Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Cities

Comments

Silverado — Why Don’t We Come to Our Senses

General Motors, the largest automaker in the world, announced today that it will sell a variety of gas-electric vehicles over the next four years, a move that could help push hybrids into the mainstream. The company will sell hybrid versions of cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs, thereby creating some competition for Honda and Toyota, currently the only automakers that sell hybrids in the U.S. GM plans to unveil two hybrid pickups, the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado, for use in commercial fleets later this year; the trucks will be 10 to 12 percent more fuel-efficient than their conventional counterparts. In …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Things That Make You Go Hum-vee

Tax deductions granted by the federal government to small-business owners and the self-employed provide an incentive to purchase oversize, gas-guzzling vehicles like a General Motors Hummer, rather than small, more fuel-efficient cars like the hybrid Toyota Prius. An eligible buyer of a 2003 Hummer H2 could deduct $34,912 of the base price of the vehicle, for a tax savings of up to $13,500 for those in the highest tax bracket. Because part of the tax code governing the deductions was written in the 1980s, when deductions for car purchases were capped at no more than $7,660, buyers of cars get …

Read more: Cities, Politics

Comments

There Goes the Neighborhood

Despite pressure from the glitterati in Los Angeles, the Ahmanson Ranch, a proposed 3,050-home development project in Southern California, received a crucial vote of confidence from Ventura County supervisors yesterday, when they agreed in a 4-1 vote that the project would effectively balance the region's housing needs with its environmental concerns. The Ahmanson Ranch project has been in the works for a decade, but Washington Mutual Bank, which owns and wants to develop the property, has faced resistance at nearly every turn. Indeed, no sooner did the supervisors cast their votes than opponents promised to file legal challenges to overturn …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Subway Diet

The threat of a transit strike in New York City has been staved off -- for the moment, at least -- but New Yorkers still have reason to worry about their public transportation system. The more than 4 million people who use the Metropolitan Transit Authority pay more to keep it running than do mass-transit users in any other place in the country. Bus and subway fare costs $1.50 a ride; add it up, and the riders pay 54 percent of the operating costs of the system, not to mention a whopping 88 percent of the operating cost of just …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Gas-p

Fuel economy standards could change for the first time in six years if a Bush administration proposal to modestly increase gas mileage in sport utility vehicles, vans, minivans, and pickup trucks is approved. The proposal would increase the fuel economy of those vehicles by 1.5 miles per gallon over three years, beginning in 2005, from the current standard of 20.7 mpg to 22.2 mpg. (The standard of 27.5 mpg for passenger cars would remain unchanged.) In total, the change would save about 2.5 billion gallons of gasoline per year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Some Democrats and environmentalists …

Read more: Cities, Politics

Comments

Filling Up Wide Open Spaces

Forget about urban sprawl; the new menace facing the U.S. landscape is rural sprawl, according to some experts. In seeking refuge from city life, Americans started by moving to the suburbs; then they started building beyond the suburbs, creating "exurbs"; now, they're gradually expanding into some of the country's most remote areas. Growth rates of small towns are outpacing those of big cities, a trend that's presenting Anytown, U.S.A. with new challenges, ranging from the disappearance of natural areas to radical alterations of local infrastructures, economies, and characters. Chief among these problems are loss of wild spaces and agricultural land, …

Read more: Cities, Food

Comments

Dodge Bawl

Looking to minimize your impact on the environment? Don't buy a car -- and especially don't buy anything made by DaimlerChrysler. The U.S.-based automaker ranked dead last on a survey, released yesterday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, of pollution levels in vehicle fleets. The survey looked at the environmental implications of the six largest car manufacturers in the U.S. market, which together sell nine out of every 10 vehicles purchased here. Those vehicles account for vast percentages of smog-forming pollution and carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. From best to worst, the companies were Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, General …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Bright Lights on the Big City

Residents of New York, rejoice: Your city might be noisy, crowded, and crass, but it's also the most compact megalopolis in the U.S. That's right -- the Big Apple ranked number one on Smart Growth America's recently released list comparing urban sprawl in major metropolitan areas. Other cities that did well include, in order, Jersey City, N.J. (who knew?), Providence, R.I., San Francisco, Calif., Honolulu, Hawaii, Omaha, Neb., Boston, Mass, Portland, Ore., Miami, Fla., and New Orleans, La.; the worst offenders, by contrast, included Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, N.C., Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and a host of other strung-out, hyphenated towns. …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Cell-ebrate

In what could be the first significant step toward mass-marketing fuel-cell vehicles, Toyota and Honda put the world's first such cars on the road yesterday. The cars are being leased to the Japanese government and several public organizations in the U.S. -- at the whopping price of between $6,500 and $9,800 per month, meaning the dream of widespread ownership of the vehicles has still got a long way to go. Environmentalists hail fuel cells as the brightest R&D possibility on the current automotive horizon, because the vehicles emit none of the pollutants that contribute to smog or global warming. But …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

I’ll Have No Truck With That

An unlikely partnership of environmental, labor, and trucking groups filed for an emergency injunction yesterday to prevent the Bush administration from allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. roads, claiming that doing so would worsen U.S. air quality. Last week, in compliance with the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Bush called an end to 20-year-old restrictions on Mexican trucks in the U.S. and ordered transportation officials to begin processing permit applications from trucking firms south of the border. Many U.S. truckers are afraid that the move will hurt business, and environmentalists are worried about diesel emissions from the Mexican trucks, which …

Read more: Cities, Politics