Why I think E-ZPass is Useless

Back in July 2020, my wife and I finally decided to get an E-ZPass. We do frequent trips where we cross bridges, tunnels, and roads that utilize it and with the world wide condition, we were thinking it would be faster, easier, and cheaper just to get an E-ZPass for all of our future travels.

To make a very long story short, it really did not do what we thought it would. When we pulled up to booth after booth, the device would not register. At one point, we stopped at an E-ZPass station in Delaware, and they said that while they felt bad for me, they could not help me because they can only assist customers with a Delaware issued E-ZPass. Mine was Virginia issued. I was absolutely livid.

Upon returning home, I decided to look into a tip my brother in-law shared with me during our travels. He remembered reading somewhere that certain vehicles, and more specifically, my 2003 Buick Rendezvous has been known to have a windshield that does not work well, or at all, with E-ZPass. I researched into that more and in fact found that to be true. There is a list of vehicles that I found on a document from the E-ZPass website that listed the Buick Rendezvous as a “Special Vehicle.”

There is apparently something in the windshield of a Buick Rendezvous that prevents the E-ZPass transponder from being read by the booths. That is really weird, because I do believe before I owned the Rendezvous, my dad replaced the windshield. I guess even replacement windshields have that same issue?

My biggest beef with all of this is the following. When I walked into the E-ZPass store (I didn’t buy online), WHY DID THEY NOT TELL ME MY CAR WAS ON THE SPECIAL VEHCILES LIST? They knew what vehicle I had because they manually entered it into the computer. The system should have red flagged that immediately. It is very frustrating.

To add insult to injury, the E-ZPass rate for the Cheasapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which we travel across frequently, is no cheaper than if you were to pay by cash or card at the booth. Yes, they take card. But the rates are all the same. The only advantage to E-ZPass is you don’t have to stop for the length of time to exchange money. Not much of a real time saving if I’m honest. I do find it humorous that on the CBBT website they use the silhouette of a Nissan GT-R as the reference vehicle and they show it can apparently tow a three axle trailer.

Overall, I do like when we use our Ford Focus to go on trips. The E-ZPass makes traveling in that car a breeze. But, 50% is a fail. E-ZPass, you really should let people know.

Thankfully, most of the time the booths just run the plate and charge me through the E-ZPass that way, so I still get the possible discounts, if applicable. Which leads to a whole new point. Why is the device needed at all? Just scan plates and bill. And at that point, E-ZPass is just the middle man. Stupid E-ZPass. Absolutely useless.

Buffet of Topics for Today

buffettopicphoto

I didn’t get this post done ahead of time or scheduled on my regular Thursday at 10 time, but that is ok. There are a lot of topics I would like to cover quickly in the blog. Some are new thoughts and some are follow ups so hopefully you enjoy.

A week or so ago was Ford week on the blog, at least that is what each topic was about that week. Since the blog about the Ford Bronco, Ford has announced that they will not debut the Bronco until 2021. That is painful. I am tired of all these car companies “jumping the shark.” Make the car and we will give you money. That is not a hard equation. Side note to the Ford topic as well, my wife and I still haven’t filled out our paper work to get $20 for our Ford Focus issues. Maybe I should get on that.

Next up, NASCAR is BACK! It has been a little different than normal. No fans are in the stands, not even the announcers are present at the track. There is very limited crew and drivers must wear masks when not in the car. Last night Kyle Busch (my favorite driver) caused a bit of anger filled drama when he bumped Chase Elliott causing Chase to wreck. I am not going to defend Kyle, I am simply going to say, it really does look like he was driving by his mirror. Ryan Newman is back in the car after his crash at Daytona. Matt Kenseth has replaced Kyle Larson in the number 42 after Larson said a bad word during iRacing. I am excited for the next race at Charlotte this weekend.

I am finally getting back to Hot Wheel hunting and have been thrilled to find some really nice stuff on the pegs. I am hopefully going to be making videos of all the find that I have acquired, so keep tuned to the All Out Octane YouTube channel for the latest Hot Wheel and Matchbox finds! Both the blue and orange brands have some amazing cars coming out this year, along with great recolors of old cars, and it is nice to be able to share them with all of you!

 

*For fun- Comment below, would rather have a 2020 Chevy Camaro, a 2020 Ford Mustang, or a 2020 Dodge Challenger?

Pass the Blue Oval: Collect $20

Our 2012 Ford Focus
This is my wife and I’s 2012 Ford Focus.

Ford just cannot catch a break. Following up from my last blog, between the decision to make only trucks and SUVs, a worldwide pandemic, a damaged parts supplier factory, office member shake ups, the fifth and final issues that will be the focus (pun intended) of this blog is a lawsuit for an issue spanning almost 8 years. This is going to be a very rough 2020 for the big blue oval.

Ford was praised for not taking a government bailout during the 2009 recession. While that was a good thing, and I am supportive of that decision, I think it made them lean in product forecasting and ignorant in mechanical reliability. While they were trying to make good financial decisions, it blinded them to what was coming, which will ultimately end up costing them. The worst part is, you get what you pay for.

Starting in 2011, Ford released the third generation Focus, which lasted until 2018. However, the models made from 2012 to 2016 had a major issue with their transmissions which included shuddering, stuttering, weak acceleration, inability to start or randomly shutting down, among other things. I am the second owner of a 2012 Ford Focus and have personal experience with these issues. The issues started almost immediately after customers purchased the cars back in 2012 and after a number of years, it came out that Ford knew about the issue and was not exactly willing to correct it.

That has lead to a major lawsuit and where customers who have owned or currently own a Ford Focus from 2012 to 2016 have sued Ford for knowingly continued to sell a faulty product. The minimum amount Ford has to pay is $30 million and they have already paid $47 million to some Focus and Fiesta owners up until this point. $77 million dollars is a lot of money, but again, that is the least amount they must pay. When the dust settles, they could be on the hook for as much as $450 million according to some analysts. When it comes down to it, any Ford Focus owner past or present, that meet some pretty minimal criteria, can get at minimum, $20 from Ford. I’ll take a free tank of gas, thank you very much! Some may qualify to have their Focus or Fiesta bought back entirely, which is not cheap. It will be interesting to see what the amount will finally add up to when all is said and done.

That is a big black eye to Fords already hurting circumstances. As I outlined in the last blog, their focus on trucks is an all in bet that there is no going back on. When you look back on 2010, you would have thought they would have invested their money on a better functioning, critical mechanical component of the car. But, they probably didn’t want to spend the money trying to fix it and went years just hoping no legal action would be taken. They made bad parts and made bad decisions, and now they are paying for it. To add insult to injury, they don’t even make that vehicle anymore and yet it has become a pebble in the shoe of their move to trucks and SUV’s plan. Loosing all that money on a car that you no longer make is rough. However, Ford has always found freedom in their F-150, so let’s hope that doesn’t fail them this time around.

*Just to note this lawsuit is not just for the 2012-2016 Ford Focus. It also includes the 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta as well.