Mouser's View

Looking to be offended? You’ve come to the right place.



Get to know the Elio

A major development is brewing in the auto industry, and it has nothing to do with electric car proponent Elon Musk, a media darling who might more properly be considered a welfare queen given the amount of government subsidies floating his companies.

On the other hand, you likely have not heard of Paul Elio, whose company is preparing to bring out a small, uber-efficient car. The claim is that the Elio will get over 80 miles per gallon with a base sticker price well under $10,000. Why so little press? Eric Peters explains at

“It’s not electric – and so the Elio gets no love (much less coverage) from the media. … As long as [a new car] has batteries or fuel cells or solar panels … no matter how functionally impaired or expensive these may be, the media will spasm on the floor in ecstasy like a Labrador retriever pup with a new chew toy. They will write stories more like love sonnets about the magnificence of whatever it is, provided it doesn’t use ‘old’ and ‘dirty’ technology.”

Those stories don’t look at the complete picture, as Eric explains: “Electricity does not spontaneously appear out of the Void. It must be generated – and that requires (well, mostly involves) the burning of coal and oil, which produces emissions … just elsewhere. Probably, more of them than the little Elio produces.”

The reason Mr. Elio projects such a low price (the actual goal is under $8,000) is that he will produce a three-wheel car powered by an engine roughly equivalent to a big motorcycle’s. Two of the wheels are in front. There is one door, opening to front and rear seats sufficiently big for everyone save NBA players.

Underpowered, you say. Not at all. The spec sheet says the Elio has a top speed of more than 100 mph.

Garishly ugly? Well, the Sour Apple color probably isn’t for everybody, but Red Hot and True Blue look better than those hideous yellow Range Rovers I see all the time.

A death trap? The Elio has many safety features, but you may have me on that one. The relatively slow acceleration speed (zero to 60 in 9.6 seconds) could spell doom in a place like Atlanta, which has the wildest traffic north of Mexico City.

The Elio website ( explains how the smallest details were re-engineered to bring costs down. The company’s IPO was crowdfunded; more than 19,400 non-refundable $1,000 deposits on cars are on the books and a modest cable TV ad campaign has been launched.

Can’t scrape up ten grand to pay cash? Elio Motors plans to roll out a unique financing plan. “Each time you fuel up, there will be an extra charge equal to twice the fuel amount. That would then automatically apply to the vehicle price. Think of it this way: Depending on your driving habits and the price of gas, for about what you have been paying to fuel your existing vehicle, you can fuel your Elio and buy it too!”

This whole company is the kind of American ingenuity that gets too little respect.

The feds get it both ways

Prime Inc. is a trucking company that offers flatbed, refrigerated and tanker shipping. It’s based in Springfield, Missouri, has been around 35+ years and is the 20th-largest hauler in the country, according to Overdrive magazine’s website.

As do all trucking outfits, it must continually train and orient new drivers. Because of a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it decided in 2004 that female drivers had to be trained by other women. Sexual harassment, you know.

Everybody lived in harmony for 12 years, until the EEOC stuck its nose in again. From Overdrive: “Prime Inc. … has agreed to pay more than $3 million to settle a discrimination-based lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of more than 60 female truck drivers who claimed they were denied jobs at the country. … The EEOC charges that a Prime policy stating that female drivers only by trained by female trainers effectively denied women driving jobs at the company based on their gender. The EEOC said this week Prime has agreed to pay $250,000 to resolve a discrimination claim brought by one of the female truckers. The carrier agreed last month, says the EEOC, to pay $2.8 million in lost wages and damages for 63 other women who said they were denied jobs.”

I’m not sure this is what John F. Kennedy envisioned when he created the forerunner of this agency, busier than ever in a society that glorifies victimhood.

Another carrier took a similar case to the Supreme Court. More from Overdrive: “Prime’s not the only major U.S. carrier to run into sexual harassment issues regarding male trainers and female drivers. CRST International, though eventually absolved of liability, spent years tangled in an EEOC lawsuit surrounding claims made by female truckers. The Supreme Court just last month issued a decision on behalf of CRST, saying it was owed the millions of dollars in legal fees it spent defending itself against the EEOC suit.”

The amount at stake is nearly $5 million. Will the EEOC refuse to pay up, saying it doesn’t answer to the Supreme Court? Congress needs to rein in these bureaucrats, but shows no will. We wonder why too few people have decent jobs. After reading this, would you want to start a company?

Asshats of the road

[Taking the day off. This first ran Oct. 20.]

As endeavors go, urban bicycling seems to draw more than its share of sanctimonious asshats.

After all, THEY are superior stewards of the environment and might live 10 minutes longer than YOU, who are polluting with your fossil-fuel-powered vehicle.

Urban bicyclists are experts on the Rules of the Road – as they apply to motor vehicles. They tend to ignore their side of the bargain, like stopping at red lights and stop signs. They don’t mind backing up cars on two-lane highways. (Points for bravery here; they know some drivers would prefer to squash them like bugs.)

New York cyclist Alex Bell secured a spot in the Asshat Hall of Fame by suing UPS, claiming its trucks disrupt his commute by blocking designated bike lanes. The original small claims case for $999 was thrown out for lack of evidence. (Apparently Mr. Bell thought he’d win by whining to the arbitrator without showing financial damage.)

Now the complaint has been refiled, with Mr. Bell citing subway fares he had to pay to get to his job as a software engineer.

“I am trying to annoy UPS,” Mr. Bell told local news website “If you annoy them enough, they’ll change maybe.”

But probably not. Finding space to park a delivery truck in Manhattan is tough. Plus, UPS claims that state law allows trucks to double-park as long as the driver makes “an expeditious attempt at delivery.” That includes in designated bike lanes.

UPS apparently tried to settle the case, but not for the full $999. No deal was struck because Mr. Bell insisted on the full amount …

… At which point the company decided to say stick it, asshat. A lovely outcome.

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