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Archive for May, 2009

Choice Denied In Petrol Pump Rip Off

The NSW Government has now legislated to rip off the motorist.

Private Fleet has already shown that E10 unleaded fuel costs more, not less, to run.

Even though E10 costs 3c a litre less at the pump it uses more fuel so that in the final outcome it costs more.

So how would you feel if you were told that your Government is going to ban the sale of unleaded fuel and make you pay more to run your car without ANY positive environmental benefit?

You’d be angry, wouldn’t you? But that’s exactly what’s happening to the hapless NSW motorist.

The Biofuel (Ethanol Content) Amendment Bill 2009 tabled by The Hon. Tony Kelly a few weeks ago states that it will phase out regular unleaded from July 2011.

Thankfully it’s the only State Government – so far, to discriminate against the motorist and deny them the opportunity to purchase the most economical fuel option – standard unleaded.

The NSW motorist (and motorists visiting from other States) can express his displeasure with the steering wheel and drive past the sites that don’t offer regular unleaded ( and they will become more commonplace), and insist in buying the most economical fuel.

Perhaps the refineries will see the trend and maybe even the NSW Government will realise this is a vote losing issue , and they are certainly looking for every vote they can get before the next election in 2011.

The Robots Are Coming

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a robot?

Well, if the NSW Roads Minister has his way you may get the chance.

A device that enforceably restricts the speed of your car to the local speed limits is to be tested in Wollongong NSW.

Forty of the Intelligent Speed Adaption (ISA) units will be trialled in Wollongong, and, if the trial is successful it could be a standard feature in all new cars soon.

The system works by sending and receiving satellite signals, which calculates the speed limit against the car’s actual speed. If the car is exceeding the speed limit then there will be an audible warning and, if ignored by the driver,  the device will slow the car down to comply with the appropriate speed limit.

There will be an override facility that can turn off the device, but we still have concerns.

Whilst we are absolutely in favour of obeying the law, obeying the speed limits and reducing accidents and injuries on the road there are some real issues to think about here.

Firstly, if the device can be easily overridden, then the very people who want to speed will still do so, as the device can be made inoperative.

Then we have the situation where just occasionally you need to speed to get out of trouble, so if you  depress the accelerator to avoid an accident then will it respond and de-activate itself quickly enough?

What about road works? If you become dependent on the device to ‘keep you legal’ will it recognise temporary speed limits at roadworks (which are enforceable) or innocently speed you past them at the risk of being fined from a faulty or out of date device?

We’ve all probably had experience or heard tales about sat/navs that drop out, pick up the wrong info, send you down cart tracks or give you the wrong speed limit feedback, so suspician about the efficacy of this experiment is natural.

However if it can be proved to work, slow down the speedsters and reduce accidents then it will have our support.

We’ll keep you posted on any developments.

Prices Announced For New Holden Cruze

The Cruze is Holden’s critical new small car that goes on sale in June and pricing has just been announced, with a very competitive entry price of $20,990 ( plus on road costs) for the Cruze CD 1.8L manual. Auto costs $2000 more.The diesel version costs $3,000 more.

The better equipped CDX petrol costs $23,990 for the manual and $2,000 extra for the automatic. (There is no diesel option for the CDX).

For a full review of this exciting and crucial new car from Holden visit

 The Cruze will replace the well respected Holden Astra – almost.

For the time being there will be no hatch back, and there won’t be until local production kicks in next year.

So your only option for a small Holden Hatch is to latch on to of the the European built Astra run-out deals, and, of course, Private Fleet can help you with that.

Petrol Pump Rip Off

Q. When is a bargain not a bargain?

A. When you buy fuel in NSW.

The NSW Government insists that filling stations sell at least 2 percent of ethanol in fuel in NSW.

So most fuel outlets sell ‘E10’, that’s fuel with a ten percent ethanol component.

But it is usually 3 cents cheaper than 91 octane regular unleaded fuel, so looks like a bargain and well worth using.

Last year the Sydney Morning Herald undertook a comparison test of the economies of using E10 versus normal 91 octane unleaded.

They drove three identical Toyota Camrys more than 2000kms in a convoy and under a range of conditions to compare the actual costs of each type of fuel.

In their test the E10 fuel returned 9.81 litres/100kms.

The regular unleaded returned 9.4L/100kms.

So over the whole journey the Ethanol fuel cost a total of $276.55 whilst the regular fuel cost $271.56.

Their conclusion was that a bargain wasn’t a bargain at all.

We were intrigued by this so we thought we’d put it to the test with a couple of our staff cars.

Car number one was an eight cylinder Holden that had recorded an average of 12.9 L/100kms over the previous 9,000 kms. on regular fuel, much of the driving on freeways.

So we put E10 in it exclusively from January to mid March and did much the same driving and reset the computer.

Guess what? Our consumption went up to 13.7L/100 kms.

But to be fair we then reverted back to regular unleaded and tested again from mid March to mid May where we did another 3000 kms. and, yes, we went right back to 12.9L/100kms.

So in this case our 3c per litre saving evaporated into an extra cost over 3000 kms of $35.27

We encountered similar results with our Suburu.

Our base reading for the Imprezza 8.0L/100 with plenty of city driving.

We changed to ethanol exclusively in January but did pretty much the same type of driving, only to find our consumption had risen to 8.9L/100kms by the middle of March after re-setting the computer.

We set it back to zero again and reverted to regular unleaded.

You are probably well ahead of us when we say we went back to 8.0L/100 kms over the next 1700kms.

It also meant that over 1700kms. we spent $15 more on the ‘bargain’ fuel than on the 3c more expensive brew.

So on a purely simple conclusion on a cost basis both tests came firmly down in favour of regular unleaded.

Whilst that’s good enough for us the debate still rages on regarding the possible advantages of ethanol based fuel on greenhouse gas emissions. But that’s also subject to huge controversy between governments, fuel distributors and other interested parties.So for the moment we’ll leave that to them.

In the meantime we’re steering away from the E10 fuel pumps and saving some money.

Big Budget Bonus For Small Business

Amongst the handouts announced in the Swan budget on 12th May was an increased bonus tax deduction of 50 percent for eligible assets purchased before 31st December 2009 for small business.

That’s great news for a small business contemplating buying a new company vehicle.

The example given in the tax documents refers to a vehicle costing $30,000. The current tax deduction under the 30% tax break is $9000. But the additional amount announced in the budget is a further $6000 resulting in a total  deduction to small business of $15,000.