The Truth About Cars » Government http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:19:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Government http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/government-news-blog/ Oakland PD Turns Over 4.6M License Plate Dataset Via Public Records Request http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oakland-pd-turns-4-6m-license-plate-dataset-via-public-records-request/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oakland-pd-turns-4-6m-license-plate-dataset-via-public-records-request/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030273 Via a public records request, the Oakland Police Department has turned over 4.6 million reads of 1.1 million unique plates recorded between 2010 and 2014. Ars Technica made the request, resulting in the aforementioned license-plate reader dataset made between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The publication then hired a data visualization specialist to […]

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OaklandPoliceCar

Via a public records request, the Oakland Police Department has turned over 4.6 million reads of 1.1 million unique plates recorded between 2010 and 2014.

Ars Technica made the request, resulting in the aforementioned license-plate reader dataset made between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The publication then hired a data visualization specialist to organize the dataset for its investigation into the practice.

With the permission of those contacted, the publication was able to track the movements of each individual based on their license plate, information that provides an insight into a given person’s life, according to University of California, Berkeley law professor Catherine Crump:

Where someone goes can reveal a great deal about how he chooses to live his life. Do they park regularly outside the Lighthouse Mosque during times of worship? They’re probably Muslim. Can a car be found outside Beer Revolution a great number of times? May be a craft beer enthusiast—although possibly with a drinking problem.

Crump adds that, as LPR technology comes down in price and becomes ubiquitous on the backs of police cars and in traffic lights, citizens should support restrictions on the data collected, from how long it’s stored and who can access it, to why it should be accessed in the first place.

Ars Technica also obtained data on OPD vehicles, discovering that a single unit — a 2007 Ford P71 — was scanned 879 times between January 15, 2012 and May 31, 2014 while it travelled through Downtown Oakland and North Oakland; nearly all of the 100 OPD in the dataset were also scanned several hundred times over.

As for how the publication was able to have this data in the first place, neither the OPD or the Oakland City Council has set a formal data retention limit; the police department deletes information as needed for new data, however. All OPD officers also have access to the LPR information at any time, and need not give a reason for accessing the data when searching for a given plate, though policy says such searches require “a legitimate law enforcement purpose, such as following up on a criminal investigation.”

Finally, OPD police captain Anthony Toribio explains that the data is publically available to anyone who asks, citing transparency as the reason:

I think it’s important for a law enforcement organization to be transparent, and it goes to being credible and establishing legitimacy in the community.

The OPD dataset is the second-largest LPR dataset to be released via request, the largest being one from a request by the American Civil Liberties Union to the Seattle Police Department in 2010. The request resulted in a dataset of over 7.3 million scans.

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Operation Ruse Control Brings The Hammer Down On Deceptive Dealer Practices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/operation-ruse-control-brings-hammer-deceptive-dealer-practices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/operation-ruse-control-brings-hammer-deceptive-dealer-practices/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030209 The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday its results from Operation Ruse Control, a collection of investigations over deceptive dealer practices. The FTC-led campaign involved 32 law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada, resulting in 252 enforcement actions (187 in the U.S., 65 in Ontario and British Columbia), six of them involving monetary judgements […]

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Cory Fairbanks Mazda Dealership

The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday its results from Operation Ruse Control, a collection of investigations over deceptive dealer practices.

The FTC-led campaign involved 32 law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada, resulting in 252 enforcement actions (187 in the U.S., 65 in Ontario and British Columbia), six of them involving monetary judgements of over $2.6 million.

Two of those cases involved vehicle purchase add-ons, defined by the agency as “the practice of a dealer or other third party adding to the vehicle sales, lease, or finance agreement charges for other products or services.” In both, National Payment Network made promises to save consumers money, but the associated fees were too high to deliver on the promise. NPN agreed to refund $1.5 million and waive $949,000 in fees, while partner New Jersey-based dealership network Matt Blatt — the latter having received commissions for each of the 1,000 consumers it enrolled into NPN’s scheme — will pay $184,000 in fines to the FTC.

Three cases involving deceptive advertising on the part of Cory Fairbanks Mazda of Longwood, Fla., Jim Burke Nissan of Birmingham, Ala. and Ross Nissan of El Monte, Calif. led to all three from “misrepresenting the purchase cost or any other material fact about the price, sale, financing or leasing of a vehicle,” with the former two also barred from “representing that a discount, rebate, bonus, incentive or price is available unless it is available to all consumers or all qualifications and restrictions are clearly and conspicuously disclosed.”

The last of the six involves a lawsuit against Florida-based Regency Financial Services. The company is alleged to have charged consumers upfront for auto loan modifications, only to deliver nothing in exchange. The FTC is seeking a permanent injunction to stop RFS’ practices, as well as to refund deceived consumers.

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Reithofer: Government Programs Key To BMW i3 Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reithofer-government-programs-key-bmw-i3-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reithofer-government-programs-key-bmw-i3-success/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028841 BMW’s i3’s success is helped by a number of government incentives in a few of the automaker’s key markets, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer. According to Automotive News Europe, Reithofer said that sales figures for the i3 are connected to political initiatives toward electric mobility, adding that when those initiatives are there, “the registration figures […]

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2015 BMW i3 Range Extender Exterior-007

BMW’s i3’s success is helped by a number of government incentives in a few of the automaker’s key markets, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer.

According to Automotive News Europe, Reithofer said that sales figures for the i3 are connected to political initiatives toward electric mobility, adding that when those initiatives are there, “the registration figures for the BMW i3 soar.”

The CEO cited Norway as an example, where the government not only has a charging infrastructure where owners can park and recharge for free, but does not levy sales or registration taxes on EVs. Those incentives have helped BMW move 2,000 i3s in 2014.

Meanwhile, significant financial subsidies in the United States, as well as privileges such as use of dedicated HOV lanes, led to sales of 3,000 units in California alone, a figure that is half of all i3s sold in the U.S.

Other incentives include looser licensing restrictions in Shanghai, circulation tax exemptions for 10 years from date of first registration in Germany, and company car tax exemptions for life in France.

Speaking of Germany, where 2,000 i3s were sold in 2014, Reithofer said his country’s government needs to “pick up the pace” in pushing electric mobility. Germany wants 1 million EVs on its roads by 2020, and has plans to offer additional incentives to achieve its goal.

In the meantime, BMW will introduce its DriveNow car-sharing service this spring, beginning in London. San Francisco will be the first U.S. city in the program by May, while the German cities of Hamburg, Berlin and Munich will join in July. The program is meant to help boost acceptance of electrification, and widening the tech’s appeal among younger drivers.

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Takata Recall Sees More Rapid Response In Japan Than US http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/takata-recall-sees-rapid-response-japan-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/takata-recall-sees-rapid-response-japan-us/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 11:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027417 While consumers, dealers and automakers in the United States are waiting for replacement airbags from Takata, recalls in Japan are being fulfilled faster. Automotive News reports out of 3.05 million vehicles under recall in the supplier’s home market due to its airbags — linked to five fatalities and several injuries as a result of catastrophic […]

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Takata information steering wheel + airbag combo

While consumers, dealers and automakers in the United States are waiting for replacement airbags from Takata, recalls in Japan are being fulfilled faster.

Automotive News reports out of 3.05 million vehicles under recall in the supplier’s home market due to its airbags — linked to five fatalities and several injuries as a result of catastrophic failure — 2.13 million — 70 percent — have been repaired through the end of February 2015.

Meanwhile, out of the 17 million vehicles in the U.S. under recall for the same issue, less than 2 million — 12 percent — were repaired through late February.

The stark differences between the two countries are the result of how Japan’s authorities and consumers deal with recalls compared to those in the U.S. In the former, consumers respond well to recalls, and few keep vehicles for as long as those in the latter do. Further, tighter safety and emission inspections not only help keep vehicle records up to date, but can serve to warn consumers of potential problems. Finally, the used car market isn’t as robust as it is in the U.S., making it easier for automakers to contact owners in case of a recall, as cars don’t change owners as often.

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House Republicans Gunning For End Of Auto Technology Loan Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/house-republicans-gunning-end-auto-technology-loan-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/house-republicans-gunning-end-auto-technology-loan-program/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025721 Should Republicans in the U.S. House have their way, the loan program meant to foster development of advanced automotive technologies would be killed. The Detroit News reports the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which issued loans between its establishment in 2008 and the last fulfilled request in 2011 to companies like Tesla, Nissan […]

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US Rep Tom Price with Republican Members of US House Budget Committee

Should Republicans in the U.S. House have their way, the loan program meant to foster development of advanced automotive technologies would be killed.

The Detroit News reports the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which issued loans between its establishment in 2008 and the last fulfilled request in 2011 to companies like Tesla, Nissan and Ford, would see the remaining $16.5 billion be rescinded as part of the House Budget Committee’s budget proposal:

The budget rescinds all unobligated balances from the president’s stimulus green energy programs. The government cannot recover taxpayer dollars from failed projects like Solyndra, but it can protect taxpayers from being on the hook for future boondoggles.

Said “boondoggles” include the aforementioned solar panel startup Solyndra ($536 million received; failed in 2011), Fisker ($529 million; now under new ownership), and Vehicle Production Group ($50 million received; U.S. Department of Energy sold the loan to AM General for $3 million). On the other hand, Ford ($5.9 billion), Nissan ($1.4 billion) and Tesla ($465 million) have done well with their loans, with Tesla paying off its loan nine years early.

The effort to kill the program has been ongoing since the collapse of Solyndra, but until now, the House Republicans haven’t had support from the Senate. Now under Republican control, however, Congress could do away with the program barring a veto from President Barack Obama.

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Uber Overtakes Traditional Taxis In NYC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-overtakes-traditional-taxis-nyc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-overtakes-traditional-taxis-nyc/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024921 Though it looks like there are cabs galore in New York, there are more Uber drivers traversing Madison Avenue than taxi drivers these days. The New York Post reports the Taxi and Limousine Commission found that Uber had 14,088 black and premium vehicles in its roster, compared to 13,587 medallion cabs under the TLC. The […]

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Uber Driver in NYC

Though it looks like there are cabs galore in New York, there are more Uber drivers traversing Madison Avenue than taxi drivers these days.

The New York Post reports the Taxi and Limousine Commission found that Uber had 14,088 black and premium vehicles in its roster, compared to 13,587 medallion cabs under the TLC.

The transportation network company has served the city’s five boroughs since May 2011, but its competitive rates and higher wages are the main drivers that have led it to overtake the traditional livery service.

On the other hand, taxis make 10 times more trips than Uber drivers, and some veteran drivers aren’t likely to make the jump, even if Uber drivers can make double the average salary of a medallion driver.

Meanwhile, critics have accused the TNC of taking tax revenue that could go into public transit and taxi services, as well as increasing congestion issues in Manhattan, where most Uber trips occur.

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Musk: Autonomous Vehicles Mean Future Where Driving Is Illegal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/musk-autonomous-vehicles-mean-future-driving-illegal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/musk-autonomous-vehicles-mean-future-driving-illegal/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024489 His hand may be on a steering wheel now, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk foresees a future where autonomous vehicles lead to a total ban on human intervention. Automotive News reports Musk said as much during a conference held by graphics chipmaker Nvidia at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.: In the distant future, I […]

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His hand may be on a steering wheel now, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk foresees a future where autonomous vehicles lead to a total ban on human intervention.

Automotive News reports Musk said as much during a conference held by graphics chipmaker Nvidia at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.:

In the distant future, I think people may outlaw driving cars because it’s too dangerous. You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.

He later clarified on Twitter his own position on the matter, stating his company “is strongly in favor of people being allowed to drive their cars and always will be,” hoping that the statement was obvious to those following along.

As for his appearance at Nvidia, the chipmaker is working to sell a purpose-built autonomous-vehicle computer called Drive PX, based upon its Tegra X1 mobile processor. The system will have 12 inputs for high-res cameras — like the kind Tesla is putting into its Model S right now — and is due to go on sale in May.

Musk added that his engineers are hard at work on improving autonomous technology, believing the tech will take greater control of the wheel on the highway “in a few years.”

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NHTSA Vows Crackdown Upon Drowsy Driving http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nhtsa-vows-crackdown-upon-drowsy-driving/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nhtsa-vows-crackdown-upon-drowsy-driving/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024297 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator Mark Rosekind announced his agency would crackdown on drowsy driving through data and strategy. The Detroit News reports the agency would work closely with state governments to gather data and develop strategies based on what has worked in the few states that have introduced legislation to curb drowsy driving: […]

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Asleep At The Wheel - Jumpin' At The Woodside vinyl record album cover

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator Mark Rosekind announced his agency would crackdown on drowsy driving through data and strategy.

The Detroit News reports the agency would work closely with state governments to gather data and develop strategies based on what has worked in the few states that have introduced legislation to curb drowsy driving:

We’re going to develop strategies specifically targeting populations especially vulnerable to drowsy driving. And we’re going to comprehensively examine the role that driver aids, in the car and outside of it, can play — everything from high-tech solutions like computer algorithms that detect when you’re getting sleepy behind the wheel, to old standbys like rumble strips on the road.

The NHTSA found that from 2005 to 2009, drowsy driving was the cause of 2.2 percent to 2.6 percent of all fatal accidents, coming out to 1,000 deaths annually. Around 72,000 accidents per year linked to injury and/or property damage were found to be caused by the issue, as well.

Though little measurable data on drowsy driving exists thus far, the agency noted that crashes occur often on high-speed roadways between mid-afternoon and early morning involving solo drivers who didn’t avoid crashing, with employees working at night or odd hours, those between 16 and 29 years of age, and those with sleep disorders being most at risk.

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Gov. Scott Walker’s Changing Ethanol Stance Sign Of Greater Issue For GOP Hopeful http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gov-scott-walkers-changing-ethanol-stance-sign-greater-issue-gop-hopeful/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gov-scott-walkers-changing-ethanol-stance-sign-greater-issue-gop-hopeful/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024265 Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s flip-flop on the issue of ethanol may be just the tip of an iceberg that could affect his chances for the 2016 GOP hopeful. Autoblog reports several memos linked to the still-unofficial campaigns of the other GOP presidential candidates have noted Walker’s shifts on positions on issues like ethanol, immigration et al. […]

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Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s flip-flop on the issue of ethanol may be just the tip of an iceberg that could affect his chances for the 2016 GOP hopeful.

Autoblog reports several memos linked to the still-unofficial campaigns of the other GOP presidential candidates have noted Walker’s shifts on positions on issues like ethanol, immigration et al. The broad pattern of flip-flopping, as well as his status as an unknown among his state’s voters, means he’ll have a hard go at convincing Republicans that he is their candidate for President of the United States.

On the issue of ethanol, he once denounced the mandate of adding the corn-based variant into gasoline in his 2006 gubernatorial campaign, citing the harm such mandates would impose on “Wisconsin’s working families.” While his team says he still supports that stance, Walker was among those at the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines, Iowa to support the federal renewable fuel standard that allows corn ethanol to be added into gasoline.

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Tesla Battery Swap Pilot Status Tied To California ZEV Credits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-battery-swap-pilot-status-tied-california-zev-credits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-battery-swap-pilot-status-tied-california-zev-credits/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023929 Tesla’s battery swap pilot program in Harris Ranch, Calif. may never leave the pilot phase, thanks to how California handles ZEV credits. The Los Angeles Times reports Tesla earned $66 million in Q4 2014 from selling credits to automakers needing to offset their carbon footprints. Each credit was the result of the Model S’ classification […]

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Tesla Harris Ranch California Battery Swap House Entrance

Tesla’s battery swap pilot program in Harris Ranch, Calif. may never leave the pilot phase, thanks to how California handles ZEV credits.

The Los Angeles Times reports Tesla earned $66 million in Q4 2014 from selling credits to automakers needing to offset their carbon footprints. Each credit was the result of the Model S’ classification as a Type 4 or Type 5 (based on battery size) vehicle by the California Air Resources Board — Type 5 involving vehicles with a range of 300 miles and can be refueled in less than 15 minutes — Tesla earning five to nine credits for every S sold as a result of the classification.

However, the sedan was knocked down to a Type 3 after CARB restructured its system for MY 2014 and beyond, basing earnings on “actual fueling events” regarding the fast-refueling credit. Thus, every S sold now earns Tesla four credits, except when it comes time to swap the battery pack. There, one S can have its pack swapped 25 times, with the credit applied to a total of 25 vehicles — up to nine credits per vehicle — as long as the other 24 are capable of quick refueling. Thus, Tesla’s credit-earning plan — and the profits from each sale — remain unchanged.

That said, the ZEV credit scheme will change again in 2018, with fast-refueling credits dropped for range assessment.

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Republican Presidential Hopefuls Discuss Ethanol In Iowa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/republican-presidential-hopefuls-discuss-ethanol-iowa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/republican-presidential-hopefuls-discuss-ethanol-iowa/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 12:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020145 A handful of Republican presidential hopefuls converged upon Iowa last weekend to discuss the pros and cons of ethanol. Autoblog reports U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Jeb Bush of Florida, and Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin debated ethanol and the federal […]

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A handful of Republican presidential hopefuls converged upon Iowa last weekend to discuss the pros and cons of ethanol.

Autoblog reports U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Jeb Bush of Florida, and Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin debated ethanol and the federal standards linked to them at the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines.

While most of the hopefuls supported keeping the standards as they are or increasing them, Cruz was the only one to reject the notion, comparing the program to “corporate welfare.” He added that private businesses could continue to successfully compete in the marketplace “without going on bended knee to the government.”

Cruz’s remarks follow a recommendation by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce a proposed increase in corn-based ethanol use in gasoline, stating that the biofuel can only go so far when blended with petroleum-based fuels. Meanwhile, both sides of the aisle object to the reduction, citing the economic damage that would hit Iowa — the largest producer of said ethanol in the United States — if the reduction were to go forward.

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California Legislature Considering Sales Tax Reduction For Clean Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/california-legislature-considering-sales-tax-reduction-clean-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/california-legislature-considering-sales-tax-reduction-clean-vehicles/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1019442 Live in California and looking for more money in your wallet upon purchasing a green vehicle? The state’s legislature just might make that wish come true. The Los Angeles Times reports a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco would reduce the sales tax on so-called clean vehicles from 7.5 percent to 3.06 […]

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Tesla Roadster with California Vanity Plate

Live in California and looking for more money in your wallet upon purchasing a green vehicle? The state’s legislature just might make that wish come true.

The Los Angeles Times reports a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco would reduce the sales tax on so-called clean vehicles from 7.5 percent to 3.06 percent. The reduction would be applied to EVs, PHEVs, FCVs and CNG-powered models.

Should the legislation become law, over $92 million in tax revenue would disappear between 2016 and 2020, when the law rides off into the sunset; the figure is based on 60,000 PHEVs and EVs sold in 2014 for the national average transaction price of $34,725 per vehicle. Said revenue could be regained through California’s cap-and-trade carbon emissions credits program, currently holding $969 million as of February 18 per the California Air Resources Board.

The bill, which failed in 2013 due to funding concerns amid a shaky economic environment, will go through the committee process before arriving on the Assembly floor for voting later this year.

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Oregon To Be First In Nation To Implement Per-Mile Road Tax Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oregon-first-nation-implement-per-mile-road-tax-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/oregon-first-nation-implement-per-mile-road-tax-program/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1017994 With EVs and other fuel-efficient vehicles saving consumers money at the pump, Oregon will be the first to issue a per-mile road tax to refill its coffers. Automotive News reports the state will offer two options to its motorists: pay at the pump, or pay a 1.5-cent rate per mile traversed. The latter will be […]

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Welcome to Oregon

With EVs and other fuel-efficient vehicles saving consumers money at the pump, Oregon will be the first to issue a per-mile road tax to refill its coffers.

Automotive News reports the state will offer two options to its motorists: pay at the pump, or pay a 1.5-cent rate per mile traversed. The latter will be conducted through a device that plugs into a vehicle’s OBD port, then gathers mileage data to determine how much the motorist will pay in tax.

Right now, the program — set to begin July 1 — will be implemented by the Oregon DOT in partnership with Sanef ITS Technologies America and Intelligent Mechatronic Systems, the latter supplying the aforementioned OBD mileage reader.

Up to 5,000 volunteers will participate in the initial program, which will compare the tax paid at the pump to the miles driven. The results will be turned over to ODOT, which will then determine if a motorist is given a refund or an invoice based on said findings.

Oregon won’t be the only one to undergo a road tax program: over 10 other states are either in the process of passing legislation or conducting trials for such programs.

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Feinstein-Toomey Bill Seeks To Push Other Biofuels Over Corn Ethanol http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/feinstein-toomey-bill-seeks-push-biofuels-corn-ethanol/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/feinstein-toomey-bill-seeks-push-biofuels-corn-ethanol/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1017954 With one attempt shot down thus far, two U.S. senators are issuing a standalone bill to reduce the use of corn-based ethanol at the pump. According to Hemmings Daily, the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015 introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would call for a modification of the […]

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E10 + 100 Percent Gasoline at the Pump

With one attempt shot down thus far, two U.S. senators are issuing a standalone bill to reduce the use of corn-based ethanol at the pump.

According to Hemmings Daily, the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015 introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would call for a modification of the Renewable Fuel Standard that would push other biofuels, such as biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, over corn-based ethanol. Feinstein explains:

Our infrastructure has a ceiling for the amount of corn ethanol that can be used, and we’re rapidly approaching it. Companies are physically unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for many gas stations and older automobiles.

The Feinstein/Toomey bill joins four others seeking similar action, including three in Pennsylvania, Oregon and Hawaii that would seek to eliminate the mandate of E10 sales altogether.

Meanwhile, ethanol supporters like the Renewable Fuel Association, the National Corn Growers Association and the Advanced Ethanol Council oppose the bill as an assault on the RFS, and call upon the Environmental Protection Agency to increase ethanol use further, despite the EPA’s acknowledgment regarding the limits to blending ethanol with gasoline.

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Whistleblower Incentive Legislation Passes US Senate Panel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/whistleblower-incentive-legislation-passes-us-senate-panel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/whistleblower-incentive-legislation-passes-us-senate-panel/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009314 A whistleblower bill that would grant financial incentives to auto industry employees who expose safety defects won backing by a U.S. Senate panel Thursday. Reuters reports the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted 13-0 in favor of sending the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, though when the vote would come has […]

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United States Capitol

A whistleblower bill that would grant financial incentives to auto industry employees who expose safety defects won backing by a U.S. Senate panel Thursday.

Reuters reports the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted 13-0 in favor of sending the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, though when the vote would come has yet to be determined, per an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Once voted and approved on the floor, however, the bill would go forward to the U.S. House for their vote.

The legislation would give employees and contractors for automakers, suppliers and dealerships up to 30 percent of any penalties resulting from a federal enforcement action totalling over $1 million, but only if said employees “shared original information on product defects or reporting violations” with either the Transportation or Justice departments.

The panel vote comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began fining airbag supplier Takata $14,000/day for failing to cooperate in the agency’s investigation into the supplier’s airbag inflators linked to at least six fatalities and several injuries.

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Georgia Bill To Eliminate EV Credits Gains Traction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/georgia-bill-eliminate-ev-credits-gains-traction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/georgia-bill-eliminate-ev-credits-gains-traction/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009290 The bill that would kill EV incentives in Georgia has taken a step closer to being voted upon by the state’s legislature. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Georgia House Bill 122, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin of Alpharetta, was thought to have been struck down by the House’s Ways and Means subcommittee last week, only to […]

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Hannah Solar Nissan Leaf

The bill that would kill EV incentives in Georgia has taken a step closer to being voted upon by the state’s legislature.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Georgia House Bill 122, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin of Alpharetta, was thought to have been struck down by the House’s Ways and Means subcommittee last week, only to be brought back to life by the same subcommittee under the circumstance that it was merely tabled.

A spokesperson for the House later explained that HB 122 — which would eliminate the $5,000 tax credit for those who buy or lease an EV like the Nissan Leaf — was treated as a tabled bill when it failed to receive the “do pass” recommendation in the subcommittee, thus allowing members to vote on the bill again.

The bill’s language is also on HB 170, a transportation projects bill that legislators hope will pull in $1 billion in new revenue per year for potential projects. The tax credit, meanwhile, would cost the state $628 million between 2016 and 2020, per official state estimates.

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Chicago’s Yellow Light Intervals Generating More Fines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009266 Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula. FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver […]

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Chicago vs Recommended Yellow Light Time

Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula.

FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver running a red, an act that would then be caught by the city’s red-light cameras, thus leading to a fine for the driver.

The formula used in Chicago is the one prescribed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which sets the deceleration rate at 11.2 feet/second over the standard formula’s 10 feet/second. The city also calculates yellow intervals by the posted speed limit, instead of the Federal Highway Association’s 85th percentile speed of real drivers, with the option to add 5 mph to the speed-limit yellow interval, as well.

The yellow interval — and its tie to the red-light cameras — have been a factor in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s fight for another term in office, which has since entered the runoff phase after his campaign failed to gain an outright majority Tuesday. Emanuel’s support for the cameras runs in opposition of the city’s residents, 66 percent of whom believe the technology isn’t helping traffic safety in the least.

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T&E: First-Gen Biofuel Use In EU Face 6 Percent Cap By 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/te-first-gen-biofuel-use-eu-face-6-percent-cap-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/te-first-gen-biofuel-use-eu-face-6-percent-cap-2020/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008250 Much like in the U.S., biofuel is an ongoing concern in the European Union, where those opposed recently gained a victory in restricting its use. European sustainable transportation group Transportation & Environment announced the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee decision this week to cap the amount of biofuel introduced into the continent’s fuel supply, restricting first-gen […]

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Total Biofuel Airport Tanker in France

Much like in the U.S., biofuel is an ongoing concern in the European Union, where those opposed recently gained a victory in restricting its use.

European sustainable transportation group Transportation & Environment announced the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee decision this week to cap the amount of biofuel introduced into the continent’s fuel supply, restricting first-gen fuels to just 6 percent of the overall supply by 2020. The cap is over the 4.5 percent introduced in 2011.

The cap not only affects food-based biofuels like ethanol, but the energy crops used to make them — and compete for space with food crops. T&E notes the cap correctly identified land use as the “key environmental challenge” regarding first-gen biofuels, and applaudes the Environment Committee for strengthening sustainability criteria for advanced biofuels derived from municipal waste and residues.

The release adds that in 2011, EU member states spent €6 billion ($6.8 billion USD in today’s dollars) subsidizing the biofuel industry; the cap would effectively kill such subsidies after 2020.

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Beshear To Transplants: Kentucky Is Not Tennessee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/beshear-transplants-kentucky-not-tennessee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/beshear-transplants-kentucky-not-tennessee/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006426 Unlike his Republican counterparts down south, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear says his state is not like Tennessee as far as attracting transplants go. Associated Press reports those remarks were first made during a recent recruiting trip to Germany and Sweden, the latter’s Volvo considering a factory in the Bluegrass State. Beshear reaffirmed his stance upon […]

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Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at Churchill Downs

Unlike his Republican counterparts down south, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear says his state is not like Tennessee as far as attracting transplants go.

Associated Press reports those remarks were first made during a recent recruiting trip to Germany and Sweden, the latter’s Volvo considering a factory in the Bluegrass State. Beshear reaffirmed his stance upon returning home:

I’m not trying to tell Tennessee or any other state how to handle their economic development efforts. I can just say that in Kentucky we would welcome either type of situation, either companies with unions or without them. We have an open-door policy and welcome companies no matter what their desires may be in terms of labor-management relationships. We don’t try to dictate what that relationship should be. We think that’s up to the company and to the employees.

The comments come after Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and his administration, as well as U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, did their best to persuade Volkswagen to reject the UAW’s offer to represent the transplant’s workforce in Chattanooga, including a $300-million incentive package that would be paid if labor talks were “concluded to the satisfaction” of the state’s interests.

Beshear adds that Kentucky can best attract economic development — whether from the auto or other industries — by not getting the middle of the labor negotiation process, noting that said lack of interference is “a positive sales point” for the state.

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NHTSA To Congress: Pull Recalled Used, Rental Vehicles Off The Road http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006322 The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being […]

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Rental Car Corridor - SeaTac International Airport

The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being repaired; current legislation only asks of such things for new vehicles prior to sale.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that “requiring rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix defective vehicles before renting is a common-sense solution” that would improve road safety. Foxx adds that Congress should follow the lead of both safety advocates and the rental-car industry in taking a stand on the issue.

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MIT: Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication A Breakthrough Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 15:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004570 In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine […]

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V2V

In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine and society.” The publication cites General Motors as one of the key players in promoting V2V, and mentions the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s efforts to bring the technology online by 2017 at the earliest.

That said, MIT cautions that the first vehicles to have V2V — such as the 2017 Cadillac CTS — won’t have too many vehicles to talk to about location, speed, brake status et al, and that it could take up to a decade before V2V is as common as the cold. Audi, Ford and Toyota are among some of the other manufacturers looking into V2V.

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Tesla Pushing For Direct Sales In Texas, Dealers Wanting A Shot To Sell http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-pushing-direct-sales-texas-dealers-wanting-shot-sell/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-pushing-direct-sales-texas-dealers-wanting-shot-sell/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004082 As Tesla gears up to tackle Texas’ direct-sales ban during the state’s 2015 legislative session, dealers are begging for a shot to sell the automaker’s EVs. The Texas Tribune reports several Texas dealerships have approached Tesla about selling its wares, claiming they would take on the risk of selling a niche premium EV if given […]

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As Tesla gears up to tackle Texas’ direct-sales ban during the state’s 2015 legislative session, dealers are begging for a shot to sell the automaker’s EVs.

The Texas Tribune reports several Texas dealerships have approached Tesla about selling its wares, claiming they would take on the risk of selling a niche premium EV if given the chance. According to Texas Automobile Dealers Association president Bill Wolters, those dealers were rebuffed:

This is such a unique situation in which Elon Musk doesn’t want to have competition from other makes.

Currently, Tesla has galleries in Austin, Dallas and Houston, where customers can see the Model S, but cannot buy the car directly from the gallery, turning to the company’s website to complete the process as a result.

While dealers believe the direct-sales ban gives consumers a chance to buy the car they want anywhere within Texas — instead of having to drive to a few select cities where automakers would focus their efforts if given the opportunity — Tesla says the ban threatens to undermine its success in the state. CEO Elon Musk adds that franchise dealers would ultimately fail in selling his company’s EVs, citing the traditional model’s main source of revenue — maintenance — as where the struggle would occur.

Meanwhile, Tesla is spending between $625,000 and $1.18 million on 21 lobbyists to persuade lawmakers in Austin to consider legislation that would allow for direct sales. No bills have come up regarding the issue thus far this session, through Rep. Eddie Rodriguez of Austin is working on a proposal that would grant the automaker and other EV-only manufacturers the right to sell directly to Texas consumers; a similar proposal by Rodriguez was rejected last year.

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Sweers: Diesel Power Not Coming To Toyota Tacoma http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sweers-diesel-power-not-coming-toyota-tacoma/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sweers-diesel-power-not-coming-toyota-tacoma/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004034 Hoping for diesel power in the new Toyota Tacoma? You can breathe now. According to AutoGuide, Tacoma/Tundra engineering chief Mike Sweers said that diesel power won’t be coming to the Tacoma — despite the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon receiving theirs — due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s upcoming Tier 3 regulations, set to go […]

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2016_Toyota_Tacoma_TRD_OffRoad_004

Hoping for diesel power in the new Toyota Tacoma? You can breathe now.

According to AutoGuide, Tacoma/Tundra engineering chief Mike Sweers said that diesel power won’t be coming to the Tacoma — despite the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon receiving theirs — due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s upcoming Tier 3 regulations, set to go into effect in 2017. The regs would greatly tighten emissions on diesel-powered light vehicles, making such vehicles more costly to build for automakers, if not consider in the first place:

Diesel, from a fuel economy standpoint, is about a 30 percent improvement right out of the box. The downside to diesel is the emissions has to be certified at the same level as a gas engine. So the way to do that is you have to put on an after-treatment system. So if we consider that cost, versus the fuel economy improvement, and the fact that diesel is $1 more per gallon more than gasoline, is there a return on the investment?

Even if the ROI from each after-treatment system installed — said to add $3,000 to the cost of a vehicle — was worth it now, Sweers warns it wouldn’t be by 2019, when even-tighter diesel-emissions regs would come into force. He says some diesels would be shelved as a result, automakers deciding those engines aren’t worth the headache.

Thus, the Tacoma will be avoiding the green pump handle, opting for either a gasoline-fueled 2.7-liter I4 or 3.5-liter V6 to provide power.

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General Motors’ Bankruptcy Protections Could Narrow Pending Ruling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-bankruptcy-protections-narrow-pending-ruling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-bankruptcy-protections-narrow-pending-ruling/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 15:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003706 Should a federal judge decide General Motors acted in the wrong during bankruptcy proceedings, the automaker may see its protections considerably narrowed. According to Reuters, the point of contention is whether or not GM purposely hid the defects linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall during proceedings in 2009. Judge Robert Gerber of the […]

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Should a federal judge decide General Motors acted in the wrong during bankruptcy proceedings, the automaker may see its protections considerably narrowed.

According to Reuters, the point of contention is whether or not GM purposely hid the defects linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall during proceedings in 2009. Judge Robert Gerber of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York said that he would reassess the terms that carved Old GM from New GM if the latter violated due process, allowing affected consumers to go after the automaker for defects it knew of after the exit from bankruptcy.

Gerber’s potential decision won’t sit well with those filing lawsuits over issues of lost value, injury and death as a result of those defects. The plaintiffs are asking for GM to pay compensation in the billions of dollars for its pre-bankruptcy actions, which a modified sale order would mitigate. Gerber is expected to make his decision sometime in the coming weeks at the earliest.

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WSJ To Tesla: Cast Aside Corporate Welfare To Improve Image http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wsj-tesla-cast-aside-corporate-welfare-improve-image/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wsj-tesla-cast-aside-corporate-welfare-improve-image/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 14:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002850 Despite its visions of having a valuation on par with Apple within a decade, Tesla’s subsistence on subsidies may be hard for some to swallow. The Wall Street Journal said as much in an opinion piece following Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s proclamation to grow his company 50 percent annually, with a stock valuation of $700 […]

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Despite its visions of having a valuation on par with Apple within a decade, Tesla’s subsistence on subsidies may be hard for some to swallow.

The Wall Street Journal said as much in an opinion piece following Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s proclamation to grow his company 50 percent annually, with a stock valuation of $700 billion to come in 10 years’ time; the company is currently valued at $27 billion. The publication points out that its $108 million loss in Q4 2014 — thought to be linked to delivery issues, a strong dollar and manufacturing issues — would have been much worse had it not taken $86 million from selling federal carbon credits that quarter.

Continuing with the train of thought, WSJ noted those credits were the result of Tesla’s lineup falling in line with federal and state fuel-efficiency and ZEV mandates, the surplus of said credits being sold to other automakers whose own lineups may be lacking in the green department. In 2014 alone, Tesla sold $216 million in credits, matching 7 percent of what the company sold in EVs.

Other points noted include the $1.5 billion in tax breaks bestowed upon the automaker in its native California and in Nevada, where its Gigafactory battery-pack production facility, as well as the $7,500 federal tax rebate consumers receive upon purchasing a Model S. The publication concluded by urging Musk to “turn off the taxpayer tap,” on the premise that by so doing, he and his company would gain more friends “for the long haul,” whomever they may be.

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