RIP - George Carlin
6/23/2008 07:35:00 AM | Author: baloghblog

A sad day. The loss of a great comedian/philosopher.

I bought a car yesterday
6/13/2008 05:29:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
Nope, it's not a hybrid.

Nope it's not the Chevy Volt I wanted.

I bought this beauty for what I think is a good price. A good solid reliable car.

She's (aren't all cars shes? Oh wait, maybe that's just ships) a 2007 Toyota Corolla. 24K miles. Rated at 27/35 mpg. But I figure the way I've been squeaking mileage out of the Forester, I can get 40+ out of her.

The Subaru will be retained for shorter trips to the park and ride, and snowy winter days. That car has treated us really well, but you know that it's time for a new car when you can't trust Bessie to get you from point A to B on a vacation trip. Plus we will save $85+ bucks a month in gas.

We are happy with the decision. Not ecstatic, but with the economy the way it is these days, I think that practical is the way to go.

If you were wondering, the Honda Civic Hybrid was $23.5K, the Prius $24k+, with a 4 month waiting period. No test drive available. (Man, that's faith - to buy a car without test driving it!)
You Load Sixteen Tons, What Do Ya Get?
6/12/2008 11:47:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
On the Erie Canal? 8.7x more fuel efficiency!

Cross-posted at Groovy Green

erie canal map

Falling out of favor after the interstate highway system was built, the Erie Canal is still an appealing option for transporting large loads. With diesel prices at the $5 per gallon mark in New York, the canal is looking more appealing for smaller loads too. Of course it has a large competitor to overcome. It is tough to forsake the convenience and speed of delivery by tractor-trailer. However, if you can afford to wait, you can afford to ship a higher weight.

Syracuse Post-Standard:
According to the federal transportation department, shipping by water is far more energy-efficient.

In a tractor-trailer, one gallon of fuel is needed to transport one ton of freight 59 miles. On a barge, the same load will go 514 miles on a gallon of fuel.


Today the canal is used mainly as a recreational waterway.

But the tide may be turning for the canal's commercial use, said Carmella Mantello, director of the state's Canal Corp.

"The canal is slower, but it's fuel-efficient and it's greener," Mantello said. "One barge can carry the equivalent of 60 tractor-trailers."

"Hopefully, we're beginning to see a trend," Mantello said.

Last year several large tanks, bound for the Northeast Biofuels plant in Volney, were shipped from Virginia to Fulton along the canal.

"All forms of transportation are essential for the success of the biofuel plant, but the canal is definitely energy-efficient and has a small carbon footprint," said Stewart Hancock, speaking for the ethanol plant.
(emphasis mine)

Again, time is money and I don't believe in this "gotta have it now" age, that the Erie Canal will be booming again in the near future. However, having kept the barge system maintained all these years in the face of declining use, may have been one of the state's saving graces as we begin to feel the effects of peak oil.

[pic found here]
The numbers don't lie! Hypermiling works!
6/10/2008 03:12:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
UPDATE: signed up here for a cool way to track mileage after a fill-up. Here’s my badge:


Here's some recent stats from my attempt at hypermiling.


303.8 miles on 12.93 gal = 23.5 mpg (a little lead footed...)


272.7 miles on 10.15 gal = 26.9 mpg (getting better...)


330.0 miles on 11.57 gal = 28.5 mpg (best mpg to date!)


294.4 miles on 12.47 gal = 23.61 mpg (what happened!?!)


Total 1200.9 miles on 47.12 gallons = 25.5 mpg Average

Some thoughts/experiences: Using the A/C makes a big difference. Also, on hot days, I notice that the cooling fan is running nearly constantly - that must use a bit more gas than normal. I imagine that I could squeak out a few more miles by going 55 instead of 57 mph, but for some reason - my right foot is a Sammy Hagar fan. The boxy shape of the Forester + drafting behind tractor trailers and busses = a jostled ride. Don't know if drafting is helping much. Much harder not to idle when the temperature is 95 and above. I have to admit cheating a little on that one.

I got an oil change last week and put in a new air filter which should help things. What's not helping things right now is a sticky caliper on the front left disc brake. It's on the to-do list to fix. I imagine that it is reducing my mpg by 2-5 as it is an intermittent drag on acceleration.


For those wondering, here are the EPA estimates for the 2000 Forester (Revised lower this year):

forester stats
Gas Price Chart - Up 3x in 6 years
6/05/2008 11:59:00 AM | Author: baloghblog

Click for larger image
Garden 2008 Pics
6/02/2008 10:25:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
It's that time of year again. My dad and I put in the rest of the veggies on this glorious Monday.

There's nothing like working in the garden with my dad. I look forward to it every year.
A smattering of gas prices in the area
6/02/2008 09:30:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
Just because it's been a while, I figured I'd throw up some recent gas prices

($4.05 is with carwash)

click here for a blast from the past (2 years ago)
Hey Syracusans, Time to Pick Up the Rock Ourselves
6/02/2008 07:41:00 AM | Author: baloghblog

This Sean Kirst column is the best metaphor that I've seen for the inaction in the Syracuse area.  Go read it.

Funny to think that the problem was solved not by a driver who bothered to pull over and take time to pick it up, but people who regularly walk "everywhere" and don't drive.

[image via Flickr static416]