Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Slowing, if not Stopping, the Madness

A new report out by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency found that the rate of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere slowed by half in 2008. This was mostly due to a 1% decrease in fossil fuel consumption, which was attributed to the economic downturn. Increased use of renewables didn't hurt, either. Finallly, in what can be considered the most surprising finding, developing countries contributed more than 50% of the world's emissions.


Monday, June 29, 2009

An App a Day

For this week's round of iPhone apps, we have Car Care, Traffic View, and Gasbag. Car Care tracks your gas mileage on all of your automobiles, while simultaneously keeping track of car maintenance (which can significantly affect your MPG). CLO Sotware's Traffic View is available for $2, and let's you look up all of the neighboring traffic cameras so you can easily compare multiple routes. GasBag, by Jamcode, is a free app that can help you find the lowest price of gas at nearby filling stations.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Not OTB, PET, or Do-Ray-Me. FDP.

FDP is a company intent on greening the world, full stop. While they carry a full line of brakes and brake parts, their new line of EcoStop parts promises to be the first line of green products in the industry. All of their products contain at least some recycled material, and some of them contain as much as 90% recycled material. The big thing to note, however, is that their brakes contain no copper, antimony, or lead. Lead everyone knows is bad, but copper? And what the heck is antimony? All of these elements can actually be found in break dust, that nefarious devil that can ruin your shiny chrome rims. Most people don't worry about break dust, so it simply rinses off the next time you drive your car in the rain or you bring your car to a car wash. Unfortunately, that means more often than not the brake dust ends up going down the storm drain, where it can contaminate your water supply. Lead and copper are metals that wreak havoc on all living creatures, and antimony (which is used as heat insulation in brakes) is an element which has much of the same chemical properties and physical effects as arsenic. In case you're forgetting, arsenic has been used as a historical assassin's tool for thousands of years, and is thought to have killed Napoleon. So hats off to you, FDP, for saving lives where it counts.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Gift for the King

EcoModder member Bondo has built this advanced aerodynamic concept himself, and has given it to Ford since they are the only one of the Big Three not to accept federal bailout money (hence, the King). Ford graciously accepted the clay-based scale model, but now the question is what they're going to do with it. Interestingly, Bondo's concept seems to bear a striking resemblance to the Mercedes-Benz Bionic concept from a few years back. That had a drag coefficient of Cd 0.19, even better than the GM EV1's Cd 0.195.

This is What We've Been Saying the Whole Time

So it looks like Toyota, in its rabid drive to build more hybrids (which are less efficient and worse for the environment than many diesels) is planning to build a new technical center and testing ground for said hybrids. In the process, it plans on destroying 17th-century rice paddies and yes, actually MOVING MOUNTAINS. AutoblogGreen has the story.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Bit More Detail This Time

As we just posted to the Twitter feed, we recently met with the CEO of microGreen, Miles Flamenbaum. MicroGreen is the maker of an extended-life, high-performance, and super-efficient oil filter. While this might sound all wonky and techinical, we believe there is truly a geek in all of us. So here goes:

The microGreen oil filter works by having a secondary teflon-coated filter which, in addition to taking out the larger particles that most generic oil filters do, also takes out the small particles (between 2-5 microns) that get into the smallest nooks and crannies of the engine- such as between the piston and the cylinder wall, where tolerances are often, not coincidentally, between 2-5 microns. By filtering out those little bits and pieces that most other filters miss, the microGreen filter is able to significantly decrease the amount of friction in your engine. Getting rid of friction improves efficiency, acheiving the holy grail of engine engineering: improving both power and fuel economy.

"But having another obstruction in my engine creates backpressure, doing exactly the opposite as promised!" you say. Thankfully, the guys at microGreen know more about this stuff than the average gearhead. By having a high pore volume and by continuously filtering only a small amount, the microGreen filter is able to overcome these issues.

The microGreen filter is compatible with most vehicles currently on the road, and installs and removes just like a conventional filter. The company claims that a car utilizing the filter will be able to really go the distance, getting 30,000 miles between oil changes.

"But who cares about regular old motor oil? I only care about how gasoline affects the environment!" you say. Actually, motor oil refinement and eventual disposal is a singificant pollutant. By cutting back on the amount of times and how often you change your oil, you can not only save money but help out the planet, too.

MicroGreen has a savings calculator and even more information on their site. Once the full Earthgarage site is up and running, we hope to have it on as a featured product.

Diesel Demand Delight

OK, so I couldn't come up with a better word to go with "Diesel" and "Demand," but that's not the point. AutoblogGreen is reporting that Jetta TDi (that's the one with the really efficient clean diesel engine) sales for May are up 1,500 units over April, and the pace looks to be maintained for June. Diesel sales now makes up 36% of the Jetta range.

Speclation is that the increase in sales might have something to do with the recent decrease in diesel prices, as compared to gasoline. The more intriguing thing, however, is that this may indicate that acceptance of diesel in the US is increasing, after over 30 years of the near-complete rejection of diesel by American consumers. Is low-sulpher fuel the best thing since sliced bread? Just maybe.

And just so we don't look like shills for VW, here's a Honda diesel ad that actually is a delight from a few years ago.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Soaring Ever Higher

Gas prices are shooting straight through the roof, at the same rate as last year and for possibly the same reason- speculation. As The Daily Green notes, "There's no particular reason for prices to soar right now: analysts are somewhat baffled, because there's neither a big recovery stoking demand or a supply crisis."

This increase in prices could do one of two things: make those in the market for a vehicle go for new, smaller cars, or try to get the most mileage out of their existing automobile.

The Problem With An Electric Future

As this article from HybridCars points out, the main problem with electricity or hydrogen powered cars is not the technology, but the consumer. As of yet, most alternative drivetrains are completely driveable and useable, but consumers do not want to compromise in size and power.

In fact, the only time in recent history when the world did that was not because they wanted to, but because they had to. And that time was the 1973 oil crisis.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First You Laugh, Then You Wonder

Jalopnik's got the scoop on a story out of Boulder, Colorado. Apparently two Priuses (Prii?) were driving along when a tree fell and took both of them out. While the concentration of hybrids in Boulder isn't surprising, the fact that the tree took out two, while both of them were moving, is impressive aim to say the least. So is this irony by chance, or do you think the green gods did it on purpose?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tip of the Iceberg

We're big fans of clean diesel over here on earthgarage, and we're also big fans of this new ad by VW. It talks about how the new Jetta TDi gets 58 MPG to the Toyota Prius' 50-ish MPG. This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. Volkswagen's Polo Bluemotion gets 74 MPG.

The point of the ad really hits home though when you notice that the Prius owner is washing the car in his driveway- something that we noticed the evils about in a recent post.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Let Them Do All the Work

There's a lot of important tips out there to remember for summer driving, but one of those mid-year rites of passage has to be the washing of the car. While this may not be useful information for the dragons out there, giving your beloved a rubdown is not the greenest thing you can do. Instead, it's much better for everyone involved to bring it to the pros.

By law, carwashes need to dispose of their wastewater through sanitary drains, where it can go to a treatment plant instead of being just dumped through a storm drain. If you can't get to one, there are a few things you can do to minimize the impact:

  • Wash the car on a permeable surface, like gravel or grass, that naturally filters the wastewater
  • Use biodegradable soaps
  • Think about using waterless products

Keep Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

California is looking to be the first state to grade tires based on rolling resistance- making it easier for consumers to find out which tires are the most efficient to buy. Many states tend to follow California's lead, so expect this to go nationwide pretty soon after they start.

via AutoblogGreen

Don't Mess with Texas, or Colorado, or Tennessee, or South Carolina, or New Jersey

This map from GasBuddy shows today's average estimates of gas prices around the country. Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, South Carolina, and New Jersey all seem to be taking the recent jump in the price of oil all in stride, while California is taking its traditional hit with prices there already averaging above $2.95 a gallon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Old Wives' Tales for Those Dog Days

Popular Mechanics has a new article out about all of those summer driving myths. Myths like oil, tires, and whether or not buying your gas in the morning actually helps. All of these things affect efficiency, especially in that 20-mpg-soon-to-be-70-mpg clunker in your garage.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

First it Controlled Your Life, Now it Controls Your Car

One of the launch apps for the new Apple iPhone 3GS just happens to promote car sharing. The new app, by Zipcar, enables you to see what cars available, where they are on a Google Map, book which one you want, and even unlock the doors, right from your phone. Wired.com has the story.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I want to be green, and I want everyone to know it!

So you already converted your '53 Caddy Eldorado to run on biofuel, filled those baller whitewalls with nitrogen, and you keep it all moving as smooth as your ride with a neat synthetic oil blend. But what about all of those acres of chrome? Every true greenie should know that chrome, that bastion of pride in the American automobile, is about as environmentally unfriendly as Mr. Burns. So what's any self-respecting classic car fan to do?

MIT scientists have heard your plight, and have answered the call. They've come up with a new alloy made from a nickel-tungsten blend that's just as great, but won't kill the workers making it. Another alternative, made by a company called Metallight, is already coming to market. Expect to see it soon at an earthgarage.com near you.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Than the Lightest Touch

Sure you're the opposite of a leadfoot, but what else can you do to save money besides being easy on the Go Pedal? Actually, a lot. Smartmoney.com shows you ways you can save- including an air filter, properly inflated tires, and the right oil. When everything is added up you can save up to 70 cents a gallon!

"Replacing a clogged air filter (on your own) costs around $20 and can improve your car's gas mileage by up to 10%, according to the DOE, leaving you with savings of up to 41 cents per gallon."


It's the Small Things

Think it only matters if you go from your current hummer to a next-gen prius? Think again. This article from grist explains how turning your gas-guzzler into something just even slightly more reasonable can have a huge impact.

"The Hummer H3 averages
15 MPG. Making an H3-equivalent that got just 18 mpg would be the fuel-saving equivalent of turning a Prius into a 100 mpg hypercar."


Where We Stand

So what is it that makes us (and, presumably you) tick? The big car manufacturers seem to be just finally catching on to the notion of getting more mileage and helping the environment, and promise that the car of the future is coming just then- the future. That "car of the future," though, always seems to be an overpriced econobox. What can be done now about that Chevy Suburban you need for work? What about that 1997 Toyota Camry you just can't bear to get rid of? How can you make that sweet ride even sweeter?

That's what we're here for. We show you what you need and where to get it to get the most bang for your buck where it counts: in your wallet and in the world.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Every day it seems I come across technology that can help make your car "greener." I recently met with Menachem Genut, CEO of ApNano Materials of Israel during his visit to New York. Their product, NanoLub (pronounced nanolube), is an engine oil additive developed using advanced nanotechnology. ApNana says it significantly reduces friction and wear, and makes cars more fuel-efficient. Nanolub is now on sale in over 220 Sonol gas stations across Israel. Plans are in the works for U.S. distribution in the U.S. and Canada. Contact me for more details.

Earthgarage Moneysaver