Ford announced this month that it will lower the fuel economy rating on its C-Max Hybrid. The C-Max had been marketed as a 47-mpg crossover, blending generous cargo space and fuel economy in a new way. But in real-world driving, the vehicle fell significantly short of those claims. Consumer Reports found that the C-Max yielded 37 mpg in its
In an effort to reduce automobile usage and greenhouse gas emissions, the Dutch cabinet has approved a driving tax that would charge motorists seven cents a mile.
The plan, which must still be approved by parliament, would use GPS systems installed in each car to keep track of mileage and automatically bill drivers. The mileage charges would be higher at rush hour, for large cars, and for commercial vehicles.
Dutch officials said the driving tax, which would replace existing road taxes and duties on new car purchases, is designed to cut traffic by 15 percent and reduce emissions from transport by 10 percent.
Converting hybrid vehicles — particularly the Prius and Ford Escape — into plug-in hybrids has become a profitable niche industry for a few specialty companies. But the net impact of this new mini-industry has been much greater by influencing consumer and industry opinions.
Promoting the technical feasibility of PHEVs has been a significant factor in the auto manufacturers’ decision to develop the dozens of plug-in and all-electric vehicles now scheduled for delivery in the next five years.
But the earliest and strongest voice promoting PHEVs isn’t happy with that limited success. Felix Kramer, the founder of CalCars.org, says that getting to a million electrified vehicles by 2015 won’t do nearly enough to address climate change and energy independence, and now he’s setting his sights on electrifying internal combustion engine vehicles. He’s clearly on to something.