Saturday, June 3, 2023

CNBC explains 'How Odometer Fraud Became A $1 Billion Problem,' a driving update

For today's driving update, I'm sharing CNBC explains How Odometer Fraud Became A $1 Billion Problem.

Odometer fraud is a stealthy and a lesser known form of fraud that is hard to detect, but can cost a car buyer thousands. Fraudsters will roll back odometers on cars to hide the vehicle's mileage in the hope of extracting a better price. And as used car prices rose during the pandemic, odometer fraud could've become a more attractive way to make some extra bucks. About 10.5 million cars on American roads have had their odometers tampered with in some way, and about 1.9 million individuals have had their odometers rolled back, according to Carfax. The average cost to those affected is about $4,000 in addition to higher taxes. It is enough of a problem that there is even a federal Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation at the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administ[r]ation (NHTSA) It is staffed by agents investigating these types of crimes. The department estimates that about 400,000 vehicles are sold each year with false odometer readings.
The pandemic disrupting the microchip supply chain for automakers causing a chip shortage resulted in a shortage of new vehicles and a surge in demand and prices for used cars and light trucks. That gave even more incentive to crooked actors, just like a shortage of platinum, palladium, and other platinum-group metals has led to a rise in catalytic converter theft. I keep finding examples of "everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch," even in crime.

That's the big picture. Follow over the jump for my personal driving update, which also features odometer readings.

Pearl rolled past 59,000 miles on Thursday, June 1, 2023, exactly 100 days since her odometer read 58,000 miles on Tuesday, February 21, 2023. That's also exactly 10 miles per day, 305 miles per standard month, and 3650 miles per standard year. That math was easy! On the one hand, it's more than the 8.40 miles per day, 256.30 miles per standard month, and 3,067.23 miles per standard year between February 21, 2023 and October 25, 2022. That's because the seasons changed, so I'm not driving Snow Bear for her better handling on snowy and icy roads and her heated seats. On the other hand, it's less than the 13.16 miles per day, 401.32 miles per standard month, and 4,802.63 miles per standard year I drove her between August 10, 2022 and October 25, 2022, when I was teaching at three locations, but more than the comparable period last year between March 24, 2022 and August 10, 2022, the first part of which I was still teaching from home and drove 7.19 miles per day, 219.42 miles per standard month, and 2,625.90 miles per standard year. Commuting makes a difference.

I promised to look at my family's driving on both cars in CNBC explains 'Why Traffic Can't Be Solved With More Highway Lanes,' a driving update. I'm doing it a different way by adding their annual averages. It took 434 days to me to drive Pearl 4,000 miles between March 24, 2022 and June 1, 2023, which becomes 9.22 miles per day and 3,364.06 miles per year. It took 448 days for my wife and I to drive Snow Bear 2,000 miles between February 7, 2022 and May 1, 2023, which translates to 4.61 miles per day and 1,682.03 miles per year. Those add up to 13.83 miles per day and 5,047.95 or 5,046.09 miles per year depending on whether I multiply the combined daily averages by 365 or just add the average miles per year. Ah, rounding errors! That's more than the 11.69 miles per day, 356.48 miles per standard month, and 4,265.68 miles per year I estimated we drove both cars in November 2022 and still more than the than the 10.91 miles per day, 332.76 miles per standard month, and 3,982.17 miles per year I estimated I drove both cars in March 2022. My wife and I are still adding to the increase in miles driven by Americans, although it has reached a post-pandemic plateau, so recent rises have been slight.

That's it for the driving update. Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature.

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