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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Round-up - February 18-24, 2024



Auto Central February 25, 2024; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Auto Channel Executive Producer, with able assistance from senior Detroit editor Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau, compile The Auto Channel's "take" on this past week's automotive news, condensed into easy to digest news Nuggets.

LEARN MORE: Complete versions of today's news nuggets, along with thousands of pages of relevant news and opinions, information stored in a million-page library published and indexed on The Auto Channel during the past 25 years. Complete information can be found by copying a headline and inserting it into any Site Search Box.

Here are Larry's story picks from this past week's important to you, relevant, semi-secret, or snappy automotive news, opinions and insider back stories presented as expertly crafted easy-to-understand automotive news nuggets. for Nutson's Auto News Weekly Wrap-up February 18-24, 2024

* Slow the pace in the EV race. We read in the NY Times, in a concession to automakers and labor unions, the Biden administration intends to relax elements of one of its most ambitious strategies to combat climate change, limits on tailpipe CO2 emissions standards that are designed to get Americans to switch from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles, according to people familiar with the plan. Instead of essentially requiring automakers to rapidly ramp up sales of electric vehicles over the next few years, the administration would give car manufacturers more time, with a sharp increase in sales not required until after 2030. The regulation has not been finalized. The administration plans to publish the final rule by early spring. Beyond Biden's election concerns and wanting support from automakers and unions, consumer demand has not been what automakers hoped, with potential buyers put off by sticker prices and the relative scarcity of charging stations. Automakers have said they supported Biden’s earlier target of 50% EVs by 2030, but protested that the 60% by 2030 and 67% by 2032 targets originally proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency were too steep. Those arguments have gained traction as the EV sales pace has slowed.

* US DoE factoid of the week: EPA data shows Average Fuel Economy for New Light-Duty Vehicles has reached an all-time high. Final fuel economy estimates for model year (MY) 2022 show the largest improvement in the last nine years reaching an average of 26.0 miles per gallon (mpg) and up from 25.4 MPG in 2021. This is nearly double the 1975 fuel economy average of 13.1 mpg. Preliminary estimates for MY 2023 indicate even greater improvement.

* Reality is not what was expected.Editors Note:; Except Here On The Auto Channel Automakers continue to make adjustments to their BEV plans considering the reduced pace of sales. Ford, Tesla, Rivian, and Hyundai are either lowering prices or offering larger incentives. Sales volume plans are being reduced. GM and Mercedes are now planning to introduce more hybrid models.

* Breath deep. A report from the American Lung Association suggested that a move to electric vehicles could dampen the effects of climate change on children's health, adding that the transition would prevent 2.79 million pediatric asthma attacks and save hundreds of infant lives by 2050.  HERE

* More tranquility. A study has revealed how electric cars offer a smoother ride with reduced road noise and vibration that can lower a pooch's heart rate by up to 30 per cent, helping to prevent car sickness. Researchers at the University of Lincoln took 20 dogs on a 10 minute drive, first in an electric car and then in a ICE-powered car. They found that the test subjects were more restless in the fuel-powered vehicle, breaking their lying position 50 per cent more on average.

* Pay to drive. Boston City Council is set to explore the possibility of implementing a congestion pricing system and the impacts it could have on residents. Congestion pricing is a method of reducing traffic and emissions by charging fees for those on the roadways during certain hours of the day. A hearing order on the matter was issued during a City Council meeting. Any sort of congestion pricing plan for Boston still has many hurdles to clear, but it is said now is the time to foster a deeper conversation on the idea. New York City has a congestion pricing plan that is expected to be implemented this spring.

No turn on red. The Atlanta City Council approved an ordinance that will prohibit all vehicles from conducting right turns on red lights in the Downtown, Midtown, and Castleberry Hill neighborhoods. Atlanta is the latest to join in the undoing of a practice that was implemented to save fuel. Ann Arbor, Michigan and Washingtom DC have approved a ban. Other cities are taking action to also do so.

* Racing brings the best. The World Car Awards jury panel representing 100+ journalists from 29 countries have voted Adrian Newey, OBE, Red Bull Racing as the 2024 World Car PERSON of the Year. As Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing, aerodynamicist Adrian Newey is the designer and driving force behind the RB19, the most dominant race car in the history of Formula One. In 2023, it won 21 of 22 races enabling Red Bull’s sixth and Max Verstappen’s third World Championships and establishing the design concept to be pursued by most of its competitors. After 35 years in Formula 1 and more than 200 victories for cars of his design, Newey is at the absolute peak of his spectacular career.

* Stop-sale. GM has paused the sale of its 2024 midsize pickups to fix a software issue. About 15,000 2024 GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado pickups are affected. The vehicles have started to ship to dealerships. This follows a December stop-sale order of 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EVs so that GM could find a fix to owner-reported software problems.

* More stop-sale. The Detroit News reports Ford Motor Co. has paused shipments of the 2024 F-150 Lightning pickup truck as part of a longer-than-expected quality check process. A spokesperson declined to specify why the quality check is taking so long. The stop-shipment went into effect on Feb. 9 after shipments of the '24 Lightnings began last month. Despite the hold, production of the Lightnings continues at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn. Meanwhile, the automaker began shipping the first of its refreshed gas-powered 2024 F-150 pickups to dealers this week.

* Rain out. The Daytona 500 was postponed until 4 p.m. Monday due to inclement weather for just the third time in the illustrious 66-year history of NASCAR’s showcase event. Sunday morning’s decision signaled that NASCAR officials wanted to avoid fans having to play the waiting game on Florida’s Surf Coast. William Byron driving a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet won the race ending the team's nine-year Daytona 500 losing streak. Byron's win launched Hendrick's 40th racing season. Twenty cars of the forty car field completed all 200 laps. The top ten finishers was comprised of four Chevrolet's, four Toyota's and two Fords.

* Race to win. Cadillac will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June with three Cadillac V-Series.R hybrid race cars supported by experienced championship-winning drivers and teams to challenge for the overall victory. It is the second consecutive year that Cadillac Racing has received three invitations from event organizer Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to compete in the classic endurance race.  In 2023 — Cadillac Racing’s first year of FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Hypercar competition — the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R earned a podium finish, with the No. 3 Cadillac V-Series.R finishing fourth at Circuit de la Sarthe. The No. 311 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R placed 10th in class.

* RIP. Arturo Keller, the legendary Petaluma, California based Mexican/Swiss collector of super rare automobiles, including at least 9 classic Ferrari's, has passed away at age 91. His incredible collection at Pyramids Vineyard included dozens of the world's best and most prestigious pre-war Alfa Romeos, Mercedes, and so much more. He was a multiple Pebble Beach Best of Show winner.

Stay safe. Be Well.