In California, High Gas Prices and Incentives for Fuel-Efficient Cars Go Hand in Hand

With a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline flirting with $5 through much of California, many people might expect a reprise of 2008, when the state joined much of the country in turning away from gas guzzlers and toward compact cars and hybrids. But according to some dealers around the Bay Area, though gas prices are pushing consumers toward the greener sections of their showrooms, a number of incentives are doing their part, too.

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Were Fisker Karmas Launched Too Quickly?

There has been a lot said on the Internet about technical issues with the Fisker Karma, including a recall for a battery problem and software upgrades.

The latest has to do with a Karma bought by Consumer Reports that broke down before the magazine could even start its regular testing procedure. The issue, as explained here, was fixed within 48 hours.

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California Mulls New Emissions Regulations: More Electric, Hydrogen Cars

California’s emissions regulations are some of the strictest in the country, so when it announces that it may change its regulations on new cars, the other 49 states take notice. The state announced it will begin considering new regulations that seek to drastically increase the number of ultra-low or zero-emissions vehicles on the road by 2025.

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The Damage Control Edition

In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:

• Tesla Motors Chief Executive Elon Musk held a conference call on Tuesday morning to allay concerns that the departures of two executives indicated broader problems within the California-based company. Tesla announced last Friday that Peter Rawlinson, the company’s vice president and chief engineer, left for undisclosed personal reasons. Mr. Musk said on Tuesday’s call that Nick Sampson, a chassis engineering supervisor, was dismissed. After falling 19 percent on Friday afternoon, Tesla’s stock was rebounding on Tuesday morning. The company still intends to sell its Model S sedan this summer and reveal a prototype of the Model X, Tesla’s third vehicle, on Feb. 9, Mr. Musk said.

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Banished from the H.O.V. Lane, Prius Drivers May Be First to Embrace New Plug-In Model

Toyota announced last week that its plug-in Prius, with 15 miles of all-electric range, will cost $32,780 when it goes on sale early next year, $8,500 more than the entry-level Prius Two, which costs $24,280.

While it’s worth noting that the plug-in car is eligible for a $2,500 federal income tax credit, paying thousands of dollars extra may be a burden happily shouldered by current Prius owners who lost their privileges in California’s high-occupancy-vehicle lanes in July, when the state rescinded their eligibility for single-occupancy driving in the lanes.
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