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To Make Regular

A discussion on another blog last week is still in my mind.  The upshot was about how regulations are interfering in our lives in hundreds of little ways that you might not even realize.

The “for instance” in this case was gas cans.  Sure, you’d play hell trying to find an actual metal gas can anymore, but the plastic ones last longer anyhow and have generally worked well.  Until recent years, that is.  Somewhere in the last few years, they removed the tank vent.  So, you are pouring gasoline from your new plastic gas jug into your hot lawn mower and, as the gasoline comes out, it has to be replaced by air.  But there is no air vent!  So the air has to come up the spout.  The same spout you are pouring out of.  What happens?  It chugs, of course.  The flow of gasoline stops for a moment, the air is sucked in, and then the flow restarts at a temporarily rapid rate, either missing the lawn mower’s tank or quickly overfilling it.  This is not what you wish to have happen with a hot engine.

This did not use to happen.  The gasoline jugs had vents – holes with little caps that you opened when you were using it.  So why did they get rid of them?  Well, safety, we are told.  Or emissions, possibly.  Whatever it was, it must have been a terrible problem, if they were willing to risk irregular and random dispensing of flammable liquids.

But then, you will remember all the horror stories of people maimed and killed because some gasoline spilled out the tank vents.  You don’t?  Well, neither do I, but I am sure it must have been happening a lot, if they saw fit to eliminate the vent.

But it does seem like they were regulating just to regulate.  Or maybe they were just throwing a bone to the trial lawyers.  Who is helped by this kind of numbskullery?

It is not just gas cans, however, it is a lot of things.  Been having trouble getting your clothes or dishes clean in recent years?  It might be because they regulated the phosphates right out of the detergents.

I have had to deal with two refrigerators that kept icing up.  Know why?  Turns out, it was Energy Star, the program to lower the electric requirements of various appliances.  What’s the easiest way to lower the amount of electricity a refrigerator requires?  Pull out the defrost coil.  That may be fine in Arizona or Colorado, but go somewhere with humidity and you soon have a real problem.

More and more, from cars to computers to appliances, mechanical products don’t seem to work very well.  Normally, this gets blamed on corporate greed, planned obsolescence, or foreign manufacture.  But I wonder how often the things that are going wrong go wrong because of the myopic or underhanded requirements of the regulators.

Meanwhile, you will be glad to know that there are thick plastic water jugs on the market – and they have vents!  Mark carefully.


Categories: Pet Peeves
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