Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chevy Volt to cruise into California NEXT YEAR??

Wow!!! Finally... Or should I say AGAIN??
OK is anyone else as confused as I am?
Chevrolet is going to TEST the electric vehicle market in California.

I thought this was done already. Didn't they have an electric car already?
Oh yeah I remember they discontinued the EV because hydrogen was supposed to be the next better thing.

So they are coming out with an electric car for the MASSES?
Tell me who can afford a $40,0000 car?

OK so it is not all electric. Then it's a Hybrid?

Whatever it will be I think GM needs to make up it's mind. If they are going to spend the public's money on developing a car, why not try a vehicle that is truly for the masses. Stop worrying what the oil companies want... The EV, back in it's day, made much more sense than the Volt of today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Who Says the Electric Car is Dead?

The Big 3 may be a long way from a production ready electric vehicle for the everyday consumer. But in garages people are taking matters in their own hands:

I think electric cars can still be mainstream, but they are not coming from any big car companies.

Friday, October 23, 2009

American Hybrid Automobiles

So what hybrids are coming out of Detroit?

Well let's see:

Ford has the Escape hybrid, which is considered an SUV.
It has an MSRP of 31,500 and a MPG rating of 34/31.

For a sedan, Ford came up with the Fusion Hybrid.
With and MSRP of $27,625 and a MPG rating of 41/36.

From the Mercury division, Ford produces the Mercury Mariner Hybrid, which has an MSRP of $29,995 and gets a respectable 34 MPG in the city. The Mercury Milan Hybrid is a sedan with an MSRP of $27,855 and gets 41 MPG in the city.
Chevrolet offers 3 hybrids for 2009:
For the sedan it has the Malibu Hybrid MSRP of 25,550 and MPG of 34 hwy
Chevy also has the Tahoe Hybrid which has an MSRP of 50,455 with an estimated MPG of 22 hwy. For special orders Chevy also offers the Silverado 1500 Hybrid. A nice truck that has an MSRP of $38,020 with MPG rating of 22 mpg hwy.

The Cadillac division created the Escalade Hybrid which does an estimated 20 MPG hwy with an MSRP starting at $73,425.

On the GMC side GM comes in with the Sierra Hybrid and the Yukon Hybrid, where they both produce MPG figures of 22 hwy. The Sierra truck has an MSRP of $38,390 and Yukon an MSRP of $50,920.

The Aura Hybrid and Vue Hybrid are products of Saturn for 2009. The Aura is a sedan which gets a respectable 34 MPG hwy along with an MSRP of $26,325. The Vue is Saturns compact SUV which has an MSRP of $28,160 along with 32 MPG hwy.

Chrysler finally entered the Hybrid market in 2009 with the Chrysler Aspen HEMI Hybrid and the Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid. The Aspen has an MSRP of $45,270 and an EPA estimate of 20 MPG hwy. The Durango comes in with an MSRP of $45,040 and MPG of 22 hwy.\

If my count is correct, that is 14 hybrid vehicles with MPG figures ranging from 20 to 41 city or hwy. This is pretty impressive coming from the Big 3. Of course there are non-hybrid vehicles out there with better MPG figures at a much lower cost. What do you spend your money on?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Back to basics of saving gas.

It's been a while since I have posted on this Blog.
I decided to give this site a rest and concentrate on my other blog and web sites.

So how are you doing on saving fuel?
Are you still interested in saving fuel? I sure hope so.
If you are like most people, you do want to save money.
And one place you do have control over how much you spend is in the amount of gas or diesel fuel you use.

If you are in the market for a new vehicle buy one with better mileage.
And there is a wide variety to choose from whether import or domestic,
Hybrid or a diesel. You can even stick with your current make and model. Most newer models of the old badges are now more fuel efficient. They may even offer a hybrid or flex fuel version.

Of course this all depends on your own needs. Do you like performance or just fuel economy. Or do you want both.

Then there is also the need for space. I have a family of five. I can't very well expect the kids to sit all next to one another when they can have their own seat in a mini van. Mini vans have come a long way, but are still not the most fuel efficient due to their large size. My options are limited there.

Change your driving Habits
Because I am not in the market for another vehicle, I have changed my driving habits to get the most mileage out of my vehicle.
I try to combine errands as much as I can.
I drive my wife's better mileage vehicle if she is not using it.
Use of the cruise control is becoming a habit.
You can also revisit my post on Hyper-miling.

Stop Driving and try public transportation or use your bicycle.
For many in suburban areas with limited to no public transportation routes this just is not an option. I for one live in an area that has limited public transportation and the roads are not bicycle or even walk friendly.
As a matter of fact per Walk Score my neighborhood is rated a 12 out of 100. It is considered a car dependent neighborhood.
I just have to be conscious of the car usage.

My thing is, if you can save gas you can save money. If we can all save gas we may get out from under the dependency of foreign oil. And that is the ultimate goal here.

Thank you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Speaking of better airflow...

Has anyone ever used the Tornado air management system?

They claim to increase airflow into the engine, thereby giving the car better mileage and increased horsepower. The cost of one of these units is $69.98 plus tax and shipping.

The company says the Tornado will increase your gas mileage by an average of 1 - 2 MPG.
They say it is also easy to install along with no further maintenance required.

My sister had one of these installed on their Nissan Frontier 4 by 4. She says that she did see a noticeable improvement in mileage. She did not notice an increase in HP output.

This sounds good to me. I'll have to test one of these units out and see if it works.

We'll have to let you know on a future post.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More airflow = better mileage part 2

The last post I covered the inflow, but there is also the out flow to take into consideration. I am talking exhaust.

I am in the market for a new muffler so I asked the mechanic at a muffler shop to check the exhaust system and give me an estimate. Well he came back and found that the muffler and the pipe before it needed to be replaced. Of course I asked for an estimate and he said it would cost me over $700 to fix it properly.

It used to be, that all you needed was a muffler to reduce the noise. Then came the catalytic converter, which reduces the exhaust gases coming out. Both the muffler and catalytic converter are required by law.

Exhaust looks for an easy way out. The easier the better. But the exhaust gases have to content with the catalytic converter and the muffler. Both unfortunately create a restricted flow. This also reduces fuel efficiency.

Now, you can increase the airflow with with a high performance exhaust. They even sell a high performance catalytic converter. Of course, they have their draw backs. You get better fuel economy, but it will sound louder. That's why you don't see mini vans with high performance exhausts. Just imagine arriving at a soccer game sounding like you need a new muffler. They however do sound cool on a souped up Honda Accord coupe...ask any twenty-something.

Another drawback is that like other high performance parts, they are expensive. For my application I am looking at a $1000 installation. The mechanic did say that the metal on high performance lasts longer than a conventional muffler. So it would most likely be the last muffler you buy for your vehicle.

So you gain better gas mileage, more horsepower and longevity. Does this outweigh the higher cost? That's up to you to decide.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More air flow = better Mileage?

Does better airflow give you better mileage?

Mechanics at the dealership always say that a new air filter gives you better air flow and more power and fuel economy. So to keep my mileage up I regularly check my filter and change it when needed.
Now how about a high performance air filter such as K & N? They claim to help increase the airflow into the carburator or throttle body of fuel injected system. This in turn gives you more power and in most cases better fuel economy.
From the reviews it would seem that most people will get a slight power boost and better fuel economy. Installing a high performance air intake kit supposedly makes this process even better.
Some of the companies that make the kits are K & N, Weapon-R, and AirAid.
The cost of these units for my Honda van range from $126 to $361.
Is it worth it? If it guarantees better mileage I'd say so.
But I am not to sure of the increased engine noise. I don't want to draw too much attention to the van at soccer games;-)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Best mileage vehicles... Not from the Big 3

So what are the best gas mileage vehicles out there for 2009?
I still need to drive a family around so electric is not an option yet.

According to the Toyota Prius is the most fuel efficient vehicle for 2009. It is rated to get 48 MPG in city and 45 MPG on the highway. The MSRP is in the range of $22,000 to $24,270.

Next is the Honda Civic Hybrid getting 40 MPG in the city and 45 MPG for highway driving. With an MSRP of $23650 to $26,850 it is a more expensive option.

Then there is the Smart car. The fortwo Coupe and fortwo Convertible are rated to get 33 MPG city driving and 41 MPG on the highway. The MSRP for these little cars is $11,990 to $16,990. Not bad of a price. Too bad it's too small to carry the family.

VW's 2009 Jetta TDI and Sportwagon Diesel are rated to get 30 MPG city and 41 MPG on the highway. They have an MSRP of $22,270 and $23,870 respectively. Run it on biodiesel and reduce your impact even more.

Another Toyota entry is the Yaris which getes 28 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway. MSRP range for this car is $12,205 and 15,880. This is a good contender for our next get around town family vehicle.

Rounding out my most fuel efficient list, from accross the pond there is the Mini. This has always been a nice looking car with 28 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway. It has an MSRP of $18,550 and $28,550 depending on the model and options.

Others models that getover 20 MPG, but under the 28 MPG in the city are the Nissan Versa, the Hyundai Sonata, and the Honda Accord.

I am curious as to why aren't there any models from the Big 3 on this list. Probably the same reason why they have lost their Big 3 status.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Let Alternative Fuels Take Over the Market.

Alternative fuel vehicles are here to stay as evident at the Detroit Auto Show.
How well they are going to do will depend largely on how the general public accepts them. If they cost too much no one will buy them. If the range is not suitable to the average consumer they won't buy them either. If there is no infrastructure in place to refill or recharge the car, people will not want to own one.

Then there is this downward spiral of gas costs. Average cost of gas across the country is under $2 per gallon. One journalist was saying that the general public is going back to it's old habits of abusing fuel usage. Are we all that easily swayed? Do we mind conserving even if prices are way below our means?

I would think that with the current state of the economy we have no choice but to conserve. Jobless rates are increasing. Money is tighter than ever. Conserve! Reduce!
Let the alternative fuel vehicle market take shape. It will be better for all of us in the long run.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Here's to more fuel economy in 2009!
2008 was a tough year for everyone. The economy, housing market, banking industry and car industry topping the list. I'm looking forward to better things in 2009.
New President.
New Congress.
New Laws.
What else?
My short wish list for 2009:
  • Electric vehicles getting a longer range and becoming more affordable.
  • If it has to be gas powered make it fuel efficient with reduced emissions.
  • Easier access to Biodiesel in all states.
  • Reduced dependence on foreign oil.
Of course the first three should take care of the last one, but things are not always that easy. I guess going at it one thing at a time with some measure of success will be good for everyone.