By on May 17, 2017

traffic (Michael Gil/Flickr)

Earlier today, we mentioned Volvo was preparing to dump its diesel-burning engines because the EU is aggressively pursuing anti-diesel legislation. While it’s easy to accuse Europe of being fraught with fringe environmentalists, the truth is that the continent spent decades avoiding restrictions on diesel-burning passenger vehicles, sold loads of them, and has suddenly found itself with its green pants around its ankles.

In addition to hazy skies, air pollution isn’t exactly great for your health. A recent study published in Nature found diesel engines produced 5 million more tons of nitrogen oxide than previously estimated for 2015. The research focused on vehicles in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea and the United States and uncovered that we’ve grossly overestimated the amount of good being done by our global regulatory efforts. Companies are practically guaranteed to be falsifying testing results while others are openly incapable of reaching government-enforced guidelines.

Who cares? It’s not like anyone is dying, right? Well, not exactly. (Read More…)

By on February 22, 2017

Flint Silverado assembly plant

Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s former attorney general, was sworn in to his new role as Environmental Protection Agency administrator late Friday following a 52-46 Senate vote earlier in the day.

While it isn’t known what Pruitt did over the weekend, it’s safe to say that members of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers spent at least part of that downtime drafting a letter, likely mirroring one they’ve already sent to President Donald Trump.

The group, representing 12 automakers that build 77 percent of the light-duty vehicles sold in the U.S., wants action on lowering the industry’s fuel economy and emissions targets. Urgent action, ideally. Now that there’s been a change at the top, the group feels that it might finally get its wish. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

Mark Fields

Ford Motor Company chief executive officer and doomsday prophet Mark Fields thinks one million American jobs will be placed in peril if the country’s current fuel economy standards aren’t made more flexible.

The alarming scenario was given by Fields to President Trump himself at last week’s private meeting of U.S. automakers at the White House.  (Read More…)

By on January 24, 2017

White House, Washington DC

At the start of the second real workday of the Trump administration, the leaders of the Detroit Three automakers marched into the White House for a breakfast meeting with their newly minted president.

We don’t know for sure what they ate, but we can relate what they talked about. This won’t come as a shock: investment. Specifically, assembly plant investment in the U.S., rather than Mexico.

Ford CEO Mark Fields, General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne knew the landscape they were entering. Yesterday, Trump signed an executive order that pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and moved to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Today, he signed an executive action to advance approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Deals. Besides perhaps eggs and toast, Trump wanted deals. Or, at this early point, promises and assurances at the very least. (Read More…)

By on September 20, 2016

ford-autonomous-car-technology

The federal government doesn’t want to leave the issue of autonomous vehicle safety for states to decide, and may create new powers of oversight and approval for autonomous technology.

After president Barack Obama laid out his goals for the industry in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette op-ed yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a set of voluntary guidelines to manufacturers today, asking them to prove their vehicles are safe before entering public roadways. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2016

tesla-model-s-

Tesla’s dream of establishing a sales footprint in America’s auto manufacturing heartland is dead, at least for now, after Michigan lawmakers slammed the door on its direct sales bid.

The electric automaker’s application for a dealership license was denied after state representatives claimed it violated a law specifically designed to keep companies like Tesla out, The Detroit News reports. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2016

semi trailer (raymondclarkeimages/Flickr)

The U.S. Department of Transportation wants to mandate speed-limiting devices on all tractor-trailers and buses in the country in a bid to save lives and fuel.

Announced yesterday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the proposal would limit vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more to 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour. Other speed limits could be considered, but that’s up to the public to debate. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2016

NASCAR (James Marvin Phelps/Flickr)

R.I.P. victory lap burnouts? It sure looks that way.

NASCAR seems to have reached a tipping point in its tolerance of post-race victory burnouts, some of which damage the vehicle enough to interfere with the post-race inspection process. After an incident last weekend, the organization says it might have to lay down rules, Autoblog reports. (Read More…)

By on August 4, 2016

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

The dialogue from Tesla wasn’t all rainbows and puppies this week.

In oddly coordinated diatribes, CEO Elon Musk and his vice-president of business development took off the soft driving gloves and laid into their competition and the country’s regulators. The message? Put up, pay up, or shut up. (Read More…)

By on May 27, 2016

2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The world’s oldest automaker isn’t about to let regulators pry its diesel engines from its warm, German hands.

Mercedes-Benz is rolling out a new line of oil-burning engines that will surpass even the most stringent emissions requirements, AutoExpress reports.

So stingy are the new diesels, the automaker says they’ll pass looming European Union requirements that aren’t scheduled to go into effect until 2017. (Read More…)

By on May 13, 2016

2015-ford-mustang-1

It’s a great reason to ditch the bike and leave downtown Portlandia.

Oregon drivers will soon feel more wind in their hair, all thanks to the Oregon Department of Transportation and a dictate from the federal government. (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2016

1940 Nash

He doesn’t have any firm numbers, but Barrie Kirk has a feeling.

The Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence executive director just knows that once humans no longer have to pump the brakes and jerk the wheel of their autonomous vehicles, their ingrained habits will give way to exploits of a carnal nature.

Yes, some people are predicting fleets of rolling bedrooms coursing their way through commuter traffic. Don’t tell Helen Lovejoy. (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2016

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

After admitting it fudged fuel economy data for the past 25 years in Japan, Mitsubishi Motors wants the Environmental Protection Agency to know that its U.S. vehicles are A-OK.

The automaker claims it conducted an internal audit on vehicles from model year 2013 to present and contrasted that data with figures it had previously submitted to the EPA. The conclusion? The information’s fine. (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2016

Miller Motorsports Park Circa May 2008

Is it curtains for modified street cars on the racetrack, or will a compromise save the day?

The first meeting of a congressional committee tasked with deciding the fate of drivers who race modified street vehicles took place on March 15, and a glimmer of hope emerged, according to Jalopnik.

Earlier this month, a bipartisan bill — Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 — was introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate in a bid to make converted race vehicles exempt from proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

(Read More…)

By on January 9, 2016

Elio Motors' display for the 2016 NAIAS

My late father told me that few people are as passionate as converts who’ve become disaffected. Some of the most vocal critics of the Elio Motors startup are former supporters, people who put down money on reservations, only to be disappointed by repeated delays in starting production.

Paul Elio most recently said production is slated to begin sometime late this year — that is if they can get the money to do it.

However, those disaffected folks were abuzz this week over a post at Green Car Congress that said a proposed rule change by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would classify three-wheeled vehicles as automobiles. That would require Elio Motors’ three-wheeler to comply with all the same Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards of four-wheeled cars. (Read More…)

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