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Innovative automotive technology the bureaucracy won't let you use

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Popular Mechanics: 10 car options the law won't let you have

Back in the 1980s headlight companies developed sealed reflector/lens assemblies that permitted replacement of the bulb. This was a breakthrough: Not only were the replaceable-bulb halogens brighter than the older style of light, but they also meant that burning out a bulb didn't have to mean replacing an entire assembly.

There was just one problem: Federal rules demanded "sealed beams" or all-in-one headlight assemblies with a nonreplaceable bulb inside. It took until 1984 for American drivers to get the better headlights they wanted while regulators got a grip on the notion that the bulbs should be replaceable...

As the pace of innovation accelerates, the gap between invention and regulation widens, making it unclear whether some of the coolest new automotive tech will actually be allowed in American cars. These clever car systems, unfortunately, are having a hard time getting approval in the U.S...

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Porsche needed to design a side marker for its GT3RS 4.0. It cost them $250K to get it approved -- on a car limited to something like 500 copies . . .

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So you know why everything is so much more expensive than it has to be. The bureaucratic mentality of you must beg (and pay) for advance permission for everything you do is all over the economy now, including simple private use of private property.

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They are "nudging" car makers and buyers: Don't build cars like the GT3Rs.

Meanwhile, did you see the TWO PAGE article in the weekend WSJ on cargo bicycles? THAT'S approved personal transportation.

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I didn't see the WSJ article on cargo bicycles, but we used to (a long time ago) use a two-wheeled grocery cart tied to a bicycle as a trailer for trips to the grocery store. It served the purpose at the time but isn't recommended as a substitute for civilization.

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Hearing about unrealized innovation is ridiculously frustrating. At the same time, its refreshing to see some of these ingenious ideas.

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They are "nudging" car makers and buyers: Don't build cars like the GT3Rs.

Meanwhile, did you see the TWO PAGE article in the weekend WSJ on cargo bicycles? THAT'S approved personal transportation.

On occassion I'll ride my bike to work. I ride a big mountain bike and the treck is 16 miles each way, most of it along a local river away from cars and roads. I love the ride. It's really beautiful. But, the other day in the office I made the comment that the Chinese, over the past 20 years have gone from bicycles to BMWs - and next time I ride my bike in to work I'm going to wear a Chinaman's hat. A few people understood and laughed pretty good at that. That is where we are heading in America. When I look at how many worthless American dollars I spend each month to feed my truck I wince.

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