Archive for the ‘united states’ Tag

The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day

Memorial Day is this Monday, and while many are planning their annual cook-outs and children look forward to a day off school, those who have lost loved ones while serving our country think of this day as something much different.

Memorial Day is often confused with Veterans Day, and according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, here’s why: .

Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty. .

Veterans Day and Memorial Day have different histories. .

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the first official observance of Memorial Day was on May 28, 1868, [history.com says May 30] when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. According to the Veterans Affairs department: .

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR [Grand Army of the Republic] made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns. At the time, the day was called “Decoration Day.” .

After World War I, the holiday was extended to all soldiers who had fallen in all American wars. .

Waterloo, New York became the officially recognized birthplace of Memorial Day in 1966. The city had a ceremony on May 5, 1866. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to commemorate those who died in all U.S. wars. .

Veterans Day has its origins early in the 20th century. In November 1919, one year after the armistice ending World War I went into effect, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: .

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations….

In 1938, Congress approved a bill that made November 11 an annual, legal holiday known as “Armistice Day” that would honor the cause of world peace, but it was primarily used to honor World War I veterans. In 1954, after World War II, the law was amended, the word “Armistice” was changed to “Veterans” and November 11 became a day to honor veterans of all American wars. .

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Gasoline prices drop closer to $3 and could keep falling

Remember $3 gas? Well the price is headed down and might get back to that level again after more than three years.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States fell 6.4 cents in the last two weeks, as crude oil declined and refiners passed on the difference to motorists.

Some industry experts believe the price could keep falling, even below $3 per gallon for the first time in three years.

According to the latest Lundberg survey, the average price was about 31 cents lower than a year ago, based on the Sept. 20 survey of some 2,500 retail stations in the 48 contiguous states.

Trilby Lundberg, survey editor, said the rise came alongside a decline in the price of crude oil. Crude has fallen as Libya has produced more and there have been signs of diplomatic progress regarding Syria and Iran.

“California did buck the trend because of some recent hiccups in the California refining capacity affecting the West,” Lundberg said. “Prices rose at the pump about 16 cents in California, but the spike has already died as those glitches have already been resolved.”

Charleston, South Carolina, had the cheapest gasoline in the survey at $3.14 per gallon, while drivers in San Francisco, paid the most at $4.01 per gallon.

According to another survey, by the American Automobile Association, pump prices are in their usual September decent as demand weakens and supplies increase. But the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded remains well above $3 for the 1,007th day in a row, it said.

“It’s normal for prices to fall in September,” said Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman. “The summer driving season is over, demand is down, and refineries are switching to the cheaper winter-blend gasoline.”

“Prices could continue to fall another 5 to 10 cents before the end of the month,” Jenkins said. “But it’s unlikely.”

GasBuddy.com, which monitors prices across the United States, also forecast cheaper prices to come.

GasBuddy’s chief oil analyst Tom Kloza predicts that the fall will see slow but steady attrition in retail gas numbers, thanks to record high U.S. refining rates and consumer demand that will at best match 2012 levels. “Supplies are adequate, and indeed gasoline now typically sells for just a few dollars more than raw crude costs. They’ll go below $3.00 anytime soon.”

As read on: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/gasoline-prices-drop-closer-3-could-keep-falling-4B11232610

2011 Nissan Leaf At Two Years: 32,000 Miles, No Signs Of Age

Almost two years ago, I took delivery of one of the very first 2011 Nissan Leafs to be imported into the United Kingdom.

With its two-year anniversary approaching, and more than 32,000 miles on the clock, has our family’s opinion of the Nissan Leaf changed?

What has life with the car been like? And do we regret buying it?

Just as we said last year, our 2011 Nissan Leaf has generally aged appropriately.

But let’s start at the beginning.

In late March 2011, we drove our new family car 45 miles home from the dealership, plugged it in for the first time, and named the resplendent red car Hiro Nakamura–after the earnest Japanese superhero on NBC’s Heroes.

As the miles piled up, I shared the things we already liked and disliked about Nissan’s first mass-produced battery electric car.

We also documented Hiro’s life with us, including a visit to the dealer for an official software update recall, various odometer milestones, and a summary one-year drive report.

Wear and tear

Since that report a year ago, nothing else has broken. A few things have either required replacement due to standard wear and tear, or niggle at us on a daily basis.

-During our second periodic service, the front windshield wipers were replaced because the blades had separated from the wiper.
-An annoying squeak over rough ground has developed. It seems to originate from the area between the right-hand driver’s seat and the center console. As yet, we’ve been unsuccessful in pinpointing exactly what is making the noise.
-The driver’s side floor mat — an original Nissan accessory — has lost an eyelet, though it remains securely fastened to the floor.
-The rear carpets and the backs of the front seats have started to look much more worn than two-year-old interior fabrics should.
-The power windows, while functional, remain slow to operate. This is especially noticeable in colder weather.

2011 Nissan Leaf

Range and battery life

Unlike Nissan Leafs in much warmer climates (Phoenix, Arizona, for example), the generally temperate U.K. climate has so far been kind to the battery pack of our Nissan Leaf.

Despite six months of daily 80-mile freeway commutes with twice-daily recharging, our Leaf has shown no noticeable signs of battery degradation.

No battery capacity bars have disappeared, and the Leaf is easily capable of 75 to 80 miles on a full charge, depending on how it is driven, the type of road, and the temperature.

Even more impressive is the fact that several long-distance trips during the past year–covering thousand miles and requiring multiple quick-charges in a single day — have also had no noticeable impact on the battery health either.

Because few rapid chargers exist in the U.K., we often had to recharge the battery not to the recommended 80 percent but to 98 percent of capacity–something Nissan doesn’t recommend.

But regardless of the frequent quick-charging, the most recent battery health report from our dealer gave the car a five-star rating overall.

Four stars were given for “charging when already at a high level of charge,” no doubt caused by the rapid charging from 80 to 98 percent full. No warnings were issued for battery health or charging behavior.

Also worth of note: Despite numerous low-battery and very-low-battery warnings, our car has never entered the fabled ‘turtle mode’.

Carwings and charging

It would be nice to report that Nissan has improved its Carwings telematics service over the past two years. But it hasn’t, and the service remains the weakest link of owning a Leaf.

To start, Carwings’ charging-station information remains patchy and inaccurate (though this may vary by country; it is certainly the case in the U.K.).

In November, while on the way to a business meeting, inaccurate Carwings data directed me to a charging station that simply did not exist. Without the range to make it to the next charging station, I was forced to look for a standard outlet to charge at.

Ultimately, the car ended the day on the back of a tow truck after I failed to find an alternative place to charge.

Carwings’ inaccuracies don’t stop there. According to the odometer in our Leaf, it has traveled a little more than 32,000 miles since new. Carwings reports that it has only traveled 25,000 miles.

Moreover, its range predictions haven’t improved despite a software upgrade. On one occasion, less than 10 minutes after we’d quick-charged the battery to 98 percent, Carwings proudly warned us that, laden with two adults, two children, two dogs and luggage, our car wouldn’t reach its destination.

Thirty minutes later, we arrived safely at our destination, with at least 15 miles to spare. (Carwings failed to apologize.)

The iPhone Carwings app has also been a trial. For three months, it refused to connect to the Carwings servers, making remote monitoring and presetting the climate control only possible through a third-party app, LeafLink.

It took Nissan U.K. two months to rectify the issue.

Performance and handling

Almost two years after leaving the dealer, our 2011 Nissan leaf still performs as it did when new–accelerating well under most conditions, with only a hint of sluggishness when battery charge or temperature is low.

We replaced the factory-standard Ecopia E150 tires with aftermarket Michelin Energy Saver tires, and our now Leaf performs and handles far better than it did when new. The body roll is reduced, handling feels more precise, and grip seems improved.

And with longer tread life, we’ve already managed almost as many miles on the Michelins as we did on the original Ecopias–with half the tread on the newer tires still remaining.

2011 Nissan Leaf

Our verdict: No regrets

After nearly two years and more than 32,000 miles, our 2011 Nissan Leaf still performs as we had hoped it would when we bought it.

Our dealer experience has been good, with our local dealer still offering exemplary servicing for a very reasonable price.

Including servicing, insurance, electricity, and loan payments, our 2011 Nissan Leaf has cost us somewhere in the region of $18,000 so far.

It has also saved us more than $10,000 in gasoline costs compared to our previous car, a 1992 Volvo 240 Wagon.

As for regrets? There are none.

In fact, driving the Leaf has become such a part of our family life that we’ve now invested in a second electric car: a 2013 Renault Twizy microcar.

Which means our gas-guzzling 2008 Toyota Prius is now relegated to the lowly position of long-distance third car.

As Read on: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1082571_2011-nissan-leaf-at-two-years-32000-miles-no-signs-of-age/page-2