Monthly Archives: May 2010

Council Approves Junk Car Program

While it may not leave every surface along East End Road or on the Spit with a bright shine, Homer’s junk car program could at least eliminate a few side-of-the-road rust buckets.

The Homer City Council passed an ordinance at Monday’s meeting that would put aside $15,000 for the removal of junk cars. Of that $15,000, $10,000 will come from money leftover from 2009 revenues that hasn’t been used in the 2010 budget. The other $5,000 will come from planning reserves.

With that cash, the city will drain the fluid and dispose of one junk car per family on a first-come, first-served basis, possibly during the spring community cleanup May 1.

Currently, the cost of removing fluids and the battery from a junk car is about $150, and the total cost of disposal is about $300 to the individual.

Borough taxpayers pay the cost of crushing, transporting, storing and transporting the cars to Anchorage.

The council had asked city staff to have a second look at the budget to see if the $15,000 could be patched together from cutting small amounts in different areas.

Homer’s City Manager Walt Wrede explained that with a budget as lean as 2010′s there really was not much fat left to be cut from the bone.

“We really couldn’t find much because those budgets are pretty lean. The other problem with borrowing from line items this early in the year is that we’re only a couple of months into the budgeting year and if we are overrunning line items now then we’re in trouble,” said Wrede.

The council hopes to continue the program over the coming years as a service, but is hoping to find alternative methods of funding.

City staff continues to look for grants that would apply to the junk car program, though City Planner Rick Abboud said none had been found as of yet.

Abboud also noted in his memo that accumulated junk cars reduce property values, are potentially hazardous to the environment, are often eyesores and cause substantial work not just for Planning and Zoning, but also for Port and Harbor personnel with derelict vehicles on port property and the Police Department, which is responsible for citations and dealing with abandoned vehicles.

Juneau runs a similar junk car program, and disposes of around 800 junk cars annually. Nearly $180,000 of the total $417,000 budget comes from a motor vehicle registration tax.

Juneau budgets about $425 per vehicle for fluid removal and for shipping.

Homer’s take of the motor vehicle registration tax, nearly $62,000, goes into the general fund.

Council member Kevin Hogan was not certain that the city had any responsibility to deal with abandoned or junk cars owned privately.

“I’m not sure why the city is taking on this responsibility. It seems like it should be the citizen’s responsibility to dispose of their junk. I’m not sure that it’s appropriate to use city money to deal with a private problem,” said Hogan.

Hogan was the only council member to oppose the program in the roll call vote.
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A Quick Look at Electric Cars

Ever heard of Electric Cars and how they work? Well, electric cars are alternative fuel automobiles which use electric motors and motor controllers instead of a traditional ICE or internal combustion engine for propulsion. These cars are commonly powered with on-board battery packs, and are sometimes called battery electric vehicles or BEV’s. Some other on-board energy storage methods that are expected to come out for use in the future include ultracapacitors, fuel cells, and a spinning flywheel which stores kinetic energy.

This year, a lot of manufacturers are releasing their latest electric car models and here are just some of the good ones,

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Cargo

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Cargo

Derived from the production i-MiEV, this concept maximizes the outstanding environmental performance and economic efficiency characteristics that define the electric vehicle and at the same time adds a generous amount of rear free space to extend the range of uses to which it can be put by corporate users and self-employed operators in particular. The rear space features space-efficient cubic dimensions to allow the user to exercise their imagination fully in adapting it for whatever use he/she chooses.!v=QD7noXB6vx8

The result is a concept for an EV that meets user needs for a variety of situations: from business use, where maximum payload space is required, to leisure and other individual owner uses.

Nissan 2010 LEAF

Nissan 2010 LEAF

Nissan boasts that the LEAF is the first electric car designed for affordability and real-world requirements. You’ll get more than 100 miles out of a full charge. Charging from home is expected to take 8 hours but quick charge points will boost the battery from 0 to 80% within 30 minutes. Slated for release in late 2010, the LEAF is expected to cost £25 to 30,000.!v=fAxEiecu040

Citroën C-ZERO

Citroën C-ZERO

The C-ZERO is powered by a permanent magnet synchronous motor delivering 64 bhp EEC from 3,000 to 6,000 rpm and 180 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. Power is transmitted to the rear axle via a single-speed reduction gear. The motor is powered by a latest-generation 330-volt lithium-ion battery system comprising 88 50-Ah cells (for onboard energy of 16 kWh) mounted in the center of the vehicle.!v=9iwuNGLD0rw

The car is the perfect vehicle for trips under 30 km. It takes only just 30 minutes for a 80% recharge, and six hours for a complete charge.

Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster

Running at a top speed of 125mph and with a range of almost 250 miles, the Roadster is far and away the most powerful electric car on the market. It will set you back 87,000 but charging your electric Roadster will set you back approximately 1 and driving an electric car exempts you from road tax, so
you’ll make enormous savings in the long run.!v=XEX6w8FFOwg

These are just some of the electric cars that will be released this year. There’s a whole lot more to look out for and we will most certainly be amazed by these awesome cars. Who knows, in the near future, all our cars would be like these babies.

Canadians prefer cars to sex, junk food

Many Canadians say they would forgo sex, credit cards or junk food before giving up their cars. (iStock)
Canadians are so attached to their vehicles that many say they would forgo sex, television, junk food or credit cards before giving up driving.

The survey conducted by the World Wildlife Fund underscores the challenge of promoting alternative forms of transportation as a means of helping the environment.

The WWF said 78 per cent of Canadians know driving has a negative impact on the environment, yet only one per cent would be willing to give up their cars.

“If every Canadian left their car at home just one day a week, we would save about 4.86 million tones of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking about 800,000 cars off the road for a year,” said Gerald Butts, the president and CEO of WWF Canada.

The World Wildlife Fund is launching a campaign to encourage Canadians to try other forms of transportation, such as public transit, bicycling or walking.

“No matter where we live in Canada, we can all find ways to reduce our dependency on cars — to save money, improve our health and help the planet,” Butts said.

In Canada, transportation accounts for 30 per cent of greenhouse gasses.

According to the Canadian Automobile Association, driving is also hard on the pocketbook, with a mid-sized sedan costing an average of $8,440 in fuel, maintenance and other operating costs. Driving a minivan costs more than $11,200.

The WWF survey found that 76 per cent of Canadians say they would drive even if they could walk, bike or take public transit to their destination.

Canadians are being asked to try alternatives to driving during the week of May 31 to June 6.

The survey was conducted by Research House on behalf of the WWF between April 16 and 21, with 2002 adults surveyed. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.19 per cent 19 times out of 20.

Cash for junk cars