AutoGuide News Blog
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.
It’s common practice for regional auto journalist associations to gather, usually once a year, and vote on which cars they like most.
An expected announcement today by President Barack Obama will outline the federal government’s commitment to buy only advanced technology vehicles by 2015.
Only hybrids, plug-in electrics, and flex-fuel vehicles will be allowed into its present fleet of 600,000 vehicles. The government has already doubled its number of hybrids in keeping with existing mandates.
Full-size SUVs and other vehicles could still be allowed, but they would need to run on E85 ethanol.
Also expected from Obama’s Georgetown University speech today will be a strategy to cut oil imports by one third by 2025, while calling for a substantial increase in fuel economy for vehicles produced from 2017-2025.
The reduction could save the U.S. more than 11 million barrels per day, the White House said, which is the amount the U.S. imported in 2008.
Obama will also ask Congress to increase incentives to assist compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles for consumers, corporate and business fleets.
Today’s announcement will be just one of a long line of transportation energy measures tightening the belt in the face of ever diminishing oil supplies.
Last summer the White House supported a bill that would have approved $4 billion in assistance for CNG vehicles. That bill stalled in the last Congress, but did have some support from Republicans and Democrats.
In October 2009, the president directed federal agencies with 20 or more vehicles to cut fuel usage by 2 percent.
In 2010 the government bought 23,000 fuel-efficient vehicles, of which 9,000 were hybrids. This year the government will buy its first 100 battery electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Volt, shown above.
Concerned also with greenhouse gas emissions, a $300 million stimulus bill was approved by Congress in 2009. The White House also intends to finalize the first national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for commercial trucks, vans and buses.
These are planned to take effect in the 2014 model year and will cover the 2014-18 model years.
[Source: Detroit News]
The Audi A2 was well ahead of its time when it launched in 1999, and it paid dearly for its advanced nature, with a short lifespan and disappointing sales.
But the A2, which was capable of getting 78 mpg in some trim levels, appears set for a renaissance. Times have changed, and the demand for a small, ultra-efficient premium car appears to be there, and Audi is investigating the revival of their quirky compact. Autocar is reporting that Audi is investigating the prospect, and has set some very ambitious targets, notably a curb weight of just under 1800lbs. With its small footprint and aluminum construction, a figure like that is theoretically possible (and the original A2 only weighed about 220 lbs more), but with modern conveniences and safety features, Audi’s engineers still have a monumental task ahead of them.
With Audi planning to use aluminum spaceframes across most of its model range, the A2′s development costs could theoretically by absorbed across a large number of models – a crucial factor in a car that was considered to have been too expensive for its time. On the other hand, things are looking far different than they did in 1999, and the A2 may finally be ready for mainstream acceptance.
An estimated 14,000 taxpayers claimed $37 million in tax credits meant for buyers of plug-in or electric vehicles, while attempting to pass of vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Camaro and “golf cart” as worthy of the credit.
Among the most ignominous offenders were 88 prisoners and IRS employees who attempted to claim the credits. With an estimated $7,500 credit per vehicle, the program is intended to add an incentive to buyers considering the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt. The IRS said that $130 million of the $163 million given out was legitimate. On the other hand, some claimants listed their vehicle as merely “bicycle”, “taxi” or “golf cart”.
In light of the attempted fraud, the IRS will enact new regulations for trying to claim the credit, including supplying the Vehicle Identification Number on their tax forms, and selecting the vehicle information from a specific list on electronic filing forms.
[Source: The Detroit News]