(The Lisbon-Dakar starts  on 5 Jan [2008].)

30 Dec 2007: A "tropical low" off the Queensland coast caused most beaches in S.Qld to be closed.
Tropical cyclone Melanie monstered the coast of NW Western Australia.

20-22 December 2007: Heavy rain across much of Victoria, including Melbourne, caused extensive flash flooding. Broken Hill, NSW, had much of the same on Saturday 22nd.

22 Dec 2007, "surprise": Although the .au$ is strongish and the price of crude oil has moderated, it is a holiday period and the price of petrol has jumped by a 5 to 6¢ per litre.

19/12/2007: ULP Melb' au$1.33±;

19 Dec 2007: The European Commission (EC) will allow trading of CO2 emissions between car makers — makers of large cars will be able to buy credits from makers of small cars. In Feb 2007 the EC proposed measures which would lead to average CO2 emissions of no more than 120 grams per km (4.5 l/100km diesel, 5 l/100km petrol, roughly 60mpg in old terms) by 2012 for new cars (inc. measures such as biofuels). The target for vans is 175 g CO2/km by 2012, [www]['07]. The current state of play [www] for "...new cars manufactured in 2006..." is:
Manufacturer mass C02 sales
  average average total
BMW 1453 182 739,993
DaimlerChrysler 1472 184 860,816
Fiat 1112 144 1,050,885
Ford 1319 162 1,490,276
GM 1257 157 1,424,783
Porsche 1596 282 39,069
PSA 1201 142 1,882,210
Renault 1234 147 1,232,236
Volkswagen 1366 165 2,744,849
Toyota 1214 152 773,329
Nissan 1202 164 273,893
Mitsubishi 1245 169 101,124
Honda 1261 153 229,791
Mazda 1296 173 229,135
Suzuki 1152 164 178,614
Subaru 1384 216 31,541
Hyundai 1349 165 461,880
Total (sales weighted) 1288.8 159.2 13,744,424
so Porsche has some work to do but PSA's experience (Peugeot Citroen) in small diesels is paying off. Also see the 2008 report on 2007 and [www]['08] ([www]['07]) on Euro-5.
It would probably be a good bet that Australia will do something similar if not identical eventually. Also see this year's Solar Challenge.

Dec 2007: The RACV .au best-car awards for 2007 include best small car VW Polo, best RV Nissan X-Trail ST (2.5L CVT au$34K), and best all-terrain 4WD LandRover Discovery-3 SE diesel (au$75K) for the 3rd time in 3 years so LandRover must be doing something right. The BMW X5 diesel (~$87K) was awarded best luxury 4WD.

Dec 2007: In an interesting decision, the (new, retro) Fiat 500 won the international 2008(!) Car of the Year award. Unlike the original, the new 500 is front wheel drive, and has a 1.2 or 1.4L petrol, or 1.3 diesel, engine. It will come to .au in 2008.

25 November 2007, Sunday, 9am-3pm:   Historic Commercial Vehicles Show, Sandown (Melways 80/C9), Melbourne, .au, $10 adults, [www].

24 November 2007, Saturday: Australian General Election.
If you can't stand the tally-room, SBS has (repeats of) Top-Gear (SBS, BBC) at 7.30: "Richard drives the Marcos T5O-GT ... Then the team has a race to bring a truffle from Alba in northern Italy to the NatWest Tower in London [using] a light aircraft [v.] a Bugatti Veyron ... Nigel Mansell is an ex-Formula 1 Driver [& ex world champion] in a Reasonably Priced Car." TG is followed by The Long Way Round.
(Labor won. John Howard, the outgoing Liberal prime-minister, lost his own seat of Bennelong to Maxine McKew (Labor).)

16/11/2007: ULP Melb' au$1.32±; .tx crude us$94/barrel; au$1.0=us$0.90
10/11/2007: ULP Melb' $1.30/L
au$1.00~us$0.93, £0.44, eu0.63)

16-18 November 2007: Victorian Winch Challenge, Yea Vic..

November 2007: New Toyota LandCruiser 200 (replaces 100) goes on sale in .au, with petrol V8 or turbo-diesel V8 (new), automatic gearbox (only), and Kinetic (of WA) suspension.

November 2007: The stars of the recent Darwin to Adelaide World Solar Challenge are the solar powered cars that averaged 90+km/hr (in daylight). But cars in the production class, ones that you can buy in a shop, are of more everyday relevance. Lowest consumption figures were returned by a Hyundai i30 diesel (3.2L/100km, 97g/km CO2), and an Audi A3 Sportback 1.9 TDLe diesel (3.3L/100km, 98g/km CO2), both "driven well below speed limits" by professionals with "a/c off" etc.. Perhaps as impressive were two Peugeot 207 HDi (3.9L/100km, 118g/km) driven at "close to normal highway speeds" by non-professionals with "a/c on" etc.. A Toyota Prius petrol/electric hybrid (5.6L/100km, 146g/km) produced 24% more CO2 than the Peugeots. The message is clear: For good fuel economy with current technology, go for a small turbo-diesel. (The production class trophy was awarded to a petrol Smart Fortwo (4.6L/100km, 120g/km) when various factors were considered, particularly the car's light weight given that most car trips are short ones "around town". I wonder what fuel-consumption a Goggomobil would have returned. Also see the EC, [19 Dec.].

9-11 November 2007: National 4x4 Show, Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW, .au [www].

6 November 2007, Tuesday: Melbourne Cup Day.


Rain put some water into rivers in the Victorian Alps.
Right: the Thompson River near Walhalla.

4-5 November 2007: Rain across Victoria was generally good news for farmers but 70-100mm fell in the Alps and brought flooding to Tinambra, between Heyfield and Maffra, and even closed the Princes highway. It also destroyed the replacement bridge on the Licola Road (see July) which had been installed in August.

3 November 2007, Saturday: Top Gear back on SBS TV (.au), SBS TV [www].

25-28 October 2007 (Thurs-Sun):   National 4x4 Show, Jeff's shed (Melbourne Exhibition Centre), Melbourne, Vic., .au [www].

16/10/2007: ULP Melb' $1.20/L

October 2007: The Australian General Election has been called — time to request a postal-vote if you are planning to travel in late November.

4 October 2007: Series 13 of 4WD TV (.au, ch 31) starts [www].

18/7/2007: ULP Melb' $1.24/L

17 July 2007:       A cold snap brought snow down to 500m in central Victoria (.au) causing some roads to be closed.

5 July 2007: Heavy rain in eastern Victoria (.au) caused flooding and closed roads. Licola was particularly badly hit — after suffering the summer bushfires and (other) autumn floods.

July 2007: The new LandRover Freelander 2 in .au.

2 July 2007: A "new" series of 'Top Gear' is back on [SBS TV] (.au). The opener with the boys building a soft-top people mover was particularly funny.

June 2007:  There was (some) snow in the alps (.au) for the start of the ski season — not common in recent years.


25 April 2007:   Anzac Day.

4 March 2007, Sunday:   Dandenong Ranges 4x4 Swap Meet, 8am-2pm, Yarra Glen Showgrounds, Melba Highway, Yarra Glen (Melways Ref: 275 A2), buyers $3, u12 free [www].

18 February 2007, Sunday:   Victorian Four Wheel Drive Show, Wandin, Vic., .au (Melways 119 G7), entry $15, u16 free. (NB. Dogs are not allowed into the show grounds.)

26 January 2007:   Australia Day, RACV Historic Vehicle Display, King's Domain, Melbourne, Vic. .au.

6 - 21 January 2007: Lisbon - Dakar rally, bikes: Despres, KTM; cars: Peterhansel & Cottret, Mitsubishi; trucks: Stacey, Gotlib & Der Kinderen, Man; [www].

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