Posts By: David C. Holzman
Despite a collapse in oil prices of 50 percent since summer’s end, Saudi Arabia, whose vast production capacity has enabled that country to modulate world oil prices by adjusting its output, “effectively resigned from that role,” Daniel Yergin wrote in this past Sunday’s New York Times Week in Review. “…OPEC handed over all responsibility for oil prices to the market, which the Saudi oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, predicted would ‘stabilize itself eventually.’”
Last week, I bought gasoline for less than $2/gallon for the first time in probably more than a decade. A tankful for my ’08 Civic (stick) cost me sixteen whole dollars and fifty-three cents.
Now two leading thinkers, one from each party, have called for taking the opportunity of low gas prices to slap a tax on petroleum—or on carbon.
According to Allstate’s latest annual “America’s Best Drivers Report,” three Massachusetts cities have the worst drivers. Allstate’s analysis included the nation’s 200 largest cities. But fear not, fellow Bay Staters: our Masshole reputation is undeserved, according to Slate Magazine. They have come up with their own top (worst) 40, and we’re way down the list.
We’ll tell you who those losers are. But first: here’s Slate’s critique of Allstate, followed by it’s own methodology.
Most marriages don’t last nearly as long as Irven Gordon’s Volvo P1800 has lasted. And most couples probably don’t spend as much time together as Irv has spent in his beloved car.
Irv says he hadn’t even heard of Volvos until a few days before he bought the car, on June 30, 1966. At the time, he was fed up with his turbocharged 1963 Corvair Spyder, which he says was constantly making him late for his middle school science teaching job by breaking down en route. While thumbing through a Car and Driver with a car savvy friend, he stumbled upon an ad for the local Volvo dealership, with a photo of a P1800. “These are great cars,” the friend told him. So down he went to Volvoville in Huntington, NY, and took a P1800 convertible for a spin. He drove for three hours, and then bought the much less expensive coupe, for $4,150, or $30,000 in current dollars, approximately his then annual salary.
That first weekend, Irv rolled 1,500 miles, returning to the dealership on Monday for his car’s first checkup. He hadn’t planned to drive through the weekend, but he says he was having too much fun to stop—up to Boston, down to Philly, and all over in between before returning to his home on Long Island. He’s been driving the P1800 enthusiastically ever since. On September 24th of last year, he hit 3 million miles.
It was like finding a living mammoth, or one of those miniature elephants that still inhabited some islands off the coast until about four thousand years ago. There, in the video, was Grace Braeger pulling up to the gas pumps in her 1957 Chevy, which she had bought new, back in the fall of 1957, about the same time my parents and my brother and I had gone to the car store to get our ’57 Chevy wagon, when I was 4. We had bid ours adieu 8 years later. But the memories surged as I watched Ms. Braeger pump gas. The chrome gas cap cover doubles as the back of the tailfin, and there it was, flicked back to accommodate the nozzle. Then the scene shifts, and I’m riding shotgun, watching Ms. Braeger hang a right and then a left, steering hand over hand—with gusto and panache!—a necessary technique in the days of five turns lock to lock.
This “barn find” was found at Johnnie’s Sales and Service just the other week, down on Warwick Rd., somewhere in the middle of Massachusetts, where the car has sat for… seems no-one hereabouts can quite remember. (Read More…)
Twas the day before Christmas, and driving from Lexington, Mass., to northern Virginia, on the New Jersey Turnpike just two miles south of the Molly Pitcher service area, my ’99 Accord 5-speed hit 200,000 miles. I love the New Jersey Turnpike so this was a highly appropriate spot for the milestone.
From all the hype it gets, you would think hybrid technology is intrinsically green—and many Americans, including some policy-makers actually believe that. The Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS) new hybrid scorecard lays that canard to rest.
The rot-gut whiskey powered good ol’ boys who turned their fleet flite from revenooers into stock car racing must be flipping their ‘40 Fords in their graves. Nah, on second thought, they’d be so proud that their Prohibition-defying race car culture has swept the nation they’d be bemused by the news. Nascar is going effete… uh, green.