Though it appears that it may take even more government stimulus to achieve President Obama’s goal of putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, online auto juggernaut Edmunds has come out against existing EV tax credits in a commentary by CEO Jeremy Anwyl. Anwyl’s argument is rooted in the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy‘s finding that the tax credit-qualifying Chevy Volt is only the 13th-greenest vehicle on the market while its greenest, the natural gas-powered Honda Civic GX, remains unsubsidized. Anwyl argues
The problem is this: When the government picks a technology, it crowds out development of other, potentially promising alternatives, like the natural gas engine used in the Honda Civic GX (above). LNG is not a new technology. I had friends who converted their vehicle to natural gas back in the Seventies. But how much are we hearing about it today? Or what about hydrogen fuel cells? A few years back, they were the stars of the major auto shows. Were any fuel-cell vehicles on display at the recent Detroit auto show? No. Every automaker was busy touting EVs.
With a new year, the do-gooders at Advocates For Highway and Auto Safety have produced a new rating of states performance in adopting the safety laws they espouse, including open-container laws, mandatory motorcycle helmets, ramped-up privileges for teen drivers and booster seat standards. If you buy into the idea that more laws equals more safety, this iconographic is all you need to determine how “safe” your state is. If, on the other hand, you believe that some of AFHAS’s recommended laws are better than others, you’ll want to go through their complete report [in PDF here] to see whether your state’s laws measure up to your expectations. Sorry, but Democracy still isn’t a spectator sport.
Morale at Redflex Traffic Systems, the Australian photo enforcement company with more contracts in the United States than any other firm, has never been lower. Yesterday, the company faced the real possibility that the state government in Victoria, Australia would sue for the recovery of $15 million in citations issued by a faulty Redflex freeway speed camera system. Although the government currently refuses to issue refunds, it issued equally stern denials before giving in to public pressure by refunding $26 million worth of tickets over a high-profile accuracy failure in 2003.
If you are stuck in Beijing traffic, while police closes the center lane to give preferential treatment to a government motorcade, you will notice a penchant for foreign brands amongst Chinese government officials: White license plates (= government) are usually found on bigger bore Audis, BMWs, and Mercedeses (or “Benz” as they are called in China.) After all, they are made in China in joint ventures, and only petty people will point out that an Audi A8, a Volkswagen Touareg, or a Benz S Class are imports.
The tastes are about to change, albeit not too drastically.