With a statue of boxing legend Joe Louis in the background of his press conference at Cobo Hall, the new administrator of the federal agency charged with protecting motorists vowed to get tougher with automakers that flout government regulations.
The last Mercedes-Benz AMG model I drove was the CLS63 AMG. It had a 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V8, 550 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Oh, and it also had a standard stop-start system and an Eco mode, two features that are kind of silly on a sedan that will hit 60 miles per hour in under four seconds.
When it comes to global oil production, Saudi Arabia is one of the absolute leaders, producing nearly 10 million barrels of crude every day. That means it can offer its citizens gas prices of about 45 cents per gallon. Despite this remarkably low price, though, the controversial, monarchical Middle Eastern country has just announced a series of reforms for the auto industry that will see American/European/Chinese-style fleet fuel efficiency standards come into effect.
And Just Look At What You Can Get With Your BMW i8
Apparently, Chevrolet Volt battery covers make suitable homes for bats. As part of an Eagle Scout project, Matthew Netherland created 30 bat houses out of scrapped Volt battery covers donated by Chevy. 22 of the bat houses will be set up near hydroelectric dams in Michigan. Each bat house will accommodate 100 bats, and divert the scrapped materials from the landfill. The battery covers also make great nesting boxes for wood ducks, which General Motors has previously set up at its Milford, Michig
Remember, the target is 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Today, the CAFE level is a little over 30. How we get from here to there is something the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is monitoring closely. Thus, the EPA just released an annual flash report on how the auto industry is progressing towards meeting the nation's fuel economy goals.
In his State Of The Union speech last week, President Obama made mention of higher fuel economy standards for big trucks. We all know (or should, at least), that picking up the low-mpg stragglers in our vehicle fleet is where we can make big efficiency gains, but what would greener trucks mean for the average American - besides some cleaner air, hopefully?
The green car rhetoric of President Obama's State Of The Union speech last night was much, much softer than it was three years ago. That was when he spoke about a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. It was even less vociferous than last year, when Obama said we could take money given to oil and gas companies and put it into an "Energy Security Trust." So, what is the state of the green car union for 2014? In a word: renewable. In two more words: natural gas.
Johnson Controls executive Brian Kesseler isn't likely to get any holiday presents this year from Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn or Tesla Motors head Elon Musk, but lots of other folks might be happy with what he has to say about automakers' efforts to reach stricter fleetwide fuel-economy standards.
Not only have we been told that the 2015 Ford F-150 is tougher, more durable and up to 700 pounds lighter than the current truck, Ford COO Mark Fields said it's also "CAFE-positive." That means, for the first time in the history of corporate average fuel economy standards, the F-150 would be a positive contributor on Ford's CAFE balance sheet instead of being a vehicle it needs to counterbalance with frugal offerings.
In 1939, New York City hosted both the future-gazing New York World's Fair (pictured below) and the founding of what would later become the history-focused Automotive Hall of Fame. The latter's mission, then as now, was to honor and perpetuate the memories of auto industry pioneers.
With more stringent federal fuel economy standards coming, it should be no surprise that the average new-vehicle fuel economy is on the rise. Automotive News cites a study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (Go Blue!), that shows that the 24.9-mile-per-gallon average for August of 2013 is nearly five miles per gallon better than when UMTRI started keeping track in October 2007.
Would a global vehicle emission standard make sense? After all, as Automotive News writer Richard Truett points out, "Clean air is clean air no matter what continent it blows over." But, while attending a recent automotive industry conference in Traverse City, MI, Truett heard Chris Gundler, the director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, respond to a question about the US and European Union adopting uniform emissions standards, and Gunder responded that he doesn't think that
So, hey, what's up with all these plug-in vehicle price drops? The 2013 Nissan Leaf kicked off the trend with a $6,400 decrease in January. Since then, we have seen lower and lower lease prices for EVs and the 2014 Chevy Volt just joined the party with a $5,000 drop last week. The lower prices have sparked a big increase in plug-in vehicle sales this year, compared to last, so, hey, what's up with all that?
Ricardo Plc appears to be adhering to an "it takes a village" approach to ratcheting up US fleetwide fuel economy levels to the higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards the federal government set for 2025. Last year, the US government finalized the new CAFE standards, which call for increasing fleetwide fuel economy starting in 2017 and ending at 54.5 miles per gallon (about 40 mpg in "real world" terms) by 2025.
Consumer Reports isn't wearing quite as rosy a pair of sunglass as the federal government is about the savings prospects for US drivers once stricter fuel economy standards take effect in model year 2017. Still, the publication says drivers will save a few thousand dollars worth of gas during the lifetime of their vehicles.
Plug-ins may be getting a lot of the attention from folks looking to cut emissions, but no one is forgetting the good old-fashioned turbocharger. In the end, turbos might even have a far larger impact.