PBS' Hari Sreenivasan and guests share impressions of the North American Auto Show held in Detroit last week. Trucks and luxury cars were the focus, not electric and super-efficient vehicles. Debate on fuel efficiency standards is predicted in 2017.
What a change from last year's auto show that highlighted the new electric vehicles! Moderator Hari Sreenivasan notes that "there was such a push a few years ago about these small vehicles, these more efficient vehicles. And here we are rolling out trucks. They might be lighter, but they're still big trucks."
Guest Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book explains that "we have got technology now that is making trucks and SUVs get the kind of mileage that economy cars used to get. I think that is one of the things that you have to keep in mind when you look at the horsepower numbers and the performance numbers these cars are getting;" yet he also reflected on the different focus of this year's North American International Auto Show.
And it really was interesting to walk through the show...this year and see almost nothing...about...alternative, super-high-fuel-efficiency technologies. It was really more about performance and capability.
However, Dan Neil, auto columnist of The Wall Street Journal notes one exception, though fittingly in a truck.
The Ford F-150 is being built out of aluminum. This is a radical and risky step forward for the company that makes the most popular vehicle in America for 32 years running. I mean, they sold three-quarters-of-a-million of these trucks last year. They are going to make it out of aluminum. And it's going to save, on average, they estimate three miles per gallon.
His colleague, Joseph B. White, the Journal's Detroit Bureau Chief, explains one of the factors behind the performance focus, and what it portends for meeting the EPA's rigorous fuel efficiency standards.
What changed? The shale oil revolution has sidelined worries that we are condemned to an endless upward spiral in pump prices. In response, car makers are dialing down efforts to persuade mainstream consumers to embrace electric cars, and instead are racing to develop technology and materials that allow them to offer large, comfortable and fast vehicles that are more efficient.
Consequently, "(t)rucks accounted for more than half of all light vehicles sold in the U.S. last year, a reversal from the prior year. The shift coincided with lower fuel prices," he adds.
Cheap, abundant oil resulting in what Dan Neil called "moderate fuel price pressures" will culminate in "a new and intense debate over federal fuel economy regulations leading up to a 2017 review of whether the regulation calling for a 54.5 mpg fleet in 2025 make sense," according to White.
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
An Affordable Housing Model for Indigenous Americans
Indigenous people make up a disproportionately high percentage of the unhoused population, but many programs designed to assist them don’t reach those most in need.
Oregon Bill Would Ban E-Bikes for Riders Under 16
State lawmakers seek to change Oregon e-bike laws following the death of a 15-year old last summer.
Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year
Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.
Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.