Archive for the ‘Cars & Motorcyles’ Category

Gasoline cost in Japan

I don’t own a car, so I usually don’t pay attention to the cost of gasoline. But with the intense debate about climate change this spring here in Japan, and the Iraq war not going very well at all, gasoline cost is a major issue that affects everyone. Also, there is the serious issue of “peak oil” – the fact that fossile fuels are getting less economical to pump up from oil fields around the world. Guys, we are running out of oil. A global decline in oil production will have serious social and economic implications…

Today, in Japan, gas costs about 130-140 yen per liter. That is around $4.50 a gallon. Compared to Northern Europe, that is a bit less: The Netherlands appears to have the highest cost due to taxes at $6.73 a gallon at the pump. The US average is $3.20 a gallon (Note that US taxes on gas have gone down from 32% to 14% since 2000 – who is paying for the war in Iraq?).

My new ride

Live to Rida This is a snapshot of my new means for getting around town. Well, at least it will be as soon as I can figure out how to get it away from whomever actually owns it.

It’s a Honda Solo. The only one I’ve ever actually seen. It is a motorcycle. Some people might say you can’t really call something a motorcycle if it has an engine on it that looks like it’s only powerful enough to drive a sewing machine. (Actually, it’s a 50cc engine — but then it doesn’t take much to move a bike that weighs only 77 kilos, with the gastank full.)

Anyway, I think it’s a bike that’s designed to attract more attention standing still than on the road. It is a beautiful piece of design. If you want to see more details, there is a site in Hong Kong that has some great photos of it.

Unfortunately, the page at the official Honda site that is supposed to provide info about the bike says that they have stopped making it. So, if you’re looking to pick one up yourself, you may be out of luck — unless, like me, you happen to find one in the wild.

The one in the picture I snapped is parked almost every evening in front of the “Opening Cafe (Daito Travel Co., Ltd.)” next to Ebisu Station. So go by some time if you want to take a first-hand look. Just don’t expect it to be there long…

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