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Nutson’ s Weeky Auto News Wrap-up December 18-24, 2022

Nutson’ s Weeky Auto News Wrap-up December 18-24, 2022


Every Sunday Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Auto Channel Executive Producer, with able assistance from senior 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.

Nutson’s Auto News Weekly-Wrap-up December 18-24, 2022

Here are Larry’s picks among the past week’s important, relevant, semi-secret, or snappy automotive news, opinions and insider back stories presented as expertly crafted easy-to-understand automotive universe news nuggets.

* AAA estimated 112.7 million people will journey 50 miles or more away from home from December 23 to January 2. That’s an increase of 3.6 million people over last year and closing in on pre-pandemic numbers. 2022 is expected to be the third busiest year for holiday travel since AAA began tracking in 2000. Nearly 102 million Americans will drive to their holiday destinations.

* Holiday gasoline prices this year will be $1.83 per gallon lower than they were just six months ago, according to GasBuddy, the leading fuel savings platform saving North American drivers the most money on fuel. The national average price of gas is forecast to be $2.98 on Christmas Day, likely to drop below the critical $3 per gallon mark on or before Christmas Eve for the first time in nearly 600 days.

* US DoE factoid of the week: The average annual price difference between regular and premium gasoline was 68 cents per gallon in 2021. When adjusted to constant 2021 dollars, the average annual price difference between regular and premium gasoline remained between 27 and 33 cents per gallon from 1995 to 2012. Following that period, the average price difference began to increase sharply, peaking at 70 cents per gallon in 2020 and dropping slightly to 68 cents per gallon by 2021. The average price difference between midgrade and regular gasoline followed a similar trend but the difference in price was much less, peaking at 27 cents per gallon in 2019.

* Car and Driver’s 10Best Cars for 2023 have been announced. The 10Best Cars nominees consist of all-new vehicles, 2022 10Best winners, cars that were not available for the 2022 competition and those with significant updates. All must fall under the base-price cap of $110,000 and be on sale no later than January 31, 2023. After a week of driving every new car that meets those criteria, the editors voted on a scale from zero to 100, discarded the high and low votes, and averaged the remaining scores to arrive at the 10Best Cars of 2023. See the 10Best list here:

* In the first nine months of the year, drivers around the world bought almost 2 million hybrid vehicles, a 45{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} increase from the year-earlier period, according to BloombergNEF. Full EVs are far more popular — they outsell hybrids at a pace almost three to one — but the two technologies have accelerated in parallel. Over the past three years, EV sales are up almost five-fold, while hybrid sales have quadrupled. Toyota, in particular, is capitalizing on the trend: One quarter of the vehicles it sold globally this year have both a gas engine and an electric motor. The company also just unveiled the fifth iteration of its Prius, some 25 years after the car’s debut. Toyota is keeping a hybrid-heavy lineup in part because it expects battery materials and charging infrastructure to remain scarce for at least the coming decade.

* Reuters reports: With a revamped $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit taking effect Jan. 1, the U.S. Treasury Department said it will delay until March its release of proposed guidance on the required sourcing of electric vehicle batteries. The announcement means some electric vehicles that will not meet the new requirements may have a brief window of eligibility in 2023 before the battery rules take effect. Some requirements for tax credits take immediate effect on Jan. 1 including new caps on income of buyers and retail prices for qualifying vehicles. But Treasury’s announcement means some buyers could receive tax credits for purchases of electric vehicles that ultimately will not comply with battery sourcing rules when finally unveiled. The Treasury guidance being delayed until sometime in March details requirements that make $3,750 contingent on at least 40{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} of the value of the critical minerals in the battery having been extracted or processed in the United States or a country with a U.S. free-trade agreement, or recycled in North America.

* Soon you won’t hear the mail delivery truck coming down the street. The Postal Service said it will sharply increase the number of electric-powered delivery trucks — and will go all-electric for new purchases starting in 2026. The post office said it is spending nearly $10 billion to electrify its aging fleet, including installing a modern charging infrastructure at hundreds of postal facilities nationwide and purchasing at least 66,000 electric delivery trucks in the next five years.

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized new emissions standards to drastically cut smog- and soot-forming emissions from heavy-duty trucks, the first of a series of actions planned to cut vehicle pollution. The new standards, the first update to clean air standards for heavy duty trucks in more than two decades, are 80{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} more stringent than current standard, according to the agency. The EPA estimates by 2045, the rule will result up to 2,900 annual fewer premature deaths, 1.1 million fewer lost school days for children and $29 billion in annual net benefits.

* Separately, in the coming months, EPA intends to release the proposals for the remaining two steps in the Clean Trucks Plan. These include the proposed “Phase 3” greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for heavy-duty vehicles beginning in Model Year 2027, as well as the proposed multipollutant standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles beginning in Model Year 2027.

* Gas-powered cars, light-duty trucks and SUVs are on their way out in Oregon. Policymakers for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality approved a rule that bans the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger vehicles in Oregon by 2035. The effort comes as Oregon aims to cut climate-warming emissions by 50{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} by 2035 and by 90{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} by 2050. The transportation sector accounts for almost 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon and is the biggest source of pollution in the U.S. The new rule, based on vehicle emission standards adopted by California in August, requires car manufacturers to sell a certain percentage of zero-emission vehicles – electric cars, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles – as part of their total sales, starting with 35 percent in 2026 and increasing to 100 percent by 2035.

* From Bloomberg we read the world’s third-largest carmaker isn’t from the US, Japan or Europe, at least not anymore. It’s South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. (maker of Genesis, Hyundai and Kia brands) While Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG vie each year for pole position atop the global automobile industry, Hyundai has quietly slipped in behind them, surpassing General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Stellantis NV in annual volumes along the way.

* Consumer Guide Automotive, a publisher of new-car reviews for 56 years, announced the recipients of its 2023 Best Buy Awards. A Consumer Guide Best Buy represents the finest balance of attributes and value in its class. For 2023, 41 Best Buys have been awarded in 18 classes, providing clear, easy choices for consumers. See the list here:

* Engadget reports the Canadian government has announced enforceable quotas for zero-emission vehicle sales. By 2026, a fifth of all new passenger cars, trucks and SUVs sold in the country will need to be zero-emission models, such as electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The zero-emission requirement increases to 60 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035

* There’s been a third death this year tied to an explosive Takata air bag inflator. Stellantis and the NHTSA reiterated warnings to owners of 274,000 older Dodge and Chrysler vehicles to stop driviing them. Dodge Magnum wagons, Dodge Challenger and Charger cars and Chrysler 300 sedans from the 2005 to 2010 model years are the affected vehicles. Since 2009 the exploding air bags have killed 33 people worldwide.

* The NHTSA is investigsting GM’s Cruise autonomous robotaxis in use in San Francisco because they can brake suddenly or unexpectedly stop moving. Passengers are stranded, are at risk of injury and traffic is blocked as a result. Three rear-end collisions and two injuries to persons have been reported. Meanwhile, Cruise has plans to enter a large number of markets and scale operations up to thousands of vehicles in 2023, starting in Austin and Phoenix, adding those cities to San Francisco. It appears things are not ready for prime time.

* General Motors said it is recalling 140,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs in North America because the carpet could catch fire after a crash where a front seat belt pretensioner deploys. The U.S. automaker said the recall covers various 2017 through 2023 model year Chevrolet Bolt EV.

* Automotive News reports U.S. auto safety regulators said they are investigating if Hertz rented unrepaired recalled vehicles to customers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a filing made public it was in receipt of information that indicates “Hertz rented vehicles to customers without having performed required recall repairs.”

* Motor Authority reports Ford may step in as a partner for Red Bull Racing after negotiations between the leading Formula 1 team and Porsche came to an abrupt end in September. Citing anonymous sources, Motorsport reported that Ford is considering a tie-up with Red Bull as a means to gain exposure to F1 as the sport continues to gain interest in the U.S., which hosts three races next year. Any tie-up between Ford and Red Bull would likely start in 2026, when new power unit rules are introduced. Ford previously was a key backer of engine builder Cosworth, which fielded Ford-branded engines in multiple seasons.

* From all of us at The Auto Channel we wish you Happy Holidays.

Stay safe. Be Well.