Tag: EPA

By on March 31, 2020

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released their final version of the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rules on Tuesday. This will establish new targets for corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) and emissions standards for passenger vehicles from the 2021-2026 model years and just in the nick of time. The document had to be completed by April 1st, in order to leave sufficient time for the coming model year.

If you’ve been following the long and arduous process that brought us here, you’ll notice the document has changed slightly from previous drafts. The rollback still enacts the straightening of emission regulations but reels them back from the lofty goals set by the Obama administration. Annual increases in fuel efficiency standards will be set at 1.5 percent through 2026. Previous drafts had the Trump administration freezing efficiency requirements at 2020 levels.  (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2020

gm

The unexpected and potentially under-cylindered 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer is a vehicle you would have read about in these digital pages, had the pandemic not scrubbed a first drive event scheduled for late last week. For sure, yours truly was quite curious to see how well the model’s brace of boosted three-cylinders hauled around the tweener crossover’s modest bulk.

Alas, drive impressions are off the table as we deal with this virus thing. We’ve told you the specs already, given you a taste of what to expect from the not-quite-compact CUV and its Buick Encore GX sibling, and even revealed the EPA ratings of the latter model.

Now it’s time to hit the trail(blazer). (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2020

Tesla’s Model Y has already started production, scheduled to reach consumers by the end of March, but until today there was no official range rating. That’s all changed now, and those standing in line for the automaker’s new compact crossover have reason to smile. (Read More…)

By on February 11, 2020

The United States Department of Justice has ended its investigation into Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW over a presumed antitrust violation stemming from a deal they made with California to adhere to regional emission rules. Their agreement technically circumvents the current administration’s plan to freeze national emissions and fuel economy standards — established while President Obama was still in office — at 2021 levels through 2026. Under the California deal, the automakers promised to comply with pollution and gas mileage requirements that are more stringent than the federal standards suggested in the rollback proposal.

But the probe also looked like retaliation from the Trump administration against automakers publicly siding with the state causing the most trouble in the gas war. Under the deal, the automakers promised to comply with pollution and economy requirements that are tougher than proposed federal standards. Despite the corporate promise being as empty as an Oscar speech, it was still an affront to the current administration’s efforts to tamp down lofty efficiency targets put in place just days before it came into power.

While the Justice Department hasn’t explicitly said why it closed the investigation, it’s presumed that it simply didn’t find anything that it felt violated antitrust laws. California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Friday that he wasn’t surprised by the decision, stating that the “trumped-up charges were always a sham, a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to prevent more automakers from joining California and agreeing to stronger emissions standards.” (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2020

Image: Porsche AG

As one would expect with an electric model, the first iterations of the Porsche Taycan revealed to the public were the high-performing Turbo and Turbo S variants. Hotter models land with a bigger splash (and earn their maker more money), so it was no surprise to see Porsche keep lowlier versions on the back burner. One surprise was the Turbo’s range: 201 miles, drawn from a 93.4 kWh battery pack. Hardly an industry-beating figure, especially for a six-figure car.

Now, the EPA has bestowed a rating on the Turbo’s more muscular sibling, the Turbo S. With an identical battery and extra oomph on tap — 750 horsepower — the Turbo S manages a 192-mile figure. Deal breaker, or irrelevant? (Read More…)

By on January 2, 2020

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is once again applying pressure on the Trump administration’s proposed fuel economy rollback. Similar to the complaints issued by a coalition of scientists back in March of 2018, the board expressed concerns that significant weaknesses exist in the analysis underpinning the plan that should be addressed before any rules are made final. A draft report was circulated earlier in the week, with the SAB scheduling a public meeting meeting on January 17th.

“[The] EPA always appreciates and respects the work and advice of the SAB,” the U.S. regulatory agency said in a statement. “When implemented, the [rollback] will benefit all Americans by improving the U.S. fleet’s fuel economy, reducing air pollution, and making new vehicles more affordable for all Americans.”

(Read More…)

By on December 20, 2019

fca

As everyone in your Twitter feed screams for revolution, evolutionary advancements in technology (and other things) are still proving capable of generating big gains for society. For new vehicle buyers, too.

Jeep’s Wrangler Unlimited EcoDiesel is a case in point. Launched for the 2020 model year, the oil-burning off-roader nets buyers 260 horsepower and a whopping 442 lb-ft of torque — some 307 lb-ft more than a base Wrangler of 30 years ago. Despite boasting only a half-liter of additional displacement and weighing significantly more than a 1990 Iron Duke model, the EcoDiesel returns an extra 8 mpg in combined driving.

Let’s take a look at what the EPA had to say about Jeep’s newest offering. (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2019

Image: Porsche AG

Just the other day, Porsche discussed how excited it was with the number of people placing reservations for its hot new Taycan EV. Unfortunately, that release appears to have been timed to draw attention away from the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment of the Taycan’s “fuel economy” — a figure that was waiting around the corner to bash Porsche’s shins with a lead pipe.

When the German automaker announced the model, it claimed the electric sedan would offer ranges of up to 280 miles on a single charge using the European Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). The real number came in at 256 miles for WLTP. Since EPA estimates are typically much more conservative than WLTP averages, many expected maximum range to come down substantially once the United States finished testing … and come down it did.

The EPA calculated the 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo as having a maximum range of 201 miles. (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2019

2020 Ford Escape

The Mustang Mach-E isn’t yet available for public consumption, leaving a trio of hybrid SUVs as the brand’s electrified vanguard. For 2020, the Escape returns to its hybrid past, joined by the newly electrified Explorer and its plug-in Lincoln Aviator twin.

EPA figures have been revealed for all of these beasts, so let’s take a look at what gas savings that additional expenditure can get you. (Read More…)

By on November 1, 2019

One of the issues underpinning the gas war has been an inability for either side to compromise. Initially, it was the current administration complaining about California wanting special treatment. But the coastal state was quick to return fire, claiming that the White House never offered a valid compromise.

Eventually California extended an olive branch by suggesting it would postpone existing fuel economy mandates by one year, while attempting to lock automakers in via written commitments. But federal regulators said a singular national standard was needed, suggesting California had overstepped its authority by trying to rope in manufacturers.

However, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler came back this fall with claims of a revised plan that could actually be more stringent than originally presumed. While still a rollback, the new draft was said to close several loopholes the industry could use to continue their polluting ways. “In some of the out years, we’re actually more restrictive on CO2 emissions than the Obama proposal was,” Wheeler said.

New reports now suggest the EPA’s words are more than just noise. (Read More…)

By on October 29, 2019

Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, BMW Group and Volkswagen AG announced a voluntary deal with California in July — drawing a line in the sand for who they’ll be supporting in the fueling fracas taking place between the Golden State and White House. Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s rollback proposal — which intends on freezing automotive emission standards at 2020 levels through 2026 — saw no such support. But the cavalry seems to have finally arrived after sitting on the sidelines during the battle’s opening maneuvers.

General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Kia, and Subaru all sided against California in a filing with a U.S. appeals court from Monday night. While they’re not setting any economy targets, they are collectively firm on the issue of the state’s ability to self regulate. A large portion of the industry wants a single national standard, not individual states setting their own benchmarks while they attempt to catch up with product.  (Read More…)

By on October 24, 2019

On Tuesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom responded to a new report claiming oil companies have been overcharging customers over social media.

“[California] drivers have paid an average of 30 cents more per gallon. There’s no identifiable evidence to justify that,” Newsom said. “I’m demanding an investigation. If oil companies are engaging in false advertising or price fixing — legal action should be taken.”

With California leading the charge against the federal government’s proposed fuel economy rollback, Newsom’s words are a bit of a faux pas. While we agree that companies should not be engaging in price fixing, California’s high fuel prices are largely its own doing. Newsom’s claims completely ignore this rather obvious fact — calling his ability to effectively negotiate the national fueling fracas into question.  (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2019

It’s certainly taking this fuel economy rollback proposal we’ve heard so much about a long time to evolve into its final form. Unfortunately, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler has indicated more changes could be needed before a final draft can be released. However, in a bit of a twist, he’s now claiming the proposal will actually be more rigorous than preexisting mandates. Kind of.

“In some of the out years, we’re actually more restrictive on CO2 emissions than the Obama proposal was,” Wheeler told a crowd at the Detroit Economic Club this week.  (Read More…)

By on October 7, 2019

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

The Environmental Protection Agency has gotten around to tinkering with Ram’s latest EcoDiesel V6, and its early findings should put a smile on the faces of the folks in Auburn Hills. However, the estimated fuel economy of the latest (and totally legal) 3.0-liter diesel comes with an asterisk.

While the oil-burning Ram 1500 does seem to beat out Ford’s 3.0-liter Power Stroke both in terms of power and efficiency, both Ford and Ram take a backseat to General Motors. (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2019

With California gearing up for a legal battle against federal regulators eager to revoke its fuel waiver, we knew it wouldn’t be long before another salvo was launched in the gas war. However, the latest skirmish is a bit personal. According to Automotive News, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler issued a letter to to California Air Resource Board chief Mary Nichols on Tuesday that framed the Golden State as unfit to dictate U.S. environmental policy.

The letter claims California has “the worst air quality in the United States” and a backlog of implementation plans to address ambient pollution standards surpassing every other state in the union.

California is scheduled to receive over $4 billion in annual federal highway funding this October. Now, the EPA is claiming the state failed to enforce the U.S. Clean Air Act. As a result, the Trump administration is threatening to withdraw those funds if the region doesn’t take immediately action on 130 different state implementation plans.   (Read More…)

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