Archive for August, 2008
Saturday, August 30th, 2008
Yesterday was a big day for Indy fans in Detroit. According to an article on detnews.com, it was a perfect day for many people to watch the race car drivers to take practice runs around the track for FREE. This was a free event and many people took advantage of it. The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix starts today and goes on tomorrow as well, but you have to buy those tickets, so to go and see the racers for free was music to alot of peoples’ ears. Some big names like Danika Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Marco Andretti, and Tony Kanaan will be racing. There aren’t many free events in the world today, so this is a great event for the people of Detriot to enjoy.
Thursday, August 28th, 2008
An article on MSNBC.com entitled “Natural gas cars: Clean, green, going nowhere” has some very interesting points about natural gas cars, but specifically about the Honda Civic GX. This car runs on natural gas, and is sold in California and New York. First, let me start with the positives of this car. Natural gas is cheaper than regular gasoline. It’s about $2.12 to $2.22 a gallon compared to about $4.00 a gallon of regular gas. That’s a plus for sure. Then there is the fact that in California you can ride in the HOV lanes on the freeways. The HOV lanes are the fast lanes, and because the natural gas car is considered a low-emission vehicle, you can drive in them, when normally you need more than one person to be in these lanes. Another plus for the natural gas Honda!
Alright, now that you have heard the positives, environmentally friendly and cost efficient, here are the negatives. This Civic costs about $24,590 compared to a regular Civic that costs about $17,700. That’s a big difference, especially in this economy. Another problem is that the refueling stations are not available everywhere. In NY and CA, there are alot of refueling stations, but you definitely need to be within the areas of these fueling station, or you could get stranded. You can pay a few $1000 and get a home refueling station that hooks up to your natural gas in your home, but it can take a great deal of time to refuel your car this way. The Honda Civic GX natural gas vehicle is good for commuters that aren’t travelling too far away, this is not a good choice for people that enjoying travelling and want to leave the state of NY or CA. There are many advantages to natural gas cars, you just need to decide your purpose for the car and be willing to deal with some of negatives of these cars as well.
Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
According to an article on MSNBC.com, normally, year to year, there are very few differences in models, possibly some minor cosmetic improvements, but that’s it. Well, this year is different. Many automakers are doing more than the normal minor improvements, they are trying to find any ways possible to get more miles to the gallon and improve their gas mileage. The number one factor with consumers these days is fuel economy.
In order to improve gas mileage on the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5, Greg Peterson, the GM vehicle performance manager for compact cars, says that the “engineers varied the intake and exhaust valve timing to make the 2.2 liter four-cylinder engine burn fuel more efficiently,” and they also put lower rolling resistance Good Year tires. Another change was that they changed the gear ratios on the five speed transmission so the engine revs slower on highways. The end result of these improvements was one more mile per gallon on the highway. Each mile makes a difference to consumers.
Ford added a six-speed transmission, electric power steering and variable valve timing to its Escape and Mercury Mariner in order to get two more miles per gallon to these vehicles. Honda and Toyota say that they are not tweaking their models, because they do not need to, and if you look at the gas mileage on their cars, they are probably right and do not need to do anything. They are the gas mileage leaders, and hopefully some American made vehicles can become the gas mileage leaders in the near future.
Monday, August 25th, 2008
For those of you that read this blog often, sorry we’ve been gone. Summer=vacation, but now we’re back and the blogs are too! According to an article on MSNBC.com, automakers plan to ask Congress to support funding up to $50 billion in low-interest loans for the next three years to help to develop fuel efficient vehicles and make their assembly plants more modern. According to the article, these loans are a very important and will be a top priority when Congress goes back into session next month. The sluggish car sales and the credit markets tightening has caused this urgency with the automakers. Last year’s energy bill approved $25 billion for low interest loans for the auto industry, but Congress has not been able to get the funding for this plan. Due to the high gas prices and bad sales of SUVs, these low interest loans are definitely a must for the auto industry. According to auto industry officials, this is not a bailout for them. This is the same aid that Congress have given to the investment banks and mortgage firms. In order for Congress to give the automakers $50 billion, they would need to set aside $7.5 billion as well for protection from loan default. That’s alot of money, but I think that Congress needs to help the auto industry in some way or else our economy will only continue to get worse with the auto industry declining rapidly each quarter.
Wednesday, August 13th, 2008
According to Msnbc.com, Honda has announced that their new gas-electric hybrid will cost less than the Toyota Prius, which is its major competitor. This new Honda hybrid, whose name has not been announced yet, will be a five-door car only available with a hybrid powertrain. It is smaller than the Honda Civic, and it will be priced less than the Honda Civic Hybrid according to Richard Colliver, the executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co. This new hybrid will become available in April 2009. There will be approximately 100,000 available for sales in North America. The Honda Civic sticker price starts at $22,600 and the Toyota Prius sticker price starts at $21,500. The mileage for the new Honda hybrid has not yet been disclosed. The Toyota Prius gets 45 miles per gallon on the highway and 48 miles per gallon in the city. I guess we will have to wait and see what the name of this new car will be and the specifics of it until further notice. It will be interesting to see if this hybrid is as popular and the good sales that the Toyota Prius has in the United States.
Monday, August 11th, 2008
According to an article on detnews.com, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain talks as though electric cars will be driven by all in 2020. Brown told the Group of Eight Summit in Japan in July that this will be the case. Several other leaders agreed with him as well. The president of GM Europe, Carl-Peter Forster, says that this was a “very, very ambitious target.” A professor of economics at Cardiff Business School, Garel Rhys says that there are so many different predictions as to when electrics cars may, if at all, take over. Rhys feels that in 2020, there will still be a wide range of choices for car buyers in the US and Europe.
Along with the talks of electric cars taking over, there have been talks of hydrogen being the next source of fuel. Rhys says that most likely hydrogen will not play a major role until 2050.
I like the optimism of Prime Minister Brown, but I’m with Rhys. I don’t think it can or will happen. The good news is that politicians are talking about it and the problems with fuel and the environment, so hopefully there will be solutions soon. We shall see.
Sunday, August 10th, 2008
Car enthusiasts from around Detroit kicked off their weeklong car festival with a Latin-themed car show called Hot Latin Night this past friday night. According to detnews.com, this event is one of many events leading up to the 14th annual Woodward Dream Cruise, which occurs next Saturday, August 16. Friday night, people from around Metro Detroit and beyond, gathered to show off their cars with salsa, merengue, and reggaeton music blasted from the speakers. Some people were pure spectators watching and looking at others’ cars, but some people came to the show and then popped their hoods, to show off their cars as well. It was a fun night had by all, and it gets people excited for the events for the week to come before the main event next Saturday. If you go to the Woodward Dream Cruise website, you can get all the details and all the events that you must attend to make your festival experience the best for the week. Enjoy the dream cruise!
Saturday, August 9th, 2008
Are you looking for a luxury car, but can’t afford a brand new one? Certified Pre-Owned Cars is the answer for you. There are many pros and cons to buying a pre-owned certified car. Here is the breakdown:
1. Peace of mind that the car has been inspected, repaired, and comes with a warranty.
2. As with any used car, you are able to avoid the 20-40% depreciation of the car as you leave the lot
1. No matter what, it’s a used car, which means more wear and tear and potential for problems. Make sure that you get the car inspected shortly after buying, and return it if there are any problems to be fixed
2. You need to make sure that the certified pre-owned car is inspected by the factory, so that the multipoint inspection was done. For instance, if the life of the brakes is less than 60%, they must be replaced. If the car is a certified pre-owned car from a dealer, the multipoint inspection may not take place, nor the necessary repairs.
The bottom line is that if you want to buy a certified pre-owned car, make sure you do your necessary homework, and that you have a good warranty. You need to make sure that you know what the warranty covers, because they are definitely not all the same. Good luck!
Wednesday, August 6th, 2008
According to an article on MSNBC.com, blind-spot mirrors are coming to the 2009 Ford Edge crossover this fall. Ford was planning on bringing these mirrors to their vehicles next year, but there was a great deal of positive feedback, so they decided to bring the blind-spot mirrors to their 2009 Edge this fall. Ford has competition from General Motors for these mirrors, because GM plans on making the blind-spot mirrors a standard feature on some versions of the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse crossover starting with production in September.
The purpose of the blind-spot mirrors is to give the drivers a view of the blind spot alongside the vehicle. The mirrors sit flush in the outer corner of the side mirrors. You can buy blind-spot mirrors to attach to your mirror, but like most things the factory installed mirrors will most likely be better. Stay tuned to see these blind-spot mirrors on many more vehicles in the future!
Monday, August 4th, 2008
There was an article on the front page of the auto section in my local newspaper on Sunday with the title, “Reinvent the Wheel-Automakers put low-resistance tires, once reserved for hybrids, to wider use.” The article was written by Scott Burgess of the The Detriot News. The article talks about how automakers are looking for any way to improve gas mileage on their cars…even one mile counts these days. Low-resistance tires are tires that roll easier on the road. This happens because the materials and tread design are different. Low-resistance tires can give up to two more miles per gallon of gasoline.
These tires have basically been used and somewhat reserved for hybrid vehicles, but many automakers including Ford will be using low-resistance tires on all of their 2009 compact SUVs coming out. The 2009 Ford Escape has these energy- saving tires as well. The only hitch to these tires is that they cost more. The cost of replacing the low-resistance tires for the Ford Escape would be about $150 to $260 per tire. That is definitely more than a conventional tire, but you could save money on your gasoline, so it could potentially be a wash.
The Green Seal, a nonprofit environmental organization, estimates that anywhere between 1.5% and 4.5% of all fuel used by cars and trucks in the United States could be saved if all replacement tires were low-resistance tires. Even though the savings does not seem like much, if the gas prices keep going up, every little bit will help, and we could help the environment by saving on gas as well.