As you sit behind the wheel of your car trying to cope with the morning commute to work or the evening commute home do you ever consider what cities have the best and worst commutes? When we think about being stopped in traffic the obvious thing that comes to mind is the time wasted. However, there is also other expenses with which you will have to contend. For example, there is the cost of gasoline, the cost of repair on the wear and tear of the vehicle you are driving and more. The statistics of people involved in a commute are staggering. According to the U.S. census, about 76 percent of U.S. workers drive to work alone; 12 percent carpool; 4.7 percent use public transportation; 3.3 percent work from home; 2.9 percent walk to work; and 1.2 percent use other means of transportation like a bike or motorcycle. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the roads are pretty clogged due to all of that humanity. Two companies, TheStreet, a digital financial … [Read more...] about What are America’s Best and Worst Commutes?
No doubt you would want to know if the city where you live or may be visiting is notorious for speed traps. The setting of speed limits was influenced by the gas embargoes of the 1970s. However, these days cities have been using them as a way to raise revenue. The National Motorists Association has estimated that speed tickets have helped cities raise a total of $4.5 to $6 billion. Moreover, the director for the Highway Safety Group has noted that speed limits are often set 10 to 15 miles below the actual safe speed. Drivers simply trying to drive at a safe speed as influenced by the proper traffic flow could be exceeding the speed limit. To help you out, the National Motorists Association has come up with a list of the 10 worst speed trap cities. Here they are in reverse order:10. Los Angeles, California. The NMA says L.A. has 151 speed traps. They say that most are on boulevards in the San Fernando Valley north of downtown. If you are caught speeding here it can cost you. The … [Read more...] about Top Speed Traps in America
The first time I came to Houston, TX, was in 1986. The “reverse oil crisis” had brought the price of crude below $10, and Houston was a ghost town. In nearby Port Arthur, unused oil rigs piled up at the shore, and grass grew on downtown Procter Street. Now, Houston, home of the Petroleum Club (and some clubs the greater Baruth family would fancy), could become the model city for electric vehicles. According to plan, nobody will be farther away from a charging station than five miles, and you can charge up as much as your EV can eat for a flat monthly fee.The system is called evGo. It’s a subscription. A flat fee between $49 to $89 a month will be added to your utility bill. It includes a 220-volt “Level 2″ home-charging station , which can charge a typical EV in six to eight hours. In shopping centers, supermarkets and business districts throughout Houston will be between 50 and 150 public charging stations. Some will be hefty Level 3 DC … [Read more...] about EVs: Houston, We’ve Solved The Problem
In a couple of days, Shell will begin its 2011 Eco-marathon Americas competition in Texas, an event that features ultra-efficient vehicles built by student teams from all over Mexico, Canada, and the United States. This year, 76 eco-pods and aero-karts are hitting the course, the handiwork of 17 high schools and 41 universities. This event is just the kickoff to a series of Shell Eco-marathons around the world, including events in Germany and Malaysia.Automaker execs always talk about the future of automotive power coming from a patchwork of energy sources, delivered through different types of propulsion, and the vehicles at Shell’s event are no different. Shell says 23 of the vehicles at its U.S. shindig are plug-in electrics or fueled by hydrogen or solar power. The other 53 use internal combustion for motivation, burning everything from gasoline to ethanol to diesel.Like last year’s Eco-marathon, the American event is in Houston and on public roads (here’s a map of … [Read more...] about Shell’s Annual Eco-Marathon Americas Gets Rolling in Texas
In our last installment, our Sierra was found by one of TTAC’s Best and Brightest. Now our brown-hued “Salesman’s Spaceship” gets lost in shipping space for a few weeks, crossing a very large pond. Don’t worry little British Ford, America will be very, very kind to you.Captain Mike Solo’s European USAF adventure is now over, but Citizen Solo (actually he’s in the Air Force Reserves, but Citizen Solo sounds epic) might go back to the land of small meal portions and super trick road courses built around quaint German towns. Not so for my Sierra. A more clever man than I would insert a Bertel Schmitt-ish Euro-Asian Corporate Marriage reference, but I am too lost in Ford’s cutting edge past to think about most anything else.And yes, that low mile, super clean Peugeot 205 GTI (1.6L*) belongs to our Captain Solo…and it will be Texas bound along with the Sierra. More on that later, as we are here to celebrate the insanity … [Read more...] about TTAC Project Car: Coming to America!
Another twist in the red light camera saga in Houston, Texas could leave photo enforcement vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS) out in the cold. Later today US District Court Judge Lynn N. Hughes is expected to decide whether to grant ATS a restraining order that would prevent America’s fourth largest city from deactivating its automated ticketing machines. Voters in November enacted a charter amendment prohibiting camera use, but Hughes personally decided to overturn their ballot choice saying the voters just “want to run red lights.”That ruling has not gone over well with the public, and Mayor Annise Parker has been feeling the heat from members of the public and the city council. Late last week Parker reversed course and scheduled a vote this Wednesday that will allow the council decide how to proceed on the issue. The sudden shift left ATS furious.“In an unprecedented and colossal flip‐flop in position, the … [Read more...] about Houston, Texas Mayor Flip Flops on Red Light Cameras
After inspecting the entries at the seventh annual Gator-O-Rama 24 Hours of LeMons at MSR Houston, we braved the chilly, fetid, swampy exhalations of the Gulf Coast in November for the first racing session. At the end of the day, we had surprises in each of the three LeMons classes. Here’s what happened.Leading Class A and the entire 85-car field is the Team Blue Goose 1984 Audi 4000S Quattro. This team’s members have been competing in LeMons since the very earliest Texas LeMons races, and they’ve come as close as you can get to an overall win without actually taking home the Class A trophy… over and over again. Zero visits to the penalty box, zero broken parts, and lap times nearly as good as the quickest cars in the field; the Blue Goose Audi has done everything right so far and leads the field by two laps. Will some 12-hours-to-fix component fail on Sunday? Will a rainstorm come in and wash away the hopes of the two-wheel-drive competition on Sunday? … [Read more...] about LeMons Houston Day 1: Audi 4000, Ford Thunderbird, Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Leading Classes
For our 11th visit to MSR Houston last weekend, we had a cold and wet Gulf-Coast-In-the-Fall sort of a setting for the car inspections on Friday and the racing on Saturday. When the green flag waved on Sunday, it began a wild day of lead changes, broken parts, and general drama that was still being resolved down to the last lap. Here’s what happened.The Team Blue Goose 1984 Audi 4000S Quattro began the Sunday race session with a two lap lead over the team’s closest pursuer, and the Geese increased that lead as the weather got rainier. This team has come within a whisker of taking the overall win at a LeMons race more times than we can remember, and this time it appeared that we’d have our second-ever Audi overall winner (the first Audi win happened at the Colorado race a couple months ago). Sadly for the Geese, their car’s front differential disintegrated with a couple of hours to go on Sunday, knocking them out of contention yet again. Such is life for Audi … [Read more...] about 24 Hours of LeMons Houston: The Winners
The sixth annual Gator-O-Rama 24 Hours of LeMons, held at MSR Houston, was the first time the LeMons Traveling Circus has ever run 24 straight hours at that venue, and it turned out to be an exhausting yet exhilarating race weekend in the muggy, buggy air of Gulf Texas. Because your LeMons correspondent was so busy with his duties as Chief Justice of the LeMons Supreme Court, we couldn’t do the usual Friday-night BS Inspection post or the usual Saturday night leader update. Instead, we’re putting the entire race roundup right here!The LeMons Supreme Court at the ’13 Gator-O-Rama decided to combine the wisdom of Ganesha, the omniscience of Vishnu, and the cunning of Coyote, with puzzling judicial uniforms. From left to right, that’s Judge Sajeev Mehta, Judge Murilee aka Phil, and Judge Dave Carapetyan.We made a special Ganesha-themed BRIBED stencil for the teams that gave generous baksheesh to the LeMons Supreme Court during the inspections, and we’re sure … [Read more...] about LeMons Houston: 280ZX Gets Most Laps, Zombie Austin Americas Get Stitched Together
For a major city, Houston drivers spend far less time in rush-hour gridlock than those in other large U.S. metropolises. Last year, residents spent an average of 51.5 hours in gridlock, a number unchanged from the year before. Compare that to Los Angeles’ 104.1 hours, Atlanta’s 70.8, Washington, DC’s 61 or Boston’s 57.6.Overall, Houston ranks the 11th worst city in the U.S. for congestion, despite having the fourth-largest population. The city’s relatively low density and spiderweb of highways makes traversing the urban area an easy task — a benefit for residents who enjoy the leafy suburban life.Unfortunately, it could also explain the city’s popularity among armored car thieves.According to Houstonia, citing FBI data, Houston recorded 30 armored car robberies between 2013 and 2016. That’s about one-fifth the total for the entire country during the same period. For four years running, Houston has held the title of America’s … [Read more...] about “Houston, We Have an Armored Car Robbery Problem”