2006 Toyota Solara, 331 miles, 32 MPG @ 60 MPH

V6 Cyl, 5 Spd Auto Trans, EPA 29/20

This RWVER (Real World Vehicle Efficiency Report) journey started in Sacramento, CA where I got on I-80 and drove east to the Hwy 12 exit towards Napa through the rolling hills of wine country through Sonoma and Santa Rosa to the Sebastopol, CA, area where I stayed overnight. The next day we drove to the coast, then went south on HWY 1 to Bodega Bay, where we again turned east to Hwy 101, south to Hwy 37, which took us across the Bay and connects with I-80 at Vallejo, which we took back to Sacramento.

Along the way I set the cruise control at 60 MPH and was almost continuously being passed by everyone on the road, including 18 wheel trucks, busses and the usual array of RV’s being towed by diesel pickup trucks driven by vacationers and retirees. To those who claim my speed (60 MPH) was creating a hazard, I want to point out that there is not a roadway in California where it is legal for any truck or vehicle pulling a trailer to exceed 55 MPH, anywhere, ever. I often get behind one that is obeying the law to find a zone of sanity whilst monster SUV’s battle each other for an edge in the next lanes.

The EPA rating for the V6 Solara is 29/20, so my trip of 331 miles indicates the vehicle gets 32 MPG when the speed is kept under 60 MPH. During this 2 day, 331 mile trip I saw 1 CHP vehicle, at the scene of a crash, taking down names. The rest of the time it is a free-for-all on the highways, even huge trucks are all routinely well over the speed limit, I wonder why we bother posting and maintaining the signs.

Sacramento Solar Train


I was thinking about how a steam locomotive could be converted to use solar
thermal energy to replace or supplement other fuels to provide the heat and
found two articles that seem to indicate all of the major technical issues
have been solved for decades.

Building on the Solar Train concept, we are raising funds for a
demonstration project in Sacramento, California. Proposed is to use the
existing rail yards to support a fireless locomotive that would be used in
rotation on the tourist line in Old Sacramento.

Once again the region will lead the world in developing a system for mass
transportation using simple, well proven technology to provide high quality,
clean, renewable energy more efficiently than any other by taking the
shortest path from the sun to the drive wheels.

Thermal solar energy collectors will be erected over portions of the site
having deed restrictions for industrial use only, thus converting a toxic
problem into a renewable energy production facility. This energy will be
used to charge and recharge the fireless locomotive, which then has a very
short distance to service on the popular tourist train.

More details at http://timcastleman.com/sst/

Thanks for looking!