NHTSA Chief Resigns
Administrator David Strickland announced Thursday, December 12th that he is stepping down from the top spot at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports. Strickland has led the traffic safety agency for the past four years. He has done extensive work with distracted driving as well as driverless cars.
The NHTSA deputy administrator, David Friedman, will be taking over as acting administrator.
This is the second Department of Transportation (DOT) official to resign this week. John Porcari, Chief Deputy Administrator NHTSA, Secretary Foxx’s right hand man, also announced his departure earlier this week. Replaced by Federal Highways Administrator, Victor M. Mendez.
It will be telling, as Secretary Foxx replaces the top seats at two major positions of the DOT, just what direction he plans on taking the Department under his watch.
Motorcycle Riders Foundation Testifies Before Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a field hearing on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in northern Virginia where the MRF had the opportunity to testify. There were over 140 panelists that represented a variety of concerned parties. The majority of the panelists were very pro-ethanol, with most of them coming from corn growers and biofuel associations. There were only a handful of people from vehicle-based associations. The hearing was open to general public.
The reason for the hearing was unclear, as the EPA does not have to adhere to any of the panelist’s suggestions. One possible reason for the hearing could be to give the pro-ethanol types a forum to vent after the EPA announced that it is considering lowering the amount of ethanol to be produced according to the RFS in 2014. The EPA specifically said that one of the reasons for the drop in production is a shrinking market place and customer base for the higher blends of ethanol, like E-15.
MRF Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, Jeff Hennie, had this to say, “Our message to the EPA is simple, first halt the sale of E-15 then conduct a comprehensive, independent, scientific study on the full effects of E-15 on all types of vehicles.”
It’s a Wired World After All
At a recent Automotive Aftermarket forum, the largest issue reported on was not how to implement future technologies; but rather on the relationship between the manufacturer, dealer network, and original equipment-over-aftermarket-products. In particular, products that enables a car to be “connected”.
“The connected car is going to happen,” stated Chris Slesak, Director of Telematics at Delphi Automotive. If you don’t know the term “telematics”, you will soon. Telematics is the technology of sending, receiving, and storing information. You have likely heard of Apple’s iCloud technology. This is something similar, but in your car. Yes, you will be able to access your online music, photos, internet, iTunes account, iCloud account, contact lists, and so on in your car just like on any Smartphone or tablet.
EPA proposal would require less ethanol to be produced in 2014
Last Friday, November 15th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule that would force the United States to produce less ethanol in 2014. This is the first time the EPA has decided that less renewable fuels should be produced the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports. The reaction is due to the declining markets since Congress passed the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in 2007.
The move was expected as the demand for higher ethanol blends has been shrinking across the country. The proposed rule by the EPA lowers the amount of ethanol that must be blended into U.S. fuel supplies from 16.55 billion gallons in 2013 to 15.21 billion gallons in 2014, the same amount that was produced in 2012.