Friday, July 29, 2011

President Obama Announces Historic 54.5 mpg Fuel Efficiency Standard

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today announced a historic agreement with thirteen major automakers to pursue the next phase in the Administration’s national vehicle program, increasing fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. The President was joined by Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo – which together account for over 90% of all vehicles sold in the United States – as well as the United Auto Workers (UAW), and the State of California, who were integral to developing this agreement.
“This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said President Obama. ”Most of the companies here today were part of an agreement we reached two years ago to raise the fuel efficiency of their cars over the next five years. We’ve set an aggressive target and the companies are stepping up to the plate.  By 2025, the average fuel economy of their vehicles will nearly double to almost 55 miles per gallon.”
Building on the Obama administration’s agreement for Model Years 2012-2016 vehicles, which will raise fuel efficiency to 35.5 mpg and begin saving families money at the pump this year, the next round of standards will require performance equivalent to 54.5 mpg or 163 grams/ mile of CO2 for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. Achieving the goals of this historic agreement will rely on innovative technologies and manufacturing that will spur economic growth and create high-quality domestic jobs in cutting edge industries across America.
These programs, combined with the model year 2011 light truck standard, represent the first meaningful update to fuel efficiency standards in three decades and span Model Years 2011 to 2025.  Together, they will save American families $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and by 2025 result in an average fuel savings of over $8,000 per vehicle. Additionally, these programs will dramatically cut the oil we consume, saving a total of 12 billion barrels of oil, and by 2025 reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day – as much as half of the oil we import from OPEC every day.
The standards also curb carbon pollution, cutting more than 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas over the life of the program – more than the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States last year. The oil savings, consumer, and environmental benefits of this comprehensive program are detailed in a new report entitled Driving Efficiency:  Cutting Costs for Families at the Pump and Slashing Dependence on Oil, which the Administration released today. 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have worked closely with auto manufacturers, the state of California, environmental groups, and other stakeholders for several months to ensure these standards are achievable, cost-effective and preserve consumer choice.   The program would increase the stringency of standards for passenger cars by an average of five percent each year. The stringency of standards for pick-ups and other light-duty trucks would increase an average of 3.5 percent annually for the first five model years and an average of five percent annually for the last four model years of the program, to account for the unique challenges associated with this class of vehicles.
“These standards will help spur economic growth, protect the environment, and strengthen our national security by reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Working together, we are setting the stage for a new generation of clean vehicles.”
“This is another important step toward saving money for drivers, breaking our dependence on imported oil and cleaning up the air we breathe,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “American consumers are calling for cleaner cars that won’t pollute their air or break their budgets at the gas pump, and our innovative American automakers are responding with plans for some of the most fuel efficient vehicles in our history.”
A national policy on fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas emissions provides regulatory certainty and flexibility that reduces the cost of compliance for auto manufacturers while addressing oil consumption and harmful air pollution. Consumers will continue to have access to a diverse fleet and can purchase the vehicle that best suits their needs.
EPA and NHTSA are developing a joint proposed rulemaking, which will include full details on the proposed program and supporting analyses, including the costs and benefits of the proposal and its effects on the economy, auto manufacturers, and consumers.  After the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register, there will be an opportunity for public comment and public hearings.  The agencies plan to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the end of September 2011. California plans on adopting its proposed rule in the same time frame as the federal proposal. 

Given the long time frame at issue in setting standards for MY2022-2025 light-duty vehicles, EPA and NHTSA intend to propose a comprehensive mid-term evaluation.  Consistent with the agencies’ commitment to maintaining a single national framework for vehicle GHG and fuel economy regulation, the agencies will conduct the mid-term evaluation in close coordination with California.
In achieving the level of standards described above for the 2017-2025 program, the agencies expect automakers’ use of advanced technologies to be an important element of transforming the vehicle fleet.  The agencies are considering a number of incentive programs to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies that represent “game changing” performance improvements, including:

  • Incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cells vehicles;
  • Incentives for advanced technology packages for large pickups, such as hybridization and other performance-based strategies;
  • Credits for technologies with potential to achieve real-world CO2 reductions and fuel economy improvements that are not captured by the standards test procedures. 
In addition, EPA plans to propose provisions for:

  • Credits for improvements in air conditioning (A/C) systems, both for efficiency improvements and for use of alternative, lower global warming potential refrigerant;
  • Treatment of compressed natural gas (CNG);
  • Continued credit banking and trading, including a one-time carry-forward of unused MY 2010-2016 credits through MY 2021.

GOSO to Pilot an Automotive Agency/Reseller Social Media and Brand Reputation Management Program This Fall

MIAMI, July 29, 2011 -- GOSO, a social media intelligence platform, short for Go Social, will be launching a co-branded automotive agency/reseller program starting in September. The company, who has been an early pioneer in the automotive social media category, has worked directly with dealers and manufacturers since its inception. The company's main decision behind this strategy was to make sure that their product was developed in a way that dealers could use the GOSO platform and comply with existing manufacturer social media initiatives.

GOSO, which was founded in 2009, works with about 95% of all automotive brands and most of the largest automotive groups in the country. Their automotive product named GOSO Nitro was introduced early last year and has been a huge success to date. Earlier this summer, GOSO launched their non-industry specific platform and collectively between all of their social media business applications has surpassed over 300,000 monthly active users in just 2 months.

Adam Boalt, who spoke at last year's J.D. Power Internet Roundtable with Facebook and LinkedIn, thinks that the growth of social networks is extraordinary but businesses are still struggling to find their place in this new media, especially small businesses. "We built GOSO as a way to help businesses better understand their place on these social networks by providing them with essential tools to help them engage with their customers" said Boalt, founder of GOSO.
The company, which has offices in both Washington, D.C. and Miami, Florida, is privately owned and has not received any outside financing.

The Automotive Agency/Reseller Program was designed to help agencies and resellers to more effectively manage their automotive dealers' social media initiatives. The platform will not only provide additional value to dealers but allow agencies and resellers to manage more customers in a more efficient manner. The program is available by invite only.

GOSO encourages agencies and resellers to request an invite by signing up at the following link:

For more information about GOSO, visit:

Blue Star Gas Ride & Drive Showcases Propane-Powered Law Enforcement Vehicles

Salem, Ore. – July 28, 2011 – Blue Star Gas hosted a Salem “Ride & Drive” event this week, in conjunction with Alliance AutoGas, featuring five propane-autogas-powered emergency and law enforcement vehicles. The flagship West Coast autogas provider for the Alliance network, Blue Star Gas ensures reliable, affordable, American-made autogas is readily available to Oregon fleets.

Members of the community and local area law enforcement gathered at Blue Star’s Salem location at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning to test the performance of the autogas vehicles, which included a Ford Crown Victoria, a Ford Expedition, a Ford Escape, a Chevy 3500 and a Dodge Charger. Director of Marketing Darren Engle gave a presentation on the benefits of autogas during a complimentary barbecue lunch.

“We really wanted to let local law enforcement get behind the wheel of a few autogas-powered vehicles so they could see what a comparable performance they have to traditional gasoline vehicles,” said Engle. “Running their fleets on autogas will help them do their jobs more effectively and affordably. Autogas costs about $1 less per gallon than gasoline, and it has a higher octane rating, so vehicles require less maintenance and have an extended engine life.”

Autogas is clean-burning, cost-effective and domestically produced. The most widely used alternative fuel in the world, 90 percent of the U.S. autogas supply is made in America. Autogas vehicles produce less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline vehicles, including 20 percent less carbon monoxide, 40 percent less nitrogen oxide and 12 percent less carbon dioxide.

Alliance AutoGas is a nationwide network of conversion centers and fuel suppliers enabling fleet owners and managers to get up and running on autogas. The Alliance complete program includes autogas vehicle conversions, on-site fueling and ongoing safety training and technical support.

“Law enforcement fleets are saving thousands annually on fuel costs alone through the Alliance AutoGas complete solution,” said Engle. “And not only is autogas fueling infrastructure significantly more affordable to implement than that of other alternative fuels, Alliance AutoGas typically installs on-site fueling stations for fleets at no up-front cost.”

About Blue Star Gas
Blue Star Gas is a full service propane distribution company offering the highest caliber of customer care across 45,000 square miles and 10 unique Oregon and California markets. With 73 years in the propane industry, Blue Star is proud to be a family-owned company and an integral part of the Alliance AutoGas complete solution. For more information on Blue Star Gas or the Alliance AutoGas program, visit or

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Firestone-brand FS507 PLUS Radial Offers Superior Fuel Efficiency and Durability

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 28, 2011) – Bridgestone Commercial Solutions (BCS), a division of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, is launching the premium Firestone FS507® PLUS steer/all-position radial for superior fuel efficiency and outstanding dependability. The FS507 PLUS is approved for use on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWaySM-dedicated equipment and complies with California Air Resources Board (CARB) rules.

“Fleets who rely on Firestone’s superior cost per mile and value can run SmartWaySM-verified Firestone tires on every wheel position. Using the new FS507 PLUS steer, in combination with the FD695 PLUS drive and FT455 PLUS trailer tires offers some of the best fuel efficiency in the industry,” said Bert Jones, Manager, Product Marketing, TBR, Retread and OTR, BCS.

Building on the proven performance of the FS507, the new FS507 PLUS adds advanced, fuel-efficient twin-layer tread and sidewall compounding for significantly lower rolling resistance and outstanding fuel economy.
With the top layer of its twin-layer tread formulated for longer wear, the FS507 PLUS promotes excellent mileage. The lower layer of the tread helps shield the casing from damaging heat for superior life and retreadability. Shoulder wear protector ribs minimize cupping and step-down wear while stress-relief sipes fight irregular wear and provide hundreds of biting edges to enhance traction.

For dependable performance and value, the FS507 PLUS uses a deep original tread and proven casing construction with four steel belts and an all-steel body ply.

The FS507 PLUS is available in both low profile and 90-series sizes. The low profile tread pattern has five ribs and the 90-series four ribs. Both are available in “G” and “H” load ratings.

The Firestone FS507 PLUS steer/all-position radial was introduced to dealers and truckstops July 6. For more information, ask your BCS sales representative, your dealer or truckstop operator or visit

SmartWay is an innovative, voluntary partnership of the EPA that reduces greenhouse gases and improves fuel efficiency in the nation’s trucks and railroads. This voluntary program helps fleets make the right choices when specifying for optimum fuel efficiency – including recommendations for replacement tires.

            The EPA verifies low rolling resistance tires achieving at least three percent better fuel economy than the average, “best selling” new tire. Fleets participating in the SmartWay partnership must use tires approved by the EPA to maintain their SmartWay status. For information on becoming a SmartWay fleet, go to

About Bridgestone Commercial Solutions:
Bridgestone Commercial Solutions, a business of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, provides tires and services for trucking, construction, mining, aggregates and industrial operations across the Americas. The division manufactures, markets and sells medium and heavy duty truck tires for the original equipment and replacement markets in the United States and in Canada through Bridgestone Canada Inc. Bridgestone and Firestone brand truck tires are available through more than 2,500 dealers and truck stops across the U.S. and Canada. Bridgestone and Firestone Off Road tires are available through a network of more than 800 dealers in North America. In addition, through its Bandag brand, Bandag retreading dealers have access to industry-leading research and development, manufacturing, marketing and sales expertise through approximately 1,600 point of sale locations in North America. This combination of new and retread product offering provides trucking customers with total tire solutions.

EPA Proposes Air Pollution Standards for Oil and Gas Production

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed standards to reduce harmful air pollution from oil and gas drilling operations. These proposed updated standards - which are being issued in response to a court order - would rely on cost-effective existing technologies to reduce emissions that contribute to smog pollution and can cause cancer while supporting the administration’s priority of continuing to expand safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production. The standards would leverage operators' ability to capture and sell natural gas that currently escapes into the air, resulting in more efficient operations while reducing harmful emissions that can impact air quality in surrounding areas and nearby states.

"This administration has been clear that natural gas is a key component of our clean energy future, and the steps announced today will help ensure responsible production of this domestic energy source," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "Reducing these emissions will help cut toxic pollution that can increase cancer risks and smog that can cause asthma attacks and premature death - all while giving these operators additional product to bring to market.”

Today’s proposal would cut smog-forming volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from several types of processes and equipment used in the oil and gas industry, including a 95 percent reduction in VOCs emitted during the completion of new and modified hydraulically fractured wells. This dramatic reduction would largely be accomplished by capturing natural gas that currently escapes to the air and making that gas available for sale through technologies and processes already in use by several companies and required in some states.

Natural gas production in the U.S. is growing, with more than 25,000 new and existing wells fractured or re-fractured each year. The VOC reductions in the proposal are expected to help reduce ozone nonattainment problems in many areas where oil and gas production occurs. In addition, the VOC reductions would yield a significant environmental benefit by reducing methane emissions from new and modified wells. Methane, the primary constituent of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas - more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Today’s proposed changes also would reduce cancer risks from emissions of several air toxics, including benzene.

EPA’s analysis of the proposed changes, which also include requirements for storage tanks and other equipment, show they are highly cost-effective, with a net savings to the industry of tens of millions of dollars annually from the value of natural gas that would no longer escape to the air. Today’s proposal includes reviews of four air regulations for the oil and natural gas industry as required by the Clean Air Act: a new source performance standard for VOCs from equipment leaks at gas processing plants; a new source performance standard for sulfur dioxide emissions from gas processing plants; an air toxics standard for oil and natural gas production; and an air toxics standard for natural gas transmission and storage.

EPA is under a consent decree requiring the agency to sign a proposal by July 28, 2011 and take final action by Feb. 28, 2012. As part of the public comment period, EPA will hold three public hearings, in the Dallas, Denver and Pittsburgh areas. Details on the hearings will be announced soon.

More information: