New-vehicle fuel economy has stayed about the same for the past two years.
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.
1Recharge Wrap-up: Batty battery covers, Mercedes at Silvretta, new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid available in 2015
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.