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The Mercury Cars Guide : April 25th 2009
16— CARSguide Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, April 25, 2009 New fuels for thought Whenyouare asked, ‘What’s your poison?’ youare undecided, but keen foran alternative to your usual. Neil Dowling offers suggestions for the procrastinating drinker. Bartenders habitually ply one type I of alcohol and are unlikely to suggest something that may take longer to obtain, be messy to supply or have a smaller profit margin. Even if the customer wanted an alternative, it could be shielded by high costs, rumours of poor quality or tales of health concerns. And this is why finding an alter- native alcohol mix to pour into your vehicle’s fuel tank is not only diffi- cult but shrouded in mystery. Yes, it is easy to buy a petrol car and regularly bitch about the cost of the fuel while thinking about a better way of running it. You may be suffering bowser shock or simply trying to escape OPEC’s grip on the fuel market. There could be sensitivity to ve- hicle emissions, or you mayhave tax reasons to use a particular fuel. Since the first four-wheeled car with its thirst for paraffin, there has never been a bigger choice of what to pour into your fuel tank. You need to consider what is suitable for your driving conditions. Here are six cars with different tastes, and the reasons they are either acceptable or simply unwork- able. Petrol No surprises here: it smells like what you use to clean brass; it is painful when poured on your skin; it makes you lightheaded when you inhale it; it is available almost everywhere; and it is the one we have all grown up with. Prices are all over the shop thanks to currency exchange rates; OPEC production volumes and pricing; the US dollar; pirates off Somalia; cold European and US winters; oil com- pany pricing philosophies; and, of course, supply and demand. You, the motorist, are defenceless. A Mazda3 runs on petrol. The car costs $20,990 and the fuel about $1.10 a litre depending on where you live. Average 15,000km a year and, at Mazda’s quoted fuel consumption average of 8.2 litres/100km, you will pay $1353 a year to keep the tank full. Dual fuel (LPG/petrol) This vehicle has two fuel tanks, each with a filler cap. At any time, PETROL: It’s the one we have all grown up with. the motorist can flick from one fuel to the other. The dual-fuel Holden Commodore Omega, costing $40,690, holds 73 litres of petrol and 73 litres of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). On petrol, the Omega will average 11.7 litres/100km and on LPG (at 60c/litre) 16.0/100km. Run it on petrol and it will drink $1931 a year; onLPGit will cost $1440 Falcon XT E-Gas costs $39,690 and has a 93 litre tank that is sufficient for 624km at 14.9 litres/100km. That is not as good as the range of the equivalent petrol-fuelled Falcon (687km from a 68 litre tank at 9.9/100km) but it costs $55.80 to fill withLPGtank and$74.80 with petrol. Drive within this framework and the extra $1400 cost of theLPGmodel over the petrol version is extin- ETHANOL: Where do you get it? Australia: the Prius, to be updated in July; the Honda Civic; and a trio from Lexus — the RX400h, GS450h and 600hL. (Honda will expand its range with the Insight sedan later this year.) The hybrid’s real value lies in slow, congested conditions where the electric motor provides most of the motion. Toyota claims 4.4 litres/100km for Since the first four-wheeled car with its thirst for paraffin, there has neverbeenabigger choice ofwhatto pour into your fuel tank. a year to run. This fuel system has advantages for people that travel on long country trips. Although LPG is available at practically every small town, the petrol tank gives a range of 1080km. LPG Fleet companies prefer dedicated LPG cars because they run clean, green and efficient. Fuel consump- tion is not as good as petrol because LPG has a lower energy rating. However, LPG costs about half the price of petrol. The dedicated Ford guished in months. Take into ac- count government subsidies on LPG and it is a no-brainer. The argument for a dedicated LPG car is so good that more manufac- turers will be offering such a model. Hybrid Toyota’s Prius has become the comfort blanket for motorists trying to equate mobility with ecology. Hybrids are expensive compared with petrol cars and are as fuel efficient as diesels. There are five hybrid cars in the Prius (Honda says 4.6), which is good for a 1000km range. The Prius, at $37,400, has about the cabin size of the Corolla. You have to own the Prius for 28 years before the fuel advantage negates the cost dif- ference between it and the Corolla. The Prius is clever, well fitted and finished and gives a nice warm feeling about donating to the planet! Diesel Once the most popular drink of muscle-bound commercial vehicles, it is now sipped by a community as SCOOP PURCHASE! 08 NISSAN Tiidas 5 Hatchbacks & 3 Sedans • Automatic • Cruise control • Air conditioning • ABS brakes • Dual airbags • Remainder of new vehicle warranty †To approved business clients only, with a $2,500 deposit over five years with a 30% residual payment. Interest rate 10.50%. $16, $9.00 per day† www.djmotors.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org Easy finance available with DJ Financial Services 990 DRIVE AWAY Hobart 1a Brisbane Street,Hobart Phone: 6213 3300 Warren Amos 0417 544 829 Luke Mitchell 0408 545 146 Glenorchy 275 Main Road,Glenorchy Phone: 6213 3315 Brian Anning 0418 531 853 Chris Wakefield 0400 635 446 Allan Gebel 0428 729 659 DIESEL: Good alternative. HYBRID: Expensive comfort. N MY unfinished book, Bar- tenders I Have Known, I relay their impatience and reticence at suggesting alcohol choices petite as the Hyundai i30 through to the Audi Q7 V12 TDI and beyond. Advances in electronics and re- finement of conventional engine technology have made diesel veh- icles ultra-economical, fast and, fitted with particulate filters, very low in all emissions. GAS: It runs clean. Unlike many countries, Australia charges a premium for diesel. This charge was intended to be used to pay for the roads that heavy-duty diesel trucks were destroying. To- day, haulage gets a subsidy on diesel, private motorists do not. Mostly, diesel cars aremoreexpen- sive than petrol equivalents. Some are the same price, some a lot dearer. A Volkswagen Golf TDI costs $33,190 while the smaller-engined 1.4-litre petrol version costs $30,490. At $1.17 a litre for diesel, based on the Golf TDI’s 5.3 litres/100km aver- age and the premium-petrol model’s 6.2 litres, it takes 13 months of driving at 15,000km a year before they are financially equivalent. After that, because diesel and premium unleaded are the same price, you are saving money with the diesel. Higher annual distances will shorten the payback period. Despite rumours, diesels do not cost a lot more to service. That they are messy to refuel is true. Visiting some rural service stations for a top- up of diesel can be an ordeal. Metro stations are getting cleaner. Diesel is a very good alternative to petrol. Ethanol Virtually all news cars can run on E10, which is 10 per cent ethanol and 90 per cent petrol.Ahandful can cope with E85. Saab is our most pro-active manu- facturer espousing E85. Trouble is, where do you get the E85? Most ethanol is produced from crops that can also be eaten by humans. The dilemma is whether to fuel our cars or feed our families. Alternative production methods bypass cropsweneed for food but the result is lower-yield ethanol produc- tion. Ethanol costs about 95c a litre and has a higher energy rating than petrol. Saab data says an E85 model will accelerate to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds compared with a petrol model’s 8.5 seconds; gives 5.7 litres/ 100km compared with 8.3/100km; and has a range of 1018km compared with 699km. They are equally reli- able. That is $812 a year to travel 15,000km on E85 compared with $1370 a year on petrol. The downside? E85 is a caustic liquid requiring special engine com- ponents. The fuel is available at only a handful of outlets — none in WA, South Australia, Tasmania or the Northern Territory. CLOSED ANZAC DAY
April 18th 2009
May 2nd 2009