Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is rapidly becoming a new Bob Lutz for the 21st century. The savvy South African is not afraid to share his opinion on a variety of topics and is at times refreshingly blunt.
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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
With the new fuel standards to hit a nominal average of 54.5 mpg by 2025, automakers are working hard to improve the fuel efficiency across their lineups.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge today by major automakers and other groups to reverse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision regarding E15 fuel.
For the second consecutive year, drivers agree that Costco is good for more than buying a year’s supply of hummus and multivitamins in one trip.
How much is “too much” to pay for a gallon of gas? A new survey by AAA hopes to give an updated answer.
President Barack Obama is currently in Israel and the presidential limo was brought from Washington, D.C. to the country for the visit. Except it’s not going to be going anywhere, other than on a trailer and heading back to the U.S.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that 2012 showed a significant one year increase of 1.4 mpg in fuel economy across vehicles in America, increasing the average fuel economy to its highest yet – 23.8 mpg.
What’s old is new again. It seems like every clever idea or radical invention has already been thought of, existing in government patent archives or a 15th century sketch from Leonardo da Vinci. Retro design is a prime automotive example of this, but it’s not the only one. Ethanol is a promising transportation fuel of the future, just as it was a century ago.
Top 10 Automotive Stories of 2012
With a heavy heart the staff of AutoGuide.com say goodbye to 2012, along with its triumphs and tragedies. We await the New Year with open arms, and welcome its promise of a better world.
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2012 was a year of the dragon, and it proved to be the stuff of legend, but thankfully it wasn’t a fire-breather. The Mayans were flat-out wrong; their doomsday prophecy was about as accurate as Bernie Madoff’s promise of a sound investment opportunity.
Still, the year brought other significant stories. Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland discovered a subatomic particle consistent with the legendary Higgs boson. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, passed away, and in a brutal political battle Barack Obama won a second term as president of the United States.
Of course the automotive industry made its share of headlines throughout the year. Here’s a rundown of the Top 10 stories from the past 12 months.
AutoGuide’s regular “Under the Hood” segment has already explained the vagaries of octane and the advantages of Top Tier gasoline, but there’s so much more to fuel than that. Ethanol, for instance, is a major component of gas, and something that’s a potential peril for consumers. But what is ethanol? And what is E85? Should you run these fuels in your vehicle?
Oil companies and gas-station chains love to boast about their fuels, how they burn the cleanest or deliver the most miles per gallon. But can these claims ever be validated? How is the average consumer supposed to figure out what’s best for their vehicle? At least one kind of fuel cuts through the marketing malarkey. Top Tier gasoline is engineered to a higher standard.
Anyone that’s ever topped off their tank or filled up a jerry can knows gasoline comes in different grades, from regular unleaded to pricey premium. Each “flavor” has a number that corresponds to its octane level, but what does this mean? What is octane and what role does it play? AutoGuide reached out to experts in the fuels field for answers.
When it’s time to top-off the tank, drivers are confronted with a dizzying variety of choices at the pump. There’s premium gasoline, mid-grade, regular and – depending on where you live – some even offer ultra-high octane, with a rating of 94 or above.
Drivers in South Carolina are being treated to gas prices below $3 a gallon, something that might even creep into other parts of the country.
You won’t have to wait until the end of next year to own the Mitsubishi i EV anymore thanks to whopping dealer demand.
Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko decided to move the nation-wide U.S. release up by six months from the original date to June 2012. The company also plans to release another electric vehicle by mid 2013.
“We shifted the timing by six months, so we are preparing ourselves to launch for the entire country by June,” Masuko said to Automotive News. “That must demonstrate our high expectations for this product.”
Depending on where you live, the tiny electric vehicle might already be available. Mitsubishi released it earlier this month to dealerships in California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Illinois, where they have their only North American assembly plant.
Masuko isn’t exaggerating about high expectations, they hope to sell 10,000 units per year. That number would represent an almost 18 percent boost of their total sales for 2010. Ambitions aside, they may have a shot at meeting that goal considering sales for cars and trucks grew in the first 10 months of this year by almost 26 percent. The i also got some good press when the Environmental Protection Agency rated it best for fuel consumption.
Mitsubishi also plans to release an electric version of their Mirage in mid 2013, though there hasn’t been a decision about bringing the gasoline version to the U.S. market.
Gallery: Mitsubishi i EV
[Source: Automotive News]
The result of high gas prices, Americans drove 15.5 billion miles less in the first half of 2011. The Federal Highway Administration reported that U.S drivers logged 1.453 trillion miles through to June 30 which is down 1.1 percent over the first half of 2010. The last time Americans drove less was back in 2004, when they logged 1.351 trillion miles (at the half way point), according to the government.
The all time high for first-half travel occurred in 2007 with 1.497 billion miles. June in particular was a month of few miles. Travel fell 1.4 percent to 259.1 billion miles, down 3.8 billion miles. In contrast to 2011, Americans drove three trillion miles in 2010, which has a direct correlation with lower gas prices. With gas prices the way they are, Americans are driving less, and according to recent studies are also more likely to hold onto older cars.
[Source: The Detroit Auto News]
General Motors has officially confirmed that there will be a diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze compact car in the U.S, planned for introduction in 2013. The current Chevrolet Cruze Eco is rated at around 40 mpg on the highway, so the diesel would have to deliver significantly better fuel efficiency than that to justify a higher-price. GM CEO Dan Akerson commented on the diesel variant, ”I drove it the other day. It is great, these new diesels are quiet. Should make it in the low- to mid-40s, and that’s with an automatic,”.
Diesel engines on average get 20 percent to 40 percent better mileage than similar-sized gasoline engines but lately, diesel fuel in the U.S has averaged 5 percent to 10 percent more than regular gas. Diesel engines are also costlier than gas engies, and require complex emissions gear, upping the price of diesel vehicles. GM wouldnt release anything pertaining to the price or give other details about the diesel Cruze because production is more than a year away however, a Jetta diesel with an automatic costs $24,865 so the Cruze is likely to be competitively priced.
Check out Cruze Talk forums for more info
[Source: USA Today]
An updated U.S fuel economy label was unveiled today aimed at reducing gasoline consumption and exhaust emissions. These new stickers will be required on all 2013 models, allowing consumers to quickly glance at fuel consumption.
Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says the reason for the redesigned labels is to give consumers, “the best possible information about which cars on the lot offer the greatest fuel economy and the best environmental performance.” The EPA developed the updated labels with assistance from the Department of Transportation.
Check out the video after the jump!
With the recent recession and high fuel prices, car buyers are placing a higher priority on fuel efficiency. To save at the pump, buyers are willing to sacrifice purchase, price, amenities and size but not safety, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center.
1,764 random adult car owners were interviewed between April 28-May 2, 2011 regarding car buying and fuel economy issues. The surveyed said that nearly twice as many consumers expected to choose a model with much better or somewhat better fuel economy(62 percent) relative to those who are targeting about the same fuel economy (32 percent).
Survey respondents expect their next car should deliver an average of 29 mpg. More than 10 percent said they expect 40 mpg or better in their next car.
It was also interesting to note that only 17 percent of those interviewed will buy a car next year. As well, the state of the economy played a factor causing a significant shift in the age of the average car driven by respondents has increased by eight years.
With America’s passenger cars continuing to age, less than a fifth or car owners will look to replace their car any time soon. When buying a new car, fuel economy will be the deciding factor. To reach increased fuel economy, shoppers will compromise on size and even consider paying more for a diesel or hybrid.
|New car||Used car|
|Pay more for fuel-efficient car||58%||49%|
|Compromise amenities or comfort||44||54|
|Compromise size or capacity||47||48|
[Source: Consumer Reports]
The Obama administration will announce today it is buying 116 plug-in electric vehicles and will install charging stations in government buildings in five cities.
Of the 116 vehicles, 101 of them will be extended-range Chevrolet Volts. These vehicles are to be placed with 20 government agencies in five cities including Washington, D.C., Detroit San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The purchase decision was made by the federal government after accepting competitive bids from automakers. The General Services Administration, which has already ordered 35,000 vehicles so far this year, claims there will be an overall average fuel efficiency improvement of 21%. The new cars will save 2.4 million gallons of fuel saving $9 million in spending. The GSA has doubled the number of hybrids in the federal fleet over the last two years.
President Obama has plans to cut oil imports by one-third by 2025 over 2008 levels and also wants to put 1 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015.
[Source: Detroit News]