Car Stuff Should Involve People Who Know Cars 
This blog hasn't been abandoned. I just haven't had much to bitch about lately.

I've generally been in a great mood as my wife and I are waiting on a new car to show up.

Of course, on that topic, the government has just introduced a new plan to give rebates on what they deem to be energy efficient vehicles and a levy on those that are very much not.

This is all well and good in theory, but they've done such a piss poor implementation that it just saddens me to read about it.

I've been happy with Stephen Harper's Conservative government all this time and didn't really expect this sort of bonehead move out of them.

As it stands, they've taken pretty much everything on the road (except pickup trucks, which are exempt because businesses need them) and they've divided them all up into two groups. Cars, and trucks.

Then they gave some target mileage figures that they had to meet in order to pay levies or get rebates.

I'd just love to find the person who decided that all vehicles fit conveniently into those to categories and just smack them upside the head.

As if to prove just how stupid it is, they've even gone and put the same car into BOTH categories!

If you buy a Dodge Caliber, then it's just a car with mediocre fuel mileage.

If, however, DCX puts a Jeep badge on your Caliber, then you've just bought a Jeep Compass and it's a truck with great fuel mileage and you get a grand back from the government.

It's just plain stupid.

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It's not my fault. 
After driving for nearly 4 hours to get home on Thursday because so many people were getting stuck and were unable to drive in the snow, I came across the best excuse on an online forum.

First he posted this, admitting his stupidity, though with no apology for the countless people he was holding up with his selfishness and inconsideration:

Just tonite as you all know I thankfully braved the storm and managed to inch myself up the massive Yonge St. south hill just after York Mills. So as I finally came home, I realized that the tread pattern was next to nothing, and by nothing, I mean like a few mm's higher than the bottom of a coin sitting inside the tread. Yes it's VERY stupid of me, but I know that already

What really irks me though is that he followed it up with this:

I'm sorry I did that, but blame the city more than I, because the city should've cleaned up the white crap before drivers set foot in their car..

Now I know we live in a world where everyone tries to blame everything they do on someone else, but this just seemed flat-out ridiculous to me. I imagine that's the same sort of person who will drive into a parked car and then blame the owner for parking his car there.

It baffles me how people can be so openly inconsiderate. People really need to beat some sense into their kids and teach them a few things about personal responsibility.

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The Gas Station of the Future 
This is cool. It's the gas station of the future, in your own garage.

Solar Powered Hydrogen Station

I'm sure it's still quite some time away, but imagine a future where you're no longer dependant on others for your daily energy needs!

I don't really know enough about hydrogen use as a fuel to know how far reaching this will be, but it's nice to dream about a future where your weekly and monthly expenses don't fluctuate at the whims of the gas companies.

I wonder what sort of fuel cell installation you'd need to power your entire house...

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I like God. 
I like God, and I think he likes me too.

Last night on my way home from work, I ran out of gas on the highway. I thought I had enough to make it home. It turned out that I was wrong.

What followed, however, made for some great entertainment. I had just come out of the express lanes when the juice ran out and the engine turned off. I tried to get it restarted, hoping maybe there was enough left sloshing around to get some pressure back in the system, but it didn't happen so I went to neutral and proceeded to safely get us out of harm's way.

I moved over 3 lanes to the far left and proceeded to coast all the way to the end of the offramp... and through a right turn (on a red light... shame on me for not coming to a complete stop), and then up a slight hill, down a bit of a grade, into a gas station and up to a pump. I barely had to touch the brake to stop at the pump.

Bear in mind that all this happened right at the height of rush hour. So many things just fell perfectly into place to make this happen it was unbelievable.

If there weren't two other people in the car with me to witness it, I wouldn't even bother telling the story.

Thanks again, God!

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Passing on Small Highways 
This is in response to this past weekends letters in the Star Wheels Section.

Specifically, to this letter by John Mason:

On many two-lane highways the road expands to permit passing. The problem is at the end when there is a merge back to two lanes. Who should allow the other vehicle in?

In Newfoundland, we are left in no doubt. The left lane has the words YIELD painted on it.

In other areas, drivers are left in doubt. In Ontario, the dotted line continues to the shoulder.

So the choice for a driver who has moved right to allow passing is to push sideways, or slow down, or stop, or to stay in the lane, be forced onto the shoulder and eventually into the rhubarb. And this does happen.

It makes sense to me that the vehicle that has moved over to permit a faster vehicle to pass should have right of way. The passing vehicle the vehicle that is probably over the speed limit should be responsible to care for the vehicle overtaken. Newfoundland has it right!

John Mason, Nobel

I think John, or perhaps myself, misunderstands the reason for the widening of smaller highways to allow for passing. Maybe we can hash this out here.

Markham road north of the city is a good example of this. For the most part, the road is a 2 lane highway but around many intersections with traffic lights, it opens up to 4 lanes to allow for passing. John implies that slower traffic should move to the right and allow faster traffic to pass but I believe the opposite to be true. I believe the road opens to allow through traffic to pass slower drivers and, more importantly, those who are waiting at the intersection to make a left turn where no left-turn lane is provided.

While slower drivers simply continue in the continuing lane, faster traffic is provided this opportunity to pass them in the temporary right hand lane. While this may contravene the practice used on expressways, I don't believe that "left lane hogging" logic applies since the right lane is quite short and temporary. It cannot be expected that slower traffic would pull into it.

With all this in mind, I believe it is the responsibility of those in the right lane, which is ending, to safely merge to the left. Since it is their lane that is ending, and not that of the drivers in the left lane, it is up to them to find a suitable spot to safely merge. Those in the left lane are not changing lanes. Their lane continues. Those in the right are changing lanes and thus have the responsibility to do so properly.

They should act exactly as they would on an expressway onramp. If they actually make it to the point where the dotted line ends their lane, then they've already failed to merge properly and it's their own fault that they now have to wait for an opening in traffic to safely pull in.

People in this province seem to have no clue when it comes to proper merging. I believe that as soon as you know that your lane is ending, you should be looking for a proper space to merge and matching speed with the traffic you're trying to merge into. Anyone that gets to the end of their merging lane without doing so has given up their right to courtesy from the lane they're attempting to join.

While I am quite happy to allow merging traffic to pull in front of me, I will not allow it at the end of their lane. At that point, they have already failed as drivers and for all I care, they can drive themselves into the wall if they don't feel like stopping and waiting for an opening.

Whether it's from their lack of driving know-how or their selfish attempts to get just a few car-lengths ahead in the other lane, they've expended their space to manoeuvre and are now on their own to deal with the consequences.

In all my years of driving, it is a most rare occurance that I've found myself in that predicament through no fault of my own and I refuse to accept that I am simply the luckiest merger alive.

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