Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


EVERY SO often, even the blind pig finds a truffle. And so it is with this website. One way or the other, items in the past resonate with the latest news. I offer three examples today.

Back on June 19, 2013, “Turbo Foot” ( raised the issue of automakers gaming their EPA fuel economy numbers. Questioned in the item were advertising claims of “Quicker Performance and Better Mpg” when they should have read “or.”

It all depends on how often one puts one’s right foot to the metal.

Also important is which car is really being rated. Matters came to light in mid-August, when Ford adjusted its C-Max hybrid’s EPA numbers downward from 47/47/47 mpg to 45/40/43 mpg, for City, Highway and Combined, respectively.

The erroneously optimistic ratings came from a loophole that permits similar powertrains to share EPA numbers, even if the powertrains are in different cars. It was the Fusion Hybrid, an EPA Midsize car, that tested 47/47/47 mpg. The C-Max Hybrid is rated a Large car by the EPA’s size criteria.


Ford’s C-Max, left; Fusion Hybrid, right.

This failed gaming cost Ford some cash. Owners of C-Max hybrids were given $550; those holding leases, $325. Some 32,000 people were involved.

A second item is more upbeat. On August 19, 2013, this website’s “From Pond Scum to Riches” ( discussed the algae-to-oil business model of “Aim high, not large yet.” That is, it’s advisable to use this petro alternative in premium applications such as cosmetics before taking on the automotive fuel market. The item cited Solazyme Inc., based in South San Francisco, California, as a major player in this.


Solazyme’s algae production is going big time. Image by Jim Wilson from The New York Times, September 25, 2013.

On September 25, 2013, The New York Times reported that Unilever, a consumer product giant, has agreed to buy large amounts of Solazyme algae oil ( Unilever plans to use about three million gal. of the product over 12 to 18 months starting early next year.


Unilever products that could incorporate algae oil include Dove soap and Brylcreem for the hair.

A Unilever goal is to use only sustainable raw materials by 2020. By the end of 2012, it reported that 36 percent of agricultural raw materials were already sustainably produced (exceeding an interim target of 30 percent).

The Unilever/Solazyme oil will be produced at a Brazilian facility; when fully operational, it could produce about 30 million gal./year.

The third resonance with this website is indirect, but no less entertaining. On August 21, 2013, I celebrated Gibraltar, the rocky British outpost jutting into the Mediterranean and sharing a less than cordial border with Spain ( In particular, I marveled at its Churchill Avenue, a Gib main drag, crossing the runway of its North Front Airport.


Gibraltar’s Churchill Avenue traffic gives priority to its airport runway. Image offered by Tom Tyson.

In the latest runway/avenue news, the Alaska Dispatch, September 25, 2013, reported “Apple Maps corrects error by taking Fairbanks airport off map” (

It would seem difficult to make this stuff up, but a recent iPhone app directed motorists onto a taxiway of Fairbanks International Airport. One of the instructions read “1.0 miles Turn Right onto Taxiway B.”


“I just followed my iPhone’s directions….” Image from Alaska Dispatch, September 25, 2013.

What’s worse, once on Bravo, motorists found themselves directly facing the terminal—separated only by main runway 20R/2L.

At least two out-of-towners continued to follow their iPhone directions, despite signs and gates suggesting otherwise. Airport officials disliked the idea.

Apple came up with a fix, namely “Route could not be determined” if all that’s requested is “Fairbanks airport.” If one enters the airport’s street address, 6450 Airport Way, Fairbanks, a correct route is provided.

In particular, negative on that “taxi Bravo” routing. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2013


  1. William Rabel
    October 2, 2013

    Dennis –
    A local Apple Maps anomaly shows up in Puget Sound. The town of Langley, on Whidbey Island (second-longest island in the US), has been located to tiny Hat Island, between Whidbey and the city of Everett. Whoops!

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This entry was posted on September 27, 2013 by in Driving it Today, Just Trippin', Sci-Tech and tagged , , , .
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