Archive for the ‘Fuel Economy’ Category

16 Miles of Smart, Safe and Sustainable Highway Being Built in Rural Georgia

The Ray envisioned as a testbed for tomorrow’s sustainable roadways.

by on Aug.08, 2018

A car drives over a stretch of solar pavement installed along "The Ray," on Georgia's I-85.

Just north of the Alabama border, a 16-mile stretch of Interstate 85 has become an infrastructural experiment that could transform the way highways across the country are designed, engineered and built in the years ahead.

Known as “The Ray,” and named after Ray C. Anderson, an environmentally minded Georgia industrialist, the experimental roadway introduces a variety of services and features designed to encourage both safer and greener driving. That include solar panels built right into the roadway. The project also uses recycled materials, including ground-up tires, to make the pavement itself more durable.

Innovative!

“On 16 miles of interstate in Georgia, we’re innovating the highway corridor from the ground up, creating a living lab that tests and proves what’s possible for roadway ecosystems across the globe,” organizers said when the project was first dedicated two years ago.

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Automakers Caught “In Limbo” As New CAFE Rules Face Major Legal Hurdles

Anticipated court battle could delay changes for years.

by on Aug.03, 2018

Automakers are caught in the middle over the CAFE debate and could face even more challenges if the proposed Trump rollback drags on in court.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the Trump Administration’s plan to roll back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, automakers are finding themselves in what one long-time industry analyst calls “limbo,” and it could be a year or more before they’ll actually be able to incorporate the CAFE update into their plans due to anticipated legal challenges.

As a result, it could be well into the upcoming decade before the White House revisions actually have any significant impact, according to numerous industry executives who spoke to TheDetroitBureau.com, if any changes ever actually occur.

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There is the very real possibility that the courts could rule against the proposed changes or that the legal battle drags on long enough for a new administration to come into office and revert back to the guidelines established under the Obama White House. As a result, automakers and suppliers face a major conundrum when it comes to planning for products set to come out through the middle of the coming decade.

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19 States, DC Launch Legal Move to Block CAFE Cuts

“We are prepared to put the brakes on this reckless and illegal plan.”

by on Aug.02, 2018

Massachusetts Attorney-General Maura Healey is taking the lead in opposing the CAFE cuts.

It didn’t take long for the backlash to begin as critics took aim at the White House effort to roll back the federal mileage mandate, 19 states, along with the District of Columbia, announcing plans to sue the Trump Administration.

The plan revealed Thursday would freeze the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard at 37 miles per gallon, the target automakers had been expected to achieve by 2020, on the way to an official target of 54.5 mpg by 2025 – though the original, real-world number would be in the low to mid-40 range. The administration said the move would not only save new vehicle buyers an average of $2,340 but also save 1,000 lives annually. Critics, however, contend the move will increase demand for imported oil, boost household energy costs and worsen global warming.

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“We are prepared to go to court to put the brakes on this reckless and illegal plan,” the coalition of states attorneys-general, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, said in a news release.

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Trump Mileage Rules Could Cost U.S. Motorist $Billions

But White House claims “societal cost” savings of $500 billion.

by on Jul.30, 2018

You may be spending significantly more at the pump under the CAFE rollback plan.

The planned revisions to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards set to be announced by the Trump Administration could save as much as $500 billion in “societal costs,” according to a draft proposal revealed over the weekend – but on an individual basis, motorists could wind up spending thousands of dollars each, while the potential to the environment may also be substantial, as the new plan could increase U.S. fuel consumption by as much as 500,000 barrels a day.

In April, former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt took the first steps towards officially rolling back the rules set by the Obama Administration which would steadily increase the fuel economy of the average vehicle sold in the U.S. to 54.5 mpg in 2025. The draft of a plan crafted jointly by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published over the weekend by the New York Times would freeze mileage standards at a level reached by 2020 – or around 37 mpg.

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The draft appears to have been completed in May, and sources have told several news outlets that revisions could be made before the final proposal is released – something that could happen as early as this week, according to comments made by Andrew Wheeler, the former coal industry lobbyist and acting EPA chief who took over the agency after Pruitt was forced out due to ethical concerns.

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EPA Chief: CAFE Rollback Plan Could Be Announced Next Week

“We’re proposing a list of options,” says acting environmental boss.

by on Jul.27, 2018

President Trump promised automakers he would ease tough fuel economy standards and appears to be moving in that direction.

The Trump administration will announce as early as next week a set of options that will offer alternatives to the tough Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards enacted under former President Barack Obama.

The current president has made clear his intentions to ease back on the rules, which would require automakers to reach a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025, despite strong opposition from consumer and environmental groups. The administration is also expected to try to eliminate the special waiver to the Clean Air Act that allows California to set CO2 emissions standards tougher than those set for the rest of the country. If the exemption were to remain in effect it could effectively be used to counter any fuel economy reductions on the federal level.

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Scott Pruitt, who was forced out of the EPA earlier this month in the wake of a series of corruption scandals, took the first major step towards a CAFE rollback in April. His successor, acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler, said the agency could have “a list of options” ready to reveal as early as next week. (more…)

Marchionne Out, Manley In as Fiat Chrysler CEO

Questions about health issues blamed for Marchionne’s early departure.

by on Jul.21, 2018

Larger than life: Marchionne outlined a broad 5-year-plan during a day-long June session in Milan.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced on Saturday that Jeep and Ram brand boss Michael Manley will replace CEO Sergio Marchionne, who due to complications from recent surgery is gravely ill and will not return to work.

Though the 66-year-old Marchionne was known to have undergone surgery this past week for what was reported to be a shoulder problem. According to FCA’s statement, the Italian-born and Canadian-educated Marchionne experienced “unexpected complications,” while his conditions had “worsened significantly in recent hours.”

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Word of Marchionne’s departure quickly echoed through the automotive grapevine. Few industry executives have had a higher profile presence in recent decades, and even fewer could be said to have done more to shape a company in his own image as did Marchionne, who rescued the then-bankrupt Chrysler by securing a U.S. government bailout and then merging it with Italy’s Fiat S.p.A.

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Gas Prices Continue Their Summer Ascent

California voters get chance to approve new gas taxes.

by on Jul.10, 2018

Gas prices continue to rise, on average, across the U.S. during the summer driving season.

A California proposition to require voter approval of fuel and vehicle taxes will be on the November ballot now that the secretary of state has certified the requisite number of petition signatures.

As drafted, Proposition 6 would apply retroactively to recently enacted taxes and put all future gas tax increases to voters California, which has the worst traffic congestion in the U.S. Approval of the proposition could reduce state revenue by as much as $5 billion annually, according a report by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

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Gasoline prices in California are routinely the most expensive in the lower 48 states and currently top $3.66 per gallon, according to AAA. (more…)

Tesla Set to Move on New Plant in Shanghai, Announcing Deal Even as it Raises Chinese Prices

Battery-carmaker is 1st from U.S. to raise prices as trade war escalates.

by on Jul.10, 2018

Tesla's new Shanghai plant is expected to be at least as large as its factory in Fremont, California - and include battery production, as well.

(This story has been updated with new information.)

Pres. Donald Trump’s trade war has claimed its first automotive victim, Tesla announcing it will raise prices on some models on sale in China by $20,000 or more to reflect the impact of new tariffs on American-made vehicles.

At the same time, CEO Elon Musk is on his way to China, numerous reports indicating Tesla is set to lock down a deal with authorities in Shanghai to set up the company’s first foreign assembly plant. Musk confirmed construction will begin in about three months and the facility will produce 500,000 vehicles annually once it is ramped up to full production.

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Despite the news about tariffs – which could depress sales in the world’s largest battery-car market in the near-term – investors appear to be buoyed by reports that Tesla will move forward on a Chinese assembly plant. Musk has also indicated that the automaker is working on plans to set up a second foreign plant somewhere in Europe.

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Nissan Admits to Second Round of Emissions, Mileage Tampering

Officials say 19 models affected in latest scandal.

by on Jul.09, 2018

Nissan's latest emissions and fuel economy testing scandal impacts the Note, the brand's top-selling vehicle in Japan.

For the second time in less than a year, Nissan Motor admitted to employees improperly measure exhaust emissions and fuel economy for 19 vehicle models sold in Japan.

Sample test environments for emissions and fuel economy in final vehicle inspections at most of its Japanese plants were not compliant with domestic standards, according to Nissan, which added the inspection reports were based on altered measurements.

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The measurements do not impact any vehicles shipped overseas, including the U.S., Nissan officials said. The company made a similar admission last October. Then it admitted that the practice had gone on for decades with uncertified inspectors signing off on the test results. (more…)

Gas Prices Highest in Four Years, Expected to Rise

Prices lower now than at Memorial Day.

by on Jul.03, 2018

The summer driving season is upon us and after a short decline in gas prices, they are expected to rise.

With the Fourth of July holiday upon us, the price of gasoline has declined slightly since the start of the summer driving season but is now expected to go higher as the price of crude oil begins to climb.

At $2.86 per gallon, gasoline prices are at their highest point for an Independence Day holiday in four years. However, for the nearly 40 million motorists expected to travel this week, they will find prices at the pump 11-cents cheaper than the past Memorial Day holiday.

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“The national gas price average has held fairly steady for the past 10 days, suggesting that U.S. demand is keeping pace with supply and stabilizing summer gas prices,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.  (more…)