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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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House Approves Another $2 Billion in Clunkers Cash

Buyers drain initial $1 billion in less than a week.

by on Jul.31, 2009

As many as a quarter million Clunkers could be crushed under the CARS program - even more if the Senate signs on to a $2 billion expansion of the Cash-for-Clunkers program.

As many as a quarter million Clunkers could be crushed under the CARS program - even more if the Senate signs on to a $2 billion expansion of the Cash-for-Clunkers program.

If there’s a chance it’s broke, fix it.  That seems to be the preemptive mantra of federal lawmakers, responding to word that the Cash-for-Clunkers program is ready to run out of gas, or, more accurately, cash.

The program, conceived as a way to kick-start the sluggish American automotive market, was passed by Congress, in June, though it only formally went into operation a week ago.  Officially known as CARS, for Cash Allowance Rebate System, it provided vouchers worth up to $4,500 for those trading in old vehicles for newer, more fuel-efficient models.

Originally intended to run through November, and to help promote the sale of around 250,000 high-mileage models, there are preliminary indications the Clunkers program is far exceeding even the most optimistic expectations.  Already, the CARS fund has issued vouchers to about 96,000 motorists, but with overloaded dealers struggling to fill in the paperwork, observers now believe that the $1 billion set aside by Congress may already have been exceeded.

High-mileage insight!

High-mileage insight!

“My showroom is packed,” said dealer Earl Stewart, of Earl Stewart Toyota, in Riviera Beach, Florida.  He added he is “really concerned” that he may not be able to complete sales with 61 new customers if, in fact, CARS has run out of cash.

Dealer Stewart isn’t the only one worrying.  In a Friday afternoon meeting with reporters, Pres. Barack Obama noted that the Clunkers program has “succeeded well beyond our expectations and all expectations,” but warned that there “legitimate concerns funding in this program may soon go out.”

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Cash-for-Clunkers Bill Passes House

Senate appears ready to pass similar measure, which proponents claim would generate 1 million new sales.

by on Jun.10, 2009

The House cash-for-clunkers bill would provide vouchers worth up to $4,500 to those trading in vehicles like this old minivan on more fuel-efficient new models.

The House cash-for-clunkers bill would provide vouchers worth up to $4,500 to those trading in vehicles on more fuel-efficient new models.

If the U.S. House of Representatives has its way, American car buyers could soon receive vouchers of up to $4,500 to trade in their aging and inefficient vehicles on more fuel-stingy cars and trucks.

The House, encouraged by White House support, approved a so-called “cash-for-clunkers” measure by 298-119, despite some Republican opposition.  The proposal, which sponsors believe could generate as many as 1 million additional sales for an industry suffering from a 47% decline in volume, still must be approved by the Senate, where it is hung up, and then go to the White House, where President Barack Obama is considered all but certain to sign it into law.

“Stimulating sales is the only way to get the auto industry back on its feet,” said Republican Rep. Donald Manzullo, one of those who voted his approval.  But Republican Jeff Flake countered that the measure is “defying the laws of economics and saying we can manufacture enough of a demand to keep the auto industry afloat.”

Proponents can point to Europe, where several recent cash-for-clunkers deals have shown great promise in promoting car sales.  In Great Britain, a similar measure generated 35,000 sales since it was launched, barely a month ago, according to data from the British government. (more…)