England's Home Office is testing GPS-based speed traps -- a system called "SpeedSpike," which uses a global positioning satellite receiver -- in two locations: Southwark, in London, and a spot between Antony and Torpoint, in Cornwall.
What's scary about SpeedSpike is that it can cover a grid of streets, rather than just one road. It can calculate average speed between any two points on the covered grid, meaning if you head from your house to the grocery store, the system can figure out if you arrived too fast based on posted speed limits -- even if you took five roads to get there.
On Earth Day, a primer from Consumer Reports about recycling your car battery.
The bad news, for the Earth anyway, is the whole highly toxic, lead-plastic-acid thing; the good news is that car batteries are recyclable and usually wind up as new car batteries, circle of life-style. From the blog post: "According to the industry trade group Battery Council International, more than 97 percent of all used battery lead is recycled into new batteries." The plastic cases are melted down and turned into ... new plastic cases, and even the acid can be made to serve a purpose. It can be turned into sodium sulfate -- used in the production of glass, detergents and textiles -- or neutralized and turned into water.
Of course, you can't just park the battery on the curb next to your old soda bottles and stacks of newspaper.
Where does the $16 million fine Toyota has been hit with go once it has been paid?
According to NHTSA, that sizable lump of cash is headed straight into the massive pool of money that is the U.S. Treasury, which means that in a way, Toyota is putting it right back in the hands of the American taxpayers. The federal government will be able to use the fine for whatever it sees fit -- education, defense, public health, you name it. In the end, we'll probably never know exactly where each penny went.
TeleAtlas shows the most polluted roads in the U.S.
Not that anyone in California needs reassurance that their roads are congested, clogged, eco-destroying or otherwise... but in case the need arises, here's an article that tells us what we already know: California roads are the most polluted in the country.
That's right: according to TeleAtlas study of TomTom's latest traffic data (TomTom, the GPS company, funded the study based on GPS data from drivers willing to make their driving stats available for two years) California has some of the worst-polluting roads in the country.
Let's look at what the study had to say:
By Automotive News
The Chrysler Group will play a key role in plans to revive Fiat S.p.A.'s ailing Alfa brand. The U.S. automaker will build two new Alfa crossover models for sale in North America and Europe.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne made a strong commitment to the money-losing sporty brand, which will be 100 years old in June, during a presentation of Fiat's five-year strategy on Wednesday.
Marchionne announced the launch of seven new Alfa models from 2010 to 2014 and said Fiat is determined to transform the brand into a "full-line premium carmaker."
Marchionne also said North America will account for 85,000 unit sales in 2014 out of 500,000 that Alfa aims to sell in that year.
R8 Spyder fits Iron Man like a high-tech suit.
There’s no longer any doubt that when a movie star needs a hot new car to drive in an action flick, Audi has become the badge of choice. From Jason Statham’s sinister black Audi A8 in the “Transporter” films to Robert Downey’s exotic R8 Spyder in "Iron Man 2," Audis have that edgy, break-the-mold attitude we like in our action stars. (Yes, I realize that car companies often pay for placement in films, which can lead to such sore-thumb spectacles as Robert Pattinson -- as Edward, the brooding vampire in the tween-appeal “Twilight” series -- driving a Volvo XC60 crossover. He must have borrowed it from his vampire mom.)
With the Audi R8 Spyder going on sale late this summer, Audi has unveiled a television campaign that spends as much time hustling “Iron Man 2” as it does the baby-blue convertible that Downey’s Tony Stark drives in the film (check out one of the commercials after the jump). But that’s OK: Audi knows that moviegoers aren’t going to race from the theater to buy the roughly $180,000 R8 Spyder, the most expensive, exclusive Audi ever made.
What the R8 does onscreen, according to Jeff Kuhlman, Audi’s U.S. communications chief, is introduce the brand to an audience that might not be aware of its bona fides, nor its ongoing streak of high-design, tech-savvy cars.
BBC, History Channel to create 'TopGear US.'
That's right: BBC and the History Channel are teaming up to create "TopGear US," with Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond replaced as hosts by three Yanks: stunt driver and racer Tanner Foust, stand-up comic and "Rescue Me" actor Adam Ferrara and NASCAR race analyst Rutledge Wood.
Foust is probably the most recognizable name to gearheads and "TopGear" faithful. He was a stunt driver for some of the insane chase scenes in "The Bourne Ultimatum" and an X-Games rally gold medalist who has also tackled Pikes Peak and international ice racing championships.
By Dale Jewett
The Le Mans-bred Porsche 911 GT2 has been captured by spy shooters on the Nürburgring, and we expect the sports car to officially debut later this year at the Paris Motor Show for the 2011 or 2012 model year.
Styling changes are minimal. To enhance performance, there are large air intakes in front, and a prominent wing marks the back end.
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Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5