Archive for the ‘gasoline’ Category

Urban Legend in your Driveway? Almost.

November 3, 2008

Urband Legend in your Driveway -- Almost

You know the story: Some guy in the 1930s invented a carburetor that gets 200 miles to the gallon, but the oil companies and auto makers bought up the patent so they could supress it. We heard it on the radio from the late Jean Shepard, and you may have read it in one of Jan Harold Brunvand’s books, but millions have heard it from a friend of a friend of the guy who was sold the prototype test car by mistake, only they wouldn’t let him keep it. Man, they just won’t give the little guy a break!

Until now. Or soon, anyway.

You want a car that runs on air? You got it!


Free Cars in DC?

September 22, 2008

Free Cars in DC?

Free Cars in DC? Of all the environmentally irresponsible, profligate celebrations, especially now when so many people can’t afford gasoline to . . . .


It’s Car Free DC Day. Everybody is biking, walking, skating, taking the bus and metrorail. Circulator buses are free.

There’s a Car Free Day Street Celebration from 11am to 3pm at 7th & F Streets NW with live music, yoga classes (we often commute via yoga), giveaways, Segway and SmartBikes demos and test rides, and free bike tune-ups. Free valet bike parking is available (though our  valet never rides bikes).

Image mashed by Mike Licht.


August 19, 2008


Could kudzu, “the Vine that Ate the South,” be a blessing in disguise? Dr. Rowan F. Sage of the University of Toronto thinks so. The nasty tangled vines of the invasive Asian weed, now out of control and choking American forests, are connected to big, fat, tuberous roots, chock full of carbohydrate energy. Release that energy by cooking up some ethanol, and you can put it right in your gas tank. Even the fuzzy leaves of Pueraria are chock full of sugars and could supply energy.


Mayor Fenty’s Smart Car

June 24, 2008

Mayor Fenty's New Car

Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty just got his new Smart Car back from the custom paint shop. It looks awesome!


Sticker Shock — for DC Cab Drivers

June 2, 2008

Sticker Shock -- for DC Cab Drivers

Police patrols are penalizing procrastinating passenger haulers in Washington, DC. After a month-long grace period, District taxicabs without distance/time meters are subject to $1,000 fines. June 1 marked the official end of the zone system for DC hacks. While we will miss the dramatic debates with cab drivers over zone fares, it is a relief that the 21st century sees DC joining other world cities in using this 20th century technique. (more…)

Buddy Lanes

May 22, 2008

Buddy Lanes

This morning National Public Radio aired a story on “slugging,” informal carpools, and NotionsCapital will post about this later. First, though, a few thoughts about the highway feature that makes carpooling more attractive, High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes. HOV lanes reward drivers carrying passengers (who might otherwise drive their own cars) by allowing use of the faster, less congested lanes.

The purpose of HOV lanes is reducing traffic congestion. Period. It is not saving polar bears or oil or reducing air pollution or encouraging use of hybrid and electric vehicles. Losing sight of this endangers the whole system. That is why the HOV-2 designation is either an interim measure, a cynical wink at the concept, or a sick joke. Allowing driver-only hybrids in HOV lanes, of course, is an abomination, unworthy of further consideration.


Clinton Strategy Revealed

May 5, 2008

Clinton Strategy Revealed

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Indiana Primary — It’s a Gas

May 5, 2008

Indiana Primary -- It's a Gas

On the final weekend before the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, the Democratic presidential contenders continued to argue about the wisdom of suspending the 18 cent per gallon federal gasoline tax. Senator Hillary Clinton is for it, as is presumed Republican candidate Senator John McCain. Senator Barack Obama is against it, along with every single economist on the web, airwaves, campuses, and op-ed pages.


New World, New Sin

April 14, 2008

New World -- New Sin

The people of the United States now prepare for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI with their usual reverent good taste (see above). Many await clarification of the list of “New Sins” recently outlined by His Holiness, whose U.S. visit coincides with a frightening new wave of food riots, famine, and deaths by starvation in many parts of the world. The rest of the world merely faces rising food prices, hunger and malnutrition.


A Modest Proposal: Afghan Opium Energy

April 8, 2008

A Modest Proposal -- Afghan Opium Energy

Thanks to the ongoing conflict, Afghanistan now supplies 93% of the world’s opiates, twice the world demand. The opium trade is a major source of funding for insurgents and government corruption.

The war-torn country has coal, oil and gas reserves, but they are undeveloped.

Why not use the opium oversupply to address the energy undersupply? Make ethanol from opium poppies.