Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In
Streetsblog USA

John Oliver on the Cruel Poverty Trap That is Subprime Auto Lending

Never forget this: Those who pay the highest price for the American system of transportation -- one that makes owning a personal car practically a mandate -- are the poor. We've reported before about how the largely unregulated subprime auto lending market has been expanding in recent years, leading some people to wonder if a breakdown in the auto loan industry could echo the housing bubble.

HBO funnyman John Oliver, along with guest stars Keegan-Michael Key and Bob Balaban, took on the topic in a recent segment we thought was worth sharing.

Here is a shortlist of some of the horrors Oliver describes:

    • Commutes that are virtually impossible by transit,
    • Cars sold for double the Kelly Blue Book value,
    • Interest rates as high as 29 percent,
    • A single Kia tracked by the Los Angeles Times that was sold, repossessed or returned eight times in three years,
    • In-car devices that beep in the event of a missed payment before disabling the vehicle entirely, and
    • Default and repossession rates of 31 percent.

It's cruel that our society all but requires people purchase an expensive consumer product, trapping them in usurious financing schemes, just to participate in the workforce. But because of our auto-centric land use and transportation policies, that is precisely the quandary too many Americans face.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Wednesday’s Headlines

Road diets don't slow emergency response; E-bikes are changing family life; Bad sidewalks are costing cities $$$; More

July 24, 2024

Incomplete Streets Part 2: District 12 Ignores Caltrans Policy on Bike and Pedestrian Needs

Caltrans has a policy requiring Complete Streets in its projects, but Caltrans Districts routinely ignore it

July 23, 2024

GOP’s ‘Project 2025’ is ‘Based on a Lot of Ignorance’

What does Transportation for America's Beth Osborne think of the transportation portion of the Heritage Foundation's playbook for a Trump presidency?

July 23, 2024

Guest Post: Vision for a Permanent Great Highway Park

District 4 Supervisor Joel Engardio makes it clear he won't be cowed by drivers who oppose the Great Highway Park

July 23, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines

Kamala on climate and street safety; Cleaning up freight and expanding highways; Anti-speed tech is okay with people; California Forever is off the ballot, for now; More

July 23, 2024
See all posts