Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bring on the Diesels!

Take a look at this chart; notice anything awesome? How about the US MPG numbers?  For instance, take the very last line: 2.0: MultiJet TCT.  44 mpg (US) city, 59 mpg (US) highway, 52 mpg (US) combined. Granted, that's on a European cycle test, but still. Now, if you look at the chart above, you'll notice that little 2.0 litre (notice the European spelling of "litre" here) diesel makes a good bit of power: 168 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The car in which it is ensconced (an Alfa Romeo Guilietta, actually a rather neat looking little vehicle) goes from 0-62 in 7.9 seconds (yes, 0-62; that's actually a 0-100 kmh acceleration run, converted to mph for us Americans). Why can't we have this here? Oh, yeah, we're in America. Silly Americans... always wanting bigger, more powerful, and no diesels.

I think it's time for a change. America needs more diesels! Hopefully Fiat will start bringing them over (along with the Alfa Romeo vehicles, too!)... they have a small 1.3L diesel that is sold in the European 500, but hasn't made a debut in the American version yet. (Then again, I'd like to see the 2-cylinder TwinAir engine come over too; in turbo form, it produces as much power as the current 1.4 naturally aspirated four-cylinder in the 500, and supposedly gets an astounding near-60 mpg on gasoline.)

I really hope Fiat succeeds in its return to the US market (I'd like a 500 Abarth myself, until the Alfas start to show up), and that it brings more European flavor cars to the US market. Europe has all sorts of neat little runabouts that we don't have in the States (mainly because Europe has small roads and has had higher fuel prices for a long time, something that we Americans are just getting a taste of as our fuel prices start to fall in line with the rest of the world).

And European cars have soul, that bit of character that invigorates the driving experience, something that's not often found in American or Asian machinery (note: I don't really have anything against Asian or American cars; they're typically just not as enjoyable and engaging to drive as their European counterparts). Good luck, Fiat! And if you need someone to drive a 500 Abarth around the Mobile/Pensacola area, I'll be happy to advertise for you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sinkie Day or Buy Nothing Day - your choice

Many (in America) consider the day after Thanksgiving to be "Black Friday" - that is, a day of fantastic shopping and spending (that generally turns the fortunes of retailers from being "in the red" - or negative - to "in the black" - or positive - hence the nickname, "black Friday"). If you think that's all there is to the day after Thanksgiving, you'd be quite wrong.

First, enter the International Association of People Who Dine Over the Kitchen Sink - IAPWDOKS (although I don't think they actually go by that acronym - instead, they go by the moniker "Sinkies"). That is, people who grab a quick meal over the kitchen sink. Although, apparently they're getting tired of eating over the sink, and are considering selling the domain "" (visit the site if you're interested in taking over or alternately using the domain for some other purpose, like maybe trapping typos of "" into watching some sort of weird eagle laying an egg video advertising car insurance - although why they'd both miss the "l" and misspell the "y" into "ie" I'm not really sure; ps: you can watch the video below!).

Second, if you're against capitalism, you may be interested in "Buy Nothing Day."  Per the web site, "Buy Nothing Day is your special day to unshop, unspend and unwind. Relax and do nothing for the economy and for yourself - at least for a single day." I think it actually has a larger following than "Sinkie Day" - at least, there are significantly more hits in a Google search for buy nothing day.

OK, as promised, here's the "Eagleman car insurance video" - enjoy!