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Camila Domonoske

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Compared to this time last year, we're all paying a lot more to use all sorts of energy right now, whether it is gas for our cars or heating fuel for our homes. That is part of a global trend.

And NPR's Camila Domonoske is here to explain why. Hey, Camila.

It's an idea that could mark a pretty revolutionary change for vehicle safety: What if our cars could prevent drunk driving?

The recent infrastructure law included a provision mandating that, starting in a few years, all new cars must include some sort of technology to detect and prevent drunk driving.

Some companies were already racing to figure out how to do this. Now, it's going to be required.

Tesla is recalling more than 475,000 cars for potential problems that may increase the risk of accidents.

Two defects in question were caused by design or design manufacturing, prompting separate recalls filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last week.

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People shopping for cars know that prices are high, if you can find a car at all. NPR's Camila Domonoske covers cars and is here to tell us what might lie ahead for 2022. Camila, good morning.

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What if cars could stop people from driving drunk? In fact, a new federal law requires just that, starting about five years from now. Some companies have already been figuring out how to do it. NPR's Camila Domonoske takes a look.

If you're taking a lot of road trips this holiday season, maybe you've wished your car could just drive itself to Grandma's house.

The auto industry has been working on autonomous driving for years. And companies like Waymo and Cruise are testing fully autonomous driving — in some cities, you can already hop in a driverless taxi.

But if you want a genuinely self-driving car of your own, you're out of luck.

Yes, vehicles are getting better at controlling their own steering and acceleration in more situations.

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The oil cartel known as OPEC+ meets this week amid the news around the new COVID variant, omicron. Oil ministers will be trying to decide how to respond, as NPR's Camila Domonoske reports.

Rivian and Lucid aren't household names. But, somehow, these two electric startups are each worth more than Ford.

Both companies are flush with cash, and they've reached a major milestone: They are actually producing and delivering vehicles to customers

That has left them at the front of an epic race to recreate Tesla's astonishing success story, as the auto industry speeds toward a transition to electric vehicles.

The production volumes are still small — just a few hundred vehicles each so far. But they have big ambitions to scale up in the coming years.

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A recent surge in gasoline prices has left President Biden scrambling for options to do something about it.

One that's getting a lot of attention is the possibility that the Biden administration will release crude oil from the country's emergency oil stockpile, known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Much will depend on oil prices, which have soared over the past year, recovering to their pre-pandemic levels and then some. But after rising to more than $86 a barrel in October, they have since dropped to less than $80.

A few years ago, when the advocacy group Coltura called on America to stop using gasoline, it prompted mockery.

Coltura had been waging a war against gasoline for a few years by this point, but its primary weapons were things like music and performance art. One piece featured actors inside a clear plastic bubble panicking as it filled with simulated exhaust.

You probably don't need a news report to tell you that gasoline prices have been surging. Prices are at a seven-year high, up more than a dollar from a year ago.

Rising energy costs, including gasoline as well as natural gas and coal, are a major driver of high inflation. That's putting pressure on household budgets and creating a major political problem for the Biden administration.

Electric automaker Rivian hit public markets with a big splash.

Rivian shares surged in their first day of trading on Wednesday, after the company completed one of the largest initial public offerings in U.S. history.

The shares have settled slightly after the initial pop, but the company is still valued at close to $100 billion — a larger market capitalization than Ford or General Motors has, although not as high as Tesla's mind-boggling $1 trillion valuation.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – For more than a century, a wide, low seawall has protected the country of Guyana from the depravations of the Atlantic Ocean.

Today, the weathered old seawall is a cheerful place. Vendors sell beer and coconut water, blasting local radio stations as they look out over muddy waters. Kids play, couples flirt. Exhausted workers catch a cool breeze after another 90-degree day in the capital city of Georgetown.

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Updated October 25, 2021 at 4:01 PM ET

The car-rental giant Hertz is making an audacious bet on electric vehicles, purchasing 100,000 battery-powered vehicles from Tesla.

The news of the sale lifted Tesla shares, and the world's most valuable automakers briefly hit an unprecedented $1 trillion market cap. Hertz's purchases will be made up of the Tesla Model 3, a sedan that is the cheapest vehicle currently available from the electric carmaker.

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General Motors' CEO Mary Barra's speech to investors yesterday was pretty lofty.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MARY BARRA: We have changed the world before, and we're going to do it again.

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Autumn is here. There's a nip in the air. BJ Leiderman writes our theme music. And soon, you might turn on your heater for the first time this year, but fuel prices are already rising. NPR's Camila Domonoske joins us now. Camila, thanks so much for being with us.

If you want to know why it's hard to buy a car these days, just take a look at all the vacant spots at your local dealerships.

When Sarah Chismar, a Toyota salesperson, surveyed the empty pavement at her dealership in Missouri this week, she sighed.

"In a normal month, we probably will have, like, 120 new cars," she said. "Right now, I think we have maybe 10."

And she's happy to have 10. "Last week we had five," she added.

Although oil companies are still assessing the damage at the oil rigs, platforms and refineries that were struck by Hurricane Ida, signs point toward a limited impact on gasoline availability and prices.

AAA has warned of price volatility, and several analysts expect temporary price increases of several cents, but experts are not expecting a dramatic or prolonged disruption to the market.

Leaded gasoline's century-long reign of destruction is over.

The final holdout, Algeria, used up the last of its stockpile of leaded gasoline in July. That's according to the U.N. Environment Programme, which has spent 19 years trying to eliminate leaded gasoline around the globe.

"The successful enforcement of the ban on leaded petrol is a huge milestone for global health and our environment," Inger Andersen, UNEP's executive director, said Monday.

Updated August 30, 2021 at 12:54 PM ET

Hundreds of thousands of people are without power in Louisiana and Mississippi, and outages could last for more than a month in parts of the region.

A semiconductor shortage is keeping car production low, and that means dealers have fewer new vehicles to sell. The crunch has pushed up prices for both new and used cars, and caused frustration for some would-be car shoppers.

Have you tried to buy a car during this unusual market — successfully or otherwise? NPR's Business Desk would love to hear about your experience.

Dave Samuelson is totally thrilled with his new job driving a fuel truck to deliver gasoline to stations around Chattanooga, Tenn.

He gets to go home to his farm every night, unlike long-haul trucking where you can drive for days. That means he can feed his goats. He can't complain about the pay — especially since he got a nearly 40% pay increase this year.

And he certainly loves how easy it is to find work right now. If you have the right kind of commercial driver's license, he says, "Good lord ... you can write your own ticket."

Elon Musk has gotten a lot of things wrong. He's blown deadlines, pissed off regulators, driven away talented employees, and made unfulfilled promises that ran the gamut from unrealistic to absurd.

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It feels like just yesterday that workers across America were able to take their masks off at work. But the extremely contagious delta variant is spreading rapidly. And now auto plants are among the businesses reinstating face mask mandates.

Updated July 20, 2021 at 5:24 PM ET

Earlier this month, two dozen low-slung, open-cockpit race cars sped around the streets of Red Hook in Brooklyn.

A distinct high-pitched whizzing sound pierced the air, instead of the usual growl of revved-up race car engines. That's because these cars were powered entirely by batteries rather than gasoline.

Welcome to Formula E. It's like Formula 1, but it's all-electric.

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The European Union has a sweeping plan to tackle climate change, and that plan has the potential to reshape the continent's economy. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made the case for it yesterday.

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