Stuck Behind an SUV? Blame Me.

“The move to regulate fuel economy came about a few years earlier, following the 1973–74 Arab embargo that suddenly ended the flow of oil from OPEC nations. In the face of skyrocketing oil prices, Congress froze gasoline prices to protect American consumers from pocketbook shock. Then came the hard part. Elected officials sought to require U.S. automakers to build the smaller, more economical cars that unquestionably would have been built had gasoline prices been allowed to rise freely. Yet the fuel economy standards hit passenger sedans hard while leaving light trucks, which were not seen as passenger vehicles, almost untouched.
As the fuel economy standards began to bite consumers, they found that trucks provided comfort and safety no longer available in the downsized sedans. Truck sales surged, and in 1990, Ford placed a four-door body on a Ranger truck frame and introduced the Ford Explorer, a passenger vehicle that satisfied the government’s truck definition. This inspired an explosion of similar SUV production across the industry. Trucks became beautiful, expensive, and highly desirable.”

“All the while, the fuel economy standard for trucks remained less strict than for sedans. To make things even better for U.S. producers, almost-prohibitive tariffs on European light trucks were extended to the rest of the world. Many foreign producers eventually jumped the tariff wall and built trucks and cars here, but the home-grown industry enjoyed an early advantage.”

How cars fuel racial inequality

“As of 2021, about 11 million Americans had their driver’s licenses suspended due to nonpayment of fines and fees. It took Moseley-Sayles nearly a decade — by which time she’d paid off her initial ticket plus an additional $5,000 in warrant fees and other fines — to get her license reinstated. In the interim, she faced a conundrum that millions who have suspended licenses must contend with each year: Taking away a license doesn’t take away a person’s need to drive. Moseley-Sayles had to keep using her car and hope that she wasn’t pulled over and arrested for it.”

Democrats slough off attacks on Buttigieg

“People who have worked with Buttigieg in recent months say he is proving the problem-solving mettle he honed in his past jobs as a mayor of South Bend, Ind., and at the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. — on a national scale.
“I think he’s worked hard across the board on all the aspects of transportation,” said John Porcari, a former deputy transportation secretary under President Barack Obama and former Biden supply chain envoy. “There’s a lot of moving parts, whether it’s aviation or pipelines, or the highway system, or transit, he’s made progress and pushed hard for everyone to do better on all fronts.””

“Some issues — such as the supply-chain crisis, Southwest’s antiquated crew scheduling system and ailing FAA infrastructure — predate his time in office and are not directly Buttigieg’s fault, but they are his responsibility.

As record-high loads of cargo coursed through the nation’s ports in 2021, Buttigieg took a hands-on approach to the obstacles the traffic posed, says Eugene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.

“This secretary has been a tireless worker around the supply chain,” Seroka said, adding that “behind the scenes Secretary Pete was the guy that was calling up the railroad CEOs … and encouraging them to continue to work as we got this huge surge in railroad cargo.”

“I’ve been through no less than seven economic shocks, from the [savings and loan] crisis, to the Asia currency crisis, the dot-com bubble, the Great Recession and others in between,” Seroka added. “I’ve seen eight to 10 microtrends within these four years where everybody was just talking about supply chain issues. It’s not one person and it surely is not Pete Buttigieg.”

Beyond demanding that Southwest Airlines compensate customers following the thousands of flights it canceled, he also helped steer a complex set of directives ensuring that airplanes could land safely around airports with newly deployed 5G broadband signals. That last crisis had threatened to ground airplanes at major airports across the country last year.”

Silicon Valley is wrong about the future of transportation

“The reality of the automobile is quite different from the fiction that we’re sold; the reality is an almost radical dependence rather than a degree of freedom. There’s this high cost of the automobile where you need to buy it in order to get around. You need to pay your insurance, the oil, the gas or the diesel to power it. You need to pay for your occasional maintenance. For some people, those bills can disrupt their finances and their economic security. The idea that this is an example of freedom and not of dependency, in order to enrich a certain number of corporations, is quite laughable to me.
Automotive supremacy is this idea that we’ve reached this point where for many people, there is really no alternative because transit systems were defunded because everyone had an automobile or was expected to have an automobile. That’s a serious problem. It’s not actually as beneficial as it’s been sold to us, as we see in this moment where once again gas prices are through the roof. A lot of people are suffering and struggling as a result.”

Is United’s green supersonic jet too good to be true?

“the idea of supersonic flight is appealing because it’s extremely fast and would shave hours off of transoceanic flights. That’s not to mention that it would be pretty cool to travel faster than the speed of sound.”

The fastest way to get more people to buy electric vehicles

“Whether the United States can get to net-zero emissions by 2050 hinges hugely on our love of cars: They’re the dominant mode of transportation in America — ridership on trains, buses, and other public transit pales in comparison.

Other transportation options are limited, and cars are ingrained in American culture. This makes switching to electric vehicles an attractive way to decarbonize. But in order to encourage more people to buy electric vehicles (EVs), the US needs a better charging station infrastructure.”

“Because gas stations are the most common method of refueling cars in the United States, powering up electric vehicles might call to mind clusters of charging stations next to convenience stores next to a highway or road.

But the two modes of powering up are fundamentally different. For one thing, driving into a gas station, filling up, and driving out typically takes just a few minutes.

The fastest EV charging stations — like DC Fast — on the other hand, take up to 20 minutes to charge enough to power the vehicle to a 60- to 80-mile range. Some state and city planners and EV experts are working on putting charging stations outside of restaurants, grocery stores, and shops, so that people can go off and eat a meal or shop while their car is refueling.

“Most charging, we would hope and expect, is happening while people are doing something else,” said Eric Wood, a research engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences. “The idea that charging is happening slowly can be convenient for the driver as well as the grid.””

“Home charging may be the most convenient, but home charging is also typically relegated to higher-income people who can actually afford to charge from within their home. For lower-income people who don’t have a garage or a dedicated parking spot with easy access to a charger, the logistics of charging at home become much more complicated.”

Americans Overpay for Biden’s ‘Buy American’ Plan

“When the transit agency that serves Washington, D.C., replaced its aging trains during the last decade, it ended up paying about $400 million more than global averages—the equivalent of an additional 150 cars.

One major reason for the higher costs, according to economists with the American Action Forum who studied the D.C. Metro’s procurement process, was a federal mandate first imposed in 1982. It requires that equipment purchased by federally subsidized transit agencies contain at least 60 percent American-made components.”

“The cost of “Buy American” provisions can be significant. An analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a pro-trade think tank, found that “Buy American” rules on the books in 2017 cost taxpayers $94 billion that year—$745 per household.”

“Overpaying for subway cars didn’t make the D.C. Metro safer or more efficient. All it did was force riders and taxpayers to spend more for less. The same will be true of Biden’s policies.”

Can Cops Pull You Over for Hanging an Air Freshener From Your Rearview Mirror? You’d Better Check.

“State transportation codes include hundreds of rules governing the operation and maintenance of motor vehicles. Many of them are picayune (e.g., specifying acceptable tire wear, restricting window tints, and dictating the distance from an intersection at which a driver must signal a turn) or open to interpretation (e.g., mandating a “safe distance” between cars, requiring that cars be driven in a “reasonable and prudent” manner, and banning any windshield crack that “substantially obstructs the driver’s clear view”).

“The upshot of all this regulation,” University of Toledo law professor David Harris observed in a 1998 George Washington Law Review article, “is that even the most cautious driver would find it virtually impossible to drive for even a short distance without violating some traffic law. A police officer willing to follow any driver for a few blocks would therefore always have probable cause to make a stop.”

In the 1996 case Whren v. United States, the Supreme Court said such stops are consistent with the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures even when the traffic violation is merely a pretext for investigating other matters. If an officer stops a car for a traffic violation in the hope of finding illegal drugs or seizable cash, for instance, that is perfectly constitutional, even without any evidence of criminal conduct.”