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 |  Oct 14 2010, 5:26 PM

Feel free to let out a huge sigh of relief – a panel of experts investigating the causes of sudden acceleration heard on Monday that the risks of driving a recalled Toyota are minimal.

Paul Fischbeck, a professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, told the National Academy of Sciences that the risk of dying in a traffic crash is 1.05 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.

After examining the 2.3 million Toyota vehicles recalled for sticky pedals, Fischbeck said if all of these vehicles remained unfixed and were kept on the road, the risk of dying would rise to 1.07 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. That equates to an additional six deaths in a year (one Toyota-recall death per 5 billion miles traveled). This raises the odds of dying in any given year by 2 in 1 million.

The Academy is conducting an investigation at the request of the U.S. Transportation Department. This investigation is looking into the causes of sudden acceleration cases in Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles as well as across the auto industry.

Toyota has recalled nearly 6 million vehicles for sudden acceleration concerns in the United States. After investigating over 4,000 recalled models where driver’s complained of unintended acceleration, Toyota experts have found no instances of an electronic throttle flaw. These findings have been backed up by initial DOT findings that suggest driver error is to blame in most “unintended acceleration” cases.

[Source: The Detroit News]

 |  Oct 04 2010, 2:49 PM

The Obama Administration is considering strict new fuel economy regulations that would make the 35.5-mpg 2016 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards seem like an easy target to reach. The far-reaching new target would see a 62-mpg CAFE standard set in place for 2025. A preliminary proposal indicating as much was released late last week, as deliberations continue to reduce fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions by 3 percent to 6 percent a year from 2017 to 2025.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Transportation Department and the California Air Resources Board said that these targeted cuts in fuel use and emissions would require new fuel economy standards of between 47 mpg and 62 mpg by 2025.

The 245-page preliminary analysis states that “advanced technologies can be used to achieve substantial reductions in fuel consumption and (greenhouse gases).”

New fuel economy goals for 2012 to 2016 were presented earlier this year and this technical assessment is just step one in a long regulatory process to set targets leading up to the 2025 model year.

The second regulatory analysis is due by November 30, after regulators have held discussions with the auto industry, environmental groups and consumer advocates.

For their part, automakers seemed to applaud the news of a unified regulatory approach that includes a single plan by federal and state authorities. When the time comes, they will add their option to the preliminary targets under consideration, and the technologies and costs need to achieve the goals.

The report also outlines some of the costs needed to design and produce a 2025 vehicle under the stricter standards. The development costs for a 2025 vehicle would go up by between $770 and $3,500, depending on the targets and technologies incorporated, but consumers would typically save between $4,900 and $7,400 over the life of a vehicle in fuel savings.

Do you think automakers can build a car that gets 62-mpg and costs just $770 more? Will it also save you $7,400? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Source: Automotive News]