Following last week’s announcement that Consumer Reports’ real-world fuel-economy testing of Ford’s C-Max and Fusion hybrid vehicles showed these cars are not getting the 47 mpg touted by the car maker, both Ford and the Environmental Protection Agency have said they are looking into the matter. [More]
It’s one thing for a parking lot to simply offer a discount to people who choose to drive fuel-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles. But does that lot go too far when it charges a premium for people to park their SUVs and Jeeps?
One of the first things most people notice when driving or riding in a hybrid or electric vehicle is just how much quieter the engine is compared to your standard gasoline engine. But the folks at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are worried that these cars might be a little too quiet for passing pedestrians. Thus, NHTSA is looking for ways these vehicles can alert pedestrians to their presence.
Toyota is going to pay to fix the water pumps on 2004-2007 Prius hybrids starting in December. The pumps can glitch, causing the car to overheat and lose power.
People have been wondering how the EPA would rate the Nissan Leaf. The normal “miles per gallon” didn’t make sense because the car uses electricity, not gas. The results are finally in, and the vehicle has scored a 99 MPGe. That stands for “Miles Per Gallon equivalent.”
By the time you get around to purchasing an electric car, the New York Times writes, you may be able choose a fake engine sound for it the way you customize your phone with ringtones. Safety experts worry that the nearly silent operation of upcoming cars mean pedestrians won’t hear them sneaking up, so they’re adding artificial engine noises—and some manufacturers are considering letting owners customize the sounds.
Shaken by a huge drop in sales last month, Toyota has announced cash incentives to help move inventory, including (for the first time) the Prius. [Jalopnik]
Not that you necessarily need convincing that GM is doomed no matter how much cash is thrown at it, but here’s a cool graphic that shows all of the auto company’s problems as piles of shipping containers. The designer points out that “many aspects of this graphic can apply to the rest of the Big Three but I focused on GM since they are in the most dire position.”
What do you do when your industry starts to go belly up and you can’t make enough revenue to stay afloat? If you’re a short-sighted U.S. auto maker, you beg the government for $25-50 billion in immediate, low-interest loans in order to retool your plants, so you can start producing the hybrid cars you should have been planning years ago.
CNNMoney says that consumers are avoiding gas guzzling SUVs and buying… nothing! whaddayaknow.
A Consumer Reports study finds that 79% of consumers surveyed say they plan on buying a car with better fuel economy. [Consumer Reports]
Honda’s FCX Clarity rolled off their Japanese assembly line last week and arrived in California where some Hollywood big shots were eager to get their hands on the new “zero-emission” car that runs on hydrogen and electricity. According to CNN Money, the car emits only water and none of the gases which are thought to contribute to global warming. A few dozen cars will be leased to certain individuals this year and some will be available to the general public on a very limited scale in early 2009. Details, inside…
The conventional wisdom around hybrid cars has been that they will save a significant amount on gas costs during their lifetimes and are better for the environment, but that those benefits come at a cost — a higher initial price that makes a hybrid an overall more expensive option for transportation. But Yahoo Green has an analysis showing this is not the case when all of the various economic factors surrounding a car purchase are considered. In fact, it turns out that buying a hybrid is a better financial move than purchasing a comparable non-hybrid car because of the following reasons:
To help you fight the battle against high gasoline prices, Consumer Reports has put together a list of the 16 best used fuel-sipping cars. The list only contains cars under 10 years old and the criteria is based on fuel economy and reliability. It does not take into account driver comfort or fancy options. Check out CNN’s full article for more detailed information on each car. The list, inside…
Of course, you’ve heard of hybrid automobiles but most people haven’t heard of their possible health risk compared to traditional vehicles. According to the New York Times, strong electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emanating from high voltage power cables located near the driver might be hazardous to your health, yet the government doesn’t even test for EMF’s in vehicles. Details, inside…
A California man shocked that his Honda Civic Hybrid’s gas efficiency didn’t match EPA estimates has decided to file a class action suit against Honda for false advertising. John True spent an extra $7,000 on the hybrid model after seeing advertisements that claimed average city fuel efficiency of 49 mpg. True was horrified to discover that after 6,000 miles of driving, he only averaged 32 mpg.
The lawsuit claims American Honda Motor Co. has misled consumers in its advertisements and on its Web site. The suit notes that while the Environmental Protection Agency and automobile window stickers say “mileage will vary,” some Honda advertisements read “mileage may vary.” That implies that it’s possible to get the mileage advertised, said William H. Anderson, a Washington, D.C., attorney for True.
The EPA has proposed a rule that would allow drivers of fuel-efficient vehicles to use the high occupancy vehicle lanes without bringing along those pesky carpoolers. Most states require at least two occupants for a vehicle to travel in the HOV lane.
Consumer Reports cautions that buyers of popular hybrid vehicles may soon be ineligible to claim the Alternative Motor Vehicle tax credit. The credit sunsets when a manufacturer sells more than 60,000 qualifying vehicles, a figure Toyota has already reached.
The credit has already begun to phase out for Toyota and Lexus hybrids purchased after September 30, 2006, and others will follow suit as they reach the sales volume target. The 2006 Prius’ tax break, for instance, dropped in half to $1,575 if it was purchased after that date, and it will split again to $788 between April and the end of September, 2007. After that, the Prius rebate disappears altogether.
The IRS provides a list of models certified for credit. Available only to those not subject to the alternative minimum tax, the credit can be worth up to $3,150 for vehicles purchased after 2005. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER