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February 24, 2011 | By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
In the hullaballoo surrounding last year's debuts of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, one new electric vehicle was mostly overlooked: The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive. It was an understandable oversight ? and not just because of the cars' microscopic size. Smart USA is a bit player in the auto market. Just 6,000 gas-powered Fortwos were sold in the U.S. in 2010. Engineered by Mercedes-Benz, manufactured by Daimler and distributed by Smart USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, the internal-combustion cult car is being joined by 250 Smart Fortwo Electric Drives.
December 28, 2010 | By Becky Yerak
Slamming on the brakes? Doing 100 mph on the highway? Maybe you won't ? if your car insurance company is watching you. Allstate Corp. has launched a voluntary program that uses a device installed in a car to reward safe and low-mileage drivers with savings of up to 30%. The auto insurer plans to expand the program, Drive Wise, from Illinois to other states as early as the second quarter of 2011. A spokesman said timing for California had not been set yet. Drive Wise participants get a small, wireless gadget ?
December 12, 2010 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
According to the government, the car with the highest mileage per gallon on the market doesn't use a single drop of gasoline. The 2011 Nissan Leaf, which was scheduled to be delivered to its first California customers this weekend, runs entirely on battery. But the Environmental Protection Agency says it can travel 99 miles on the equivalent of a single gallon of fuel. Confused? You're not alone. The mileage-equivalent ratings, meant to help potential buyers compare electric cars with others in their class, are befuddling some consumers who see them as an automotive example of comparing apples and oranges.
December 3, 2010 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
California motorists who spend little time on the road could pay significantly lower insurance premiums with new "pay-as-you-drive" auto policies starting in February. To be offered first by California insurance giants State Farm Mutual and the Auto Club of Southern California, the new policies are designed to provide an incentive and reward for drivers who drive less. Other insurers are expected to follow. Under State Farm's plan, customers would provide their vehicle's actual mileage at the time they sign up for the program or they could automatically transmit their mileage if they have the OnStar computer-communication system in their General Motors Co. vehicle.
August 14, 2010 | By Sam Farmer
Some visuals just take getting used to. It was that way with Brett Favre in purple, or Donovan McNabb in burgundy. And it's that way with LaDainian Tomlinson in New York Jets green, a guy who for so long was synonymous with the San Diego Chargers. For Tomlinson, it isn't odd at all. He says he saw his road coming to an end in San Diego at least a couple of years ago. "I'm not going to say I wasn't happy, but I started to see my departure out of San Diego way before you guys did," he told a reporter during a break between training-camp practices.
August 14, 2010 | By Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
When Honda Motor Co. rolled out its latest-generation Civic hybrid, it was sold as the automaker's green car of the future. But five years into production, Honda has discovered that its high-tech batteries can die years early, a potentially expensive flaw that the automaker has been addressing with a software update that many owners claim has made the car less environmentally friendly. Jason Marchesano of Overland Park, Kan. said the battery in his 2007 Civic hybrid started losing its ability to hold a charge last year.
June 14, 2010 | From The Los Angeles Times
Yikes, alert the media! Oh. Wait. I was shocked, shocked, I tell you. There, not only on the front page of the Sunday Times, but on the front page of the Travel section as well, a color picture showing a huge Christian cross on a German mountain top ["In the Alps, a Saving Grace" by Susan Spano, June 6].The cross evidently symbolizes the village of Oberammergau's Roman Catholic ties and heritage. Egads! Christian symbolism. Prominently displayed in a U.S. newspaper no less. Oh, the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.
February 21, 2010 | By Ben Bolch
Drew Gooden never stays anywhere for long. Three years at Kansas. Less than a season with the Memphis Grizzlies, who made him the fourth overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft. Nine teams in eight pro seasons. "I probably know every playbook in the league now," Gooden quipped Saturday evening upon joining the Clippers. Even by his standards, the power forward endured something of a whirlwind sequence last week. Four days after being traded from Dallas to Washington -- and trying unsuccessfully to negotiate a buyout of his contract with the Wizards -- Gooden found himself with the Clippers following another trade.
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