There’s Gold In Them There Bills

February 4th, 2012 by Tim Grimley

Whilst conducting this week’s scavenge at the big yellow comestibles shop, I noticed that the previous user of my trolley had chosen to discard the fuel docket they had earned through purchasing the weight of a fat child in fish. Or so the accompanying receipt said anyway.

And that is pretty strange because I’ve always been led to believe that fish was good for the brain. Clearly the binge pescatarianism that this shopper indulged in was doing so much damage to their little grey cells that it no longer occurred to them that throwing money away was a bad idea.

Admittedly, on the surface I can understand that people might not see too many reasons to get excited over 6 cents a litre, particularly when 91 octane petrol is now averaging around $2.12/litre, but a little bit of man maths can make for some interesting reading.

Not just a docket, a ticket to ride

For the purposes of the exercise, we will assume that you are Johnny average who knocks around in a Corolla which, for 14,000km every year, averages 10litres/100km. This means you will guzzle up a total of 1400 litres of petrol, which will set you back a grand total of $2968 at $2.12/litre.

However, if you’d employed the discount dockets and saved your 6 cents, you would only have spent $2884 – a saving of $84.

Now I’m not for one moment suggesting that this act alone will enable you to be the next occupant of Dotcom Towers once the FBI has had its way and prised the geeky Lord of the Pies from the sweaty paws of our judicial system, however for the average chap (or chapess) on the street, it’s still not to be sniffed at.

Shop at the right time and $84 will buy you several packs of very decent beer or treat you and the love of your life to a nice meal out. Surely either of these things is worth putting a scrap of paper in your wallet for each week? Or perhaps if you want to improve your insight into all things automotive, you’re suddenly only $5 away from a yearly subscription to a quality motoring magazine.

Still not convinced? Right, well try this. Back in Johnny average world your daily distance travelled is just over 38km which will cost you $8.06; so starting first thing on Monday morning, every time you go for a drive say to yourself ‘I didn’t have to pay for this petrol’. And you’re only allowed to stop at 10am on Thursday 16th February. If you can accomplish this and not feel the slightest twinge from your bank balance then you’re either doing very well in life – in which case, congratulations – or simply aren’t too bright.

Needless to say, I pocketed the docket and it currently has pride of place on my fridge, ready for next week when the Mercedes’ inexorable thirst will once again need quenching. From my rudimentary calculations, I stand to save in the region of $2.15, which will get me from Grimley Towers all the way to the Victoria Park flyover.

So while it won’t make the rush hour traffic any better, on Tuesday at least, I won’t be paying for the privilege of queuing.

Volvo to use only three- and four-cylinder engines by 2020

September 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo has made a formal commitment to lowering the fuel consumption on every vehicle in its range. How is it going to do it? By eliminating any engine that has more than four cylinders.

It sounds very simple, the Swedish automaker will drop out any five- and six-cylinder engines from its range over the next 10 years. Overall fuel economy figures and C02 emissions will drop and Volvo will earn a reputation as an environmentally conscious car maker. The key to this new initiative comes with the introduction of new three- and four-cylinder powerplants in both gasoline and diesel form.

The new engine family is called Volvo Environmental Architecture (VEA), and the new powertrains will be around 90kg lighter than Volvo’s current engines. In addition to the weight savings, the new engines will improve fuel economy by 35 percent. That’s a serious advancement and Volvo is saying that this is possible without a reduction in performance. Continue reading “Volvo to use only three- and four-cylinder engines by 2020” »

Mercedes-Benz to go hybrid crazy on new C-Class range

March 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Hybrids powertrains are becoming common in all types of vehicles these days – race cars, supercars, luxury cruisers, the applications now seem endless. But the next-gen Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be really pushing hybrid power to the masses according to recent reports.

Company sources have let slip that the next-generation of C-Class, due in late 2013, will feature hybrid drivetrains in almost every model. The only cars that will escape hybrid treatment won’t be the top-spec models but the smallest-displacement diesel-powered cars, which will already achieve excellent fuel economy. With fuel consumption being the major reason for this shift.

Getting emissions down and fuel economy has become vital for almost every manufacturer recently, and even luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz are no exception. Although it seems extreme to make all, or nearly all, of its highest-volume selling cars have hybrid drivetrains it would have a huge impact on the company’s overall fleet rating. It could also have a positive effect on how the brand is perceived.

Smaller engines, including four- and possibly three-cylinder motors, are tipped as the base for the hybrids, with the electric motors making up the rest of the required power. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz to go hybrid crazy on new C-Class range” »

Mazda aims to reduce fuel consumption

July 4th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda Motor Corporation is setting its sights on reducing fuel consumption of Mazda vehicles sold globally by an average 30 per cent by 2015.

Andrew Clearwater, managing director, Mazda New Zealand said he believes we are already on the right track in New Zealand.  “We have already seen first steps in this direction within NZ following the release of the new-generation Mazda2 and Mazda6 with improved engine characteristics and lightweight body constructions. We look forward to continuing this direction with future model releases” he said.

This commitment will be realised through the continued use of lightweight construction technologies, upgrading its gasoline engines, introduction of a Smart Idle Stop System, as well as the release of new gasoline rotary and diesel engines worldwide.

By 2015, Mazda will have renewed almost its entire powertrain line-up and, from 2011, the continued development and introduction of safe, lightweight, new-generation platforms aims to reduce the weight of its new vehicles by 100kg or more.

The first major change will come with the introduction of the Smart Idle Stop System in 2009.  It is the only idle stop system in the world which restarts the engine from idle with a direct fuel injection into the cylinder. This allows a fast and quiet restart as well as an improvement in fuel economy by up to eight per cent.

New gasoline and diesel engines will be introduced in 2011.  Gasoline engines will feature direct injection technology and other systems to boost power by 15 to 20 percent and improve fuel economy by approximately 20 percent. Diesel engines will also feature next generation direct injection technology, turbocharging systems and NOx reduction technology, which will enhance fuel economy by 20 percent and produce cleaner exhaust gases.

Mazda is also upgrading the gasoline rotary engine in the early 2010s. Currently referred to as the 16X, the next rotary engine will offer substantially improved performance and economy through use of dDirect Injection Spark Ignition and high-speed combustion technology, enfolded in new rotary dimensions.

This focus on the environment is not a new concept for Mazda. In the seven years from 2001 to 2008, the average fuel economy of Mazda vehicles sold in the Japanese market increased approximately 30 per cent. Mazda’s efforts to improving its environmental performance are not just limited to its vehicles. The plants in which they are built have also being the focus of a wider commitment toward ensuring they contribute to a sustainable future.

In the financial year ending 31 March 2008, the volume of CO2 emissions from production activities in Japan was reduced by 15.4 per cent compared to FY1990 levels. Expressed as CO2 emissions per unit of revenue, this reduction was 24 per cent.

Mazda is driven by its long-term vision to provide all its customers with first-rate environmental and safety features as well as driving pleasure.  This means that Mazda owners are assured of driving cars that continue to provide the fun-to-drive feeling that will keep them coming back for more, while still having the peace of mind that their Mazda is environmentally-friendly and safe to drive.