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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Update on Fuel Costs and a Day on the Ice


Here are a couple of the many pics I took yesterday when I went snow shoeing on the ice
we have (already) on the Jeddore Harbour. The top one is earlier in the afternoon and the tide is at the low ebb...
the ice is heisted by the large boulders as the tide goes out. In the lower

picture the sun is down, and you can see the water churning up through the ice in the fore ground near the sun-reflection (off the snow), as the tide starts the turn. The ice is early this
year, and brings memories of the winters in Nova Scotia in the Seventies.

I want to augment the blog that I shared with you regarding fuel costs and considerations on more efficient ways to drive an automobile. I was speaking with a very good friend from Belgium who had read the blog. He wanted to let us know what is happening there, relative to fuel costs and the effects of pollution in Europe. I want to thank my friend, Bart Segers, for the updates.

It seems that we are paying much less in Nova Scotia for our fuel than our ancestors' offspring in Europe. Currently the price of diesel fuel is 1.2 Euros per litre... that is about $1.75/l Canadian (and American). The gasoline prices are in the range of 1.9 Euro per litre for 90+ octane. For those reading this who buy fuel in US Gallons, that price would be $6.67 per gallon!

The other news that came was that the current speed limit throughout all highways in Belgium is 90km/hr due to an around-the-clock SMOG ALERT. They have recognized the obvious, that by lowering the speed limit, less fuel is used and therefore less smog is generated. Also, it seems that the particles in the air are significant and large enough that with their current atmospheric inversion, they are taking on moisture, and precipitating as a 'snowflake-like' dust. Bart called it CHEMICAL SNOW. It gives new meaning to 'dreaming of a white Christmas'!

Also, as you know the highways in Europe are exceptionally well built and we are used to hearing of high driving speeds and very fast cars. I understand from Bart, that Germany is now in the process of deciding to put speed limits on all 'A' level autobahn highways (the 80 to 120km limits today are just on the curves) and around cities. That gives new meaning to 'Only in Canada you say'.

An interesting new piece of information is that the European governments have now acknowledged that the small cars using diesel fuel are actually more fuel efficient and produce less pollution than even the best hybrids (like the Prius). They have strong regulations on the quality of 'diesel' fuel there, and they encourage its use by having much lower 'diesel' fuel costs than regular gasoline. In Nova Scotia, the diesel is not consistently produced and the energy companies get away with charging more for it. The automobile companies collude with big oil by not offering diesel engines in current models of cars... with a few exceptions, like the Jeep Limited Edition which still only gets about 30mpg (US). Volkswagon stopped importing diesels because the fuel across Canada is not consistent, and the cars have to be tuned differently in several localities as a result... our loss... the Jetta Diesel was among the best vehicles ever made.

I am repeating this subject on the blog because it seems to me that it is such an easy way to save money... drive more efficiently... and put the savings to retirement or in many cases to living a little better.

I should note that as I tried yesterday, in our old Jeep Sahara, to keep near the speed limit on Highway 107 (I was driving at 98kph in a 100kph limit zone) one of those Jerks I mentioned in the earlier blog (I know what a driving jerk is, because I used to be one) in a taupe colored Honda Accord with a license plate that started EDZ... followed me for a couple of kilometers, then flew by me, giving me the bird, and then cutting me off sharply enough to cause me to have to break! If you know me, I didn't take too kindly to this, and let the driver know it while also taking his picture with my ever-ready camera... of course to do this, I wasn't driving very efficiently and it took me a while to recover... but I did. My reason for recalling this event to you, don't expect that everyone will agree with your position on saving fuel!

I am hoping that you will consider passing these blogs on to your friends. We have to start the process of communicating a better way to live. While I don't purport to know exactly the way, I do want to get the dialog started. I encourage you to comment here on... I will post each comment as is, unedited.

If I don't have the next posting ready prior to Christmas, I hope you who celebrate this holiday will enjoy it with your family in a safe, healthy and happy way. For those who don't celebrate it, may you too have the peace and happiness that we all deserve, no matter our beliefs.

Ciao, and remember... Success Nourishes Hope


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Blueknowser

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Grad. Saint Mary's University, 1975, got into the medical device business initially in sales, then various management positions up to president, all in Medical Devices. I prefer therapy products over diagnostic, but they are all fun, and in a way have defined my life. I have now evolved, with help from my 35 year partner Lynnda with whom I now share every hour. I am into staying healthy, photography, kayaking, bicycling, gardening and two books a week. I wish I had gotten to this stage earlier!