According to a study by the National League of Cities, only 6 percent of future city plans consider the potential impact autonomous vehicles will have in the next few years, including driverless car lanes and scaling back parking as ride-share services become more popular.
The study collected transportation plans of the 50 biggest U.S. cities, as well as the most-populous cities in every state. In all, 69 city plans were amassed and studied for future traffic and road plans.
Despite automakers rushing to put autonomous cars on the road by 2020, the study suggests that many cities won’t be able to adequately accommodate those cars, nor will they adapt fast enough to changing transportation modes that may challenge conventional public transportation and infrastructure wisdom.
German investigators are looking into whether Volkswagen executives or engineers broke laws by lying about carbon dioxide emissions in 800,000 cars sold in Europe, the New York Times reported.
Authorities near the automaker’s headquarters in Wolfsburg say they are focused on five Volkswagen employees, but wouldn’t identify those employees. Investigators are determining if Volkswagen employees knowingly provided false information to authorities about those cars and their emissions to qualify those cars for lower tax rates. In admitting that it lied about its emissions levels this month, Volkswagen said it would repay governments for back tax revenue lost because of the bogus claims.
This month, Volkswagen admitted it underestimated carbon dioxide output from 800,000 cars sold in Europe and said the scandal could cost the company more than $2.1 billion. According to the New York Times report, Volkswagen’s admission included a promise to repay taxes owed on owners’ cars it sold with bogus carbon dioxide numbers.
California electric vehicle drivers may pay $100 more in registration fees each year under a proposed bill that aims to raise $3.6 billion each year through gas taxes and fees that would repair and maintain California’s roads, according to the Associated Press (via Autoblog).
The proposed fees would be a sweeping reform to transportation funding that would increase California’s gas taxes by $0.10 per gallon, add $35 to vehicle registrations and increase vehicle fees by 35 percent over five years.
Already, gas and oil companies are lining up against the proposal. (Read More…)
According to the Tesla Motors Club, the referral program that would award one Model X to a lucky loyalist in exchange for referring 10 new Model S buyers may already be over. “Kevin2686″ may likely be the North American winner for the free Model X considering he managed to refer 10 new buyers.
Forum members say Kevin2686 spam posted his referral link, and indeed on a CNET news story about the promotion a user named “Tesla2000″ offered $1,000 up front and $1,000 later with a link to Kevin2686’s referral code. In Tesla’s relatively vague referral language:
“Please note that we may withhold credits, discounts or other awards where we believe customers are acting in bad faith or otherwise acting contrary to the intent of this program.”
This may not end well. (Read More…)
All power is not created equal.
That’s one of many takeaways from a comprehensive study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, one of the nation’s prominent think tanks.
The paper focused on the relative impact of green-energy cars, concluding that an electric car in New Jersey doesn’t have the same environmental impact as an electric car in California.
The initial reaction has been largely surface-deep: electric cars on the East Coast and in the South are powered by “dirty energy” and aren’t as clean as their gas-powered counterparts. That much is a quasi-fair assessment — the source for the electric cars’ power should be considered when it comes to ultimately determining their environmental impacts.
The study, however, is a larger look at the federal subsidies offered on electric cars.
Quebec’s love affair with small, efficient cars is well-known around these parts. And a new government measure will only further enable that, as Quebec is set to raise annual vehicle registration fees based o vehicle’s displacement size.
From Bloomberg’s Zachary Mider comes a new allegation regarding the restructuring of (formerly) American parts maker Delphi: the Treasury Department under Obama helped the company re-incorporate in England as part of a tax avoidance strategy. If that’s true, it’s an embarrassing revelation for a President who recently condemned American companies that incorporate abroad as “corporate deserters.” Like many things in the financial world, however, appearances are often deceiving.
Now that Sergio Marchionne has succeeded in joining Fiat and Chrysler together, for his next act he’s planning on moving Fiat’s headquarters out of Italy. While such a move has tax advantages, it would present a political and public relations challenge for Fiat and Marchionne in their home country. According to Reuters, the new entity, dubbed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, will be a Dutch-based company with a UK tax domicile, while shares are listed on the NYSE with a secondary listing in Milan.
Marchionne is aware that locating the headquarters outside of Italy, where Fiat has operated for 115 years and has received government funding, or outside the United States, where Chrysler was bailed out by the federal government, could make waves and there is the possibility that the Italian government might intervene. “I’ve seen weirder things happen,” Marchionne said to journalists at the recent Detroit auto show. “So I sincerely hope they don’t create obstacles.” (Read More…)
Brazil’s government has announced that it will gradually end the rollback on taxes on manufactured goods including cars.
On Tuesday, the Brazilian government said that tax breaks on cars will be slowly rolled back next year, according to a report by Reuters. The government has to make up for billions in lost revenue that has harmed Brazil’s finances this year and had previously announced that it was going to revive the industrial products tax, known as IPI, charged on cars and other manufactured goods. Though many analysts expected an immediate return to the former 7% tax on new cars, the government decided to phase the taxes in gradually, starting with an increase in January from 2% to 3%. (Read More…)
Federal taxes on highway fuels haven’t been raised in 20 years. Because of inflation and better fuel economy, the Highway Trust Fund, into which those taxes flow and out of which transportation funding is dispersed, faces a shortfall. Standing next to labor, construction and business leaders, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) announced that he has introduced legislation that would raise the federal tax on gas to 33.4 cents per gallon and on diesel to 42.8 cents.
“Every credible independent report indicates that we are not meeting the demands of our stressed and decaying infrastructure system — roads, bridges and transit,” Blumenauer said. “Congress hasn’t dealt seriously with the funding issue for 20 years,” the congressman continued. “With inflation and increased fuel efficiency, especially for some types of vehicles, there is no longer a good relationship between what road users pay and how much they benefit. The average motorist is paying about half as much per mile as they did in 1993.” (Read More…)