Tag Archives: EPA

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Second Look

By Harvey Schwartz

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Beauty Right Done Small

The all-new 2013 Lexus ES350 is the six-generation of Lexus’ most popular luxury sedan and the new ES 300h with Lexus Hybrid Drive marks the first time the popular model benefits from the hybrid system.  It features the signature Lexus spindle grille, a progressive new design and enhanced handling.  It is sure to impress new and loyal Lexus ES consumers.

The ES 300h features a 2.5 liter, DOHC, all aluminum, in-line four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with variable valve timing on the intake (VVT-i).  This new, low friction engine utilizes a sophisticated power management system and high compression ratio (12.5:1) to increase its overall efficiency.  It is equipped with an electric water pump, electric rack & pinion power steering system and an integrated Lexus Hybrid Drive System comprising an electric motor/generator.  As a result the engine does not require any accessory belts thus helping to improve fuel economy and overall reliability.   The gasoline engine generates 156hp at 5,700rpm with 156lb.ft. of torque at 4,500rpm.  Combined with the Lexus Hybrid Drive total horsepower is bumped up to a total of 200hp.   With this gasoline/hybrid engine EPA mileage ratings are 40mpg/city and 39mpg/highway.  After more than 425 miles of city and highway driving, I received, according to the trip computer, 38.8 combined mpg.  That’s good news for a mid-size luxury sedan.

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Engine Done Small

This high-tech gasoline/hybrid engine is mated to a six-speed sequential-shift automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i), turning the front wheels that provides enhanced driving performance, which I wasn’t expecting, including very smooth, imperceptible shifts.

Further enhancing the fun-to-drive experience is the Drive Mode Selector dial located on the left side of the center console.  Three modes are available-Normal mode provides a blend of performance and efficiency that is best for everyday driving, Eco mode favors fuel economy, and Sport mode increase powertrain and steering responsiveness.  When in the Eco or Normal mode the left gauge features a hybrid power monitor and when you change to Sport mode, you’ll see a full tachometer.  It is a perfect way to see how well you are saving fuel in Eco or Normal mode, and the available and current RPMs in Sport mode.  There is also an EV button that allows short distance driving in all-electric drive from the hybrid battery pack.  The other button is to turn the traction control/vehicle stability control off/on.

2013 Lexus ES300h Hybrid Beauty Side Done Small

I enjoyed the ride in any of the modes thanks to the fully independent suspension system.  Up front is a MacPherson strut setup, gas-charged shocks, an anti-roll bar and opposite-wound coil springs that help with straight-line stability at high speeds.  The revised rear suspension features dual-link MacPherson struts and an anti-roll bar to keep body lean to a minimum.  The new rear suspension geometry and improved shock absorber damping characteristics further enhance ride comfort when traveling over poorly paved road surfaces.  Increasing …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Automotive Addicts

College And The Cancer Of Political Correctness

By Coach Kevin Collins

globe 300x200 College and the Cancer of Political Correctness

Former Obama czar and now Harvard genius Cass Sunstein is lamenting over the lack of American students’ interest in science and math. Sunstein is right in noting that kids arrive in college with poor preparation in the sciences – I might add in bad physical shape because their high school PE programs were cut, their corpus collosi challenged because their right brain development in music and art programs were cut to make room for the political correctness of phony racial diversity, gender equality, sexual proclivity and hate America themes. And they expect kids to be motivated to subject themselves to real disciplines?

I think what Sunstein and the rest of the “progressive” crowd miss is the attitude base of today’s education process. Students are hammered with all the evils of American hegemony and destroying the earth with our technology. Schools under guidance from DC promote Godless political correctness in all its evil forms, including youthful guilt trips. The clergy-discoverers were likely motivated by God’s command in Genesis – “subdue the earth – be fruitful and multiply…” That doesn’t mean beat it to death, it means search, discover, refine, apply and bring forth the fruit of products, processes and opportunities for all to expand their horizons by creativity and service – giving glory to God – the only entity that can handle it! That’s called Stewardship – the opposite of EPA regulations written by ignoramuses!

These are the “progressive solutions” – see a challenge – centralize it. See it isn’t working, throw money at it. See it still isn’t working – throw more money and write new draconian rules and regulations, ad nauseum.  If that isn’t insanity for the sake of power, just what is? Of course, its also job security for non-performers expecting cushy perks for the rest of their lives – until their idiot-run cities like Detroit and Stockton go bankrupt.

Why would a student become fired up about science and technology when his education process has laid a guilt trip on him for even thinking about it? At the world famous Bakersfield Relay For Life, I fell in to walk with a young black woman and her son. She, like me was a cancer survivor. I asked her son what he wanted to be when he grew up. A nice, well-mannered kid, his answer shocked me. He said, “I want to become a lawyer so I can sue corporations!”

As an engineer, I’m a lousy structural designer, but a pretty good innovator currently holding forth some very fine “green” technologies for water, energy and environmentally pure applications. These are “very fine” because they actually reduce costs and eliminate the kind of chemical hazards that require a safety shower nearby in case a worker gets soaked with iodine or acid. Do we get an ounce of encouragement from the environmental gurus on government payrolls? No way! It falls right back to good old free enterprise, salesmanship and problem solving.

When President George H. W. Bush promised to shut down the Department of …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Big Government and Central Banks: The Real Criminals

By Steve Forbes, Forbes Staff

The British government has announced that it will be proposing legislation to have senior bankers face prison for “reckless” risk taking. This news item underscores two dangerous trends. The first is the largely unremarked upon phenomenon of modern democratic governments criminalizing more and more activities. In the U.S., for example, numerous prosecutions have been successfully pursued against corporate managers for the activities of subordinates that the managers didn’t order or even know about. Isn’t it a basic tenet of law that you can’t be charged with a crime you didn’t commit? A corollary to this is penalizing people for offenses they didn’t know they had committed. Yes, there has always been the axiom that ignorance of the law is no excuse. But that is for basic crimes like thievery, which you should know is illegal. In recent years, however, governments–especially regulators such as the EPA–have issued voluminous rules that can easily catch the unwary. The federal tax code is notorious for this. The frightening truth is that if the federal government wants to “get” you or your business, it can. There’s no way for law-abiding citizens not to get ensnared in the regulatory maw. Noted social observer and author Charles Murray is writing a book on what he rightfully describes as the increasing lawlessness of the U.S. government. The blizzard of new rules, many of them vaguely worded, undermines the basic foundation of the rule of law: simplicity and predictability. Murray finds the phenomenon far more widespread than most people realize. The recent Inspector General’s report on extensive, deliberate IRS abuses is but the tip of the iceberg. Another disturbing thing about the British news report is its reflection of the naive belief that more regulation means a safer, less risky financial system and economy. Big Government here and in Europe has perpetrated the astonishing myth that the recent financial crisis was caused by reckless and greedy private-sector bankers. No wonder the public howls for bankers’ heads. The real villains here were governments, particularly central banks. Experience has demonstrated time and again that when a country undermines the value of its currency, bad things happen. Both in the 1970s and in the early part of the last decade the Federal Reserve continually devalued the dollar, and other central banks followed suit with their monies to varying degrees. The result, predictably, was a commodities boom, a surge in prices for houses and farmland, a binge in government spending and a drought in productive investments. Just as a virus corrupts information in a computer, an unstable currency distorts markets. Take housing. People really believed that housing prices could only go up and up. No wonder lending standards went down. If a buyer defaulted, so what? The always appreciating asset would easily cover the mortgage. Under those circumstances purchasing a house with debt and little or no down payment looked like a sure, easy way to get rich. And weren’t brilliant financial engineers, like alchemists, designing securities that were turning packages of subprime …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

2013 Hyundai Sonata Tested: Rebooted and Re-Optimized

By Ron Sessions

2013 Hyundai Sonata hybrid

Despite what you may have heard, not every U.S. government agency is big enough to insert itself into every aspect of our lives. Witness the EPA, which does not test every make, model, and engine combination for which it publishes ratings. Instead, it sets up procedures and guidelines for automakers to certify that their cars meet emissions regulations and achieve certain fuel-economy results. It’s kind of an honor system, but the EPA does test 15 to 20 percent of new models (as of our 2009 visit to its Ann Arbor labs) and also performs occasional spot checks, and that’s how Hyundai and Kia recently were caught fluffing the mpg estimates on a large number of their models. Since the last time we reviewed Hyundai’s Sonata hybrid, the company has been forced to admit that “procedural errors” had inflated its EPA fuel-economy estimates. READ MORE ››

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Quick Spin: 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

By Seyth Miersma

2014 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S - front three-quarter view, red

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I don’t care who you are; when a new Porsche 911 rolls up in your driveway, that’s a pretty good day. This was my very first experience with Porsche’s 991 911, and after having spent time with just about every tune and trim of the last car, I was hotly anticipating comparing and contrasting.

Somehow (I don’t remember sending out any cash-filled, unmarked envelopes) I’d scored a week in the 911 Carrera 4S over a long holiday weekend, too. That meant that I’d get to A) log a ton of miles in one of the best cars in the world, B) get to show-off the Porsche to family and friends and C) tempt cops in three states to pull me over. Good thing I’ve got the Autoblog traffic lawyer on speed dial…

Driving Notes

  • I’ve never been one to find every-single 911 ever completely attractive – I find the 996 Cabriolets are a particularly bad representation of the legend’s style – but I think the 991 generation is sexy as hell. When my test car showed up in Guards Red over black wheels, I was smitten right away. Silver or black might be safer choices with this body shape, but I can’t help but think the profile of the car – sleeker than ever now – is nearly perfect. With that said, erecting the retractable rear spoiler completely ruins the body line, even if it helps keep the car pinned to the Earth at triple digit speeds.
  • The longer wheelbase of the 991 Carrera does set the car up as a better all-around driver and grand touring car than its 996 predecessor. On the negative side, this means that this 911 doesn’t feel quite as quick to turn in and rotate on a dime. Also, slightly more grown-up chassis and suspension tuning mean that I get less of a sense of overall road feedback, too. The positive side of that trade-off is a greater level of high-speed stability, with what remains an ultra-smooth, ultra-confident driving experience on the best of roads. And, while the electric power steering system’s feel might not be quite as good as it is in the last-gen 911 or the current Boxster and Cayman, it’s still light years ahead of many other sports cars.
  • I put more than 700 miles on this Porsche over the long 4th of July weekend, with a trip to Chicago from Ann Arbor, including plenty of backroads along the way. It’s not particularly sexy to say so, but the Carrera 4S is as just about as practical as anything in the “near-supercar” category is likely to get. Seats for the two passengers up front are comfortable and supportive, with plenty of head, elbow, and leg room for a car this size. Visibility is actually pretty decent, too, considering the silhouette of the machine. I was shocked to see highway fuel economy over the EPA estimated rating of 26 miles per gallon, especially considering …read more

    Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Honda Releases First Photo of 2014 Fit, Specs on Japanese-Market Fit Hybrid

By Alexander Stoklosa

2014 Honda Fit hybrid

The next-generation Fit subcompact is just around the corner, set to arrive here as a 2014 model early next year, and now we’ve gotten our first official look at it, courtesy of Honda. It appears as though the alleged scans of the new Fit from a Japanese publication we recently published were, in fact, the real deal. Besides revealing what the new Fit will look like, Honda also released some details about the car’s hybrid variant—at least the Japanese-market version.

Of course, we’re not yet sure whether or not Honda will send us the next-gen Fit hybrid. The outgoing model never made it to our shores—although the electric Fit EV did. Based on Honda’s own testing, the 2014 Fit hybrid will be one efficient machine, at least when put through the rather optimistic Japanese JC08 fuel-economy testing cycle. The manufacturer states the Fit hybrid will be good for 36.4 km per liter, which equates roughly to 86 mpg. Even on our less-optimistic EPA cycle, were the Fit hybrid to make it here for such testing, we expect the littlest Honda would return some heady figures. For a more relevant reference point, Honda claims the new hybrid is 35 percent more efficient than the outgoing model.

2014 Honda Fit hybrid

The Fit hybrid owes its fuel-sipping ability to a new 1.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine (of unspecified output); although it’s not specifically outlined, we suspect the engine features direct injection. After all, Honda is finally working to switch its fours and sixes over to this more efficient fuel-delivery setup. The engine bolts up to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with a built-in electric motor, which draws power from a lithium-ion battery pack. Full-electric operation is possible thanks to the engine’s ability to disconnect from the transmission, and, of course, there is regenerative braking functionality to recoup energy for the battery pack. Unlike Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid setup, which powers today’s Fit hybrid and Civic hybrid, the new, more complex setup is dubbed “Sport Hybrid i-DCD.”

Honda is putting the new Fit hybrid on sale in Japan beginning this September, and we expect the automaker will debut the entire Fit lineup—gas-powered model included—at an auto show this fall, either in L.A. or Tokyo. Further down the road, the next Fit (which will be built in Mexicoalso will spin off a sedan and small crossover, both of which will be sold here in the U.S.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Obama Gets His EPA Chief

By John Johnson

Two of President Obama’s long-stalled nominees cleared the Senate today, thanks to this week’s filibuster deal : Gina McCarthy is the new EPA chief, and Thomas Perez is the new labor secretary, reports the Hill and Wall Street Journal . The big question on Perez is how aggressive he will be on… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Obama’s Parrot Carney Lied About How Bad Obamacare Is

By Emma Karlin

Jay Carney Whine Steward SC Obama’s parrot Carney lied about how bad Obamacare is

Most people find it difficult to lie; but most people are not White House Press Secretaries like Jay Carney. He finds lying quite easy to do.  This week, he flippantly dismissed Republican charges that Obamacare has forced employers to move away from full time employees because of the law’s oppressive requirements.

With the kind of straight face only a studied liar could put on, Carney countered the charges by saying, “The data reflects that there is no support for the proposition that businesses are not hiring full-time employees because of the Affordable Care Act,”

Now here’s the truth.

The actual statistics prove just the opposite is true. A Wall Street Journal report tells us that for the year so far, an average of 22,000 part time workers have been hired each month. This has given us a complete reversal of the 2012 ratio, when 171,000 full time workers found employment each month.

Companies with more than 49 employees will be required to provide their workers with government-approved healthcare or face a fine, once the law is fully implemented. In response to this impeding attack, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has weighed in saying, “Small businesses expect the requirement to negatively impact their employees. Twenty-seven percent say they will cut hours to reduce full time employees, 24 percent will reduce hiring, and 23 percent plan to replace full time employees with part-time workers to avoid triggering the mandate.” Because of Obamacare, not only is 7.5% unemployment the new normal; but calling a 30 hour work week full time employment has become normal as well.

Clearly, the small business community is very worried about Obamacare. Only 17% have added employees in the last two years, and less than a quarter of small business owners think they will be adding employees in the next two years.

Among all Americans, a staggering 77% think Obama’s economy is on the wrong track; and a stunning 61% of these small business owners have no plans to hire anyone in the next twelve months. Perhaps most telling in this report on Obama’s economy is that 90% of them want to ease EPA regulations and see more drilling for oil on American soil.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Iowa governor expresses concern over proposed EPA rules

Environmental groups pushing the federal government to take over enforcement of Clean Water Act regulations in Iowa said Tuesday that Gov. Terry Branstad is lobbying on behalf of agriculture groups, ignoring the environmental damage being done to rivers and streams by manure spills and farm runoff.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox News – Politics

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 7/16/2013

By The White House

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

12:58 P.M. EDT

MR. CARNEY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being here, as ever, for your White House briefing. I do not have any announcements or discussions of my weekend for the top, and therefore, I will go straight to Julie Pace.

Q Thank you. Does the White House support this deal that's emerging in the Senate to move forward on some of the President’s nominees?

THE PRESIDENT: Let me say a couple things. One, any agreement that there might be between senators has yet to be formally announced, and so we will not get ahead of such an announcement if and when it comes.

We have worked very closely with Senator Reid and we have made clear our support for Senator Reid’s position in this because we share — the President shares his frustration over the obstructionism that we've seen from Republicans in the Senate when it comes to the confirmation of the President’s nominees. And we would be glad to see a resolution that results in the speedy confirmation of the President’s qualified nominees to these positions that have been at issue. And that includes Rich Cordray at CFPB; it includes Gina McCarthy at EPA and Tom Perez at Labor, and others.

So we won't have a full comment on an agreement that is yet to be announced, but we hope there is one. We simply hope that there’s a resolution that allows for the confirmation of the President’s nominees, which is why we supported all along Senator Reid in his approach to this matter.

Q Senator McCain, who has been quite involved in this process, says that he spoke with Vice President Biden and Denis McDonough over the past few days on this. Can you tell us what the White House’s role was in trying to break this impasse?

MR. CARNEY: The White House was not involved in negotiating. The White House provided information and answered questions when it came to working with Senate Republicans, including, of course, Senator McCain, who, again, as I understand it, based on what we've seen, deserves significant credit for his efforts in trying to find a resolution here — a resolution that allows for hopefully the speedy confirmation of the President’s nominees.

But this has been a — this solution that has been sought has been one that has been sought and negotiated by senators. And our position has been to communicate with and work with Senator Reid and other Democrats on this issue. But the negotiating between Democrats and Republicans has happened between senators.

Q Also, Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia. Has the White House reached out to the Russians since he filed his application? Is there any general comment on his taking this step?

MR. CARNEY: There are regular communications between the U.S. government and the Russian government on …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at The White House Press Office

2014 BMW i3 Driven: The Charge of the Light Brigade

By K.C. Colwell

2014 BMW i3

Regardless of whether the wider driving public has asked for it or not, the electric car is here—and here to stay. Charting the number of new segment entries by model year creates a graph more steeply inclined than a Himalayan ascent. As recently as five years ago, the EPA certified just one electric vehicle for sale in the U.S. In 2013, 10 electrics were in U.S. dealerships, and that number may grow another 50 percent for the 2014 model year. READ MORE ››

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

A Missed Opportunity This Past July 4th

By Spiritof76

Declaration of Independence SC A Missed Opportunity This Past July 4th

July 4 refers to the day the Declaration of Independence from the British monarchical yoke was issued by some 56 noted individuals who risked their lives, fortunes, and their sacred honor for it. Several thousand American colonists fought and perished over a seven year period so that their posterity will live in a free nation governed with the consent of the people to secure their rights as free people.

The first ten amendments to the US Constitution ratified in 1791 contained the Bill of Rights that prohibits transgressions by the federal government into individual life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

In 2013, some 237 years later, the people have lost most of what was enshrined in the US Constitution. The federal government, instead of being limited in scope as intended, has become a dictatorial national government. Patrick Henry opposed the adoption of the Constitution as he feared the uncontained growth of the federal government by destroying the sovereignty of the individual states. He was right!

The American people lost their way in the early 1900s and allowed the concept of big government to come to fruition and to destroy the core principle of federalism during the Woodrow Wilson administration with the enactment of direct federal government taxation of Americans and the simultaneous removal of state representation in Congress by instituting the direct popular election of the Senators.

Article 1, Section 1 is in tatters as Congress has illegally delegated its legislative powers to such unelected agencies as the EPA, IRS, FCC, FDA, and the other hundreds of agencies with the full approval of the US Supreme Court. People did not bother to punish those politicians but accepted the despotic bureaucratic rule that we find today.

The First Amendment is just about erased. Political correctness depending upon the whims of the favorite political groups is allowed to override that right of free speech and declare it hate speech. There is no religious freedom today. If you do not practice what the national government dictates appropriate, you and your group will be punished with the help of the myriad of agencies it controls.

How about the freedom of the press? The government spies on the reporters, tries to intimidate their families, and prevents them from reporting anything unfavorable to it. Wilson jailed some of them for being against the American entry into WWI. Lincoln also did so in the Civil War.

The Second Amendment, whose presence in the Bill of Rights is for preserving freedom (not for hunting or sports shooting), is under severe assault. A national government that has gone rogue will disarm the citizens so that they can be turned into subjects.

The Fourth Amendment is extinct. Americans gave that up in the name of security. The US government with the guidance of the Supreme Court has eliminated the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures without the required warrants based on probable cause. The president maintains a kill list that includes American citizens, deploys armed …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Famously filthy Mass. river hosts community swim

The Charles River may be famous for its filth, but it’s clean enough now for its first public swim since the 1950s.

The Boston Globe reports (http://bo.st/13YvHhh) dozens jumped into the river Saturday in swimsuits, not hazmat suits.

Over the past eight years, the river has hosted a mile-long race for elite swimmers. But Saturday’s event was the first time in decades officials allowed a community swim.

The water quality meets standards for swimming most days, a big improvement since the EPA gave it a grade of D in 1995. But the bottom remains polluted, so the swimmers had to avoid it.

Some swimmers described the water as orange or resembling beef broth. Charles River Conservancy head Renata von Tscharner said she preferred to describe it as resembling tea.


Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Senators Caving To Obama’s EPA Nominee

By Breaking News

gina Senators Caving To Obama’s EPA Nominee

Right now our nation is almost falling apart and it seems that no one has any backbone to stand up not just against Barack Obama, but all those that he places into office! From what has happened in recent times, with the many scandals and little action being taken on them, it now seems that maybe the people in Congress should just stay home. Perhaps they should not collect a penny, because none of them seem to care or even think of what will happen next week much less 20 years from now because of their inaction. Senator David Vitter (R-LA), a recent power to be dealt with, now seems to be caving to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) nominee Gina McCarthy because she answered questions right! Come on now, once she gets into her office, she will do just as Obama tells her to do! Yes, both sides are now almost a total waste for being in Washington, D.C. unless they have the big names with them; the common people do not really matter.

Let us take an early example of this with Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) when she voted not to make English the national language. Now let us jump forward to today and check out Senator David Vitter and what he is about to do. Senator David Vitter, along with others, are now thinking of allowing Obama to have his EPA head so he can continue to stop coal, oil, and natural gas!

Just today we learn that Senator David Vitter whom once had stated that he would filibuster her nomination, is now thinking of confirmation her.

We have to wonder just what is Senator David Vitter giving up to do this?

We asked his office and we got no comment, leaving us to wonder why the change of heart and why the support of someone who will be used to destroy the coal industry, put people out of work and help to cause energy prices to skyrocket. What did they get in return for their not stopping the nomination because we do know that most of the time something is given up or given away when a vote switches? We just have to wonder anyway just what good is Congress since Obama seems to be able to not just ignore the Constitution, but do as he pleases, much like a Dictator rather than a President.

Read more at Freedom Outpost. By Leon Puissegur.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Long Term: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: June 2013

By Seyth Miersma

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Filed under:

There are an awful lot of good reasons to get into the Hyundai Veloster family and formula. This car looks good, is loaded out with tech and offers a great deal of practicality in a small form factor. One good reason not to consider a Veloster, at least if you’re a city dweller or have primarily urban daily driving path, is the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine in the eponymous Veloster Turbo.

Two major factors kill the Veloster Turbo in terms of said city driving: turbo lag and fuel economy.

Two major factors kill the Veloster Turbo in terms of city driving: turbo lag and fuel economy.

I had our long-term Turbo for all of June and the first week of July, during which time I primarily used the car as a runabout in Ann Arbor, MI. With the exception of a few 40-ish-mile jaunts into Metro Detroit, I drove the Hyundai roughly five to ten miles at a time, with speeds that I’m sure averaged 30 miles per hour or less. This kind of driving isn’t a good recipe for high mile-per-gallon numbers, to be sure, and I netted out at about 21.6 mpg – a decent bit lower than the EPA estimate of 24 mpg in the city.

Meanwhile, I wasn’t having a riveting time whilst burning that gas (at least you don’t have to run premium). If you’ve been following the saga of this long-term car to date, you’ve read a lot about how the Turbo doesn’t feel especially hot-hatchy. There are plenty of reasons for this, but I think much of it comes down to a laggy turbo. Getting into the heart of the boost takes a really heavy foot and a low gear when initially accelerating. Worse, the rush from the turbo boost doesn’t feel especially strong once it does come on. (I don’t actually mind a bit of turbo lag, if the payout at the end is a crazy accelerative moment; see Mazdaspeed3, Mini Cooper S, etc.)

In other words: If the Veloster Turbo felt really fast, even sometimes, I’d forgive the fuel economy. As it stands, I’m quite sure the trade-off versus the standard, slow, nice handling non-turbo Veloster, at least for city drivers, is a bad one to make. That’s not even taking sticker price into account…

Continue reading 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: June 2013

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: June 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Jul 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Tesla announces 'World's Best Service and Warranty Program,' hints at future 500-mile battery

By Domenick Yoney

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Tesla Motors has just revealed the latest edition of it 5-part announcement trilogy. Whereas the previous first installment had to do with the company’s new leasing program, this episode is all about service and warranty, comes gift-wrapped in the glittery descriptor of “World’s Best,” and is accompanied by hints of a future battery upgrade.

The new plan improves on the California automaker’s service program by adding a valet service that brings you a top-spec Model S Performance – or a Tesla Roadster, if you prefer – to temporarily replace your personal vehicle while it’s being serviced. CEO Elon Musk states that this fleet of Model S service vehicles, which will initially number about 100, will ideally be less than three months old and also be available for immediate sale. Like your loaner more than your own car? You can keep it, paying “a price that is lower by 1% per month of age and $1 per mile” for your new ride and taking, likely, a similar hit on your trade-in.

Musk hinted that a 500-mile battery would not be an unreasonable thing to expect in four or five years.

Not only should the purchase scheme keep the loaner fleet nice and fresh, it may also create a cache of certified pre-owned inventory for buyers who are looking for a deal on a Tesla that starts at $69,900 from the factory, or who would rather not wait a couple months for a new, made-to-order car.

As well as no-travel hassle, Tesla has also made its $600 annual service optional without effecting the standard 5-year/50,000-mile warranty. The company has also made the battery portion of the warranty unconditional, meaning that, if you manage to somehow turn it into a useless brick (something that should be quite difficult to accomplish with the Model S), you will get a replacement unit of equal capacity free of charge.

Speaking of battery capacity, during the media call, Mr. Musk also offered some hope for those anxious for packs that hold more energy than the current EPA-estimated 265-mile/85 kilowatt-hour packs now available. In response to a question about upcoming technology improvements, he hinted that a 500-mile battery would not be an unreasonable thing to expect in four or five years. He then added that, eventually, Tesla would likely offer owners the opportunity to upgrade their vehicles with longer-range capabilities.

It all sounds pretty good to us, and we can’t help but think if this upstart company keeps it up, surpassing sales of the Chevy Volt might seem a minor accomplishment. For more details on this newest warranty arrangement, you can get more details in a blog post on the Tesla website.

Tesla announces ‘World’s Best Service and Warranty Program,’ hints at future 500-mile battery originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 26 Apr 2013 19:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

California failed to spend $455M on water projects, EPA says

California has failed to spend $455 million of federal money meant to improve water infrastructure in the state, while thousands of people rely on groundwater laced with nitrates and other contaminants, federal regulators said Friday.

The state has received more than $1.5 billion for its Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund over the past 15 years, but has failed to spend a large part of it in a timely manner, according to a noncompliance letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the state’s public health department. The amount is the program’s largest unspent sum in the nation, the EPA said.

The fund gives out loans to public and private water systems for drinking water infrastructure improvements, including treatment facilities, pipelines and other projects. In recent years, California has received an estimated $80 million in federal money annually for the fund. The state provides a 20 percent match and manages the loan repayments which helps replenish the fund.

“It’s really unacceptable,” EPA‘s regional administrator, Jared Blumenfeld, said of the unspent funds. “It’s not like there is a lack of projects. It’s a lot of money in this day and age.”

The $455 million includes money that has been committed to projects but has not been spent because the projects are not shovel-ready, said Blumenfeld. But because the money is already committed, other water systems that are in need cannot apply for it, he said.

The EPA also found that California also lacks a good system of financial oversight and accountability for the fund. As a result, the state did not accurately calculate revenue from ongoing loan repayments into the fund, the EPA said, meaning an additional $260 million is available for water projects.

In response to the EPA, Department of Public Health director Ron Chapman wrote in a letter, “I acknowledge the seriousness of the notice and will take all steps necessary to address the compliance issues identified in the letter.”

The state has 60 days to come up with an improvement plan — or the EPA may suspend future payments.

By the end of 2012, the EPA said California has disbursed 63 percent of its federal safe drinking water funding, while the national average was 81 percent.

Part of California’s struggle to spend the money, Blumenfeld said, is that the state prefers funding projects from medium and large water systems that are years away from being launched. He said the state should make more money available to smaller communities that are in immediate need — especially those struggling with contaminated drinking water.

More than half of California’s population relies on a drinking water supply contaminated by arsenic, nitrates and other contaminants, though most communities blend or treat their water to make it safe, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.

Nitrate contamination of drinking water is one of the most pervasive problems, especially in California’s agricultural heartland and will intensify in coming years, according to a University of California, Davis study released last March.

The study — covering the Salinas Valley and Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties — found

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/national/~3/uW2PfZ4pcFM/

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel EPA-Rated at 46-mpg Highway

By Kirk Seaman

Chevrolet has announced that the new-for-2014 Cruze diesel will get an EPA-estimated 46 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in the city. With its 2.0-liter turbo-diesel making 148 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, the diesel joins the base 1.8-liter four and the optional 1.4-liter turbo four already available in the Cruze powertrain lineup. The addition of the diesel is the news; how its fuel economy stacks up against its siblings and the competition, however, is another matter.

Getting 46 mpg on the highway is a laudable achievement for the diesel; the automatic-equipped Cruze Eco gets 39 mpg and the Eco with the six-speed manual gets 42 mpg. Drill a little deeper, though, and the comparisons become less favorable: the automatic Eco matches the diesel’s city rating of 26, while the manual betters it by 2 mpg.

Then there is the matter of dollars and cents. At $25,695, the Cruze diesel is $4010 more than the Cruze Eco with an automatic and $5205 more than the manual. And with diesel fuel currently costing about 40 cents more per gallon than regular unleaded, it’s going to take owners a whole lot of highway driving to recoup the extra cost of the diesel-engine option.

Chevy wants you to pay no attention to that Cruze Eco behind the curtain, and would instead like you to consider the Volkswagen Jetta TDI as the bow-tie diesel’s real competition. The Jetta costs about $700 less than the compression-ignition Cruze, but the Chevy comes with more standard features, including MyLink infotainment, larger 17-inch aluminum wheels, leather seats, and a two-year maintenance plan. Chevrolet also offers a powertrain warranty that is the same in years (five) but better in miles (100,000 versus the VW’s 60,000). On the fuel-economy front, the Jetta gets ratings of 30/42; that puts the Cruze up by 4 mpg on the highway but down 4 mpg in the city.

The Cruze diesel will go on sale this spring in “high-indexing diesel cities” such as Baltimore and Milwaukee. Later this fall, it will be available nationwide and in Canada. While we’re always glad to see a new choice in the world of compression ignition, we’re still not sure how Chevy’s new diesel is going to find its place in the market. With diesel sales up in 2012 by more than 25 percent according to some estimates, Chevy is hoping the Cruze can get in on some of that oil-burning action.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/caranddriver/blog/~3/7Sd-jHz0Cuk/