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.

Kia sets new world record for Hybrid vehicle economy

September 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia has broken the world record for the lowest fuel consumption in a hybrid petrol vehicle, while driving through 48 adjoining states in the USA.

After a 14-day journey that started at the company’s manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia and finished in Greenville, South Carolina, the Kia Optima Hybrid achieved a fuel consumption of 3.64L/100km, beating the car’s official EPA highway fuel consumption figure by 61.37%.

The car was completely standard and to comply with Guinness World Record guidelines, the Optima Hybrid had to carry two people (drivers Wayne Gerdes and Chris Berniues) and their luggage throughout the journey.

The pair drove an average of 902 kilometres per day and the Optima Hybrid used just over 5.5 tanks of petrol to complete the route, recording an average distance of 2268.8 kilometres between re-fills.

Their lengthy journey took in every adjoining state in the country, followed in a clockwise direction, through all kinds of terrain and weather, from temperatures exceeding 47.7°C in the deserts of Arizona down to sub zero in the Rocky Mountains. And it wasn’t just highway driving the Optima also faced rush-hour traffic jams in Chicago, New York and Las Vegas. Continue reading “Kia sets new world record for Hybrid vehicle economy” »

New VF Holden Commodore to save weight with aluminium panels

May 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

In 2014 Holden is on track to launch its next-generation VF Commodore and the new model comes carrying serious expectations and some new technology. Fans can expect significant savings in fuel economy, improved aerodynamics, new electric power steering and it will also be the first Aussie-built car to use mass produced aluminium panels in its construction. To remain competitive with vehicles like the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Holden’s Commodore will be saving weight wherever it can.

Total fuel savings will be in the region of 7% off the current figures of the VE Commodore range (pictured). This will drag the 9.1lt/100 km combined rating of the 3.0 L V6 SIDI down to a more acceptable 8.4 lt/100 km. The older 3.6 L Alloytec V6 will drop to 9.1 lt /100 km (26 mpg) down from its current 9.8 lt/100 km. The fuel saving measures are partly funded by the Australian federal government, which has used AU$39.8 million from the discontinued Green Car Innovation Fund.

The entire VF model’s development will apparently cost just AU$189 million which is a huge decrease on the rumoured one billion that was spent on the VE Commodore. Continue reading “New VF Holden Commodore to save weight with aluminium panels” »

Mazda makes leap in fuel economy

September 16th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has independently developed an idling stop system, called the Smart Idle Stop System (SISS), which improves fuel economy by about ten percent (in Japan’s 10-15 mode tests*).

The SISS uses direct injection technology to achieve an excellent engine restart, ensuring drivers do not experience any discomfort with the new system.  Mazda plans to begin progressively introducing this core environmental technology to the marketplace in 2009.

Andrew Clearwater, managing director Mazda New Zealand says the Smart Idle Stop System will be an important addition to Mazda’s vehicles.  “Mazda is focussed on improving fuel efficiency across our vehicle line up.  The new smart idling stop system will benefit motorists in busy urban areas where vehicles frequently stop at traffic lights or in heavy traffic.”

Idling stop systems save fuel by shutting down the engine automatically when the car is stationary, and restarts it when the driver resumes driving.

Conventional idling stop systems restart a vehicle’s engine with an electric motor using exactly the same process as when the engine is started normally. Mazda’s SISS, on the other hand, restarts the engine through combustion.  Mazda’s system initiates engine restart by injecting fuel directly into the cylinder while the engine is stopped, and igniting it to generate downward piston force.

In order to restart the engine by combustion, the pistons must be stopped at exactly the correct position to create the right balance of air volume in each cylinder. The Smart Idle Stop System provides precise control over the piston positions during engine shutdown to accomplish this.  The SISS indexes each cylinder and initiates fuel injection before the engine begins to rotate.  This enables the engine to be restarted in just 0.35 seconds for vehicles with an automatic transmission, roughly half the time of a conventional electric motor idling stop system.

In addition to saving fuel, Mazda’s Smart Idle Stop System ensures that the engine will restart quickly and with exactly the same timing every time.  Drivers will feel no delay when resuming their drive, which means they can enjoy a comfortable and stress-free ride.

* The 10-15 mode test is the Japanese standard for emission certification and fuel economy for light duty vehicles.  It consists of two separate drive cycles.  The 10-mode drive cycle is a low speed drive cycle test, while the 15-mode is a higher speed assessment.