Biden Reportedly Selecting Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary

Despite the obscene level of confusion surrounding the U.S. election that’s been left unresolved, the media has reported that Joe Biden is supposed to become the next president (Ed. note — not only that, but the Electoral College has certified Biden’s win). While we cannot speak to continued legal challenges being presented or the now-reported FBI corruption probe looking into international money-laundering allegations against the Biden family, we do know that Joe is supposedly tapping Pete Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has never held federal office before, is being reported by Reuters as the former VPs pick for the cabinet role. While that should just about wrap up this story, the outlet wanted to make sure you were aware of the importance of this somewhat speculative news.

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Automotive Alliance Manages to Delay Revised Massachusetts Right to Repair Law

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI) has managed to stall enforcement of a ballot measure recently passed in Massachusetts that expands access to data related to vehicle maintenance and repair. Last week, the relatively new lobbying/trade group asked a U.S. district court for a temporary order that would bar implementation of the state’s new right-to-repair rules aimed at giving vehicle owners more direct control of their private data and independent repair shops a fighting chance of staying in business. But the state’s attorney general has already decided that the rules are invalid until after federal cases have been decided.

The decision represents another victory for giant, multinational corporations at the expense of disgusting citizens interested in controlling their personal information and small business owners who have had it easy for far too long.

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Pennsylvania Dealer Group Accused of PPP Fraud, Extorting Cash From Staff

When the United States announced it would be offering payroll relief to the countless small businesses it impacted with government shutdowns intended to combat COVID-19 earlier this year, everyone breathed a sigh of relief into their mask. Unfortunately, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) became a confusing bureaucratic mess almost instantly. It wasn’t clear how companies would account for part-time or contracted employees, numerous banks denied help to those with less than stellar financial histories, and the application website repeatedly crashed — which was awful for a service that was designed to accommodate candidates on a first-come-first-serve basis.

There were also numerous provisions that allowed big business to take advantage if their individual locations were small enough and loopholes for companies that weren’t even required to shut down operations. Criticisms understandably began to surface, followed by months of commercials asking concerned citizens to report instances of fraud. One such example came into focus this week after a former sales representative for a Pennsylvania-based dealership group launched a federal lawsuit against their ex-employer alleging that it had violated the False Claims Act in relation to PPP.

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Report: Japan May Ban Internal Combustion Vehicles Next Decade

The Japan Broadcasting Corporation, better known as NHK, reported that the island nation is considering banning new internal combustion engine cars by the mid-2030s this week. While we will continue to maintain that such an effort seems unrealistic when confronting the current realities of the market, Japan’s alleged plan offers a bit more leeway than proposals pitched in parts of Europe and North America. Nippon also finds itself in a better position in the preferred mixed approach of allowing mixed powertrains, which would allow the industry to continue production gasoline-driven hybrids.

For starters, the Asian country has a fairly comprehensive hydrogen fueling network thanks to its small size. It’s also in a position that would make nationwide EV charging more feasible than regions with plenty of wide-open spaces. But automakers aren’t making a peep on the issue, preferring to leave it up to regulators and the market.

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Volvo CEO Says Governments Should Just Ban Gasoline Powered Cars

Volvo Cars’ chief executive, Håkan Samuelsson, believes a ban on gasoline-driven vehicles would be a more effective way to force groups to go electric than continuing to offer subsidies on battery-powered automobiles. The announcement comes as part of the Financial Times’ “Future of the Car Summit,” where Samuelsson will proclaim the internal combustion engine “a technology of the past.”

In related news, Volvo Cars is also in negotiations to merge with China’s Geely Automotive and has renewed its commitment toward becoming an electric-only brand by 2030. The latter issue will also be brought up during Wednesday’s Car Summit, with the CEO praising the United Kingdom’s promise to eliminate the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars that same year.

What miraculously convenient timing.

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Gas War: Ford Urges Other Automakers to Join the Californian Coalition

The Ford Motor Company is asking automakers to join it in supporting Californian vehicle emissions targets aimed at supplanting the rollback that was supposed to become the national standard. General Motors has already abandoned its support of the Trump rollbacks, which offered concessions to appease environmental groups but ultimately targeted more lax fueling regulation while seeking to eliminate California’s ability to self regulate as a way to curb its influence. But industry leaders are under the impression that a President Biden would attempt to swiftly transmission back to Obama-era regulatory targets or simply adopt the California model that’s been at odds with the national standards established by the Trump administration.

Considering how aggressive the Biden-Harris energy/environmentalism platform is, it certainly seems a plausible scenario and certain automotive executives feel that it would be best to go into 2021 aligned and supportive. The matter is even scheduled to be brought forward during Tuesday’s virtual auto trade association meeting.

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U.S. Government Awards Huge Transportation Contract to Uber, Lyft

The General Services Administration (GSA), responsible for managing services for federal agencies, issued a five-year federal contract to Uber and Lyft. Confirmed by Veronica Juarez, Lyft’s vice president of social enterprise and government, on Monday, the deal estimated to be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $810 million and allows the ride-hailing firms to offer public agencies a direct line to their transportation services.

While federal employees have always been able to utilize the services, the new arrangement makes them semi-compulsory for some of the millions of government employees involved. Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft can now work directly with officials to promote their services. With the recent passing of California’s Prop 22, which issued special legal protections to ride-hailing companies, the duo seemed to be experiencing a run of good fortune late in the year. That doesn’t guarantee that they’ll suddenly become profitable entities. But they could be with sufficient government support — which seems increasingly likely for reasons we’re about to dive into.

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GM Switches Sides in the Gas War, Joins California/Biden

General Motors has changed its mind on backing the Trump administration’s effort to supplant Obama-era emission regulations with something more manageable and prohibit California from setting its own emissions rules. Of course, the coastal rules aren’t really just for California — it desperately wants to export them to the rest of the country and has made rather incredible headway for not being the federal government. The coastal region has already convinced over 20 states to follow in its footsteps and even amassed support from auto manufacturers like BMW, Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen Group.

Other automakers, including General Motors, felt the Trump plan would give them more flexibility and undoubtedly make them less subject to government fines. However, with a Biden presidency assured without Trump and Co. having an extremely powerful voter fraud case, GM has become a turncoat. On Monday, CEO Mary Barra issued a letter to environmental groups stating that her company is “immediately withdrawing from the preemption litigation and inviting other automakers to join us.”

GM now wants to work with Joe Biden — probably because the company understands his administration is going to be regulating the snot out of the nation.

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NHTSA Begins Regulatory Proceedings for Autonomous Safety, You Can Help

Safety regulators with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said they were opening formal regulatory proceedings to establish new safety standards for autonomous vehicles on Thursday. However, before the NHTSA can get into proposing new rules that will influence how cars that can control themselves will be handled by the U.S. government, it wants citizens to offer their two cents.

We’re talking specifically about Levels 3-5 of automation as defined by SAE, meaning cars that could someday be sold without steering wheels or any other means to take control of the vehicle yourself. It’s something industrial lobbyists with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI) already have a roadmap for and plan on sharing with the NHTSA soon. Based on the group’s previous initiatives, we imagine it’ll be advocating the government leave as much control in the hands of manufacturers as possible. But you’ll have a limited window to weigh in on that position (or, better yet, share your own) while regulators have an open request for public comment.

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Quebec Banning Gasoline Dependent Passenger Vehicles in 2035

On Monday, the Canadian province of Quebec announced it would be joining California and numerous European locales in the banning of gasoline-powered automobiles. Announced during a meeting regarding the region’s green economy plan, the French-speaking province said all new vehicles sold after 2035 would have to be entirely electric. Then there was a slight derailment as Premier François Legault used the occasion to publicly decry that it was “totally unacceptable” that some shop owners in Montreal are failing to greet customers in French and that the situation needed to be remedied immediately. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante agreed, saying “clients must be able to get served in French. Period.”

One battle at a time, heroes. Justice will be served (and in glorious French) to those English-speaking heathens and their foul-smelling cars soon enough.

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Gas War: California Regulators Say Biden Should Embrace State's Emission Plan

While multiple states launch mandatory election recounts and President Trump throws around lawsuits like confetti Joe Biden and the mainstream media are preparing for his ascension from regular old man to Leader of the Free World — though that title doesn’t seem to get much play these days. Biden has already started holding meetings with foreign leaders and experts on how to go about heading the United States. Apparently, there’s even been some progress on how to govern the nation.

On Thursday, California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chairwoman Mary Nichols said the state’s arrangement with major automakers over fuel efficiency requirements would be ideal for the presumed Biden administration — which has promised to implement some of the most ambitious emissions standards the world has ever seen. Nichols also expressed excitement at the possibility of heading the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under a Biden presidency and is reportedly under serious consideration for the position.

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Gas War: Biden Selects 'Obama All Stars' for Transportation Department, EPA

With America currently split between people arguing about how seriously the 2020 election needs to be investigated, there hasn’t been much in the news about cars beyond the omnipresent background hiss of manufacturers promoting green vehicles they have yet to build. That leaves us having to belly crawl through journalistic muck in the hopes of finding a morsel of useful information. Fortunately, we located a crumb worth saving in Joe Biden’s transition teams for the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department.

A Biden administration means bringing back Obama all-stars in a concentrated effort to restore that era’s regulatory standards. That entails flipping just about every single initiative launched by President Trump, including the national fuel rollback that’s at the heart of the Gas War. Biden has also said he would reenter the Paris Climate Accords, gradually abandon fossil fuels, and “establish ambitious fuel economy standards” surpassing anything the nation has seen before.

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German Auto Lobby Wants Biden to Eliminate U.S. Trade Restrictions

Germany is eager to see the United States abolish trade barriers implemented by President Donald Trump now that it looks like Joe Biden has won the 2020 election. While that could all be undone by the sudden influx of legal actions taken by the Trump campaign as presumptive evidence of election impropriety streams in, Germany would still like to get the ball rolling on trade with the Democrats.

The nation’s automotive industry is petitioning leadership in the U.S. and European Union to align technical/regulatory standards and minimize the existing trade barriers. The German Association of the Automotive Industry (Verband der Automobilindustrie) or VDA has already endorsed the proposal with the lobby group’s president confirming its position in a recent webcast hosted by the Frankfurt business media club ICFW (Internationale Club Frankfurter Wirtschaftsjournalisten).

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California Urges Manufacturers to Tattle on Themselves

On Wednesday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) urged manufacturers to disclose any unapproved hardware or software that might place a vehicle’s emissions outside of the acceptable parameters of legality. CARB said those who comply would be subjected to reduced penalties and reminded everyone that it’s going to be opening a state-of-the-art testing facility that will be better at catching cheaters in 2021. It’s so advanced, the board suggested it might even be able to catch totally new violations.

You’ve likely seen this tactic employed by an exasperated parent or substitute teacher. An illicit substance is found tucked away somewhere and they parade it around demanding whoever owns it to fess up immediately or face harsher consequences later. This obvious trap is best avoided by committing a lesser crime right then and there or being so obstinate that you’re issued a minor punishment just for being annoying — thus freeing you of suspicion for the pornography Mr. Lawson found taped beneath the bleachers.

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LAPD's Green Fleet Goes Back On Sale

In 2014, Mayor Eric Garcetti wanted to show Los Angeles that he would take an active role in spearheading “environmental justice,” announcing several initiatives to combat the city’s notorious air pollution.

One of those efforts involved transitioning government-owned fleets towards battery power and hybridization. By the following year, the LAPD announced it was ready to consider contracts with various automakers ready to help provide the non-emergency administrative unit (which was new at the time) with a fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles.

BMW ultimately won out, resulting in a fleet of i3 hatchbacks — some of which were painted and given lights for traffic enforcement duties or other light police work (e.g. community outreach). The leasing agreement kicked off in 2016 and ultimately cost taxpayers over $10,200,000 when combined with the charging infrastructure that had to be installed to support them. But the department and the mayor started taking heat after the public learned the vehicles were hardly ever used for police business, resulting in a minor scandal.

Notifying the world that the program seems to have been a massive waste of resources didn’t change anything, however. Most vehicles saw little use through 2019 and many are now being sold by the dealership that initially leased them to the LAPD.

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  • ToolGuy The [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]XJ platform[/url] is super interesting to me, more so after owning one and working on it some (but not a lot, because it didn't need a lot). The overall size is almost perfect; add more space to the back seat (and carry it to the wheelbase) if we are starting over.One could argue, if one knew anything about vehicles, that the 4-door XJ is a major reason why U.S. fleet [all of everyone's vehicles averaged together] fuel economy is so bad in 2023.
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy can't solve all the issues raised here tonight, but this does remind me that I have some very excellent strawberry jam direct from Paris in the fridge.
  • ToolGuy Cool.(ToolGuy supports technology advancement, as well as third-person references)
  • MaintenanceCosts Oddly enough, I bought a metal-roof convertible for a bit less than $20k last year. But it's not on your list; it's an E93 335i, manual, Sport package. Really really nice car to drive, and (while it's been a short time) it's been flawless so far.
  • FreedMike IS350 all the way. The Benz and the BMW are going to be money pits.