February 5, 2013 |
While electric vehicles continue to grab the green-car spotlight, an older technology has quietly emerged as a player in the fuel economy wars: turbocharging. Once the province of performance cars, turbochargers now power economy cars, family sedans and even full-sized trucks. Turbos now account for an estimated 13% of U.S. auto sales, according to Honeywell International Inc., a leading turbo supplier. That's double what it was in 2010. The increase is driven by ever-stricter federal fuel economy standards.
February 4, 2013 |
Consumer Reports is blasting the new slate of turbocharged cars, saying they fail to live up to fuel economy claims. Ford Motor Co. comes in for particularly harsh grading. The newly released tests revealing that two turbo versions of its bread-and-butter Fusion midsize sedan fail to deliver either the power or the efficiency of non-turbo competitors such as the Honda Accord. The magazine found similar results for turbocharged versions of Ford's Escape small SUV and Ford F-150 pickup truck.
January 23, 2013 |
A Ducati assembly line worker told me five years ago that every second motorcycle made at the company's Bologna, Italy, factory is a Monster. A major U.S. Ducati retailer told me recently, “Monster is Ducati.” Since beginning production of the naked sport bike in 1992, it has shipped more than 250,000 of the little Monsters , the company recently announced. But until two weeks ago I'd never even sat on one. An hour after I did, I was a convert. I rode a route that started around Laurel Canyon and Mulholland, wandered through Topanga Canyon and the Malibu mountains, and circled back via the freeway.
HOME & GARDEN
November 10, 2012 |
I wrestle with my demons just like everybody else, addicted as I am to Mariel Hemingway movies and those little "fun-sized" Snickers bars, of which several trillion are floating around in these weeks after Halloween. Airlift them to Cuba. Put them in warheads and fire them at Charlie Sheen's skull. Whatever it takes, because I am one fun-sized Snickers bar away from setting my garage afire just because. See? Demons. Oh, I'm not done. If I go to one more dinner party where someone raves about the mileage they're getting with their Prius or Leaf, my head might explode.
November 6, 2012
Re "Hyundai, Kia overstated gas mileage," Business, Nov. 3 For years no one took the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's mileage stickers seriously. Then, in 2008, new procedures made these estimates seem at least reasonably in the ballpark for really cautious drivers. Few knew, however, that the EPA did not perform these tests but rather accepted the manufacturers' estimates. But the mileage stickers on new cars say "EPA Fuel Economy Estimates," not "manufacturer's estimate.
November 2, 2012 |
Hyundai and Kia overstated the fuel economy on more than one-third of the vehicles they sold in recent years, an embarrassing acknowledgment for two of the fastest-growing auto brands in the U.S. The South Korean automakers issued an apology and said they would give special debit cards to nearly a million owners to make up for the difference in the lower miles per gallon logged by the vehicles. The discrepancies were found by the Environmental Protection Agency, which began investigating after consumers complained.