Hmmm, sometimes I think I force the titles for these posts. Anywho, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is promoting a new safety feature for all new cars in 2008. It’s TPMS, tire pressure monitoring system – the name explains it all. When your tires are under-inflated a light will come on your dashboard and tells you to get more air in them.
Why the heck should you care about tire pressure? Well for every 3psi drop in tire pressure you can expect a 1% decrease in fuel efficiency. If an average Nova Scotian was low 2psi in each of their four tires, they would be using an extra 85L of gas a year, that’s about $100 and .2 tonnes of CO2. Even more staggering is that a recent pan-American survey by CarCare found that 70% of cars had at least 1 tire improperly inflated. If you don’t care about saving fuel, at least this’ll help you save your tires. Under-inflated tires will lose their tread about 15,000 km sooner and this system will also alert you as soon as your tire flat. Not a bad idea, but tire pressure gauges work pretty efficiently as well.
from Autoblog Green
That’s what Japan is trying to do, the country is looking at using these ubiquitous utensils for biofuel production. Each of Japan’s 127 million residents uses on average 200 pairs of chopsticks a year. That’s equal to 90,000 tons of wood a year. It’s nice that they’re finding use for this waste, but it’d be better if people just brought their own chopsticks in the first place. China is on that tone, looking to eliminate the 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks it uses every year. Read the whole article here.
If you don’t know a lot about biofuel production, almost any sort of waste product can be converted into fuel. Wooden chopsticks are relatively easy to convert (compared to say plastic waste) as it can converted to ethanol through pyrolysis. I could go on for several posts about the different types of biofuel production so this much information will have to suffice. If you’re facing a craving check out the wiki entry here.
from Japan Probe
Filed under cars, green, news, waste
According to a Nikkei Business Daily survey, young people in Japan’s capital are less and less interested in owning a car. A survey of Tokyoites in their 20s was conducted in 2000, it found that 48.2% were interested in buying a car and 23.6% actually owned a car. Fast forward seven years and my oh my has it changed – only 25.3% wanted to buy a car and a meager 13% owned a car.
Why is this happening? The economic downturn in Japan is making citizens more concerned about their savings; the source article noted that these people are also spending less on booze, designer clothes and sporting goods. While this might not be signaling a change in environmental conscientiousness of young Japanese , a decrease in consumption of pointless consumer goods is undoubtedly a good thing. Cars are a huge drain on the economic resources of any individual – here in Nova Scotia GPI Atlantic reported that the average family’s largest expenditure was transportation. In America, it’s something in the range of $9000/year that the average American spends on their car. These costs are undoubtedly higher in Japan as gas is almost double the price and road tolls are all over the place.
On a side note, I was late for work today because my bus was late. It made me wish I had a car.
from Japan Probe
Filed under cars, japan, news
If any of you have driven a HEV before, you might have noticed the fuel efficiency gauge telling you how much gasoline you’re using. If you drove a regular car, you’d have estimate how much gas you’re using by doing the fuel pumped in/km travelled method. Thankfully Nissan is expanding these fuel monitoring devices to regular cars – three Japanese models and two US models.
The cool thing is, internal testing at Nissan has found that just having this addition to a car decreased a driver’s fuel consumption by 10%. To the average Canadian that’s a pretty significant amount, registering in at about 220L of gas a year, $250 a year and more than half a tonne of CO2 a year.
Probably the most innovative part of this program is that these fuel monitors are integrated into Nissan’s CARWINGS (sound Japanese much?) navigation system. The system uploads to your fuel consumption to their website where you can get ranked based on monthly results. I’m just wondering if this’ll help hypermiling catch on!
from Clean MPG
Hokay, so I’m a bit of a hippie when it comes to cars – but it’s not my fault, it’s my job. Anywise, it looks like things are going good in Japan on the motor vehicle dependency front. For the past 25 months, cars sales in Japan have been declining. In fact comparing July ’06 with July ’07 one can see at 10.4% decline in sales. Not only that, saturation of ‘mini-vehicles’ is nudging closer and closer to 50%, gaining about 1.1% from last year. But the biggest news is that for the first time ever the number of cars per household has decreased.
It is a bit easier for the Japanese to get rid of their cars; transit runs on time there, trains go everywhere, it’s remarkably easy to use and the Shinkansen can get up to 443km/hr. But the surprising thing is, used cars are cheap in Japan. You can even get them for free as it becomes prohibitively expensive for one to pay the ‘road tax’ on old cars. If you ever go to Australia or New Zealand you’ll see tons of unwanted imported Japanese cars.
from Japan Economy News
I’m not advocating giving away cars to children – that might lead to some problems. This is a pretty good children’s story from the DOE (US department of energy) about electric cars. If you know nothing about electric cars, you’ll learn some stuff in here as well. Plus there’s a colouring page at the end if you’re feeling artistic. Get your read on here .
Filed under cars, comic, green
With all the debate surrounding cars these days, there’s a lot of talk about potential alternatives. Probably the best alternative are PHEV – plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, but one of the biggest hurdles facing them is the battery technology. Despite being called vapourware, one of the forerunners in the race for first commercial PHEV is the Chevy Volt – largely because of their battery supplier A123. Check out what happens when you drive a nail through an A123 Li-ion batter as compared to a regular one.
Filed under cars, green, video