Archive for the ‘Gas for your car…’ Category

Chevrolet Colorado Most Fuel-Efficient Pickup in America

November 13th, 2015

Chevrolet Colorado dieselThere’s an interesting battle going on to be the most fuel-efficient pickup truck in America. It’s interesting not so much for the fact that the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado 2-wheel drive with the Duramax turbodiesel engine is the winner.

Nope, what makes it intriguing is it turns out Americans do care about fuel efficiency, even with falling fuel prices. We don’t care so much how a vehicle gets fuel savings. We just want it to happen.

That’s according to a survey by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. It discovered in June that “[a] little more than half (52 percent) of respondents said it didn’t matter to them how a vehicle saves fuel and reduces emissions,” according to an article at the news site

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When Should We Declare Fossil Fuels Dead?

September 29th, 2015

Tesla Supercharger

Kimbal Musk is the brother of Elon, the billionaire founder and CEO of Tesla Motors. He serves on the board of Tesla and is an advocate for finding new ways of powering, and feeding, our world.

My wife and I had the opportunity this weekend to meet with Kimbal in Las Vegas along with Bill Nye, the famous science guy.

Both were adamant that the time has come to change the world and move away from fossil fuels. I’ve been slow to get on board with that idea, but I finally think that they are correct. Automakers and consumers are starting to realize it, too.

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This Automaker Does Fuel Efficiency Right

September 23rd, 2015


According to the United States government, the average fuel economy for new cars and trucks needs to be at least 54.5 miles per gallon by the 2025 model year. That’s more than double the current average of 25.4 mpg.

That deadline is still 10 years away, but in vehicle-development terms it might as well be tomorrow. That’s why we’re seeing the explosion of hybrids, electric vehicles, turbochargers, and *ahem* diesels in this country.

One company has taken a more subtle approach and devoted itself to getting impressive efficiency from the humble 4-cylinder combustion engine.

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Volkswagen: TDI or TD Lie?

September 21st, 2015


What if it was revealed that your gas/electric hybrid wasn’t really a hybrid? Or what if Ford fans discovered their prized 5.0 V8 was actually only 4.3 liters? What if a Chevrolet claimed a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds but was only capable of 5.2?

Automakers sell their cars with the promise that they will achieve a certain performance benchmark. Sometimes that benchmark is speed, sometimes it’s fuel economy, and sometimes it’s something a little less noticeable: emissions numbers.

As you’ve probably heard by now, Volkswagen is being accused of deliberately deceiving its customers, and the U.S. government, with cars that emit much more pollution than claimed. This is bad for a number of reasons, but the worst might be the loss of trust in its vaunted TDI brand.

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How Low Will They Go? Diesel Prices Keep Falling

July 15th, 2015


I’ve noticed something at gas stations in the last few days that I can’t remember seeing in the recent past.

When I glance up at the fuel prices, I’ve noticed that the price of diesel is at or below the price of regular unleaded. How can that be? Diesel prices have, for as long as I can remember, been considerably higher than gasoline.

That’s been the tradeoff when buying a diesel. Sure, you get better fuel economy, but the price of the fuel offsets some of the benefit.

Those days have ended, at least temporarily, as diesel prices have retreated significantly. Why are they going down and what does it mean for car shoppers?

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Bad Timing for the New Prius, But Does It Matter?

June 30th, 2015

2015 Toyota Prius Five pic-5640244198888418979

Gas prices are low, hybrids have lost their luster, and competition is fierce for alternative-fuel cars. So now is a great time to introduce a hybrid, right?

There was a time when the Toyota Prius was the only option for buyers who wanted to advertise the fact that they love the environment. Celebrities and consumers alike proudly drove the efficient little soapboxes as a statement of being different.

Today things have changed, as relatively low gas prices and an influx of new hybrids, electrics, and diesels sit on dealer lots around the world while the Prius has lost favor among trendsetters.

Basically, the timing for an all-new Prius couldn’t be worse. You know who doesn’t care?

The all-new Prius.

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Do You Prefer a Gas Tax or a Miles-Driven Tax?

May 26th, 2015
Should owners of electric vehicles have to pay taxes for roads?

Should owners of electric vehicles have to pay taxes for roads?

Some ideas are destined to never work.

The hoverboard is one. So is the flying car. A peanut-butter-and-sardine sandwich would also make the list of ideas not likely to catch on.

The state of Oregon is about to discover one more: a miles-driven tax in place of a fuel tax.

The slow rise of electric and hybrid vehicles, in addition to improved fuel economy in vehicles powered by fossil fuels, has presented state governments with a new problem: how to fund roads with less money coming in from fuel taxes.

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Audi Creates Synthetic Fuel Using Air and Water

April 27th, 2015


Synthetic oil has been around for as long as I’ve been doing oil changes. In all that time it never occurred to me that maybe someone could invent synthetic fuel, too.

Fuel made from renewable resources rather than harvested from oil buried deep in the earth can provide clean power to our cars without damaging the atmosphere. That’s a dream scenario, but plenty of technological and logistical problems exist with the concept.

Audi, though, has succeeded in creating a process that results in clean e-diesel, a fully synthetic fuel capable of powering modern diesel engines.

It turns out synthetic fuel has been around since the early 1900s, when it was discovered in Germany. Many processes to make it have been created in the years since, but all of them require some kind of earth-based raw material, such as coal. Audi’s is a little different.

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Time to Trade the Hybrid for an SUV?

April 23rd, 2015

2015 Jeep Renegade

Don’t jump back into an SUV just yet!

If you drive an electric car or a hybrid, you might be tempted by low gas prices to make the leap back into an SUV or crossover. It happens every time there’s a fluctuation in fuel prices; they rise, and people flock to hybrids. They sink, and people migrate back to the big rigs.

Americans are a fickle breed, and we have a hard time looking at the long-term picture. With gas prices currently well under $3 per gallon in most of the country, the great transition back to SUVs is already in place.

According to CNN, so far this year only 45 percent of people who traded in an environmentally friendly hybrid car purchased another. That means 55 percent of folks went back to gas, and many of those were SUV purchases.

The logic makes sense, but whatever happened to the days when someone made a decision and stuck with it for a while?

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Hydrogen Fuel Gets Closer to Mainstream

January 22nd, 2015


I know, I know. We talk a lot about the fuel that powers our cars on these pages.

We complain about high gas prices, we get cautiously excited about low prices, we wonder if governments should increase taxes on fossil fuels, and we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of alternative-fuel vehicles.

The question always comes back to this: environmental effects. Fossil fuels are damaging to pump out of the earth, and they pollute the atmosphere when burned. Electric-powered cars don’t emit any gasses when driving, but the production of the electricity that charges them can be harmful.

Hydrogen is, theoretically, clean from all angles. A new filling station in California could change the game on how we think about fueling our cars.

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