Posts Tagged ‘cars’

The Way that I Roll

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The state of California has introduced a raft of new taxes associated with motor vehicles. These include an increase of the tax on gasoline (which increase alone is expected to cost the typical driver an additional $280 per year), a general increase in vehicle registration fees, and a new tax of $100 per annum on ULEVs. That last tax is advocated on a theory that, since they travel more miles per gallon of gasoline, ULEVs put more wear-and-tear on the roads with each gallon consumed. I very much doubt that, even on average, the difference comes to about $100; and of course drivers with ULEVs who do very little driving will be disproportionately taxed.

I drive a 2012 Honda CR-Z. It is a hybrid whose design alludes to that of the Honda Civic CR-X (aka CRX) much as the modern Volkswagen Beetle, Cooper S Mini, and Fiat 500 allude to models of the past. (Honda was well-advised not to name this successor CRY.)

The first- and second-generations of CR-X came in three basic varieties: the HF, which was designed for fuel economy; the DX, which offered a bit more performance; and the Si, which was a genuine sports car. (The CR-X originated in an effort to design a vehicle with superior fuel economy, but this naturally led to a streamlined body and limited seating, as with a sports car.) The CR-Z combines three analogous varieties into one, by having three operating modes: an Econ mode, a Normal mode, and a Sport mode. (There is also a special hill-climbing mode.)

I had no desire for the Normal or Sport mode. I’m never in the latter, and only in the former when a mechanic switches modes and I travel a few yards before realizing what has happened. (I’ve used the hill-climbing mode briefly just a very few times, to deal with especially steep inclines).

In the Econ mode, the CR-Z functions as a ULEV, but the model has not been classified as a ULEV, because there is no politically practical way of ensuring that CR-Z drivers are operating them in that mode. Here-to-fore, the implication for me has been that I cannot legally use car-pool lanes without having a passenger, whereäs those with recognized ULEVs can. But now, unless the state engages in hypocrisy (which is quite plausible), I will dodge that $100 tax.

I don’t do a great deal of driving; I’ve had the car since the start of summer in 2012, but my odometer only recently passed 9000 miles (14484 km). And a significant part of what little driving I do is to visit my family in another state jurisdiction. Most of my recent driving has been primarily to ensure that the twelve-volt battery stays charged and that gaskets don’t dry-out. My insurance company has repeatedly demanded to know why I drive so little. On the first few occasions, I explained that driving has become expensive; more recently I’ve just told them to shut-up and just be happy that I drive far fewer miles than my policy covers.

Personal Miscellany

Sunday, 5 July 2009

The major muscles around my left shoulder — trapezius, deltoid, latissimus dorsi, and especially pectoral — have been hurting a great deal whenever I’ve moved that arm in the last few days. I hadn’t recently engaged in any major physical activity nor been in an accident. I’m wondering whether I’ve injured a nerve with my back-pack.

On Thursday night or Friday morning, at the Hillcrest CVS/pharmacy, I noticed that bags of pistachios, regulary priced at US$3.99, were on sale for US$4.99 for those with a loyalty card. I brought this problematic sale to the attention of a supervisor, but the offer continued at least through Friday night.

On Friday night, I was walking to my car, when I spotted a feral mouse running ahead of me on the side-walk. All of the feral mice that I’d seen before were wood mice or deer mice, and all back in New Jersey, on property adjacent to woods. Here in San Diego, the only feral rodents that I’d seen were pack-rats (about the size of domesticated hamsters or gerbils[1]). This little creature looked like a house-mouse. At one point, the mouse was cornered in a door way. But, of course, I had no intention of hurting it and wouldn’t even have wanted to catch it — it might have pups back in a nest somewhere, and I’d have to worry about the diseases that a wild mouse might carry.

This morning, near my home, I came across a relatively young immigrant man and woman, trying to figure-out how to start her car. They had another car with them. I asked if they needed jumper cables, and the man said yes, so I got mine. (Most people in this area don’t have jumper cables; I keep long, heavy-duty cables in my car.) I let the guy do the connecting — I just discreetly watched to ensure that he didn’t wire the batteries in series — because I neither wanted to make him seem ineffectual in front of the woman nor wanted to be blamed should something go awry.

He really didn’t know what he was doing. He connected the negative line directly to the batteries, repeatedly clacked clamps together as a way of ensuring that the connection to the running car was good, didn’t listen to the car that wasn’t starting, and didn’t seem to understand that a bad battery wouldn’t explain the inability to start the parasitic car.

I couldn’t hear the solenoid. I tried to explain to them that there was a problem with the ignition or a blown fuse. Anyway, they eventually gave-up on trying to jump-start the car, and returned my cables. I wished them good luck. The car is parked in a metered spot, but they have until 8 AM on Monday before that meter has to be fed.

I have an intermittent, vertical, purple line appearing on the display of my note-book computer. This tells me that the LCD panel, only about a year old, is beginning to fail. Bah!

[1] I’ll rat myself out: One night several months ago, thinking that a rodent (which I could not see well) might be an escaped pet, I caught one of those pack-rats with my hat. A neighbor told me that the creature was a rat; it plainly wasn’t a domesticated R. norvegicus, so I released it. The Woman of Interest noted to me that I needed to do something about mites and what-not that might have been transferred to the hat. I felt foolish.