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.
According to Allstate Insurance’s annual Best Drivers Report, Fort Collins, Colo. is the city in the U.S. where you are least likely to get into an accident.
Drunk drivers in Washington D.C. can expect stiffer penalties starting tomorrow when the Comprehensive Impaired Driving Act of 2012 takes effect.
Following the rash of alleged self-accelerating cars, U.S. regulators are calling for all automakers to make throttle override mechanisms standard equipment in every light vehicle.
This issue came to light after Toyota’s unintended acceleration case, which spurred NHTSA to begin looking into override technology in 2010.
Essentially, the required system would ensure that the brake will overpower the gas pedal when the two are applied simultaneously and bring the car to a stop. A 60-day comment period will be held to gauge public reaction, at the end of which NHTSA will review the proposal again.
The new mechanisms will help drivers feel safer behind the wheel, which is of course one of consumers top concerns. ”America’s drivers should feel confident that anytime they get behind the wheel they can easily maintain control of their vehicles — especially in the event of an emergency,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Although many automakers have already taken a preemptive step and made this type of system available, the law would make it mandatory.
“By updating our safety standards, we’re helping give drivers peace of mind that their brakes will work even if the gas pedal is stuck down while the driver is trying to brake,” LaHood said.
You can see the full NHTSA proposal here.
Smug journalists across the internet are poking fun at the possibility that President Barack Obama might have referred to the 2013 Shelby GT500 Mustang as “sick” during his visit to the Washington D.C. Auto Show.
True or false, his remarks about the muscle car don’t really matter. What’s slightly more significant is the speech he made to herald General Motors’ return to the throne as the world’s highest volume automaker.
While it isn’t surprising that the President would want to talk about something like that, it is a good chance to point out that GM is doing more than taking the Costco approach to selling cars.
In fact, GM is leading more than just the number of vehicles sold. They’re also the industry’s top innovator, according to The Patent Board. This is actually the fourth consecutive quarter that the Detroit giant can claim that title. An impressive 1,123 U.S. patents were granted to the company in 2011 for global product engineering, global powertrain engineering, global research and development and OnStar organizations.
It’s interesting because we don’t always think of GM when imagining who will come out with the latest breaking tech or engineering feats, yet they emerged victorious over 183 other firms. It seems like most of the automotive wizardry starts overseas in Europe and makes its way to domestic vehicles a little while later.
Blind spot detection is a great example of that. Volvo was the first to introduce it, but companies like GM and Ford are on board with the bandwagon.
Among GM’s recent patents, there is technology for quieter brakes, better OnStar voice recognition and something called eAssist Thermal Management which controls engine shutoff to ensure occupant comfort in extremely hot or cold weather.
That begs the question: what’s next from some of the greatest minds in Michigan?
Ever since it’s inception, the Federal Government’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards program has never been far from controversy. With the proposed 35 miles per gallon standard less than a decade away; auto manufacturers are struggling to find ways of meeting these fleet average targets. Because light trucks as well as cars are now included in the targets, domestic automakers like Ford, GM and Chrysler are likely to find the new regulations particularly tough to deal with, since a great deal of their profit still rests on truck production. Now, thanks to a meeting in May, when President Obama called on the EPA and Department of Transportation to included medium and heavy-duty vehicles within the CAFE umbrella (under different and yet undisclosed fuel economy standards), things have become even more messy and complicated.
Recently a 414 page report, issued by The National Academies (a group made up of academics, business leaders, scientists and consultants from the financial, oil and transportation industries) stated that in order for pickups, especially medium-duty ones to meet CAFE targets greater than current fuel economy standards; new technologies will have to be utilized or the automakers risk heavy fines.
Either way, sticker prices could increase by as much as $15,000 per truck once the regulations are enforced. According to Charlie Territo, a spokesperson for the Washington D.C. based Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, “costs will depend on the specific fuel economy targets and the cost of the technology that needs to be added. What remains to be seen is whether consumers are willing to pay those costs.”
The report cites a number of potential avenues for saving fuel on pickups, including turbocharging and using smaller displacement engines; hybrid drivetrains and more efficient diesel engines, still another, more simpler proposal is raising taxes on the fuel itself. However when it comes to technology the key issue is being able to balance more fuel efficient drivetrains with weight savings, especially difficult considering the amount of safety equipment is now mandated by the Feds on modern vehicles.
Whatever the proposed medium and heavy-duty CAFE requirements end up being, you can bet that they will likely hurt small business and contractors, those that currently rely on medium and heavy-duty pickups and represent the largest segment of buyers in this market. And to make matters worse, much of America’s wealth is built on small businesses, the kind that use pickups. So while the CAFE regulations might have had good intentions – reducing greenhouse gases and oil dependence, at this juncture, given the targets already outlined, the economic effects are likely to be disastrous in an already depressed business environment, unless significant changes to the CAFE standards that include more realistic short term targets are added.
Have you ever wondered what the safest cities in the U.S. to drive in? Allstate has done the research and ranked the country’s 200 largest cities and how safe they are to drive in.
Based on the likelihood of drivers to get into an accident, this annual report determines the locations that boast the best drivers. Taking this year’s top honor is Fort Collins, Colorado – congrats on having the safest drivers! Fort Collins came in second last year, following Sioux Falls, South Dakota – a city, interestingly enough, that had a really bad year, falling 17 places to number 18 (yikes!).
According to Allstate’s report, drivers in Fort Collins will get into an accident on average every 14.5 years. That makes them 31.2 percent less likely than the national average to call in a claim.
And now you’re wondering what cities to steer clear of. At the bottom of the bunch include Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, D.C. and Glendale, California. The nation’s capitol captured bragging rights to the last place, with drivers expected to get into a claimable accident every 5.1 years. Coming in right behind them is Baltimore, Maryland, where drivers likely to experience one accident every 5.6 years.
There’s a video to accompany the report that you can watch after the jump.