Yes, I realize animated GIFs are so twentieth century, but when I try to explain how my car cover works, I’m often met with looks of confusion and bewilderment. Known as SmartCover, this product lands between the nearly useless cardboard/foil foam windshield reflector and a whole-car-takes-ten-minutes-to-unfurl-and-position-before-you-realize-it’s-inside-out cover in both price and usability.
Summers in the California Central Valley are brutal. Just last week we had a few days of 100°+ temperatures that cause the leather interiors of most cars to become skin singers. First-degree burns on the backs of thighs aren’t fun (don’t ask me how I know). When you think about it, what good is a windshield shade if the sun is in its highest position or if your car is pointing away from the rising or setting sun? Not much good at all. Better to shield all your car’s windows if you’re going to bother.
Folsom, CA (Yuppie-burb of Sacramento) is in my neck of the woods. I was browsing the online car ads of my local struggling newspaper, the Sacramento Bee, and was struck by the number of trucks for sale.
“We’ve got more trucks than ever before . . . ” Yes, over 1,000 is quite a lot. (Get it?)
Currently, there are numerous bills in Congress that relate to cars. So many, in fact, that it’s near impossible to keep track of them all. The fine folks at govtrack.us have developed some tools that are enabling TTAC to stay informed on just what’s happening on the Hill. We thought you’d want to know, too. We’re mainly concerned with the scrappage schemes proffered by our representatives, but we’re tracking any bill that has to do with cars or driving.
The list is long. Really long. And growing. But, just because a bill has been introduced doesn’t mean that it will become law. Most bills never make it out of committee and die at the end of session. As we reported earlier, regarding the cash-for-clunkers bill, “Assistant to the Speaker Van Hollen suggested a vote might not take place this year.”
In California, weary road warriors who need a place to temporarily rest have few options if they’re traveling outside the reaches of its sprawling cities. The drive between the capital and L.A. is especially dreary: miles and miles of industrial farms, oleander and eucalyptus trees. Worse, rest stops are barely-maintained, glorified pit toilets. You’ll never forget the stench of an I-5 rest stop toilet hut.
In a follow up to E. Niedermeyer’s previous post, details have emerged about the scheme to give rebates to buyers who trade “clunkers” for new, fuel-efficient vehicles. FT.com (Financial Times) reports that the program will cost taxpayers about $4 billion and will spur, according Brian Johnson, an analyst at Barclays Capital, the sale of 3 million units in the “near term” (whatever that means). With the US’ SAAR projected at approximately 9 million, this is a very optimistic prediction.
Late last Friday, GM revealed in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that its employee stock fund manager, State Street Bank and Trust Co., has unloaded all company shares. According to the Associated Press (AP), “The plan’s financial manager said it began selling off shares of the Detroit automaker in late March ‘due to the economic climate and the circumstances surrounding GM’s business.’” This may help to explain the dead cat bounce GM’s stock experienced today.
Two recent developments have tarnished whatever green reputation ethanol has left. First, the news that corn-derived ethanol requires up to three times more water to produce than previously thought has cast a spotlight on the industry, especially in the dry west and southwest. A new study published by the American Chemical Society reports that previous estimates of water used to produce ethanol are inaccurate. The article’s abstract: