Category: Fuel Economy

By on March 23, 2017

pumping fuel

An economic assessment conducted by the International Council on Clean Transportation found that, due to recent improvements in technology, the Environmental Protection Agency’s rationale for its 2025 fuel efficiency standards may have overestimated the cost for automakers to comply. The ICCT’s study shows average per-car investments 34 to 40 percent lower than the previous EPA appraisal.

While this information, had it come out sooner, may not have kept automotive executives from bending the president’s ear to reevaluate EPA guidelines, it certainly reframes their reasons for doing so. The ICCT, famous for turning researchers loose on Volkswagen diesels, makes a good case that manufacturers have the tools to meet current standards without spending a lot of money.  Read More >

By on March 17, 2017

Fisker Karms (Image: David Villarreal/Flickr)

Automakers would have to fund a larger share of future green technology projects if the Trump White House’s budget blueprint passes as written.

The administration proposes to do away with a little-used — and sometimes controversial — U.S. Energy Department loan program, as well as a grant program dedicated to spurring advanced fuel-saving technologies. Read More >

By on March 4, 2017

pumping gas

As we reported last week, automobile industry groups wasted no time lobbying newly minted Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt to reopen the book on the country’s fuel efficiency targets.

That volume had previously been slammed shut by Pruitt’s predecessor, putting an end to a midterm review and cementing the Obama-era light-duty vehicle target of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Automakers would prefer not to be held to this rule, citing higher sticker prices caused by the addition of fuel-saving technology. Meanwhile, consumer and environmental groups have lobbied to keep the targets in place.

Well, according to a new report, the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard might not survive for long. Automakers, apparently, are about to see a wish come true. Read More >

By on February 22, 2017

2018 Lexus LS at NAIAS Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Lexus’ next-generation LS has already thrown design heritage out the window and kicked its traditional V8 to the curb, so why not add more totally new hardware?

For 2018, the brand’s redesigned flagship sedan will again offer a hybrid variant, but that last version is yesterday’s news. Lexus didn’t need to look far to find a replacement. Read More >

By on February 17, 2017

GMC Unveils Terrain and Terrain Denali

Volkswagen’s emissions scandal may have killed that company’s diesel presence in North America, but it didn’t kill demand for diesel engines in general — especially ones that don’t pollute like Chernobyl and end up in the trash heap.

At least, that’s General Motors’ take on it. The automaker hopes to fill the void created by VW’s oil-burning absence and, in doing so, score some points with the EPA. With diesel engines now available in five vehicles you won’t see on a worksite (and five more that you would), GM has high hopes it can erase memories of its 1980s diesel woes. Read More >

By on February 16, 2017

2018_hyundai_accent_exterior_3quarter_low-2

Does it look familiar?

If you haven’t seen a new product from Hyundai in the past year and a half, your answer is probably a half-hearted “maybe.” However, the 2018 Hyundai Accent borrows enough design cues from the larger Elantra that the answer should be a solid “Oh, definitely.”

Introduced today at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, the fifth-generation Accent promises more of the things that matter: interior room, length, width, acceleration and fuel economy.

It also breaks from the past in another way. Due to its growth spurt, the Accent — once among the most diminutive cars on the road — can now be classified as a compact. Read More >

By on February 16, 2017

2016 GMC yukon Denali

President Donald Trump is poised to order changes at the Environmental Protection Agency once a new administrator is confirmed, sources at the regulator claim.

In a meeting Tuesday, EPA employees were told to expect two to five executive orders, Reuters reports. While the news will likely cause anxiety among the nation’s environmentalists, U.S. automakers are likely crossing their fingers for a different reason. Read More >

By on February 15, 2017

2017 IONIQ HEV

Once upon a time, Toyota’s Prius was the only real choice for anyone looking to get into a futuristic “hybrid” car. The microscopic Honda Insight, looking like a tear dropped from a poet’s eye, held two seats — and that’s no good for taking your friends to book club.

As technology did what it has been known to do (advance), other automakers picked up the torch, outfitting conventional family sedans with battery packs and Atkinson-cycle engines. The segment soon became more diverse, just in time to see the public’s enthusiasm for hybrids taper off.

Now, from Japan’s neighbor, comes a new Hyundai model — offered as a hybrid or electric, and with a plug-in on the way — that undercuts the world’s most recognizable hybrid in price. Your move, Toyota. Read More >

By on February 13, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

General Motors’ PR team and ad writers basically have their taglines and talking points written for them now that the Environmental Protection Agency has released fuel economy ratings for the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel.

Rumblings from inside the Renaissance Center late last year caused much speculation as to the oil-sipping model’s thriftiness, and we were told GM was shooting for a 50 mile-per-gallon highway rating.

As it turns out, the Cruze crested that bar with room to spare. Read More >

By on February 6, 2017

Mark Fields, Image: Ford Motor Co.

Ford CEO Mark Fields used a potential worst-case scenario as the premise for his statements last month when he claimed new federal fuel economy rules would cost the nation one million jobs.

Independent industry analysts and environmental groups looked into Fields’ comments and found huge job losses were just one potential — and unlikely — consequence in a September report by the Center for Automotive Research, Automotive News reported.

Read More >

By on February 3, 2017

Sometimes, a brand, person, or thing is forever tainted by an unfortunate occurrence.

Think of Anthony Perkins and the movie Psycho. Because a character can be played a little too well, the roles really didn’t pour in after that. The same goes for Ted Kennedy and a certain incident involving an Olds 88.

In the automotive world, few people bothered picking up a second-generation Chevrolet Corvair, despite the elimination of the previous generation’s wildly controversial — an potentially deadly — swing-axle rear suspension.

Stigma skews people’s perception, and Volkswagen, frankly, has had enough of it. So, in an effort to keep the name of its most fuel-efficient production vehicle clean, VW has dropped a certain fuel from a model that once knew nothing else. Read More >

By on January 13, 2017

pumping fuel

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy has decided to maintain current emissions and fuel economy standards through 2025, cementing a central pillar of the Obama administration’s green legacy.

Many automakers have been critical of Obama’s rather strict climate policies and were hopeful that President-elect Donald Trump might roll back some of the more stringent regulations. Of the policies, none is more controversial than the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) mandate, which began a midterm review earlier this year.

While the EPA’s ultimate determination wasn’t due until April of 2018, choosing not to alter 2025 vehicle emission and CAFE rules effectively locks in the standard before Trump can take office.  Read More >

By on December 21, 2016

2016 Ford Mustang GT

Prepare to kiss a famous displacement goodbye.

Ford’s 5.0-liter “Coyote” V8 has dutifully powered variants of the automaker’s Mustang and F-150 since 2011, instilling the brand’s pony car with the kind of heritage that can only be squeezed from 302 cubic inches.

Well, time (and technology) marches on, and Ford’s lower-shelf V8 is due for a replacement. According to a recent report, the Blue Oval folks aren’t choosing sides when it comes to the best way to squirt gas into the new mill. Read More >

By on December 10, 2016

Toyota Dynamic Force engine

(Update: Specifications for the 2.5-liter engine have been added.)

Dynamic Force. It sounds like the name of a military offensive from the early 2000s, but it’s also the name of Toyota’s next-generation gasoline powerplants.

The automaker has revealed the first of a slew of new engines that should power 60 percent of its vehicles within five years. Oh, and there’s new transmissions and hybrid components to go with them. Read More >

By on December 7, 2016

Scott Pruitt (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

It looks like the Environmental Protection Agency’s rush to cement fuel economy targets before Inauguration Day wasn’t due to paranoia.

According to the New York Times, President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Pruitt, 48, is a top opponent of the Obama administration’s environmental regulations and climate change policy, going so far as to organize legal action against the federal government.

Pruitt’s nod is bad news for environmentalists, and good news for industry. Automakers could soon find themselves less burdened by green tape. Read More >

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