The Road Ahead : August September 2008
eco-motoring WITH JON DEE Need to save fuel will be signifi cantly higher than they are now, for peak oil is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. So what’s the solution? A new report by the Jamison Group suggests that implementing compulsory fuel consumption standards on Australian cars could reduce Australia’s fuel use by as much as 5.3 billion litres a year. You don’t have to be a mathematician to work out how much that could save the nation. Their initial fi gures estimate that it could save motorists up to $700 a year each. AAP reports that if Australia was to reduce its fuel consumption by 2 litres/100 km, it could save Australian motorists an estimated $10 billion. A case of saving the environment and our wallets at E very time we visit the petrol bowser, one thing is becoming increasingly apparent: at some point soon, we’ll need to signifi cantly increase the fuel effi ciency of our cars. Rising fuel prices and our increasing concern about climate change are causing people to signifi cantly rethink their approach to the car. John Metcalfe, from the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), summed it up well when he said: “One of the key challenges in the 21st Century is to harness the benefi ts of cars while at the same time making signifi cant reductions in the negative impacts caused by motoring … such as air pollution and vehicle emissions.” So how do we do this and why is such action so urgent? Two words: peak oil. ‘Peak oil’ describes the point at which worldwide maximum petroleum extraction is reached and production declines. A CSIRO report issued in July said that if oil production doesn’t keep up with demand, then worst case scenarios indicate that petrol prices could go as high as $8 per litre by 2018. What we can be certain of is that petrol prices in 2018 the same time. With the European Union looking to introduce compulsory standards of 4.6 litres/100 km for passenger vehicles, one wonders whether Australia will move in the same direction. Australia certainly needs to upgrade its own car industry to ensure that more fuel-effi cient cars are built. The Government’s recent investment in the Australian-made Camry Hybrid is a good start but lots more will need to be done if we are to reduce the environmental and social costs of our reliance on petrol. At a time of interest rate increases, rising food prices and petrol price hikes, such a move could be highly benefi cial to each and every one of our household budgets. Jon Dee is the founder and chairman of Planet Ark (www. planetark.org). oin the growing number of RACQ members who have signed up to the e-Road Ahead and are now enjoying the convenience of browsing current and past editions from anywhere at anytime. During June and July, up to 1500 members a week chose to switch from the hard copy to the online edition, with many giving it the tick of approval for its easy to use features and the environmental benefi ts it provides. The e-Road Ahead is ideal for those who access the web daily for news, entertainment and information, people who are hitting the road with their laptop in tow, or those who just want to do their View your magazine online J bit for the environment. Features of the e-magazine include ‘fl ick-through’ pages, keyword searching and hyperlinking of websites allowing you to click straight to a website mentioned in an advertisement or article. You also have access to more than a year’s back issues, as well as the current edition, making it easy to fi nd that story or advertisement you recall from a few issues back. To register, visit racq.com/emagazine. Every two months, you will receive a link to the new e-Road Ahead edition or you can access it anytime by visiting racq.com and clicking on The Road Ahead page under ‘Membership’. Here’s some feedback from members: • “The electronic version of The Road Ahead is an excellent idea. Besides the environmental savings, it is saving RACQ money on printing and postage and I can a. Besides the access past editions.” • “I was pleasantly surprised. None of the annoying, fl ashing ads … just good reading in a convenient format.” AUG/SEP 08 • “I’m sure this will become a popular way to receive the news and stories that are offered to members.” 19 Photo by Ben Smith, Shutterstock.com.
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