Don't panic

Watching the news, watching the cars queue at the garages, sucking them dry.

Which is all fine aside from the fact that OUR tank is close to empty. The car computer reports we have 94 miles left, so let’s presume we can squeeze that to around 120 miles (at the very very most). Given that we put about 55-60 miles on the car each day for our daily commute (kill the planet!!) and… yeah, I’m a little concerned. I will be going out later to fill our tank.

And next time we buy a car, we’ll be getting a hybrid of some sort. Performance be damned (mark my words please, I’m quite serious about this and have been watching the developments Honda are making with keen interest). To be honest, if it was more affordable I’d consider converting our existing car.

We are completely reliant on having a car. It IS possible to get to my work on public transport but it would (presuming everything ran on time) take just short of two and a half hours. One way. I’d really rather not spend five hours of my day commuting, which is, of course, hugely selfish of me.

Perhaps we should move.

But we like it here. We like our little house and, besides, we can’t actually afford to move. Have you SEEN the house prices? I know what our house is (allegedly) worth and it is, quite frankly, mental. I certainly wouldn’t have paid over £100k for it. Mental.

But things seem to be changing, and I’d really rather be a little ahead of the game, and remove some of our reliance on oil sooner rather than later.

17 comments

  1. wouldn’t consider paying more than £100K for a house? Wow, I had to pay more than that for my flat!

  2. You couldn’t buy *anything* for £100K anywhere around here (a tiny studio flat in an undesirable area sells for more than that…). You’d be lucky to get a reasonable small house for £200K!

    Hybrid cars aren’t what they’re cracked up to be. Look carefully at the figures before going that route. eg Using electricity that is an already-processed fuel is not either energy-efficient or green.

  3. If I ever buy a new car, I’ll be looking into Hybrid options. Even if they’re not as energy-efficient as they’re made out to be (which I don’t know is true or false), it certainly can’t be worse and will end up saving some money.

    My daily commute isn’t even 10km these days, though, so I’m trying to start biking to work.

  4. In simple terms: modern lean-burn diesels produce less CO2 than petrol vehicles (but bits of other things slightly above petrol emissions, but not as harmful to the upper environment). If you add in the extra fuel processing and car manufacturing costs mile for mile for petrol (as diesel engines last much longer), then diesel win every time. I think I read somewhere recently that the Mini diesel is the best of all – but not practical for anyone who has the need to carry anything more than 2 bags of shopping.

    Interesting table here: http://www.climateactionprogramme.org/features/article/reducing_car_carbon_emissions_how_low_can_we_go/ on the current lowest CO2 emission vehicles.

    No-one gets the official government fuel consumption figures from their vehicles (it’s impossible, due to the way they are calculated) BUT I reckon most people could easily get another 6-10 mpg by driving more smoothly. I know I can, because I do (most of the time). Mr BW manages even more than me, but he has less of an issue with getting away from bad drivers asap than I do!

    I can’t find the hybrid V diesel article I had stored somewhere at the moment, but it was quite convincing in saying that hybrid is a con.

    And Rob – I don’t think hybrids will save you money – they cost more to buy, you’ll only be able to take them to specialists for servicing as your small garages won’t have the expertise – and at £3K currently to replace the batteries (currently of indeterminate life as no-one knows exactly how long they last) they will have less 2nd hand value, and be much more expensive to run over the long-term if you hang on to them.

    And, I still come back to the point of energy efficiency – fossil fuel has already been converted to make electricity, therefore incuring an energy loss. There’s a second one when electricity is converted to drive power. Not good science for energy efficiency.

    The major problem is not Europe and what *we* do transport-wise. It is America. Get them out of their heavy polluting gas guzzlers and we could all stop feeling quite so guilty.

  5. Good point Blue Witch makes about the American gas-guzzlers, but there are still all too many of them here. It’s the pristine Range Rovers fleein around town that bug me. Footballers’ wives types driving them, not a hair out of place, and the vehicle’s never been off-road in its (short) life. Get rid of things like that and I won’t feel quite so guilty driving me comparatively very efficient diesel smallish car.

  6. There were two Shell garages on the A71 that were out of diesel today. Thankfully they still had loads at the Shell garage (have company card) at Abingdon services at the very reasonable price of £1.23 per litre!

  7. It doesn’t seem that long ago everyone talked about getting a diesel because diesel was so much cheaper than petrol. So the masses did, the government realised it was losing out on revenue, and now diesel is the more expensive option.

    And of course, free congestion charge entry for hybrids is being cacnelled by Ken because as far as he is concerned the car costs them less to run so they already save. Nothing at all to do with the number of hybrids meaning lost revenue!

  8. Cheapest diesel I’ve seen round here is Shell at 113.9 ppl. Up 2ppl from last week. Most expensive is 121.9 ppl. Average probably around 116.9 ppl. Once it broke the £1 a litre it was always going to be in freefall (free rise) for the rest of all time.

  9. Good points all around, Blue Witch. When I am shopping around, I’ll certainly do some research before coming to any decision.

    We do get most of our electricity here (western Canada) from hydroelectric and air systems, which is clean, renewable energy.

    And at least Hybrid machines can take better advantage of renewable energy as it becomes more prominent throughout the world.

    Biodiesel is becoming more popular here too. I’ve also heard that biodiesel hybrids are coming (or are here possibly), so that might be a good alternative as well.

  10. You normally get more mpg for diesel than petrol – which is why I ended up with a diesel.

    Even at four+ years old, I still average out at about 55mpg, which ain’t bad.

    Would I consider a hybrid? Possibly – we’re at least on an electrickery tariff that (purportedly) replaces any energy we use with supplies from a renewable source, although how that works in practical reality I have no idea.

  11. Rob – I didn’t realise you were in Canada. If the leccy comes from sustainable sources, that changes the equation, and I wouldn’t like to comment on the comparisons, because I’ve never seen anything on the subject. But I’d be very interested if you find anything.

    Don’t get me started on the con that is green energy from suppliers. The electrickery companies have to produce a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources by a certain date anyway. Getting people to pay more for green energy by using the green conscience ticket just increases/maintains their profit (although I did read of one company selling a green tarrif for the same price which I didn’t understand)! Better to get the cheapest leccy you can find and invest your saving on eg a solar tube panel for hot water (around £5-600 for everything you need if you DIY) or a new bike.

    I’ve found that diesel cars do *more* mpg as they get older. I buy from new and keep as long as possible. Last one – 13 years, 176K miles. Current one nearly 8, 73K miles. That way production costs to the environment are also minimised.

    Biodiesel (unless it’s from eg chip fat) is not good for the planet either (agriculture costs to the 3rd world as most of it is grown there, so displacing traditional food crop cultivation). Several manufacturers have binned plans for hybrid biodiesels recently.

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