Opinion | Commentary

  • Aftermarket retailers are crossing their fingers that Congress approves a Senate amendment giving stores relief from the high fees banks charge them to clear debit card purchases.
  • Two 'Cash for Clunkers' bills — one containing a "buy American" clause, and another that does not — vy for passage in Congress.
  • It is unusual for members of Congress to take pot shots at a bill after it has passed.
  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) appears nervous about the growing number of design patents it is awarding to auto manufacturers.
  • A report from the GAO in November gives considerable political impetus to congressional proposals that would give retailers more bargaining leverage with credit card companies.
  • The federal auto safety agency delayed changes to headlight and other auto lamp safety standards that might affect the price and availability of certain product mixes once the changes go into effect.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wants to eliminate a reporting exemption available to automotive parts retailers and tire stores since 1982.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to tighten model specifications for aftermarket devices installed in cars to prevent ignition by a driver who is inebriated.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seems ready to inhibit retail sales of the soon-to-be-approved air-conditioning refrigerant expected to replace R-134a.
  • Advanced vehicle programs proposed by the Obama administration have hit some major potholes.
  • The more controversial a bill is, the more likely it will continue to change right up until signing it into law. Witness the actions of Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chair of the Senate committee that passed a climate change bill on Dec. 5.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency's new lower ozone standard will force many states to reassess their automobile inspection and maintenance (I&M) plans.
  • Aftermarket tire retailers, auto service businesses and auto dealers are all up in arms about a couple of proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Some might argue that the biggest impact the Toyota sudden accelerator problem has had on the aftermarket is a temporary jump in sales of floor mats.
  • With the regulatory-minded Obama administration now in control of federal agencies, there will be a push to turn up the heat on the safety of products, especially those imported from the Far East.
  • With all the attention now being paid in Washington to the connection between over-regulation of business and its drag on job creation, one has to shake one's head at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Concern about the impact of imported Chinese auto parts on U.S. parts manufacturers was at the heart of a letter sent to President Obama in March.
  • Auto parts retailers and repair shops would be subject to increased criminal and civil penalties for unwittingly selling counterfeit auto parts if \H.R. 4279 passed overwhelmingly by the House in May.
  • The EPA has yet to make a ruling on California's request to seek the Clean Air Act.
  • The EPA finally published the conditions under which automakers can use HFO-1234yf, the new, "green" refrigerant, in new cars.