When the cold weather hits, fuel economy inevitably takes a dive. Lower temperatures impact gas mileage in a number of ways, including winter gasoline blends, lower intake air temperatures, longer engine warm-up times (to reach optimum efficiency), increased air conditioner use (with defrosters), and idling. Keeping your car in a garage will help decrease warm-up time, as can an engine block heater. A grill blocker can help keep under hood temperatures up while you’re driving in the coldest weather. But the biggest trick is keeping the driver warm while reducing the amount of idling at start-up and throughout the day.
I’m testing a Milwaukee Tools M12 heated hoodie this winter, to see if I can reduce idling. I’ve posted the first part of a two-part video review:
I had the opportunity to put a 4WD 2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk to the test a few weeks back at a Chrysler track day event at the Summit Point Motorsports Park in West Virginia. It was a rainy day at the track, as the remnants of Hurricane Joaquin moved up the eastern seaboard. The persistent precipitation turned the off-road test track into a marvelously mess … which is exactly what you hope for when you’re testing 4x4s. I hopped into a brand new trail-rated 2016 Renegade Trailhawk with BeCarChic.com’s Melanie Batenchuk and Jim Morrison, Director of Jeep Product Marketing.
Truth be told, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect of the Renegade Trailhawk off-road. I’d only had the opportunity to drive one briefly before, and that was a half hour drive on two-lane blacktops and highway. I was skeptical, despite the Trail Rating. A nice sloppy jaunt through the mud and my opinion changed. Watch this video and yours may change, as well. It’s an eye-opener (and a fun ride).
We’ve never seen anything like Volkswagen’s massive deception on NOx emissions. Automobile manufacturers can do some questionable things, but this ranks among the most puzzling. It’s a huge slap in the face for diesel advocates. The current buzz indicates that VW will “fix” the effected TDI diesel-powered vehicles that exceed federal emissions standards. Exactly how this will play out, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, legal firms are circling Volkswagen like vultures. There are a number of lawsuits in the works, aiming to score a settlement with Volkswagen. Is this really about TDI owners getting restitution or is it simply a big payday for the attorneys? The fix will surely lower performance and fuel efficiency. How much can Jetta, Golf, and Passat owners expect to recieve? If I owned one of these vehicles, I wouldn’t want it “fixed” … I’d want to swap it for a brand new version that delivered the performance and MPGs that I was promised.
With the spotlight on Volkswagen, the media is ignoring the larger issue. If we are serious about reducing emissions, whether it’s particulates, NOx, carbon, or other pollutants, we must move past our addiction to petroleum. The biggest problem isn’t diesel engines. It’s the fuel.
I’ve spent a whole lot of money on car parts and supplies over the years, and I’ve learned (the hard way) how to control costs. While the game was built to extract profit from the unwitting, the Internet leveled the playing field. A little knowledge goes a long way. If you do just a little bit of homework before you head out to the store, you’ll get a better deal and keep more cash in your pocket.
Tire choice is tough. Do you stick with the proven OEM tires (for better or for worse) or do you trust the reviews of random folks on the Internet? I’ve been sitting on the fence for months on end, while my 2007 Honda S2000 has been tucked away in the garage, waiting for a new set of tires.
I’ve always wanted to test a new set of tires before buying them. Even better, test one set of tires against another. So when BFGoodrich invited me to drop in on their “Are You Driver Enough?” tour at Giants Stadium, in the New Jersey Meadowlands, “where the mosquitos are as big as airplanes,” I jumped on the opportunity.