Tag: EPA

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 January 13, 2017

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit, Image: FCA

Well known as a leading voice in the fight against climate change and a host of other progressive issues, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman now has Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in his sights.

After yesterday’s bombshell announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency, in which the regulator accused FCA of violating federal laws with its 3.0-liter diesel Jeep and Ram models, Scheiderman revealed that his office will investigate the automaker.

A noted environmental attack dog, Schneiderman isn’t the guy you want on your tail. (Read More…)

By on January 12, 2017

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE

The Environmental Protection Agency calls the emissions control devices found on diesel Jeep and Ram vehicles a “clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act” — something the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn’t very happy about.

In their morning announcement, EPA officials claimed the automaker hasn’t done anything to prove the devices found on 2014-2016 EcoDiesel models aren’t regulator-tricking “defeat devices.” According to Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press, Sergio Marchionne is mighty steamed, calling the insinuation of cheating “unadulterated hogwash.”

So, what are these eight auxiliary devices, and what penalty could the automaker face if found in violation of the law? (Read More…)

By on January 12, 2017

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE, Image: FCA

The Environmental Protection Agency has accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of installing emissions software in 104,000 diesel Rams and Jeeps that violates the Clean Air Act.

According to the regulator, which made its announcement this morning, FCA failed to declare “eight auxiliary emissions control devices” during the EPA certification process. Those devices were installed on 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine.

The regulator has sent a notice of violation to the automaker.

(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…)

By on December 3, 2016

Mark-Fields (Image: Ford)

Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields doesn’t have kind words for the Environmental Protection Agency’s surprise decision to keep long-term fuel economy targets in place.

A mid-term review of corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) targets set in 2012 kicked off earlier this year, but the timing of the agency’s recent decision to maintain the 54.5 mile-per-gallon goal reeks of politics, Fields claims.

For automakers, reaching 54.5 mpg means extra costs. To avoid this, Ford is prepared to turn to its election campaign sparring partner — President-elect Donald Trump — for help. (Read More…)

By on November 30, 2016

gas-pump-save-ftr

Fuel economy standards set by the Obama administration for the 2022 to 2025 model years will remain, the Environmental Protection Agency has stated.

The environmental regulator announced its proposed determination earlier today, part of its midterm review of the country’s corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) targets. Forget cheap gas and never mind the SUV craze — 54.5 miles per gallon is still the government’s goal. (Read More…)

By on November 14, 2016

dealership

Barring those pesky instances where automakers were forced to hand cash to buyers as a make-nice gesture, the Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy labels found on window stickers are actually pretty accurate.

That’s the verdict from Consumer Reports’ just-released study on the real-world mileage of 2009-2016 model year vehicles, but it comes with an asterisk. Don’t break out the champagne just yet, EPA. (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2016

2015-chevrolet-suburban-ltz-photo-576439-s-1280x782

The post-recession era was an interesting one. As automakers struggled to cram every last piece of fuel-saving technology into their vehicles, gas prices shot up and grimly stayed put. Engine displacements small enough to inspire locker room bullying were suddenly the mainstream.

Naturally, both corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) and sales-weighted fuel economy shot up like U.S. jobs numbers.

America’s rapidly growing lust for light trucks, crossovers and SUVs has been well documented, but until now, the trend has only served to flatline the average gas mileage of the country’s new vehicles. Well, the trend could only go so far before reaching a tipping point. (Read More…)

By on November 2, 2016

pumping fuel

The auto industry’s average fuel economy for new vehicles sputtered upwards by 0.5 miles per gallon last year, according to recent data from the Environmental Protection Agency. While that may sound like cause for celebration, let’s not lose perspective. A statistical record high may be noteworthy, but not necessarily indicative of a new upward trend.

First, let’s try to figure out what happened last year to drive the industry average out of a period of mpg stagnation.

(Read More…)

By on October 24, 2016

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

After banishing Volkswagen Group diesels from the American marketplace, the Environmental Protection Agency is taking its sweet time approving oil burners from other automakers.

So slow is the EPA in providing regulatory thumbs-ups to 2017 model year diesel vehicles, one automaker is re-thinking its plans for the U.S., Automotive News reports. (Read More…)

By on September 12, 2016

Volkswagen TDI

On September 9th, Volkswagen engineer James Liang pleaded guilty after being indicted on a variety of crimes related to VW’s deliberate use of a software routine that cheated on government diesel emissions testing.

Until his guilty plea was entered in United States District Court in Detroit, Liang’s indictment was under seal. Now that it has been made public (full PDF version here), we know more details about VW’s cheat and it turns out that the German automaker even updated the original software cheat — apparently to work more effectively — with a patch delivered in the guise of fixing emissions related warranty claims.

As the scandal was breaking, Volkswagen also deliberately supplied government agencies with false data to make the problem appear to be the result of a mechanical malfunction, not a defeat device. (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2016

pumping gas

Whoa, slow down a minute. That’s the message from three Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is reviewing fuel economy targets set out for automakers.

The members want more time for car companies to respond to a key report about the 54.5 mile per gallon corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) target, The Detroit Free Press 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 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…)

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