Category: Government

By on August 26, 2016

Audi A7 Sportback

Volkswagen continues to claim that with enough time, it can figure out a way to fix 85,000 high-end diesel vehicles in the U.S. without having to buy them back. There’s a problem, though. Time is running out.

After the presiding over yesterday’s settlement deal between Volkswagen and its dealers, a U.S. District Court judge gave the automaker two months to submit a fix for its 3.0-liter TDI models, Reuters reports. Read More >

By on August 26, 2016

gas-pump-save-ftr

Low-octane gasoline. It was great for the detuned boat anchors found under the hoods of 1970s Malaise-era barges, because you weren’t having fun, anyway.

The future of gasoline-powered vehicles is all about high-compression engines and ever-stricter environmental regulations, meaning gasoline with higher octane than today’s pumps can provide could be on the horizon. Read More >

By on August 25, 2016

1-Ethanol-Gas-006

A new study from the University of Michigan adds (bio)fuel to the growing backlash against supposedly clean and green fossil fuel substitutes.

The study claims that the environmental benefits of ethanol and biodiesel — championed by both the federal government and the lucrative biofuel industry — are based on completely false assumptions, the Detroit Free Press reports. Read More >

By on August 23, 2016

Uber ride, Image: Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures/Flickr

From the everyone’s a winner! file comes this story. Soon, whenever a Massachusetts resident hails an Uber, the state will hand part of their fare to their direct competition.

Reuters reports that Massachusetts lawmakers are poised to levy a five-cent-per-trip levy on ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft — a new corporate welfare initiative that is the first of its kind in the U.S. Read More >

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 19, 2016

Harley-Davidson (Richard Ricciardi/Flickr)

The most American of motorcycle manufacturers has agreed to pay a $15 million settlement after the Environmental Protection Agency accused it of selling illegal aftermarket tuning kits.

The company’s “Screamin’ Eagle” super tuners, sold since 2008, cause motorcycles to emit excessive amounts of air pollution, the EPA claims. Read More >

By on August 18, 2016

1970 Plymouth EPA Superbird Blue front quarter, Image: Barrett-Jackson

Indeed, car shoppers looking for a bargain can potentially find fleet gold at surplus auctions, where municipal, county, state, and federal agencies dispose of (usually) lightly used domestic cars and trucks. Knowing how those agencies use their vehicles can make or break the value of your find; buying an ex-Border Patrol Raptor in Texas may not be the best idea if you want a long-lived, trouble free truck.

A keen eye and a bit of luck, however, can yield a magnificent treasure. In 1979, a high-school shop teacher spotted this old Plymouth up for bid, and took it home for a measly $500. It’s no ordinary Plymouth, of course — it’s the legendary Superbird, with the NASCAR-ready homologation wing and aero nose.

It’s up for auction again in October, though it’ll cross the stage under bright lights and TV cameras at the glitzy Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas instead of a dreary government service facility. As these rare ‘Birds tend to trade for well over six figures, we’d have to say this is likely the best surplus find yet.

However, the story behind this example might make it worth even more: This particular Superbird was owned by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Read More >

By on August 12, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Prototype on road, Image: Tesla Motors

Michigan doesn’t want its residents to order a Tesla, but it sees no problem in owning $72 million in stock to bolster its state retirement fund.

According to The Detroit News, the Michigan Department of Treasury bought a further $48 million in Tesla shares in the second quarter of this year, boosting its stake to 339,623 shares — more than triple the amount it owned in March. Meanwhile, Michigan won’t budge on laws that prevent Tesla from selling vehicles in the state. Read More >

By on August 12, 2016

2016-toyota-mirai-6-1

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have been in development for as long as hybrids, but while one of those technologies can be found in any Walgreens parking lot, the other still occupies a tiny micro-niche in the marketplace.

Besides the lack of refueling infrastructure, hydrogen-powered driving is hindered by the high cost of fuel cells. After receiving $6 million from the feds, Ford Motor Company and the Los Alamos National Laboratory hope to change that, the Detroit Free Press reports. Read More >

By on August 9, 2016

Couple buying cat Courtesy chronicleherald.ca

With memories of the 2008 financial meltdown still fresh, American consumers aren’t borrowing wildly anymore — except when it comes to cars and credit card purchases.

As of the end of June, car buyers racked up the highest auto loan debt in U.S. history — $1.1 trillion, according to a quarterly report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Also on the rise? Credit risk. Read More >

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