Visit CBS New York’s
LOS ANGELES (WWJ) As General Motors unveils a new compact pickup, Ford is using its appearance at the LA Auto Show to look further into the future.
The new Chevy Colorado plays in a segment that Ford vacated a few years ago, and is now owned by Toyota and Nissan. GM calls the Colorado a lifestyle vehicle aimed more at those who are interested in taking their bikes with them, or hauling gardening3 supplies.
The Colorado is going to be positioned more at an activity, accessory type buyer, who uses it more in maybe a lighter duty type way, said GM North America President Mark Reuss.
Reuss also feels it will help General Motors to have smaller trucks, as fuel economy standards become tougher.Full size pickups4 are also becoming more expensive. Chevrolet marketing chief Alan Batey said he believes that many people who might need the utility of a smaller truck, shunned larger vehicles because they were more than they wanted or needed.
With the Ranger gone, and the Dakota on hiatus, this puts General Motors head to head with the imports.
We took the route that we really felt this was an opportunity, said Batey. We know some of our competitors are not going to go into this.
The Los Angeles Auto Show was a logical place to launch the Colorado, as California s best-selling truck is not the Ford F-150. It s the Toyota Tacoma.
There is a propensity here for a smaller truck, said Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. People want a truck, but the larger ones are hard to drive around, and fit into parking spaces in an urban environment.
Ford meanwhile has a concept version of what the next generation Edge SUV will look like. The styling is more of an update from the current crossover vehicle.
Edge has a great balance between accommodating and dominating, said chief designer Kevin George.
The concept unveiled in Los Angeles Is a combination of design and new technology. That technology includes crash avoidance systems, plus an advanced system that will allow you to get out of the car, and have it park itself.
Ford Edge Concept (Jeff Gilbert photo)
Edge marketing chief Jacques Brent wouldn t give a timetable for deployment of the new technology. But, he said it s most likely sooner, rather than later.
We d like to think of being able to make the driver smarter, safer and more efficient, he said. These technologies are there to support the driver, and not necessarily take over the driving of the vehicle.
Ford plans to export the Edge to a number of markets globally, including China. The company s vice president of marketing, Jim Farley, says the global utility segment has risen 45 percent in the last six years.
The whole world is falling in love with the utility silhouette. It s prestigious.
Jeff Gilbert is covering the LA Auto Show. Follow him on Twitter @jefferygilbert. You can also check out facebook.com/carchronicles.
Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library / via Federal Highway Administration
President Reagan signs the Surface Transportation Assistance Act into law, sparking a fight with the trucking industry.
Automakers like General Motors, BMW, and Volkswagen are making a big effort to get more Americans into diesel-powered cars.
There are lots of reasons to love diesel cars1: They offer a ton of torque and excellent fuel economy, and they’re not as dirty and loud as they once were we were thrilled with the latest diesel Audis2.
But the fact remains that in the U.S., diesel is more expensive than the gasoline that powers nearly all our passenger vehicles and that’s an obstacle to growing its popularity.
Why is that the case, when the reverse is true in Europe?
The difference dates back to a bitter conflict between President Ronald Reagan, Congress, and the trucking industry, and unfortunately it’s not going anywhere.
Entering office in 1981, Reagan soon recognized the need to increase funding for the country s highway system: Four thousand miles of highway needed resurfacing and 23,000 bridges needed repair or replacement.
That need gave birth to the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) of 1982. Because trucks cause more damage to roads than passenger cars, the bill included a higher user tax on heavy trucks, along with a $.05 per gallon increase on gasoline and diesel taxes. At the time, the two fuels were taxed equally.
That fear was confirmed in a 1984 report4 from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which estimated taxes on very heavy trucks (70,000 pounds and up) would jump from $1,506 to $1,742, or from $1.40 to $1.56 per mile driven.
And at least a quarter of that would have to be paid at the start of the fiscal year, adding an extra financial burden.
The powerful American Trucking Associations (ATA) was appalled by the proposal, according to a detailed account of the legislative battle5 by Richard Weingroff, an information liaison specialist at the Federal Highway Administration.
ATA President Bennett C. Whitlock, Jr. talked to quite a few senators,” he told the Washington Post at the time. “We’re asking them to vote against the conference report and to start over again in the next session of Congress in establishing new truck-use fees.
The heavy truck fees were supposed to take effect in July 1984. They never did.
A Tax Is Born
After losing the battle in the legislature, the trucking industry kept up its vocal opposition. Two days after the bill became law, the Washington Post ran a story calling the truck lobby one of the best-financed and strongest interest groups on Capitol Hill.
The article noted that the ATA s political action committee gave nearly $300,000 to 398 congressional candidates during the 1982 elections.
Rep. James J. Howard (D-NJ) told The Post he saw the ATA s loss as an aberration due to the fact there was a tremendous push for a jobs bill and a huge highway and transit bill.
In late January, the issue became violent. Despite opposition from the ATA and other industry groups, the Independent Truckers Association led a strike by drivers around the country, The New York Times reported7.
In addition to striking, opponents of the fee began attacking drivers who continued on their routes. One trucker, George Franklin Capps of North Carolina, was shot through the neck by a sniper and killed while driving. Seven other North Carolina drivers were shot at, according to The New York Times.
California trucker Howard N. Adams was shot in the chest and lived, and a 14-year-old girl was riding in a car near Pittsburgh when she was hit in the head with a brick that was apparently thrown at a truck from an overpass.
The strike did not last long and was never widespread, but the violence it kicked up highlighted the passion among truckers over the use fees.
It didn t take long for popular opinion to shift against the use fee. The month the bill became law, the Department of Transportation signaled it would be willing to see the truck fees replaced with an increased tax on diesel, the fuel used by large trucks and a few passenger cars.
By February of the next year, The New York Times was referring8 to the highly unpopular truck-tax legislation passed in 1982, and Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole put forward a plan to reduce the fee and increase the tax rate on diesel.
The idea behind taxing diesel is that it s used by all trucks, but few passenger cars. That way, trucks still pay their fair share, in accordance with how much time they spend on the road and they re not hit with large fees they must pay up front.
In 1984, Reagan signed the Deficit Reduction Act (raising taxes by $50 billion) into law, sharply cutting the use fee and raising the tax on diesel from $.09/gallon to $.14/gallon. A report from the Joint Committee on Taxation explained the rationale:
Higher rates scheduled to take effect under the Highway Revenue Act of 1982 would have imposed a large tax on trucking operations which did not necessarily relate to the amount of business they might do, and that an alternative form of highway excise taxation should be devised which is more definitely correlated with the use of trucks. Therefore, Congress decided to substitute a high diesel fuel tax for a lower use tax.
Where We Are Now
GM introduced Chevy Cruze Diesel this year.
Since then, diesel has been taxed more heavily than gasoline. Today, the federal excise tax on gasoline is $0.184/gallon. For diesel, it s $0.244/gallon.
The 1984 law included a tax credit to help out owners of diesel-powered light vehicles. That tax credit no longer exists, though you do get a break if you buy diesel9 for use on a farm, a nonprofit educational organization, or an aircraft museum.
And while it s possible that kind of credit could be reinstated, there are more calls for raising fuel taxes than lowering them even from the trucking lobby.
The diesel tax is a fair way to account for the impact trucks have on the road, Darrin Roth, director of highway operations at the American Trucking Associations, said in an interview. We think it should be even higher than it is.
It s clear, he said, that there isn t enough money going into highways for necessary repairs and expansions, both of which help truckers.
Stephen Comstock, tax policy manager at the American Petroleum Institute, said he is starting to see strong interest in the idea of bumping up taxes. Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood called on Congress to raise the gas tax earlier this month.
You ve got to have a big pot of money. We don t have it now.
If those taxes do go up, there s no reason to believe they would suddenly be equaled.
There are other ways to get more funding to the Highway Trust Fund. Oregon has looked at taxation based on vehicle miles, Comstock said, but that s considerably more complicated than just taxing fuel.
And what about going back to the original idea of creating a fee for trucks and taxing gasoline and diesel equally?
We wouldn t be in favor of that, Roth, of the American Trucking Associations, said.
Sorry, automakers. That diesel tax isn t going anywhere.
- ^ lots of reasons to love diesel cars (www.businessinsider.com)
- ^ we were thrilled with the latest diesel Audis (www.businessinsider.com)
- ^ December 1982 New York Times article (www.nytimes.com)
- ^ confirmed in a 1984 report (www.gao.gov)
- ^ detailed account of the legislative battle (www.fhwa.dot.gov)
- ^ Reagan signed the bill into law (www.reagan.utexas.edu)
- ^ The New York Times reported (www.nytimes.com)
- ^ The New York Times was referring (www.nytimes.com)
- ^ you do get a break if you buy diesel (www.irs.gov)
- ^ he said at an event (mobilitylab.org)
- ^ according to The Washington Post (articles.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ according to Bloomberg (www.bloomberg.com)
Building work has finished on Network Rail s new state-of-the-art warehouse at the former Peugeot plant
A new 25million road haulage distribution centre has opened near Coventry creating up to 100 jobs.
A ceremony was held today to official open the 300,000 sq ft centre which will be a hub for Network Rail s National Delivery Service.
Bosses say the new purpose-built warehouse has created around 100 jobs as well as supporting a number of construction jobs whilst it was being built.
The project saw the closure of three warehouses based at Worcester, Lichfield and Ludgershall, and the relocation of workers to the central hub.
Steve Dady, business manager of Network Rail, said: By having everything in one place it means there is no duplication of resources around the country.
“It has also meant that bulk products can be stored more easily and items often left at track side can be returned to the centre and reutilised.
Bosses claim the new base will deliver annual benefits of 5 million a year with delivery costs reduced and less traffic on the road.
The new warehouse also boasts a number of environmentally-friendly features including filtering rain water from the roof to flush the toilets.
Throughout the project, the team has worked closely with the local parish council to ensure villagers knew what was going on.
Teresa Beadle, project manager of Network Rail, added: Taking their views on board was an important part of the project. One of their concerns was how we could manage noise levels at unsocial hours.
“This we have done by ensuring our vehicles are loaded so they can be driven straight out in the morning without reversing.
The facility has gone fully operational a month ahead of schedule and only ten months since construction work started on the warehouse.
A Shelbyville man was killed Friday afternoon in a crash in Shelby County.
The accident happened at approximately 2:15 on State Road 9, just south of Mill Road. According to the Shelby County Sheriff s Department, a Dodge Neon was headed southbound, when it crossed into the path of a trash truck belonging to the City of Shelbyville. The driver of the trash truck was unable to avoid the car, and the vehicles struck head on.
The driver of the Dodge, a 34-year-old male, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the truck, a 60-year-old man from Shelbyville, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing. Police are not releasing the identity of the victim at this time.
(CNN) Jacqueline Mars, a co-owner of the candy empire of the same name, was involved in a car crash Friday near her home in Northern Virginia that killed an 86-year-old woman.
Mars was driving alone in her 2004 Porsche SUV when for unknown reasons the vehicle crossed the center line and struck an eastbound 2013 Chrysler minivan occupied by six people, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff s Office.
One of those six people, Irene Ellisor of Huntsville, Texas, died at the scene.
Authorities say she was not wearing her seat belt.
Mars, 73, was hospitalized for her injuries and is now recuperating at home, according to her personal spokesman.
This tragedy has left Jacquie filled with sorrow for the loss of life and those who were injured in the accident, said Kent Jarrell, who is not affiliated with Mars, Inc. She would like to express her deepest condolences to the families involved.
The driver of the minivan was transported to a Falls Church hospital, where she was in listed in critical condition on Monday. Her condition on Wednesday was unknown.
The sheriff s office says the remaining passengers all from Texas were all treated and discharged from area hospitals.
The commonwealth s attorney s office is reviewing the matter.
Mars and her two brothers privately own the company started by their grandfather that makes such universal sweet-tooth staples as Snickers, Milky Way, and M&M s.
Today, Mars Inc. is the largest candy company in the world.
Forbes says Jacqueline Mars has a net worth of $20.5 billion, making her the third richest woman in the country and the 15th wealthiest person in the United States.
The problem might be that they switched sides.
The head of the nation s largest trucking industry organization denounced the right-wing movement Monday as a corrosive force that threatens the business community s ties to the GOP.
The association is vowing to reconsider its support for Republicans after last week s debt-limit standoff in Washington, escalating a feud between industry groups and the Tea Party movement.
If I was your political broker, my advice would be that you sell your Republican shares and buy the Democrats, Bill Graves, the chief executive officer of the American Trucking Associations, said at the group s annual convention in Orlando, Florida.
Business, he said, must weigh its relationship with Republicans who threaten to burn the house down and who take positions that are foolish, ill-advised, reckless and detrimental to the U.S. economy.
His remarks underscore growing frustration over the difficulty in passing what once were bipartisan bills on such government basics as maintaining the interstate highway system. They echo similar impatience expressed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, and other business leaders after House Republicans on Oct. 16 yielded in a showdown with President Barack Obama over funding the new health-care law that produced a 16-day partial government shutdown.
Graves said, What s most alarming is the collapse of the Republican Party and the emergence of the conservative wing of the party, most often referred to as the Tea Party, and its emergence as a very corrosive force,
Graves is the American Trucking Associations President and a former Republican governor of Kansas.
We re glad you re OK truckers. Welcome to the left.
SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) A Detroit man has died after being crushed by a dump truck in Southfield.
It happened Monday morning as the 38-year-old was working under his vehicle in a parking lot near 12 Mile Road and Pierce, according to police.
Southfield police said in a statement that officers responded at around 9:30 a.m. Monday to a report of an unresponsive man underneath a parked truck.
A preliminary investigation found that the man was lying under the engine compartment of the vehicle when his clothing got caught in the drive shaft, trapping him.
An investigation is ongoing.
The man s name was not immediately released.
Straits Times article dated 27 Sep reported on a $45 million new loan taken out by City Harvest Church (CHC). The loan was not taken from any financial institution but a logistics company listed on the Singapore Exchange called Freight Links Express Holdings (FLEH).
FLEH s core business is in freight forwarding. To offer a loan of this size suggests its core business may have changed. Have shareholders been notified? At 8 per cent per annum, the interest charged by FLEH is also quite high. But I guess CHC is desperate and will grab anything that comes along because no financial institution will offer a religious organisation a $45 million loan to purchase properties based on expected future earnings from worshippers.
What is interesting is that FLEH had managed to raise $100 million in a Fixed Rate Note issue bearing an interest rate of 4. 6 per cent just 4 months ago.http://www.freightlinks.net/MediaRelease/Press54.pdf1 These IOUs are normally used for general corporate purposes and financing investments related to its core business, certainly not for loans.
Business wise, it certainly does make sense to be earning 8 per cent while paying only 4.6 per cent without taking any risk.
However, this will set a precedent for every other listed companies on the exchange to stray from their core business. Should this be allowed by the Singapore Exchange?
The loan carries an interest payment of 8% per year.
- ^ http://www.freightlinks.net/MediaRelease/Press54.pdf (www.freightlinks.net)
- Natural gas occupies a tiny niche in transportation energy, dwarfed by oil. Conditions are now right for that disparity to begin to change.
- Heavy-duty trucking looks like the logical beachhead for gas, with higher usage intensity and more manageable infrastructure needs than light-duty vehicles.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its latest Medium-Term Gas Market Report1 in St. Petersburg, Russia last month. Although the IEA sees the growth of gas in the power sector slowing, they also cite its emergence as “a significant transportation fuel.” What really caught my eye was their projection that gas over the next five years would have “a bigger impact on oil demand than biofuels and electric cars combined,” in light of the US shale gas revolution and tougher pollution rules in China.
That’s quite an assertion, considering oil’s longstanding dominance in transportation energy. As I noted in March2, Italy, Pakistan and several other countries already have well-established demand for compressed natural gas (CNG) for passenger cars. Despite these hot spots only 3% of gas is currently used in transportation, globally, based on analysis from Citigroup3. The IEA is forecasting that transportation growth will consume 10% of the projected global gas production increase of roughly 20 trillion cubic feet (TCF) per year by 2018. That’s 2 TCF per year of additional natural gas demand in the transport sector, equivalent to 1 million barrels per day of diesel fuel.
I’d be more skeptical about that figure if I hadn’t seen a presentation4 from Dr. Michael Gallagher of Westport Innovations at the Energy Information Administration’s annual energy conference in Washington, DC last Monday. Westport specializes in natural gas engine technology for heavy-duty trucks and played a major role in implementing the LNG vision of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA a few years ago.
Dr. Gallagher made a strong case for gas in heavy-duty trucking, starting with the low cost of US natural gas compared to oil and its products. Initial growth rates in several segments look encouraging, including transit buses and new trash trucks, for which natural gas now has around half the market. Growth in China has apparently been even faster, with LNG vehicles increasing at over 100% per year (from a small base) and natural gas refueling stations growing at 33% per year since 2003.
In the US, trucking companies can save $1-2 per diesel-equivalent-gallon in fuel costs, while new heavy-duty trucks equipped with natural-gas-compatible engines and fuel tanks cost from $50-75,000 more than conventional diesel trucks. A successful transition to gas for trucking will require a combination of fuel availability, including retail infrastructure, along with high utilization to defray those up-front costs.
Gas supply looks ample for the purpose. The IEA’s forecast includes an increase in US dry natural gas production (gas with the liquids removed) from 24 TCF last year to 28 TCF by 2018. That’s an increase of a little more than 11 billion cubic feet per day (BCFD.) Based on the latest assessment5 from the US Energy Information Administration, US gas resources equate to 87 years of production at that higher rate.
From my perspective achieving this scenario depends less on the availability of the gas than on the ability of new transport-sector users to compete with other segments that are equally eager to use more gas. In the last 4 years gas demand for power generation6 has grown by 6.8 BCFD, mainly at the expense of coal, and there are many who would like to see that trend continue. The IEA report also cited US LNG export projects7 totaling more than 5 BCFD that already have either Department of Energy approval or signed contracts. New gas supplies won t wait around for transportation demand to emerge.
The biggest advantage that gas s new transportation customers have is the value they stand to gain, compared to other gas users. US LNG projects are selling into increasingly competitive global markets paying up to three times the US wellhead price of gas of around $4 per million BTUs (MMBTU). However, exporters must cover the cost of liquefaction and shipping, so their netback over wellhead prices might not be that large. Meanwhile gas’s encroachment on coal in the utility sector has been driven mainly by its low price. As the IEA notes, we’ve already seen this trend slow and reverse somewhat as US natural gas prices recovered from last year’s lows.
Against that, the US retail price of diesel fuel through mid-June of this year has averaged $3.96 per gallon8, equivalent to $31/MMBTU. With retail LNG currently available at a small but growing number9 of locations for under $3 per gallon10, the incentive for truckers to switch fuels looks substantial. And with a typical heavy-duty truck burning more than 10,000 gallons per year of fuel, each gas conversion is equivalent to the consumption of several dozen automobiles.
Fuel transitions take time. One of Dr. Gallagher s charts showed that it took more than 40 years for diesel to displace gasoline from heavy-duty trucks in the mid-20th century. A lot could happen along the way to a multi-decade shift from diesel to LNG and CNG, including new cellulosic biofuels or battery breakthroughs. For now, though, gas looks like a strong contender to provide a cleaner, cheaper fuel with sufficient energy density to be practical for long-distance trucking. This is a trend worth watching.
Geoffrey Styles is Managing Director of GSW Strategy Group, LLC, an energy and environmental strategy consulting firm. Since 2002 he has served as a consultant and advisor, helping organizations and executives address systems-level challenges. His industry experience includes 22 years at Texaco Inc., culminating in a senior position on Texaco’s leadership team for strategy development, …
- ^ Medium-Term Gas Market Report (iea.org)
- ^ noted in March (energyoutlook.blogspot.com)
- ^ analysis from Citigroup (ir.citi.com)
- ^ presentation (www.fbcinc.com)
- ^ latest assessment (www.eia.gov)
- ^ demand for power generation (www.eia.gov)
- ^ US LNG export projects (www.iea.org)
- ^ averaged $3.96 per gallon (www.eia.gov)
- ^ small but growing number (www.cnglngstations.com)
- ^ under $3 per gallon (www.cleanenergyfuels.com)
- ^ website (www.pacificenergydevelopment.com)
- ^ Trucking with Natural Gas?/shutterstock (www.shutterstock.com)
- ^ Geoffrey Styles (theenergycollective.com)
- ^ See complete profile (theenergycollective.com)
- By Andrew J. Littlefair
- June 7, 2013, 1:05 p.m.
United Parcel Service s announcement that it plans to expand its fleet of trucks running on liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to 800 by the end of next year is just the latest in a line of companies casting their vote for natural gas as the preferred commercial vehicle fuel. UPS joins AT&T, Frito-Lay, Republic Services, Ryder, Swift, Waste Management and many others making the switch to American natural gas.
In recognizing the potential of natural gas , the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently held hearings on what role the federal government can play to ensure that more American companies move more American goods on trucks running on American fuel.
Just last month, bipartisan legislation was introduced to ensure that American LNG currently taxed at a rate about 70 percent higher than diesel on an energy equivalent basis is taxed the same as diesel, following six state legislatures that have addressed the disparity on a state level.
What does all this activity say to me? The time for natural-gas trucking is now.
And why not? Cleaner, cheaper and more abundant than any other alternative vehicle fuel, natural gas is a clear winner.
It s also uniquely American. About 98 percent of natural gas consumed in North America is domestically produced, so increasing use of natural-gas vehicles reduces our dependence on foreign oil and enhances our nation s energy security.
But we must seize the moment. We have reached a critical juncture and have the opportunity to accelerate the positive momentum already in place.
The logical next step for natural gas, from both a strategic and an economic viewpoint, is to maximize its use in our heavy-duty, regional and long-haul trucking fleets. Today, shipping goods from the East Coast to the West Coast poses a dilemma because of the high cost of diesel and the added regulations on that dirtier fuel. Natural gas offers an immediate solution.
The United States needs to adapt its heavy-duty, long-distance fleet to use natural gas, which would reduce the energy, time and environmental cost significantly. In the past, the challenge has been that the infrastructure in the form of natural-gas fueling stations was in its infancy and arguably unable to handle such a swift increase in activity.
Not anymore, thanks in part to the development of America s Natural Gas Highway, Clean Energy Fuels network of natural-gas stations that enable truckers to travel coast-to-coast and border-to-border on this clean, affordable and domestic source of energy.
We have already completed more than 70 new natural-gas truck fueling stations along highways that link major U.S. metropolitan areas. This year, we have plans to complete additional stations adjacent to long-haul trucking routes and around major warehouse distribution centers in North America. Major highway segments now completed include, among others, those linking the Southwest Corridor, Los Angeles to Atlanta, the Texas Triangle, Atlanta to Chicago to Texas, and major corridors in the Midwest and Northeast. Other energy companies have announced similar plans as well.
Moving our nation s trucks to natural gas makes economic and environmental sense. This market currently consumes 30 billion gallons of diesel annually, much of which is imported. A conversion to natural gas could represent huge savings for shippers, carriers and eventually consumers, given the high cost of diesel. For those concerned about the environment, NGVs emit up to 30 percent less greenhouse gas than gasoline or diesel vehicles.