Driving with Bio-ethanol

Archive for January, 2008

How about replacing “normal” petrol with bio-ethanol?

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

Something interesting has happened at petrol stations in Germany in the last few weeks – the price of the “normal” (91 octane) petrol has been brought into line with “super” (95 octane) fuel.

Speculation followed in the German press, that the petrol stations wanted to phase out the lower grade fuel to make space for other products, and so had raised the price to persuade consumers to switch to the next alternative. Indeed, in a number of European countries 91 octane fuel is no longer available.

And whilst some cars being sold in Germany state in their manuals that they should be filling up with the “normal” petrol, others fill up with it just to save money.  But now some petrol stations have stopped selling it altogether.

Of course, it would be nice if they used this extra capacity to sell something new, such as bio-ethanol. Unfortunately, I have the feeling that they will just use it to sell more “super” or even 98/100 octane fuels.  Just imagine what effect it would have if one of the major chains starting selling bio-ethanol nationwide!

There is, however, a glimmer of hope.  I was in Frankfurt last night and spotted a petrol station belonging to one of the major chains selling gas on it’s forecourt (real gas, not just the American English word for “petrol”!)  I that’s at least a step in the right direction.

Insuring a bio-ethanol car in the UK

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

When I first ordered my bio-ethanol car, I started to think hard about the insurance. After all, perhaps I could get a discount for being so environmentally friendly?

Sadly no, my insurer did not offer this, although a competitor did. But at the time, I didn’t want to change my insurer as I was happy with the one I had (and still have).

But perhaps I should have done. If I had been in the UK at the time, I may well have been looking for cheap van insurance, as originally I was looking at small vans for my business, before I settled on the bio-ethanol estate car.

One place to look for UK van insurance is the motordirect van insurance site. Here you can get a quote from up to 30 insurers via a single web site. They can even insure the sign-writing costs!

But they don’t just offer insurance for vans – if I used my bio-ethanol car in the UK then I could get a quote there for that too. In fact, when I took a look at the on-line form to apply for a quotation I saw a field for “special requirements” – I wonder if they could find me an insurer willing to give me a discount for my efforts to save the planet?

This is a sponsored review.

A lorry powered by… chocolate?

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

It sounds (or should that be tastes?) too good to be true. Yes, it really is a lorry powered by chocolate. Well, almost.

I came across this story on the BBC News website and it sounds like a crazy, also an innovative idea.

Put quite simply: the waste left over from cocoa when making chocolate is being recycled into bio-diesel. To make people aware of the project, the lorry is being driven from the UK quite literally to Timbuktu.

Why do I like this project? Well, since I started following news items about biofuels I have probably seen as many arguments against them as I have seen in favour of them.

This project seems to defeat most of the arguments against them: nothing is being grown especially to make the fuel, no trees are being chopped down.  The only question remaining is: does it take more or less energy to process the waste into bio-diesel than it did to process it before?

Petrol prices in 2007

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

Whilst I may now be filling up with bio-ethanol, I am still interested in the price of normal (95 octane) petrol for my wife’s car. And having just written 3 blog entries about the prices of things going up, I went back through the log book to see if this was true of petrol as well.

We tend to see the price of petrol as something that goes up and down, although more up than down, especially in the summer months.

Actually, it started the year at 1,239EUR/litre and finished off at 1,369EUR/litre – no question about that being a price increase then.

But in-between it reached 1,419EUR/litre (or even more, but we didn’t fill up when it did!) in May, returning to 1,289EUR/litre in August. So even if there was an overall increase, it did go back and forth during the year.

How we long for the Summer of 2003 when we first bought the car, and paid as little as 1,034EUR/litre!

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