The Senate Commerce Committee accepted some amendments to improve auto safety in the new transportation bill, but several wider reaching ones failed. Among them, auto execs aren't going to face criminal punishments for safety lapses, and used car dealers don't need to fix recalls before selling a vehicle.
It seems that 2014 may go down as the year of the recall. As of April, the US was already on pace for record levels, and that was before millions of more cars were called in for various repairs by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler in just the past few weeks. But how many of those vehicles will actually get their necessary fixes? GM claims that it has 80 percent of its vehicles mended in the first year, but the industry average is only 66 percent. That is a lot of faulty automobiles left on the s
Using America's interstate system could get more expensive in some places in the near future. Provisions in the White House-endorsed, $302 billion transportation bill would allow states to get permission from the federal government to impose tolls on them to raise money for infrastructure upkeep. Of course, some states already charge to drive on the interstates – the New Jersey turnpike, for example – but for the most part charges are rare on the federally funded roads.
Prepare for a big political debate about the nation's infrastructure in the coming weeks. The Obama administration has sent a bill covering interstate repair funding for the next four years to Congress. While that might seem somewhat benign, the proposal is likely to prove contentious because it would be partially financed by ending some tax breaks to businesses. This likely won't go over well in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
If you've ever ridden on two wheels, the following scenario might sound familiar: You pull up to a red light on your motorbike, scooter, bicycle, what-have-you, and you wait for it to change. And you wait, and wait and wait. The problem is likely that your wheels haven't triggered the sensor embedded in the pavement. So what do you do? Sit and wait some more, knowing that the light won't change? Or go through the red light and risk getting a ticket?
The House of Representatives passed the energy tax bill yesterday. The White House has threatened to veto the bill, but this one probably won't make it as far as the president's desk. Other bills similar to this energy tax bill died in the Senate but with $102 barrels of oil and $4 gallon of gas not out of the question, some extra political support might be behind the bill this time. Stay tuned.
Late last year, the Energy Bill (and the new CAFE standard contained within) was passed and signed into law. Some things in the original Energy Bill didn't survive the Congressional process, though, like stopping tax breaks for oil companies. The House has now crafted a new "Energy Tax Package" bill that could mean tax breaks for plug-in hybrids. The bill will be debated this week, with a vote scheduled for Wednesday. Stay tuned for updates.
In the Wild West, the order would have been "Cut them off at the pass!" For carmakers today battling with wildly fluctuating forecasts for mpg, CO2, and CAFE standards, the mission is to cut them off at the Capital. Taking matters upon themselves, some manufacturers are considering a proposal that would require 36 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for light trucks.
New Mexico has voted a through a House Bill that would require all diesel fuel sold in the state to be B5 by 2012. The bill, which passed the House in a 47-8 vote, moves to make diesel fuel containing five percent biodiesel compulsory for all state agencies and public schools from July 2010 onwards. All diesel fuel would move to a B5 blend by July 2012. In case of poor product availability or excessive price however, the measure could be suspended by officials.
Here's a lesson in legislation over-estimating reality. In 1992, Congress passed an aggressive energy bill requiring that 30 percent of the fuel powering U.S. cars come from sources other than gasoline. Sounds great, but the problem is that we're no where near meeting that deadline. Due to a recent environmental group lawsuit, the Department of Energy was required to develop a revised goal. Last Tuesday, the DOE proposed that goal be pushed back 20 years and be set at 2030.
Senators in California are close to passing a bill that would prohibit smoking in vehicles carrying children who are required by law to ride in a child seat. The bill proposed by Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) recently received a 23-14 vote that sent it back to the Assembly, and with our underdeveloped comprehension of state politics we can't really tell you how close that means the bill is to landing on the Governator's desk, but we think it's pretty close. And to think I was freake