2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i
EPA Allows 15-Percent Ethanol in Gasoline—But Only for 2007 Cars or Newer

The corn lobby wins; the rest of us are befuddled.

The E15 controversy has finally resulted in a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but one that’s likely to please no one but the corn lobby. As noted here in previous News items, the question revolved around whether our country’s ethanol-extended gasoline, currently E10, i.e., 10-percent ethanol, should be allowed to rise to E15, a 15-percent dose—said another way, a 50-percent increase in the use of this alcohol extender.

Just about everyone from automakers to small engine manufacturers to environmentalists have said they’re against E15. Those in favor are corn farmers and ethanol investors. The latter are currently caught up in a glut of ethanol, at least in part because E85 requiring special Flex-Fuel cars hasn’t gained popularity as proponents—and the U.S. Congress—anticipated.

EPA’s announcement is particularly puzzling as it encourages E15—but only in cars of 2007 model year or newer. How gasoline stations are to cope with this together with older cars’ refueling is unclear.

Do you suppose there’s anything but political maneuvering in this?

Driving the new 2011 Lexus CT 200h is an enthusiast-friendly experience.

Driving the new 2011 Lexus CT 200h is an enthusiast-friendly experience.

Past and future. The BMW 1 Series M Coupe and BMW M3 coupe.

Past and future. The BMW 1 Series M Coupe and BMW M3 coupe.

The price of admission into BMW’s M performance division has been reduced with the introduction of the 2012 1 Series M Coupe.

The price of admission into BMW’s M performance division has been reduced with the introduction of the 2012 1 Series M Coupe.

Aston’s Swan Song?

Aston Martin Cygnet

Not really, but the British sports car manufacturer better known for supplying James Bond with his wheels has confirmed that the Cygnet will go into production next year.

Based on Toyota’s IQ, the cars will be hand finished at Aston’s Gaydon, UK, factory with completely new interior trim and a fettled exterior to give it some semblance of Aston Martin DNA.

Price and details have yet to be formally released, but with the IQ 1.3 as its base it’s safe to assume that means 97 bhp and 92 lb.- ft. of torque, hardly traditional Aston Martin territory as is the 106 mph top speed and leisurely 11.8 seconds to 62 mph.

Still, since it will be hand finished by the same artisans that put the rest of the Aston range together that will surely justify its suspected price of $64,000, won’t it?

Who says utility has to be boring? The 2012 Ford Grand C-Max is the newest member of the next generation of minivans and wagon crossovers coming to the U.S.

Who says utility has to be boring? The 2012 Ford Grand C-Max is the newest member of the next generation of minivans and wagon crossovers coming to the U.S.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS
The new Mini Countryman allows motorists to Tweet right from the car via their new Mini Connected iPhone app. This is a photo of our first Mini Tweet.

The new Mini Countryman allows motorists to Tweet right from the car via their new Mini Connected iPhone app. This is a photo of our first Mini Tweet.

2011 Ford Racing Fiesta to be shown at the 2010 SEMA show.

2011 Ford Racing Fiesta to be shown at the 2010 SEMA show.

2011 Ford Fiesta by Universal Technical Institute to be shown at the 2010 SEMA show

2011 Ford Fiesta by Universal Technical Institute to be shown at the 2010 SEMA show

2011 Dodge Charger
2011 Dodge Charger
The economics don’t work without massive subsidies. We can’t even afford to fix potholes in the road, so where are we going to get trillions for battery charge stations?
Ian Wright, electric-vehicle specialist and one of the early guiding lights of Tesla.

(Source: roadandtrack.com)

The high cost of batteries will keep pure electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt out of the mainstream consumer market. You will get early adopters with the Leaf, but you will not get to a mass market. Today’s Chevy Volt is well designed, but will cost about twice as much as a similar gas vehicle. Gas prices will have to soar above $10 per gallon to make such consumer EVs economical, even at lower battery costs.
Ian Wright, electric-vehicle specialist and one of the early guiding lights of Tesla.

(Source: roadandtrack.com)