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John Stewart

Medium Speed Vehicle Laws Detailed

IIHS makes state law table and interactive map describing medium-speed vehicles available online

In September 2008, NHTSA denied a petition for rulemaking to create a new class of motor vehicles known as medium speed vehicles (MSV). The petitioners proposed that MSVs have a top speed of 35 mph and that they be held to less stringent safety standards than passenger cars. NHTSA, taking environmental and fuel consumption issues into consideration, denied the request due to increased risk of death and injury.

Despite NHTSA's denial of the petition, 9 states (Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington) have adopted a definition of "medium-speed vehicle (MSV)" and all except Colorado allow MSVs on specified portions of their public roads. Colorado's law states that medium-speed vehicles cannot be titled or registered until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has adopted safety standards for vehicles that operate at greater than 25 mph but less than 45 mph.

For details, go to http://www.iihs.org/laws/mediumspeedvehicles.aspx

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John Stewart

Camping Goes 'Green' at Pennsylvania State Parks

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 8 -- The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has developed guidelines and a demonstration campsite that can help campers reduce their impact on the environment, Bureau of State Parks Director John Norbeck said today.

"Normally we think of tent camping as a fairly natural activity, but there are things that campers can do differently to limit the impact they have on their outdoor surroundings," Norbeck said. "Using a 'green' approach to camping is not only good for the environment; it also can reduce your costs and make camping more enjoyable."

The demonstration "green" campsite is being set up at state parks across the state this summer as a weekend program for visitors. It features a tent and sleeping bag made from recycled materials; fuel efficient cooking stove; an LED flashlight; solar charger and reusable batteries; reusable cook set; solar camp shower; non-toxic bug repellant; bear-proof food container; a clothes line; and reusable marshmallow sticks.

Park staff will also provide outdoor recreational, amphitheater, and family and children's programs that tie in with the "green" theme.

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John Stewart

Navigation Benefits Study: Distance Driven with and without Navigation

NAVTEQ Study shows drivers would decrease their CO2 emissions by over .9 tons (metric)

CHICAGO, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- NAVTEQ, the leading global provider of digital map, traffic and location data for in-vehicle, portable, wireless and enterprise solutions, has revealed the results of a proprietary research study designed to assess the consumer impact of everyday use of navigation devices. Previous studies in this field focused more on "getting lost" scenarios versus the benefits to drivers of navigation system use during the course of their normal driving habits.

In a three pronged study which evaluated drivers without a navigation system, drivers with a navigation system, and drivers with a navigation system that included traffic, the results revealed that drivers using navigation devices 1) drove shorter distances and 2) spent less time driving. Conducted in two metropolitan areas of Germany - Dusseldorf and Munich - the study also showed that drivers with navigation devices had a 12% increase in fuel efficiency, as measured by liters of fuel consumed per 100 kms. Fuel consumption among those drivers using navigation fell from 8.3 to 7.3 l/100kms.

This increase in fuel economy translates to an estimated .91 tons (metric) decrease in carbon dioxide emissions every year per driver, or a 24% decrease over the amount that the average non-navigation user emits per year. Stated in terms of grams/km the reduction equates to 25 g/km per car. And with an annualized decrease in driving of nearly 2500 fewer kilometers per driver, 1.19 million tires would also be saved from disposal in Germany due to the decrease in wear and tear.

The participants, who had not previously owned a navigation device, had their vehicles outfitted with a logging device which was used to track the route they drove and their driving speed. The study results reflect more than 2,100 individual trips, more than 20,000 kilometers and almost 500 hours on the road.

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John Stewart

Garmin adds new products to GPS line-up

1490T
Ultra-Thin with 5-Inch Display, Garmin® nüvi® 1490T Provides the Big Picture

OLATHE, Kan./April 16, 2009/Business Wire — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced the nüvi 1490T –  a premium automotive GPS device with a large, 5-inch touchscreen and sleek body style that is 25-percent slimmer than most nüvi models. This large screen, ultra-thin navigator is ideal for those wanting to take advantage of Garmin’s newest navigation features like free, lifetime traffic alerts and lane assist with junction view that gives added confidence when driving roads with complicated intersection and turns. The nüvi 1490T was announced in conjunction with The Gadget Show in Birmingham, United Kingdom, on April 17-19, 2009.

“The nüvi 1490T is designed to give drivers a big picture of the route ahead, while offering every-day conveniences customers want and need to take the worry out of traveling,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “With its enhanced pedestrian navigation capabilities and ultra-thin design, it’s also a perfect companion for travelers in unfamiliar territory who want to explore the city on foot or with public transportation.”

The nüvi 1490T gives clear guidance on the 5-inch touchscreen that details upcoming turns and specific driving directions, including road sign detail and arrows indicating the proper lane for navigation. With the nüvi 1490T, route planning is straightforward because the device will save 10 routes. The multiple-point routing feature makes running errands more efficient because the nüvi will calculate the most efficient route between multiple stops. For trips across the country, drivers will benefit from the automatic time zone transition feature that automatically sets the unit to the correct time zone. In addition, a speed limit indicator displays speed limits for most major roads.

For the ultimate in convenience, the nüvi 1490T also makes it easy for drivers to steer clear of traffic accidents, road closures and construction. An integrated traffic receiver comes standard with the nüvi 1490T and gives free, lifetime traffic alerts without a subscription fee. The free lifetime traffic alerts are from NAVTEQ Traffic and are available in select coverage areas. Lifetime traffic alerts extend for the useful life of the nüvi unit or as long as Garmin receives traffic data from its traffic supplier.

To help drivers make their gas tanks go the extra mile, the nüvi 1490T comes standard with ecoRoute™ that suggests fuel-efficient navigation. In addition to “faster time” and “shorter distance” for route preference, ecoRoute lets nüvi users choose “less fuel” as the best way to save gas and money. Through ecoRoute’s Fuel Report and Mileage Report, drivers can focus on their fuel conservation and find fuel-saving tips along the way.

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John Stewart

RVer confidence remains high

RVers Planning to Travel and Buy Despite Recession Bargain Hunters Can Find Great Deals, RVers Say

RESTON, Va., March 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer confidence may be down, but RVer confidence remains high, according to the biannual Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners, conducted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Fifty-five percent of survey respondents intend to use their RVs more this spring/summer than last year, and 45 percent are considering another purchase.

Only four percent say they'll use their RVs less this year. Three-fourths said they planned to take more mini-vacations so they could escape stress, spend more quality time with family, and enjoy nature and other outdoor activities.

A primary reason why so many RVers will be traveling -- and even buying in this economy -- this spring/summer is that they appreciate the value they get compared to flying, driving and staying in hotels. Eighty-six percent say RVing is an affordable way to travel. Three-fourths save at least 25 percent when they travel in an RV -- more than a quarter save 35-50 percent. These results echo the findings of a study by international travel and tourism experts PKF Consulting, which found family RV trips are 27-61 percent less expensive than other types of vacations.

"RV travel continues to appeal to people looking to save money and cut costs," says Richard Coon, president of RVIA. "By having their homes-on-wheels with them, RV owners receive a bigger bang for their buck than other types of vacations offer."

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