Archive for the ‘News’ category

SUV sales and gas prices

April 25, 2008

Guest post from Amy:

At what point does the price of gasoline affect the purchase of a vehicle? For me, I took notice when gas hit $2/gallon.  At that time, I expected that sales of gas guzzlers would slow down. I was wrong. SUV sales stayed strong. Many people bought them without looking at the fuel efficiency, so much so that SUVs outsold regular cars. The question in my mind was, at what price do gas prices affect car purchasing. The answer seems to be about $3.50/gallon.

Today, the AP reports that:
Dealers see SUV glut as drivers trade in gas guzzlers

My question is, what took so long? In the past two years, our extended family has bought four new cars. All four have been hybrids. We have seen friends go from SUVs to hybrids as well. The choice to purchase a hybrid was mostly because of increasing fuel costs, not environmental impact (although both were factors for us.)

High gas prices are not new. They have been creeping steadily higher for a decade. The reduced value for SUV trade-ins should not be a surprise to anyone. With increased fuel costs comes decreased demand for gas hungry vehicles. Maybe the US automakers will take notes, and start creating fuel efficient vehicles that we really need.

All I can say is “It’s about time.”

Leading by counterexample

April 16, 2007

This week, we read about the serious car accident of Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey. According to reports, he was not wearing his seat belt. Why is there so little outrage that he and his police driver felt that the laws don’t apply to the governor? Perhaps his driver should take a lesson from Brown County, Wisconsin police sheriff Dennis Kocken, who wrote himself a ticket for unsafe lane change.

Setting a good example is a key part of leadership. Bravo, Sheriff Kocken. Shame, Governor Corzine.

A lawsuit waiting to happen

February 8, 2007

New! Kellogg’s Lego Fruit Flavored Snacks. I can imagine the conversation with my 3-year old: “You can eat THESE Legos but not THOSE Legos.” How is a preschool child supposed to tell the difference? It’s too bad that a child will need to be injured before this product is sued out of existence.

Next up: Choco-Crisp Rat Poison!

Hit and run

February 7, 2007

As a runner, this is my worst nightmare: Man pleads guilty to hitting Orange County joggers.

Where’s my wallet?

October 5, 2006

Sounds like I need to do some spending: Iran issues blacklist of ‘Zionist firms’. Only problem is that they don’t list which companies they are planning to boycott. Intel? B&H Photo?

How to stop the terrorist threat on commercial airliners

August 11, 2006

The top story yesterday was that British police thwarted a major terror plot to bomb transatlantic aircraft. The terrorists were plotting to build bombs on board aircraft using chemicals brought in carry-on luggage. The response from the US government: liquids are now banned from carry-on bags.

Will this make us ultimately safer? Probably not. I’m no chemist, but I’m sure prospective terrorists will figure out how to make explosives out of other products that can still be carried onto aircraft.

But what’s bothersome is the reaction of the government. They treat the symptom (banning liquids) rather than solving the real problem (crime prevention on airline flights). Why not put armed law enforcement officers on every airline flight? This has worked for El Al, which is probably the top target for terrorists. So I did a quick calculation: how much would it cost to put armed law enforcement officers on board every flight. My calculations show that this could be done for approximately $15 per passenger, each way. Isn’t this what the security surcharge is supposed to pay for?

In the meantime, this liquid ban is a complete nuisance. Carry-on bags are probably on the way to extinction. I’m thinking about mailing my toiltetries on my next business trip. The inconveniece of flying today is why I drove last week instead of flying.

The end of bias on NPR?

July 17, 2006

A few days ago, I was listening to National Palestinian Public Radio, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear how they accurately described the Israel conflicts. Instead of describing Israeli attacks as aggressive acts to free the kidnapped soldiers, the news reporter said that Israel had attacked Gaza and Lebanon in retaliation for the hundreds of rockets that have been launched towards Israel. A few more accurate reports like that and I might consider reinstating my generous donations to NPR.

Plus ca change

May 6, 2006

A year and a half ago, I wrote that the weak dollar was a big cause of high gasoline prices. Same thing all over again.

Classical FM Under Siege

April 21, 2006

Great article in Audiophile Audition about the decline in classical FM radio in the USA.

No $#!&

March 28, 2006

They needed a poll to figure this out?? Americans See, Hear More Profanity.