Lonely Man of Cake

June 3, 2007

Israeli Gas Prices, June 2007

Filed under: Automotive,Israel,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 11:33 am

The new Israeli gas prices, which are calculated in the final days of a given month and updated on the 1st of the month,  as of June 1, 2007:

$5.64 per-gallon of 95 Octane (which in Israel is considered “regular unleaded”).
This is calculated at 6.07 NIS per-liter, with the shekel closing at 4.07 NIS to the US Dollar.

While this constitutes a 1.34% increase over the May 2007 price of 5.99 NIS per-liter, the change is not represented in the dollar amount of $5.64, which, because of the recently strengthened US Dollar, remains equivalent to the May 2007 price.


April 30, 2007

Israeli Gas Prices, May 2007

Filed under: Automotive,Israel,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 7:12 pm

The new Israeli gas prices, which are calculated in the final days of a given month and updated on the 1st of the month,  as of May 1, 2007:

$5.64 per-gallon of 95 Octane (which in Israel is considered “regular unleaded”).
This is calculated at 5.99 NIS per-liter, with the shekel closing at 4.02 NIS to the US Dollar.

April 25, 2007

On Israeli Drivers, Terrorism, and Remembrance

Filed under: Automotive,Education,Israel,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 9:48 am

Ynet published a cute article (Hebrew only) as part of one of its Yom Haatzmaut supplements entitled “The Most Israeli on the Road.”  The author is way off on a number of items, including the “coolest car,” which he awards to the Daihatsu Materia, which looks suspiciously like the Scion xB, a car I would hardly describe as the coolest on the market.

Sadly, the article all but mentions in passing a long recognized, but little dealt with, phenomenon: the terrorists who flout speed limits, drive recklessly and with unnecessary aggression, and who ultimately have led to more Israeli casualties in the past year (maybe more) than Palestinian terrorists.

I propose, considering the sheer amount of casualties and tragedies, that there be a national day of remembrance for victims of traffic accidents.  This would, of course, need to be complemented with comprehensive educational programs on safer driving practices as well as stiffer punishments issued from the justice system, which currently gives kid-glove treatment to vehicular killers.  (Take the case of prominent attorney and advisor to Israel’s leaders Avigdor “Dori” Klagsbald, who, in April 2006, killed a mother and her young son after plowing into their car with his SUV at a red light.  He was sentenced to only 15 (!) months in prison.)

April 20, 2007

Animal Fat Diesel?

Filed under: America,Automotive,Biofuel,Diesel,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 7:41 am

Read the about the announcement by ConocoPhillips and Tyson here.

Why does this irk the Ethanol Lobby?  Read here.

April 1, 2007

Homemade Hybrids: The 10 Second Rule

Filed under: Automotive,Conservation,Environment,Technology,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 4:14 pm

If you can’t afford (or aren’t in the market for) a hybrid, flex-fuel, or diesel vehicle, there are still practical steps which you can take to reduce your fuel consumption. That doesn’t mean to go as far as some people (hypermilers) who always keep their windows closed, don’t use the A/C, and perform dangerous driving maneuvers in order to maximize fuel economy.

One of the most preventable fuel wasting activities is that of idling the engine. Idling is sometimes an act of choice, e.g., “warming up” your car during the winter for a few minutes or waiting to pick up someone while leaving the engine running. More often than not, idling is forced upon us by traffic jams and lengthy red lights.

Idling is detrimental in a number of respects:

  1. It is a waste of fuel.
  2. It contributes to engine wear and corrosion.
  3. It harms the environment.


A Canadian government study has offered a simple solution: if you know that you will be idling your engine for 10 seconds or longer, simply turn off the engine and restart when you are ready to go. As stated in the study, “Idling your vehicle for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than it would take to restart your engine.” Apparently, the prevailing school of thought which supports idling over restarting is based on (like too many others things) an anachronism: the assumption is that modern, electronically supported combustion engines are to be run as their “dumb” predecessors. It is acknowledged that restarting your engine instead of idling may contribute to quicker wear of the engine starter. The cost of repairing/replacing the starter, though, is insignificant compared to the savings in gas. Anecdotal evidence shows a 10% savings in fuel per-tank.

The 10 second rule is apparently the law in Basel, Switzerland, and they have seen a tremendous reduction in pollution as a result.


March 29, 2007

Israel-German Relations in the Wake of the Holocaust

Filed under: Automotive,History,Israel,Judaism,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 5:12 pm

I was looking to get the contact information for Volkswagen Israel (to file a complaint about the abhorrent service at their Jerusalem garage), and I came across a short article from TIME Magazine, dated April 11, 1969 regarding relations between Israel and (West) Germany almost 25 years after the Holocaust.  Here is a poignant excerpt:

Two numbers tell much about the life and times of Chaim Serna, 43, a power-company foreman in Jerusalem. One of them, 108342, is tattooed on his left forearm, a souvenir of Auschwitz. The other is 612214 on the license of his blue Volkswagen.

The article indicates that it was stipulated that much of $900,000,000 in reparations paid by West Germany to Israel between 1953 and 1965 had to be spent on German goods.   Thus the rumor which I had debunked regarding why many Israeli taxis are of German manufacture may be founded on the memories of older generations.

(Does anyone else find it insensitive that the author refers to the survivor’s tattoo a “souvenir of Auschwitz”?)

Israeli Gas Prices, April 2007

Filed under: Automotive,Conservation,Israel,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 4:49 pm

The new Israeli gas prices, which are calculated in the final days of a given month and updated on the 1st of the month,  as of April 1, 2007:

$5.20 per-gallon of 95 Octane (which in Israel is considered “regular unleaded”).
This is calculated at 5.73 NIS per-liter, with the shekel closing at 4.17 NIS to the US Dollar.

March 28, 2007

Pesach Petrol

Filed under: Biofuel,Diaspora,Faith,Judaism,Orthodoxy,Passover,Religion,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 3:59 pm

In thirty years, when rabbis will have issued a real prohibition against fueling with Ethanol on Pesach, people will find it hard to believe that this was a parody. (UPDATE: The New York Times caught the story [Times Select req’d].)

Of course, there is no (current) prohibition against deriving benefit from kitniyot, of which Ethanol is a derivative. I put “current” in parentheses because earlier last century kitniyot derivatives, like corn syrup, were permitted for use on Pesach as they fall under neither of the main “rationales” for kitniyot. This is no longer the case, with the Kosher for Pesach Coca Cola craze being a prime example. It wouldn’t surprise me if those who follow the mistaken custom of not consuming kitniyot on Pesach continue to expand the scope of the ban, much as they already have, until the innovated stringencies are so expansive that the people forget that kitniyot are not chametz. It is precisely in that type of atmosphere in which the ground would be fertile for a declaration that would prohibit even benefiting from kitniyot, Ethanol fueled vehicles included.

Many folks have extra sets of dishes for Pesach. Some people even have a totally separate kitchen for Pesach. Are we going to see special Pesach cars?

March 21, 2007

Hiro and the Nissan Versa

Filed under: America,Automotive,Health,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 11:28 am

If you’ve seen the first few episodes of NBC’s Heroes, then you’ve probably become acquainted with (and drawn to) protagonist Hiro Nakamura.  Hiro is adamant that he rent a Nissan Versa for his cross-country trip (Nissan must have paid NBC a hefty sum for its prominent product placement in the series) and the subject of the car returns a number of times.

I’m not sure that even Hiro’s special powers will protect him from the toxic interior of the Versa, which was rated “Vehicle of Most Concern” for presence of chemicals such as chlorine, lead, and bromine.  Check out http://www.healthycar.org to see how your car stacks up.

March 20, 2007

Alternative Fuel News

Filed under: Automotive,Biofuel,Conservation,Diesel,Environment,Technology,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 12:55 pm
  • The fuel economy of diesel, which I’ve blogged about a number of times, enabled the 650 horsepower (!) V12 Audi R10 TDI to cruise to victory at the 12 hour LeMans, despite being forced by race officials to install a smaller fuel tank in order to keep the race competitive for “regular” gasoline cars. Catch the full story here. I’ve seen reports that Audi plans to equip a high-end version of it’s hulking Q7 luxury SUV (=Volkswagen Touareg/Porsche Cayenne) with the V12 found on the R10. If you want to get an idea of what V12 power means on an SUV, check out this video of what even a V10 can do. You won’t believe your eyes.
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