Category Archives: Auto

The ‘Job-Killing’ Fiction Behind Trump’s Retreat on Fuel Economy Standards

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When President Trump traveled to Michigan last week to announce that his administration will reevaluate (and almost certainly weaken) a key environmental achievement of the past decade — new fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for cars and light trucks — he alleged that “industry-killing regulations” had contributed to a loss of jobs in the U.S. automobile sector. The truth is, however, writes Yale Environment 360 that there is no factual basis for the claim that stricter standards have killed jobs. There is, however, abundant evidence that these regulations have saved Americans billions of dollars at the pump, bolstered U.S. energy independence, fostered automotive innovation, and led to major reductions in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Public health impact of excess nitrous oxides emissions from Volkswagen diesel passenger vehicles in Germany

A report in Environmental Health Letters estimates that 1,200 people in Europe will die prematurely because of excess nitrous oxide emissions released in Germany after Volkswagen installed “defeat device” software that allowed the cars to cheat on emissions test.  The MIT authors also estimate that by recalling and repairing the affected cars in Germany to meet current emissions standards by the end of 2017, Volkswagen could avert 2,600 additional premature deaths and save 4.1 billion euros in health costs.

Full citation: Chossière GP, Malina R, Ashok A, et al. Public health impacts of excess NOx emissions from Volkswagen diesel passenger vehicles in Germany. Environ. Res. Lett. 2017; 12:1-14.

Lawsuit alleges automakers knew of deadly Takata air-bag defects

Court documents filed this week allege that five auto companies were aware of defects that caused Takata air bags to potentially harm or kill motorists but continued to use them anyway to save on costs, reports The Washington Post. The documents claim that Honda, Ford, BMW, Toyota and Nissan have known about the issues with the Japanese manufacturer’s air bags for more than a decade but still used them because Takata was cheaper than its competitors and could produce the bulk quantities the automakers needed, according to the court documents.

Dangerous FTC Decision on Vehicle Safety Defects

Honda Recalls 1990-2015. Honda earned the distinction as the car manufacturer with the most safety recalls, with over 13 million models affected in this period. For perspective, Honda’s recalls affected more vehicles than all the recalls of Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, BMW, Nissan and Mitsubishi combined. Credit

A decision late last year by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was a repudiation of their statutory duty to protect consumers, writes Cathy Chase, Vice President of Governmental Affairs at the Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety. By finalizing consent orders with General Motors (GM) and the Lithia and Koons auto dealership chains, which allow them to advertise used cars with unrepaired safety defects under recall using misleading terms, consumers are duped and safety is jeopardized.  Unsuspecting consumers will be tricked by labels such as safe, repaired for safety, having passed a rigorous inspection, and using the imprimatur of certified.  Families will walk into dealerships to buy cars, be informed that the vehicles have been given a safety stamp of approval, be required to sign a pile of papers with a message tucked in that the car may be subject to un-repaired recalls for safety issues, and will drive off the lot at their own peril and a danger of everyone on the roads.

Trump tells US automakers he’ll cut taxes and regulations, says environmentalism is out of control

U.S. President Donald Trump pushed the chief executives of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler on Tuesday to increase production in the United States and boost American employment, reports Reuters. Trump opened a meeting with GM CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Mark Fields and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at the White House by saying he wants to see new auto plants built in the United States. The new Republican president vowed to cut regulations and taxes to make it more attractive for businesses to operate in the United States…U.S. automakers have been reluctant to open new U.S. auto plants in recent years, but they have expanded operations at existing U.S. plants…With flattening U.S. auto sales and some excess capacity, U.S. automakers may be reluctant to agree to open new plants, which likely would not come online for several years. Tuesday’s gathering was the first time the CEOs of the big three automakers have met jointly with a U.S. president since a 2011 session with Barack Obama to tout a deal to nearly double fuel efficiency standards by 2025…Automakers have urged the Trump administration to rethink those aggressive fuel efficiency mandates.

EPA Reports 2016 Enforcement Highlights

In a landmark settlement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports, that  Volkswagen agreed to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of using “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests and deceive customers. Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 model year 2009-2015 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold or leased in the U.S., and provide additional compensation to consumers, at a cost of up to $10 billion. In addition, Volkswagen will spend $4.7 billion to mitigate the pollution from these cars and invest in green vehicle technology. Together, these actions will restore clean air protections and make our auto industry cleaner for generations of Americans to come.

Automobile, construction and entertainment business sector influences on sedentary lifestyles

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Sedentary lifestyles contribute to premature death and health inequalities. Researchers have studied personal and community-level determinants of inactivity but few have analyzed corporate influences. To reframe the public health debate on inactivity and open new doors for public sector intervention, we conducted a scoping review of evidence from several disciplines to describe how the business and political practices of the automobile, construction, and entertainment sectors have encouraged sedentary lifestyles.

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