Gas prices dip; SUV, truck sales soar

The nice thing about this development is that if you’ve been looking for a very efficient used car, now’s the time to buy because everyone else and his dog isn’t looking for the same car and driving the price up.

The education system in Germany is different. Everyone goes to grade school, then around 13, students either get on the college track and continue the education we are used to, or they get an apprecticeship. There are apprenticeships for electrical, plumbing, car repair, even dairy work (my FIL did that). My wife just informed my that it isn’t quite as formal as it used to be, but the basics haven’t changed.

A report was done on millenial attitudes toward work and full time jobs. Remains to be seen whether or not it is just a sour grapes reflection of the job market, a normal youth attitude that will change with nesting, or what, but the report seemed to say that many don’t want full time jobs in an office anymore. They would rather just free lance and work part time, buy and accumulate less stuff, who needs a car? and just travel and eat at outside cafes. If true, good bye to quite a few support jobs in consumer industries and a buyer for my house and stuff, and people willing to take care of us elderly folks.

When the mostly phony OPEC oil embargo ended around 1974 fuel prices doubled. Many people panicked and sold their gas guzzlers for a huge loss and replaced them with more economical vehicles selling for a huge premium. If they had bothered to do the 3rd grade level math they might have discovered that they needed to drive the more economical vehicle over 100,000 miles to reach a break even point on what they had just spent.

If your post retirement dream is to sell your real estate, buy a giant motorhome, and live in it full time I would suggest renting one for a month or two to ensure it is really what you want. If you decide yes. Do it. If you want a giant motorhome for two to four weeks of family vacation per year. Rent one.

If you need a pickup a few times per year to haul home improvement supplies rent one. If the home improvement store offers delivery for a small fee that’s even better. One time I hauled half a dozen 2X4X8 foot studs in my 1st generation Mazda RX-7 with the hatch closed.

If you need a luxury car or giant pickup/SUV to impress others or to make yourself happy I have no suggestions. Buy one.

My need is 2 or 3 trips up to the cabins, where there is a sand launch for boats. no 2wd can handle pulling out an 18’ boat, then there are 1 to 2 kids 2 dogs and 2 cats that vacation with us. A prius is not a solution. @sgtrock21

My European visitors have mentioned that to them it seems we are obsessed with DIY. From bathroom remodeling to cars to everything else. Their lifestyle is very different. Very small apartments, close to public transportation and jobs. Not much to DIY is you are in a 600 square ft apt.

On my last trip to Europe (2003) the largest private vehicle I saw was a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

It was worth the trip to the Mazda dealership when I was looking for a new car a few years ago. When the salesman mentioned MPGs, I told him that MPGs didn’t really matter because I put so few miles on my car each year, it’s hardly worth a look. The look on his face was priceless.
From May 13th 2010 to Dec. 18th 2014, I have 17,500 miles on my ride now.

An RV is sure not my idea of a life style. A lady that worked for me retired, sold the house and possessions including her prized piano, and hit the road with a $130K RV. Haven’t heard anything from her in a while so hope she found another place to live. Our ex pastor’s wife (both ex) is touring in an RV trying to find her way. I dunno says she likes it but I sure wouldn’t want it for more than a week or two.

“From May 13th 2010 to Dec. 18th 2014, I have 17,500 miles on my ride now.”

That is 5 months of driving between me and my wife.

@Bing, my sample size is small, but my children and their friends that I hear about are all fully employed in traditional jobs. My daughter’s husband had 3 months from the time he turned 26 and the date he started his job. He insisted on getting health insurance even though he could probably have just waited and not been caught and forced to,pay the fine.

There is a very definite minimalist movement these days in the young. The small house movement is a great example, see link. Kind of like RV living.

The movement applies to cars, too. I think this will change some of the future landscape for everyday life. SUV sales will continue to slide. Truck sales will hold better because they are work machines and DIY haulers, for a while.

You can avoid any fine for not buying health insurance simply by not having too much income tax taken out each pay check. Google “Rush Limbaugh and avoid paying fine for ACA” .He expains how you or anyone can easily avoid paying any fine. No one forces you to pay a fine.


  1. You, promoting el-Rushbo?!?

  2. That is contrary to the training I received as a paid tax preparer. (And it was as a post-printing revision to the textbook, as there were last-minute decisions, as always, about how to implement it.) You’ll owe a “individual shared responsibility payment,” reported on line 61 of the 1040, that is the GREATER of: a) $95 OR b) 1% of your adjusted gross income…which, for small business, inlcudes GROSS receipts BEFORE expenses!

  3. All that link indicates is that the IRS, by law, is prohibited from garnishing your wages to collect payment for this particular fine. YOU STILL OWE IT (plus penalties and interest). Your (and Rush’s) advice is simply not to pay (i.e. be a deadbeat). You can do that with other (non-government) bills, too…but in the long run, most people find there are disadvantages to the “just don’t pay your bills” strategy that make it “not worth it.”

  4. Congress could, in future years, grant the IRS garnsihment priviledges. How’s that tax strategy working for you now?

  5. Awful odd to find YOU, of all people, on the “scofflaw” side of the fence. What’s next: ideas on how to get around DUI checkpoints? Maybe falsify CDL logbooks? (Gotta use automotive examples, ya know…)

Here’s an interesting question . . .

When hiring a plumber, contractor, electrician to do major work on our houses, we make sure that the guy is licensed . . . at least I do. I used the word licensed, because I’m not sure what the proper terminology is for those trades.

Why then should people not check that the mechanics in the shop that works on our cars are also licensed and certified?

By the way, I’m not smug enough to think that a non-trained, non-certified mechanic can’t do an excellent job. I’ve known several guys that learned by doing, and were among the best

But I’ve also known several guys that learned that way, that simply lacked the fundamental knowledge of how cars work, and weren’t good at diagnosis, reading wiring diagrams, following trouble trees, etc. Some of them didn’t know the 4 stroke theory, the correct order, how to adjust valves, electrical theory, etc.

Whereas the guys I know that did an apprenticeship, trade school, community college, etc. did know how to read the wiring diagram, follow the trouble tree, etc.

I’m not saying the trained guys were all excellent, but at least they knew how to read that stuff

Whether my son in law paid a fine was secondary to him. It was the principal that mattered.

Knowing a little bit about it, I think you’ll find that the pressure for licensing comes from the professions themselves, but seems like mainly the ability to limit competition and increase rates. Barbers? Yes there are some definite sanitation and skill issues involved in some occupations but just licensing does not mean the person is going to do a good job either.

NIASE testing is a step in the right direction for the automobile repair trade but standardized multiple choice tests are somewhat unfair. For whatever reason I score well on standardized tests and often outscore others who obviously are more knowledgeable than me. Based on the testing given in boot camp I was offered a commission and jet fighter training when I was 19 with barely a high school education and astigmatism was all that prevented me from entering the program. Of the hundreds of others in my series many had several years of secondary education in various fields. And I recall taking and passing all the NIASE certification tests in 2 nights. Personally, I believe that some highly intelligent people are easily intimidated by the tests and anguish painfully over each and every question as opposed to my marking the ‘most likely’ choice and moving on.

But I seem to recall that to get the NIASE certs the tests must be passed and a year or two working as a professional are required. That does add considerable credence to the patch.

I agree. There are some jobs I have hired private contractors to do work without checking, but the areas you mentioned, definitely have reprocusions as far as your home owner’s policy is concerned. I had a friend and neighbor who was a licensed electrician and plumber. I did a lot of electrical and plumbing work over the years at home with the idea he would check every thing before any final hook ups were made. I only had my self to blame but he had a very good reputation and was pretty good about things I had to redo. He was a licensed pilot and built two kit airplanes in his garage. That doesn’t automatically make him a great ellectrician or plumber but he had three important licenses as far as I was concerned.


Quote anything you like and make up any thing you want about the future, but you are not forced to pay. You can avoid the penalty. What you want to make up what the IRS might do in the future
has nothing to do with what is fact now.
There are ways to even avoid the this penalty. Affordability is one and filling out the appropriate forms can easily do it for other reasons as well. So the fact remains, you are not forced to pay the penalty and can avoid it, as long as you are willing to do a little research.