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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Buying a new car? NEW Quick Response (QR) Codes and Your Smartphone Help You Make the Right Choice

When you are looking for a new vehicle at a dealership, now you will be able to scan the QR Code® on the new label using your smartphone, provided you have downloaded a scanner app. The QR Code® will link you to helpful tools and additional information about the vehicle. The same tools and information are available on

Gasoline Vehicles Here's the New Dealership Label, Learn more about it:Gasoline Vehicle Fuel Economy and Environment Label

1. Vehicle Technology & Fuel

The upper right corner of the label displays text and a related icon to identify it as a vehicle that is powered by gasoline. You will see different text and icons in the labels for other vehicles:
  • Diesel Vehicle
  • Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle
  • Flexible-Fuel Vehicle: Gasoline-Ethanol (E85)
  • Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle: Electricity-Gasoline
  • Electric Vehicle
Note that hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles that do not have plug-in capability are identified as gasoline vehicles since they only use gasoline.

2. Fuel Economy

For gasoline vehicles, the label shows City, Highway, and Combined MPG (miles per gallon) values. The Combined MPG value is the most prominent for the purpose of quick and easy comparison across vehicles. Some form of the miles per gallon metric has been on vehicle labels since 1977. Combined fuel economy is a weighted average of City and Highway MPG values that is calculated by weighting the City value by 55% and the Highway value by 45%.

3. Comparing Fuel Economy to Other Vehicles

This text indicates the category of the vehicle (e.g., Small SUV, Station Wagon, Pickup Truck, etc.) and the best and worst fuel economy within that category for the given model year. There are nine car categories, six truck categories, and a “special purpose vehicle” category. These categories are used only for labeling and consumer information purposes and do not serve any other regulatory purpose. For each model year, EPA publishes lists identifying the best and worst fuel economy performers in each category available at
This text also tells you the best combined fuel economy among all new vehicles.
Note: for those vehicles that do not use liquid fuels--such as electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles operating on electricity, and compressed natural gas vehicles-- the labels display miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe). Think of this as being similar to MPG, but instead of presenting miles per gallon of the vehicle’s fuel type, it represents the number of miles the vehicle can go using a quantity of fuel with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. This allows a reasonable comparison between vehicles using different fuels. For example, you can use MPGe to compare a compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle with a gasoline vehicle; even though CNG is not dispensed or burned in actual gallons.

4. You Save/Spend More over 5 Years Compared to Average Vehicle

The label shows the estimated fuel cost over a five-year period for the vehicle compared to the average new vehicle. If the vehicle would save the consumer money compared to the average vehicle, the label would state, “You save $x,xxx in fuel costs over 5 years compared to the average new vehicle.” If the vehicle would be more expensive to operate than the average vehicle, the label would state, “You spend $x,xxx more in fuel costs over 5 years compared to the average new vehicle.” These estimates are based on driving 15,000 miles per year, for five years, and the projected fuel price for the year ($3.70 per gallon of gasoline in this example). For more information on the source of projected fuel prices see “10. Details in Fine Print”.

5. Fuel Consumption Rate

While a miles per gallon (MPG) estimate is a required feature that has appeared on the fuel economy label for several decades, this metric can be potentially misleading when consumers compare fuel economy improvements, particularly when they use it in place of fuel costs. The following chart shows the non-linear relationship between gallons used over a given distance and miles per gallon. The fuel savings, in gallons, for a vehicle that gets 10 MPG versus a vehicle that gets 15 MPG is about 33 gallons (assuming 1000 miles). On the other hand, the fuel savings in gallons, for the same 5 MPG fuel economy jump, for a 30 MPG versus a 35 MPG vehicle is only about 5 gallons.
Fuel Consumption Rate
This “MPG illusion” demonstrates why it may be more meaningful to express fuel efficiency in terms of consumption (e.g., gallons per mile or per 100 miles) rather than in terms of economy (miles per gallon). A fuel consumption metric allows for more accurate energy usage comparisons among vehicles.
The revised label includes both fuel economy and consumption information for all vehicle types.

6. Estimated Annual Fuel Cost

The annual fuel cost is based on two assumptions: an annual mileage of 15,000 miles and a projected gasoline price. For more information on the source of projected fuel prices see "Details in Fine Print”.

7. Fuel Economy & Greenhouse Gas Rating

The new label assigns each vehicle a rating from 1 (worst) to 10 (best) for fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (i.e., how much carbon dioxide the vehicle’s tailpipe emits each mile), as shown below. Consumers may note that higher fuel economy is associated with a better GHG emissions profile.

RatingMPGCO2 (g/mile)

8. CO2 Emissions Information

This text provides three key pieces of information:
Combined city/highway CO2 tailpipe emissions
The labeled vehicle’s CO2 tailpipe emissions are based on tested tailpipe CO2 emission rates. The rate of CO2 emissions is displayed in grams per mile.

Vehicle with lowest CO2 emissions
The label identifies the lowest tailpipe CO2 emissions of available vehicles. If there are electric or fuel cell vehicles on the market, which by definition have zero tailpipe emissions, this value will be zero grams per mile.

Learn more about emissions from the production of fuels at
Driving your vehicle can yield both greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from your vehicle's tailpipe and GHG emissions related to the production of the fuel used to power your vehicle. For example, activities associated with fuel production such as feedstock extraction, feedstock transport to a processing plant, and conversion of feedstock to motor fuel, as well as distribution of the motor fuel, can all produce GHG emissions.

The Fuel Economy and Environment Label provides a Greenhouse Gas Rating, from 1 (worst) to 10 (best), based on your vehicle's tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions only, and this rating does not reflect any GHG emissions associated with fuel production.
You can estimate the total GHG emissions that would be associated with driving an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, including GHG emissions from the production of electricity used to power the vehicle, with our greenhouse gas calculator.

9. Smog Rating

This is a rating for vehicle tailpipe emissions of those pollutants that cause smog and other local air pollution. This information, listed as “Smog” on the labels, will be displayed using a slider bar with a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best). The scale is based on the U.S. vehicle emissions standards, which incorporate specific thresholds for nitrogen oxide, non-methane organic gas, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and formaldehyde. For those vehicles that run on electricity, the tailpipe emissions are zero.

10. Details in Fine Print

This part of the label has a reminder that your fuel economy and emissions may be different due to a number of factors, such as how you drive and maintain your vehicle, how much you use air conditioning and other accessories, the weather, road conditions, how much the vehicle is loaded, and other factors. EPA periodically evaluates ways to improve our fuel economy estimates so they better reflect real-world driving. For more information on how your fuel economy can vary, or tips to improve your fuel economy, please see Gas Mileage Tips.
This part of the label also details the assumptions that are used to determine the estimated annual fuel cost and the value used to compare 5-year costs to the average vehicle. EPA assumes annual mileage of 15,000 miles. The price of gasoline listed on new vehicle labels is based on projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration for the applicable model year. It will typically be updated annually in coordination with the Department of Energy. Since EPA won't publish the fuel prices for 2013 model year labeling until 2012, the sample labels include an example price that is intended for illustrative purposes only.

11. QR Code®*

When you are looking for a new vehicle at a dealership, you will be able to scan the QR Code® on the new label using your smartphone, provided you have downloaded a scanner app. The QR Code® will link you to helpful tools and additional information about the vehicle. The same tools and information are available on


The label directs you to the web site, where you can compare vehicles and enter personalized information (e.g., local gas prices and individual driving habits) to get the best possible cost and energy-use estimates.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pleasant View & SH 53 Grade Separation Project by Idaho Transportation Department (ITD)

ITD (District 1) is in the process of designing the "Pleasant View Rd & SH 53" Grade Separation Project.   The following is the outline of the project as reported by ITD:

Pleasant View Road is a two lane north-south rural major-collector road in Kootenai County, within the Post Falls Highway District. It crosses the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) mainline near Highway 53. Pleasant View Road currently carries over 3000 vehicles per day. The BNSF line carries between 50 and 58 trains per day. Pleasant View Road crossing is currently protected by standard railroad gates and signals.  This project will design Pleasant View Road to pass over three BNSF tracks and Highway 53. Preliminary thoughts on design are outlined below. 

  • The design of the overpass will accommodate SH-53 being expanded to four lanes in the future. Until that expansion occurs, SH-53 will remain two lanes, with possible additional turn bays in needed locations, as funding becomes available.
  • The design will construct a diamond interchange at Pleasant View Road and SH-53.
  • Pleasant View Road will be widened to four (4) lanes.
  • New traffic signals will be installed at the ramps.
  • The Hauser Lake Road / SH-53 intersection will be replaced with a cul-de-sac on the north side of the highway.
  • A new connector road will link Hauser Lake Road to Pleasant View Road north of 53. Extending that to Hollister Hills Road will be investigated as part of the alternatives analysis.
This project is for design only; no funds are currently available for construction.

A public meeting was held on February 9, 2012 at Hauser Lake City Hall. If you missed it, you can still ask questions and provide feedback.

For additional  information and /or contact information, please go to the link below:

CITYLINK Transit System - Local Coeur d'Alene Bus Service -Changes Planned

The Coeur d'Alene Press recently published a story regarding the local CityLink transit service here in Kootenai County.  Kootenai County has a population of over 138,000 which has 98,000 within just the urbanized area.  Citylink offers free bus service, which includes routes within the metropolitan area of  Kootenai County as well as making trips to the Tribe's, Coeur d' Alene Casino.  The service has been in operation since 2006 and averaged 48,000 riders per month in 2011.  Citylink is a partnership among several agencies, but the Coeur d'Alene tribe has been the largest contributor to the transit system, contributing well over and above the required federal match amount every year.  Due to the current level of funding it is no longer sustainable. There may be a change in the service provided unless other funding is found.  It's too early to speculate what changes to the transit service will be, but the public will have an opportunity to provide input during the process.  A public meeting will be held sometime in March 2012.  I'll post the meeting date as soon as it becomes available.  To see the full story by the Coeur' Alene Press please visit the following link.
And, To visit Citylink site see the following link:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bills to be Considered on the House Floor This Week - Transportation Bill

With everyones attention tuned in, and anxiously awaiting the outcome of the  "H.R. 7 American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012" - (aka, Transportation Bill) on the House Floor this week, I thought it might be a good idea to post this website "Office of the Clerk/US House of Representatives, where you can actually watch the House Floor Proceedings "live" video, or check back later for a recap.  You can also view what's on the Congressional Agenda Schedule for the week, plus everything you have always wanted to know about how the Legislative Process works or how to contact your Representative.  Check it out, it's very interesting:

KMPO Will Be Closed for Presidents Day, Monday, February 20, 2012


We will be closed for the holiday - President's Day, Monday February 20, 2012.

Futuristic "Hiriko" All Electric Car, It's out there....

I found this posting on the Huff Post Green site.  I don't know about you, but I'm not certain what our transportation is going to look like in 20 years, but I am betting it will be vastly different than what we know today.
The "Hiriko" is an electric micro mini car designed to help the environment and assist with bad parking jobs (such as parallel parking) in Urban areas. The car was developed based on a drawing from the Massachusetts of Technology (MIT) and the concept has been brought to fruition by a consortium of seven small Basque firms under the name of Hiriko Driving Mobility.

"Hiriko" meaning "urban" in Basque is a two-seater with a range of up to 75 miles with a full charge, is powered by four in-wheel motors and reportedly able to fold itself up into a tiny bundle.  The driver and the passenger enter the vehicle via the single flip-up door in the front of the car that also doubles as a windshield.  The Hiriko is scheduled to go into production with a street release date of 2013.  Production of 20 test vehicles is already underway and trials are set to begin later this year in cities such as Bilbao, Spain, Sweden and Boston.  Estimated cost is about $16,500.  The Hiriko manufacturers see the car being possibly a city-owned vehicle that you can rent on an hourly or daily basis.  Some of the cities already interested are: Berlin, Barcelona, San Francisco and Hong Kong. 

I would be interested to see the safety testing.

Here's the link if you would like to check out the entire story.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Give the Spokane International Airport Your Input & Get a FREE Day of Parking!

I know it's short notice but I ran across this post on The Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce's Website and wanted to pass it along.  I am certain many Kootenai County residents utilize the Spokane International Airport from time to time....
The Spokane International Airport is in discussions with air carriers regarding the use of their "Small Community Air Service Development Grant" to provide nonstop service to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). While they have substantial U.S. Department of Transportation generated passender data to support the route, the airlines have consistently asked them for additional, customer derived information. They would be most grateful if you would respond to a questionnaire attached HERE at this Link   and to show their appreciation they are offering a day of FREE parking at the Spokane International Airport.
Questionnaires are due tomorrow, February 10th and can be emailed to

For more information or if you have any questions please contact Todd Woodard, Director, Marketing/Public Relations for the Spokane International Airport at 509-455-6470 or email him at
I am including the link below to the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce website below in case you would like to check out their website as well.

Proposed Transportation Bill - If you Haven't Seen It Yet, You may want to...

The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act, Summary of Transportation Reauthorization Proposal  Link:

I was reading the ITD News Brief and decided to check out the Transportation Bill.  Here's a brief recap of a few items reported in the bill by the ITD News Brief story:

* It would make financing for mass transit much less certain, and more vulnerable, by ending a 30-year agreement that guaranteed mass transit a one-fifth share of the fuel taxes and other user fees in the highway trust fund. Instead it would compete annually with other programs.

* It would open nearly all of America’s coastal waters to oil and gas drilling, including environmentally fragile areas that have long been off limits. The ostensible purpose is to raise revenue to help make up what has become an annual shortfall for transportation financing. But it is really just one more attempt to promote the Republicans’ drill-now-drill-everywhere agenda and the interests of their industry patrons.
* It would demolish significant environmental protections by imposing arbitrary deadlines on legally mandated environmental reviews of proposed road and highway projects, and by ceding to state highway agencies the authority to decide whether such reviews should occur.

In 1982, with President Ronald Reagan’s blessing, Congress agreed to apportion 80 percent of the highway trust fund revenues to highways, bridges and tunnels, and 20 percent to subways, bus lines and other forms of mass transit. In 2010, this meant around $32 billion for highways, bridges and so on and $8 billion for mass transit.

The House bill would direct all the trust fund money to roads and bridges. It would authorize a one-time payment of $40 billion over five years for all the other transportation programs, including mass transit and smaller initiatives to improve air quality and ease congestion. That means that mass transit would have to struggle with others for yearly appropriations — and would almost certainly get less than the $8 billion it received in 2010.

Where that $40 billion will come from is also unclear. The idea that oil revenues from increased drilling will provide it is delusional. Even if new leases are rushed through, oil will not begin to flow for years, and neither will the royalties.

In any case, none of this is good news for urban transit systems, including New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which, in 2010 alone, received about $1 billion from the trust fund.
To see the full story visit the link below:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Februrary 9th, 2010 KMPO Board Meeting Is Cancelled

The regularly scheduled KMPO Board meeting for February 9th, 2012 has been cancelled for this month.  The next meeting is scheduled for March 8th, 2012.  Hope to see you next month.

U.S. DOT Announced 500 million Now Available for Road & Bridge Projects


U.S. DOT announced a fourth round of funding $500 million now available for road, bridge projects.
Following President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address for greater infrastructure investment, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on Jan. 31 the availability of funding for transportation projects under a fourth round of the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant program. TIGER 2012 will make $500 million available for surface transportation projects having a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or region.

On Nov. 18, 2011, the President signed the FY 2012 Appropriations Act, which provided $500 million for U.S. DOT infrastructure investments. Like the first three rounds, TIGER 2012 grants are for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis.

Overall the TIGER program has provided $2.6 billion to 172 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous three rounds, the U.S. DOT received more than 3,348 applications requesting more than $95 billion for transportation projects across the country.

“President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address that investing in transportation means putting people back to work, and that’s just what our TIGER program is doing in communities across the country,” said LaHood. “Americans are demanding investments in highways, ports, commuter rail, streetcars, buses, and high-speed rail. These kinds of projects not only mean a stronger economic future for the U.S., but jobs for Americans today.”

As in previous rounds, high-speed rail and intercity passenger rail projects remain eligible for funding. TIGER 2012 provides for the possibility of up to $100 million being used toward these projects, and also will continue to encourage the development of transportation projects in rural areas, providing $120 million for rural transportation projects.
Projects will be evaluated on primary criteria that include safety, economic competitiveness, livability, environmental sustainability, state of repair and short-term job creation.

Pre-applications are due Feb. 20 and applications are due March 19.
Source: U.S. DOT