atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1081: Sunspot watch

#997 has appeared, is tiny, and is already fading out.

* * *

Today it's 46° outside, which is thirty-seven degrees cooler than it was 24 hours ago.

* * *

Today Jalopnik has a piece on a small car called the "Axon", which is an ultralight car with a small engine, and it reportedly gets 100 MPG.

It's a British car, so that's 100 miles per Imperial gallon, which is 1.2 US gallons. So figure that it'd be about 83 miles per US gallon. Still, it's nothing to sneeze at, particularly considering that the car uses no "hybrid" technology whatsoever: it uses the tried-and-true method of "light car, small engine" to attain those figures.

* * *

One of the advantages of driving the Escort is that if I don't have to wait for traffic before making the turn onto my street, I can make the turn, coast to the house, and into the driveway without having to put the car back into gear.

I have several little tricks like that I use, all of which end up helping raise the fuel economy of the car. Most involve energy management so that I don't waste fuel doing futile things, like accelerating up a hill only to stop at a stop sign, for example. If the light ahead is red, I start coasting, because there's a chance it'll change if I give it enough time.

This drives some people nuts--mostly idiots who think you must go 95 at all times even when you're a block away from a red light that already has other cars waiting at it, and even if it changed green now you would still have to slow down because the other cars don't accelerate instantaneously, so there's no point to go roaring up to the light at 10 over the limit because you'll just have to stop anyway. Whereas if you slow down, take it easy, and coast, you might not have to stop, and then only accelerate from 30 instead of a dead stop.

What I don't do is the stupid "hypermiler" things like shutting the engine off, because it's unsafe to operate a car with power steering and brakes without the engine running. Also, in many cases, it's bad for the transmission, too.

If you've got a car with an automatic transmission, don't shut the engine off while you're moving; you might save gasoline but whatever savings you manage that way will be utterly obliterated by the increased wear-and-tear on the transmission due to lack of lubrication. It costs $1,500 (and more) to rebuild a modern automatic transmission; keep that in mind.

Most auto transmissions can handle short distances at low speed without lubrication, but Lord, I wouldn't make a habit of it.

* * *

I work Wednesday this week, and then--if the schedule remains unchanged--I don't work again until Friday, June 6th. But the 4th and 5th will be "colon blowdown days". *sigh*

* * *

My blog is a combination of the "this is my life" type and the "this is what I think" type, with the occasional foray into "O GAWD IT SUX 2 B ME" schtick (but I try to avoid that as much as I can). And since this is LiveJournal, I think that's probably appropriate.

* * *

And that's it; that's all I've got today. It's the first workday after an uneventful weekend, and there's very little I feel the need to comment on. I think I'll go back to bed.

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