Perth’s David Archibald is the early (and deserving) favourite for first prize in Iowahawk’s 3rd Annual Earth Week Cruise-In, but massive respect is due to John Lien for de-treeing practically the entire state of Virginia.
The SMH presents an expert:
Cars are no more fuel-efficient today than they were in the 1960s, a transport expert says.
At which point our transport expert should put his transport expertise badge back in the cereal box. You’ll never guess what this wizard is working on:
In research for the Garnaut climate change review, Paul Mees, of Melbourne University, has used Bureau of Statistics figures to show fuel efficiency has remained practically unchanged since 1963.
The average Australian car then used 11.4 litres of petrol to travel 100 kilometres. In 2006, the bureau’s Survey of Motor Vehicle Use shows, it was unchanged.
Modern cars also use petrol to run airconditioning, power steering, various hydraulic and electrical systems and to haul around safety equipment unknown in 1963. They’re efficient that way. Mees must know this (and, in fact, the article briefly points it out). Also, market forces are in play; manufacturers could boost economy by building cars without power steering and aircon and stripped down to the bare legal minimum of safety gear – they might call ‘em “Mees models” – but nobody would buy them. For fun, let’s compare the 1963 EH Holden with a 2008 Toyota Corolla Ascent sedan:
The Holden used a 2.45 litre six-cylinder engine that produced 71kW, eventually lugging it to 100kmh in around 16 seconds. The Toyota’s 1.8 litre four produces 100kW and whips it to 100kmh in under 10 seconds. Given time and enough study, Mees may be able to tell us which vehicle gets better fuel economy, too.
Some might feel this comparison unfair, since the Holden is a large sedan and the Toyota a compact. But check the stats:
Something there to think about the next time you read an article claiming that Australians are turning to smaller cars. Not so; small cars have turned into big cars. Back to Mees:
Dr Mees said boasts from the motor industry of emission reductions painted an erroneous picture. “The improvements in emissions you hear cited are from the promotional material released by car companies, which put the best possible spin on things. But the Australian Bureau of Statistics doesn’t put the spin on it; the current rate of progress in making cars more fuel efficient is no progress at all.”
Does he seriously doubt that modern cars are much cleaner than previously? This guy’s a riot.
Freeways had also reduced fuel efficiency, Dr Mees said. “If you drive at 110kmh you use more fuel than if you drive at 70kmh.”
Mees assumes constant 70kmh speeds on non-freeway roads. I wonder how our expert earns a living:
Paul teaches in the areas of transport, strategic urban planning and planning law.
But of course.
A list of sciency predictions includes:
Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.
That’s from Harvard biologist George Wald; click to discover when he said it.
The St. Peter Food Co-op tried to be nice to Mother Earth, but she wasn’t nice back.
The group’s first Procession of the Species Earth Day parade had to be postponed after organizers were greeted with a coating of snow, high winds and temperatures hovering near freezing Saturday morning.
Places across the state saw a wide range of snowfall Saturday, on the final weekend of April.
To give you some perspective, on the same day last year, it was 85 and sunny.
One Minnesota newspaper is now inclined to scepticism:
Bemidji has again been buried in snow for the third weekend in what is supposed to be spring …
So this is global warming? From our own little corner of the globe, it’s a concept that of late is hard to grasp.
A cold snap at the Anzac Day long weekend brought up to 25 centimetres of snow to Victoria’s alpine resorts and much-needed rain across the state.
With the official start of the ski season still five weeks away, Mount Hotham got the best of the winter-like weather, with its main runs covered in snow.
The Rudd Government’s chief adviser on preventive health has called for an increase to the excise on tobacco of 2.5 cents a cigarette, which could raise $400 million a year on top of the $500 million to be raised from the increased excise on “alcopops”.
Getting with the pleasure-tax program, a Sydney council is pondering a plastic tax:
Sporting groups may be slapped with a “tape tax” to curb increasing amounts of sticky strapping left on fields after weekend matches.
Warringah Council is considering introducing a cleaning fee after residents’ complaints about litter, which also included cans, bottles, ring pulls and chip packets.
Electrical tape, used to tie down laces on football boots and to hold up socks, was the worst offender.
Older players – Toaf may be among them – also use tape to protect against injury and brace aging joints. Taped-up players who enjoy a post-game drink and cigarette might need to take out a second mortgage.