Ways The Man will change your car

Auto Tech
Wasnt that long ago people were grumbling that requiring seat belts in cars was commie socialist stuff. Today, the commie label is applied to decidedly more high tech innovations, which we list herewith: Top 5 ways The Man is changing your car. 5. Autonomous cars. You know, self driving. Nevada and California forced the issue recently, now the feds are playing catch up, likely to issue national rules by 2016. That will be a signal that opens the floodgates of investment in cars that take over that 80% of driving that we dont really want to do anyway. 4. Distracted driving rules. The NHTSA has been floating some tortured proposals for limiting in-car distraction. Like limiting text displays to 30 characters at a time...or any screen-based task to 2 seconds or less - they havent used an Android phone, have they? Whatever the specifics, this federal push will be what moves distracted driving into the same level of stigma as DUI. 3. Rear cameras. This ones been delayed more times than Blackberrys comeback, but the feds are close to requiring back up cameras in all vehicles, perhaps by late 2014. Carmakers say it will jack up car prices too much, but most likely they dont want to lose the ability to make rear cams a desirable option rather than a standard feature. 2. Black Box data recorders. Theyre already in 90+% of late model cars -- betcha didnt know that -- but the feds will soon require them in all new cars sold. The gripe here is that the feds can require the boxes, but the states control access to the data - and barely more than a dozens of them have laws that address that. 1. 54.5 MPG. Thats the fuel economy level that must be met by the average of all cars sold by any maker as of 2025. Its an incredibly complicated formula, but still a huge bump from todays 29.7 fleet average in not that many years. This will mean 3 cylinder engines, turbos in everything, hybrids galore, cars that shut themselves off all the time and electric cars on lots even if almost nobody buys them. And its estimated to add $3,000 to MSRP by 2025. No federal rule will change cars as much as this one.

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