Global environmental challenges
Traffic jams could start to get quieter in 2012 when Ford begins to install its Auto Start-Stop technology on gasoline-powered cars sold in North America.
The technology, currently used on hybrid Ford vehicles, cuts off the engine when a car is stopped at a traffic light and switches it back on when the driver’s foot leaves the brake pedal.
Ford says Auto Start-Stop will improve fuel economy of conventional cars between four and 10 percent. And engine shutoffs will result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. (In car-congested metropolises like Los Angeles and Houston, one could also expect to see a reduction in air pollution if the technology was widely adopted.)
Improvements in internal combustion engine technology allow cars to re-start instantly, according to the vice president of power train engineering at Ford, Barb Samardzich.
When 2009 began, both General Motors and Chrysler were sliding toward bankruptcy. As the year ends, both companies have survived to fight another day.
The same can’t be said for their senior executives.
Of the top 10 executives at GM’s glass-towered Detroit headquarters in January, only one — Bob Lutz – remains. At Chrysler, only two of the 10 highest-ranking executives are still in Auburn Hills.
from Tales from the Trail:
One of the most popular programs brought in by the administration of President Barack Obama, "cash for clunkers", which offered rebates of up to $4,500 to trade in older gas guzzlers, wrapped up on Monday.
Some auto dealers are concerned about the slow pace of reimbursements under the program and the low inventories that have followed in its wake.