A 1-year-old is in grave condition after he was shot in the head during an apparent road rage incident in Chicago, officials said. The shooting occurred around 11 a.m. local time Tuesday on Lake Shore Drive, police said. Shots were fired for approximately two blocks along the expressway, during which a nearly 2-year-old child was struck in the head, Cmdr. Jake Alderden of the Chicago Police Department’s 1st District told reporters during a press briefing a few hours after the incident. Multiple shell casing were recovered across those two blocks, he said. The drivers appear to be “completely unknown to each other,” Alderden said. “There was a dispute possibly over somebody not letting somebody into a lane of traffic,” he said.
General Motors is temporarily shutting down more auto plants, leading to tight inventories at dealerships and higher prices for customers. The global chip shortage is to blame. The company announced it would shut production at two US plants — in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and Lansing Delta Township, Michigan, in the coming weeks. GM also extended shutdowns at the Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas, and the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, which have both been idled since February 8. And it will continue the shutdown at the Lansing Grand River assembly plant, which has been down since March 15.
In addition, GM is halting Chevrolet Blazer production at the Ramos Assembly plant in Ramos, Mexico, during the week of April 19, although that plant will continue to build the Chevy Equinox. GM is bringing some plants back online as it tries to avoid shortages of certain vehicles in its dealer inventories. The assembly plant in Wentzville, Ohio, which makes midsize pickup trucks, will resume production this coming Monday. It has been down since March 29. And this past Monday, the plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, restarted production of Equinox and GMC Terrain.
Chrysler built more than 12.5 million Slant Sixes from 1959 to 1991. These inline six cylinder engines are known for being reliable and sensible. However, nearly 50,000 futuristic Slant Sixes were installed in 1961-62 Valiants and Lancers. What made that batch of Slant Sixes so unique? Answer: aluminum engine block (The aluminum engine option cost less than a radio upgrade but still was not popular enough to continue.
National Association of State Energy Officials report that fossil fuel and nuclear power jobs paying $32 to $40 an hour are being replaced with wind and solar jobs paying $24-$26 an hour. Coming to Virginia soon, courtesy of the Virginia Clean Economy Act.
Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled legislation that would invest $25 billion to convert the nation’s fleet of gasoline- and diesel-powered school buses to electric vehicles, building on a component of President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan to improve children’s health.
President Joe Biden pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2030 at a virtual climate summit Thursday, outlining an aggressive target that would require sweeping changes to America's energy and transportation sectors. "These steps will set America on a path of a net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050," Biden said as the White House opened the two-day summit, attended by 40 leaders from around the world. "Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade, this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of a climate crisis," Biden said.
President Biden appeared to send a very mixed message Friday, saying he will mark his 100th day in office with a Georgia “drive-in rally” to promote his policy agenda — including phasing out fossil fuels. Pro-Biden car owners will spew greenhouse gases in the parking lot of a yet-to-be-named venue in the Atlanta metro area, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported. White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the visit at her daily briefing Friday. “On the president’s 100th day in office, he and the first lady will travel to Georgia to highlight how he has delivered on his promises to the American people. While he is there, he will participate in a car rally,” Psaki said.
C7 Corvette Impounded In Canada After Being Nabbed Doing 151 MPH
From Car Scoops.
The driver of a C7 Corvette Stingray has had their vehicle impounded after being nabbed doing more than twice the speed limit in Canada.
The British Columbia Royal Canadian Mounted Police pulled over the man on April 17 approximately 35 km south of the city of Merritt. Using a radar gun, an officer nabbed the Corvette traveling at 243 km/h (151 mph).
“The driver was issued an Appearance Notice for excessive speed, meaning that the driver must appear in Court, where, upon conviction, penalties may be significantly higher than the maximum fine allowed by serving a ticket,” spokesperson Cpl. Mike Halskov told RadioNL. “In addition, the vehicle was impounded and the officer is considering other options, including submitting a High Risk Driver report to RoadSafetyBC requesting a lengthy driving prohibition.”
A photo of the Blade Silver C7 Corvette pulled over to the side of the road was shared online by local authorities.
“Driving is a privilege and B.C. is a leader when it comes to holding drivers accountable for their actions,” added Halskov. “Police remind motorists to obey speed limits, wear seatbelts, drive sober, and distraction-free every time you get behind the wheel.”
This is far from the only time that a Corvette has been pulled over in North America for driving at very high speeds on public roads. In June 2020, we wrote about a silver C6 Corvette that was stopped by police in South Dakota after being clocked at 131 mph (210 km/h) in an 80 mph (128 km/h) zone.
People are putting Flowmasters on everything
Repair Mistakes & Blunders
From Rock Auto
The A/C was failing on wife’s 1990 Honda Accord. There was a horrible shrieking noise each time she turned on the A/C and no cold air. So I figured, yeah, I got this, obviously a bad compressor. Quick test and sure enough, engaging the A/C emits the shriek, and I watch the belt slip on the stationary A/C pulley and start to smoke. New A/C system gets us some A/C but does not fully solve the problem. And then the belt on the alternator started to slip, thus not allowing the battery to charge. Hmm... Odd. New alternator and belts all around, and we are fine for a little bit, but the belts are still slipping when engaging! And cold air is still intermittent. Grrr…
Then with my wife toggling accessories on and off, I notice a little wiggle in the harmonic balancer pulley. Closer inspection reveals that under load the pulley is spinning on the balancer! Hondas use a rubber bushing between the pulley and balancer to fuse the parts which on this 30-year-old car had deteriorated. A new balancer, a few hours of colorful language, and my wife’s car was finally purring like a kitten.
I was reminded of the frequent words of observation of my very practical WWII vet father; “ready, fire, aim.” Lesson learned (again), sometimes the obvious problem is not the problem after all. Even when you are sure you have found it, do a little more sleuthing just in case. At least the Honda is rock solid until I start fixing the next “obvious” problem.
Paul in Washington DC
Jeep dually - photo by VP Ron Clark
Fisker Wants EV Incentives Increased, But Capped At $55,000
From Car Scoops
There’s been a lot of talk about EV tax credits as President Biden’s American Jobs Plan calls for $100 billion in incentives for people who purchase electric vehicles.
The specifics haven’t been hashed out and it’s simply a proposal, but a number of stakeholders have been asking for changes to the current $7,500 tax credit.
The latest is Henrik Fisker who has unveiled his “75 And More for 55 And Less” proposal in a LinkedIn post. In it, the executive says “We are witnessing a rapid and sweeping change in mobility” and “it is imperative that America stays ahead in the race for BEV technology and development.”
Fisker then lays out his proposal, which would see the current $7,500 incentive increased by an additional $10 for every mile of range an EV has. As an example, the Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD with the extended range battery has an EPA-estimated range of 300 miles (483 km) so it would be eligible for $7,500 as well as an additional $3,000. The proposal also calls for the money to be applied at the time of sale and available only to electric vehicles that cost $55,000 or less.
Fisker went on to criticize the current tax rebate, which has largely “served to reward affluent early adopters with the motive and the means to purchase the latest technology.” As a result, he believes the next round of subsidies should encourage automakers to develop more affordable electric vehicles while also incentivizing mainstream consumers to purchase them.
Interestingly, the executive came to the defense of General Motors and Tesla whose vehicles are no longer eligible for the current $7,500 rebate. As he said, “Buyers of more affordable BEVs from some companies are no longer eligible for the federal tax credit, just as the industry is on the cusp of offering even more appealing mainstream vehicles to the masses.”
While Fisker would benefit from the changes, he contends “these incentives are not about promoting one company” but rather “about keeping America at the forefront of innovation and creativity worldwide while maintaining our domestic independence from imported sources of energy such as foreign oil.”
That being said, Fisker took the opportunity to plug the Ocean which is set to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2022. He also noted the company is working on an electric vehicle that will cost less than $30,000 and arrive by the end of 2023.
The RPM Act is common-sense, bi-partisan legislation to protect law-abiding citizens who convert cars, trucks and motorcycles into racing vehicles. The bill clarifies that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to a street vehicle for the purpose of converting it into a racecar used exclusively in competition. It also confirms that it is legal to produce, market and install racing equipment.