Posts Tagged ‘motoring’
British motorists are breaking down in bigger numbers than before, thanks to their vehicles running out of fuel, according to new research. Now, if we were writing a ‘How To’ guide, this would be a short article where we’d say: ‘Keep putting petrol in your car, you dimwit.‘
Around 827,000 drivers ran out of fuel in 2014 compared to the 777,000 the year before… but why?
Well, this study shows that 536,000 motorists frequently ignore their vehicle’s fuel warning light, as there’s clearly nothing more fun than running a car on fumes, to see how much you can squeeze out of it. 267,000 don’t ever notice that their warning light was even on.
24% of motorists reckoned that they could drive over 40 miles after the light had come on and 54% of drivers stated that they’d drive by a petrol station even though they needed a fill-up, in the hope of finding a cheaper petrol station somewhere else.
13% of drivers had broken down thanks to an empty tank, which according to some crude maths, makes for an estimated total of 4.9 million motorists.
John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= Road Rescue, who conducted the survey, said: “Having to buy expensive motorway fuel can be frustrating, but if it saves you the stress of running out of petrol and potentially causing damage to your engine then it’s worth the cost. Roadside assistance is there to help should a motorist find themselves in a sticky situation – but being diligent with topping up soon after the light comes on will help to avoid the headache that a breakdown can bring.”
Next week: we give advice on the reasons why you should always pull your trousers down before going for a poo
Well, Google have noticed this and are getting in on the action. Of course, they’re not going to fix the potholes themselves, but rather, try and win you over by warning you about them and where they are.
The internet behemoth is already a part of your travel, with Google Maps having all manner of features and Google giving you loads of alerts for things. You can already see if there’s a shedload of traffic en route, and get directions to where you’re going.
Now, they’re aiming to make your ride a bit smoother by telling you about imminent potholes that you’re heading toward.
Google has filed a patent which would allow them to gauge if there are potholes on your journey, using your car’s GPS navigation system and other sensors.
One of the things Google might do, is to monitor the vibrations that rattle through your car, in a bid to track and collate where all the potholes in the world are. They’d cross reference that with GPS data, and hey presto! You’ve got a living map of dodgy roads. With Maps, they’d presumably then suggest alternative routes to save your suspension from getting hammered.
Naturally, Google is making a fleet of autonomous cars that might really want to know about all this.
After promising to pipe down and, basically, stop being a jarring weiner, Michael O’Leary is at it again with his publicity stunts. Of course, these things work because, look at us, writing about it. We can’t help it. It is an illness.
So what’s he playing at now? Well, he’s decided to dress up as Robin – Batman’s mate – in a bid to tell us all about some new venture he’s doing.
While in his outfit, O’Leary predicted a price war over Winter with Aer Lingus’s new owner IAG, as well as telling everyone about CarTrawler, which is a new online aggregator in the car rental sector. It will apparently allow Ryanair customers to book cars through the Ryanair website.
We might as well give you the details, even though we don’t want to, just in case this ends up being half-decent. Curse Michael O’Leary’s fancy dress.
This new service will have a connection to over 1,500 leading and independent car rental agents at 30,000 or more airport and city locations, in 174 different countries.
“Following an extensive tender process, Ryanair is pleased to partner with CarTrawler, who offer the best conversion rate in the business, as we launch Ryanair Car Hire, offering the widest range and best value car rental service to our 103 million customers,” O’Leary said.
Here’s another photo of a businessman in tights and underpants, sat on a car, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The fuel price war continues and Asda have announced that they’re lowering their prices again. Good news here is that it might force others to do the same. You know how needy and jumpy supermarkets are.
They say that motorists will now pay no more than £109.7ppl for unleaded, and diesel is staying at £106.7ppl.
And we quote: “Effective from today (21st August), Asda’s new national price cap means that unlike other retailers who work on ‘average prices’ our customers know they will pay no more than 109.7ppl on unleaded. Diesel remains at a market-leading national price cap of 106.7ppl.”
Not bad eh? You should fill up wheelbarrows with petrol or whatever, and stockpile it in the spare bedroom. What could possibly go wrong?
Anyway, fill ‘em up!
Volkswagen won a high court case to keep the paper from being unpublished, written by the University of Birmingham’s Flavio Garcia, and two colleagues from a university in the Netherlands.
The team found that car manufacturers including Audi, Volvo, Citroën, Honda and Fiat, as well as the aforementioned Volkswagen, had cars that were exposed to ‘keyless theft’ thanks to a device that was supposed to stop cars from being nicked, could be easily disabled.
And now, after a series of negotiations, Volkswagen have agreed to the report being published after getting one sentence removed from the original paper.
Garcia, and Roel Verdult and Bariş Ege from Radboud University in Nijmegen, said that they discovered flaws in the Swiss-made immobiliser system called Megamos Crypto, which is a device that stops the engine from starting when the corresponding transponder (which is embedded in the key) is not present.
However, it was found that it was possible to listen to signals sent between the key and the security system, which means that cars could be attacked by “close-range wireless communication.”
“Our attacks require close range wireless communication with both the immobiliser unit and the transponder,” say the team. “It is not hard to imagine real-life situations like valet parking or car rental where an adversary has access to both for a period of time. It is also possible to foresee a set-up with two perpetrators, one interacting with the car and one wirelessly pickpocketing the car key from the victim’s pocket.”
An injunction stopped the report from seeing the light of day, with Volkswagen arguing that the report would basically give criminals an idea or two. However, the research team brushed that complaint aside, saying that they were “responsible, legitimate academics doing responsible, legitimate academic work”.
This of course, follows the recall of 1.4m Fiat Chrysler vehicles, after some hackers got control of a Jeep.
Electric cars are a hot topic in the motoring world, as people look for ways of not using petrol any more. Will the new technology bring a whole load of new problems? Of course they will, but they’re not stopping to worry about that in the car industry.
So, what’s going on in the world of electric cars? Well, here in Blighty, there’s new technology which will allow e-cars to be powered by equipment beneath the surface of the road. We’re hoping that it resembles Scalextric. We’re preparing a giant two pence piece, so we can stick it in the road groove and stop the traffic.
Anyway, most electric cars need recharging after driving 100 miles, but this new system will deploy something called a ’dynamic wireless power transfer’, which means you won’t need to stop and charge up for ages. Naturally, cars would have to be adapted for this system, which would make someone very wealthy if it takes off, but it is deemed successful, then Highways England said they’ll look into the feasibility of installing this in motorways and A-roads.
In addition to that, there’s also plans to install chargers every 20 miles on the UK’s motorways.
Highways England Chief Highways Engineer Mike Wilson says: “Vehicle technologies are advancing at an ever-increasing pace, and we’re committed to supporting the growth of ultra-low emissions vehicles on our England’s motorways and major A roads. The off-road trials of wireless power technology will help to create a more sustainable road network for England and open up new opportunities for businesses that transport goods across the country.”
Esure, out of the goodness of their own black hearts, have warned that they’re going to whack the prices of car insurance premiums this year, which means all the other insurance companies will be following suit, no doubt.
The reason Esure are doing this, is because their half-year profits have taken a hit, thanks to an increase in personal injury claims. The profits have had a fall of 80.7% between January and June, compared to the same period 12 months ago.
Stuart Vann, the CEO of Esure, said: “The claims environment for the motor market continues to deteriorate and as a consequence we will seek to implement further rate increases in the second half of the year.”
Esure, the group who also own Sheila’s Wheels, saw their profit before tax increasing by 84.6% to £105.4m, so they’re obviously bordering on destitute. They also just bought up the 50% stake of GoCompare they didn’t already own.
This follows an AA report about the rise and inflation of claims, where drivers are making more claims and want bigger pay outs for them. The AA’s British Insurance Premium Index reckoned that the cost of a comprehensive motor insurance policy has risen by 5.5% in the space of 12 months.
The days of falling prices in motor insurance are over.
The fuel price war is still on, and after the latest drops in price, motorists could well see diesel prices falling to £1 a litre. How do you like them apples? This is according to the RAC, following the news that supermarkets have said that they’re going to cut the cost of fuel.
Tesco have said that they’re going to cut the cost of diesel by 2p per litre and unleaded petrol by 1p at all of their filling stations and, Sainsbury’s and Asda are bringing in the same price cuts today. Asda have said that drivers will pay no more than 108.7p per litre of diesel, and 111.7p on unleaded petrol.
Now, with the price of oil going below $50 per barrel, there could be further price drops in the future.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “July was a bumper month for diesel vehicle drivers with the average price falling by 5p a litre, saving £3 on a fill-up. Now August is off to a flying start with another substantial cut which will help shave another couple of pounds off a tank of diesel, just as millions of people head off on holiday by car.”
“With oil prices just under the 50 dollars a barrel mark, there’s every chance even more cuts are just around the corner. And, if oil stays low and wholesale diesel remains abundant, we could even have a chance of seeing £1 a litre diesel.”
After the airbag scandal, you’d think Honda would be getting sick of recalling vehicles by now. However, they’ve got another one to sort out, this time, concerning some of their motorcycles.
This concerns the following Honda motorbikes: CBR 1000 SAE, CBR 1000 SE, CBR 1000 SAF & CBR 1000 SF.
There’s a concern regarding the rear shock absorber, which may fail and result in the loss of the control of your machine.
The recall says: “The rear shock absorber piston rod nut may come loose. The shock absorber performance may be affected, possibly causing a loss of machine control.”
So, the recall wants to bring in machines that are likely to be affected and check if they are fitted with an affected shock absorber. Any affected shock absorbers will be removed and returned to Ohlins service centre for counter measure repair.
Vehicle Id :
JH2SC59G7EK100063 to JH2SC59G0EK100390
JH2SC59E1EK400194 to JH2SC59E6EK400434
JH2SC59G1FK200001 to JH2SC59G4FK200249
JH2SC50E2FK500001 to JH2SC59E3FK500122
Even though there’s a diesel price-war on, there’s always room for someone to try and rip you off. And in ‘water is wet’ news, diesel at motorway stations is overpriced and ripping drivers off. At some forecourts, diesel costs as much as 127.9p a litre, while petrol cost 125.9p a litre yesterday, reckon the AA.
Comparing it to the average of around 116.6p a litre for diesel and petrol on the pumps away from motorways, you can see that the difference is noteworthy – if you fill up a large family car with 60 litres a week, you’d be spending £25 more a month at a motorway service station.
With Tesco and Morrisons dropping the price of diesel, following on from Asda and Sainsbury’s, you have to wonder what the motorway services are playing at.
AA spokesman Luke Bosdet said: “Diesel drivers will think that the latest fall in the cost of their fuel is ‘better late than never’ and is very welcome. However, the average pump price of diesel across the UK remains above petrol’s even though the former is around 3p a litre cheaper at wholesale level.”
“Many of the supermarkets can be applauded for recent price cuts but it is what is happening outside the areas they influence that worries us. The message is clear to diesel drivers: check out the supermarket prices first if they are looking to cut their fuel bills.”
Now, we hand over to our outside unit, live, to find out whether or not bears defecate in woodland areas…
Seeing as wholesale diesel prices have been 2p cheaper than petrol for more than a month, there’s a sense of ‘about time’ about it, but it is more than welcome to see the forecourts actually passing on some of the savings to motorists.
And, for the first time in over a decade, the price Morrisons are selling it at, diesel is cheaper than petrol.
For those who like a moan, the wholesale price of diesel has been dropping since the start of 2014, falling by 44%. During that period, the price at the pumps has only gone down by 14%, so more should’ve been done for drivers. There’s been a bunch of price drops on fuel after the fuel duty price freeze in the Budget. A number of forecourts have shaved 2p off, which is something.
Mark Todd, Petrol Director for Morrisons, said: “Because of the recent price drops in the wholesale diesel price, we are able to pass on these savings to our customers. This is a milestone in motoring and many younger drivers won’t remember the last time that diesel prices were lower than unleaded.”
“While we are cutting diesel prices today, we will continue to look for opportunities to pass on savings on unleaded as soon as we can.”
Anyway, with Morrisons offering this low price, you know that the other fuel vendors are going to join in and kick off a price war, so start stockpiling now!
That’s no good is it?
They said that the recall covers certain Note, Cube, Juke and Leaf and Venucia e30 vehicles, as well as the Serena, March and Micra, and the Latio and Versa sedans. Oh, and the recall also includes the Sunny, Almera, Tiida, Pulsar and Sylphy sedans, and the eNV200 and NV350 vans.
The recalls focuses on vehicles that are mainly from the 2013 and 2014 model years.
So what’s happening? Nissan say that the buttons can get stuck when they’re in warm temperatures and, if that happens, vibrations from the road can cause the switches to shut off the engine.
From August, Nissan dealers will replace the housing for the buttons, for free.
Nissan are aware of two incidents where engines have shut off, but there were no accidents resulting from them. Nissan say that they’ve decided to do a recall to be cautious. Everyone’s a bit jumpy after the Takata airbag debacle.
Confused.com have published their Confused.com car insurance price index, which is a fantastically catchy name indeed. However, they’ve found something that won’t surprise you, but will irritate you to the point where you might grind all the teeth out of your face.
They’ve noted that the average price of comprehensive cover has gone up in the UK.
The average premium is now £600, which is a rise of £9 on the previous quarter, and £21 over the course of the last 12 months.
So what does this mean for you? Well, ‘you’ is a bunch of different people, so let us wade through some figures. If you’re a man who is between 21-25 years old, you’ve seen the largest annual increase, which won’t shock many. If you live in London, then you’ve got the most expensive car insurance in the UK.
The place which has been their insurance rocket by the most, is Dundee, where drivers have seen their insurance go up from £386 to £445 over the past year. If you live in Manchester or Merseyside, you’ll be glad to know that there was a small dip in how much you have to fork out, with comprehensive policies falling by £4, from £808 to £804.
Anyway, if you missed the link in the first line of this article, get all the information you need about this, by clicking here.
The software faults means that drivers could find that the hybrid system is shut down while the car is being driven.
So which models are affected? Well, the recall includes the Prius V minivans (called Prius Alpa and Prius+, depending on what market you’re in) which were built between May 2010 and November 2014. This of course, comes on the back of the gigantic recall over the faulty airbags made by Takata.
Toyota recalled around 5 million vehicles thanks to the faulty Takata airbags, while this one is a little more modest, accounting for 160,000 were in Europe (and there’s more in Japan and North America).
Mercifully, Toyota have said that – thus far – there have been no reports of any crashes or injuries resulting from this software glitch, which is something.
To see if you car needs recalling, click here.
Remember when the DVLA came up with a scheme, so you used a code so you could hire a car? This was particularly problematic if you were going on holiday and wanted to rent a car, because the code only lasted for 72 hours.
Well, the DVLA have changed all that, with the validity period of the check code which is generated for motorists, extended to 21 days.
“We’re pleased that the DVLA has listened to industry feedback that the code lifespan was too short,” said Gerry Keaney, Chief Executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association. “This common sense approach will reduce queues at rental desks and give millions of renters more time to plan and arrive prepared ahead of their journey.”
This all came about after the DVLA got rid of the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence. Drivers can view up-to-date driving licence info using the DVLA’s View Driving Licence website, which happens to include the ‘Share My Licence’ service, where you get the code so you can hire cars and all that.
One thing that the DVLA could do with sorting out, is the opening hours of their call centre. While this is an improvement, they’ve got to remember that not everyone is a user of the internet. Alongside that, they should absolutely stop charging people for a premium line phone service too.
Then again, we shouldn’t expect too much from the DVLA, because any improvement is welcomed, from a group of people that are, for the most part, thunderously hopeless.