Posts Tagged ‘fuel’
They’ve been getting waste coffee and turning it into biodiesel by extracting oil from it and then using a chemical process called ‘transesterification’.
Seeing as fossil fuels is really bad for the environment, we need to find a substitute that is kinder and altogether nicer… and the coffee industry is completely problem-free and doesn’t come at the expensive of humans at all.
Dr Chris Chuck, from the university’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, said: “Around eight million tonnes of coffee are produced globally each year and ground waste coffee contains up to 20 per cent oil per unit weight.”
“This oil also has similar properties to current feedstocks used to make biofuels. But, while those are cultivated specifically to produce fuel, spent coffee grounds are waste. Using these, there’s a real potential to produce a truly sustainable second-generation biofuel.”
This will be music to Starbucks’ ears. They’ll be looking at setting up fuel stations that play Paulo Nutini albums on the forecourts all over the world.
A regular-sized coffee shop produces around 10kg of coffee waste per day, which translates into around two litres of biofuel. There’s also gigantic amounts of grinds produced by the coffee bean roasting industry.
If they can make the fuel smell like freshly brewed coffee, we’re onto a winner here… but it’s more likely to smell like liquid faeces isn’t it?
While this won’t be news to anyone, it is a sign of things not getting any cheaper for drivers – basically, British drivers are still being ripped off at the forecourt and still paying some of the highest prices at the petrol pumps.
Reports state that British motorists are paying up to 43p a litre more than drivers in Europe for fuel. In France for example, it is 29p less for their diesel, according to the new Post Office Travel Money annual report.
The Post Office said that, even when you factor in the exchange-rate, diesel on the Continent was still cheaper in 19 of the 22 countries investigated. While Britons pay an average price of £1.37 a litre, in Andorra, they pay a paltry 94p. Luxembourg residents enjoy 99p while the Spanish pay £1.11. Unleaded petrol in the UK costs more than our French cousins.
The Post Office report says: “The biggest fall in the cost of unleaded petrol and diesel fuel has been in France, where the litre price is down 23p for unleaded and 24p for diesel. This year’s price fall means diesel drivers will pay 29p a litre less in France than in the UK.”
“A combination of cheaper fuel and the strong pound means UK tourists can expect to pay 15% less for unleaded petrol (£1.26) and 18 per cent less for diesel (£1.08) at French pumps. This means that 1,000 miles of motoring through France will cost £45 less than last year in a car using unleaded petrol (£191) and £47 less for diesel drivers (£163).”
Other countries with expensive fuel include Norway (£1.65 a litre of unleaded, diesel £1.50) and Holland and Turkey.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams isn’t happy and said: “Fuel retailers must reduce the price of diesel at the pumps as the wholesale cost is now almost the same as petrol – yet average forecourt prices are still 6p a litre more expensive. Transparent, fair fuel pricing is vital for the economy and to maintain the trust of motorists. While two thirds of Britain’s 29million cars run on petrol we use twice as much diesel, around 26billion litres a year.”
Sales of petrol fell to a record low in March, as drivers abandoned their cars to do other things, like pay energy bills, feed their children and buy scratch cards in the vain hope that they’ll win £2.
Government figures showed that 1.367 billion litres of petrol were bought in March – a fall in demand of 24.7%. The only similar low figure in recent years was 1.376 bn litres last March. Back then, though, you could see the reason – March 2013 was freezing cold with petrol prices at a sky high £1.40 a litre. But this year was warm, with prices at a steady £1.30 a litre.
So what’s causing us to ditch the car? Well, AA boss Edmund King blames our boilers. He said (well, to be honest, he waffled):
‘Either the fear or reality of gas and electricity price surges has triggered an avoid-the-petrol-pump backlash to balance family spending, or the trauma of speculator-driven road fuel price spikes over more than three years has seared into the psyche of the UK driving consumer.’
We may find out in the next couple of months as the boilers and heaters are turned off – and drivers look forward to summer motoring and trips out.’
Ah, yes, summer motoring….with the hood down and a flagon of ginger beer in the picnic hamper.
Marvellous. (Oh, wait, we can’t do that, because the bailiffs repossessed the car. Oops.)
If you drove into work today or, indeed, drove anywhere in the past few lifetimes, you’ll know that fuel for your car is not cheap. Of course, you’re not daft and you know that it is a fossil fuel so it won’t exactly be given away… but you’ll know, like everyone has always known, that British people pay too much for it.
So with that, stating the obvious but at least backing you up when you moan about it, RAC Foundation research has been done for the millionth time, pointing out that in Britain, we pay a higher rate of tax on fuel than any other person in the European Union.
61% of the price of a litre of unleaded petrol bought on these shores, goes to the government as fuel duty and VAT. If you have a diesel engine, it’s 59%. This study has been timed just as George Osborne prepares his budget, to be issued later this month. Seems likely that there won’t be any reprieve for drivers in that. Seeing as the government have frozen fuel duty since 2011, that will probably see a small rise. Meanwhile, the other 27 states that make up the EU will be pouring fuel down grids for a laugh. Possibly.
The interesting thing is, before tax, Britain actually has some of the cheapest fuel in Europe. All the hikes come from levies. Meanwhile, over in Luxembourg, they’re paying 98p per litre and in Bulgaria, they’ve got the lowest tax at 45 per cent.
Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “On 19th March the Chancellor will deliver his budget. He has made much of the fact that fuel duty has not risen for three years. However this has made little impact on the huge proportion of tax the UK’s 36 million drivers pay on their fuel.”
“The irony is that if you take tax out of the equation we actually have the fifth cheapest diesel in the EU and the second cheapest petrol.”
As you may have seen in our Deals Of The Day yesterday, Asda have dropped the price of fuel for motorists and Tesco have followed suit, with both supermarkets reducing pump prices of petrol and diesel by up to 2p a litre. Asda have said that drivers will pay no more than 126.7p a litre for petrol and 133.7p a litre for diesel.
Pete Williams, head of external affairs at the RAC, said: “The supermarkets are helping to brighten up January by knocking 2p a litre off petrol and diesel in reaction to falling wholesale prices.”
The good thing is, is when supermarkets start lowering their prices, everyone else does in response, which means a price drop across the country for everyone. Thanks to prices having gone up rapidly in recent years, these reductions still don’t stop fuel costs sticking in the craw, but at least there’s a small solace in the fact that, if prices fall to within 2p of the supermarker’s, we’ll have the cheapest fuel since February 2011. Depends whether you’re a half full/half empty person.
AA president Edmund King said: “Fuel price reductions at the pumps will bring a sigh of relief to many drivers who are struggling to make ends meet after bigger than normal financial outgoings during the festive period.”
“We hope that other supermarkets and fuel retailers follow the lead of Asda and Tesco to cut their prices at the pumps, otherwise we just end up with a fuel-price lottery based on proximity to certain supermarkets.”
Sports drinks – and the people who drink them – are extremely annoying. All that streamlined, blue liquidy nonsense: it’s enough to put you off your pork pie. But the recent Lucozade Sport ad, claiming that it ‘hydrates and fuels you better than water’ made everyone’s eyes roll. Even, it seems, the Advertising Standards Authority, who have banned it.
The ban follows 63 complaints, one from the National Hydration Council – which say that Lucozade have breached the advertising code. Why? Because they used the word ‘fuel’. The EU code states that in order to advertise a product’s health benefit, the claim must be specific. What the copywriter SHOULD have said was:
‘Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions contribute to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged endurance exercise’
So in the future, health companies like GSK will have to say their products contribute to the ‘maintenance of performance’ instead.
Also, on another slightly more pressing note, the Lucozade claim is kind of b******s, unless you’re Usain Bolt. The National Hydration Council said:
‘For the majority of people participating in exercise and sporting activities, water is all that is needed for effective hydration. The majority of sports drinks contain calories and may only have a positive contribution to make to professional athletes and those participating in high intensity, endurance activity.’
And that ain’t you, January fat man in the gym with a lycra wedgie.
In Britain, it’s more expensive to run a car than anywhere else in the world. Yes, your little Honda Jazz costs more to run than Justin Beiber’s pimp mobile, or Bret Michaels’ souped up RV full of dirty ladies.
On average we pay £3453 a year to stay on the road, which is a grand more than the Americans and the French, and £2000 less than the Chinese, who are scooting about on the cheap and living it up.
Webuyanycar.com took motoring costs from 21 countries and found that we shell out 27p a mile on average – paying more for fuel, tax and insurance. And of course, the thing we’re spending the most on is petrol. A whopping £2256 a year goes on filling the damn thing up.
Only Denmark and Switzerland came close to our prohibitive car costs. But the cheapest place to run a car is Saudi Arabia, where it costs the princely sum of £237.32 a year to own a car. But of course, they do have all the oil. And women aren’t allowed to drive, so that cuts costs for the oppressed ladies straight away.
Do you want a depressing table of costs? Thought so. Happy motoring!
1. UK £3,453.66
2. Netherlands £3,370.42
3. Switzerland £3,321.80
4. Italy £2,966.69
5. Portugal £2,914.63
6. Germany £2,856.04
7. France £2,538.82
8. USA £2,425.36
9. Spain £2,421.87
10. New Zealand £2,387.20
11. Australia £2,128.24
12. Canada £1,828.65
13. India £1,805.94
14. Russia £1,727.82
15. Japan £1,628.38
16. China £1,315.12
17. South Africa £1,280.18
18. UAE 672.01
19. Qatar £527
20. Argentina £269.92
21. Saudi Arabia £237.22
They’ve also found that drivers are having to use savings, hammer their overdrafts and borrowed from friends and families to pay for fuel.
The AA report says: “Four pump price swings in the past 18 months, each temporarily adding up to £5 to the cost of a small tank of fuel, have forced one in six drivers (16 per cent) to raid savings, owe money to the bank, pawn possessions or take out a payday loan.”
“A further 20 per cent have seen fuel price surges push their budgets to near breaking-point.”
AA president Edmund King said: “Fuel price desperation has created a new and sinister twist to the phrase ‘driven into debt’. Our survey has exposed the heavy impact of fuel price surges and which groups of drivers are particularly vulnerable.”
“Last week, we laid bare the consumer backlash to rising fuel prices, showing that yet another pump price swing crashed UK petrol consumption in July down to winter levels. This survey moves the microscope from the forecourt to the home and finds unsettling evidence of fuel market-inspired deprivation.”
“Young drivers with little capital to fall back on and who are likely to be on lower pay scales are clearly suffering the most – one in 50 of them have put themselves in real financial danger by taking out a payday loan. But, they are not alone.”
“But the survey reveals that one in 50 of middle-aged AA members, aged 35 to 44 years, have also turned to high-interest lenders to counter crippling fuel price surges. These drivers are probably saddled with family costs and mortgages or high rents, and their predicament is even more disturbing.”
Despite the fact that Centrica have just announced a big sizzling, toasting, roasting, sweaty profit of £356m from the cold weather of 2012-13– British Gas say they can’t rule out price rises this winter.
As we all know, they raised fuel prices by 6% in the depths of November 2012, and the long run of cold weather and frozen spring saw customers using 13% more gas than usual. But instead of allowing their customers to benefit, BG are now mumbling something about the profit being absorbed by ‘substantially higher costs for environmental obligations and network charges.’
This is also after PROMISING customers they would use the benefits of their profitable winter to freeze prices. They announced that in May, but they didn’t confirm it, and now it seems they’re not going to bother.
Centrica’s finance director Nick Luff said the extra profits created by British Gas only equated to about an extra 70p per customer, so they wouldn’t be ruling out upping prices.
Looks like we’ll all have to wear extra big jumpers this winter. Or DIE.
The average price of petrol in the UK has risen from 133.35p a litre to 134.61p, while diesel has gone up from 138.17p a litre to 139.16p. Over in Northern Ireland, petrol is the most expensive with London having the cheapest.
The same goes for diesel, with Northern Irish paying 139.8p a litre and London and the south west paying out 139.1p.
The AA warned that this year, retailers have on average been “creaming up to £1 a tank extra off diesel car drivers and up to £1.40 a tank extra off diesel van owners”, adding; “at present, the 1p-a-litre premium that fuel stations are generally adding to the cost of diesel adds 5,500 miles to the break-even point for a new car buyer who chooses diesel instead of petrol.”
“Diesel cars typically cost £1,500 more but the saving from better fuel efficiency should eventually recoup that.”
AA president Edmund King said: “To be fair, there is often much greater variation in the price of diesel among retailers in a town than with petrol. However, on average, the profit margin on diesel is consistently at least a penny higher than with petrol.”
“The clear message to diesel drivers is to take advantage of the greater range of prices locally. Some forecourts are more diesel-friendly than others.”
The price of diesel and unleaded fuel for UK buyers has risen in most European countries compared to last summer, according to a survey by Post Office Travel Money.
This hike has been sharpest in the places that British travellers are most likely to visit, so if you’re getting stung at home, you’ll be getting stung on holiday too. Over in Spain, the price of petrol has shot up by 7.4% in a mere 12 months, while in France, the price has gone up by 4.7%.
Of 17 European countries surveyed, only Croatia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Denmark had cheaper petrol for UK drivers in April 2013 compared to April 2012. If you want a bargain, you’ll have to go to Andorra or Luxembourg. PARTY!
Another reason it’ll be mondo-expensive is that sterling has slumped in value against Euro currencies. So, the price of fuel has gone up AND the exchange rate will give you even less. Diesel has risen in most countries too.
Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, said: “The disparity between what motorists pay for diesel and for unleaded petrol in Europe is in marked contrast to the UK, where diesel has long been more expensive. This was just one of the anomalies we picked up in this year’s survey, another being a difference of up 48p a litre in fuel costs across the eurozone.”
“It may not make sense for holidaymakers to plan big detours just to save a few pounds, but the higher price of motoring on the Continent this year means they should plan their routes carefully before setting out so they keep costs down.”
Commuting for drivers is a pain in the rump, but who is worst off? Well, if you’re looking at the world, then the poor buggers in Moscow have the grimmest traffic jams in the world where their journeys are 66% longer than they need to be, according to findings from TomTom.
In second place, Istanbul closely followed by Warsaw in third. However, where is the worst place in Britain?
Surprisingly, it isn’t London, but rather, Belfast that comes out on top, with Bristol in second place. Birmingham, Leeds and Nottingham all show signs of growing congestion levels and, oddly, Tuesday and Thursday are the worst days for traffic jams.
In Belfast, journeys are 32.1% longer than they need to be, just pipping Bristol where journeys by car are 32% longer. In London, journeys are 27.5% too long and Manchester has a figure of 24.2%.
Still, it isn’t all bad news as Marseille, Palermo, Paris, Rome, Stuttgart, Sydney and Los Angeles all have higher congestion levels than the UK. You can have a look at TomTom’s findings via this link. You’ll have to mess about downloading PDF files, so you probably shouldn’t bother.
In other driving news, official figures have noted that petrol sales have crashed with retailers selling 5.4 billion fewer litres than five years ago, with drivers opting for diesel instead.
The AA say: ”Soaring pump prices have taken a huge toll on petrol sales more recently – during the 10p-a-litre price surges last March and October, pump sales of petrol fell by up to 5%. The trouble is that, with global economic recovery, the stock market will predict greater oil and fuel demand and push up commodity values accordingly.”
If you live in Belfast, expect fuel to be more expensive, which you’ll waste in traffic jams.
British drivers have long complained about the high price of fuelling their cars… and with good reason. It costs more than £100 to fill up their tanks, thanks to the prices shooting up by 5.5% in two months.
Unleaded cars are being hit the hardest, with the price increasing by an eye-watering 7.3% a litre, according to analysis by Santander.
So who is being ripped off the most? Well, if you’re unlucky enough to live in Paisley, Durham or Hereford, you’re paying 9% more for unleaded fuel than anywhere else.
In Dumfries, petrol prices are at an average 145.9 a litre, which equates to £100 per average tank. Same goes for Durham, which is bleak news indeed. However, if you live in Torquay, it’ll cost you an average £95.13 for a 70-litre tank. Still expensive, but not as bad as the aforementioned places.
“With the cost of fuel expected to reach its highest level in the coming weeks, families and car commuters are likely to be the hardest hit once again,” said Alan Mathewson, from Santander. “Aside from mortgage costs, households in the UK already spend more on transport than any other living cost, so further hikes may well push many family budgets over the edge. There are a number of small changes people can make to reduce these costs, such as car-pooling with colleagues, driving more economically or using public transport.”
As well as Dumfries and Durham, other rip-off towns include Hereford, Crewe and Oxford. The five least expensive places (so if you live nearby, you might to get on it) to buy fuel are Torquay, Kirkcaldy, Plymouth, Bradford and Wigan.
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?
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.”