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Bloviating Zeppelin: The Logical Extension

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Logical Extension

When I customarily see, hear or read of an issue or event, I like doing what I call the "logical extension" -- that is, given the nature of human beings, how can they push the envelope ever further? What is the next step? What does it mean? Where will it (or can it) likely be going?

Well, I am sorry to say I missed a "logical extension" that has been staring us in our faces for at least two weeks; I've only now done the L.E. and made a frightening conclusion. And from such a small story, and such a small object -- but with absolutely huge implications.

India's Tata Motors (I had visions of some smarmy graphics or links here, the likes of which I shall not indulge) rolled out their new Nano automobile in early January. The Tata Nano takes the mantle of the world's cheapest car -- priced at $2,500 to around $3,000 (100,000 rupees in Indian currency).

This is a vehicle crafted to be pitched to "the masses" at a price that, literally, millions of people may be able to afford.
The four-door Nano is a little over 10 feet long and nearly 5 feet wide. It is powered by a 623cc two-cylinder engine at the back of the car. With 33 horsepower, the Nano is capable of 65 miles an hour. Its four small wheels are at the absolute corners of the car to improve handling. There is a small trunk, big enough for a duffel bag.

No information yet on its curb weight or mileage estimates. And yes, it is a gasoline-powered engine.

I have mostly owned motorcycles and economy cars in my life, by fiscal necessity. I had a 1974 Subaru GL, a 1979 VW Rabbit, then a 1985 Chevy Sprint, actually manufactured by Suzuki, possessing (as I was fond of saying) "993 throbbing and pulsating cc's packed into three massive cylinders."

Yes. My new '85 Chevy Sprint didn't even have a 1 litre engine. It shipped with a left door mirror (I had to order the right door mirror later), cloth seats, a 4-speed manual tranny, crank windows, and no air conditioning. On a trip to Santa Cruz, I got an actual observed 55 mpg out of that thing. I was, however, ridiculed at work because my fellow employees said I would save additional bucks by purchasing Hoover "Carpet Master" tires instead of real tires.

My Sprint was retired in 1987 when it was struck amidships in the rain on I-5 by a 1977 Kenworth, having been knocked into the K-Wobbly's lane by an uninsured asshole who sped by me and lost control. My poor car ended up being a good 1.5' less wide than when issued from the factory. 1987 was a bad year: the accident almost killed me, I got a divorce, then was shot at and missed (by about an inch) by a recalcitrant DA investigator. But that's another story only to be revealed after numerous shots of Stoly.

From there, I purchased a 1989 Geo Metro. It didn't get quite the mileage, general high 30s and low 40s.

After a few other failures, I purchased a dark green 1999 Chevy Metro -- my absolute favorite small car. And probably most responsible for my skin cancer since its windows were inches from the side of my face. I customized this car as much as I could, hard-tinting all its windows, upgrading its seat covers, purchasing the back storage cover, upgrading its stereo. It got a consistent 40+ mpg. It once acquired 50 mpg on a long freeway trip. My then-girlfriend backed up into it and dented the hood, which she never replaced (though she swore she would -- the beginning of the end, as it were). But that's another story.

From there, a cramped 2004 Subaru Outback Sport, to my current roomy 2007 Toyota RAV4 SUV with the chipped 280-hp V6 engine (which kicks much ass and is, essentially, a Q-Ship).

Back to the Tata Nano, and the application of this "logical extension" thing.

I'll make it brief:

A $2,500 car = hundreds of thousands of buyers in India.

Which means China will have to produce its own version of the People's Nano (if not allowed for immediate import into China proper).

Which means more gas. More gas. More GAS. For those thirsty, thirsty nouveau-riche car owners.

Which means more global competition for limited gas production. Not limited gas -- limited gas production. Refineries.

You can expect crimped supplies within two to five years, I estimate.

WE won't drill our resources. We won't tap what we have. We already get the bulk of our oil from our northern neighbor, Canada. You know, oil sands, Alberta and the like.

Enjoy what you have for a few years. Right or wrong, my analysis being greedy or self-centered, you'd best adjust. This isn't just an exhibition; this is a full-out competition for oil. And I know who I want to win. I want us to use carrier groups, FA-18s, cruise missiles, nukes, be my guest.

But throughout all of this, who will additionally continue paying, via "aid" and "assistance" for the world?

Why -- would it be -- the AMERICAN TAXPAYER?
And with those monies, what will you GET? How far will you be stripped? How far will you be pushed? Before, under dire petrol straits, when will you actually expect some kind of return for your investment?



Blogger TexasFred said...

You need to buy 2 of these Tata Nano thingamajigs...

That way we can say 'BZ has a nice set of Tata's..." :)

Mon Jan 28, 06:51:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Fred: I SO didn't want to go there.



Mon Jan 28, 07:01:00 PM PST  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

01 24 08

Those Tata's seem a bit cramped. As to your realistic post, I agree and that is scary. I hope we come up with a viable way to use piss power or whatever else biomass in the future, otherwise we are doomed.

Mon Jan 28, 11:00:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Anonymous: yeah, blah blah blah. Whatev. Get the fuck out. Banished.


Tue Jan 29, 02:39:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Thanks Mahndisa. But I'm afraid I don't harbor much hope.


Tue Jan 29, 02:40:00 AM PST  
Anonymous WMD_Maker said...

You need to remember that in India the car doesnt have to have ANYTHING in the way of what we consider standard safety features. Like 2.5 mph bumpers that still need damage repair in a 2.5 mph collision, dual wiper blades, side impact structure that makes it so your window cant be rolled all the way down and the rear windows barely open, crumple zones so the car becomes totaled in a 10 mph front end collision. Not to mention the engine is purposely under powered and has ZERO emissions equiment on it (a 663 cc engine in an ameican car couldnt power itself let alone move something else like people thanks to the emissions controls). It also has little in the way of creature comforts it has rubber mats for floor coverings, when was the last time you even heard of that let alone SEEN it on an american car. No AC, no power windows, power brakes, no mandates anti-lock brakes, no mandated traction control. Good Lord some one would actually have to be capable of driving to go somewhere in this thing. The typical US driver would be lost in a car of this type, they would actually have to PAY ATTENTION to driving.

Tue Jan 29, 07:35:00 AM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Actually, China has something close to that, if memory serves... in that same $3k range. The problem: no emissions controls. Adding on even the most basic of controls beyond the muffler raises the prices of a car like that quite a bit, and kills its fuel economy and performance since it wasn't designed for it.

Expect India to see Chinese level of air pollution if they don't do anything about that.... you know the 'city missing from satellite due to air pollution problem'?

Within 5 years I expect Canadian oil production to more than double, possibly triple (and the western provinces to have a growing employment problem - as in not enough people to employ which they already *have*), Iran to implode and drop off the world oil market as an exporter, Venezuela to follow suit if Chavez keeps in power for another 18 months, and major Islamic unrest in sub-saharan Africa's oil states. Russia will hobble along, never picking up production, just enjoying increased return on limited output.

So as China passes the US in 'greenhouse gas' production in the next year or so, and India will do in 2-3 years, and Europe slowly disintegrates due to internal mismanagement and balkanization due to Islamic groups brought in to work in those Nations, the US environuts will either have to face up to their deeds not meeting their words (which is already the case) or admit they just hate an industrialized US. I expect many in the R party to *support that* to move 'efficient production' overseas (read lower cost) and agreeing with the D party on no need for ANWR, continental shelf or other oil production exploration or even new refineries... OUR petro industry will begin to be scaled to where Iran's is today, and moribund, too. Canada *could* be a saving grace, but if we refuse to build refineries, then that will need to be shipped overseas and re-imported while we let our industrial infrastructure rot because employed Americans adding $0.01 per gallon of gasoline by *refining it* is unacceptable to business interests in the US.

Just like the $0.04 per week on grocery bills is unacceptable for ending illegal alien labor.

What does happen to America when its energy production and refining is all done outside the US and there isn't even enough left to support the armed forces done in-Nation? Do we have a *huge* nuclear navy? Say 1,000 ships, including CVs and UCAV carrier platforms? If al Qaeda has already floated ideas to use LNG carriers to attack the eastern seaboard, then what happens when 75-80% of all our energy comes via the sea lanes? And what happens if some idiot President signs LOST and the Senate ratifies it?

Nice knowing the US!

Either support American oil exploration, refining, and transport or triple the size of the Navy... our choice. Takes a few years to get ships made, so make the choice *now* to protect our future. Because with Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria off the scopes, things get pretty scanty and Iraq will not be up to that potential for at least another decade.

Build industry or a navy, because we many not soon have the former and then can't build the latter.

Fish or cut bait.

And you won't hear *that* from any of the Presidential candidates, either.

Tue Jan 29, 09:26:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: again, a thorough but depressing analysis. But a question: wouldn't it be likely that China itself has a large series of oil fields undiscovered simply because no one's been seriously looking? I would wager India may have its own undiscovered fields?


Tue Jan 29, 01:49:00 PM PST  
Blogger shoprat said...

2 Things

The Big 3 might want to look at their own equivalent of this vehicle.

Secondly, we Americans are sitting on a lot of untapped oil, and that has to be changed. The people are so afraid of environmental damage that they won't drill the oil that I am at this moment sitting a few thousand feet directly above.

Tue Jan 29, 05:36:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Shop: yeah, but wouldn't it be inconvenient to have an oil derrick in your living room?


Tue Jan 29, 08:25:00 PM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - China *has* been seriously looking... for at least a decade.

Their geology is great for a lot of things, but oil doesn't look to be in the cards, nor oil shales. People have been looking in all of the neighboring Nations, too... their continental shelf is a bit more limited than that of the US... we have a nice receding part of our continent on the east and a huge basin in the south: lots of oil deposits. China has plates pushing against it and some subduction going on, leaving the Korean peninsular waters as the only likely place and if Mr. Kim and his father didn't find anything there, it wasn't for lack of trying. South Korea would love that, too... which is why China is drilling off of Cuban waters.

Coal gassification is about all China can really expect... they do have some decent deposits of coal. Also a so-so supply of natural gas (and I would expect there to be more of that due to geology, too). The places that *might* have had oil were hit when India hit the Eurasian continent. Pacific subduction kills the other, leaving central asia which was hit during its prime time for such by the largest megavolcano ever seen that flooded things with hundreds of feet of basaltic rock. The central lowlands have proven not to be under water enough to get decent sedimentary deposits for oil... natural gas, yes. Crunched and baked on the edges, folded in the middle and baked a bit more on some other edges.

Wed Jan 30, 11:14:00 AM PST  

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