Biofuels Are A Green Energy Source

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Source: Flickr

Biofuels are also a green energy source. It has been around for a very long time and lately, people are beginning to take notice.

Liquid biofuel which is the one used in cars is a natural and renewable domestic fuel that can only be used for diesel engines. This can be made from vegetable oils mostly soy and corn. The nice thing about it is that it contains no petroleum, is nontoxic and biodegradable.

By fueling up with biofuel, you decrease the pollutants in the air because it does not emit anything. Right now, it is the only fuel approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), passed every Heath-Effects Test of the Clean Air Act and meets the requirements of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

One example of this is biodiesel which is made from alcohol like methanol and a chemical process that separates glycerine and methyl esters (biodiesel) from fats or vegetable oils. Aside from methanol, some countries have also experimented with corn and sugarcane to create their own version of biofuel.

Glycerine is a common products and this is used in making toothpaste and soap. Since it is quite new, the process of converting it is quite expensive and right now, this is still much more expensive per gallon compared to petroleum.

But if you look at what you pay for it, the returns are huge because you get to do your share to preserve a cleaner environment, an improvement in air quality and a reduction of cancer-causing agents.

A cheaper and primitive way to make bio-diesel is by collecting cooking oil and then processing it. This may not good your car’s engine so be careful if you decide to use it.

If you are skeptic about biodiesels, studies have shown that its performance on the road is just as good as petroleum in terms of power to efficiency, hauling and climbing. You can use this in its pure form or blend with petroleum fuel. The most common mix in the market is 20/80 and is referred to as “B20.” This means that 20% is biodiesel and the remainder is 80%. Another version is the E85 which is fuel composed of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

The best part about using biodiesel is that you only have to make a few changes in your engine to be able to use it. Aside from making the car run, it also helps clean the engine. If you are concerned that this will void the warranty of your vehicle should there be a problem, don’t worry because it doesn’t. In the US, B20 is the most common one available but there are only a few gas stations that carry it.

When car’s first rolled out in the beginning of the 20th century, Henry Ford planned to make these vehicles especially the Model T’s run using ethanol. Tests have even shown that these may also run using peanut oil.

This never materialized because huge oil deposits were discovered and diesel was cheap. It was only when our demand for oil increased in the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and in the early part of this year that people began to realize that to reduce our demand for foreign oil that we should try using biodiesels and other forms of alternative energy.

Is it too late? Not yet because there is still time to use biofuels and others as green energy sources.

What Is Your Car Trying To Tell You?

Lamborghini Miura Super Cars - 1968
Source: Flickr

Over all my years of driving the one thing that still causes me the most concern is when I hear a new noise. This drives me particularly crazy every spring. After months of having the windows rolled up it’s very disconcerting when you first roll down the window to get a whiff of that fresh springtime air and you start hearing all those noises you car makes, and perhaps has been making all winter long. Then you start to think “what’s that noise? “, “how long has it been doing that? “

You drive your car everyday. You know how it should handle. If you notice something amiss, and more than once, get it checked out. You may save yourself a lot of inconvenience and money in the long run. You and your mechanic need to be a team when it comes to the maintenance of your car. You however need to be the eyes and ears of the team.

Every so often pay attention when you’re pulling your car out of a parking space. Is there any fresh fluid? It’s hard to tell sometimes due to the stains left from other cars. How about your driveway? Are you seeing new stains? If you are, what color is the fluid? Oil will be quite obvious, appearing black or dark brown. Antifreeze is fairly easy to recognize too with it’s yellow green color. Also, antifreeze has an unmistakable odor. A reddish fluid could be transmission or power steering fluid.

How is your car handling? It is pulling to one side when you stop? It may be time for a front end alignment. Keep a check on your tire pressure. Under inflated tires can cause lower gas mileage. Get your tires rotated on a regular basis to help prevent wear.

Are you breaks squealing? Get to the mechanic as soon as possible, don’t let this problem go on. If you do continue to drive you may find yourself replacing worn rotors along with break pads. Rotors can be very expensive.

Is you car acting sluggish? It is not accelerating like it used to? It may be time for a tune up. Are you noticing a hesitation? May be the gas filter.

Make sure you have your oil changed every 3,000 miles. This is a very good rule for any car, new or old. When I bought my new Toyota truck twenty years ago the first thing my mechanic said was that if I kept the oil changed I’d “get at least 200,000 miles out of the engine”. Well, fifteen years later I had 189,000 and the engine was still going strong. Unfortunately the frame was rusting, which was her ultimate demise.

Cars manufactured today are much better than they were 20 years ago and if you listen to what you car is trying to tell you, you should be able to have many worry free years with your car too.

Printing – The Facts and Basics behind 3D Printing Technology

3D Printing – The Facts and Basics behind 3D Printing Technology

Wishful thinking
A couple of decades ago, we all dreamed of a technological advancement that would allow us to print something. The printer was then conceived and made available for both residential and commercial uses. As technology continued to advance, so did our desire for something grander. We wanted to print something with 3-dimensional, or rather, something more than what we can put on a piece of paper. Instead of printing an apple on a piece of paper, we all wanted to print the entire apple, in both shape and size. However, this kind of technology was probably impossible, or so we thought.

A little history
As early as 1984, Charles Hull already had a vision for a 3D printer. He completed the technology that would allow for the printing of physical 3D objects from digital data. 2 years later, he was able to obtain a patent through his technique, which he called Stereolithography. In the same year, Charles Hull founded 3D Systems and created the first commercial 3D printing machine, but was referred to as the Stereolithography Apparatus. In 1988, 3D systems created the SLA-250, the first version made available to the general public.

Some interesting facts behind the technology
The 3D printer has now become a reality and people are becoming addicted to it. Some would even refer to the process as additive manufacturing. But what makes this technology so exciting? Why do people consider it “as important as the Internet”?

1.) For starters, the printer is able to print cars. Voxeljet, a 3D printing company, was commissioned to print 3D 1:3 scale models of the Aston Martin DB5 for the recent Bond flick, Skyfall. These models were made to be destroyed in the movie, but one survived and was later sold by Christie’s for close to £100,000.
2.) The medical equipment and prosthetics industry embraces 3D printing technology with open arms. Biomedic specialists in Belgium were able to implant a 3D-titanium plated jawbone into an 83 yr. old woman. What’s next, a hip or probably a splint? 3D printers were also used together with CAT scans to print out a clone of a tumor before performing surgery, so surgeons will be able to see what they are dealing with.
3.) Wing Commander Andy Green is preparing to break the world record for land speed in 2013. He will be piloting the Bloodhound SSC on a speed of 1,000mph. The car has been fitted with 3D components with the help of CAD and a clay molding of Green’s hands.

Sadly, there are no commercial 3D printers available for home and personal use.

The Brief History Of The Sport Utility Vehicle

Lexus Santa Monica CT200h event
Source: Flickr

Most of us are familiar with the birth of the automobile and Henry Ford’s Model “T,” but we often overlook the creation of one of the most popular vehicles on the road: the SUV. As time marches on, so does everything else and at one point the need for a larger, more rugged vehicle emerged paving the way for all the SUVs on the road at this very moment.

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, or in this case, evolution. Many believe the modern Sport Utility vehicle evolved from a vehicle known at the time as a “depot hack” (also referred to as “suburbans” or “carryalls”). Depot hacks were larger vehicles that transported people (and usually lots of luggage) to and from the train depots back when the rail line was the way to travel long distances.

As more and more people used their cars for longer distance driving, and people began to move further away from family members creating the need to drive longer distances more often, car manufacturers looked for a way to position themselves in the automobile market in the 1920s and 30s.

Jeep ultimately produced the “Jeep Wagon” which they described in marketing as the “utility vehicle” for the family in the 1940s. And so the term was coined. Jeep continued to develop its SUV line, producing the popular Wagoneer in the early 60s, while Chevy wound up with the official name “Suburban” for one of its models. In the 60s, when the surf scene and surfing lifestyle became popular, wagons began to take off and the ever popular “Woody” gained recognition.

As far as we can tell, these types of “carryalls” were truly the precursor to the modern SUV. As the baby boom generation grew up and started having kids of their own, the desire for sporty vehicles that could haul the whole family plus some started to grow. At that time, the average was 2.7 kids per family, a population that was still growing and as urban sprawl began to take hold, people found themselves in their vehicles more often than ever before. SUVs became the popular alternative to the stuffy station wagon, with more power and a sexier style.

The 70s brought high gas prices causing larger engines and high performance vehicles like the SUV to wane in sales. People began to gravitate toward fuel-efficient mini-vans, keeping the “carryall”
alive long enough to wait for the 80s to roll around. As the economy boomed, so did the American need for big, high performance vehicles again and big they were. Many SUV manufacturers went to extremes with 10-cylinder engines (the Ford Excursion is one). It was about size and power.

That trend, however, lost momentum for a variety of reasons during the 1990s and 2000s. SUVs came under scrutiny for being unsafe both to passengers inside and to smaller cars on the road. As urban space began to decrease, parking spaces became smaller and behemoth SUVs became less practical for city driving. A new awareness of fuel-efficiency based not on the economy, but on environmental awareness also came about and people started questioning the ownership of such vehicles.

The automobile industry responded by creating “compact SUVs” and cross-overs. Toyota came out with the smaller “Rav-4″ – an SUV with a wheelbase the same size as a car. Isuzu the popular Ascender 5-Passenger. SUVs also became safer during this time with manufacturers including both passive and active safety features.

Most recently, SUVs have tried to jump on the environmentally- and economically-sound bandwagon of electric powered vehicles and hybrids, hoping to stay competitive with the newer “green” cars. With SUVs evolving continuously to meet the market’s demands, it doesn’t look like they’ll be going away any time soon.

Endless Fields Of Color – It’s Spring At The Keukenhof Gardens

As the harsh morning frost slowly looses its fury, Dutch botanists nurture their countless tulip bulbs in preparation for the warming spring sun. The provinces of Holland in The Netherlands are bustling to prepare for the thousands of tourists from all parts of the globe that will descend upon the little European country for a glimpse at the most beautiful of gardens – the Keukenhof.

Planted near the town of Lisse, the Keukenhof Gardens literally explode with color for only two months out of the year. As each tulip and spring flower greedily strains upward for the sunbeams, visitors snap pictures and purchase bulbs and seedlings, hoping to plant their own stunning gardens. Clever genetic engineers have managed to subvert Mother Nature’s aversion to natural red tulips by cross-breeding, although this blunt disrespect is only tolerated for a few generations and the cross-breeding must again be repeated.

Crouch down for a closer look to experience a bug’s view of these natural masterpieces. Rather have a bird’s eye view? What better place to gaze out over endless fields of color than from a perch on an old wooden windmill? After all, no Dutch garden would be complete without one! From here, the rows of tulips go on in every hue imaginable and as far as the eye can see. The gardens are just fields, though. Tip-toe down a tulip-lined path that weaves in and out of the shading trees. Listen to the soft trickling of the fountains as you relax next to a tranquil lake. Admire the intricate designs created by planting just the right type and color of flower in the perfect spots.

For children that don’t quite understand the intoxicating and breathtaking effect of the gardens, the small playground will be their highlight. Whether you’ve got a green thumb or only wish that you did, the Keukenhof astounds.

The highlight of tulip season is the Flower Parade, occurring in mid-April every year. Creatively decorated floats and luxury cars crammed with as many blooms as humanly possible slowly make their way along the 40 kilometer trek while onlookers ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over their designs. It takes almost 12 hours for the entire parade to get from Noordwijk to Haarlem, which is even more amazing when considering that multiple marching bands accent the long line of floats and cars.

By mid-May, the blooms have begun to lose their luster. The Keukenhof looks towards the remaining 10 months of the year for preservation, maintenance, and replanting for the next thousands of tourists who will come the following March. Their gentle care of the delicate bulbs and attention to the tiniest of details promise another season of brilliant color and enchanted garden guests.

Detailing Your Car’s Interior

Detailing Your Car’s Interior

Source: Flickr

For car lovers who spend most of their time working on their cars for hours or even days just to present it on their selves as a precious gift, cleaning the interior is more important than the exterior. Enthusiasts will spend most of their time detailing their cars’ inside and it will still make sense. Technically, there are two surfaces of a car’s interior which are divided into: the breathable surfaces which include the cloth of the car’s seats and the vinyl such as the dashboard.

Step 1 – Vacuum
Before plugging in the vacuum and inhaling everything that comes in contact, you have to first remove the things that will go against your work like the mats, auto kits, etc. You must use a strong kind of vacuum. The small ones which run through rechargeable batteries will not be enough more so those that are plugged inside the lighter plug of your car. It is more advisable that you use something more powerful like your home’s vacuum cleaner. That would be perfect for the job.

Remove the mats and just do the cleaning separately. Vacuum everything in sight which includes those that will soon be cleaned with liquid cleaner. Use a brush for places inside your car that could get marred with any impact coming from solid edge attachments.

Step 2 – Do the vinyl
This is easier than vacuuming. Just use a vinyl cleaner like Simple Green which is pretty much available in automobile stores and the like. Dilute part of the concentration to water then go intense for stains that are stubborn. Drench the soft cloth inside the mixture then apply it in a liberal manner to the concerned sections. After applying, dry it up immediately using a towel made from microfiber. This is not advised to be used in metallic surfaces.

Step 3 – Innermost cleaning
If you have the strength for it, remove the car seats every time you do interior detailing. That is how thorough your cleaning should be. It will be easier on your part to clean the interior if you have no seats to hinder your cleaning although there are cars that don’t allow you to remove the seats so you have to work hard just to get the dirt out of the tiny spaces present on your car seats.

Step 4 – Floor mat cleaning
This is also easy. After removing them from your car’s interior, whale away then hose them and consider them as part of the wash job exteriorly. Majority who do this gets most of the dirt out but some may find it quite difficult. If the exterior washing doesn’t get the job done, then it is now necessary to apply a carpet cleaner then brush it.

Clean the part of the driver’s seat covered in vinyl with whatever chosen equivalent you have available. Never try treating the area with dressing for it will cause some problems like the driver getting slipped and may have difficulties in pedals.

Tough tip: it is always good to use hot or warm water whenever you plan on cleaning your interior. You can heat it up in a microwave although this strategy is only meant for those who are doing it at home because when it comes to professional car detailing, the model will be stronger. Other models will provide provisions for water heating.

Flood Damage Cars Are Still Around

Walking the Lotus Elan Sports Car
Source: Flickr

While the news reports concerning hurricanes, flood damages and the travesty that was put upon the unfortunate victims have slowed down, the dangers and hazards are still present.

With reports varying upwards of 600,000 vehicles damaged by floodwaters, these cars and trucks will most certainly, and already have, surfaced across the country, waiting on their next victim.

It’s easy to let your guard down with out much media publicity, but used car buyers should be aware that these vehicles are still out in the market, perhaps cross country in states that are not affected by the floods.

A couple of common issues that have surfaced, that you should be aware of, is sellers attempting to hide the origin of where these cars came from. By registering the vehicle in different states, it creates a paper trail that can be difficult to trace unless you spend the time for researching.

Another common issue is sellers changing license plate frames or adding an emblem from another state. This of course is designed to hide or deceive the potential buyer of what state the car came from.

The question remains, what steps should a consumer take to minimize their risk of purchasing one of these damaged vehicles? The below tips, ideas and suggestions will at least minimize your risk of purchasing a car or truck that has been involved with floodwaters.

Check the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s web site at, they have compiled a list of vehicles that have that have been affected by hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. While this list may not include every single vehicle, it’s a good place to start with.

Also run an online history report, once again, this database may not be all-inclusive, but it’s another step in the process of elimination.

Knowledge Is King, and it can’t have more meaning than in your quest for a quality used automobile. Following the below inspection tips will offer some added protection as well, and perhaps is the most effective means of determining in the vehicle was involved in floods.

·Inspect for grass and debris around the radiator, underneath around the frame, front and rear suspension components, etc.

·Check for standing waterlines in the engine compartment, rear firewall area, and even inside door pockets of the door panels and interior trim areas.

·Mildew smell inside due to wet carpeting and padding indicate the possibility water intrusions.

·Inspect connectors and wiring for signs of corrosion, physically disconnect a few connectors and inspect the terminals. Corrosion evidence will be a green or white chalk type substance or rust color.

·Look for rusted bolts and metal components, particularly underneath seats where water has been standing.

·Inspect for windows fogging up on the inside after the vehicle has sat overnight, this is an indication that there may be water underneath the carpet and or carpet padding.

·Inspect trunk area for waterlines, corroded connectors and wiring.

With a keen eye and a little knowledge you can minimize the risk of spending thousands of dollars on a vehicle that has potential long-term effects by water damage. offers a comprehensive “how to” course designed to educate the average consumer on protecting themselves when used car shopping.

For more information visit the web site at or call toll free 1 866 374 WISE (9473).

The Real Deal On Hybrid Car Prices

1966 AC Cobra 427
Source: Flickr

Since more and more people are considering buying hybrid cars in order for them to save thousands of dollars on gasoline, it is best to look at the price of some of the most popular models of those vehicles.

As a general rule, one should expect that the hybrids are slightly more expensive that their regular counterparts. The hybrids are priced somewhere around $19,000 to $55,000. That makes them three to five thousand dollars pricier than the common car.

So far, the lowest-priced hybrid around is the 2006 Honda Insight with manual transmission, priced at around $19,330. The highest, on the other hand, is the GS 450h, a hybrid sports sedan from Lexus. It comes with a whopping $54,900 price tag.

For hybrid models for 2006-2007, pricing goes like this:

$21,274 for the 2006 Toyota Prius
$21,850 for the 2006 Honda Civic hybrid
$30,140 for the 2006 Honda Accord hybrid
$25,900 for the 2007 Toyota Camry hybrid

For the SUV category, here are the prices:

$24,840 for the 2006 Mariner hybrid, the standard four-wheel drive
$23,995 for the Saturn VUE Green Line hybrid, Summer 2006 edition
$49,060 for the 2006 Lexus GS 450h
$27,515 for the 2006 Ford Escape hybrid, the two-wheel drive version, then $28,595 for the four-wheel drive

Of course, these are just the base prices. Any additional or customized features will fatten the price tag.

There are issues regarding the hidden costs that can accumulate once someone purchases a hybrid vehicle. For instance, the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight have eight-year warranties for their batteries. The thing is, once the batteries dies down after eight years, it cannot be repaired – it must be replaced with a brand-new one, which will cost the owner around $7000.

Vic Johnstone, the manager for alternative vehicles and specialized vehicles of Toyota, verifies that the batteries are built to last for only less than a decade.

Car owners are on their toes regarding the recyclability of the batteries, which are made from NickelMetal Hydride. It is rumored that the said batteries can do more harm to the environment than it was originally intended for.

Significantly, Toyota has decreased the price of the batteries of their Prius. It was originally priced at $4500 and was brought down to only $3000. The downside is that unlike its closest competitor, Honda, Toyota will only offer a five-year warranty for the new batteries.

The prices of the batteries are expected to decrease as technology improves for the manufacturing of the hybrid models.

Still, owners of hybrid cars know that their cars will emphasize fuel savings than financial ones. They concluded that fifteen years are needed to pay off the extras spent on the battery of the Prius, along with its calculated fuel consumption.

The right disposal of the nickel batteries are also an issue among car owners. Since the main derivative of the batteries is nickel, it is considered semi-toxic . The content also contains electrolyte, which, if gathered in big portions, could be hazardous to the environment.

What Judges Look For at Car Shows

Have you ever wondered exactly what the judge’s at car shows are looking at?
Many people wonder and yet not everyone is always fully aware of what they are looking for. Of course there are different categories have different criteria about what is expected for each car. You are never going to please all of the judges, but if you know what they may be looking for, you can certainly help increase your chances of coming out well in the car show.

Clean cars, this is something that most people do not care about category for. The only time you should ever have a dirty car is if you just participated in a race as part of the car show. Otherwise, your car should be completely clean. This means inside and outside and no signs of dirt or debris anywhere. If you need to spend a few minutes after you arrive ensuring that it is clean and doing a bit of touch up work.

Scratches are something to avoid as well. Judges are not impressed by scratches and there is rarely ever a category or prize for most scratched car. Ensure that the scratches are dealt with appropriately before the car show. This will help improve your winning chances and the judges are much more likely to pay attention to how your car really looks, rather than their eyes wondering over to the scratches that you left in place.

Your tires are important as well. You may not realize it, but this says a lot about the way you maintain your car. They are looking for simply the best; judges are not going to appreciate seeing a year’s supply of mud caked up underneath the wheel well. They are impressed by immaculately clean cars, not those that need a through detail cleaning.

Some other areas to look at include paint, this may seem strange but the judges usually like to see something that is unique and creative. Just because your car was originally the same red color as the other 1 million cars that rolled off the assembly line, looking just like it does not mean it needs to stay red. Sometimes a new shade or even a completely different color can make a normal and boring car quite unique. If you have the personality for it a creative paint job can make your car especially memorable. After all, how many black, blue and red cars do you think the judges will see? How many do you think they will see that are lime green or even hot pink? Choose paint color carefully but look for something that is going to be memorable in a good way.

A final area to look at is the overall feeling of the car. You generally would not take a 1930’s Chevrolet and trick it out with rims, televisions and tons of other high tech goodies. However, at the same time, you should look for a few modern touches to make the car unique and enjoyable. Unless you are just trying to obtain the most unique award, try to keep your car styled around the same as it was originally just better if possible.

Ensuring that your car creates a memorable and positive impression on the judges is not always easy. After you participate in a few car shows, you should start to gain a good bit of ideas on what exactly the judges are looking for and ensure that you are fitting into their needs and wants. With some practice, you are sure to enjoy the sweet success of winning a few trophies or even a ribbon or two.

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Solar Energy Is A Form Of Green Energy Source

Plug in Prius - Photo by Cheryl Long
Source: Flickr

Solar energy is a green energy source because it is a renewable and it does not cause any harm to the environment. This is achieved by converting the sun’s rays into electricity with the help of solar cells.

There are three basic approaches how we can use this form of green energy source namely passive, active and by using photovoltaic cells.

When we refer to passive solar energy, nothing is converted. What happens is the building’s design helps avoid heat loss and gets the most out of day lighting.

Such a technique can also be used in homes because studies have shown that this can reduce the heating requirements by as much as 80% with minimal cost. This means you don’t have to turn on the air condition or heater that often and if everyone does that, we don’t consume that much electricity which we get from non-renewable resources.

The second approach which is active solar energy is the first way of converting sunlight into heat. You should know that there are certain limits to this one and all it can do is make sure you have hot water.

The third approach is the big scale version and it can power an office or an entire home. This is done with the help of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. The smallest ones around can be seen in calculators and watches with large ones planted over huge acres of land.

The only limitation to this green energy source is the fact that it can only generate power when the weather is good and the sun is out. Should it rain, then nothing is collected and converted. When this happens, the auxiliary system is turned on until the weather improves.

Despite that, scientists and students themselves have made solar powered cars. NASA or the National Aeronautical Space Administration has sent satellites into space that are powered by solar panels. A fully functional airport can function on its own thanks to solar power even if it is situated in the middle of the frozen desert.

So people can see the awesome power of solar energy, did you know a kilowatt of solar energy can produce 5.5 hours of electricity per day. If you have more solar cells in place, naturally you will be able to produce enough power to last several days.

Solar energy is just one form of green energy source around. Through the years, we have learned to tap other resources and these examples include wind power, geothermal energy, hydroelectricity and biogas. These are all safe and by using these more often, we don’t need to depend on oil which is a nonrenewable resource.

To make this happen, we have to persuade our law makers to promote the use of such resources. Although you hear speeches left and right about their concern for the environment, it is all talk and not that much action. It is something that has to change.

Two countries that have increased solar usage happen to be Germany and Japan. Spain, France, Italy and South Korea are next in the list and where is the United States? Well, one thing is for certain and that it is not in the top 10 despite the fact that it is an industrialized nation.

The Car Market Is Evolving

Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid
Source: Flickr

Which country makes up the largest segment of car buyers in the world?

You probably guessed it. The United States. With 299,398,484 citizens (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), coupled with a better-than-decent economy, it’s not surprising. But analysts predict that while demand for cars and trucks in the U.S. is unlikely to decrease, by 2025, the United States will no longer be the largest car market in the world.

Demand for automobiles has increased dramatically in countries like China as well as many other developing countries and by 2009, the Asia Pacific region is likely to become the largest car market in the world. Currently, Europe is the world’s largest continental market.

Indicators predict, however, that before the end of the decade, the Asia Pacific region’s demand for light vehicles will hit the 23 million mark – higher than ever before. With steadily rising incomes in Asia as well as India, a whole new group of first-time vehicle owners is emerging. Americans and Canadians have already topped out in this regard, leaving these developing countries to be the forces that drive the future global market, according to spokespeople at JD Powers.

How will this affect top sellers in the U.S. market? Chances are, it won’t. Americans will still drive their Isuzu Ascenders and their Ford Focuses. A thriving U.S. economy, as well as affordable lease options and payment structures, will keep Americans buying and buying often. With a median household income of over $46,000, Americans can afford to purchase or lease a new vehicle on average, approximately every four years (some of this is obviously driven by the popular 36-month lease option available with most new cars).

BusinessWeek Magazine reported that by 2010, the demand for cars will continue to dominate in the U.S., but the country’s car market growth will plateau at under 17 million. In essence, it already has. In 2000, the number of light vehicles registered in the country was 17.48 million. It dropped to 17.39 in 2001 and hasn’t been able to hit the 17 million mark since.

On many levels, U.S. regulations and the expectations of American consumers dictate the products offered by car manufacturers. For example, Isuzu’s upgrades and superior safety features in their popular i-370 pickup truck reflect the desires of Americans to drive high-quality, safe vehicles. While some of these enhanced safety features aren’t required by law, manufacturers add them to make their products more competitive in the U.S. Will consumers in Asia demand the same? It’s unlikely it will matter whether they will or not. The global car market will never be able to ignore the demands of the American consumer who will continue to wield the greatest spending power.

Foreign car manufacturers rely on a segment of the U.S. car market.

While that need may decrease over time, no company with a foothold in the U.S. is will be eager to give that up. Nearly every automotive trend to date has roots tightly gripped in American soil. From the surge in popularity of the SUV, to the desire for “green” cars and hybrids, to the pickup truck iconic of Middle America, the U.S. will be a major player in foreign and domestic car sales for a long time to come.

Eating Well Is The Basis Of Living Well

Nutrition is a very important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Without the proper balance of nutritional components, our body feels depleted, aged and even ill at times. There has been much written about nutrition and sorting through so much information can often become confusing. Here we will outline some of the best tips to help you get started on your path to feeling healthier.

Add green tea to your diet. Green tea contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can protect the skin and benefit its overall health. Drinking green tea can help to reduce the damage from sunburn, in turn reducing the risk of skin cancer. Try to drink two cups of green tea per day.

Restrict calories for better nutrition. Various studies have shown that calorie restrictive diets are better for your health, and promote longevity. Diets like this have also been shown to lessen your risk of chronic health issues like heart disease and diabetes. The less often you go overboard on your calories the better.

Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors in order to be healthy. Different color groups of fruits and vegetables contain micro-nutrients that your body needs to be healthy. An apple a day is great, but if you add in some carrots, green leafy lettuce, and blueberries you will feel terrific.

Many times, tiredness is not caused by lack of sleep alone but rather poor nutrition as well. You should try increasing the iron in your diet for optimal nutrition and reduced tiredness. You can take supplements or increase your consumption of iron-rich foods, typically meats and fish, to keep your body at its healthiest.

Nutrition in infants is very easy. Under the age of six months, an infant needs nothing but breast milk or formula. Once the child has reached six months old, pediatricians recommend that you introduce solid foods. This is more for acceptance than nutrition, as breast milk and formula has all the nutrition that an infant needs in the first year of life.

Copper is an important mineral which should be a part of a healthy diet. It allows the iron to function in your body, thus preventing anemia. Copper acts as an antioxidant by protecting against free radicals. It also helps keep your bones, blood vessels and lungs healthy. You can get copper in legumes, cereal, whole grains, fish and liver.

If you are concerned about healthy nutrition, you will want to look into the growing movement for locally grown food. By buying produce from local small farms you get a fresher product. It hasn’t been shipped across country in refrigerated cars! If organically grown, it won’t be laden with pesticides.

Everyone wants to feel healthy. Maintaining the proper balance of nutritional values is an integral part of living a healthier life. Proper nutrition leads to longevity, a more youthful appearance and decreased illnesses. Follow the tips we have provided in this article and you too can begin to reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

Owning a new car is an expensive business

Aston Martin V8 Vantage - GDASTON
Source: Flickr

According to the AA, the average cost of running a small family car over 10,000 miles per year was £5,611, up from £5,534 in 2006. Depreciation is the main cost issue to consider, accounting for around half the annual running costs.

Fixing your annual costs by renting a car for up to two or three years is becoming more and more popular, according to Ling Valentine (34), the extrovert Chinese immigrant owner of

This method of financing a brand new car, (commonly referred to by the catch-all phrase “leasing”) avoids increasing interest rates and APRs, by fixing the monthly rental of a new car in a simple, clear figure. This monthly payment can then be compared on a like-for-like basis across a wide range of new cars, something that is almost impossible with the many different “offers” surrounding traditional finance.

“The monthly cost depends on several factors”, says Ling, from her Gateshead ‘World Headquarters’. “First I take the discounted price of the new cars I get from ordering in bulk, often from dealers who need to shift volume to hit targets. Then, I check around a dozen different contract-hire finance providers, who will each value the residual value differently, guessing what the car will be worth to them at the end of the lease term. Finally, I package this together, making sure my own overheads are dramatically less than those of other providers, including the franchised car dealers and car companies themselves. I do not have dozens of expensive glass-palace showrooms to run.”

The result is that LINGsCARS provides, at the touch of a button on a web-browser, a price list of over 400 different brand-new makes and models of cars, all with an easily comparable monthly rental figure. Ling even does something which is unheard of in the new car trade, and lists every car in price order, allowing visitors to her website the ability to compare cars from a £111 a month Chevrolet Matiz to a £735 a month Range Rover. No car dealer in the UK allows that “street-price” comparison, across such a wide range. She lists prices based on annual mileages of 10, 15 and 20,000 miles, suiting most peoples’ use; “You are rewarded for driving less, a very Green way of doing things”, she claims.

New car dealerships often require you to put down a large deposit and then take out a finance deal on a brand new car, or the alternative is to take a loan and write a large cheque. Ling’s argument is why tie up large amounts of your capital or borrowings in a car? “I only ask for three-months rentals as an initial payment, followed by a direct debit payment every month. For a nice new car costing around £300 a month, such as a SAAB 9-5, or a Kia Sorento 4×4, or an Alfa GT or the latest Honda CRV, that means you only have £900 invested, and you are paying the rest month-by-month as you use the car. At the end of the agreement, the car is simply returned to the finance company, you can’t keep it. You have just paid for the use of the car. It is impossible to fall into negative equity, and there is no lump sum to pay at the end.”

“I would suggest you put your spare cash into your house or your savings, not into a big deposit on a new car, which is a depreciating asset”, says Ling.

The necessary oil and filter servicing is cheap, Ling insists, as the cars are brand new and never fall due for an MOT and are unlikely to need major items like brakes and tyres. She says road tax is fully included for the term; “I deliver these new cars to your door, all you have to do is insure them, service them and put fuel in them”.

Breakdowns, which are unlikely on new cars, are fully covered by the manufacturers’ warranty. Some AA or RAC type cover is included for at least the first year. A big benefit is safety; …new cars have the highest safety ratings and the latest safety equipment built in, an important consideration for families.

Talking about traditional new car ownership, the AA says: “As most owners come to pay their motoring bills, each is more expensive than last year’s – undermining claims that cars are getting cheaper to run.”

Ling insists she can change that; “As long as you are credit-worthy and you look after the car like it is your own, you can release the equity in your current car and get into the cycle of changing your car for a brand-new one. You can do this very cheaply, every two or three years”, Ling says.

It is no wonder that in 2007, LINGsCARS rented over £28m of new cars, and that Ling has been awarded “Best non-franchise motor industry website of the year*”. In this Beijing Olympic year, this is one Chinese who is already winning medals – in the UK!
* Automotive Management Awards, Feb 2007.

Next Generation Of Hybrid Cars

1948 PACKARD Super 8 Victoria convertible
Source: Flickr

Every once in a while, an invention comes along that gains so much popular attention that it may seem like it has been around forever. While the basic idea for the hybrid car has been around since 1917, the hybrids that we talk about on the market today have only really been around since the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius made their debuts in the 1990s. Since that time, other dealers have become involved in the hybrid trade, in part thanks to government initiatives such as the Clinton administration’s agreement with Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors (Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles). What the growth in both popularity and diversity means is that several issues that have come up in the evolution of the hybrid car are being dealt with in the age old capitalist way of competition.

Hybrid cars have always lived up to their touted ability to save gas, but unless your soul is painted green this was not necessarily of any benefit to the average consumers. Most hybrid cars end up costing more than their standard engine counterparts over the long term, largely due to their initial cost. In addition, hybrid parts can be hard and expensive to obtain.

These are some of the key issues that need to be resolved from a consumer’s perspective in order to make the mass purchase of hybrids by the public a reality. It should come as no surprise that in terms of long term cost, the original manufacturer of the hybrid, Toyota, is far ahead of its competitors when it comes to addressing the purchasing needs of consumers. This is currently the only model that over time will actually save a consumer some dollars because of gas savings. Here are some other models of hybrid cars slated for debut in the next few years.

Toyota Prius: Still the gold standard for hybrids, the Prius 2007 model is now being advertised for sale and is in the lot of a dealership near you. The model brags an incredible 110 miles to a single gallon. It is also expected that Toyota will continue to set the standard when it comes to speed for the hybrid (which has been another knock on hybrid vehicles, although they can maintain a legal speed along with any other model of vehicle just fine) as the 2004 model was designed to reach speeds of up to 130 miles per hour. $20,875 US dollars.

Ford Escape: The 2005 is the latest model in the Ford hybrid line, and is great for both domestic car enthusiasts and those who insist on having a sports utility vehicle. The Escape offers 50 miles to the gallon (keep in mind that it is an SUV) and all the luxuries of a standard model car. $27,000 USD.

Honda also offers three models in hybrid version, and these are a few thousand dollars less than Toyota models. As for hybrid luxuries, they might be in the near future as well, with Lexus and Mercedes working on perfecting their own models.

Autos As Automatic Pollutants

“Green cars now so that my daughter will have places to drive at tomorrow…” this is a clamor of an American father. Air pollution is everywhere and it is a big problem for most societies.

Air pollution is composed of many environmental factors. They include carbon monoxide, nitrates, sulfur dioxide, ozone, lead, secondhand tobacco smoke and particulate matter. Particulate matter, also known as particle pollution, is composed of solid and liquid particles within the air. It can be generated from vehicle emissions, tire fragmentation and road dust, power generation and industrial combustion, smelting and other metal processing, construction and demolition activities, residential wood burning, windblown soil, pollens, molds, forest fires, volcanic emissions and sea spray. These particles vary considerably in size, composition and origin.

As mentioned, vehicle emission is one of the biggest components. Busy and crowded streets of the United States contribute a lot to the worsening of the air pollution problem.

Carbon monoxide is a major component of air pollution. It is colorless, odorless and highly poisonous gas. It is associated with combustion reaction in cars and other vehicles same with cigarette smoke. Carbon monoxide is harmful because when it is received by the body, the level of oxygen decreases. High levels of CO are a threat to one’s life. Small amounts of CO if being absorbed by the body in a long span of time will still cause respiratory illnesses. Too much exposure may lead to malign health problems.

When you go to streets, there are these cars blowing out too much dark smoke. Studies show that there is a very big negative impact caused by pollution from cars and other air pollutants.
A study explains that a person’s exposure to poisonous components of air pollution may vary as much within one city as across different cities. After studying 5,000 adults for eight years, the researcher also found that exposure to traffic-related air pollutants was more highly related to mortality than were city-wide background levels. For example, those who lived near a major road were more likely to die of a cardiovascular event.

Some research has estimated that people living in the most polluted U.S. cities could lose between 1.8 and 3.1 years because of exposure to chronic air pollution. This has led some scientists to conclude that:

Short-term exposure to elevated levels of particle pollution is associated with a higher risk of death due to a cardiovascular event.

Hospital admissions for several cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases rise in response to higher concentrations of particle pollution.

Prolonged exposure to elevated levels of particle pollution is a factor in reducing overall life expectancy by a few years.

These facts are really telling us what future awaits Americans if this situation continues. Indeed, a need to regulate vehicle smoke is needed not only for the welfare of the present time, but for the future.

Driving in Chiang Mai, Thailand. – Can I, should I?

Driving in Chiang Mai, Thailand. – Can I, should I?

Having had my Driver’s License for 47 years now and having driven manual transmissions and automatics from Volkswagen bugs, to Corvettes, to Nissan 300 ZX Turbo’s to more refined Lincoln luxury cars you would think that I could drive anywhere in the world.

My driving record is excellent. No accidents and no points off in the last 6 years and that qualifies me for the best rating and the best insurance rate in Canada. An experienced driver with the best driving record.

Coming to Chiang Mai, Thailand and renting a car to see the sites and get around town should be a breeze you would expect. Well anyone who thinks so is dead wrong.

Driving here has to be seen to be believed. Do not try it unless you know someone here who has educated you as to What to Watch Out For.

Here is my list:

The lines on the roads do not mean a thing here. You can drive on them, you can drive on the side of them, but do not expect drivers to drive between them. Why? Because on the left side of the road you will find motorbikes so cars move over knowing that this is the preferred route of the motorbikes. That is one reason. Another is that both red taxi’s (converted pick up trucks used as taxis) and tuk tuk’s (three wheeled motorcycles used as taxis) move over from the fast lane to the middle of the two lanes in an attempt to pick up more passengers and yet not lose out on positioning in a fast lane of traffic.

Traffic signals do not mean a thing here. Vehicles can jump the green and make a turn against the flow of traffic if they are hmmm. the first, second, third or even the fourth vehicles in line at a red light as you want to cross an intersection with the light just having turned green. Expect vehicles to run the red if it just turned red hmmm. what one, two, or perhaps three seconds ago.
Watch out for the 3 wheeled bicycles. These are normally driven by slim men in their sixties who have doing this for years. This may have been a fashionable and popular means of transportation 50 years ago or so but now it is a danger out on the roads as they move along at 4 mph on streets full of cars and motorcycles, all of which are in a hurry to go somewhere.

Watch out for vendors pushing their carts at 2 mph down the street on the left hand side of the road.

Watch out for dogs who lay on the road and refuse to move or move reluctantly as the last second.

If you are keeping up with the flow of traffic on a fast moving road at 45 mph in bumper to bumper traffic EXPECT someone to tailgate your vehicle. Oh maybe 10 ft from your rear bumper or perhaps 5 ft. from your bumper. Nice, polite, quiet people that they are Thai’s when they get behind the steering wheel change they make a transition from Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jekyll.
In my opinion most drivers here only have the mandatory basic insurance which is almost useless should they have an accident. So they try to be careful and not hit other cars by driving 3 ft away from vehicles on their passenger side. Either they cannot judge the distance as they are inexperienced drivers or they are extremely careful, either way they will drive down the street using part of your lane forcing you out of your lane.

Overtaking can be done regardless of whether you do it by passing the vehicle in front of you on the left or right side. So if you drive down the road EXPECT to see a vehicle coming straight for you in your lane passing a slower vehicle. They will pass and expect you to slow down or move out of your lane as they are going somewhere in a hurry.

Overtaking another vehicle will happen by vehicles going uphill and not seeing what is ahead of them, overtaking will occur on turns and the drivers not seeing what is ahead of them, overtaking will occur whenever and wherever.
Pedestrians crossing with the traffic light green DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY, vehicles go first and you should cross when you it is safe to do so.

Now having said all of that you may be thinking to yourself, Is this guy trying to scare me, is he trying to be funny, does he not want me to drive in Chiang Mai? The answer to these questions is:
I want you to know what you will be facing should you decide to drive here. I want you not to injure yourself or someone else thinking you can go ahead and rent/drive a vehicle without having driven here before or without some advice.

When I first arrived and saw the traffic I thought that I would never be able to drive here. Well now I do drive here. I know what to watch out for and drivers running greens or red lights does not surprise me or anger me. I merely expect it.

The Thai drivers here have probably not had any formal driving instruction, they may not have any decent insurance coverage, and they may be pushy when it comes to driving as they may be in a hurry to earn money so that they can feed their family. So nothing against them, I try to understand their driving habits and adjust mine accordingly. No matter how they drive they are happy go lucky, cheerful, hard working people and I love them.

Get Rid Of Moss And Algae For Good

Source: Flickr

It’s green; it’s slimy; it’s slippery. It’s growing on your lawn, your patio, your steps and walkways-even your roof and siding. If you’ve ever lived through several humid or wet days, you probably have had to deal with moss or algae.

“Dampness combined with heavy shade and poor air circulation are the ingredients that create moss and algae,” says Bayer Advanced™ Garden Expert Lance Walheim, who wrote the book “Lawn Care for Dummies” and is a regular contributor to Sunset magazine. “They make your house look dirty and on your patio, it’s easy for children or the elderly to slip and fall.”

Pruning trees to increase sunlight can help prevent moss and algae over the long run. Adjusting the pH of your soil can help reduce the green slime in your lawn. You can also spend a few hundred dollars a year to have the exterior of your home cleaned.

In the past, if you wanted to get rid of that nasty green stuff, the do-it-yourself approach required a scrub brush and a bucket of water mixed with bleach.

“Mixing bleach is always a challenge,” says Walheim. “You have to make it strong enough to get the job done but the fumes can be awfully strong too. You also have to scrub like crazy to get into all those nooks and crannies.”

Now, however, there is another alternative with no scrubbing required-Bayer Advanced 2-in-1 Moss and Algae Killer. This is a fast-acting moss, algae and lichen killer that can be applied to lawns, as well as steps and walkways, patios, shingles, stucco, wood decks and fences, roofs and even the exteriors of cars and boats.

On wood, concrete and asphalt, a single application of the product will control moss and algae for up to one year and it does not stain surfaces.

When Buying A Used Car From Its Owner, Beware Of The Owner Bearing Offers!

Source: Flickr

Getting started with used cars does not require a mortgage or a student loan, but it is not free either.
Buying used cars costs money. That is why it is extremely important to know all the possible factors that might lead the buyer into buying a used car that is suspect.

In reality, it is easy for the buyer to get carried away by convincing sales pitches, special offers, fantastic deals, magnificent bundles, freebies, and the like. However, it would take a really smart buyer to get the best deal when it comes to used cars.

Hence, it is equally important to know the basic factors that need to be considered before the buyer decides on a particular used car, especially if the car will be bought directly from the owner.

Here are some tips that might help those who are planning to buy a used car from its owner.

1. When buying cars from the owner, the buyer should ask the seller for the “vehicle registration document” or the so-called V5. Through this document, the buyer will be able to know the full details of the car’s ownership like the name of the owner, the address, and other identity details.

2. If in case the V5 is with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency or the DVLA, as told by the owner, the buyer should verify the reason. If it is due to recording purposes where the change of ownership shall be recorded, the seller should have a green slip that is to be presented to the buyer in exchange of the V5.

3. It is best for the buyer to ask the seller to see the insurance policy for the vehicle. If the seller cannot produce the document, it would be better not to buy the used car because there is a high probability that he is not the real owner or that there is something fraudulent with the transaction.

4. It is important to check if the identification details stipulated in the V5 is the same as that written in the driver’s license. The address and the name should be the same on the two most important documents. Other wise, it would be better not to pursue on buying the car if there is doubt on the details.

These things should never be taken for granted because if any of the conditions mentioned is present, there is a great chance that the car is stolen. Therefore, it’s better not to take any risk.

New Auto Parts to Spruce Up Your Car

Lexus Santa Monica CT200h event
Source: Flickr

If you love the feeling of having a brand new car to show off the world then you are not alone! In the year 2000 alone, there were about 12.5 million brand new cars that were sold to owners throughout the United States. That certainly is a staggering figure and something to ponder, and many of these same brand-new automobile owners want to keep their cars running and looking in pristine condition. However, every once in a blue moon something happens to an automobile, whether on accident or on purpose, and new auto parts are needed in order to keep it looking clean, good, and running smooth! If you are one of the owners that frequently buy auto parts to spruce up your car, here are some suggestions for the next time some modification is done.

Brand New Body Kits

There are plenty of auto parts that are included with body kits that will allow you to modify your car in the exact way that you want. Many times these auto parts body kits involve not only lowering your car, but also adding extra auto parts to the bumper in order to make it more pristine and respectable among the other cars on the road. Young adults are certainly many of the people who account for making these types of modifications to their cars, but chances are that there are some older folks, too, that continue to play with their cars as they get older. Nevertheless, an auto parts body kit is the one project that many people continue to do with their cars and it’s a very popular pastime as well!

New Tail Lights or Headlights

Headlights and tail lights are some of the other auto parts that can be purchased to spruce up your car or make it look like it’s brand new. Furthermore, many people decide to change the color of the lights that their headlights emit. Even though this is illegal in some cities and states, some of the colors that are used by adding extra auto parts include neon green, neon blue, as well as pink and red colors. Although virtually any type of color of headlight can be purchased for your car, these are the most prevalent.

Inside Auto Parts

There are also various auto parts that you can buy for the inside of your car, too. For example, whether you want to spruce up the inside of your engine with modifications or you want to add changes to the physical inside of the car, there are plenty of options and auto parts to use when going this route. For example, there are some who like to add interior changes, like CD and DVD players instead of the manufactured radio, and there are some who simply like to add new seat covers to their car. Seat covers can come in many different styles and colors, and leather is even an option.

All in all, there are plenty of auto parts that make a good match for your car if you want to spruce it up a bit. As mentioned millions of brand new cars are purchased in the United States each year and there are many options to choose from if you want to add auto parts to your car in order to make it look snazzier, cooler, and better than it already was!

Antique Cars: How to Choose the Perfect Color

Antique cars, often referred to as classic cars, are usually prized possessions of their owners.
After all of mechanical work has been done to restore them to perfect working conditions, painting is usually the last step in the process.

Just because it’s the last step, however, does not mean that it’s the least important step. In fact, the painting of antique cars is quite possibly the most important undertaking of the restoration process. For, it is what gets noticed first.

Following are some handy tips to following when painting prized possessions like classic cars.

3 Ideas for Choosing the Perfect Color for Your Antique Car

This is a personal choice but should be done with care, especially if you have restored your antique car for the purpose of selling it. Just like choosing paint colors for your home, there are some definite do’s and don’ts.

Choose mainstream car colors: Black, red, white, navy blue, cream, gray, etc. These are considered traditional colors that never go out of style. They’re not trendy and are unlikely to turn off buyers like, for instance, lime green.

If you’re having a hard time deciding on a color, try one of the following to get some ideas:

(i) Go with the original color of the car: This is an easy option that is “saleable” as well. For example, your ad could read, “Lovingly restored antique car, right down to the original color.” Classic car buyers tend to like vehicles that have as much of the original look and feel of the car as possible, including the color.

(ii) Peruse classic car magazines: Again, just like home décor magazines, these provide a multitude of color ideas – quite possibly colors you never would have considered.

(iii) Ask other classic car enthusiasts: It’s always a good idea to get broad a range of opinion from those who share the antique car passion.

You can employ one or all of these tactics. While paint is not permanent, it’s not something you want to make a mistake on simply because it can be changed. Getting the color right the first time means you can sell – or start to enjoy – the car that much sooner.

The above color-choosing ideas are meant for those who wish to sell an antique car. If the car is for your personal use, then choose whatever your heart desires.

Antique Cars: How to Choose a Professional Paint Shop

Now that you’ve spent time choosing the perfect color, it’s time to choose someone to do the job. Following is some advice on choosing the right shop.

Make sure that the paint shop you choose has been in business for a while. This is important because it means they will have all of the necessary tools and equ8ipment to get the job done right.

Antique cars are prized possessions that owners want to protect from dust, grime, rust, wear and tear. A reputable paint shop will be able to give you information on the different types of paint finishes you can use to protect against all of this.

The Basics of Formula One Racing

Formula One racing is a weekend event with two practice sessions on Friday, a practice session and qualifying on Saturday, and the race on Sunday. The practice sessions are used for drivers to familiarize themselves with the track and for the crew to make any necessary adjustments to the car. The qualifying is used to determine the way the cars will start in the race.

Formula One qualifying works a little differently that some people would think. Qualifying is broken down into three segments with 7-minute breaks in between. In the first segment, all 22 cars run the qualifying lap. The slowest 6 cars are placed in the 17-22 staring positions. In the second segment, the remaining 16 cars run the qualifying lap. The slowest 6 cars are placed in the 11-16 starting positions. In the final segment, the final 10 cars are racing to be on the pole position, the position that puts the fastest car on the track in the number one starting position. In short, to be in the pole position for a Formula One race you first must be 16th or faster, then 10th of faster, and in the final session, you must be the fastest car on the track.

Thirty minutes prior to race time on Sunday afternoon, the drivers are able to make as many warm up laps that they choose during this thirty minute period. The general rule for the length of the races is set but the smallest number of complete laps over 305km, though there are a few exceptions. Once five sets of lights go green and the set of red lights go off the race begins. With the cars averaging 2 kilometers per liter of fuel, they make many pit stops curing a race. During these pit stops, they will also get fresh tires and the crew can make minor adjustments to the car as needed. The timing and placement of pit stops can be crucial to a Formula Once racecar driver. At the end of the race the First, Second, and Third place drivers are put on a podium and the National Anthem of the winner home country is played. A post race press conference follows.

The current points system that was put into place in 2003 allows points for the top 8 spots. The winner receives 10 points, second place 8 points, third place 6 points, fourth place 5 points, fifth place 4 points, six place 3 points, seventh place 2 points, and eighth place 1 point. The driver that earns the most points in a season earns the spot of the World Champion. The number of Formula One races in a season varies but generally falls somewhere around 18 a year. The season for Formula One racing is 8 months long and runs from the beginning of March to the middle or end of October depending on the number of races.

There is much more to learn about Formula Once racing. This was just a little bit of background of the race weekend, pit stops, points system, and the racing season.

Credit Offerings For Hybrid Cars

1972 Lotus Europa
Source: Flickr

If you have just bought another hybrid car this year, you might be in for a big headache. In fact, after you read this article, you would probably be berating yourself for having done so. The very expensive hybrid cars now comes with bigger headaches — in the form of regulated tax credits.

Beginning January 1, this year, owners and buyers of several latest models of hybrid cars would be imposed hefty tax credits. Those credits will vary a lot. Several of the hybrid vehicles available in the market will still not be entitled to any tax credit at all.

What exactly is a tax credit?

The term refers to the dollar amount or tax imposed on certain hybrid car models. The tax credits vary from one hybrid model to another, sometimes depending on the unit’s overall functionality and the popularity.

New hybrid car buyers at this point are already scratching their heads, thinking about the mess they would be entering. And they have enough reasons to take anti-depressant pills.

The new tax credit for hybrid cars in the United States is part of an energy legislation forged and ratified into a full fledged law.

The new rules are set to encourage consumers into buying green vehicles, or the so called hybrid cars, which are not only gasoline efficient but also environmentally friendly.

But, problems and discrepancies come in when the changes or modifications from the old tax breaks systems for traditional gas-powered cars are altered or modified for certain hybrid cars models.

Tracking the numbers

The problems and frustrations drivers and hybrid car owners encounter in the latest wave of tax credit grants are arising from the computations of the tax credit system.

These computations are not that simple and are made morecomplicated by the two important components. The first component is the fuel economy rating. This is where most of the problems arise when calculating taxes on hybrid cars.

This is because most of the hybrid cars available in the market today fail on fuel economy ratings, which are required by the federal government before the hybrid car is qualified for a tax credit. When this happens, the effort to reduce the tax imposition for hybrid cars, and eventually entice car buyers into buying them, turns into a futile and worthless initiative.

The other component of the tax credit computation is the ‘conservation credit.’ The conservation tax credit is based on the hybrid car model’s projected and computed fuel savings on its entire life span.

In this aspect, almost all the hybrid car models available in the market today are also failing. Thus, it is certain that if you are a hybrid car this year, there is a lesser chance for you to be able to secure tax credits or tax savings.

Computing and considering the tax savings you could probably save if your hybrid car is qualified for a tax credit would certainly make you regret facing the tax system. For sure, you would have the sentiment that it could have been better if the tax credit is simply not offered at all.

List of hybrid cars on the tax credit system

To be able to get a complete and accurate listing of the new hybrid car models that are qualified to secure tax credits, visit the online site of the US Treasury.

The site can be accessed at If you recently purchased a hybrid car, or are planning to buy one, check if your hybrid car model is qualified for hefty tax credits. You’ll be thankful in the end.

Hybrid Cars from Honda: The Car That Gives You Optimum Fuel Efficiency

MG A 1600 roadster
Source: Flickr

Hybrid cars are considered to be the car of the future. Because of the rising cost of fuel prices, hybrid cars are indeed suitable in today’s fuel economy. With hybrid cars, you will be able to cut fuel consumption by half. This means that you can effectively go 60 miles or more in only one gallon of gasoline.

Indeed, hybrid cars can give everyone great benefits. You may not know it but hybrid cars can also benefit those people who don’t have cars. It can do this by emitting far lower toxic fumes than conventional car. This will mean that it is environmentally friendly and also makes air healthier and more breathable.

Hybrid car owners also enjoy benefits that the United States government imposed. For example, because it is fuel efficient and emits few volumes of pollutants, the government imposed tax breaks for owners and buyers of hybrid cars. They will also enjoy free parking space and other kinds of benefits if you use a hybrid car.

You have to consider that it is important that people today should conserve fuel, especially when the fuel reserves in the world is only limited. Because of this, the hybrid car is the best answer for conserving fuel and making the fuel reserves all over the world last.

Even if the price of fuel is on a constant rise, hybrid car owners virtually don’t feel it.

Today, many car manufacturers are on a campaign to promote hybrid cars as an alternative to save fuel. One of these manufacturers is Honda. In fact, Honda now has a line of hybrid cars available in the market today. The company is now one of the leading companies to produce a fuel efficient hybrid car.

Honda is a well-known name in the car industry. Even before, they produce quality cars with fuel efficient internal combustion engine. Now, Honda is taking it one step further by integrating the hybrid technology in their cars.

One car that Honda developed with hybrid technology is their Honda Civic Hybrid. Although the Civic have been around for quite a while now, this new edition of Civic made by Honda now has the hybrid technology integrated. The Honda Civic is already known to be fuel efficient. Now, with the hybrid technology installed, it can allow you to enjoy far greater gas mileage.

The Honda Civic Hybrid is tagged with the Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle rating. This means that it is definitely a green car or an environmentally friendly car that everyone can benefit from. The integrated battery pack in the car is designed to take you to the distance. With an 8 year/80,000 mile warranty, you will truly enjoy the Civic Hybrid for years to come.

Another hybrid car that Honda developed is the Honda Accord Hybrid. This four-door sedan is a high end luxury vehicle that will enable you to save a lot of money on fuel consumption. The Honda Accord Hybrid has a 253 horsepower V6 engine to let you satisfy your need for speed. Also, it has an advanced electric motor and battery installed for you to be able to save money on fuel consumption.

Indeed, Honda is one of the leading manufacturers of hybrid cars. If you want a quality hybrid car, think of Honda as the hybrid car manufacturer of your choice.

Cng And LPG In Italy

Childs Pedal Fire Engine - 1938
Source: Flickr

The author had an opportunity to ask from the people who make a business survey the in Italy and found that the market of gas for vehicles was a quite interesting because many people do not know that in some countries, the engines of the cars they drive in everyday life have been modified in order to be able to burn other kinds of gas that cost more lower than diesel or benzene.

Italy is a country that uses gas as their fuel, which are Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

The number from LPG Euro cars users association and the number from the manufacturer that produces modification kits for cars for other kinds of fuel indicated that there are 1.3-1.4 million cars that use LPG (or GPL in Italian), while 0.3-0.4 million cars use CGN (or Metano in Italian). Italy is a country that uses these two kinds of fuel the most in Europe, as well as the production of modification kits for cars.

On April 28th, 2006, the price of LPG in Italy was Euro 0.63/liter (USD 0.75), while Benzene was Euro 1.50/liter (USD 1.76), which was 2.35 times difference. It is the normal system that the price of LPG is lower than 2.3-2.5 times of Benzene’s, while CNG’s is around Euro 0.50/Kilogram (USD 0.60). This means that CNG’s price depends on weight, not on volume.

Although LPG’s and CNG’s prices are much lower than diesel and benzene, the growth rate of them in Europe is slightly slow and starts to reach their peak point. We can see from many countries in Europe such as England, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and France, or some countries in Asia such as Japan and South Korea, small-sized cars with low-rate fuel burning engines are more likely to be the majority rather than large-sized cars with high-rate fuel burning engines. Modification of cars for CNG or LPG is more suitable for large-sized cars rather than small ones because it needs some space in the cars to install it, and the installation fees and price for the equipment are high around Euro 1500.00 so that the break-event point will be around 2-3 years or more.

The general property of gas is no color and smell, but what we can smell from it is from the chemical mixed in so that we could notice the gas leak. Gas for cars is the fully burning fuel, and this helps reduce the green house effect which causes the global warming. However, there is also a disadvantage from it. It is a fuel that can harm engines in the long-term because it is gas itself. There is no lubricity property, and it also creates high temperature in burning process.

Even though the gas for cars has nothing to do with our everyday lives, in many countries, it is widely used because of the different price of fuel in each country. If the price is too high, the alternative choice is always considered in users’ calculation, especially with the public cars which run for very long distance each day. The cheaper one means the cheaper cost. Therefore, gas for cars would be a topic that must be talked about whenever the price of gas so high that many people cannot afford to use.

Hybrids Reduce Gas Emissions

Hybrids not only perform above average on mileage (the Honda insight can reach above sixty mpg) but reduce their gas emissions and air pollution considerably.
Toyota Prius, for example has a 90% reduction in the amount of pollution that would otherwise be in the air. And although this is not perfect it has improved the current standard considerably

About one third of air pollution is caused by the fuel used in cars. The major culprit is the carbon dioxide which causes global warming. Compared to regular cars, the Toyota Prius reduces the amount of carbon dioxide by fifty percent. And the hybrid made by Honda has reduced its emissions by two thirds. Nitrogen oxide, a chemical found in car emissions, not only causes global warming, but will cause acid rain and lung irritations. Hydrocarbons is another substance found in gas emissions from a car and this can cause birth defects or lung cancer. Lead is also released in the air as is carbon monoxide every time the car is in motion. Imagine sitting in rush hour with all those toxic gases being released in the air.

With a hybrid the gases and other substances are dramatically reduced. Because more and more people are becoming concerned about air pollution and global warming, car makers are rushing to meet the demand. There are the hybrid models from Toyota and Honda and Ford. But Saturn and Mazda and GM are following suit.

The EPA is also participating in encouraging this trend by supplying more information to the consumer about the hybrid cars. There are new ratings in place. One is the ultra low emissions vehicle (ULEV) and the other is the super low emissions vehicle (SLEV). The hybrids on the market today receive either one of the ratings but regular cars never reach the mark.

There is a system in place that the EPA uses to rate cars. It gives two scores, one for the green house gases and the other for air pollution. In the seventies, there was a law passed that required cars to keep to certain standards. Regular cars barely met the requirement. Even if you took into consideration things like speed, weather or location, that may change the outcome of results. It doesn’t reduce the high scores of the hybrids. In fact, this score can be perfect at times because the hybrid runs on electric power too. So that reliance on gas is decreased, making the hybrid the better choice of car in the market today for the EPA

Electric, Gasoline and Hybrid Cars

The days of dominance of the gas-powered cars in the market are numbered.
That is because hybrid vehicles being rolled out and launched by different car makers are creating a wave of interest, curiosity and patronage in the market.

For quite some time, people around the world have been relying on their cars for luxury, convenience and other basic functions. Cars have become a necessity for people that in some countries, it would be hard to live without owning one.

There are a number of issues and concerns regarding man’s reliance and use of cars. For one, prices of gasoline, which is the basic in running cars, are always rising.

Within the past 15 years, gasoline prices have been the most volatile among all the commodities in the world market. That is because the Middle East is the principal supplier and producer of these basic liquids, and you know how political conflicts always arise in the region.

Another setback for the use of cars is the issue on its environmental impact. Running cars use the combustion process of gasoline in the motor and engine, and the process creates massive amounts of pollutants particularly to the air.

There is an emerging green house effect that affects the climate around the world. Experts and environmentalists primarily point out and blame car engine combustion for the ongoing depletion of the protective ozone covering of the planet’s atmosphere.

That prompted car manufacturers to come out with modifications to the old and conventional style and structure of cars. Thus, there are hybrid cars.

Gasoline powered cars

Gas-powered cars have fuel tanks that supply gasoline or fuel to its engine. The engine, in turn converts the energy produced into transmission, which in turn turns the wheels, making mobility possible.

To be useful and extremely functional, experts have set standards or minimum requirements for cars. First, the car must run at least 300 miles before re-fueling is required. Another, the car must quickly and easily refuel.

Those two factors will ensure that each car will be able to keep up with other cars and prevent traffic congestion and other delays on the road.

The traditional and conventional gasoline powered cars meet those requirements, with flying colors. There are a number of car models out in the market today that offer much more and better features to the demanding consumers.

It should be noted that consumers now are more particular to the exterior design of cars. But to their advantage, the modern slick and beautiful cars are also powered up, making the latest cars not just beautiful but also superior and powerful.

Electric cars

In an attempt to answer the increasing problems on air pollution from car combustions processes, several car manufacturers have come up with cars that are powered not by gasoline but by electricity.

The electricity to be used in running those cars are stored in batteries. Thus, the electric cars have sets of batteries, which provide electricity and energy to the electric motor, which in turn, runs the transmission that turns the wheels.

Thus, no gasoline combustion and carbon monoxide emission is produced. However, one greatest, and most significant setback for the electric car is that it does not meet the specific car power requirements.

Electric cars on the average can only run 50 to 100 miles before electric charging is needed. By that, it falls inferior to the traditional and conventional gasoline powered cars. Another problem is that these cars take longer time to recharge their batteries, to the inconvenience of the user.

Hybrid cars

The contrasting features of the gas-powered cars and the electric cars meet half way through the hybrid cars. Hybrid cars combine the power requirement features of the gas powered and the electric cars.

However, many find hybrid cars a compromise. For one, these cars aim to raise the mileage and lower combustion emissions, and at the same time overcome the limitations of the modern electric cars.

There are a number of hybrid car models out in the market today, though they can be a little overpriced. Before you finally decide to purchase one, be sure to know the outstanding features and setbacks and be prepared for surprising discoveries, which could both be advantageous or disadvantageous.

Is There A More Fuel-Efficient Car Than The Hybrid?

With all of the cars that are on the market, you may be thinking that there must be a car you haven’t discovered yet. You’ve heard of convertibles, Mazdas, Fords, and Buicks. And, you being an educated car-buyer, know all about hybrid cars, too. But surely, you think to yourself, there must be a more fuel-efficient car than a hybrid. If only you could find it.

This car that you believe is more fuel-efficient than a hybrid car, must be hidden in the back of a dealership behind the red, green, and yellow cars. It must be stuck between a big SUV and a van somewhere.

And what does it take to fuel this car? You don’t know the answer to that question. You barely know if this type of car exists. But there just has to be something out there better than a hybrid car. You insist that it’s true.

Well, there are a few choices for you. You could be thinking that a very small conventional car is more fuel-efficient than a hybrid car. You could be thinking that an electric car is better than a hybrid car. You could also be thinking that the dealership employees must have some cars in the back that they are creating on the spot that run on anything but gasoline and batteries. These cars, you think to yourself, would be better buys than hybrid cars.

Well, electric cars don’t get better fuel-efficiency than hybrid cars mainly because a lot of times electric cars don’t even need gas to power them, so you can’t even compare electric cars to hybrid cars.

A small conventional is definitely not more fuel-efficient than a hybrid car because no conventional car is.

And there are not any just-made cars sitting in the back somewhere. Car dealerships don’t make cars. They sell them.

But the final answer to the question is the new fuel-economy numbers that have been issued by the EPA. Those numbers conclude that the most fuel-efficient cars available to the public when looking at 2008 models are hybrid cars. Just the Toyota Prius as an example has a combined highway or city mileage of 46. This and other hybrid cars have overcome the 40 miles per gallon mark.

So, it looks like there are no new discoveries to be made at the auto dealer. And that’s a good thing. You wouldn’t want to be outdone by the Joneses because you thought you bought a great car, but you saw that they had a better, more fuel-efficient one. Nope, that’s not going to be you. Now you are armed with the knowledge that hybrid cars are the most fuel-efficient cars around and until automakers start to come up with more ideas, a hybrid car is what you have to work with.

However, advancements in fuel-efficient cars are on the horizon. Auto manufacturers are working on plug-in hybrids, battery-electric cars, and gas-engine systems that are more efficient. So look out, your dream car is coming soon. But if for now, you just buy a hybrid, you won’t regret it.

Cars: The Used And The New Are Beautiful

1948 PACKARD Super 8 Victoria convertible
Source: Flickr

Whether buying used or new cars, both options have advantages and disadvantages that the car buyer alone would be the best person to be knowledgeable about as he or she would know what would work well as according to his/her needs, wants, preference, budget and whim.

The following are basic factors to consider in buying a used or a new car:

The price.

Those on a stringent budget would find used cars a good deal. Though there are a handful of new cars that sell for less than ten thousand dollars, the ones that cost less usually have only a few amenities, with some having none of the following: air-conditioning, stereo. Sometimes the cars come with only two doors or one of the power windows is broken, if there are power windows at all. On the other hand, the availability of three to four-year old used cars loaded with more than the bare-boned features of a basic used car – such as a CD player, air conditioning, airbags – gives the used car buyer a great deal.

But still, the pricey new cars are costly because of the updated safety features they carry: de-powered airbags as well as “smart” front and side protection airbags. New vehicles also carry whimsical features such as: beverage holders that keep drinks cool or hot.

The choice depends on you, your priorities and your purchasing power.

The warranty.

New vehicles usually are under warranty for a minimum of three years to a maximum of ten. Hyundai and Kia provide ten year warranty for their vehicles. DaimlerChrysler offers a seven year warranty for their Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models. So does Isuzu.

Some eligible late-model used cars could complete their original warranty and could just as well be extended if they are protected by the vehicle certification program. If not, used car owners could shell out a few hundred to be able to extend their service warranty or contract.

The mileage.

Newly-bought used cars come with mileage already spent. New vehicles basically do not need maintenance for the first thousands of miles, and if they do, car manufacturers cover the oil change and their tune-up as well as other fundamental maintenance services.

Specially made cars

Used car buyers usually have to content themselves with as-is vehicles whose color may not be that perfect shade of red, green or blue. Buyers of new cars however, have the option of a varied range of colors or car features that used cars have not. Car dealers usually cater to the tastes and impulse of a car buyer and usually would even satisfy a customer by specially-ordering a vehicle.

Record Gas Prices Spark Interest in Electric Cars

Prices at the pump are driving more car buyers to look into electricity as an alternative fuel source.

This summer, oil and gas prices surged to new highs. Oil reached $70 per barrel for the first time in history in August, boosting prices at the gas pump to $3 per gallon in many parts of the country.

The rising prices have sparked a high interest in electric cars, scooters, bicycles and all-terrain vehicles, said Alex Campbell, spokesman for Zap, a company that makes battery-powered vehicles.

“We have had thousands of people calling and e-mailing us in the past few months,” Campbell said. “The economics of oil are becoming an issue for average consumers. And when you look at the cost of plugging in versus pumping gas, it makes a lot of sense.”

Gas cars use about 12 cents’ worth of fuel for every mile, whereas electric cars use only 3 cents’ worth. That means an electric car can travel four times as far as a gasoline car for the same money. Other vehicles, like electric bicycles, use about a penny’s worth of energy for every five miles and achieve an average fuel efficiency of more than 1,000 miles per gallon.

Driving an electric car is not only good for your pocketbook, it’s good for the environment. Electric cars emit 98 percent less pollution than gas cars, even after accounting for power plant emissions. This can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists say contribute to global warming and climate change.

“Driving an electric car is a new experience that you have to try to understand,” Campbell said. “Once people add an electric car to their family, most people prefer to use the electric car over the gas car.”

A Green Car Institute study of electric car use in California shows that when given the choice between an electric car and a conventional one, owners chose the electric 90 percent of the time. The cars can be plugged into a regular 110-volt outlet to be recharged.

You Can Build Your Car Powered By Solar, A Green Energy Source

You Can Build Your Car Powered By Solar, A Green Energy Source

All cars are powered by gas. But with the volatility of crude oil prices and because it is not a renewable, something must be done before it is too late. Given that solar energy, a green energy source is used to power a community, you can also do this on a small scale by using the same principles to build your own car.

But what do you need to make this work? A lot of things but the two most important are the solar array and the batteries.

The solar array is vital because this is what’s used to collect the sun’s rays and then converts this into electrical energy. There are two types to choose from in the market namely the prefabricated type and the individual kind which you set up yourself.

If you are looking for branded parts, check out either Siemens or ASE Americas that sell terrestrial grade cells and the space grade cells. The lower end model which can produce a significant amount of power is the terrestrial grade version.

Proper wiring must be done to make sure that if one of the panels is not working, your vehicle will still move. If you are worried that the voltage of the solar array should match the system voltage of your motor, you should not to worry because it will still run.

We mentioned earlier that the battery is also important because this is where the solar energy will be stored. Your options for this are lead acid, lithium-ion or nickel-cadmium. Just how many you need to buy will depend on your motor’s voltage.

When you finally have these two components, these will now have to be connected to the motor. So you know how much juice is left in your batteries, you will also need to install instrumentation similar to the heads up display console on regular cars which tells you your speed, mileage and gas.

Don’t forget to put a steering wheel, suspension, brakes, tires and hubs. You may not be able to make a car that have the same features as like what you see done by one of the three US automakers but just enough to be able to drive it from one place to the next.

The only cars that use solar energy so far are the ones only used in races especially the one held in Australia from travels from the northern part of the country all the way to the south. If this has helped people realize that renewable energy is really the key to the future, the big automakers should try tapping this technology instead of relying of still relying on gasoline.

But apart from solar energy as a green energy source, biodiesel is another alternative. This is a combination of alcohol like methanol and a chemical process that separates glycerine and methyl esters (biodiesel) from fats or vegetable oils. This can also be done using corn and sugarcane.

Although these are not renewable, these are still considered as a green energy sources because it is cleaner than conventional gasoline. This means you do not release harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide into the air which causes damage to the environment. So if you can’t build a solar powered car, consider a different fuel alternative.

Compact Hybrid Or Roomy Big Engine

Man plugging in Charger into Wall od
Source: Flickr

There is a lot to compromise and consider when buying a hybrid car. A hybrid can cost $2,000 to $10,000 more than a comparable conventional vehicle. It is well known that to help with this initial cost, and to encourage people to buy hybrids, the Government offers incentives and tax breaks. There are standards for which hybrid cars have to qualify just for you to get a tax deduction including averaging at least 45 miles per gallon and complying with higher emission standards. If you are concerned about these costs and getting a tax break you really do have to look into this. Not all hybrid auto’s meet these standards and the tax break vary’s from state to sate.

Preliminary research has shown that hybrid drivers make fewer insurance claims. That is being reflected in insurance premiums .A quick phone call to your insurance agency can inform you about these costs.

On another note,Consumer advocate testing has shown that hybrid savings in fuel economy usually fails to offset the extra purchase price. Isn’t that the number one reason why most people want to buy a hybrid.

Having a quiet engine is a cool feature, until someone walks behind you as your backing because they can’t hear your engine running. Currently hybrids don’t come with alot options. Regular options are popular and expected,like lighted vanity mirrors,more trunk space,power windows and rear window wipers.

Manufacturers, like Toyota, Honda and Ford, must feel confident about their cars because they offer up to 8 and 10 year warranties on hybrid-specific components.

Facts to consider are that green cars use more energy to produce, are harder to dispose of, their fuel economy claims have been doubted and the higher costs of buying and maintaining one are real.

Automobile sales dictate that we like our high powered cars with lots of options. Hybrids have a futuristic look and appear to be small. Hybrid sales indicate that we are not ready to give in to high gas prices and compromise to the smaller,less powerful green cars.

Everyone likes the idea of hybrid cars,taking care of the environment and saving money. Todays Hybrid cars don’t seem to fit that scenario. Today’s drivers are not all that excited about making the many compromises to drive a hybrid automobile.

Can You Use a Green Energy Source like Water to Power a Car?

Bristol  404 coupe 2 portes
Source: Flickr

For more than a century, we rely on oil to fuel our cars. But did you know that the world’s oil is close to drying up because it is a nonrenewable resource? Well that may not happen tomorrow or next year but we are getting closer because of the demand in the world market. Why wait for that day when we can rely on a green energy source like water to power our cars.

Water can power a car? If you think that’s impossible, well it is already here but this is not yet being made on a commercial scale.

The German automobile BMW has produced the world’s first ever hydrogen powered car. While only 100 of these units were produced, you can already imagine if more of these vehicles are on the road.

The initial model namely the BMW Hydrogen 7 uses the body of the 760i model. Once you pop the hood, you will notice that the engine is different since it uses gas and hydrogen.

This just means we have not yet totally abandoned are dependence on gas. Given more time and money, the current 4.7 miles per gallon it can travel using water alone could hit double digits in the future.

The biggest challenge to using water as a green energy source as opposed to oil in vehicles is the engine. While there are cars around like the Prius which runs on electricity and gas thanks to fuel cell technology, the hydrogen combustion is less than 10 years old so you could say we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

To prevent the water from evaporating, this has to be stored in a large, 30-gallon, bi-layered and highly insulated tank so this does not evaporate into compressed gas. Another safety mechanism is the valves which are designed to open should the pressure within the tank exceed 5 bars.

With the success of the BMW H7, the company came out with a new car that is also partly powered by water known as the H2R. While we cannot yet put our garden hose into the fuselage to fill it up, this vehicle uses liquid nitrogen as a fuel.

Tests on this vehicle have shown it can achieve 285hp and reach a top cruising speed of 185.5 miles per hour. It can also accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour under 6 seconds.

But why use water? It is because hydrogen combustion is clean so it does not emit harmful gases into the atmosphere unlike cars that run on petrol or diesel that emit carbon monoxide. Studies have shown that it also weighs less than hydrocarbon-based fuels and burns faster than conventional gasoline.

So when can you expect to buy a car that uses water as a green energy source? Hopefully in the next 10 to 20 years. It is really up to the automakers because all we can do is wait until a better and clear car hits the dealership.

Right now, the best option we have are electric cars. Since its introduction in 1999, more people are using it because they don’t want to spend anymore for gasoline that could hit an all time high of more than $110 per barrel.

If water as a green energy source can be used to power a car, why don’t we do the same for solar power which has been around much longer?

Why Plug-in Hybrid Cars May Not Be As Green As You Think

Source: Flickr

If you think that you will be making a difference in the environment by purchasing a plug-in hybrid car, you may want to give your purchase a bit more thought. Plug-in hybrids do help with the environment, but just because they don’t depend on fuel as much as regular hybrid cars do, doesn’t mean they are extremely beneficial to the environment. Actually, for many reasons, plug-in hybrid cars are not much better than regular hybrid cars when it comes to the green house effect and the ozone layer.

The reason why plug-in hybrid cars are not much better than the environment has to do with the type of power they use. The electricity that hybrid cars run off of usually comes from coal-fired plants. Therefore, a plug-in hybrid car would only be a little bit better for the environment than a regular hybrid car.

Still, some people believe that this isn’t true. Plug-in hybrid cars are better for the environment than regular hybrid cars, they insist. This is because some people believe that hands down electric power is much cleaner than fuel power. People who insist plug-in hybrid cars are better for the environment also say that plug-in hybrid cars don’t really need a lot of electricity to power them. They recharge their own batteries. So they don’t have to be dependent on other sources of power. The electric sockets are used merely to top off those batteries.

These people point out that it’s also not that you must plug it in, but that you can plug it in, and that makes a huge difference. If you can plug it in, you don’t have to use electricity that comes from coal-fired plants.

But people who say that plug-in hybrids aren’t that good for the environment might say that sure, you don’t have to plug it in, but if you don’t, you are just depending on gasoline. Then, there’s no point of even having the debate about plug-in hybrid cars. And hey, if we are going to go back to using gasoline, how about we just scrap the idea of plug-in hybrid cars in general?

The point is this: These kinds of hybrid cars can be worthwhile to own, but don’t think these hybrid cars will be the answer to all of your problems. If you are a tree lover, maybe stick to finding out a way to decrease the use of aerosol sprays and cigarette smoke. But when it comes to hybrid cars. You might be doing about the same for the environment if you bought either a regular hybrid car or a plug-in hybrid car. But either way, you are doing better than you would be if you bought a conventional car.

Plug-in hybrid cars are great hybrid cars to own and they are easy to love, but you might not want to make your expectations too high or you may end up disappointed. But in any case, make no mistake; a plug-hybrid car will be one of the best hybrid cars to buy when it comes out.

The Saturn Hybrid And Other Green Cars: An Review Of Eco-Friendly Vehicles

Source: Flickr

Hybrid cars or the hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) are the best solution for the growing fuel shortage problems that we have these days. Most car makers today have resorted to the design and production of hybrid cars in answer to the growing fuel crisis. And because of the ingenuity of the inventions, they are rapidly gaining popularity in the market. Terms such as “Saturn hybrid” and “Toyota hybrid cars” are now becoming ingrained in the lingo of auto enthusiasts.

The Government Supports Hybrid Use

The government for a number of good reasons is supporting hybrid cars. These cars are environmentally-friendly because they emit lesser pollutants. It has been noted that some hybrid cars lower pollution rates by up to 90% as compared to conventional cars.

Another good reason is that they are a wise solution to the growing fuel shortage. They economize fuel consumption, making them double efficient for what they usually provide. This is because most of the kinetic power that was wasted in the traditional fully internal combustion engine is now being converted into useful energy.

Because of these good features, the government offers tax incentives for buying hybrid cars.

Efficient, Low Maintenance and Fuel-Efficient

Hybrid cars need not to be plugged into an electrical outlet when charging the electric motor. They make use of a process called regenerative braking. While the vehicle is running with the use of the internal combustion engine, the electric motor is being charged. In driving situations where internal combustion engines are less efficient (as in slow city driving), the electric motor will take over with minimal intervention from the driver.

Initially, purchasing a hybrid is not easy on the pocket because hybrid car prices are higher than ordinary car prices. But in the long run, they prove to be more economical and they offer more benefits than the traditional cars.

In addition, hybrid cars have lower depreciation rates than traditional cars. Also, unlike traditional cars that run on internal combustion engine, they require lesser maintenance thus greatly reducing cost and trouble of having to owning a vehicle.

Hybrid Models and Car Makers

Aside from sedans, there are also available models of hybrid pickup trucks and hybrid minivans. Not only this, hybrid power technology in the area of public transportation is gaining rapid popularity and it is expected to be available soon in many areas of the transport industry.

Car makers have been competing to offer the market the best of hybrid cars. There are many beautiful models to choose from. The buyer may find it hard to make a decision given the stylish designs, performance and price of the various models. Consumers have a wide selection from low-end to high-end cars; they offer benefits that are worth their price.

Toyota Hybrid Cars

There is a long line of Toyota hybrid cars but car reviews have shown that the Toyota Prius is the undisputed favorite. This hybrid car from Toyota is a real looker. In addition, it has the most efficient miles-per-gallon report.

Honda Hybrid Cars

Honda hybrid cars also compete strongly in design and efficiency. The Honda Civic hybrid is the closest in comparison to the most priced Toyota Prius.

Ford Hybrid Cars

Ford hybrid cars offer their well-regarded Escape model. It has a very sleek design and competitive miles-per-gallon efficiency. The interior of the car employs modern designs. It is very efficient to use. In addition to the existing line of Ford hybrid cars, they are about to launch the model that will compete with Toyota’s Prius model.

Saturn Hybrid Cars

“Go green without going broke” is the slogan being touted by the Saturn hybrids. In support of this slogan, they offer good hybrids at lower cost. Their use of “mild hybrid” technology means that they can offer some of the benefits of hybrids without having to increase their selling price all that much.

Convertible Hybrids

While hybrid cars have been widely popular for quite a long time now, hybrid convertibles are on their baby stage as yet. There are not that many models to choose from in the market. Many car enthusiasts have been waiting for the arrival of this type of vehicle on the scene. There is a model launched in the market by Saab.

Whatever model a consumer may choose, green-technology cars such as the Saturn hybrid are better in many ways than the traditional gasoline-guzzling cars. In times when fuel shortage and pollution of the environment are recognized as two of the foremost public issues, the use of this new technology promises to bring a positive contribution.

How Business Vehicle Tracking Can Help Fleets Be Used Much More Efficiently

business vehicle tracking

When you have vehicles as part of your logistics in a business, it is very important that you make full use of them, so that costs can be kept under control. This requires that they have no idle time, use travel times effectively and have the least turnaround times. All this requires that the vehicles be constantly tracked. This is where the use of devices for business vehicle tracking systems enables controllers and administrators to have the necessary information always at their fingertips so that vehicles are used efficiently.

Tracking devices are installed in vehicles that enable information about the position of the vehicle to be available at their control points on a real time basis. Software installed at these control stations will have maps that will display the location of the tracked vehicle at all times. It is possible in many systems to relay traffic information so that routes can be planned to the destinations, so that there are no holdups. It can also be of great help to customer service departments, as customers can be given up to the minute information on delivery of material. In a way this also helps turnaround times, as the receiving parties can then keep their own receiving locations, equipment and staff ready, without having to wait. This allows unloading or loading operations to be completed quicker. The result is very satisfied customers, which can only be good for business.

A business vehicle tracking system can also become a very efficient administrative control for fleet managers. They can monitor speed of vehicles, driving behaviour, unnecessary stoppages and other things that affect utilization of vehicles. Routes can be planned in advance so that fuel efficiency is high. The software on most of these systems allows reports to be prepared on vehicle movement and usage, which can be very useful to supervisory staff, and those who need to plan logistics.

Most business vehicle tracking systems rely on the internet, but can use software that is available online or one that is locally installed. Both systems will need internet connectivity, but locally installed software can be tailor made to the requirements of a business, so that it takes in all its particular details and helps in proper fleet management. It helps to reduce unauthorized movement of vehicles and this can help to reduce incidences of theft. The installation of these systems also enables fleet owners to obtain discounts on vehicle insurance.

Gearing Up Your Car Today

1971 FORD Mustang convertible
Source: Flickr

Wouldn’t it be nice to be justly rewarded to be green conscious? Well, in this latest move by the B.C. government which offers to as much as $2,000 on fuel efficient hybrid cars, people are getting a feel of just how it is to make that shift to these hybrid and fuel efficient cars.

True enough, such a rewarding option has also helped car manufacturers like Toyota to benefit from this new development. One of the top model hybrid cars of this Japan-based car manufacturing, the Prius, has been the prime target of consumers for their transportation needs today. And mind you, the Prius does not come cheap. One unit alone costs $32,000, not a cheap price to pay for hybrid cars offered for a greener outlook in the world today.

Incentives are known to be good rewards that can entice a market and make them fully aware of the actual intent of governments; that of which is to feel how it is to be rewarded by being green.

In a move to help promote the shift from gas to electricity as their main source of power, various groups have experimented and come up with an electricity reliant car to reduce the gas emissions that have been key contributors to overall pollution and impending global warming.

While the big car manufacturers have not yet gone on the aggressive development for these alternative cars, a lot of the old cars that are mostly left to rot or be junked have been the guinea pigs for this alternative source of energy and fuel. Some may question the reliability of such conversions but it is best to get in depth to see how car engines can be transformed into this green movement as far as vehicles are concerned.

Whether you prefer a Toyota, a Honda or even the high-end luxury cars such as Mercedes Benz, green standard compliant cars would normally have less impact on any potential buyer. Reason for such is usually due to the fact that they are too bent on checking out the features such as power features and of course bonuses installed if and when they purchase cars.

In these cases, green standards are usually taking a backseat. Pollution control due to greenhouse gas emissions are almost a given when you purchase a new car. Maintenance is another thing but if you are buying a new car, chances are, these issues will only set in after 5 years and up.

Just think of it. Why would anyone buy a car that would be a smoke-belching vehicle. It is like buying a second-hand car for nothing special.

Most of us really want to live luxuriously and comfortably. Consumers dream of having their own means of transportation and while cars are within their reach, there is another issue that needs to be addressed…pollution and greenhouse gases.

The air we breathe right now is contaminated. We can smell it and that awkward and different smell is the participation of pollution in the usually clean air we breathe. While people are more concerned of living better lives with good transportation, their health may be in jeopardy.

The increase in the number of motor vehicles, industrial and commercial activities, coupled with the rise in construction work in and around the city, is translating into a lot of air and noise pollution for the residents.

Almost every part of the city suffers on account of air and noise pollution, much of it caused by automobiles. The city’s ambient air quality on several parameters leaves much to be desired, with the levels of pollution above the permissible limits.

Selling a Car Online Is Very Easy and Convenient

In times gone by, when you wanted to sell a car in Camberley, you had to approach dealers of used cars, place an ad in print, or advertise in other ways. Going through dealers was easy, but the chances are that you would get a lesser price, because the dealer had to have his commissions. Placing an ad in print or other ways, reached very few people and you had to be constantly available to answer queries and accept offers.

This has all been simplified, through the use of the internet. It is very easy to go about selling a car online, while maintaining complete control over the process. There are a number of online websites that allow you to advertise your car for sale. You need to take photographs of your car and post them on these websites with other relevant details.

sell your car camberleyYou will be required to mention the year of purchase of your car, the usage you have put it through, the availability of all documents needed, the price you want and whether you are prepared to negotiate. You will convince buyers of your genuineness if you are clear about any defects that your car has. Mention any special features of your car, like additional fittings, which can be an attraction. When selling a car online, make sure that all the information you give is verifiable when an interested customer does see your car. Give contact details and times to talk, so that customers can discuss matters. It makes sense to receive interested queries over email, and leave you the option of getting in touch with interested parties. This way, only people who find your price of interest as well as the make and model of your car, will contact you.

Selling a car online is a much smoother affair than getting in touch with dealers and dealing with placing of ads in print media. It is something that you can easily do from home, office or wherever you are able to log in to the internet. The greatest advantage you have is that you reach a much wider audience and the actual advertisement will probably not cost you anything.

Green Valley Car Auction, A Great Event In Arizona

The Green Valley car auctions features a great selection of luxury or economic cars, at incredible prices.
Monthly, more than thousand cars become government property through foreclosure laws. Because there are so many cars in this situation, their storage costs are huge; the conclusion is that the cars must be sold really cheap and fast.

Everybody can take advantage of these excellent cars; the database is full of many different records about almost new cars. It is simple to choose from all models and colors. Green valley car action rely on combined inventories of many major evens; there are no sale reports, the auction is working live online and the calendar of events is available on the Green Valley car auction site. Wide vehicle search can be conducted for car on their location and main characteristics, such as model, age, history and condition.

About Green Valley car auctions
It is simple to participate in bidding on any vehicle presented at Green Valley car auction, online, viewing live video from the auction. It is possible to purchase the vehicles from the auction inventory; a market report is available to find the historical sales data, the car’s characteristics.

The status of all the customers’ biddings is easy to follow: lost, won or current. Facilities, people, services are available to meet the customers’ needs. The facilities are specially designed to provide sellers and buyers the best auction conditions. Green Valley car auction is based on the commitment, determination and honesty of the entire staff, combined with high quality products and services.

High quality cars, unparalleled customer service and a successful management team are making every auction a real success, for buyers and sellers. Green Valley car auction, one of the worlds’s well known car auctions, become a lifestyle destination. The action is also a show on cable TV; all the cars are hand picked and there is no reserve price. These facts prove the seller confidence in the Green Valley car auction firm. Only most exclusive cars are available at auction. There also special events, and other activities during the auction. The auction feature more than 1000 collector cars from all years, many people are expected to attend in 2007.

The event always raises millions for children and other charities. Green Valley cars auction attracts many international visitors, too. Instead of giving a car quote, Green Valley car auctions set up a auction asking dealers or buyers to bid for the car price. Reverse auto auction is giving spectacular results for both, buyer or sellers. This method helps online buyers to find their dream car sooner than they expected. Some advantages of reverse car auction are the prompt customer service, free email alerts, free search by model, color, fuel type or other characteristics. Individual car sellers or car dealers can participate without fearing. State of the art websites are offering useful information for real time buyers for any car model.