Friday, February 10, 2012

General Whale, a heartbreaking story of our smog testing our most grand mammal

I must admit that it has been a few years since I have trolled the junkyards. The weather is beautiful in Los Angeles - perfect for a George Seurat stroll. Without need for a taxi cab sway bar for American iron, I thought there was little to interest me. Though snooping around Pontiac Grand Am trunks is always interesting, there was no commercial reason for me to go even if I do enjoy it more than the zoo.

Beyond acquisition and aspirations, a more interesting view of contemporary culture is what people throw away. And, as a function of government programs, throwing away now comes with financial benefits.

Let's say the your Volvo 145 fails smog. On these older cars the smog equipment is so primitive, that troubleshooting and repair is pretty cheap and easy. 50% of the time it is just addressing exhaust gas recycling. However, the way that smog testing is structured, the tests are just tests and there is no analysis or advice. The people testing the cars know how to test but may not know (or care) about the underlying causes. I am not an expert in smog testing bureaucracy, but it seems people cheating the system have created divisions in the system to separate testing from fixing.

So, it eliminates some cheaters, but so what? At what cost? I would propose that the catching of cheaters has lower net benefit to society than a system that would allow for informed repair of emissions errant automobiles.

The junkyard was full of great, great, great cars. I was amazed.

It has become 'the right thing to do' to junk your polluting car. God damn it. Junking the General Whale. The ecological insanity of removing this well maintained, original paint, tank like Volvo from the world to build another Prius. Certainly, somebody somewhere, has weighed the ecological impact of replacing a 1972 Volvo 145 with a 2011 Prius. I am too upset to look.

It was like a farmer's stand acorn squash. Gorgeous green exterior with an buttery orange interior. 

Perhaps I am wrong and this car was not junked for the emissions Junk Your Car for America program. Perhaps it was the Junk Your Car for Your Favorite Charity program.