Friday, November 25, 2005

Speedway Rewards program - Gas discounts

Speedy Rewards transforms your everyday Speedway and SuperAmerica convenience store experience! Now every time you make a purchase, excluding restricted items, you will immediately start earning points towards gasoline discounts (where applicable) and/or free merchandise, as well as coupons for valuable savings just for using your Speedy Rewards membership card inside the store or at the pump! You can even instantly review and/or redeem your points simply by using the Speedy Rewards redemption terminal located inside the store.

Energy Efficiency Windows - Save Gas with Insulated Blinds

Energy Efficiency It's No Laughing Matter
You may not spend much time thinking about your windows. On beautiful days, you enjoy the view. On cool summer evenings you may open your windows to enjoy the smell of fresh flowers and the sounds of night owls.

But what about when the cold of winter hits? You close your windows to keep the icy air out, but when the snow blows and the cold wind howls, do you still feel cold drafts coming in? Have you ever thought about the warm air inside your home you've paid to heat that is seeping out those drafty windows? The average American home spends about half its energy costs in heating and cooling the home. Investing in energy efficient window treatments may be the wisest decision you ever make!

Shop For Window Blinds

Weatherizing Your Home to Save Gas and Reduce Heating Cost

Weatherizing Your Home--Weatherstripping:
This guide discusses the practice of weatherizing your home through weatherstripping. Selection of materials, types of weatherstripping and buying and installing these products are discussed. Goto guide

Michigan Rideshare - Car pooling to save gas

What is Ridesharing?
Rideshare is a free, computerized carpool and vanpool matching service that assists individuals and groups with their daily work commute. There are thirteen Local Rideshare Offices (LRO) in Michigan that provide services for commuters commuting into and within their region.

Find a Local Rideshare Office near you. Rideshare assists in forming carpools and vanpools. MichiVan, a vanpooling program sponsored by the Michigan Department of Transportation, will supply fully insured 9 or 15 passenger vans to groups of 9 or more commuters, with cost to be shared among the riders. Rideshare helps employers develop and implement ridesharing programs for their employees. Rideshare also provides a Guaranteed Ride Home Program (GRH) to all registered carpool and Vanpool participants.

The following MDOT publications are available in PDF format:
Rideshare Brochure

Rideshare participants can conveniently take advantage of the Michigan Department of Transportation carpool lot program. There are 216 carpool parking lots located across the state providing over 8,000 parking spaces. Approximately 2,500 vehicles park in these facilities on an average weekday.

For Information: Jean Ruestman 517-373-6625

Ride-sharers driven by rewards - Save Gas - Car pool for rewards

NuRider service offers commuters flexibility, along with incentives such as gift cards

Cheryl Moeller fancies the idea of being paid — rewarded, even, in the form of gift cards — for what she's already doing.

She and her husband have been commuting together for more than four years. She's a real estate analyst for the El Paso Corp. and her husband, Jim, works for the city of Houston's Neighborhood Protection Corps. They live in far west Houston, almost to Katy, and their commute downtown takes about 35 minutes, mostly in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane.

Since late August, when they enrolled in the NuRide ride-sharing program, the couple has earned two $35 gift cards from Shell and two $25 cards from T.G.I. Friday's restaurant. By using one vehicle, they have also saved roughly $410 in gasoline, limited wear and tear on their pickup and eliminated a ton or so of emissions that would otherwise end up in Houston's air.

"The big attraction was the rewards. NuRide pays us to do what we'd already been doing for all these years," Moeller said.

NuRide, first launched in the Washington, D.C., area in March 2004, is the nation's first incentive-based, ride-sharing program. It started in Houston on Aug. 1, and some 2,100 commuters have enrolled in the program, which is administered by the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

"We've made it convenient as possible. You do it all online, you pick who you want to ride with, when you want to ride, everything. You customize it your own way," said NuRide spokesman Michael Nolan, based at the program's headquarters in Arlington, Va.

For each commute, participants are awarded points, redeemable at various businesses for gift cards and other rewards.

NuRide members pick the days and times they would like to share rides, almost like booking an online airline ticket. The program — at — matches riders with others traveling to the same destination, and its flexibility enables them to ride daily or once a month.

For security, NuRide is set up through employers, which permits verification of each rider's identity. Participants must have an at-work e-mail address. A potential ride-sharer researches other NuRiders by clicking on their user names to reveal where they work, their travel information and their rating by other NuRide members.

"That's what I like best — the flexibility. It's almost like online dating — not that I've ever done that," said Colleen Martin, education manager for the urology department at Baylor College of Medicine.

Martin joined NuRide in early September and now shares rides with a man and a woman from her neighborhood who had already been car pooling and who also work in the Texas Medical Center. They rotate driving every three weeks and split the center's $150-per-month parking fee.

"I'm an ecologist. That's my main motivation. I care about our finite resources and I can't stand the crowded freeways, but I like the rewards, too," said Martin, who has earned gift cards from Shell, Old Navy and Home Depot.

Nationally, Nolan said, NuRide has about 9,000 members who have shared 150,000 commutes, resulting in 4.5 million fewer miles driven and 2,000 fewer tons of emissions.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Space Heaters - Reducing Your Home Heating Costs

When winter approaches many of us are scurrying around trying to find the best space heater. This year oil and liquid propane gas prices have sky-rocketed and people are thinking about just heating the space they are using, as opposed to keeping the whole house “up to speed,” heat wise. There are many heaters from which to choose. Some of them are the old standbys and some of them are fairly high tech. So, here’s a primer that may help you sort through the sale flyers you are receiving from the home stores, and figure out what you want, and what you need in a space heater.

Electric Heaters
Convection Heaters. These heaters have heating coils running through them and heat up very quickly. Most of these heaters have a thermostat that will cycle the heater off and on according to your desired heat level. The coils in these heaters get red-hot and they can easily be a fire hazard. My convection heater turns off if it is knocked over, but all heaters don’t have this feature. Mine also became a lot louder to operate after I tripped over it! The convection heaters have small fans that circulate the warmth throughout a room. This heater works well if you want to heat more than one person in a room. The fan usually has a setting for just air, which is a nice feature in the summer. You can purchase one with different heat settings (750, 1000, and 1500 watts). As a rule, the more settings a heater has, the more expensive it is to buy. These heaters can be a safety hazard if you have toddlers around the house.

What is a watt? When trying to figure out how effective a particular heater will be in the space you need heated, it is good to know some comparisons of heating lingo between electric and other fuels. Most fuels besides electricity are measured in BTU’s. Your fuel oil furnaces, kerosene heaters and woodstoves all are rated with BTU’s. You’ve probably heard it before, but what does it actually mean? A BTU is a British Thermal Unit, and one BTU is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1lb of water 1 degree Fahrenheit. Furnaces can be rated 80,000 BTU’s. Many gas heaters have a rating of 39,000 BTU’s. Kerosene heaters are usually around 15,000 BTU’s. Electricity, however, is measured in wattage. If you multiply the number of watts by 3.41 you will get the amount of BTU’s you can expect from the heater. 1500 watts X 3.41 = 5115 BTU’s. Electric space heaters are usually much lower in their heat output than kerosene heaters, but for many rooms a heater giving off 15,000 BTU’s would drive you out!

Ceramic Heaters
This second type of electric heater is new on the heating scene. It delivers quite a bit of heat from a little box. It is highly portable and doesn’t use as much electricity as the coil type of heater. Some of the disc heaters are equipped with a rheotstat that sends full voltage to the element when the room is cold and slows down its output of electricity to the fan as it heats up. This is a nice feature, but it can override your own choice of the desired temperature for your room.

Oil Filled Radiant Heaters
These heaters look like an old fashioned radiator. They are electric heaters that are permanently filled with oil. They also seem to use less electricity than the coil type of electric heater. Most of the models come with wheels on them for easy portability. Although these take a little longer to warm up a room, it is a steady, economical heat source. Many people seem to be very satisfied with this type of heater.

Non-electric heaters

Kerosene heaters(non-vented)
These heaters would be the next step up in heating larger areas, and garages. As they are unvented it is recommended that you don’t use them in an enclosed area, but many people do. The heaters are radiant and have a wick that soaks up kerosene from a refillable tank. Most are equipped with automatic shut-offs if the heater is tipped or knocked over. They are about double the heating capacity of the largest heater mentioned above.

Natural or LP Gas Heaters(Non Vented)
Very popular heaters that require no venting according to the manufacturer. Many of these are wall mounted heaters, or come on a base. They need to be hooked up to your natural gas line, or a propane cylinder. Some brands come with oxygen depletion sensors that will shut the heater down if the air is getting oxygen poor. This could result in carbon monoxide poisoning. These can have heating capacities up to about 39,000 BTU’s. Today’s decorative fireplaces and even heaters that look much like wood stoves, can have gas as their fuel source. There are also vented models that only have to have a pipe that goes through the wall of an exterior wall. When you are figuring out how fast you will go through your tank of LP gas, remember that a gallon of LP is actually 4.25 pounds.

Wood Burning Heaters
Very popular in the 1970’s wood burning heaters have taken a second place to gas heaters, however, with the high price of gas and oil they are making a comeback. The biggest drawback to using a wood burning stove is that it requires an adequate (and usually expensive) chimney system that extends above the roof line. You must also follow certain safety guidelines about the placement of the stove in relation to the floors and walls. Check with your insurance agent before having a wood stove installed.

When you purchase your space heater, be sure to read the safety guidelines carefully. Remember, if your clothing does catch on fire, don’t run. Drop and roll to extinguish the fire. Teach all the members of the household about safety issues with the new heater. If you are using a heater that burns kerosene, LP or natural gas, or even wood you should also have a carbon monoxide detector installed on every floor of your house.


Home Heating Costs Save Money on Heating Costs

WSJ had an interesting chart on the cost of heating your home. Whats interesting is that the chart indicates that heating your house with electricity is less expensive than natural gas. The primary reason for this is the dramatic increase in the price of natural gas, heating oil and propane over the past 2 years. I am not sure if I believe this but I will do some additional research and check into it.

Below are some tips on reducing your home heating costs.

Reduce Heating Costs With These Money Saving Tips from If you live in a region that is cold in the winter, heating costs take a big bite out of your monthly budget for 25 - 50% of the year. Due to the rapidly escalating costs of home heating oil, propane, and kerosene, you may be paying twice as much to heat your house as you did just a few years ago. You can cut your heating costs significantly by following these money-saving tips.

  • Do an energy audit of your house, identifying areas where heated air is leaking out. Check around doors, windows, fireplaces, and other areas that may feel drafty. Use caulk, weather stripping, door sweeps, plastic, and other appropriate means to close off these leaks. If your house is poorly insulated, adding additional insulation will pay for itself in reduced heating costs.
  • Minimize your use of ventilation fans such as bathroom fans and kitchen hood fans in winter. A bathroom fan can suck all the heated air out of the average house in little more than an hour. Over the course of the winter, ventilation fans can increase your heating costs by a surprising amount.
  • Don't heat areas of your house you don't use regularly, such as guest rooms. Close heating vents or turn back thermostats in those areas and close the doors for a painless reduction in heating costs.
  • Turn down the heat and use space heaters to heat the room you spend time in.
  • Keep your furnace, heat pump, or other heating equipment in top operating condition. Dirty filters reduce the efficiency of your furnace or heat pump. Poorly tuned units are inefficient and use more fuel. An annual maintenance agreement is well worth the money to ensure that your equipment is properly maintained and will last as long as possible.
    Don't turn your thermostat up above the desired temperature. It won't heat up any more quickly and will make your furnace work harder. Also, while it makes sense to turn the heat back when you're sleeping or not at home, turning it down too low can actually cost you more because the contents of the house have to be re-heated in addition to the air. 68 to 70 degrees while you're home and awake, and 60 to 65% while you're asleep or not at home are reasonable temperatures.
  • Consider a programmable thermostat to raise and lower the temperature at pre-set times.
  • Check the temperature setting on your hot water heater. If you have a dishwasher, your water should be heated to 120%. Otherwise, it can be somewhat lower. If your water heater is in an unheated space like an unfinished basement, wrap it in an insulation blanket available at hardware stores to prevent heat loss. Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.
  • It's tempting to stand under a hot shower on a cold morning for as long as possible, but cutting your shower time in half can save up to 33% on your hot water heating costs.
  • In winter, open the blinds and curtains on the sunny side of the house (the south-facing side) when the sun is shining and close them as soon as the sun goes down to retain the solar heat. Close curtains on the shady side of the house (north-facing side). If you don't have curtains, consider installing some. Curtains made from heavy fabric with lots of folds (fullness) can prevent cold air from seeping in and warm air from seeping out, which reduces your heating costs.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

ScanGauge MPG Gauge

ScanGauge - A Plug In Digital Gauge That Displays Car. Tested on Hybrid Cars and Non Hybrid Cars

Guide Rating -
ScanGauge is Linear Logicas 3-in-One automotive computer than reads information from your car's computers and displays it on a backlit digital screen. It integrates a Scan Tool, Digital Gauges, and a Trip Computer into one self-contained unit. No tools are needed to install it because it plugs into the diagnostic connector found under the dash on 1996 and newer cars and light trucks.

I tested the ScanGauge on several hybrid cars and non hybrid cars over the past few months and have been pleased with its usefulness. It was especially helpful to provide feedback to improve fuel economy in non hybrid cars as well as provide more detailed information that is not available in some hybrid cars.

As a scan tool it reads and displays engine trouble codes which can then be cleared/reset via the ScanGauge. It can also reset the dreaded Check engine light. I was able to use this feature with ease on both my hybrid car and my non hybrid car. Heck, this feature alone saved me two $70 trips to the car dealer to get that darn light reset.

As A Set Of Digital Gauges
The ScanGauge is very intuitive making it easy to quickly move it between hybrid cars and non hybrid cars alike. It has the ability to display up to 4 of the 12 predefined gauges on its realtime display screen while still allowing you to easily toggle to the remaining 8. In non hybrid cars I generally set the gauge to display the RPM, MPG, Water Temperature and Gallons per hour. In hybrid cars I often had RPM, throttle position, intake air temp, and Water Temperature displayed. Again, you can change any of these selections with a press of a button. While I found it did not read all info on all cars, it did a pretty good job getting the info I needed. (Go to page two of this review for the full list of 12 gauges available.)

As A Trip Computer
In addition to the instantaneous readout, it also tracks three additional sets of trip data including current trip, cumulative for today, and cumulative for the previous day. For these trips it can track maximum RPM, speed, and coolant temperature, as well as driving time, driving distance, amount of fuel used, and trip mpg. The ScanGauge does not have the ability to export data to an external source, but that seems common for units in the under $150 price range.

Why Would You Want One?
For Cars That Do Not Have An Instantaneous MPG Gauge. Often people ask me how they can improve their fuel economy. While hybrid cars have gauges that give fuel economy feedback, usually non hybrid cars do not. With ScanGauge, non hybrid cars can now have fuel economy information at their fingertips, too. Drivers can immediately see the fuel economy difference between driving 75 mph and 65mph. What they do with this knowledge is up to them.
For Hybrid Cars That Do Not Provide Data You WantEven though hybrid cars come with lots of neat gauges, sometimes there is still a desire to see even more detailed information. What exactly do the segments on the temperature gauge equate to in real numbers? What RPM is the engine spinning? What is the intake air temperature? The ScanGauge can answer these questions and more.

Two Caveats For Hybrid Car Owners. First, I found the ScanGauge mpg calculations cannot accommodate the lean burn engine found in specific hybrid cars, such as the 5-speed Honda Insight. If tracking mpg in your lean-burning vehicle via the ScanGauge is of utmost importance, you may want to skip the ScanGauge for now. I do not expect a current update to this unless there is enough demand.

Second, the ScanGauge does not compute mileage when a hybrid cars Internal Combustion Engine is not running. (Stealth mode as some hybrid car owners call it.) There may be a future correction for this, but if tracking mpg in your hybrid car via the ScanGauge is important toy you, you may want to wait until this is feature is updated. In the meantime you can ask Linear Logic to put you on a waiting list and they will contact you when this particular update is made. As a side note: If you are a hybrid car owner in the Phoenix area, you can help get the update to market more quickly by contacting Ron Delong at ScanGauge and allowing him to try out the beta version of the hybrid-car-tweaked unit on your car before they produce them for the rest of the hybrid car owners. Contact Ron via email at

Overall the ScanGauge is fun, easy to use, and works as promised. First, as a scan tool it efficiently allowed me to view and reset engine trouble codes, and reset the Check Engine light in both hybrid and non hybrid cars. Secondly, as digital gauges it provided the feedback needed to improve fuel economy in non hybrid cars. It also displayed detailed engine information that was missing on hybrid cars. And although it was not always effective at calculating fuel economy in hybrid cars, the fuel economy calculation for non hybrid cars was right on.
I find the ScanGauge to be a good value, and with a 30 day money back guarantee, it is clear the company stands behind its product.

Technical Details Price $129.95 Goto ScanGage Website


  • Scan Tool Feature
  • Reads Trouble Codes
  • Reads conditions that set the Trouble Code
  • Clears Trouble Codes
  • Turns off "Check Engine" light
  • Make and store up to 10 rewritable special codes to send to the vehicle computer
    12 Digital Gauges Available (Four Can display at one time, with the rest available to toggle through.)
  • Fuel Economy (MPG - gasoline engines only)
  • Fuel Rate (GPH - gasoline engines only)
  • Battery Voltage
  • Coolant Temperature
  • Intake Air Temperature
  • Engine Speed (RPM)
  • Vehicle speed (MPH)
  • Manifold Pressure (not available on some vehicles)
  • Engine Load
  • Throttle Position
  • Ignition Timing
  • Open/Closed Loop
  • Trip Computer info Automatically tracks three sets of trip data - Current (short) Trip Days (total) Trips Previous Days Trips
  • Maximum Speed
  • Average Speed
  • Maximum Coolant Temperature
  • Maximum RPM
  • Driving Time
  • Driving Distance
  • Fuel Used (Gasoline engines only)
  • Trip Fuel Economy(Gasoline engines only)Dimensions5.2" wide by 2.7" high by 2.1" deep.
  • The cord from the diagnostic connector to the control/display is 8' long and about 0.2" in diameter.


Monday, November 21, 2005


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working on updates to the procedure it requires for estimating vehicle fuel economy in an effort to make results more realistic. The agency is likely to propose changes by about the end of the year, although adoption won’t occur until sometime next year. EPA says the proposed changes—the first in 21 years—could reduce the official fuel economy numbers for at least some vehicles by as much as 10%, says The Wall
Street Journal. The current test procedure assumes average city and highway speeds of about 21 mph and 49 mph, respectively. But the agency says motorists actually cover between one-third and one-half of the total miles they drive at speeds above 60 mph. It says drivers also accelerate and brake harder than the original test specifies. The agency also notes that the current test doesn’t consider the impact of such things as running the airconditioning
system on a hot day.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Save at the pump by maintaining your car

High fuel prices make motorists more concerned than ever about saving money at the pump.

Relief is here: keeping up with regular vehicle maintenance can improve fuel economy. Clogged fuel injectors and air filters, dirty spark plugs and underinflated tires make engines and other vehicle components work harder and consume more gas.

"With our busy lifestyles, taking the time to have routine vehicle maintenance performed can seem like busywork, but it pays off in numerous ways," said Peter Lord, executive director, GM Service Operations. "Regular vehicle maintenance and inspections can help improve a vehicle's fuel efficiency and achieve peak performance."

Travel Tips

  • Be a Planner: Map your route beforehand to maximize efficiency.
  • Control Clutter: Avoid packing unnecessary items-according to the Environmental Protection Agency an extra 100 pounds in the trunk can reduce fuel economy by up to 22 percent or about six cents per gallon.
  • Take a Cruise: Cruise control helps you maintain a constant speed on the highway and can help save gas.
  • Avoid Idling: It's a prime fuel waster. When tailgating, don't use the vehicle's heater to keep warm; bring a boom-box to listen to the pre-game instead of the car radio.
  • Drive Smart: Hard starts, stops and other forms of aggressive driving can reduce fuel economy 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, according to the EPA. Motorists can save between 15 cents and $1.01 per gallon driving sensibly.
  • Relax: Contrary to popular belief, the faster you go, the more fuel you use. The EPA estimates every five miles you drive over 60 mph equals an extra 21 cents per gallon of gas. Plan ahead and allow yourself a little extra time. When possible, drive your household's most fuel-efficient vehicle.


Fuel saving tips

Some good fuel saving tips from KVEU Austin:

  • Don't top off the tank. Overfill can slosh out of the tank and waste gas.
  • Consider filling up at cooler times. Gasoline can expand in the heat and overflow.
  • Gravel and dirt roads can cut fuel efficiency by 30 percent. Urban pot holes can have the same effect, but try to keep your route smooth.
  • Keep your car clean. One government study finds a clean car can get up to 7 percent better fuel efficiency. "The amount of dirt and grim that we keep on our car increases something called the coefficient of friction between our car and the atmosphere," said Summer Smith, with The Science Place. It's the same principle that makes tire pressure so important. I like to use the $4 touchless wash. I use it in the morning and it doesn't take more than 4 minutes to wash my car.
  • Minimize idle, for example when you goto the drive through look inside first most of the time the line inside is smaller and you probably need the exercise.
  • Park in the shade. A/C compressors tax the engine and lower efficiency.
  • Try to park so you don't have to back out. Reverse maneuvering uses more gas.
  • Tip number eight dispels a myth about keeping the windows rolled up. Turning off the air conditioning and rolling down the windows does not save fuel. In fact, at highway speeds the drag can cut fuel efficiency by ten percent. However, if it is cool enough just to run the vents ten shut the air off and use the vents.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Contrary to their image as stump-pulling guys hungry for horsepower, pickup truck owners these days are much more interested in better fuel efficiency, according to a new survey by R.L. Polk & Co., the auto industry’s oldest statistical service. The poll, which was commissioned by New York Citybased environmental advocacy group Environmental Defense, finds fuel economy ranking three times as important as passenger space, the next most-cited attribute, among truck owners The survey says trucks are used 80% of the time for personal use. Towing, hauling and off-roading were each mentioned by only 4% of owners. Environmental Defense says it plans to submit the study to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to bolster its argument for higher fueleconomy standards for trucks

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Honda Motor Co. has developed a new hybrid snowblower that uses electric motors for propulsion and a gasoline engine to drive its snowblowing mechanism and recharge its battery. It’s the fourth model in the company’s hybrid snowblower lineup, which debuted its first model in 2001. The new midsize gasoline-electric system generates up to 15 hp and features an advanced control unit that regulates throttle opening to maintain the same speed as load conditions change. Users also can preset snow discharge distances. Honda has sold more than 20,000 hybrid snowblowers since introducing the technology four years ago. The new SM1590i model is the first midsize blower to use a hybrid drive and the first with three operating modes: auto, power and manual.

Honda Posts


In 2008 Toyota Motor Corp. will replace its current second-generation gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain with a new system that is more compact and about 50% less expensive, according to a Japanese media report cited by Reuters. That timetable is two years sooner than the one mentioned in September by Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe. Toyota tells Reuters “2008 is certainly a possibility” but declines to confirm that date as a target.


Consumers say fuel prices continue to influence their choice of vehicle, though not quite as much as last month when costs were higher, according to a survey by consultants AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, Calif. About 25% of those currently driving V-8-powered vehicles say they’ll shift to smaller powerplants—the same proportion as in September. The number of SUV drivers who claim they are ready to switch to another type of vehicle declined to 22% from 27% a month ago. A steady 15% of those surveyed say they’ll consider a gasoline-electric hybrid. Although consumers say they paid 7 cents less per gallon for fuel in October than in September, they expect fuel prices to be 5 cents per gallon higher a year from now.

The subcompact is back

The subcompact is back -- with a twist. With gasoline prices hovering around $3 a gallon, automakers are rushing to introduce several subcompacts in the United States next year. The cars will be more stylish, better equipped and pricier than their entry-level ancestors from the 1970s and 1980s. And if gasoline prices spike again, the anticipated revival of small-car sales could become a stampede.

Japanese automakers are ready to pounce with a batch of new products:

  • Next year, Nissan will introduce the entry-level Versa, which is smaller than the Sentra. In 2007, the automaker is expected to introduce the aptly named Cube.
  • The Toyota Yaris will debut next spring as a three-door hatchback and sedan. It replaces the Echo, one of Toyota's rare failures in the United States.
  • The Honda Fit hatchback will debut next spring or summer. Honda already has raised sales projections to reflect rising gasoline prices.
  • Mitsubishi may build a small car in Normal, Ill.

While the Japanese automakers are moving quickly, domestic automakers are still in the hunt.

  • General Motors offers the Chevrolet Aveo, which is built by Daewoo.
  • Ford Motor Co. plans to unveil a subcompact entry-level vehicle in 2007. "Consumers are little-by-little starting to be convinced that high prices are here to stay," said

Renault/Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn at a meeting with journalists at the Tokyo Motor Show last week. "They are probably shifting their attitude and behavior on the market." Two factors are feeding the proliferation of subcompact nameplates. Automakers already sell these vehicles in Japan, Europe and South America, so they don't have to spend large sums on product development or build assembly plants. Difficult to predict It's a lot like the 1970s, when twin fuel crises put Japanese carmakers on the map in the United States. When prices soared and lines formed at the pump, they introduced cars such as the Honda Civic. To be sure, gasoline prices are notoriously difficult to predict. Lower prices could puncture demand for these cars, says Kazuo Okamoto, Toyota Motor Corp.'s product development chief. "For sure for now there is a shift of preferences to smaller, fuel-efficient cars," he says. "But whether that will continue is uncertain. If current price levels are taken for granted, then there may be a reversal to larger cars." But the low cost of entry into this new segment will allow Japanese automakers to take chances. And the Japanese can move faster than ever.

For example, Nissan can spin a new model off its B small-car platform in less than 11 months -- from design freeze to production. "We've got two very good, very modern small-car platforms as well as diesel technology if the market shifts that way," says Simon Sproule, Nissan's vice president for global communications. Nissan, which has experienced a sales shift to Altima and Sentra from its larger models, will launch the Versa as its new entry-level car. The Versa is about the size of a Ford Focus. That introduction will allow Nissan to shift the Sentra upmarket. The next rendition of Nissan's boxy Japan-market Cube likely will follow a year later. "We've haven't made a decision about the Cube," Sproule says. "But the next generation of all small cars will be engineered for the U.S. market."

Big 3 respond General Motors is relying on its Daewoo subsidiary to design and produce subcompacts such as the Chevrolet Aveo. The Korean automaker enjoys the same advantages -- minimal product development costs and available plant capacity -- as its Japanese competitors. Through September, GM sold 55,225 Chevrolet Aveos in the United States, up 44 percent over the year-ago period. Industrywide, U.S. small-car sales are up 9.5 percent in the first nine months compared with the same period in 2004.

Meanwhile, Ford plans to introduce a small sport wagon based on the EcoSport, which is produced in Brazil. The EcoSport is a variant of the subcompact European Fiesta. Suppliers say the U.S. version will debut in the 2008 model year. Ford's assembly plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, will produce the vehicle, and it may produce a second Fiesta-based subcompact for the United States.

The Chrysler group has adopted a different strategy. Instead of focusing on the subcompact segment, the automaker is introducing slightly larger vehicles to compete with compact cars such as the Civic and Focus and Toyota Corolla. Thus, the Dodge Neon will be replaced next year by the Caliber five-door hatch. Chrysler says it has no plans to introduce a subcompact car. While Ford and GM have entries in the rapidly evolving subcompact segment, the Japanese automakers appear better positioned to exploit the trend. "General Motors and Ford are global carmakers, but they are regional product planners and manufacturers," says Jim Hall, an analyst with AutoPacific Inc. in Southfield, Mich. "The Japanese take consideration for all markets when they develop a product. They sell and plan for around the world."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Honda Insight

The Honda Insight is one of the highest mileage cars available in the U.S. The car equiped with a 5-speed manual trans and gets 60 MPG city and 66 MPG highway. With a price range of $19,330 - $21,530 it is also a reasonably price car as well. The styling on the insight is less than something to right home about. However, if you are looking for a economical ride it's hard to beatht the Insight.

Using a gas credit card

Shell has a way to reduce your gas bill by 5%: Use a gasoline rebate card. Shell has one, of course, and the Shell MasterCard grants 5% rebates on Shell gasoline purchase, plus 1 percent on anything else. The company estimates (based on $2.33 a gallon, which is about the national average now), that users save 11 cents a gallon

Other Companies offering Gas Credit card discounts

  1. BP and Amoco offer a Visa card with 3% back.
  2. Exxon and Mobil have a platinum Mastercard ofering 3%.
  3. Speedway has just launched a rewards club, that doesn't require a credit card. Also Speedway has gift cards that you can buy right at the store that provide 4% off on over card. So if you don't want to use a credit card use the gift card.
  4. Citibank Dividend Platinum Mastercard, because it offers 5% cash back on all gas purchases.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Ford Freestyle 27 MPG and Six Passengers with Ease

Did you know that the Ford Freestyle gets 27 MPG on the highway and can hold six passengers comfortably. When I say 6 people I don't mean two people sitting in the middle of the car. The Freestyle has 3 rows of seats and is a very functional people hauler. It is one of Ford's first CUV or cross over utility vehicles. If you like the styling of Ford's SUVs than you will like the Freestyle.

GM touts cars with 30 miles per gallon or better

GM has been doing a lot of advertising lately on the fact that they have a large lineup of cars that get 30 miles per gallon or better. So which cars are these. Here's the list of the cars that we could find that get better than 30 MPG on the highway.

Pontiac Vibe (30 City/36 Highway)
Pontiac Sunfire (26 City/36 Highway)
Pontiac Grand Am (25 City/34 Highway)
Pontiac G6 (22 City/32 Highway)
Pontiac Grand Prix (20 City/30 Highway)
Chevy Aveo (27 City/35 Highway)
Chevy Cobalt (25 City/34 Highway)
Chevy Malibu (24 City/34 Highway)
Chevy Monte Carlo (21 City/32 Highway)
Chevy Impala (21 City/32 Highway)
Saturn Ion (26 City/35 Highway)
Buick Century (20 City/30 Highway)

The car that appears to be the largest car on the list is the Chevy Impala. However, if you looking for read leg room the Malibu has almost 1 inch more leg room that the Impala. However, some versions of the Impala are classified as 6 passenger vehicles, but that means some one is sitting in the middle of the front seat which really isn't practical for most people with kids.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Least Fuel-Efficient Cars has an interesting article on the least fuel-efficient cars. Fortunately for most of us we cannot afford to by any of the cars.

You've heard the saying, "Waste not, want not?" The motto for the cars in the following slide show should be, "Waste and want." They are wasteful, and you want them. Our list of the least fuel-efficient 2006-model cars, according to recently released data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), includes such dreamboats as the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti from Fiat, the Continental Flying Spur from Bentley and the Aston Martin DB9 from Ford Motor. To the people who buy these exotics, fuel-economy figures mean squat. Read more.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

New Fuel-Saving 6-Speed Transaxle to Propel Ford

Ford Edge and Lincoln Aviator to debut next year with new class-leading 6F 6-speed transaxle The new 6-speed delivers up to 7 percent improvement in highway fuel economy – nearly two tanks of gas a year compared with typical 4-speed automatics * - Ford Motor Company today is an industry leader in 6-speeds with 24 nameplates offered – and more are on the wayWith consumers focused on gas prices, the market is demanding more fuel-efficient vehicle technologies. Ford Motor Company’s innovative new 6F 6-speed automatic transaxle delivers just that – with up to a 7 percent improvement in highway fuel economy and more refined performance at the same time. Ford Motor Company today is an industry leader in 6-speed technology with 24 nameplates offered – and more coming next year, including two new crossover utility vehicles (CUVs). “Ford Motor Company will pace the industry in advanced transaxles, which provide increased performance and increased fuel economy,” says Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president of Powertrain Operations. “With the introduction of the Ford Edge and Lincoln Aviator crossovers next year, our 6-speed leadership continues, and we have more on the way.” The new 6F was developed to cover a wide range of vehicle applications. It initially will be teamed with the new 3.5-liter V-6 in the Ford Edge and Lincoln Aviator CUVs. The transaxle also is designed to handle up to 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque with shift speeds up to 7,000 rpm. Link

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Engine tricks attempt to pump up SUV gas mileage

KATU has a great article about diplacement on demand. Dodge is using Demand on Displacement in their hemi engines. There is a lot to like about the much-maligned Sport Utility Vehicle, or SUV. You sit up higher in traffic, the crash protection is better than a small car and it can haul a ton of people and gear- literally. And when you push down the gas pedal, the power just flows. But there is one thing most SUV owners hate: the terrible fuel economy. With high gas prices apparently here to stay, the pain at the pump is real and immediate for SUV and most large truck owners. Most of the big rigs get less, sometimes much less, than 20 miles per gallon, and usually premium fuel is required.

Confronted with slumping SUV sales and a rising outcry about poor fuel mileage, carmakers are turning to a readily available technology called 'displacement on demand' to preserve the power of an SUV while significantly increasing the fuel mileage. 'Displacement on demand' is not very new, Cadillac was using it in the 1990s to improve the mileage in their big cars.

But the concept is catching on again at other carmakers, since it is relatively easy to design into current engine designs, and does not increase the cost of a vehicle like a hybrid design.
The concept is fairly simple: when cruising down the highway, the engine management computers restrict gas delivery and spark to some of the engine cylinders, saving fuel when only a small fraction of full power is needed to keep the car moving at highway speeds.
Step on the gas to pass or accelerate, and all the cylinders come back into play, supplying the full power of the engine. The changes are transparent to the driver.

Displacement on demand does not boost the gas mileage of an SUV up to that of the miserly hybrids, but it can lift a gas guzzler into the 20-plus m.p.g. level, or even higher.

So for those that must have the power, carrying capacity and other benefits of an SUV but are tired of the wallet-emptying gas bills, help is one way.

Drivers Try Tricks To Increase Gas Mileage

WMUR has a great article on some testing that has been done on testing some of the gadgets that are suppose to increase gas mileage. Here is what they said. Now that $2.30 for a gallon is considered a good price for gasoline, some drivers are using unorthodox methods to squeeze extra mileage out of their cars.

Special devices claim to improve mileage, and some fuel additives also promise greater efficiency. But do they really work?

First up is the Tornado Fuel Saver. The small metal device is placed into the air-intake system and claims to channel air better to increase mileage. Driver Brad Fyfe installed the Tornado and tried it out for a few weeks. He calculated that he was getting 18.5 miles per gallon before it was installed, but achieved 19.5 miles per gallon afterward. The $47 device appeared to result in an additional one mile per gallon.

Next up is acetone. The claim is that adding a couple of ounces to a tank of gas will help the fuel burn more efficiently. Driver Joe Bourke added it to his tank and calculated that his mileage went up from 28 miles per gallon to 30 miles per gallon. Acetone is available at hardware stores and costs $4.50 for a quart. The downside is that experts warn that it could wear down engine parts and may not be a good idea in the long run.

Some mechanics are offering another way to boost mileage by filling tires with 95 percent nitrogen instead of regular air at a cost of $5 per tire. The claim is that nitrogen doesn't leak as quickly from tires, yielding better gas mileage. The results are hard to measure because simply having properly inflated tires is one of the best ways to keep cars efficient. Studies claim that drivers could see an improvement of one mile per gallon because the nitrogen can keep the tires properly inflated for longer.

Experts said that any car owner who wants to improve their vehicle's efficiency should check with a mechanic first.

Can Nitrogen in your tires improve gas mileage

With gas prices as high as they have been over the last year, anyone is looking for way to get more miles per gallon. KDKA Consumer Editor Yvonne Zanos reports that something as easy as filling up your tires with nitrogen could help. Some experts say if you fill your tires with nitrogen, you may get longer tire life and a smoother ride. Already, NASCAR drivers and airlines use nitrogen. Local driver Victor Ndinyah is among those using nitrogen. "As soon as I took off, I noticed the difference," says Ndinyah.

Nitrogen in tires is not new to the auto industry. Service Manager Anthony Tisone says, "Nitrogen has been around for a long time. Mario Andretti has been using it since the sixties, it's been out there and available to the professional but to the average consumer, it's not been available. "But now nitrogen is available to consumers. Tasone says the tires offer a smoother ride because the outside temperature has no effect on the nitrogen inside the tires. "This maintains a steady temperature. It does not fluctuate up or down. Thirty two pound of air on a five below zero day and that does not change," says Tisone. Ndinyah says he notices that his car now gets better gas mileage. He says, "So far I'm getting about an extra mile a gallon driving back and forth. "Some experts says there are reports of some people getting about 30 miles more per tankful when using nitrogen. "There is also benefits of longer tire life, the big thing is the safety of the tire.. by keeping the tire inflated properly, the vehicle has better stability"One drawback is that nitrogen is not free like air is. You can expect to pay about $6 per tire to get the nitrogen in. For the average driver, it would pay for itself in a month. Locally, Andretti Toyota in Moon Township offers nitrogen tire fill ups.

Monday, November 07, 2005


SMALL-CAR INTEREST DROPS AS FUEL PRICES DECLINE. Three Web-based car-shopping services say a surge in users seeking information about gasoline-electric hybrids and other relatively fuel-efficient vehicles appears to have waned as gasoline prices dropped over the past few weeks, according to a roundup in USA Today. It notes that says consumer interest in fuel economy peaked at 19,500 data searches on Aug. 29 when Hurricane Katrina hit. Such queries are back to their early August level of about 3,000 a week. Kelley Blue Book’s Web site says the number of visitors interested in hybrids and economy cars has dropped a few percentage points in each of the last two months. It didn’t provide more details because its survey isn’t finished yet. says searches for fuel-sipping cars are down, with queries about the Toyota Prius hybrid sedan dropping the most.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

40 plus miles per gallon

Top Japanese car companies are preparing a new wave of 40-plus miles-per-gallon subcompact cars for America just as high gasoline prices and fuel shortages have made U.S. motorists acutely interested in such vehicles.

The Yaris will replace the Echo as Toyota's subcompact in the U.S.
The three models from Toyota, Honda and Nissan will hit the market close to one another next spring, starting at about $12,000 and expected to sport fuel economy ratings of roughly 40 mpg in mixed driving, even better on the highway. (Photo gallery: Small cars at the right time)
Nissan's Versa, the biggest and probably least fuel-efficient of the new trio, is recording 38 mpg in combined city-highway use in Nissan tests, the automaker says.

Read more:

Ultimate Fuel SAVER

The Ultimate Fuel SAVER Caplet is an excellent detergent dispersant, combustion improver and top cylinder lubricant. UFS comes in bottles of 10 caplets.DIRECTIONS FOR USE:One caplet of UFS will treat between 10 to 20 gallons of gasoline or diesel fuel. UFS eliminates the need for you to use premium grade gasoline. Insert in gas tank prior to fill up. Dissolves in fuel down to -25ยบ F. INTRODUCTORY INTERNET SPECIAL -

For more information, please visit this products webpage.

The Fuel Energizer

The Fuel Energizer is a frequency resonator that uses Neodymium Super Conductor Magnets, which break and then realign the hydrocarbon chains in the fuel passing through the fuel line of your vehicle. The magnetic field created by the Fuel Energizer ionizes the fuel being fed to the engine, which itself produces a more complete combustion, maximizes fuel economy, improves fuel efficiency and reduces polluting emissions.
By installing these Neodymium Super Conductor Magnets close to your carburetor/injection system, your vehicle will start to feel the result of the Resonance frequency of the Neodymium Super Conductor Magnets and by making the fuel flow smoother your engine will run more efficiently. The way to ensure that you will gain the best results from The Fuel Energizer is by following the easy "Golden Seven Steps Rule".

Special Benefits of The Fuel Energizer:

  • Upto 28% Fuel saving on your mileage per litre
  • Increased acceleration
  • Reduction in AC drag
  • Up to 40% Reduction in Carbon Monoxide emissions
  • Reduction in exhaust smoke
  • Extends your engine life, cleans out carbon deposits
  • Up to 30% increase in life of your catalytic convertor exhaust system
  • A smoother running engine

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Attention: If you’re looking for a way to get better economy, and performance, from your personal or fleet vehicles, you’ve landed at the right web site. Please take the time to fully examine the information presented here at Condensator Sales. The Condensator is well proven with over 200,000 units installed worldwide. It’s one of the few devices that actually works! While requiring a small one time investment, it pays for for itself many, many, times over.
We’re Distributors, and Manufacturers of Condensator Products, manufactured by Condensator Sales, located in Northwestern Montana. While there’re only several authorized dealers of Condensator products, we’re the “only” authorized distributor of Condensator products in the World. Read how this 1997 Ford F-250 4x4 with a 460 CI Engine is now getting 20 MPG. How this 2004 Dodge Durango is Getting 22MPG!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Eight-Speed Semi-Automatic kit for the Pontiac GTO

Improve your GTOs fuel ecomony with the Bolt-on ratio/splitting overdrive gives the four-speed automatic GTO close ratios and .55 overdrive gear like the six-speed manual. Ratio progression is 3.06/2.39/1.63/1.27/1.00/.78/.70/.55 final for improved performance and economy. *Additional Product Information* Company: Gear Vendors, Inc. Address: 1717 N Magnolia Ave El Cajon CA 92020 USA Phone: 800-999-9555 ext. 54 Website:

Tornado Fuel Save

Tornado Fuel Saver is a non-moving vortex generator, which installs in the air-intake of vehicles and functions as an automotive air channeling device by creating a swirling air motion. This car accessory device allows the air to move faster and more efficiently by continuously whirling around bends and corners. Tornado Fuel Saver essentially creates a sideways mini-tornado moving through your vehicle's intakes, causing better fuel atomization. Tornado Fuel Saver is an easy to install car accessory device can improve gas mileage distance anywhere from 7-24%, and can even increase horsepower! No maintenance is required for this car accessory device. Not only is Tornado Fuel Saver affordable, but pays for itself as a gasoline saver.

Shop for Fuel Saver Now!

Increase Gas Mileage with High Performance Air Intake

Intrested in increasing horsepower by 5-10 horsepower and improving gas mileage try replacing your stock air intake with a high performance air intake. Performance air intakes use a high performance air filter at the end of a wide high performance intake tube. The result is outstanding airflow that's many times better than limiting stock parts and a few steps more advanced than a performance air filter alone. Not only does this improve your performance it also increase your gas miles.

Shop for Air Intakes

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Is your truck a drag, use a tonneau cover

If you are not using a tonneau cover on your pickup truck you could be holding yourself back. The tailgate of your truck can be a real drag. The air rushes over your truck's cab and flows directly into your open bed. Purchasing a tonneau cover to your provides a tight surface for airflow to blow right past. Without a drag-prone tailgate to slow your truck down, you can see an average gas mileage improvement of 5% to 10% immediately.
Additionally the cover will improve the looks of the truck and provide security to the times that you might want to leave in your truck.

Shop for Tonneau Cover