Thursday, February 9, 2012

Electric Cars: Going Green?

Electric Cars: Going Green?
Electric Cars are the big thing today and the reason is because they are supposed to be more eco-friendly.  The reason I say "supposed to be" is that these tree huggers are hyping up something that is not what it seems to be.  Where does the electricity that you use to power your car come from?

The answer is coal.  Well, it comes mostly from coal.  Other forms of power are (In descending order based on percentage) Natural Gas (23.4%), Nuclear (20.3%), Hydroelectric (6.9%), Other Renewable Resources (3.6%), and Petroleum (1%).  Coal represents 44.9% of the power that makes electricity and it's the dirtiest form of energy.

So, not only are the so-called "eco-friendly" cars killing this planet by association, but they aren't too easy on the eyes.  They are mostly small, which generally means unsafe with all the SUV's on the road, and a bunch of them resemble an alien, specifically the Toyota Prius.

I'm not bashing the electric cars, well, yes I am.  But, I do think that there is a brighter and more energy efficient future in them and I hope that it works out for them.

Alrighty people, my last thought for you is ever since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, this country has been moving in the wrong direction, as far as cars go.

Reminder: It isn't the exhaust that is is polluting the air, it's the plant where the electricity comes from.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Checking Tire Inflation Pressure

Under Inflation: If your tires are under inflated by only 6 psi (pounds per square inch), it could cause tire failure.  Also, the tire's tread life could be reduced by as much as 25%.  Lower inflation pressure will let the tire to bend or squish more as it rolls.  This will create heat inside the tire, increase rolling resistance, and cause a reduction in fuel economy by up to 5%.  We know everyone is worried about mileage these days.  You will also see a reduction of steering precision and cornering stability.  6 psi doesn't seem that low, but remember, it normally represents about 20% of the recommended pressure.

Over Inflation: If your tires are over inflated by 6 psi, they could be damaged more easily when you run over potholes or debris in the road.  Higher inflated tires can't isolate road irregularities well, which causes them to ride harder and harsher.  However, higher inflated tires usually improves steering response and stability up to a certain point.  This is why people who use street tires in track events and road races inflate their tires more than normal.  The pressure must be checked with a quality air gauge because the pressure cannot be accurately estimated through visual inspection.

Time and Temperature: Their Effects on your Tires:  Tire inflation pressures change due to time and temperature.  Tires lose about 1 psi per month due to air escaping through the rubber as it stretches.  If you were to check your tires only every six months, it would not be uncommon to find them under inflated by as much as 6 psi.  Tire inflation pressures also fluctuate with changes in the outside air temperature.  This occurs at a rate of about 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit (plus or minus).  So the tires you set correctly with an 80 degree ambient temperature will be under inflated by 6 psi at 20 degrees.

I've been riding in cars for 19 years, driving them for 2, and I never gave much thought to or realized how important tire pressure is. I see people all the time kicking their tires, feeling them, and just looking at them but they aren't actually checking the pressure or adjusting it.  Now I know a couple of pounds, up or down, can make a huge difference in the attitude of the car.  Not just the damage to the tires, but to the way the car handles.  This is a very simple, yet effective, way to keep your tires healthy.

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