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Archive for August, 2007

Subaru of America Foundation for Clean Air Campaign

August 23, 2007 Leave a comment
In my concern of knowing the status of the world with regards to moving towards a cleaner environment, I found this inspiring article from drive.subaru.com. I have learned that in Atlanta, there is a clean air campaign that perseveres to “…motivate Georgians to take action to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion.”

That was according to their mission statement which obviously shows their interest for a greener environment. And, a good thing is that the Subaru of America Foundation opted to help them in educating and involving schoolchildren in their quest.

More than their care to bring up less emissions coming out from the Subaru muffler, the campaign discussed about the problems caused by the burgeoning population of Atlanta Metropolitan. They have found that poor air quality in the area were the effects of long commutes and gridlock.

Currently, The Clean Air Campaign focused on Atlanta’s air quality issues through three approaches:

  • Suggesting and rewarding commuters for using alternative ways to get to work
  • Partnering with employers to enable their employees to use alternatives to commuting
  • Educating and involving students in schools

Since it is a nonprofit campaign, they rely resources from private funders. That is to possibly attain the mission.

As I have said a while ago, the Subaru of America Foundation is well concerned with this matter. They have contributed to the “Better Air Schools” program. As tackled in the site, the Education Outreach Coordinator, Brooke Barnes, characterized the program as possessing three educational components:

  • Where the pollution comes from
  • What air quality is
  • How pollution affects our health

Aside from that, the program has three action components:

  • Reduce harmful emissions on school grounds
  • Reduce vehicle miles traveled to and from school
  • Reduce traffic congestion at school

They have also included a musical assembly program. It is called “Fresh Air”, which will be featuring the Better Air Bear (BAIR).

It has been stated that Lewis Perkins, the Marketing and Development Director, said, “We work with the schools to educate the next generation of commuters. It’s not unlike the recycling programs of the ’70s and ’80s that changed the mind-set of a generation.”

This campaign would surely inspire older individuals to make their own simple ways to help the environment and most importantly to the next generations.

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August Fuel Prices Declined According To AAA Chicago

August 18, 2007 Leave a comment
For this month’s automotive updates, I visited the number one automotive resource of all times, TheAutoChannel.com to check on some fuel-related news and on any updates on Mercedes headlights. Fortunately, I got the best update that I just needed – the fuel prices in Illinois and Northern Indiana since mid-July. This was exactly what I’m looking for!

According to the news, AAA Chicago’s report revealed that both state’s fuel prices went down from the time when mid-July started. Since April 2007, it is the first time that Illinois and Northern Indiana plunged below $3 for regular unleaded. Fuel Gauge Report done by AAA Chicago estimates that in Illinois, regular unleaded gasoline has reduced 42 cents throughout the past month. It projected an standard cost of $2.86 per gallon for the month of August, which is 29 cents lesser per gallon from 2006.

Here are some of the towns from Illinois and Northern Indiana with a lowered fuel price this month as reported in the TheAutoChannel.com:

Cook County, Ill., self-serve regular unleaded gasoline averages $3.11, which is down 36 cents compared to last month and 19 cents lower than last year’s price-per-gallon.

DuPage County, Ill., self-serve regular unleaded gasoline averages
$2.96 per gallon, which is a 36-cent decrease from July and 24 cents lower than last year.

Kane County, Ill., self-serve regular unleaded gasoline averages
$2.94 per gallon, which is 38 cents lower compared to last month and 24 cents lower than July 2006’s price

Lake County, Ill., self-serve regular unleaded gasoline averages
$2.88 per gallon, which is 43 cents lower than last month and down by
31 cents compared to this time last year.

McHenry County, Ill., self-serve regular unleaded gasoline averages $2.93 per gallon, which is 40 cents lower than July’s average and 38 cents lower than July 2006’s price.

In Will County, Ill., self-serve regular unleaded gasoline averages
$3.00 per gallon, which is 36 cents lower compared to last month and 22 cents lower compared to last year.

Allen County, Ind., self-serve regular unleaded gasoline averages $2.68 per gallon, which is a decrease of 44 cents from last month and 30 cents lower than August 2006’s price.

Lake County, Ind., self-serve regular unleaded gasoline averages $2.84 per gallon, a 44-cent decrease from July’s average and a 24-cent decrease from a year ago.

Porter County, Ind., self-serve regular unleaded gasoline averages $2.81 per gallon, which is 47 cents lower than last month and 24 cents lower than last year.

St. Joseph County, Ind., self-serve regular unleaded gasoline averages $2.69 per gallon, which is 43 cents lower compared to last month and 29 cents lower compared to last year.

Categories: Uncategorized

Yellow and Cloudy Headlight Lenses?

August 16, 2007 Leave a comment

Oh well… I don’t have a lot of things to do today. So, I’ll be sitting back and browsing about the current events on the web.

It’s rainy outside. And, I find it inconvenient to drive on the streets with such dire weather upon me. Hmmm… Let’s see. I think my Mercedes Benz headlight lenses are getting cloudy since it has been a while from the last time I replaced them.

As far as I could remember, it has been about four years already. Since I’ve been always out and it has quite been that long doing service, I know it has been excessively exposed to the sun, acid rain, harsh weather conditions, and some chemicals (e.g., brake fluid, power steering fluid, hot radiator fluids, hot water, and harsh cleaners). Those things are actually causing the degradation. Some headlight manufacturers equip the lenses with a protective film. However, they are still susceptible to the yellowing and weakening of the quality over time.

Let’s put aside auto news for a while. I’m just thinking if I’ll be replacing my headlight lenses or just clean them up. I don’t have good resources for now. So, I was thinking if it will be practical to spend about $510 to $570 for a pair of plastic aftermarket headlights together with the installation and alignment.

The other option is to purchase a patented headlight cleaner and restorer kit, which is just about $20. They say it absolutely restores the lenses, making it look as if they were brand new. The procedure doesn’t need for one to seek the help of professional mechanic. It is because it is said to be easy.

I haven’t actually tried using the cleaner and restorer kit though it sounds good as it is much less expensive than having a replacement.

I’m wondering what others prefer and how they managed the problem. I hope some of you would share them with me and with my readers as well. Regardless, I would still be gathering some ideas from sites featuring car repairs some other time. And, if I’d be able to discover some new techniques, I would be glad to keep you guys updated. This is just to give you the idea of what might be coming up. For now, I conclude that using a cleaner and restorer kit is the cheapest way.

Categories: Uncategorized

Satellite Radios Are Penetrating Strongly In The Market!

August 11, 2007 Leave a comment

Aside from the hot auto parts like brake rotors Canada, one of the coolest trends on vehicles today is the satellite radio! They are so cool that almost 40 percent of customers accounted that they have a satellite radio in their brand-new vehicle’s audio system!

According to J.D Power and Associates’ 2007 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study(SM), satellite radios are marking a significant boost of 26 percent as compared to last year! In addition to this, 94 percent of vehicle owners specified that their satellite radio is a dealer or has been factory installed and that amount marks an increase from last year’s 92 percent.

“Buyers want the latest technologies included in their new vehicle’s audio system, and the increase in market penetration is a reflection of auto manufacturers’ response to consumer demand. New and redesigned vehicles-particularly those within the luxury segment-are increasingly being equipped with the latest multimedia features, including satellite radio, MP3/auxiliary output and navigation systems. Market penetration for these audio features will likely increase as time goes on,” said Allison LaDuc, a senior research manager of automotive product quality at J.D. Power and Associates.

From the news that I’ve read from the TheAutoChannel.com, J.D Power and Associates’ study assesses the owner’s familiarity with the design satisfaction, quality and features in a new vehicle with these automotive multimedia systems. There were twenty-eight different multimedia arrangements that were assessed which include several unlike groupings of the following systems: AM/FM radio, cassette player, single CD player, multiple CD changer, navigation system and satellite radio. Multimedia system suppliers are ranked based on the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) in the three largest segments: AM/FM/Single CD Player, AM/FM/Multi-CD Changer and AM/FM/Multi CD Changer/Satellite Radio. A lower PP100 score indicates a higher quality.

“It’s interesting to note that while consumers who have more complex systems tend to have more problems, they also have higher satisfaction levels than consumers with simpler systems. However, quality problems shouldn’t be disregarded altogether, as our overall findings show that respondents who don’t experience any problems at all have higher satisfaction than those who do report experiencing a problem-regardless of what system type they have,” added LaDuc.

Here are bits from the 2007 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study which was based on the responses of 97,390 owners of new 2007 model-year cars and light-duty trucks. To view the complete results, visit JDPower.com:

AM/FM/Single CD Player

Problems per 100 Vehicles

Hyundai Autonet 3.8

Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. 3.9

Clarion Corporation of America 4.1

Visteon Corporation 4.2

Delphi Corporation 4.4

Fujitsu Ten Corporation of America 4.7

Pioneer 4.7

Industry Average 4.7

Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America 5.0

Siemens VDO Automotive Corp. 5.0

Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America, Inc. 6.5

SANYO Automotive U.S.A., Inc. 6.5

Harman/Becker Automotive Systems Inc. 11.0

AM/FM/Multi CD Changer

Problems per 100 Vehicles

Clarion/SANYO – NC 4.0

Clarion Corporation of America 4.4

Pioneer 4.8

Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America 5.0

Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America 5.2

Industry Average 5.4

Delphi Corporation 5.7

Visteon Corporation 5.7

Fujitsu Ten Corporation of America 8.4

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Checking out the Spark Plug Wires

August 9, 2007 Leave a comment

I don’t have the appetite today to go out walking around the neighborhood and sneaking through the garages of wonderful cars in our neighborhood. I don’t even want to watch television or take a trip around the kitchen.

For now, I’ll sit back behind my favorite desk and turn my laptop on the whole day.

Let’s see. What would I be discussing? Hmmm… Let us look under the hood of our beloved cars. What would be interesting? The spark plug wires perhaps?

I’d be sharing with you some tips in checking the status of this important part.

The break in the insulation is a usual problem in spark plug wires, causing other engine parts to fail, like your catalytic converter. It would even cause your vehicle to run rough and it would severely affect your gas mileage.

In dire cases, arcing spark plug wires together with a fuel leak results in a fire. That being said would be enough reason for us to regularly check our spark plug wires. And, here is how I did it with some tips adopted from autorepair.about.com:

Before the inspection, make sure that the engine is off. A good start would be from the distributor end of the spark plug wire until you reach the other end. Slightly bend the wires to further check unobvious cracks. It is also important to check the boot of the distributor for cracks. When coming to the end of the wire, individually (to avoid confusion in reinstallation) inspect them. If you were able to find anything, a tear or a crack, you absolutely need a replacement. It is worth it than making yourself spend greater amounts because you ignored the status of your spark plug wires.

This is an easy job, occupying few minutes of your time, yet it offers great safety. It also is something not worth to be taken for granted – it could also be life threatening if not given attention.

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A Historic Consumer Confidence in International Vehicles Last July

August 7, 2007 Leave a comment

The month of July marked another milestone in the history of the automotive industry! The historic rise of international car brands last month with an increase of 51.9 percent for passenger cars and trucks in the US market was celebrated by the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) yesterday! International car nameplates were highly praised by Cody Lusk, the AIADA President. Dealers and manufacturers were applauded too by achieving this kind of industry highlight.

“International nameplate automakers are bringing innovation, style and quality to the U.S. marketplace, and that kind of business philosophy appeals to the unique and ever-changing demands of American drivers. The consumer is the most critical component of the product strategy. Plain and simple: international nameplate automakers are building the kind of cars consumers in the U.S. want to buy,” explained Lusk.

679,103 international nameplate vehicles were sold out of the total 1,308,672 units sold in July and twelve of the country’s top 20 best-selling cars and trucks in last month came from international brands.

Here are the vehicles included in the top 20! And guess what? Five best-selling passenger cars in America last month were all international brands! Here’s the order of the vehicles sold on their respective rankings courtesy of the leading automotive resource, the AutoChannel.com:

Toyota Camry/Hybrid (41,514 vehicles sold), Honda Accord/Hybrid (37,142 vehicles sold), Toyota Corolla/Matrix (29,719 vehicles sold), Honda Civic/Hybrid (27,852 vehicles sold), and Nissan Altima/Hybrid (24,464 vehicles sold). Latest passenger car sales for international nameplate car manufacturers are positively up by 2.8 percent for a total of 2,861,322 vehicles! Wow! Even my Cadillac Escalade shock absorbers can’t take that kind of surprise!

“If you take a look at the sales trends for last year through today, you will see a steady climb in sales of passenger cars and other more compact cars – segments to which international nameplate automakers have paid a great deal of attention. As consumers face rising fuel prices, the variety of fuel efficient options that international nameplate automakers have brought to the table have proven successful and will, no doubt, continue to gain favor,” added Lusk.

Toyota is the leading international nameplate last month, next to the country’s best-selling and the number one automaker, General Motors! Corporate sales for Toyota’s three brands; Toyota, Scion and Lexus; accounted for 224,058 vehicles last month. The Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) sales for the month of July went up 6.1 percent at the end of the month with sales garnering 1,555,132 total vehicles. TMS posted sales of 23,123 hybrid vehicles last month as well – Toyota’s award-winning Prius reaching great sales of 16,062 vehicles marked a raise of 44.5 percent over last month. At the end of the July, TMS year-to-date hybrid sales totaled to 169,659 units which marked an increase of 59.0 percent over the same month as last year.

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Earthcars.com Launched!

August 3, 2007 Leave a comment


We are tired of the rising gas prices nowadays! Whew! Plus the fact that we are on the verge, or should we say, we are presently experiencing global climate change – and this is because of excessive CO2 emissions! That’s why different organizations and movements have been established to orient us about the things that are happening right now.

What should we do about it? Can we do something to prevent this crisis? Should we get a more fuel-efficient vehicle today?

These questions being are raised by so many people and they need some answers right now! Ok, if this is the problem, we don’t have to worry about it anymore! Why? Because there’s a place were you can find all the answers to your problem; actually it’s a web site…the latest web site was launched just yesterday! Ladies and gentlemen, Earthcars.com!

Earthcars.com is the first web site for American consumers that provides visitors with all the things that they need to know, learn, browse, and compare fuel-efficient vehicles that are available in the market today. Earthcars.com gives the best tips and the things you need to be familiar of when buying a fuel efficient green car. Studies revealed that 70 percent of the consumers usually visit and research online about vehicles weeks before they end up negotiating with their dealers. The site educates online consumers through a single destination that presentsthe newest researches, breakthroughs, and comparisons of environmental-friendly vehicles.

“People want to buy environmentally friendly vehicles, but they also want to be educated in that process. By presenting both the background research and the inventory customers feel more confident in their purchase and ultimately we are able to sell more carsSince making our inventory available online, our dealership has seen a substantial increase in sales. Earthcars.com will only further that number,” said Jodi Onoffrey, the Marketing Director, Koons Tysons Toyota in Vienna, Virginia.

Dealer.com, a provider of online marketing solutions for the automotive industry developed and launched Earthcars.com. The site was made as a part of Dealer.com’s publicly responsible undertaking to help distribute transport environmentally sound vehicles to be marketed and at the same time supporting auto dealer’s hard work for their sales.

Our vision with Earthcars.com is to assist the public in learning about environmentally positive changes that will occur as more people begin to drive earth friendly vehicles,” said Mark Bonfigli,the Chairman, CEO and President of Dealer.com. “Earthcars.com provides consumers with great research tools that allow them to become educated on the different kinds of green transportation and a rating system that evaluates each brand of vehicle and ranks them by earth friendliness. Earthcars.com will help consumers from the initial stages of research through the final stages of locating and negotiating the purchase of an earth friendly vehicle through a local dealer.”

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