We’re finally getting more diesel engine vehicles in North America: good low-end grunt and excellent fuel economy. Now this.

France wants to gradually phase out the use of diesel fuel for private passenger transport and will put in place a system to identify the most polluting vehicles. About 80 percent of French motorists drive diesel-powered cars.

Read full post here.

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.

 

 

 

Top Tips for Driving During the Holiday Season

Winter weather can throw at us an array of potentially hazardous conditions that increase the chance of an accident or breakdown. It’s incredibly important to be prepared and familiarize yourself with these driving tips to help face the cold, dark months of the festive period.

Plan your trip

It’s vital to spend some extra time in winter planning your route. Check out available live traffic update services. Pay attention to adverse weather conditions you’re likely to encounter. You might also want to let your friends and relatives know the route you plan to take and when you expect to arrive.

In the snow

  • Accelerate gently, keep the revs low
  • Leave as much as 10 times the normal gap between you and the car ahead
  • If you skid, steer into it and don’t stomp on the brakes
  • On unsanded roads, avoid the wheel tracks of other cars – compacted snow may become icy
  • Sunglasses can help against the glare of low sun reflecting on snow
  • Slow down!

In the fog

  • Get to know how your fog lights work – don’t confuse them with high beams
  • Allow two second’s worth of space between you and the next car
  • Don’t use the car in front’s tail lights as a navigation guide, as you may end up significantly reducing stopping distance
  • Listen out for traffic by winding down windows at junctions and crossroads if visibility is reduced
  • If you’re really struggling to see, you may need to stop altogether until conditions improve
  • Remember to turn fog lights off  when you no longer need them

In icy conditions

  • Be very wary of black ice – it is transparent and difficult to spot, meaning many drivers often don’t realize they need to reduce their speed
  • Only drive if absolutely necessary. Turn back if conditions are too severe
  • Check that windows are completely clear before setting off
  • 10 times the normal distance between cars is recommended
  • The same advice for skidding applies – steer into the skid and avoid harsh braking
  • Select a higher gear to help tires grip the surface of the road

Preparation is the name of the game when it comes to driving during the festive season. As well as getting to know these top tips for when you’re on the move, make sure you’ve properly checked your car before driving home for Christmas.

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.

The Five Best Seven-Seaters

Here’s a post from our friends in the UK:

Seven-seater cars make sense. They can carry the entire family on day trips, they offer comfort and affordability and if you do your homework they can also offer decent fuel economy. Some seven-seaters are spacious enough to carry seven adults, while others have rear seats designed only for children. They vary a great deal on price and performance and choosing the right one requires due diligence.

Whatever your needs; here are five of the best seven-seaters on the market today.

Chrysler Grand Voyager

 

The Chrysler Grand Voyager offers loads of space and has an extremely clever way of folding away the rear seats. Its highly desirable and classy image means that it holds its value well on the resale market. With an on the road price of £28,310 (US$44,413) and allowing 33.6 mpg it also offers very decent economy. Performance wise with 161bhp and 265lb ft it is a match for any seven-seater out there. All in all the Grand Voyager ticks all the boxes.

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

 

The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso not only looks stylish, it also offers practicality and refinement. Although on the whole it’s spacious, the third row of seats hasn’t exactly been designed with adults in mind. That said its stylish interior, comfortable ride and good fuel economy more than make up for it.

Ford Galaxy

 

Although closely related to the Ford S-Max, the Galaxy is a more genuine example of a true people-carrier. Space wise it boasts 308 liters (10.9 cubic ft.) with all the seats in position. Fold them away and you get a massive 2,325 liters (82.1 cubic ft.). While the gasoline models provide the best performance they are sore on fuel so depending on your priorities a diesel may be the best option.

Kia Carens

 

This smart little seven-seater from Kia looks and drives incredibly well. On the downside it isn’t one of the most spacious examples out there. However the 1.7 CRDi ecoDynamics emits only 124g/km, while promising 60.1mpg fuel consumption.

Land Rover Discovery 4 SUV

 

Ok, it’s perhaps not the greenest of cars out there but if you really do need to drive off the road as well as on it, then the Discovery is a good choice. However its 3.0 liter diesel engine delivers poor fuel economy giving off emissions of 230g/km resulting in high road tax.

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.

 

Gas Prices Are Plummeting and the Environment Could Be Road Kill

Gasoline prices keep plunging in the United States, falling to an average $2.73 a gallon on Wednesday—down 16 percent from a year ago. While that puts money in drivers’ pockets and boosts the economy, there’s an environmental price to be paid.

That’s because Americans seem to have a Pavlovian response to cheap gas: As prices get smaller, their vehicles—and greenhouse gas emissions—get bigger.

Case in point: Toyota reported on Tuesday that sales of its 4Runner sport utility vehicle jumped 53 percent in November while sales of the Highlander SUV rose nearly 17 percent. “Toyota dealers set new November sales records for light trucks and SUVs,” the company said in a statement.

And sales of Toyota’s 51 miles-per-gallon Prius hybrid? Down nearly 14 percent.

Read full post here.

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.

Cheap Gas Means Drivers Want SUVs, but Detroit Must Sell Hybrids

Moving a giant chunk of metal from point A to point B hasn’t been this cheap in years, as global oil prices sink to $65 per barrel. Drivers have noticed: From August to September, the aggregate fuel economy of purchased cars dropped from 25.8 to 25.3 miles per gallon, according to the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. That metric didn’t budge in October, even though dealerships started selling next year’s models, which are generally more efficient—a sign that drivers have been choosing SUVs over small sedans. “Consumers react very quickly to changes in gas prices, especially if those changes are relatively rapid,” said Michael Sivak, director of sustainable worldwide transportation at the University of Michigan.

Read full post here.

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.