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Sunday, May 19, 2013

 
Government vs. Technology

A few months ago, I ran out of gas, conveniently across the street from a gas station. I bought a 1-gallon plastic gas can and a gallon of gas. It took over 10 minutes to empty that gas can because of the incompetent design. Just the other day I Found out that the incompetent design is a government mandate:

The gas gauge broke. There was no smartphone app to tell me how much was left, so I ran out. I had to call the local gas station to give me enough to get on my way. The gruff but lovable attendant arrived in his truck and started to pour gas in my car’s tank. And pour. And pour. “Hmmm, I just hate how slow these gas cans are these days,” he grumbled. “There’s no vent on them.” ... An ominous regulatory announcement from the EPA came in 2007: “Starting with containers manufactured in 2009… it is expected that the new cans will be built with a simple and inexpensive permeation barrier and new spouts that close automatically.” The government never said “no vents.” It abolished them de facto with new standards that every state had to adopt by 2009. So for the last three years, you have not been able to buy gas cans that work properly. They are not permitted to have a separate vent. The top has to close automatically. There are other silly things now, too, but the biggest problem is that they do not do well what cans are supposed to do.

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