Sydney Morning Herald Examines the Bowser Blues

The price of petrol has become a hot topic in Australia, as in many other car dependant societies. Talk-back radio, current affairs TV news, and tabloid newspapers clamour for fuel companies to stop gouging, and for governments to provide some relief. And politicians squirm under the stare of constituents with thinner wallets. Recently the federal government did enter the fray, offering a $2,000 rebate to drivers converting their cars to LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). So it was useful to see the Sydney Morning Herald adding a little sanity to the debate, with their disection of the fuel issue coupled some solid numbers, (which give short shrift to the LPG giveaway, it should be noted.) They observed that although Australian fuel prices have risen sharply, we are still half price compared to many others. And Americans have even less to whinge about. "The price of petrol around the world — Australia: $1.40/litre, United Kingdom: $2.70/litre, Turkey: $3.00/litre, United States: 95¢/litre." (that's in Australian dollars). And the article pours cold water on the idea that a diesel compact car is the way out of the fuel bind. They calculated that, due the price premium paid for a diesel, one could expect a return-on-investment of 19.1 (manual) to 25.8 (auto) years, for an average small diesel car, over using standard unleaded fuel. In the the larger people-movers and 4WDs, diesel did save money. So what were their best suggestions to beat the bowser blues? Our old faves, as it turns out: Toyota's Prius Hybrid and Honda's Civic Hybrid at roughly 5.6 litres/100km around town, "In both cars, the only way you'll get better economy around town is to walk." [to which TreeHugger might add "or ride a bike."] If sticking with unleaded fuel, the Toyota Yaris: 1.3-litre engine, which manages 7-9 litres/100km. The full article can be found here: ::Sydney Morning Herald - Drive Section.

Image found here.