Greenpeace Targets… Volkswagen?

Posted in auto industry, Emissions, Environment, Videos, Volkswagen by Kurt Ernst | June 29th, 2011 | 6 Responses |

When you think of automakers who give the single-digit salute to environmentalists everywhere, who comes to mind? Clearly Hummer is the obvious choice, but they’re out of business. Who’s next on your list – Ferrari? Lamborghini? Bentley or Rolls-Royce? If you’re Greenpeace, the automaker in your crosshairs is Volkswagen, who Greenpeace accuses of overstating their environmental record and resisting attempts to make cars like the Golf more fuel efficient (um, Golf TDI, anyone?). Read More…

What If Everything Ran On Gas? I’d Say, ‘Cool.’

Posted in Bizarre, Emissions, Environment, Funny Videos, General by Kurt Ernst | June 2nd, 2011 | 4 Responses |

A gas powered computer? Want. Badly.

If you give me a choice between gas and electric, nine chances out of ten I’m going to choose gas. I’ve got a gas-powered lawn mower, a gas-powered string trimmer and a gas-powered backpack blower to clean my yard. I’m currently haunting pawn shops for a killer deal on a gas-powered chainsaw, because we’re headed into another hurricane season and have dodged a bullet for far too long. My power washer and my air compressor are both electric, which is a concession to practicality more than anything else, and if I could find the right deal on a two stroke blender, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Thus, Nissan’s sentiment in the ad below is lost on me, and I’m far too jaded to believe that generation of electricity has no environmental impact. Watch the video and judge for yourself. Read More…

Is A Mandatory 62 MPG Fuel Economy Coming?

Posted in auto industry, Environment, General, News, Rants & Raves by Kurt Ernst | May 15th, 2011 | 13 Responses |

Can cars like the Camaro ZL1 even exist under propsed standards? Image: © GM Corp.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) is defined as “the sales weighted average fuel economy, expressed in mpg, of a manufacturer’s fleet of passenger cars or light trucks with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less.” From 1990 thorough 2010, the CAFE standard for passenger cars has been fixed at 27.5 mpg; over those 20 years, cars have actually gotten heavier, thanks in part to safety components such as airbags, high strength steel, and side door beams, but average fuel economy has stayed about the same. In 2007, the Bush administration approved new CAFE standards, with the intent of reducing U.S dependence on foreign oil; since that time, environmental groups and pollution-sensitive states have latched onto the “better fuel economy” bandwagon like a pit bull on a chihuahua basted with steak sauce. The Obama administration has taken the fuel economy standard from the extreme of 35 mpg by 2020 proposed under Bush to the absurd, which is as high as 62 mpg by 2025. Read More…

What U.S. Cities Suck Down The Most Gas?

Posted in driving, Environment, Lists by Kurt Ernst | May 12th, 2011 | 1 Response |

Atlanta traffic on a Sunday afternoon. Image: flickr user AirBeagle

We all know that gasoline prices are up, since the news media rarely goes a day without reminding us. Despite the fact that gas is edging on $4.00 per gallon (and will probably blast clean through that ceiling by Memorial Day), demand really hasn’t changed significantly from last year. Sure, we’re using less in 2011 than we did in 2010, but overall consumption in the United States is down by just 2 percent. As you’d expect, some cities use a lot more gas than others, regardless of the price. Below, in ascending order, is a list of the 10 U.S. cities with the highest gasoline consumption, as researched by the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Read on to see if your hometown made the list. Read More…

Zero S: Electric Supermoto

Posted in Best of, Emissions, Environment, Motorcycle Rides, News, Other Rides by MrAngry | April 2nd, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Zero Motorcycles Zero S

If you’re into motorcycles then you’ll remember that about ten years ago we began to see a shift in the types of bikes found in urban environments. Harley Davidson’s and hipster Ducati’s were all the rage, until that is, someone got smart and decided that enduros were actually the better way to go for bouncing over city potholes. Bikes like Honda’s XR650L and Kawaski’s KLR650 were now ditching their off-road tires in favor of nice street wheels clad with sticky rubber. The long travel suspension and upright riding positions made these the perfect machines for blitzing through tight city streets and bouncing over potholes. Now it seems that a California bike company called Zero Motorcycles has introduced a bike called the Zero S. It’s a bitchin’ looking enduro, but one that comes with a catch (and a cord). You see this sucker is electric.
Read More…

More Autobahn Speed Limits Coming?

Posted in Environment, News, Politics, Travel by Kurt Ernst | March 31st, 2011 | 1 Response |

Typical German speed limits: 50 kph in town, 100 kph outside of town and 130 kph on the Autobahn. Image: Arroww

The myth of unrestricted motoring bliss on Germany’s Autobahn is just that: a myth. Most sections have posted limits, and even the sought-after “end of limit” sections are often crowded with traffic. There’s even a recommended speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour (about 81 mph) on unrestricted sections; sure, you can go as fast as you want, but expect to be charged with the equivalent of reckless driving if you have an accident. Based on recent election results in the German state of Baden-Württemburg, there’s more bad news on the horizon: motorists in this southwestern state will soon be facing an enforced speed limit of 120 kilometers per hour, or about 74 miles per hour. Read More…

The End Is Near: EU To Ban Fossil Fuel Vehicles In Cities By 2050

Posted in auto industry, Emissions, Environment, News, Politics by Kurt Ernst | March 29th, 2011 | 7 Responses |

What if all gas and diesel cars had to be scrapped? Image: IFCAR

If family history is any indicator, that chance that I’ll still be alive in 2050 is roughly on par with the chance of Charlie Sheen finding Jesus and becoming a Southern Baptist revival preacher. I’m good with that, which is why I try to enjoy the time I’ve got here as much as possible. If the latest rumor out of the EU has merit, it gives me one more reason to consume as much fossil fuel as I can over the next 39 years. Autoblog, via Autoblog.nl, reports that the EU will ban all fossil-fueled vehicles from European cities by 2050. A detailed plan is scheduled to be released later this week, but it allegedly calls for a 50% reduction in fossil fuel vehicle traffic as soon as 2030. In typical EU fashion, I suspect they’ll simply tax gas, diesel and parking to the point where only the rich can afford to drive, while the rest of us are “encouraged” to take mass transit. Read More…

RideLust Presents: The 10 Most Fuel Efficient Non-Hybrids

Posted in Car Buying, EcoLust, Environment, Featured by Kurt Ernst | March 22nd, 2011 | 2 Responses |

Audi's A3 TDI: ja, bitte. Image: Audi

I hate to be Captain Bringdown, but conventional wisdom says that gas prices are only going to go up as summer approaches. In past years, they’ve gone up at Easter, but dropped prior to the inevitable Memorial Day price spike. Given what’s going on in the MIddle East, combined with rising demand for autos in India and China, we may not see any price decreases this year. If you’re shopping for a new car, chances are good that fuel economy is a major concern, and may even be the reason why you’re looking for a new car in the first place. Read More…

Disaster In Japan: Automakers Halt Production

Posted in auto industry, Environment, News, Newsworthy, Oil Industry by Kurt Ernst | March 14th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

An oil refinery burns in Ichihara. Image: Cranky5

The unimaginable scale of devastation in Japan has brought a temporary halt to production of Japanese automobiles. Mazda has announced a temporary shutdown of their Hiroshima and Hofu plants through the night shift on March 16, with further announcements on production expected on March 17. Honda is suspending production at most of their Japanese facilities through March 20, and an announcements are expected from Nissan and Toyota today. Although the bulk of Japan’s auto industry lies south of the most heavily damaged areas, the massive damage to the country’s infrastructure will impact the delivery of parts to automakers as well as the delivery of completed vehicles to ports. The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has ordered rolling power blackouts to conserve electricity, and it may be some time before we fully understand the extent of the disaster’s impact on the world’s economy. Read More…

When Idling Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Idle

Posted in driving, Environment, News by Kurt Ernst | March 11th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Will passengers have to catch busses on the fly? Image: Jon Bennett

I’d have to rank London as one of my all time favorite cities, since it’s like Manhattan with more people and worse air. More street crime, too, in recent years, which the police can’t seem to get a handle on. They blame it on addicts, who apparently have more rights to roll tourists and residents than victims do to protect themselves; since the city can’t fix that problem, it’s easier for them to address the pollution issue. The latest plan from Mayor Boris Johnson involves targeting motorists who leave their car idling when stopped which creates both noise pollution and air pollution. When the rules go into effect, drivers who leave their vehicle running while stopped will face fines of up to $193 for their offense. Read More…