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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Study Finds Technology Enabling Americans to Drive Less

In a first-of-its-kind study, Maryland PIRG compiled nation-wide evidence on transportation apps and vehicle sharing programs, like Zipcar, and found that these advanced new tools have made it easier for Americans to drive less. Real-time apps and on-board wi-fi for public transit, as well as carsharing, bikesharing and ridesharing have spread rapidly in recent years. The report examines new evidence on how these practices are changing travel behavior.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Transportation

A New Way to Go

America is in the midst of a technological revolution … and a big shift in our transportation habits.

Over the last 15 years, the Internet and mobile communications technologies have transformed the way Americans live and work. During that same period, growth in vehicle travel slowed and then stopped, with Americans today driving about as much on average as we did in 1996.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

New Report Identifies Banks Consumers Complain About Most

Thousands of Americans are using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s public Consumer Complaints Database to settle disputes with their banks, according to a new report from the Maryland PIRG Foundation. The report highlights banks that generated the most complaints through their various banking services in each state.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

Big Banks, Big Complaints

This report is the first of several that will review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state-by-state basis. In this report we explore consumer complaints about bank accounts and services with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with their banks.

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Media Hit | Democracy

Payday lenders move online as regulators crack down

The banner ad atop the website features a wide-eyed baby cradled in an adult's hands with the words, "Did that special vacation for two end up producing a third? Castle Payday has life's unexpected expenses covered." On a growing number of sites like this one, short-term loans are just a click away for Web-surfing borrowers, regardless of any history of bankruptcy, bounced checks or other credit problems. The catch is that these so-called payday loans often come with sky-high interest rates of 400 percent or more. The Castle Payday website advertises an effective 888 annual percentage rate, meaning a 14-day loan of $500 will end up costing the borrower $675.

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News Release | Democracy

New Report Details Latest Numbers on Outside Spending, Secret Money, and Super PAC Fundraising for 2012 Elections

WASHINGTON – The Top 5 “dark money” spenders on presidential election ads have reported less than 1% of their spending to the FEC, which is all that is required by the agency’s insufficient standards, according to a new report analyzing the latest campaign filings. 

Today, national public policy organizations Demos and U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) released “Million-Dollar Megaphones: Super PACs and Unlimited Outside Spending in the 2012 Elections,” which provides a detailed analysis of Federal Election Commission (FEC) data and secondary sources on outside spending and Super PAC fundraising for the 2012 election cycle.

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News Release | Democracy

Florida Victory for Young People

Tallahassee, FL – Civic groups and Florida voters won a huge victory when a federal judge indicated he will permanently remove some of the most restrictive parts of Florida’s new voter registration laws, which have made it harder for student governments and civic groups to help register young people to vote.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG

Ag Subsidies Pay for 21 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only Half of an Apple Apiece

Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup, enough to pay for 21 Twinkies per taxpayer every year, according to Maryland PIRG’s new report, Apples to Twinkies 2012. Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Health Care

U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Health Reform Law Will Benefit Millions in Maryland

Today’s decision is good news for consumers in Maryland. Insurance companies can’t go back to the days of dropping your coverage once you become ill, or denying coverage to sick children. And beginning in 2014, the days of insurers being able to deny anyone coverage for “pre-existing conditions” will be history. 

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Financial aid award letters often lack transparency and wind up confusing students and parents

With student loan debt exceeding $1 trillion and families increasingly questioning whether a college education is worth it, colleges should be embracing making financial aid award letters clear and uniform. Transparency may not solve the student debt problem, but it can help students and parents make better-informed decisions.

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Priority Action

The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening the effectiveness of lifesaving antibiotics. Call on the FDA to put an end to the worst practices.

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