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Car Culture

Car News: Swan Song
Rev retires after four good years.

Car News: The ride-along
Novella goes along with the cops and they don't catch any bad guys at all.

Car News: Skoda
Czechoslovakian car manufacturer merges with Volkswagon and gets some major cred.

Car News: Sugar Beets and Ethanol
A short primer on why using sugar beets instead of GMO corn for fuel just ain't gonna happen.

Car News: Gone Local
In Idaho, being liberal just might mean buying a Ford or a Chevy.

Car Culture: Scooter Mania
Everyone's riding scooters, and not just to save on gas money.

Car Culture: Sober but helmetless in Idaho
California may require motorcyclists to wear a helmet but a growing trend requires even more: that riders stay sober.

Car Culture: Biodiesel
We use biofuel, but we don't necessarily think it's the answer—especially with gold spray-painted accents.

Car Culture: Feeling the itch for poison oak prevention
Poison oak's oils are what spread the welts. Applying Tecnu liberally throughout the car can be a life-saving mess.

Car Culture: Car Movies 2006
This summer's obligatory lineup of lousy car flicks—'The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,' 'Cars' and Will Ferrell's 'Talladega Nights'—won't disappoint.

Car Culture: Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth'
Learning to figure your carbon load and worrying about climate change.

Car Culture: Truck Driving Rules
Learning how to drive a truck is like learning how to tame a high-spirited horse.

Car News
Think Globally, Eat Locally: Every mile your food travels adds to the rising price of gas.

Car News
Cash-strapped drivers look to California state program for low-cost auto insurance.

Car News: Gas Prices Have Nowhere to Go But Up
Do any alternative fuels make sense?

Car News: Driving in the Rain
Rainy Days and Mudslides Always Get Me Down: Tips for surviving the deluge on the roads.

Car News: Cheap gas in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela is an engine for growth
Chavez builds a country on oil revenues and that may be a good thing.

Car News: Diesel Cars Are Coming
Soon California drivers will be able to buy new, legal diesel passenger cars.

Car Culture: Oil and Security
Novella Carpenter reports on David Goldwyn and his ideas for new energy policies.

Car Culture: Hydrogen Power
Hydrogen can be made by electrolysis: splitting water. And the energy for this process could come from wind or solar power.

Car News: Pocket Bikes
Thunderstruck Motors can take any gas-powered pocket motorcycle (or any gas-powered vehicle really) and make it a plug-in electric and not lose the speed.

Car News: Surviving California's DMV
Can a machine read your proof of insurance? Or detect if your documents are fraudulent? Why human employees at the DMV can't be turned into robots just because Governor Schwarzenegger wants to modernize the sytem.

Car News: Eating While Driving
According to a researcher at the Culinary Institute of America, 19 percent of all meals and snacks are eaten in the car.

Car Culture
One problem with corn fuel is its relative inefficiency.

Car Culture
'Secuestro' means kidnap, and the whole movie is about the carjacking and abduction of a wealthy couple from the streets of Caracas

Car Culture
Though surveillance can be frustrating for paranoid people, technology goes both ways.

Car Culture
Automotive companies enter the blogosphere.

Car Culture
Did insurance companies run the statistics and find that new-old drivers are more likely to get in an accident?

Car Culture
Door, Meet Bicycle.

Car Culture
Grandma Speed.

Car Culture
Trucks are the ultimate country vehicle because of what they say about the people driving. And that is: I can help.

Car Culture
A group of elders, the NYSE, are very worried about GM, who will fall out of power shortly. There are several upstart wizards who are hip and savvy who can take over the position of power.

Car Culture
Ford said that the Volvo portion of the company will continue to advertise in the gay media. It seems like a smart move to market to gay people, considering that the gay market is actually very family oriented, thank you.

Car Culture
Although Bill is invariably disappointed with my boring decision to give him socks and underwear, something from the boys at J.C. Whitney gets him excited.

Car Culture
'Crap Cars' features page after page of crappy cars with their original marketing photos and Richard Porter's pithy analysis of what makes a bad car really bad.

Car Culture
Better World Club's shtick is my shtick: You might need to drive, but you're not happy about it, so let's try to drive as lightly as possible.

Car Culture
As such, it is a great idea to carpool those long distances toward home, if you can. And these days this means taking a ride from a stranger found on Craigslist.org.

Car Culture
The air bag is, of course, a brilliant invention. Sure, sure, a few kids die every year from suffocating after an air bag discharges—but they shouldn't have been sitting in the front seat anyway.

Car Culture
It takes three prisoners to make one license plate—one to unfurl the aluminum spool, another to place the film on the plate and a third to do the stamping.

Car Culture
Terra Pass then takes the money you submit and invests it in projects that will reduce global warming.

Car Culture
Horse Trading: I saw multiple people drop by and gaze at my lovely truck before leaving in disgust. I was so relieved that I didn't have to interact with them.

Car Culture
Grease Girl: Spreading like an alternative-fuels wildfire, straight vegetable oil (SVO) finally caught me in its flames, and I'm loving it.

Car Culture
EV Phone Home: In the past couple years, a ragtag group of EVers has also held month-long vigils in Sacramento to stop Ford from taking people's leased electric vehicles.

Car Culture
Like little worms, tires buried underneath yards and yards of debris naturally migrate toward the top of the pile.

Car Culture
Berzerkley: Now, Berkeley has announced that it is following the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Car Culture
Sierra Summit: Next up on the press junket was Honda, which, with surprisingly little fanfare, pulled off the sheet for the 2006 model of the Honda Civic Hybrid.

Car Culture
Open Only in Case Of Emergency: I'm stockpiling food and water. I'm taking survivalist training. I'm preparing to be able to do anything in order to survive.

Car Culture
Keep On Truckin': Technically, I can only drive trucks with two axles, and I certainly can't haul hazardous materials, but I'm still mighty proud.

Car Culture
Car Share: This borderline obsessive behavior came about because I've been thinking about car-ownership costs.

Car Culture
Novella Sells Out: Though the couple opted to sleep on the wind-swept beach instead of inside the vehicle, they certainly could have stretched out in the Highlander.

Car Culture
Ed Ruscha's car-based art, which never features people, offers a lonely, melancholy view of our American society.

Car Culture
Grateful He's Dead: If the car is an extension of you, maybe some Deadheads were catching on that the police could easily profile them based on wacky cars and stickers and make the assumption: possession of narcotics.

Car Culture
This Is Not a Car Review: Why would I cruelly choose to review a car not available to you? Because, dear reader, I want you to go to your Honda dealership and demand—demand!—the Tourer.

Car Culture
Stranger Than Fiction: I'll never understand the luxury market for auto accessories, especially when I can barely vacuum out the beast once every five years.

Car Culture
Your Gas Station: Although the Chavez plan has been mocked by conservatives who urge that Venezuela should build relations with the United States, I would argue, why should he?

Car Culture
Man Replacement: My other pal, M, loved Kevin's no-nonsense nature and his 1978 GMC Sierra, named Kevin Junior, that he used for his hauling business.

Car Culture
Rent-a-Truck: Then I hit my first pothole, which caused the truck to jump at least a few inches in the air and almost ripped the steering wheel out of my hand.

Car Culture
Dog Days: The dog days of summer are here, and if you're a canine owner, that usually means shuttling Cujo to the local parks, swimming holes and doggy bakeries.

Car Culture
Light Summer Reading: The imminent shortage of oil is the new Y2K, the new nuclear threat, the new rapture.

Car Culture
The Wheels on the Bus: Moreover, the kids on buses were breathing a higher percentage of the buses' exhaust than the outside population.

Car Culture
Ethanol Dreams: Blume has been into ethanol since the early 1980s, when he and friends used to gather day-old donuts and boil them down to extract the sugar.

Car Culture
Bush Deconstructed: Biodiesel's secret is that Republicans love to support it, too

Car Culture
Tools for Women: The owner of the company, Barbara Kavovit, a successful construction contractor, started the series in order to empower women.

Car Culture
All Things Motorcycle: Part 2: 'If everyone would remain calm, offer a little more courtesy and kindness, and smile more, then everyone would have a better life'

Car Culture
All Things Motorcycle: Part 1: You concentrate totally on riding. It calms you. And because you are so focused, you see everything.

Car Culture
Boatcar: A complicated series of wings can be unfurled from the cockpit to create a hydrofoil once you hit water.

Car Culture
When Earth Attacks: You shouldn't abandon your car, unless there is no other option, and if you do, don't leave it in a traffic lane.

Car Culture
Real Earth Day: Though I had high hopes the United States would be blessed with the presence of the updated VW Microbus--we've been dissed!

Car Culture
FamilyMobile: Though I had high hopes the United States would be blessed with the presence of the updated VW Microbus—we've been dissed!

Car Culture
Animal Highway: Bugs meeting cars isn't a new thing. I have heard of drivers meeting up with mass migrations of tarantulas and grasshoppers, too.

Car Culture
Ford's Fables: Manufacturer scores with ESUVEE creature.

Car Culture
Car Blogs.

Car Culture
Paris Is Burning.

Car Culture
Vespalicious.

Car Culture
Just because it's a biodiesel station doesn't mean that people don't drive off with the nozzle still in their car.

Car Culture
Car and Taxes: If you purchase a new hybrid gas-electric vehicle by the end of 2005, you can take a clean-fuel vehicle-tax deduction of up to $2,000.

Car Culture
Stakeout!: You might want to keep your door locked to keep out the vermin or other unexpected intruders.

Car Culture
Car and Taxes: If you purchase a new hybrid gas-electric vehicle by the end of 2005, you can take a clean-fuel vehicle-tax deduction of up to $2,000.

Car Culture
Go Enduro: The body has a stripped-down, almost skeletal look. Basically, they look like giant insects.

Car Culture
Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle—what does that involve? What's a 'partial zero'?

Car Culture
Prius Plus: Whew, not some crazy electric hippie car, this one's practical! And it does all the thinking for you.

Car Culture
My first auto show.

Car Culture
Manson Family Vacation.

Car Culture
Yelling at boom car drivers or passive-aggressively involving the police seems like a losing proposition. Boom car drivers are people, too.

Car Culture
Honk If You Love Noise Pollution.

Car Culture
When is the last time you heard an alarm and thought, 'I'd better call the cops, someone's trying to steal my neighbor's car'?

Car Culture
Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?

Car Culture
New Automotive Dictionary: I got to suckle at the thesaurus, discovering new words that would make me sound smart.

Car Culture
For once, Robin made himself useful and built the entire car on his own with a blowtorch.

Car Culture
The Big Con: My whiskey bottle had been drained the night before, and I had a headache the size of an iceberg, pre-global warming.

Car Culture
Blowing Sunshine: Looking for the few good pieces of car world news that are floating around.

Car Culture
Mysterious Fluid: I had a dream about elevators going down or something, and woke up to the sensation of being stuck to the bottom of the truck bed.

Car Culture
Scary Data: Withered, distorted testing methods—don't look at them for too long or they'll really scare you!

Car Culture
Decisions, Decisions: I thought I had slumped off into la la land after hearing 'Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time' for the billionth time.

Car Culture
News Clips: When asked about the new standards, an auto-industry lobbyist called the theory of global warming a 'big if.'

Car Culture
Too Nice: Cancel my subscription. Oh wait, I don't actually have one. Just hand me a match.

Car Culture
Patent No. 6,757,593: If 'anger' is showing, the display shows an 'angry' expression and the speaker outputs an audio message: 'I am angry now.'

Car Culture
We drove onto fine powdery sand that had been stirred up by the wind, hesitated—and into this fluff our tiny Opel sank.

Car Culture
Think Again: Think leasers in San Francisco staged funerals for their beloved cars... draping American flags, playing 'Taps.'

Car Culture
We had discovered that relying on our cars to get around had reproduced a too-familiar world.

Car Culture
Never use spray paint for your wedding car, unless you hire a genuine graffiti artist who will make a 'Just Married' like you've never seen before.

Car Culture
Your Windshield: Place a clear piece of Saran Wrap across the front of the windshield, peel the wrap off and violà!—a hangable piece of insect art.

Car Culture
Mind Your P's and Q's: A little Buddha handclasp or a mouthed 'I'm sorry' goes a long way.

Car Culture
Summer Car Reading: Standing next to the fuel island on a cloudless August evening.

Car Culture
Suzie Baxman talks about her experiences as a lady truck driver.

Car Culture
This summer's biggest movies seem to be getting all political about cars.

Car Culture
Biodiesel Diaries III—South America: 'I had time to wonder, "Is this car going to stop rolling? Are we rolling off of a cliff?"'

Car Culture
SVO Diaries, Part II: The caravan filled up DM&E's tank with Sonoma olive oil, which carried them through Guatemala and Honduras.

Car Culture
David was drinking a Dr. Pepper, and so we cut that up, put it around the hose inside the tank, and clamped it down.

Car Culture
Besides keeping your hands on the steering wheel, don't get out of the car and don't make any sudden movements.

Car Culture
Customers are more likely to pay attention if you get permission to interact with them: a free sample, a contest, a survey or, yes, a milk carton to assemble.

Car Culture
Brits call them self-drive holidays or multicentre holidays. We simply call them road trips.

Car Culture
My friends and I arrived in our city car, tattooed with bumper stickers but otherwise shiny clean.

Car Culture
It's crazy to waste our dwindling, nonrenewable resources on stupid things like dashboards and door panels.

Car Culture
Crude oil prices have soared past the $40 a barrel mark—the highest they've been in 14 years.

Car Culture
Is your vanity plate too hot for the DMV?

Car Culture
Metro's auto column makes its online debut.


Novella Carpenter is a women not only obsessed with cars, but with protecting the environment. Her weekly column balances these two polar-opposite loves while providing handy tips and car-related news items.