Posts By: Ronnie Schreiber

By on August 21, 2016

Ethanol Plant In South Dakota.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general, the Obama Administration has failed to live up to its legal obligation to study the environmental impact of blending ethanol with gasoline.

Those findings, the result of an inspector general audit, confirm what the Associated Press reported back in late 2013, prompting the audit.

In 2007, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, which was and signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush. Among other things, the 2007 legislation increased the Renewable Fuel Standard that mandated biofuel production, primarily ethanol, and the blending of at least some of that ethanol into the gasoline supply.

The law also stipulates that the U.S. EPA must conduct studies every three years and report to Congress on the air and water quality benefit, or lack thereof, by adding corn-based ethanol to gasoline. The purpose of that part of the law is to make sure solutions to the country’s energy needs don’t adversely affect the environment. (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2016

For the past few years, startup Elio Motors has said that the “target price” of their enclosed tandem three wheeler was $6,800. As the company and their vendors finalize the design of the production vehicle and seek financing for that production, Elio has announced a “locked in” base price of $7,300, though that price for now only applies to the first 65,000 reservation holders (and it appear that those who already have placed reservations may pay as little as $7,000).

Since more than 56,000 people have already put down reservations for the Elio trike, if you want to buy an Elio and lock in that $7,300 price, there are fewer than 9,000 slots remaining. There was no word on what the price will be after the first 65,000 are reserved.

The pricing announcement is tied to the company’s still active application for a $185 million loan from U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. (Read More…)

By on August 4, 2016

Dodge Viper Conner Ave , Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

After Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that 2017 would be the last model year for the Viper, I suggested a wealthy collector, or perhaps a group of Viper dealers, could conceivably keep the V10-powered supercar alive.

It turns out that suggestion wasn’t too far from the mark.

According to James Glickenhaus, the former movie director, actor and financial professional who owns a significant collection of rare and unique collectible cars, a group of well-heeled enthusiasts attempted to buy Viper from FCA several years ago, but the group decided against the move after due diligence.
(Read More…)

By on July 5, 2016

Elio E1A Prototype, Image: Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

While it’s still a $200 million dollar question if Elio Motors will raise enough money to start production of its low-cost, high-mile-per-gallon tandem enclosed reverse trike, the automotive startup took a major step towards building vehicles for sale with completing the first (of 23) E series prototype. Elio will use it for testing and refinement of the final production design.

Though it looks very much like the P5, the E series trikes have fully engineered unibody construction made of stamped steel panels, unlike the previous five Elio prototypes that were scratch built with tubed space frames. The E series prototypes aren’t what the industry calls validation builds (there will be a 100 of those assembled at Elio’s Shreveport factory by the end of this year, Elio claims), but they’re very close to production designs. (Read More…)

By on July 1, 2016

Dodge Viper Conner Ave - Source: Ronnie Schreiber / The Truth About Cars

Some cars don’t die when they are discontinued. The tooling and intellectual property associated with those models are sometimes sold to automakers in the developing world. It’s not a new phenomenon. That’s more or less how the world got the Yugo. Fiat offloaded some of their aging gear to the then Eastern Bloc.

Fiat now owns Chrysler and the corporate entity known as FCA has announced that 2017 will be the final model year for the Viper. As part of his rapprochement with Iran, Pres. Obama’s administration has been encouraging American firms to do trade with that country, but I doubt that we’ll see a Khodro Viper anytime soon, or ever. However, if FCA head Sergio Marchionne was indeed willing to sell, I think it would be possible for a well-financed individual or a small group of dealers to keep the Viper alive here in America.

I believe it because something like that has happened before. (Read More…)

By on June 23, 2016

It’s been a stressful few weeks, but when I remember my children and grandchildren are healthy, everything else is gravy. TTAC’s long-term test of the 2015 Honda Fit EX came to a sudden halt at 7,987 miles just after I began a left turn through three lanes of stopped traffic south of a red light on Groesbeck, a […]

By on June 17, 2016

The-Last-Chase-images-2c314575-9812-4e79-989b-d8b96933461

This post started, as some of mine do, with a question about cars from my brother Jeff.

He texted me from Jerusalem, Israel, wanting to know whether the Porsche in a 1981 movie titled “The Last Chase,” starring Lee Majors, was a real Porsche or a replica.

Not knowing anything about the movie, I told him it was likely to be a real 911, since they weren’t that expensive then, so nobody would have bothered making a replica. He texted back that it wasn’t a 911, but something that looked “more like a Chaparral.”

Intrigued, I did an image search and he’s correct. While it’s easy to tell a Porsche 917 from one of Jim Hall’s racers, the 917 in The Last Chase does indeed look more like a Chaparral than like Porsche’s iconic 911 road car.

My brother’s question answered, I proceeded to watch the film, which is posted in its entirety on YouTube (you can watch it below the jump).

My next thought: how did I not know about this movie? (Read More…)

By on June 16, 2016

Koenigsegg Regera NY Auto Show - Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

Considering I’ve driven hundreds of miles to attend music concerts and recently spent Memorial Day driving across three states to buy a guitar not far from Memphis, I suppose driving 600 miles or so to New York on the odd chance that I’d get to interview Christian von Koenigsegg wasn’t actually that odd.

The Koenigsegg car company scheduled a press conference at the New York Auto Show, and I wanted to shake the hand of a man who — along with just a few dozen of his fellow Swedes — managed to show that Ferdinand Piech and the VW empire’s Bugattis aren’t necessarily the biggest BSDs in the automotive world. (Read More…)

By on June 3, 2016

Source: Emily Monacelli Mlive.com

In the made-for-TV movie Duel, a somewhat legendary film for car enthusiasts, Steven Spielberg and Richard Matheson tapped into drivers’ primal fear of being harassed by a malevolent trucker at the wheel of a semi much larger than their own vehicles.

Drivers in Indiana and Michigan experienced a non-fiction form of that fear last week, when a possibly drugged truck driver sideswiped cars as he drove erratically for almost 50 miles before police shot out one of the truck’s driving tires. The driver then punched a police dog and it took a number of officers to corral and restrain him even after he was tasered.

Around 8:30 p.m. last Thursday, May 26, Indiana State Police started receiving cellphone calls from drivers on eastbound Interstate 94 near Portage, Indiana. The drivers all reported a metal-hauling semi hitting construction barrels and sideswiping cars.

By the time Michigan State Police managed to stop him, the driver of the truck had traveled 48 miles from the time of the first reports. That highway is the main route between Chicago and Detroit and at that time of the evening, traffic is still pretty heavy as drivers sweep around the southern tip of Lake Michigan. It was fortunate that nobody was injured in the incident, according to Mlive.com. (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2016

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US23 in Ohio has expressway speeds, but it’s not a limited access highway like it is in much of Michigan. In Ohio, you have to watch out for farm vehicles and other cross traffic. On the other hand, unlike on a limited access road, you can turn around without having to drive miles to the next exit.

I was on my way to drop off a lime green guitar for someone who likes guitars and that particular color when I passed the scene pictured above. Running late as I was, I drove past, but there was something poetic about those two pickup trucks that made me go back. The symmetry of the two trucks’ hoods both being open stuck in my mind’s eye. Also, the old truck’s paint matched the guitar.

Some things are meant to be. (Read More…)

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