Monday, January 28, 2008

Petrol Prices

I was watching the old goggle box this morning, thinking that if the BBC spent as much on the programmes as they did on the bits between programmes, we'd all be a lot happier I imagine, when the topic of petrol came to mind.
And bubblejet printer ink. And saffron. And heating oil. I've had to buy all of these things recently, and they're all madly expensive, suddenly. Well, maybe not the saffron, that's always been a bit daft.

Yesterday I order a 2 gigabyte SD memory card for my new Canon S5 IS bridge camera, of which more another day. From it cost 15 quid. 15 quid! It's amazing. I also ordered 4 ink cartridges for two printers. 68 quid. That's amazing too, but not in the same way. And when they arrive they will be weeny little boxes, massively over packaged, containing the odd drip of ink which may or may not come spurting out satisfactorily. Hmmm.
On the one hand, a marvel of modern technology, 2,000,000,000 bytes of information held on a thing the size of a stamp. £15. Some coloured liquid, £68. "Are they having a laugh?"

Anyway. Petrol.

So, oddly enough for a chap with a passion for cars, with a website about cars, and a section of his blog about cars - actually I don't own a car. I won't bore you with why not... though in truth it's just one word - impecuniousness (if I had a pound for every letter in "impecuniousness"...) - but at present I am fated to be using my partner's Peugeot 206. Which I hate. Again, another story.

But for reasons best known to my psychologist, I have been recording the petrol consumption of this car since it was new, back in May 2001. Since you ask... it's averaged 47.28 mpg over this period, which I consider to be fairly rubbish. Because in that time the thing has just pootled around, never going far, never going fast, (it's a 1.1 - it doesn't do fast) just a nice journey of 10 to 15 miles per trip - ideal conditions for good consumption. So 47 mpg I think is a bit weedy. But never mind, maybe I'm being harsh.

The point... back in 2001, I note from my rather sadly comprehensive notes on this topic, petrol was 68.9p a litre, or in terms my brain can more easily deal with, £3.13 a gallon.

My last fill up, buying as cheaply as I could from good old Tesco's, was 105.9p per litre, or £4.81 a gallon. I'm not good at maths, but I'd say that was an increase of over 50%.

Now, 2001 is not that long ago, is it? We've recently crashed through that pound-a-litre psychological barrier, and I suspect it will never go back. In terms of pounds per gallon (which let's be honest - a lot better way to judge, I mean we talk in terms of miles-per-gallon, don't we?) - the five pound gallon looms.

And at ever rise, Gordon's huge percentage tax take gets bigger and bigger. We had a strike for a lot less than this a few years ago. Is there nothing we can do? Are we just waving a white flag and giving up on this one?

If you're interested in mpg, then you might appreciate a bit Freeware what I wrote, it takes your readings of mileage and fuel price and amount bought between top-ups and gives the answer, it's downloadable from here:
Zip Version
Exe Version

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jeremy Clarkson - Don't Stop Me Now

If I may, I'd like to review this book in the manner of Mr. Clarkson himself. Ahem.
Firstly, I'd like to point out to you that although the production of a book may well involve the destruction of an ecologically valuable tree or two somewhere in the world, I can demonstrate with a flip one-liner that this is of no consequence whatsoever, and may well indeed be a good thing.

I'd now like to go off on a wild tangent at this point, and relate to you a recent visit to some foreign clime where I had a jolly old time at someone else's expense, and make you feel like your life is vastly inferior to my own, which it almost certainly is.
At the very last moment I'll return to the subject of the review, this book, which I will pick huge holes out of, mercilessly, using a alarming amount of hyperbole.

I will point out that this is nothing new, that it is a series of Sunday Times articles ranging back several years, giving the briefest road tests of cars, some of which are no longer for sale. And that acres of print, more than the size of Texas, are spent in repetition of what is basically the same joke.

And then, right in the last paragraph I will confess to absolutely loving this book. That despite all of its obvious failings I devoured it cover to cover and laughed heartily along the way. That despite it being a jolly good way for Mr. Clarkson to make a lot of dosh without having to do any more work than he had already done, I don't begrudge him a penny, and would happily buy any number of his other books.

If you liked the format of the above, buy the book, you'll love it. I have to admit here that Jeremy and I are worryingly on the same wavelength with our views of the world. He doesn't like politicians, the police, hippies, environmentalists, slow drivers, speed cameras, modern music, etc, etc.... And neither do I - so it's easy and enjoyable reading. If you don't like his views, stay away. You'll just get cross.

Recommended, 8/10, you could buy the paperback version here.