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Trump Admin. Reveals CAFE Rollback Plan Putting Emphasis on Safety, Cost Over Efficiency

EPA and NHTSA claim revisions will save $2,340 per vehicle, 1,000 lives annually.

by on Aug.02, 2018

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency was acting on President Trump's desire to ease CAFE restrictions with the new SAFE plan.

The White House officially unveiled a set of proposed revisions to the federal fuel economy standards that, government officials claimed, will lower vehicle costs and get more, safer vehicles on the road, saving an estimated 1,000 lives annually.

The much-anticipated rollback of the Obama-era Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards came under immediate assault from consumer and environmental groups. Additionally it is not even clear what support the proposal will generate from the auto industry, however, as some key automakers have indicated their willingness to live with the tougher guidelines set back in 2012.

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“We are delivering on President Trump’s promise to the American public that his administration would address and fix the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards,” Andrew Wheeler, the Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator said in a statement. (more…)

Auto Industry Unites to Challenge Trump Tariffs

UAW lone dissenter, seeks targeted tariffs.

by on Jul.19, 2018

Representatives from six auto groups testified at a U.S. Department of Commerce public hearing against new tariffs proposed by President Donald Trump.

With one exception – the UAW – the automotive industry is prepared to take a united stand against tariffs as the U.S. Department of Commerce holds a one-day public hearing on a Trump administration proposal to levy 25% tariffs on imported automobiles in the name of national security.

Seven associations representing almost 10 million jobs across the auto sector in the U.S. have joined together to urge the White House to not impose higher tariffs on imported autos and auto parts.

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“Raising tariffs on autos and auto parts would be a massive tax on consumers who buy or service their vehicles – whether imported or domestically produced. These higher costs will inevitably lead to declining sales and the loss of American jobs, as well as an increase in vehicle service and repair costs that may result in consumers delaying critical vehicle maintenance,” said the groups in an open letter to President Donald Trump. (more…)

NTSB: Model X Accelerating, Driver Took No Action in Crash

Report doesn't assign blame, just determines final moments.

by on Jun.08, 2018

A fatal March crash involving a Tesla Model S in Mountain View, California. Pic courtesy KTVU.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the crash of a Tesla Model X determined that seconds before the crash the vehicle was in Autopilot mode, accelerating and had no input from the driver to avoid the collision.

Walter Huang, 38, was killed on U.S. Hwy 101 in Mountain View, California, when his Model X slammed into a road divider, hit two other vehicles and then burst into flames, Huang, who according to his wife had complained previously about the failure of Autopilot in the same area before, was pulled from the vehicle before it caught on fire.

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Huang had the vehicle in its semi-autonomous Autopilot mode for nearly 19 minutes before the crash and it was set at 75 miles an hour. However, due to traffic in front of him, the vehicle was traveling at 65 mph before the vehicle in front of him moved, allowed the Model X to accelerate to the selected speed. (more…)

UAW Overlooks Schrade’s Role in Union, US History

Union fails to recognize impact of former RFK adviser.

by on Jun.05, 2018

Former adviser to Robert Kennedy and UAW organizer Paul Schrade, who's impact on the union seems to have been overlooked.

When John F. Kennedy first approached Walter Reuther of the United Auto Workers at the 1956 Democratic Party Convention, hoping to win his support for the Vice Presidency, Paul Schrade, as one of UAW President’s top aides, observed the meeting.

However, the vital role of Schrade, who is now 93 and still an activist, in UAW history has been largely overlooked by union during past four decades as the UAW has struggled to maintain its influence both at the bargaining table and in politics.

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But Reuther, who had an eye for talent, according to historian and biographer Nelson Lichtenstein, had recruited Schrade to serve on his staff because the “bright young radical” union activist had already made his mark among UAW’s local officers in Southern California’s booming aerospace industry. (more…)

Tesla Sedan on Autopilot Slams into Cop Car

Latest crash intensifies criticism of semi-autonomous system.

by on May.30, 2018

A Tesla Model S crashed into a police car in Laguna Beach, California. Photo credit: Sgt. Jim Cota

A Tesla Model S sedan operating in Autopilot mode crashed into a parked and unoccupied police car Tuesday in Laguna Beach, California, the latest in a series of incidents linked to the carmaker’s semi-autonomous technology.

While at least two deaths have now occurred in crashes involving Autopilot, the driver of the vehicle in the latest incident suffered only minor injuries. But it is raising further concerns about both Autopilot and the way drivers are using – and possibly misusing – the system.

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A day after the latest crash, California-based Consumer Watchdog called on the state’s regulator to investigate what it described as “dangerously misleading, deceptive marketing practices” which, the non-profit group contends, can lead Tesla owners to believe Autopilot is a fully self-driving technology. (more…)

Hypermiling Tesla Model 3 Sets Two Records – Only One By Choice

Battery sedan more than doubles rated range – but at an unexpected cost.

by on May.30, 2018

Two hypermilers set a new record of more than 600 miles on a single charge in a Model 3.

Even for those with a lead foot, Tesla’s products are nothing less than impressive, particularly when it comes to range. Where most battery-electric vehicles bragged about topping 100 miles per charge, Tesla’s Model S topped the 200 mark right out of the box, and the latest P100D version can readily manage 300 before having to plug back in.

But a pair of hypermilers wanted to see just how far they could push things with the new Tesla Model 3 equipped with an optional 75 kilowatt-hour battery pack. During a sometimes boring, sometimes grueling run last week, they managed to set an all-time record of more than 600 miles on a charge.

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The downside? Once they finished up, Sean Mitchell and Erik Strait were surprised to discover that they couldn’t charge up their Model 3 again. Tesla plans to look into the situation to see if it can explain what happened. (more…)

Safety Groups Want Tesla Autopilot Name Banned

Groups argue it is “deceptive and misleading.”

by on May.23, 2018

Despite Tesla's claims to the contrary, safety advocates believe the company's use of the name Autopilot is misleading.

It’s called Autopilot but, at least for now, Tesla’s semi-autonomous technology is a not completely reliable co-pilot, it can require rapid human intervention to avert a crash. And that, two consumer groups argue, makes the use of the Autopilot name “deceptive and misleading.”

The Center for Auto Safety, or CAS, and Consumer Watchdog aren’t the first to raise concerns about the Tesla technology. German regulators briefly considered banning the name, Autopilot. But the American non-profit safety groups have taken their concerns to the Federal Trade Commission, asking it to initiate an investigation of how Tesla not only has named, but also how it promotes its semi-autonomous system.

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In a letter to the federal agency, they claim Tesla has taken steps to “mislead and deceive customers into believing that Autopilot is safer and more capable than it is known to be.” (more…)

Click It or Ticket is Back: This Means You Teen Driver

Gen Z drives least likely to buckle up overtime behind wheel.

by on May.11, 2018

Teenage drivers are the least likely group of drivers to use seat belts, according to a new survey.

In a digital world, it is the most “analog” of devices that will save your life: a seat belt. It’s common sense to get in and buckle up; however, the digital generation, Gen Z, are the least likely of driving age groups to strap themselves in when driving.

According to a recent national survey of drivers by Erie Insurance, just 77% of Gen Z drivers — the age group most likely to get in and die from a car accident — buckle up. As drivers get older, they are more likely to use seat belts: 81% of millennials use them, 87% of Gen Xers and 94% of Baby Boomers make sure to buckle up every time they get in a car.

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This isn’t just posturing, but based on hard evidence. In 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,668 lives of occupants ages 5 and older. Many Americans understand the lifesaving value of the seat belt – the national use rate is at 90.1% – but nearly 27.5 million people still don’t buckle up. (more…)

The Car Book Offers Up Best Bets for 2018

Toyota leads Best Bets for 2018 followed by Honda and Acura.

by on Apr.04, 2018

The Toyota Camry was named one of The Car Book's Best Bets for 2018.

Every year, more than 15 million new vehicles are purchased in the U.S. – and lately its much higher than that – and with all of sales come options. Options, options and more options.

For 38 years, Jack Gillis and the Center of Automotive Safety have partnered to develop the Car Book, which has been helping buyers sort through those thousands of different vehicles and equipment levels to determine the best vehicle for a buyer in any given year.

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The book provides today’s car buyer with our unique crash test ratings, comparative complaint ratings, and all of the information needed to make a smart, safe and informed vehicle purchase. In addition to in-depth ratings the 2018 vehicles the site includes over 1,000 used car ratings going back five years. (more…)

UAW Enjoys Membership Increase in 2017

Union keeps adding new members to rolls.

by on Mar.30, 2018

UAW President Dennis Williams noted that despite some problems with its membership drive, the union saw an increase last year.

Despite a devastating scandal, adverse political environment and big defeats in key organizing drives in the auto industry, the United Auto Workers succeeded in adding nearly 15,000 new members in 2017.

The UAW reported the figure in its Labor Organization Annual Report, Form LM-2, which was filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. The report shows UAW membership at 430,871 in 2017, compared to 415,963 in 2016. This marks the ninth straight year of membership growth, the union said.

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UAW membership climbed as a result of organizing drives in gaming, higher education, heavy truck and automotive suppliers as well as some more modest growth in auto assembly. (more…)

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