May 6, 2011

Auto Briefs

GM expands military discount; laser spark plugs in the future


GM Military Discount expanded this month
Chevrolet will honor National Military Appreciation Month by expanding the GM Military Discount to military spouses and retirees this month. The discount is available on most Chevrolet, Buick and GMC models. Discounts typically range between $500 and $4,000 off the suggested retail price. Those who buy through the program can have an "Honor" badge (pictured) installed on the car for free. For each vehicle sold with a military discount, GM will donate $100 to Cell Phones for Soldiers, a nonprofit group that provides free communication tools to troops overseas. For more information, visit

--NWautos staff


A standard spark plug, left, and the laser spark plug. (Takunori Taira)

Future of spark plugs could be in lasers
Laser spark plugs could help cut emissions from your car, according to Japanese researchers who spoke at a recent Optical Society conference. The laser spark plugs, small enough to screw in like conventional plugs, are more powerful, so they don't need as much fuel to create the explosion that pushes the pistons inside engines. The lasers can also be aimed at the center of cylinder, not the top where current spark plugs sit, further increasing efficiency. Though the spark plugs aren't ready for autos yet, researchers at the National Institutes of Natural Sciences in Japan are collaborating with DENSO, a member of the Toyota Group.

--The Associated Press


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