Tag: Government

By on September 19, 2019

2018 Nissan LEAF SL

What you hear, too. While most electric vehicles emit noises at low speeds to alert pedestrians of their presence, drivers don’t have a say in the sounds emanating from their vehicle. If it came from the factory sounding like a spaceship, that’s something you’ll just have to live with.

Next year is the deadline for full compliance with mandatory low-speed EV noise rules finalized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration early last year, but a proposed amendment shows the feds want drivers to dial up a tune. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2019

They’re coming, and if you want to hang on to what’s near and dear to you, you’ve got to make a decision. And fast.

Well, maybe give it a few years.

As lawmakers and wannabe lawmakers go hog wild on proposed internal combustion bans in Europe, the idea has taken hold in North America. Different culture, different travel distances, different landscapes, but the same rhetoric. Same solutions. Same challenges, too, though there might be a few additional ones over here.

When they come for your car, what will you do? (Read More…)

By on September 16, 2019

California wants that ’84 Olds Eighty-Eight gone, stat. In its place, a citizen of limited means can apply for disposal funding and the (partial) means of replacing it with a cleaner car, or opt instead for a transit pass or car-sharing membership. Now, the state Senate has amended earlier legislation to include more “mobility.”

The Clean Cars 4 All Program, administered by the California Air Resources Board, will now fork it over to get you on some sort of bike. (Read More…)

By on September 10, 2019

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler weighed in on the gas war this week, issuing some firm language on the matter during a visit to Chattanooga, Tennessee. His words were softer upon returning to Washington, where he reminded everyone that the EPA has made no formal decisions on the matter and suggested there could still be room for compromise.

Unfortunately, locating that happy middle ground has been a bit of a problem. Despite the fuel economy rollback’s status as a proposal, hard lines have been drawn in the sand between the Trump administration and California’s regulatory bodies. The Golden State’s compromise was to delay the Obama-era targets by one year. California also recruited municipalities, U.S. states, and automotive manufacturers to pledge their support of the plan, resulting in a handful of carmakers finding themselves on the business end of an antitrust probe.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s compromise has been nonexistent. Wheeler’s words suggest that might be because everyone is still making up their minds… but not before he gently razzed the West Coast for being shortsighted an singleminded.  (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

With a 25-percent import tariff looming like a hanging blade over U.S.-built vehicles in the Chinese market, Tesla has managed to side-step another sales-sinking levy: the country’s purchase tax.

At 10 percent, the purchase tax applies to most vehicle sales in that market, though the state exempts various domestic “new energy” (electric) vehicles from the added cost. As of Friday, Tesla vehicles, despite being manufactured in California, will join the ranks of these privileged automobiles. However, buyers hoping to realize the full benefit of the tax cut are out of luck. (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2019

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

There’s a Consumer Reports study making the rounds that reveals owners of trucks and large SUVs wish for better performance at the pump. Please pick yourself up off the ground. In fact, 73 percent of surveyed drivers who own such a vehicle wish for more MPGs in their next vehicle, which is not surprising given that large vehicles return, on average, below-average fuel economy.

Interestingly, the Detroit Three find themselves in the midst of an MPG war with their full-size, light-duty diesels. Mild hybrid Ram 1500s are here, and Ford has a hybrid F-150 in the works. Both Ford and GM have fully electric full-sizers in development. The General just introduced a four-cylinder half-ton (with an admittedly lackluster EPA rating).

While it’s understandable that owners of large vehicles would wish for lower fuel costs, the study fails to ask why owners want an improvement in their gas bill.  (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2019

Image: Volkswagen 2017 e-Golf VW

It’s become something of a fascination for this writer: scrutinizing the latest car commercial to earn the wrath of Britain’s all-seeing Advertising Standards Authority — an ominous and monolithic-sounding name if there ever was one.

One assumes there’s a moisture-stained, Brutalist-style concrete structure dedicated to preserving the sensibilities of UK viewing audiences somewhere in the greater London area. Bureaucrats and other pencil-pushers file in after abandoning their Austin Allegras and Morris Marinas in a rain-soaked parking lot, umbrellas in hand.

Having said that, let’s move on to the latest car company to run afoul of the UK ad cops: Volkswagen. (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2019

BMW Spartanburg Assembly Plant Factory

The trade war between the United States and China heated up again Friday, with the People’s Republic pulling a U-turn on its treatment of U.S.-built vehicles. Come mid-December, China will hit inbound U.S. vehicles with a 25-percent tariff. Auto parts will see a 5-percent tariff.

The new — well, resurrected — auto tariffs are a reactionary measure, coming after U.S. President Donald Trump proposed, then delayed, the levying of a 10-percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods. While some import taxes will hit in September, the full range of tariffs is expected to come into effect on December 15th. China’s auto tariffs, first levied last year and lifted earlier this year as an olive branch gesture, are part of a larger raft of tariffs impacting $75 billion of U.S. goods. A 5- to 10-percent tariff hits non-auto U.S. goods on September 1st.

It’s no wonder every automaker wants to build Chinese-market vehicles within that country’s borders. (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2019

If you’re any kind of a car enthusiast, or you just think the personal automobile is a terrific transportation device, this news has got to be chilling. The cross-party Science and Technology Select Committee of Parliament has issued a report that says that if the United Kingdom is to reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, private automobile and truck ownership must end.

Oh, and if you think your morally pure Tesla or some other EV is going to protect your privilege for personal transportation, no, the environmental Jacobins are coming for all privately operated motor vehicles. (Read More…)

By on August 21, 2019

According to recent reports, there’s trouble with the White House’s fuel economy rollback. The Trump administration is said to have been meeting with automakers, asking them to stand behind its proposal to freeze economy standards at about 37 mpg until 2026. The New York Times indicates it was an act of desperation, spurred by claims that Mercedes-Benz was on the cusp of supporting the California compromise. Based on existing standards, which would raise the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, the deal would delay its targets by one year.

Honda, Ford, Volkswagen, and BMW previously agreed to support California’s proposal in July. However, the deal is non-binding if the White House decides to push through a rollback, and most of the rhetoric being used by the industry seems more focused on a joint standard.

“A 50-state solution has always been our preferred path forward and we understand that any deal involves compromise,” read the automakers’ joint statement.”These terms will provide our companies much-needed regulatory certainty by allowing us to meet both federal and state requirements with a single national fleet, avoiding a patchwork of regulations while continuing to ensure meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions.”  (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2019

2018 Honda Accord Touring 1.5T - Image: Honda

The Senate won’t have to worry about approving the nomination of Heidi King as National Highway Traffic Safety Administration boss, as King won’t be there to fill the seat. The acting administrator of the NHTSA announced her resignation late Monday.

King, who joined the road safety agency as a deputy administrator in 2017, will leave her office at the end of the month. While President Donald Trump nominated King for the administrator job in 2018, the nomination never went to a full Senate vote — though she was twice approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Now, someone else will have to tackle the job of rolling back fuel efficiency standards. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2019

mercedes-benz logo

Suspected emissions manipulation could net Daimler AG, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, a steep fine, but it seems the automaker already anticipates the expenditure. According to a report out of Germany, the auto giant stands to face a fine potentially topping $1 billion, which is a relative bargain compared to the bill handed to rival Volkswagen Group over its widespread emissions cheating.

It’s bad news Daimler doesn’t need in these turbulent times. (Read More…)

By on August 8, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took exception to Tesla’s suggestion that a person is less likely to suffer injury in its vehicles than those built any other manufacturer, documents reveal. Advocacy group PlainSite obtained the docs via a FOI request, shedding light on both the NHTSA’s concern re: Tesla’s safety claims, as well as subpoenas issued in the pursuit of information following several Tesla crashes.

Last October, the NHTSA fired off a crease and desist letter to Tesla after the automaker claimed the agency’s crash data showed its Model 3 surpassed the five-star ranking issued for the model. This was a misleading statement and improper use of data, the NHTSA said. Since that time, crashes involving Tesla vehicles have earned the company additional scrutiny from the road safety regulator. (Read More…)

By on July 30, 2019

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV - Image: Chevrolet

There’s still two weeks to go before a crucial state regulatory board decision, but Colorado and two groups representing the lion’s share of global automakers have sealed a deal to adopt California’s Zero Emission Vehicle standard.

News of the pact adds weight to Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ decision, in January, to pursue a ZEV initiative, joining 10 other states who’ve signed onto the mandate. If passed into law, consumers will gain plenty of green choice while automakers will be forced to put up or pay up. (Read More…)

By on July 27, 2019

Two months and change after Ford Motor Company ceased production of North America’s smallest Blue Oval vehicle, Europeans are waking up to news that their tiniest offering has a date with death.

The Ka+, a name this writer can’t read without imagining a Bostonian pronouncing the word “car,” will disappear from the marketplace thanks to —what else? — fuel economy regulations that disproportionately impact small vehicles. (Read More…)

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