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…)
Remember when recycling was new and sexy and every 1980s sitcom included it as a subplot in at least one cringe-inducing episode? It was around the time that McDonald’s took away that convenient styrofoam container — you know, the one that stored a Big Mac on one side and a delicious pile of fries on the other.
Times change. Recycling is mundane, but it’s bigger than ever — and there’s no doubt about the environmental benefits. Unfortunately, there can also be unforeseen financial benefits for less-than-honest operators, especially if a program’s creator doesn’t keep watch on who’s minding the till.
If that creator is the government, things can get messy. Consider this cautionary tale of a massive program that went rotten so badly that it had to be scrapped. (Read More…)
The Environmental Protection Agency has a new administrator.
Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general and President Donald Trump’s first choice for the role, was confirmed today following a 52-46 Senate vote that fell mainly along party lines, with some exceptions.
In an odd twist of fate, the man who once sued the EPA multiple times is now the man running it. (Read More…)
Half a year after an embattled Volkswagen agreed to pay nearly $15 billion in compensation to U.S. diesel owners and regulators, it’s Canada’s turn to dip into the automaker’s sooty wallet.
The company reached a deal today with the 2.0-liter diesel vehicle owners behind a class-action lawsuit. When finalized, the settlement means up to 105,000 bought-back vehicles and more cash added to the company’s penalty pile. $2.1 billion, to be exact, assuming everyone applies for a piece of the pie.
While the cash compensation has the same floor as in the U.S., the payout’s ceiling is lower. (Read More…)
Faced with the option of waiting to see if their cars can be fixed or accepting a hefty cash payout, diesel Volkswagen owners are opting to take the money and run.
Once-fierce loyalty to the dirty “clean diesels” seems to have evaporated, as most owners who’ve registered for the settlement want the automaker to buy back their car, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)
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…)
Volkswagen’s Korean sales slump just became a sales cliff leading to the Challenger Deep.
The embattled automaker suspended sales of most of its models in the Asian country ahead of a environmental review that could lead to a sales ban, Reuters reports. (Read More…)
Volkswagen diesel owners will be able to spend many happy, polluting miles on the road, even after they request a fix instead of a buyback.
Buried in the automaker’s $15.3 billion U.S. settlement is the expectation that most of the recalled vehicles will still spew twice the allowable rate of emissions after being repaired, according to Bloomberg. A fix for the 475,000 2.0-liter diesels hasn’t been approved, but regulators fully expect any repair plan to fail — and they’re grudgingly okay with it. (Read More…)
Columbus, Ohio was chosen as the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Smart City Challenge,” beating out six other mid-size cities for the $40 million federal grant.
With that grant and $100 million pledged from philanthropic and business sources on tap, the city’s plan will see improvements in social infrastructure and green, connected transportation — including greater electric vehicle use and new recharging infrastructure — despite the fact that Ohio’s power grid isn’t very green. (Read More…)
Halfway through its mandate to have 15.4 percent of the state’s vehicles generate zero emissions by 2025, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is now considering changing its requirements.
The problem is too many credits handed out to green car manufacturers, who then sell them to dirtier automakers to bolster their standing with CARB, Bloomberg reports. (Read More…)
Christmas is coming early for owners of polluting Volkswagen TDI models now that the automaker has agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion to settle claims in the diesel emissions scandal.
Volkswagen’s settlement with the federal government, owners and regulators will see it buy back some 475,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles in the U.S. at pre-scandal values and offer their owners up to a cool $10,000 in extra compensation, according to figures reported by the New York Times. (Read More…)
Owners of the 482,000 2.0-liter TDI models caught up in the diesel emissions scandal will get cash compensation tied to the age of their vehicle, anonymous sources said today.
Volkswagen won’t release details on its buyback/fix/remediation plan until Tuesday of next week, but sources briefed on the matter blabbed to the media despite a court-imposed gag order. The Associated Press puts the cost of settling the U.S. fallout at $10.2 billion, with some of that money going towards government penalties.
It’s already known that Volkswagen plans to buy back (or fix, at the owner’s request) 2.0-liter diesel models sold from 2009 on. What’s murky is whether the figures quoted by the sources relate to the vehicle buyback or the separate compensation expected to be handed to owners. (Read More…)
If you’re still holding on to that copy of Who Killed the Electric Car? you bought back in your university days, it might be time to toss it in the trash.
In just two years, there could be four 200-plus mile electric vehicles on the market, now that Hyundai plans to jump into the long-range EV game.
The South Korean automaker doesn’t want to be an also-ran in the emerging field, so it’s planning a 2018 introduction of an EV designed to battle the 215-mile Tesla Model 3. It’s an ambitious goal for a company whose green car chief once called EVs and hybrids “a headache.” (Read More…)
Owners of 2.0-liter Volkswagen diesels will have to wait a little longer before learning exactly when their rolling pariahs will leave their driveways.
The automaker is on track to meet a June 21 settlement deadline, a federal judge stated yesterday, but details on the wildly expensive U.S. buyback and compensation program won’t be made public just yet. (Read More…)
Volkswagen must be enjoying watching its rival squirm on the end of the same hook.
German regulators have singled out GM’s Opel division over carbon dioxide emissions from some of its vehicles, but the automaker says it isn’t in the wrong.
Facing accusations that it used a ‘defeat device’ to shut off emissions controls, Opel must now submit information to an investigating committee. During a meeting yesterday, Opel executives admitted that the popular Zafira model has software that shuts down exhaust treatment systems at high speeds and altitudes. (Read More…)