Posts Tagged ‘cars’
Baby You Can Drive My Car, sang the Beatles, but they wouldn’t have been so free and easy with the unleaded these days. In fact, it seems that we’re all keeping our cars chained to the driveway thanks to soaring petrol prices.
Sales of petrol are at a 23 year low, possibly because going for Sunday drive is more expensive than a box at the opera. 1.37 billion litres was sold at UK forecourts last month, which is a drop of a staggering 56 million litres compared to February, when the prices went up by 2p a litre.
Sainsburys, Tesco and are offering Petrol Sales at the pumps, taking that all important 2p off and reducing it from £1.36 to £1.34. But even so, the price of petrol is still over the odds for most people.
The industry blames the sky high prices on the cost of oil, obviously, but Luke Bodset of the AA blames the price rises on speculators who bet on the movement of petrol prices.
‘It’s a completely daft situation. Europe has got more petrol than anyone knows what to do with but petrol is still unaffordable for many drivers. People just can’t afford these prices. Our research shows two thirds of people are using their cars less or cutting back elsewhere to compensate for higher prices.’
But the Office of Fair Trading has ruled out an enquiry into petrol pricing, saying that there’s little evidence that companies are ripping customers off.
In the meantime, it seems like most of us are hanging up our Magic Trees and going for a walk instead.
3 million Japanese cars are to be recalled thanks to a boob from Japan’s Takata Corporation who makes airbags for a whole host of vehicles. It will also be a problem for non-Japanese car manufacturers, before any of you racists get going.
The problem regards the airbag on the passenger side. The inflater may burst, which will send bits of plastic flying everywhere, which is obviously counter-productive to safety.
Toyota will be recalling 1.7 million vehicles. If you own a Corolla, Tundra, Lexus SC that were made between November 2000 and March 2004, don’t crash and drive around wearing Biggles goggles.
Honda will be recalling 1.1 million cars, Nissan will be wanting 480,000 vehicles, and Mazda will want to look at 45,000.
The problem was caused by two human errors during production of the handbag. Basically, someone forgot to turn on the switch that looked for defective products. They’ll probably be looking at the Japanese equivalent of a P45 this morning.
Can you imagine a world where product manufacturers might lie stretch the truth present their product in the best possible light in order to persuade you to buy it? That day is here folks. New research from WhatCar? has found that there is a significant difference between official fuel economy information and vehicles’ actual performance.
The figures showed that 95.5% of cars do not match the published fuel economy figures, with an average miles per gallon shortfall of 17%. City cars and superminis were the worst culprits, with fuel economy shortfalls of 23.3%, and almost 25% respectively. SUVs demonstrated the lowest shortfall in What Car!’s tests, coming in at only 12.9% down- but then again, they were starting from a lower measure of economy in the first place.
The difference, according to the magazine is that they reviewed fuel economy performance of more than 500 new cars on real roads to arrive at the results – in contrast to official research for published mpg figures which is conducted in laboratories. But it wasn’t all bad news- testing also revealed that some vehicles did deliver the expected miles per gallon, and others exceeded it.
The Mazda 3 outperformed the published average miles by gallon by almost 10%, while the Nissan 370Z exceeded it by 6.8%.
Based on the research, WhatCar% developed an online tool to check cars’ fuel economy. The tool asks you to select not only the type of journeys you make, but also the levels of congestion and your style of driving to give you a more accurate estimate of your likely fuel efficiency- and how much this differs from the published figures.
“Expecting high fuel economy and getting the opposite can double a household’s fuel expense,” said WhatCar# editor-in-chief Chas Hallett.”It is vitally important for consumers to buy the right car for their life.”
He also highlighted the “misconception” that smaller cars always give better fuel economy.
“If you use a small-engined car for long motorway runs every day, it will not be that economical,” he said, adding that a vehicle with a larger engine would be better.
WhatCar@ also offer ten handy tips for reducing fuel consumption, including such gems as leaving the kids at home (extra weight), not getting lost (wasting fuel driving around) and to drive your car as if it were a pushbike, freewheeling down hills. All excellent suggestions, of course.
The True MPG calculator only has data for new cars currently on the market- aimed at helping those buying a new car in selecting the most fuel efficient choice for their personal circumstances. But that doesn’t mean you can’t calculate the true mpg for your existing car and driving circumstances- simply put ten gallons of fuel in your car, drive as normal, and see how far you get before you run out of fuel. The answer divided by 10 is your mpg. Simples.
While the coalition government dismantle the NHS, charge people for having extra rooms and do nothing to sort out Britain’s tax problems, at least they’re fixing all that ails us by making it really expensive to drive, so we can’t make a bid for freedom by driving into the sea to escape this hideousness.
With fuel becoming increasingly more expensive and insurance companies whacking your premiums up, you will soon have a new tolled motorway to deal with as well.
George Osborne is ready to announce a new tolled 14-mile stretch along the M4 near Newport in South Wales, in addition to the one on the M6 near Birmingham. If you drive for a living, the message seems to be ‘tough’.
AA president Edmund King isn’t happy, saying: “We have seen with the M6 Toll that drivers can be turned off by the imposition of charges. There is already a toll to get into Wales on the Severn Crossing but no toll to get out. There is no doubt that the M4 around Newport needs improving. At the moment if there is a bad accident and the road is closed there is no real alternative for drivers.”
“If the road is tolled it reduced its economic effectiveness as a lot of people will be put off using it and will simply avoid it.”
This toll money is to generate cash to pay for the improvements made on the M4, but let us remember that the M6 Toll hasn’t ever made any money.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have launched a new app which is designed to stop Brits from crashing when they’re overseas. Believe it or not, foreign countries have different laws to those you’ll find in the UK.
As well as different road laws, the conditions of the roads and driving standards are wildly varied around the world. Driving your car in Thailand is nothing like driving a car through Britain.
In Thailand there were 68,852 traffic incidents resulting in 9,205 deaths while in the UK, there were a mere 1,901 people killed on the roads. See what we’re dealing with here?
“Accidents do occur and not all tragedies are avoidable, but the outcome could be very different with many lives being saved and critical injuries reduced if people adopted the same safety precautions abroad that they would naturally take at home.”
So, a load of information is being made available all under one umbrella, so now, there’s no excuse for you not knowing that, for example, in France, drivers are required to carry their own breathalyser or that in Belarus it is illegal to drive a dirty car.
Have a look at the information here and for god’s sake, don’t die.
Those incredibly exciting people at the Transport Committee are calling for evidence to see how much whiplash is costing us all. It has been reported that whiplash claims are adding around £90 to every motor premium, so what can be done to reduce that?
Basically, they want to find out how many whiplash claims are bogus and which costs are hiked-up as a result. This will invariably mean that claimants will have to undergo an independent medical examination, which is something insurers have been calling out for.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) wants to see all whiplash claims seen by medical professionals in a bid to stem the flow of claims, after seeing whiplash cases rising by nearly a quarter in the past four years. The UK is already considered to be the ‘whiplash capital of the world’ and the figures that estimate 70% of road accident personal injury claims are for whiplash in the UK is indeed, much higher than Germany’s 47%, Spain’s 32% and France’s frankly pointless 3%.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) isn’t convinced by all this, and said that this may put off people with genuine claims. “The real issue should be about getting the right level of compensation for genuinely injured people,” said APIL President Karl Tonks.
Louise Ellman, Transport Committee chair, said: “It is vitally important for policymakers to understand the reasons for the very high cost of motor insurance, especially for young drivers, and to take steps to bring that cost down. Whiplash claims undoubtedly play a part in driving up the cost of motor insurance, but access to justice for injured people must be preserved.”
“We want to hear the arguments on these points and will publish a report in the summer about the best way forward on this difficult issue.”
Either way, chances of your premiums going down in price remain at nil.
According to statistics, one in three cars have been damaged by potholes on Britain’s dreadful roads. The cost of fixing that is around the £10bn mark.
A study has deduced that the number of potholes has gone up by nearly a third to more than 2.2 million, or, one in five of all roads. This has resulted in compensation pay-outs reaching an eye-watering £32million.
£113million was spent last year filling in the potholes and this year is worse, thanks to heavy rainfall, floods and cold-snaps. The investigation by Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) concludes that there’s “a crumbling road crisis of increasing concern”, signing off with a delightfully hysterical notion that this is a “ticking time-bomb”.
The report thinks it is time to “stop the rot” and for politicians to start making some money available to sort all this out, moving on from a policy of “patch and mend” in favour of a “planned, preventative maintenance programme.”
The report said: “The cost of filling the estimated 2.2 million potholes across England and Wales came to £113million, while £32million was paid out in compensation claims and the cost of staff time spent on claims amounted to over £13million. Councils have paid out 50 per cent more last year than the previous year in compensation claims from road users for damage or injury due to poor road condition.”
The AA added, in their own report, that they’ve had to double the size of the team who deals with pothole damage and that: “As spring arrives our patrols are reporting potholes appearing faster than daffodils,” and after polling their members, found that a third have rated the overall surface condition of their local roads as ‘poor, very poor or terrible.’
What do you reckon?
Britain has gone and signed up to an EU directive which means that fuel suppliers will have to dilute petrol with environmentally-friendly alternatives. All very well, if we want the Earth to live ten or so years more once we’ve all had a blast humping it to a hallow husk.
And so, the oil companies have chosen ethanol (made from corn) which will make up for 10% of a new petrol called E10 and will be launched at the pumps later on in the year.
However, a study is shrieking about it all, saying it’ll add £80 a year extra to the average fuel bill and that it will probably ruin your engine.
The Department for Transport agree that around 8.6million vehicles probably won’t be compatible with this new fuel and of course, there’s a very good chance that stupid drivers will get confused at the taps and start wrecking the inside of their cars.
The study says: “The increased use of ethanol in petrol to meet EU sustainability targets is resulting in drivers paying extra at the pump,” with Rob Bailey (pictured above), the author of the report adding that this fuel was introduced in Germany two years ago, but many drivers don’t use it in case it buggers their engines up and that they are uncertain about the wider “environmental and social impacts of ethanol.”
Shall we all just use loads of fossil fuels and let future generations sort all this out? Whitney Houston said they’d ‘lead the way’, and who are we to argue?
Although the beeps and nee-naws of car alarms are irritating, they’re usually just aural wallpaper, and largely ignored. According to the US Food and Drug administration, car alarm fatigue is an actual thing – and it also means we’re becoming immune to warnings inside our cars while we’re driving.
To stop people tuning out safety warnings, US car manufacturer Continental is developing Driver Focus, which uses facial recognition and a load of LED lights to help you not drive like an idiot. When you drive your car, an infrared camera takes a note of your facial features to make sure you’re looking in the right direction.
If you’re looking at your phone, or playing air guitar, or knocking one out, the car will sound not only an alarm, but something called ‘Halo’ – LED track lighting that goes all the way round the passenger compartment. Halo also uses what Continental calls “comet” lighting to bring your eyes back onto the road.
If it works, it will be a road safety milestone – or will it just make people crash into walls while pretending to be Knight Rider?
Aviva have published a report which, unsurprisingly, has a pop at those who like to make a claim or two. They reckon that personal claims arising from ‘compensation culture’ are adding £118 to every motor insurance premium.
So, all those people who made claims made for whiplash, have made premiums rise rapidly. Not the insurance companies themselves you understand, as they wouldn’t do such a thing, especially when they’re looking at figures that obviously include genuine claims.
Apparently, there’s also been a surge in fraudulent activity, which means that people are staging car-crashes and passengers involved in these collisions are making false claims, which is remarkable. The dedication for getting a quick-buck is almost impressive.
Aviva’s report – ‘Road to Reform: Reducing Motor Premiums by Reforming the Claims Process’ – will be launched before March and hopes to improve the PI claims system.
Dominic Clayden, claims director at Aviva said: “Our primary concerns are that injured parties receive care and compensation as quickly as possible and that all motorists benefit from a reduction in excessive costs that have built up from claims over the last few years.”
The roads, as we all know, are teaming with arseholes. With that in mind, the police have launched a new road safety campaign in a bid to stop inconsiderate drivers. Operation Safeway looks to target motoring bullies who tailgate and drive too close to other drivers.
They’ve released a video of some berk in a van who gets as close as 30cm away from the back of an unmarked police car.
Police will employ these cars and motorbikes fitted with video cameras, in a bid to tackle offending drivers, such as the one shown above, who was recorded travelling at 70mph, tailgating like a madman, flashing his lights and taking both hands off the wheel to make ‘gestures’ at the officer driving the car.
Sgt Simon Willsher from the police said: “Many drivers do not realise that they can be prosecuted for inconsiderate driving when it also careless driving. For example, if someone is tailgating because they aren’t paying attention and don’t think about stopping distances they can go on a National Driver Alertness Course without going through court or having penalty points on their driving licences.”
“If, on the other hand, they are tailgating because they are impatient and trying to bully people out of the way they can be prosecuted for careless driving.”
If you have a car, or thinking of buying a new one, chances are, you’re being misled about how much fuel the vehicle will consume. According to research, some cars (including Mercedes, Range Rover and Lexus) give as little as 71% of the advertised mileage per gallon.
If drivers are expecting over 70mpg, as many manufacturers claim, it is likely that you are getting less than three-quarters of the mpg you paid for, which in fuel money, is collectively costing UK drivers up to £4.4bn a year extra.
On average, cars achieve only 88% of their official figures according to Honest John, which results in drivers spending around 2p extra per litre at the pumps. As if petrol didn’t cost enough in the first place!
The worst-performing car was the Mercedes Benz B-Class (2005-12), which is reported to achieve 71% of its official fuel economy rating, with the Range Rover Evoque and Lexus CT200h coming close behind.
Elsewhere, the Land Rover Defender is actually giving drivers better value on fuel consumption than advertised, as well as the Jaguar S-Type, Nissan Micra (2003-10) and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2002-2009).
Honest John says: “The official figures, which could be said to mislead consumers, are the only figures car manufacturers are allowed by EC law to publicise. Rather than attack the EC figures, we prefer to offer realistic figures achieved by real motorists to be used alongside official guidelines. Consumers will be now able to compare official figures with user experience, helping them to make better informed decisions about their next purchase.”
As of February, learner drivers will be able to take their tests at selected Halfords branches, according to the DSA.
Tests will still be undertaken by DSA examiners, but will start and finish in the car parks of Halfords branches. Handily, if learners completely wreck their cars, they won’t have far to go for new mud-flaps and such.
Until now, it was only possible take a driving test at a DSA site, but these changes mean learners will have more choice, which can only be a good thing, especially if Halfords’ claim that everyone is only ever 20 miles or less away from a Halfords branch.
The Wellingborough branch of Halfords will be the first to host tests from February 5th.
Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said: “We are very pleased to be working with Halfords to provide a more local service for driving test candidates. This is a great example of working with private sector partners to provide an important local service that is convenient as well as being cost effective.”
The iconic, humble tax disc, is about to become a thing of the past as ministers look to send them to the scrapheap in a bid to save money and streamline services.
A report, published by the Department for Transport yesterday, reckons that tax discs will become digitised. The police have to check the DVLA’s computers to see whether a car is taxed or not, thereby, making tax discs rather redundant.
“We will remove the need for unnecessary paper, including abolishing the driving licence counterpart and consider the continuing need for the tax disc,” concluded the report from Stephen Hammond, a Roads Minister.
Motoring groups describe the proposed changes as ‘the end of a motoring era’ and something that is almost certain to divide opinion.
AA President Edmund King said “traditionalists will mourn the tax disc’s passing” but added: “Motoring and vehicle information is increasingly going online. The police use number-plate reading camera technology to check car details on their own or on the DVLA’s database.”
Never mind the robots, it’ll be the dogs that’ll soon be taking all our jobs, consigning us all to the scrapheap….