Fuel Costs Red Herrings


There’s a lot in the news about the terrible cost of road fuel. See here for example. The truth is that the whole system is shite and people, by their very actions PROVE that they can afford fuel AT ANY COST.

Here’s how (from my trip experience).

Yesterday I came back from Northumberland, a distance of 361 miles. I left at 10am arrived in Bridgwater at 18:20 and spent nearly two hours at Holly’s place near Haydon Bridge. Therefore the trip took about six hours travelling or about 60mph average speed. This is about right. I did the whole trip at about 65mph watching the whizzers fly past. I’m no saint. I’ve done the trip in about 4hours cracking on at 100 all the way. Because of this I know the effect this has on fuel consumption. The saving of two hours in time currently would cost £35. That the extra one-way fuel expenditure needed to do this in my vehicle.

But I don’t do it now. It’s very fatiguing to drive like that and the two hours saved are usually used in recovering from the trip!

Yesterday, as normal, I was passed by virtually everyone doing about 30mph faster than me i.e. 95mph. Most people seem to think this is normal. Therefore, most people can afford fuel AT ANY COST. Their actions prove it.

There is a direct Buddhist cause and effect going on here!

Car Types and Consumptions

Mitsubishi L200, BMW X5

These are really common culprits. Usually they are being driven at one car length distance apart at 95mph in lane 3 for mile after mile after mile. The manufacturers pages show consumption on combined cycle as ~30mpg. See here and here.

So do these people think they are getting that? Er… well no. The user groups and reviews readily admit to 20mpg or even as low as 14mpg.

So what’s going on?

The fallacy of The Fuel Consumption Testing Scheme

This page describes the modus operandi. It’s an internationally agreed set of standards severely lobbied up by the manufactures and makes the cars look good. Well it would, wouldn’t it? The “Extra Urban” cycle is the motorway bit but is only valid “up to 75mph” as the speed limits are supposed to be 70mph. This way, the manufacturers can conveniently blame everything on the user (We expect our consumers to behave in a law-abiding way). As I’ve shown, most people are doing 95mph in these cars. The figures are bogus, and the drivers know this is so EVERY TIME THEY FILL UP!

So what should be done? Simple!

Simple Solution to Fuel Price Increases, Global Warming, Global Famine, Accident Statistics, Medical Costs etc etc etc

Make it illegal and impossible for any vehicle to be driven at speeds in excess of the speed limits .

Make it illegal to sell a non-haulage non-commercial vehicle (i.e. private car) that weighs more than 3/4 of a tonne.

Make it illegal to sell a vehicle of the same that won’t do at least 40mpg at all times

Make trucks etc have a minumum CO2 per tonne-kilometre travelled figure (they are already pretty good at this)

Because of this, people will drive much more sensibly. Will their be an outcry? Of course! I used to drive articulated lorries and was doing so when speed limiters were introduced. Then, you could drive up the M6 through Cheshire with wagons bombing along at 70 no bother. Fuel consumption, 4-5mpg. Really bad accidents. Drivers knackered and stressed. Owners whingeing about getting the job done….

When limiters came in hauliers were furious as were lots of drivers. They said it would put up prices in the supermarkets. They said there’d be loads of bunching on the motorways. In actual fact, the bunching was already there and slowly reduced as limiters came in. Fuel costs dropped. (I got 12mpg from my wagon, a five axle MAN 322 plated to 32 tonnes on one trip. Usually it was 9.5mpg. I was never late for a delivery – ask Richard Pugh or Mike). Serious pile-ups with artics dropped. And actually, real prices in supermarkets have dropped.

After this, the economy picked up and people got bigger and faster cars, accelerated harder, blocked the roads with queues, etc etc

How Will this Reduce Global Famine?

Bush’s administration wants to take over the world’s food harvest to turn into bio-fuel to enable Americans (and the UK and everyone else will follow) to drive their gas guzzlers for ever, anywhere they like, at any speed they choose. (It’s estimated that ONE TANKFUL of BioFuel for a 4×4 would use the grain or land area equivalent to FEED a PERSON for a YEAR

Billions of (extra) people will die . Everyone must ask themselves:

How many million people am I prepared to kill so that I can drive freely, like a maniac up and down the road?

Currently, if the whole US soya crop is turned to fuel, it will only satisfy 10% of US needs. Not the world. The US is currently the world’s biggest soya producer and “the bread basket of the world”.

Let’s just think a bit on the implications of this last sentence and the truth will dawn on any sane person. It means, that there is currently not enough food in the world to turn into fuel to satisfy America, let alone Europe, China, India.

Let’s see some figures for this as we are now:

  • Brazil, the world’s biggest biofuel producer, makes 17.5 billion litres of ethanol a year currently after all the deforestation so far etc.
  • The US will need 132 billion litres a year to reach the goal of 20% reduction in its consumption of gasoline.
  • Therefore, the US needs 132 x 5 = 660 billion litres of ethanol or equivalent biofuel.
  • That is, the US needs ( 660 / 17.5 ) = 37.7 Brazils. n.b. Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world. It has 5.7% of the world’s land area.
  • This means that 17.5 Brazils make up the whole world’s land area.
  • But the USA needs 37.7.
  • And this is with ZERO economic growth!

Do you seriously think the world can continue on this path?

If we did all this we could drive our cars for about three months. But there would be NOTHING TO EAT. So our freedom would see us end up as millions of skeletons sat stationery on motorways in our cars. Currently Brazil, while being the biggest biofuel maker in the world is also (because it’s chopped the rain forest down to do this) the fourth biggest carbon dioxide emitter!

Obviously the time to act is now. Do what I say or die. My solutions will be in future postings.

By Strangely

Founding member of the band Crawling Chaos from the North-East of England

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