Archive for » April 14th, 2012«

From a Travel Desk: What’s in a gallon of gas?

Last week, a U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) rained on my summer highway trip. It likely a inhabitant normal cost for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline will be $3.95 between Apr and September. Last summer, a inhabitant normal cost was $3.71. We propitious Midwesterners get a little cost break: We’ll be profitable $3.90 (while those on a West Coast will face a intolerable $4.20 per gallon).

Given a news, we wanted to know what goes into gas prices and some stairs drivers can take to save on fuel.

No warn that wanton oil — a third of that comes from a scattered Middle East and North Africa — creates adult a bulk of a price, 72 percent. The work of enlightening a oil accounts for 12 percent of a price, taxes for 11 percent, and placement and selling gets a final 5.

A elementary approach to safeguard a automobile runs well is to contend correct tire pressure. Deflated tires supplement drag. In general, a well-tuned automobile glides many smoothly. Fixing a large problem, such as a inadequate oxygen sensor, can boost mileage by as most as 40 percent.

With cars, a series of bags we lift is singular usually by a distance of your trunk. Still, container light. More weight requires some-more fuel.

To find a gas hire in your area charity a lowest prices, record onto a website that marks prices, such as

I’ll mind all that recommendation before we expostulate north this summer. But during a pump, we won’t be considering what goes into a cost of fuel. I’ll be daydreaming about a trip, shelling out not for gas though for a guarantee of balmy beach days, idle nights and a week with family. As they contend in a ads, priceless.

Send your questions or tips to transport editor Kerri Westenberg during, and follow her on chatter @kerriwestenberg.

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BEST BET: Spring safari season under way at animal park

SAN PASQUAL VALLEY —- With spring break under way, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has launched its spring season of safari tours, that range from open-air photo caravans in the main enclosures to Segway tours and zipline adventures.

Two years ago, the former Wild Animal Park changed its name to reflect its new focus on interactive “safari” adventures. It now offers nine different ways that park visitors can see, feed, photograph, fly over and even sleep near the park’s animal inhabitants, according to park spokeswoman Dani Dodge.

The Caravan Safari (starting at $127 for ages 3-11 and $137 for ages 12 and up) is a one- to three-hour ride into the park’s open savannahs where African animals roam free. On these rides, parkgoers can learn about the species from veteran tour guides like Lee Kirchhevel, who has been leading tours at the park for decades. Caravaners can feed eucalyptus leaves to giraffes, carrots to rhinos and learn interesting factoids, like just how much poop the park’s animals create each day (answer: a lot).

A Rolling Safari takes adult visitors on a two-hour guided tour via Segway two-wheeled vehicle (ages 13 and up only), price $122. A similar guided Cart Safari (in an eight-passenger golf cart-type vehicle) is one hour and costs $72-$82. And the Flightline Safari ($102-$112) allows visitors to soar over the savannah in a suspended zipline harness up to 160 feet high. The 2/3-mile trip, which takes a couple of minutes, is one of the longest uninterrupted ziplines in North America.

There’s also a Behind the Scenes Safari ($102-$112), with a two-hour backstage tour visiting off-exhibit locations like the veterinary medical center, training area for the animal shows and conservation research lab. And the Roar Snore Safari offers overnight tent camping in the park from $152-$182.

And for the especially well-heeled, there’s the Ultimate Safari, a tailor-made VIP tour that ranges from $550-$950 per person. Park spokeswoman Dani Dodge said this safari — which requires 72-hour advance reservations —- is popular with celebrities and guests who are looking for a “once in a lifetime” experience. Ultimate Safari-goers can choose their own adventure for five to eight hours with a a private guide.

Reservations are recommended (and in some cases required) for each of the safari excursions at: .

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Toyota Announces Tiny Single-Seat Electric Car For Short Trips

Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

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Toyota Coms (Provided by Toyota Auto Body Co.)

Toyota Coms (Provided by Toyota Auto Body Co.)

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Historically, automakers haven’t been lustful of little electric cars able of carrying one or dual people. 

Lately, everybody from General Motors to Renault has shown seductiveness in low-speed city runabouts, heading some to even pierce doorless, electric runabouts to market.

Unlike many automakers, Toyota has been creation low-speed single-seat vehicles for mobility and industrial use for years by a auxiliary Toyota Auto Body Co.

Now it has denounced a latest model, a 2012 Coms. 

With a tip speed of 60 kph (37 mph), a Coms isn’t designed for highway use. Instead, a little distance enables it to pierce in and out of walking areas and even into buildings, creation it ideal for seniors with singular mobility. 

With a full charge, a Coms can transport adult to 31 miles on only 80 yen (98 cents) of electricity.

More importantly, distinct a prior era Coms that took between 8 and 13 hours to charge, a newer chronicle charges in about a same time as an iPad. That’s about dual hours. 

Its discerning recharge time, little measure and elementary controls is also approaching to make a Coms a renouned choice for vast factories, where bureau workers have to travel prolonged distances between areas.

We adore a Com’s styling, and consider it is significantly improved designed than many mobility scooters or community electric vehicles.



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Olmos Park fountain expected to be removed

The Olmos Park fountain competence have been cursed from a start.

The initial spirit of a destiny came shortly before military could tighten a intersection for a champagne toast dedication, when a dreaming engineer plowed into a 47,000-pound structure.

Since that occurrence in 2008, 23 other motorists — 22 suspected of inebriated pushing — have crashed into a travertine fountain built on a trade round during McCullough Avenue and Olmos Drive, pronounced Olmos Park Police Chief Fred Solis.

“It was a few weeks before a fountain was finished, construction workers were all over a place and a male not profitable courtesy gathering right into a circle,” Solis said. “It was a bright, balmy day and he was not intoxicated.”

The fountain’s predestine now rests with City Council — notwithstanding a unanimous opinion in Mar to idle it, and if possible, store it — after Councilman Jeff Judson requested a emanate be discussed during a monthly assembly Thursday.

Olmos Park officials don’t trust a tangible devious is a problem, and motorists have proven that they are able of pushing around a trade circle: during a circuitously devious on Blanco Road and Fulton Avenue, usually dual drivers have struck a bottom of a open art structure commissioned months after Olmos Park’s fountain.

“Both incidents caused some cosmetic indemnification to a petrify base,” pronounced Jimmy LeFlore, San Antonio’s open art manager. But conjunction pile-up shop-worn a art piece, a 28-foot high oxidized steel post named “The Beacon” designed by Angel Rodriguez-Diaz to resemble a luminaria.

The same can’t be pronounced for a Olmos Park fountain, a present to a city from residents and business owners.

While Valentine’s Day 2012 was injured by one of a worst, and latest, fountain-related crashes, collisions during that intersection are zero new. Before 1998, unresolved streetlights presided over a five-way intersection, though adults complained of a trade jams they caused, City Manager Mike Simpson said. During that time, a pile-up killed a motorcyclist speeding by town.

Until 2008, a round lay barren, “evolving from landscape to grassy geography to a small bit of landscape,” Simpson said. “But they continued to have problems with people pushing over it when they were less-than alert.”

The Olmos Park Terra Improvements Committee, or OPTIC, was shaped to establish how to bedeck a roundabout, and afterwards a organisation lifted supports for and means a fountain.

“Part of what we were doing is formulating a visible separator to remind people to go around a round and not by it,” pronounced Sean McNelis, a member of OPTIC and then, City Council. “Unfortunately, we have a really apparent problem of dipsomaniac driving.”

According to Simpson, Olmos Park military in Feb arrested 5 suspected inebriated drivers; a month before, there were 8 pushing while inebriated arrests, and in Dec 2011, Olmos Park military done 11 DWI arrests. Two officers are on-patrol during any given time.

“We usually have so many resources,” Solis said. “The military dialect does have other duties from monitoring a trade circle.”

Many crashes have been resolved in settlements, Simpson said, and a city has perceived $48,000 in word money. Of that, $32,000 has paid for repairs to a fountain and bollards, and a city has spent about $10,300 to find recommendation on and implement improvements to make a intersection safer.

Olmos Park is still available a probable remuneration in tie to a “St. Valentine’s Day massacre,” as Simpson calls a Feb. 14 crash, when a suspected inebriated engineer pushing south during about 60 mph strike a splitter island, went airborne for about 40 feet, crashed into a fountain and a bollard, afterwards struck a Shell gas hire pointer and rolled over, injuring a driver.

While city officials determine that DWI drivers, not a prominent, iconic fountain, are a problem, businesspeople who face a fountain have hostile views of a structure.

“What are they going to put in a place? At slightest a fountain stops them. Without it, they’re only going to pile-up into a building,” pronounced Susanna Meadows, whose Meadow Boutique has a front-row perspective of a roundabout.

“It’s a pleasing square of art,” pronounced Gus Wanner of Guitar Tex. “It’s a contrition that we have to pierce it since we’ve got idiots behind a wheel.”

Twitter: @Eva Ruth

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Just Back: a happy picture of Mozambique

I point my lens back towards the fading exterior of Maputo’s central railway
station and click off a couple of shots. It’s early autumn in Mozambique,
the sun is still strong, even at dusk, and the people move lazily along
Avenida 25 de Septembro from one empty building to the next.

I’ve been walking around the city for three days now. The Portuguese abandoned
the country overnight in 1975. Fifteen years of civil war followed, then 20
years of peace in which it would appear nothing has been built, pulled down
or renovated. At times it feels as though I’m walking through a place lost
to the world, where nature has strolled in to reclaim the buildings and
roads. Tree roots and weeds push through pavements and turn-of-the-century
façades, distorting carved stonework and decorative paving into grotesque
caricatures of European architecture.

The man in the Jeep is the fourth white man who has warned me of danger. In
three days I haven’t seen a single white person walking anywhere, and few
white people at all. The only exception is the Café Continental on Samora
Machel Baixa, where South Africans, Americans and Europeans meet for good
espresso and fabulous patisserie. When they finish they get back in their
cars or their taxis and disappear again.

A group of kids heads my way. I raise my camera in defiance of pessimism and
they smile at me and keep walking. People have been smiling and staring
since I arrived.

Wood smoke is rolling in the air. If I close my eyes I could be in the
country: the city’s sounds are muted and dull, and the air is fragrant.
Everything about Maputo is incongruous. Everyone is selling something but
the shops are abandoned. Families sleep under rusting lorries parked up
outside Edwardian villas. The streets are filthy but they smell sweet.

On my way to the ferry (I’m staying across the bay in Catembe) I come to a
gaping hole in the pavement, 20 feet square at least. I can feel the ground
give way as I step to the edge. I can’t see the bottom. There’s no warning
of danger.

Maybe one day someone will steal my camera. They stole my last one. But that
was in London. And no one smiles at me there.

Enter the next round

Your travel writing could earn you £1,000. That’s the prize for our Just Back
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by midnight on Wednesday, April 18. Click
here for more information and full terms and conditions.

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Travel deals: San Diego ball getaway, Hawaii coupons, hotel present cards

San Diego: D-Backs-Padres ball package

Here’s a splurge for a Arizona Diamondbacks fan in your life. Book a highway outing to San Diego in early Sep to see a group play a San Diego Padres during Petco Park. The Omni San Diego, connected to a downtown park by sky bridge, is charity a “Shortstop Baseball Package” all summer, with rates starting during $269 a night. When a Diamondbacks are in city a weekend of Sept. 7-9, rates will start during $339. The package includes a one-night stay, dual general-admission tickets to a game, breakfast for dual by room use or a hotel’s restaurant, and giveaway cheuffer parking. Upgrades to improved seats are available.

Details: 888-444-6664,, click on “hotel special offers.”

Hawaii: Avis perks

Rent a automobile from Avis in Hawaii and your automobile keys are a sheet to discounts around a islands. On Maui, discounts embody a giveaway adult sheet on a Sugar Cane train, a giveaway snorkel-set let and dive beam from Maui Dive Shop, and a bucket of balls and use of a pushing operation during Wailea Golf Club. On Oahu, a freebies embody one giveaway ubiquitous acknowledgment to a Polynesian Cultural Center, a giveaway child’s acknowledgment to Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii and giveaway let clubs during Hawaii Prince Golf Club.

Details:, click on “Deals” and “Hawaii coupons.”

Nationwide: Best Western gift-card promotion

Stay during a Best Western 3 apart times between today, Apr 15, by Sunday, Jun 3, and accept a $50 Best Western Travel Card. The label is good for stays during a Phoenix-based chain’s hotels worldwide by Nov. 1. Travelers contingency be members of Best Western’s giveaway faithfulness program, Best Western Rewards, and register for a “JumpStart to Summer” promotion.


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