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Posts Tagged ‘EPA’

EV Charging Companies Demanding Watchdog for Volkswagen

Companies concerned VW can tip competitive balance.

by on Aug.10, 2016

Some companies are concerned that VW's $2 billion infrastructure investment for zero-emissions vehicles could change competitive balance among EV charging companies.

Volkswagen’s about-face embracing electronic vehicles was seen by many as a move to improve the company’s image in the aftermath of the diesel emissions scandal. However, could the company benefit from the diesel scandal? EV companies are lining up to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Part of the German automaker’s $14.7 billion settlement calls for it invest $2 billion into – $1.2 billion nationwide and $800 million in California – into zero-emissions infrastructure. Much of that is likely to go into charging stations for EVs.

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However, there’s a problem: that could mean they can influence whatever chargers get installed, and that’s a big problem is your company is on the outside looking in when it comes to the selection process. (more…)

Mazda Captures Most Efficient Brand Title: Again

Mazda tops list without benefit of hybrid or electric vehicle in its line-up.

by on Dec.17, 2015

Mazda was deemed by the EPA to have the most fuel-efficient line-up in the U.S. Company officials attired it to the SkyActiv motor used across the portfolio.

With the declining price of fuel helping slowing the trends towards more fuel efficient vehicles, the emission of greenhouse gasses from light-duty vehicles has continued to decline, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA also said in its most recent Light Duty Fuel Economy Trends report that Mazda Motor Corp. is the most fuel-efficient auto manufacturer in the U.S. With the highest fleet-wide adjusted fuel economy performance of 29.4 miles per gallon, and the lowest carbon dioxide emissions of 328, Mazda led the chart for model year 2014.

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For the third consecutive year, Mazda has achieved the highest fuel efficiency of any other mainstream automotive manufacturer in the industry, without offering a hybrid or electric vehicle, noted James O’Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of Mazda’s North American Operations, who credited the company’s SkyActiv technology for the strong fuel-economy numbers. (more…)

EPA New Vehicle Mileage Gains Slowing Down

Agency notes light truck sales driving downward slide.

by on Oct.09, 2014

Trucks are hot sellers these days, in part because they are getting better gas mileage than ever.

Using lighter materials, turbochargers and other methods, automakers are taking to make new cars and trucks more fuel efficient continue to pay off as the gas mileage average in the U.S. hit a record 24.1 miles per gallon last year.

Tempering that good news is the fact that the year-over-year gains are slowing, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The 2013 result was 0.5 miles per gallon better than 2012, but was significantly less than the 1.2-mpg improvement from 2011 to 2012.

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However, due to a sales increase in full-size pickups and SUVs this year, the agency is predicting a much smaller improvement from 2013 to 2014: 0.1 mpg. Sales of light trucks are up 16.5% this year and account for 51.3% of overall sales through September. Last year, they were 49.3% of overall sales. Conversely, car sales have risen just 2.3%, according to Autodata. (more…)

White House To Clean Up Gas, Auto Emissions

But cutting sulfur content could slightly boost pump price.

by on Mar.29, 2013

The Obama administration is calling for new rules to lower sulfur emissions in gasoline.

The Obama Administration is proposing new rules to reduce the level of noxious sulfur in the nation’s gasoline supply, a move that should reduce emissions – but also add a very small increase in pump prices.

The so-called Tier 3 standards set to go into effect by 2017 would more than offset that increase by improving the nation’s health and saving billions in medical bills, the White House contends. It would yield add-on benefits as lower sulfur levels would permit automakers to adopt even more advanced pollution control systems, several industry executives told TheDetroitBureau.com.

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The Administration previously took steps to reduce sulfur content in the U.S. diesel fuel supply. That has made it possible for the auto industry to meet stringent smog and particulate rules and, in turn, greatly expand the range of high-mileage diesel passenger vehicles available in the United States.

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Ford Wants New Way to Measure Mileage

Consumers “confused” by and “tuning out” current, misleading numbers.

by on Mar.27, 2013

Jim Farley, global marketing chief at Ford Motor Co.

If you’re like most motorists, you’ve struggled to reconcile the numbers in those endless automotive ads with the actual mileage you’re likely getting day-to-day.

The reality is that the current EPA fuel economy rating system doesn’t work, and American motorists are both “confused” and “tuning out,” according to Jim Farley, global marketing chief at Ford Motor Co. That’s especially true when it comes to hybrid vehicles, which can be extremely sensitive to variations such as weather, road conditions and personal driving style, he added.

So, a new way of calculating mileage that gives motorists a real idea of what to expect is necessary, said Farley, in his keynote speech at this year’s New York International Auto Show.

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“It is confusing how we express fuel economy,” he declared, adding that the official federal ratings “really aren’t relevant. We need to help customers understand their personal fuel economy.”

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EPA, DOT Aim for 54.5 mpg by 2025

How will automakers meet these new rules?

by on Nov.17, 2011

Automakers could build more electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf to offset gas-powered vehicles. New fuel economy rules for the 2017-25 model years introduced Tuesday are projected to save nearly $6,600 worth of fuel per vehicle, offset by an extra $2,000 per car in new technology to improve fuel economy.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Transportation unveiled their joint proposal that increases fuel efficiency requirements to 54.5 mpg if all reductions were made through fuel economy improvements.

The improvements would save consumers an estimated average of up to $6,600 in fuel costs over the lifetime of a 2025 vehicle for a net lifetime savings of up to $4,400 after factoring in related increases in vehicle cost. Overall, the net benefit to society from this rule would total more than $420 billion over the lifetime of the vehicles sold in from 2017-25, the government said.

Get Your Efficiency Here!

“Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of executive actions the Obama Administration is taking to strengthen the economy and move the country forward because we can’t wait for Congressional Republicans to act,” according to the release.

But the National Automotive Dealers Association said that the new standard could end up hurting the environment.

So what will these new vehicles be like and what technologies will automakers use to reach these goals? Here are some predictions:

Shaggy Car Specifications Bug (Dog?) Writer

Comparative vehicle specs don't allow for useful comparisons.

by on Sep.08, 2010

Cubic feet is nice, but it won’t tell you if Grandma’s table, flipped upside down, will slide into the cargo area and allow the tailgate to be latched.

My father, a second-generation veteran journalist, admonished me as a youth, “Never believe what you read in a newspaper.”

It certainly seems doubtful that you can believe what you read in the website-posted specifications for some automobiles, or even such regulated communications as the new-car price stickers, as I discovered a while back trying to crank out a couple of stories which depended for sense upon comparative vehicle specifications.

Let me give you some examples. Through the machinations of government, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues annual fuel economy guides for passenger cars and light trucks. It classifies the vehicles in various size classes: Two-seater cars, Minicompacts under 85 cubic feet passenger plus cargo volume, Subcompacts between 85 and 99, Compacts between 100 and 109, Midsize 110 to 119 and Large, 120 or more.

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Fly Specking?

Basically, it seems to draw its class distinctions from sister agency Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which in turn relies on Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) guidelines. However, you might call these numbers ping-pong ball count – as in how many balls it would take to fill up a car – and the size classifications are about as useful.

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Feds to Stigmatize Gas Guzzlers with a D Grade?

New label might result in sticker shock - for makers.

by on Aug.30, 2010

1. This vehicle can travel about 26 miles on a gallon of gas for combined city and highway driving. 2. This vehicle uses 3.8 gallons of gasoline to travel 100 miles for combined city and highway driving. This is an energy efficiency rate called fuel consumption. Fuel consumption values, unlike MPG, relate directly to the amount of fuel used. 3. This bar depicts the range of combined city and highway fuel economy for all labeled vehicles. The pointer shows where this vehicle is within the range of all vehicles and other vehicles in the same class as the labeled vehicle. 4. www.fueleconomy.gov will continue to provide consumers with a source of in-depth information. The website allows consumers to personalize estimates based on their own driving habits (i.e. annual miles traveled, local fuel cost, etc.). 5. This vehicle can travel about 22 miles on a gallon of gas for city driving. 6. This vehicle can travel about 32 miles on a gallon of gas for highway driving. 7. $1,617 is the estimated annual fuel cost based on a given number of miles and fuel price, which are listed lower on the label (15,000 miles per year and $2.80 per gallon for this example). 8. This bar depicts the range of the combined city and highway carbon dioxide (CO2) tailpipe emission rate for all labeled vehicles. The pointer shows where this vehicle is within the range. 9. This bar depicts the emission rating for vehicle tailpipe emissions that contribute to local and regional air pollution, creating problems such as haze and smog. The pointer shows where this vehicle is within the range. 10. A QR Code can be used by many Smartphones to access a web page, allowing consumers at a dealership to compare vehicles and personalize estimates, based on their own driving habits and fuel costs.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are jointly proposing the most radical changes to the fuel economy labels on the window of every new vehicle in dealer showrooms since the regulation began 30 years ago.

The stated goal of the new labels is to provide consumers with “simple, straightforward energy and environmental comparisons” across all types of vehicles, including electric vehicles (EV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.

DOT and EPA said in a joint release this afternoon that they are looking to provide enhanced information on efficiency and environmental performance, including information about air pollutants, such as smog, that impact public health to consumers.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 passed under Republican President Bush specifically calls on EPA and DOT to rate available vehicles according to fuel economy, greenhouse gas emissions and smog forming pollutants.

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Labels, Fair or Foul!

“New technologies such as battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are entering the American market in greater numbers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We need to provide consumers with labels that include fuel economy and environmental information so that buyers can make better informed decisions when purchasing new vehicles.”

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EPA Says Climate Change Real. Rejects Challenges

EPA's human health endangerment finding stands. Unknown, costly regulatory consequences for U.S. economy will ensue.

by on Jul.29, 2010

CO2 reduction is no walk in the park for auto makers or thus far unsuspecting consumers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today denied ten petitions challenging its 2009 determination that climate change is real and is occurring due to emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. This threatens human health and the environment.

The latest decision, which has wide-ranging and potentially huge negative consequences for the stumbling U.S. economy, confirms a previous EPA ruling that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people.

Since virtually all vehicles for the near or longer term will burn fuels that cause large amounts of GHGs, more stringent fuel economy standards are inevitable. This will affect the types, sizes and cost of vehicles – in ways yet unknown — that you will be able to buy.

EPA’s Greenhouse Gas findings were initially issued in response to a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that GHGs fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. Prior to that, under Republican Administrations, the EPA did not take regulatory action to deal with the controversial problem.

Both the previous and today’s EPA position were not surprising given previous public statements of President Obama and his political appointees at EPA. (See EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Threaten Health)

The petitions to reconsider EPA’s Endangerment Finding claimed that climate science cannot be trusted, and assert a conspiracy that invalidates the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

EPA has just said in a statement that after months of “serious consideration” of the petitions and of the state of climate change science, that it finds no evidence to support these claims.

In fact, EPA’s review shows that climate science is “credible, compelling, and growing stronger.”

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Follow Our Emissions!

“The endangerment finding is based on years of science from the U.S. and around the world.  These petitions — based as they are on selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy — provide no evidence to undermine our determination.  Excess greenhouse gases are a threat to our health and welfare,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

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EPA Sets Renewable Fuel Standards below Mandate

Cellulosic volume is lower than the Congressional EISA target.

by on Jul.12, 2010

As always, the devil will be in the final rule details after lobbyists shape the regulations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed that the 2011 percentage standards for the four fuels categories under the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program must make up 7.95% of total gasoline sales.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established annual renewable fuel volume targets, reaching an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022 – 16 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels; 15 billion gallons annually of conventional biofuels; 4 billion gallons of advanced biofuels; and 1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel.

The 16-billion gallon cellulosic target looks laughable – EPA is projecting that less than 18 million gallons of the fuel will be available in 2011.

As the implications of the act continue to unfold, critics call it a needless subsidy for agri-business, one that would take food out of production.Hence the push for cellulosic since it can in theory be made form non-agricultural crops on land not in food production.

Mandating demand for products that don’t yet exist or haven’t been proven commercially viable or are not cost effective is the height of U.S. Congressional folly, in their view. In addition, a fierce debate about how much some of these fuels actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions is underway.

Almost every gallon of gasoline now sold in the U.S. contains ethanol: 98% as E10 – up to 10% ethanol for conventional autos, and 2% as E85 – 85% ethanol/15% gasoline for use in flex fuel vehicles only. (See How a Bad Bush Administration Energy Policy Begets More Bad Policy?)

Current law and infrastructure preclude the use of greater than 10% ethanol blends in conventional autos although agricultural industry lobbyists are pushing for higher levels. In 2012, the E10 market reaches saturation at approximately 12.5 – 14 billion gallons of ethanol annually. (See President Takes Steps to Boost Biofuels, Coal Use) EPA is considering upping the required amount of ethanol right now,  but isn’t due to rule until this fall.

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Fuelishness?

To achieve the volumes required by EISA, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner, importer and non-oxygenate blender of gasoline determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must be used in transportation fuel.

The proposed 2011 overall volumes and standards are:

  • Biomass-based diesel (0.80 billion gallons – 0.68%)
  • Advanced biofuels (1.35 billion gallons – 0.77%)
  • Cellulosic biofuels (5 to 17.1 million gallons – 0.004-0.015%)
  • Total renewable fuels (13.95 billion gallons-7.95%)

(more…)