Category: Government

By on November 12, 2015

Volkswagen Wolfsburg

The New York Times is reporting that a loophole in emissions regulations for European cars could keep Volkswagen from paying billions to governments for illegally polluting cars. Regulators considered closing the loophole in 2011, but ultimately failed to do so, which could leave the escape hatch ever-so cracked for Volkswagen to run through.

According to the report, which cites internal meeting notes of European regulators in Geneva, automakers can send through testing cars programmed for special circumstances that daily drivers can’t access.

“A manufacturer could specify a special setting that is not normally used for everyday driving,” British regulators warned in 2011, according to the New York Times. Read More >

By on November 12, 2015

2015 United States Grand Prix

Just weeks following the conclusion of a rain-soaked United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, certain details are coming to light that threaten the continuation of the event — and quite possibly operation of the facility as a whole.

One of the many pieces that keeps the event in Austin is the state’s Major Events Trust Fund, which has provided $25 million a year to race promoters since COTA began hosting Formula 1 in 2012.

It was believed the annual $25 million payment was assured for at least 10 years, for a total commitment of $250 million, to be paid by the State of Texas. However, a change in government and an audit of how the fund calculates major events payments has meant race organizers received just $19.5 million for 2015, or $5.5 million less than what was expected.

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By on November 10, 2015

TDI Clean Diesel

Increased scrutiny on diesel-powered cars’ emissions hasn’t revealed any other cheating cars beyond Volkswagen’s models, German magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported (via Reuters).

In an interview with California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols, the German outlet reported that Nichols said Volkswagen appeared to be alone in cheating so far.

“Up until now we have found no fraudulent defeat device in vehicles of other brands,” she told the magazine. “There is nothing that comes close to the magnitude of the excess in VW vehicles. “ Read More >

By on November 8, 2015

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE

Government agencies from the United States, Canada and Germany will be testing diesel vehicles from automakers other than Volkswagen to check their compliance with emission laws.

According to The New York Times, regulators in North America “are significantly expanding their on-the-road emissions tests to cover all makes and models of diesel cars.” The same on-road tests found 3-liter V-6 diesel engines to emit more NOx than they did in EPA testing.

The EPA had already notified General Motors that its new Colorado and Canyon diesel pickups would undergo increased scrutiny.

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By on November 7, 2015

Congressman Michael C. Burgess (R-TX)

Through an amendment by U.S. Representative Michael C. Burgess (R-TX) to the transportation funding bill, the House voted in favor of dialing back planned budget increases for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday, Automotive News reported.

Those planned increases of $46.3 million for 2016 and $76.7 million by 2021 have been cut by $15 million per year.

Burgess is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade and is responsible for a 62-page draft bill that would have credited vehicles with three advanced safety devices an additional 3 grams of CO2 per mile, up to 6 grams of CO2 per mile for a car that communicates with the road.

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By on November 5, 2015


Officials from Volkswagen will meet Thursday with the Environmental Protection Agency to explain to regulators how a “temperature conditioning” mode isn’t illegal, Reuters reported (via Automotive News).

“(Auxiliary Emission Control Device) software does not alter emissions levels, but it ensures after a cold start (of the engine) that the catalytic converters quickly reach their working temperature and emissions cleaning takes effect,” VW said, according to Reuters.

In its notification to the automaker Monday, officials from the EPA specifically outlined how a “temperature conditioning” mode, specifically timed to the length of the EPA’s initial tests, reduced emissions up to nine times in cars equipped with VW’s 3-liter diesel engine.

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By on November 3, 2015

Takata Driver Airbag

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Tuesday it would fine auto supplier Takata $70 million for its defective airbags that have caused seven deaths and nearly 100 injuries.

Regulators announced that an additional $130 million fine could be levied on the supplier if they do not comply with additional safety standards or if more defects are found.

“For years, Takata has built and sold defective products, refused to acknowledge the defect, and failed to provide full information to NHTSA, its customers, or the public,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “The result of that delay and denial has harmed scores of consumers and caused the largest, most complex safety recall in history. Today’s actions represent aggressive use of NHTSA’s authority to clean up these problems and protect public safety.”

Read More >

By on November 3, 2015

California DMV

A report by published by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR) (via WGBH Boston) details that state’s widening private and public systems for road tests by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Prospective drivers may wait hours for an available examiner, or book months in advance — sometimes hundreds of miles away — for their chance at a road test. Or, they could pay hundreds to jump the line, and in some cases, have an examiner come to them.

The story details a growing schism in some places for public tests giving preferential treatment to private businesses because of cash-strapped budgets or over-burdened examiners.

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By on October 29, 2015

02 Volkswagen Golf family

Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey on Thursday sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking the agency to re-evaluate millions of fuel economy credits awarded to the automaker by the agency for cheating diesel cars.

The letter, which was addressed to Administrator Mark Rosekind, outlined the automaker’s exceedingly fuel efficient fleet average from 2008, which now could be in jeopardy after the automaker admitted it cheated emissions tests and could impact those cars’ mileage. Read More >

By on October 27, 2015


General Motors announced Tuesday that the automaker would recall 1.3 million cars for an oil leak that could ignite, Reuters reported.

According to the report, 1,345 fires have been reported in cars that were repaired for similar issues under two previous recalls. In six years, 19 minor injuries were reportedly caused by leaking oil.

Read More >

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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Bark M., United States
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