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GM Overstates Fuel-Economy Numbers, Will Pay Out $100 Million

May 27th, 2016

2016 GMC Acadia SLT

Rarely do people buy SUVs for the stellar fuel economy they deliver.

When people do buy an SUV, though, they should be properly informed of how often they should expect to stop at a gas station. The numbers on the window sticker are supposed to do just that, but a few automakers have gotten into trouble recently for misrepresenting their fuel-economy estimates.

In 2014, Hyundai had to pay a fine of $100 million for inflated fuel-economy numbers, in addition to compensating owners.

Mitsubishi is in the midst of crisis in its home country for the same reason, and now General Motors has admitted to providing overly optimistic numbers in the U.S.

How do inflated MPG estimates happen? Doesn’t the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency control those numbers?

Not exactly.

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Hyundai Diving Into EVs with 26 New Models

May 26th, 2016
2017 Ioniq HEV

2017 Ioniq HEV

The year 2020 could become a major turning point for electric vehicles in this country.

Aston Martin, Audi, Ford, GM, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo are some of the major automakers with plans to introduce at least one all-electric vehicle by the end of the decade. Newcomers Faraday Future, Apple, and maybe even Dyson (yes, the vacuum company) are rumored to be working on electric vehicles as well.

We’re on the cusp of an electric revolution in the auto world, but the cars won’t replace gasoline-fueled cars until people stop caring about electric range. That’s getting easier to comprehend, as Tesla and GM will both produce affordable EVs with a 200-mile range.

Looks like we can include Hyundai on that list now, too.

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Fake Engine Noise Could Lead to Improved Fuel Economy

May 17th, 2016

2016_ford_focus

Shifting by ear is one of the great pleasures of driving.

For many drivers, accelerating out of a turn and shifting from second to third just as the engine reaches its peak is a feeling bested only by knowing it’ll happen again when it’s time to shift into fourth.

The only problem with shifting by ear is that it doesn’t correlate with what’s best for delivering optimal fuel economy.

That’s being addressed by Ford in new technology that includes fake engine sounds, which the automaker hopes to use to fool drivers into shifting earlier, thus providing better fuel efficiency.

Fake engine noises shouldn’t come as any surprise because many automakers, from Ford to Volkswagen, have been faking, or at least enhancing, engine noises for years.

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Honda to Offer Electric, Hybrid, and Hydrogen Versions of Clarity

May 4th, 2016

Honda_Clarity

With its hydrogen-powered Clarity, Honda promises to deliver an alternative fuel source that it hopes will prove as viable as electricity.

Honda figured out how to package the vehicle as a standard five-seat midsize sedan with all the room and versatility buyers in the segment expect. Plus, it can carry enough hydrogen to propel it for over 430 miles and needs only three minutes to fill at a refueling station.

Previous efforts at creating hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles were limited by large tanks that infringed on passenger space, took too long to refuel, and didn’t provide nearly as much range. The Clarity, despite its odd proportions in the rear, is a design marvel that could bring hydrogen power into the mainstream.

Except that Honda will also create electric and plug-in versions of the Clarity. Why?

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Are Electric Cars Bad for the Environment?

April 6th, 2016

nissan-leaf-rear

Drive behind an electric car and you’ll notice there are no tailpipes. That’s obvious, because electric vehicles don’t create any emissions and have no need for an exhaust system.

Since electric cars don’t create any pollution, they are a great choice for people who want to contribute to a greener Earth by reducing their carbon footprint.

There’s a caveat, though, to electric cars. They don’t create any emissions while driving, but they consume a large amount of electricity that is often produced in ways far more harmful to the planet than the emissions of a regular car.

How do you know if your EV is good for the planet? Read on.

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Which Electric Cars Can Compete With $2 Gas?

March 11th, 2016

tesla_model_x

Electric cars solve a lot of problems. They don’t pollute, they can be recharged at home overnight, and they save owners money by eliminating the need for gasoline.

The trouble is, electric cars could end up being remembered as the right cars that happened at the wrong time.

The quality, reliability, comfort, and driving range of electric vehicles are better than ever before. They offer a gas-free way to commute to work and the peace-of-mind of driving on clean energy.

What EVs don’t have is the right timing. Gas prices are still hovering around $2 per gallon, so it’s hard for car buyers to justify the added cost and limited range when compared to a gas-powered car.

For an electric car to succeed in an era of cheap gas, it needs to have something special. Keep reading for the electric cars that should thrive regardless of gas prices.

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EPA Asks Volkswagen to Build Electric Cars

February 24th, 2016

2015-VW-e-Golf

Volkswagen is like the kid who got caught lying to his parents.

When a kid lies, his parents may punish him by taking away his allowance, making him apologize, and possibly making him pay back the people to whom he lied.

If those punishments don’t work, or if the lie was particularly heinous, a parent might ask his or her child to contribute to solving the problem that caused the lie in the first place.

We all know that VW got caught lying to the government (and its customers) by using technology to cheat emissions tests on nearly 600,000 cars. We’re about five months into the scandal and there still isn’t a plan in place to compensate customers or fix the affected vehicles. Volkswagen will undoubtedly be fined billions of dollars for the lie and face lawsuits, but now the U.S. government has also asked the carmaker to go a step further and build cars that make lying about emissions impossible.

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Should We Tax Gas While It’s Cheap?

February 10th, 2016

low_gas_prices

Who doesn’t love low gas prices?

There’s a certain glee that one gets while driving through a city or down a highway and seeing those glowing gas station signs displaying prices that start with a one.

As of this writing, the national average price of regular unleaded is $1.77. You can fill up a thirsty Tahoe for around $45, which is a huge relief when compared with the $100 fill-ups that were common just a few short years ago.

When gas prices are this low, sales of SUVs and pickups go through the roof, while electric vehicles tend to languish on dealer lots for much longer.

The president has a plan that he hopes could spark some EV sales and help reduce consumption of cheap, easily available gasoline. The odds of his plan being implemented, though, aren’t good.

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Have Electric Cars Already Beat Fuel Cell Vehicles?

January 29th, 2016

2017-Honda-Clarity-Fuel-Cell

The price of electric cars is quickly falling into the $30,000 range. The Nissan Leaf, the upcoming Chevy Bolt, and, presumably, next year’s Tesla Model 3, will all be available for about the price of the average new car.

Infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is becoming more common and people are getting used to their limited range. Part of the reason for less range-anxiety is because cars are going farther on a single charge and taking less time to recharge.

Amidst the looming mass-adaption of EVs by consumers around the country, another type of alternative-fuel vehicle is starting to hit the market.

But is it too late for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles?

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EPA Scrutinizes BMW X5 Diesel: It’s Approved!

December 15th, 2015

2014-bmw-x5-xdrive35d

I don’t envy the automaker trying to get a diesel approved for the U.S. market right now.

The Environmental Protection Agency is on high alert after Volkswagen managed to dupe it and sell a half-million highly polluting cars right under its nose. Now, any automaker that hopes to sell diesels in the U.S. will first need to submit the vehicles in question to rigorous examination and testing by the highly suspicious agency before being given the green light to stock dealers.

Getting the EPA’s sign-off was supremely difficult even before the VW scandal. It was so hard, in fact, that Volkswagen deemed it easier to engineer a cheat device than to engineer a car that could pass the strict emissions requirements.

Automotive News opened a story on the topic with this quote:

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