Island Life by David Slack

205

BP-Fuelled Rage

Here comes an inquiry into the competitiveness of the oil market. Do you want to be better informed? It probably depends on your preference at the firing squad: blindfolded, or defiantly facing your despised enemies.

Transparency may well help at the margin and, at these fat prices, every little bit helps. We might as well have the inquiry and learn what muscle might or might not be exerted over hulking multinational cartels.

Peter Creswell and his fellow enthusiast for tiny government, Shaun Holt, have another suggestion for transparency: Why don't petrol stations advertise the cost of petrol as $1.25 plus taxes?

To be sure, a better-informed consumer may be a more discerning one, and knowledge is power. Where are we without hope?

Meanwhile, though, and leaving aside the cleaner, healthier and less costly alternative of the bicycle, there is one remaining option: thrift.

A useful web page tests various pieces of driver folklore: How much petrol can you save by turning off the air conditioner? If you drive as though there’s an egg between your foot and the pedal, how much gas might you save?

Everyone likes a quiz! Take the test, then click the link.

One tip: if you pick a number above zero for the saving you'll make by turning off the A/C, think again.

1. If you drive less aggressively you may save up to

A. 87%
B. 37%
C. 17%
D. None of the above





2. If you drive more slowly you may save up to:

A. 84%
B. 34%
C. 14%
D. None of the above





3. If you use cruise control you may save up to:



A. 84%
B. 34%
C. 14%
D. None of the above


4. If you turn off the air conditioning and wind the windows down you may save up to:

A. 80%
B. 38%
C. 18%
D. None of the above





5. If you maintain the correct tyre pressure, you may save up to:

A. 80%
B. 38%
C. 18%
D. None of the above


6. If you avoid excessive idling you may save up to:

A. 80%
B. 38%
C. 18%
D. None of the above


7. What is the correct response to reading in this week’s Listener cover story that you will only get the keys to Julia Hartley Moore’s SUV from her cold dead hands?

A. Buy a Hummer in solidarity.
B. Hire only private detectives who drive hybrid cars.
C. Write to the Listener and tell them you would prefer Julia Hartley less.
D. Put your pedal to the metal when the rubber meets the road.

Answers here, except for the one about private detectives.

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