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AM Radio Car Mandate Gains Ground In Congress Despite Pushback From Automakers

Now that the bill has widespread support it appears as though it’ll become law soon

 AM Radio Car Mandate Gains Ground In Congress Despite Pushback From Automakers

  • Congress appears poised to enact a new law that will require automakers to include AM radio in cars.
  • Several car makers oppose the requirement saying that it is an unnecessary component.
  • Senators began calling for automakers to keep AM radio in their cars over a year ago with mixed results.

There is no shortage of services to listen to in a vehicle as one drives down the road, but AM radio is one of the oldest. In recent years, some automakers have removed it for various reasons. Now, it appears as though Congress is about to pass a new law requiring the old-school technology in all new cars.

The bill in question is the “AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act of 2023,” enjoying the support of 60 senators and 246 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. Put simply, its path to becoming a law looks as smooth as tarmac. Regardless of its outcome, the debate about its efficacy seems poised to continue for years.

Read: Chevy Camaros Easy To Steal Due To Hackable Key Fobs, Lawsuit Claims

Senator Edward Markey introduced the bill last year and recently confirmed that it has glowing support in the Senate and House, says Wired. He called the service a “lifeline for people in every corner of the United States to get news, sports, and local updates in times of emergencies.” Certainly, it’s a part of the emergency broadcast network and could be a critical communication channel for those in rural parts of the country.

On the other side of the coin, the Consumer Technology Association says that of 800 adults in the US that it surveyed, only 1 percent received an October 2023 test of the emergency broadcast system on AM radio. Critics of that data will however point out that the test in question used IPAWS, an internet-based emergency broadcast system.

Nevertheless, several automakers believe the bill overreaches. Electric vehicles require special engineering to include AM radios due to overlapping frequencies from the drivetrain. In November, a study reported that it could cost EV manufacturers between $50 and $70 per car to solve the problem created by adding an AM radio.

When questioned by Congress, eight automakers informed a Senate committee that they were discontinuing support for AM radio, including BMW, Ford, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

Interestingly, not all automakers are fighting the move to keep AM radio around. Ford CEO Jim Farley actually came out in support of it. He went as far as to say that the brand would keep it in both ICE and EVs.

How much do you care about AM radio in your current car and future cars? Is all of this much ado about nothing? Does it seem silly that automakers are so staunchly opposed to it or sillier that Congress cares so much about keeping it? Let us know all of your thoughts in the comments below!



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