Category Archives: Cars

The Infiniti G37 Convertible—Finally!

G37 Convertible

After years of making fans of the G Coupe wait for a convertible, Infiniti finally rolled one out last week, at the LA Auto show.  And I have to say… I think it looks pretty sweet.  While I still prefer the look of the G35 to that of the G37, I think I could learn to adapt, given the convertible hard top, which functions through a mechanical ballet that is a beauty to behold—check out the video to see it in action.

Gas Prices in the UK, By Comparison

Per the Times Online:

The average price of unleaded petrol on BP forecourts yesterday stood at 99.5p a litre. The industry average is 95.8p.

Math+Google tells me that 99.5p/liter is $6.04 per gallon, a reminder that as much as we might dislike gas prices that are higher than we’re used to, we’ve still had it very easy in the US.  And of course, gas in Houston is down to $1.95 this morning.

Meanwhile, what’s a forecourt?  Do our gas stations have those?  Perhaps forecourts are pricey, and that’s why BP’s gas is so expensive.  I propose a move to cheaper, forecourt-free fueling stations would do the British a world of good.

Gas Prices in Houston

below $2 a gallon.  Ditto Tennessee (via Professor Reynolds.)

Are Tiny, Gas-Saving Cars Less Safe?

I suspect yes, notwithstanding Nick Chambers experience:

I rolled my Toyota Yaris three times this morning after hitting a six-foot-high dirt embankment at highway speed. I crawled out with no more than a bump on my head, seat belt burn, and a massively stiff neck. So, for all you small car safety-doubters out there, I’ve now got personal experience to say otherwise.

I’m glad Nick is okay—but I don’t buy that his experience demonstrates what he seems to think it does.  There is a huge difference between the forces a car would experience in an oblique impact and roll, such as what Nick describes, and those it would experience in a head-on collision with either a stationary object or with a more massive moving object.  And, of course, Nick may just have been lucky.

It’s not force that kills you in an impact, it’s deceleration.  All else being equal, a less massive car should experience greater deceleration in a moving impact (given F=ma), and is likely to have smaller crush zones than a larger vehicle, which will logically have less energy absorption potential than a larger zone of equivalent construction.  Furthermore, I would expect a Yaris on Escalade collision may well see the larger vehicle climb over the smaller one, given the relative offset of the respective bumpers, further enhancing the risk of trauma.  Finally, see this study (PDF), which finds that you are, in fact, more likely to be killed or injured in a less massive vehicle.

There may be many good reasons to buy smaller fuel efficient cars, but we should be aware of the trade-offs we’re making.

One Good Thing About a Panic…

While some people may be too busy freaking out to notice, oil prices have plunged:

Oil prices sank to their lowest level in 13 months on Oct. 10 as worldwide investor uncertainty grew. Light, sweet crude for November delivery fell $8.89 per barrel, or 10%, to settle at $77.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, or Nymex (CME). Oil has lost 47% since hitting a record $147.27 on July 11.

Not that this is all good, of course.  I live near Houston, home of the domestic oil industry.  Cheap gas is good when it’s time to fill up, but it hurts the local economy.  I say let’s have expensive gas again, and too bad for you, ha!

(I haven’t been near a gas station this weekend, but Regular go-juice is reportedly going for around $2.75 a gallon locally.)

On the Way: 2009 Infiniti G37 Convertible

image I was so tied up with work last week that I’m only now getting around to commenting on an event Infiniti G Coupe fans have been waiting for since the G35 debuted back in 2003: Infiniti has confirmed the arrival of the G37 hard-top convertible this November as a 2009 model.

Unfortunately, now that the occasion is at hand, I find I’m disappointed by what I’ve seen so far.  I’m less a fan of the G37 Coupe than I was of the G35 Coupe, appearance-wise.  I thought the G35 was one of the most beautiful cars on the road, whereas I find the newer model suffers from the same different-but-not-better syndrome that turned me off of Microsoft Vista.  My first impression of the convertible is further impaired by the photos posted on Autoblog, which suggest the rear deck may be marred by the same sort of unsightly creases that have afflicted BMW designs to varying degrees in recent years. 

I’m hoping it’s just a bad angle, or unflattering lighting.  Maybe I’ll like it better in person.

David’s Del.icio.us Links for 2008-07-15

De.icio.us Links for 2008-07-09

The Next Texas License Plate

Platelg_skyandmount

According to KPRC 2 in Houston, Texans have weighted in on their choice for a new license plate design, and I’m pleased to say the one I liked was also apparently the popular favorite.  It is a beautiful design, though clearly, word of my preferences must have leaked, somehow…

More than 1 million votes were cast in the weeklong online poll by the Texas Department of Transportation to pick a new state license plate.

Texans had five plates to choose from, including the current design.

But the overwhelming winner was the Lone Star plate, which received more than 450,000 votes. It featured a white Lone Star in the top, left-hand corner, wide brushes of red and blue punctuating the Texas sky on the top half of the plate along with a low-lying mountain range on the bottom.

The vote isn’t binding; it’s the Texas Transportation Commission has the authority to change the plates.  But I feel confident they will make the right choice once they hear I’m in favor of it.

Is this the 2012 Mazda RX-9?

Australian auto enthusiast site Car Advice has a couple of "supposedly leaked images" said to be of the 2012 Mazda RX-9.  Both they and Glenn Reynolds call it a "far less attractive incarnation" of the current RX-8, but I have to disagree–these pictures are hot.  I like the RX-8 as well—it was a finalist when I was shopping to replace my Miata two years ago.  But I much prefer the look of this alleged -9, particularly as seen from the rear-quarter, which reveals a more aggressive rear end treatment featuring a smaller (or non-existent) rear deck, integrated exhaust pipes, and wider, somehow more serious tail lights.  I would be sorry to see the RX-8s rear doors go, though.