2008

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2008

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31/12/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.03/l, min $1.00 ([Perth] avg $1.01, min $0.97); oil us$39/b
30/12/2008 Tue Melb ULP avg $1.06/l, min $1.01 (Perth avg $1.01, min $0.97); oil us$40/b; au$1.00=us$0.69, £0.48, €0.49, ¥62
29/12/2008 Mon Melb ULP avg $1.08/l, min $1.01 (Perth avg $1.02, min $0.97); oil us$38/b
During 2008  oil rose as high as us$147/barrel in July, and some were predicting it would reach us$200/b in 2009, but it fell as low as us$37/b in December. Over the same period the au$ fell from us$0.96 to us$0.68±. ULP fell from about au$1.70/l to au$1.00/l -- 2004 prices.
31 December 2008: Petrol in Perth (with [fuelwatch]) was several cents per litre cheaper over the Christmas holiday period than in Melbourne (without fuelwatch), and Perth residents knew with certainty where to get the best deal.
31st, diesel however, Melb avg $1.26, min $1.22, Perth avg $1.31, min $1.20.

27 December 2008: The Skycar Expedition [www]['08] has been preparing to fly from London to Tombouctou in Mali, 6000km, aiming to leave on 14 January 2009. The Skycar is a rear wheel drive buggy fitted with a rear-mounted propeller, and a parafoil ram-air wing [www]['08]. On road speed to 180km/h, take-off 60km/h, flying to 110km/h. It sounds like just the thing for the next Bond movie. (The expedition succeeded; see 2 March 2009.)

25 December 2008: Christmas Day.

25/12/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.14, min $1.13 ([Perth] avg $1.04, min $0.97) oil us$36/b
24/12/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.02, min $0.97 (Perth avg $1.04, min $0.97) oil us$39/b; au$1.00=us$0.68, £0.46, €0.49, ¥61

23 December 2008, 12.40pm: "TC Billy is currently located northwest of Broome [WA] and is expected to move away from the Kimberley coast today. In the next 24 hours the cyclone is expected to move in a more westerly direction." -- BOM [www][23/12/'08].

22 December 2008: Even Toyota reported that it was expecting to make a loss for the year (to the end of March 2009) -- ¥150bn (au$2.4bn) v. a profit of ¥2.3tn (au$37bn) for last year. Toyota last made a loss in 1938.

22 December 2008: GM Holden announced that it would "build an all-new small car in Australia ... start in the 3rd quarter of 2010 with support from the Federal and South Australian Governments. ..." [www][12/'08].

21 December 2008: EU memo/08/799 CO2 from passenger cars which "account for about 12% of all Community CO2 emissions ... [aim] fleet average CO2 for new cars sold in the EU of 120g/km in 2012 ... targets will be applied to 65%, 75% & 80% of a manufacturer's cars in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 resp. ... penalties ... Long term objective for 2020 of 95gm/km ..." [www][17/12/'08]. Legislation was passed 18/12/2008 [www].

20 December 2008: Bonhams Ferrari et les Prestigieuses Italiennes auction [www][12/'08] at Gstaad, .ch, includes an ex-works 1955 Ferrari 121LM Spyder Corsa (lot 205) -- estimate CHF 4,700,000 to 6,600,000 (£2,900,000 to 4,000,000). Dear Santa . . . (not sold.)

19 December 2008: Outgoing US President George Bush agreed to loan GM and Chrysler us$17.4bn (of the people's money) to stave off (delay?) bankruptcy. President elect Barack Obama emphasised that the companies must not blow the dough but must come up with a plan to restructure, so that's all right then.
(Ford is in a better financial state and is "not seeking short-term financial assistance from the government" but is "asking for access to a line of credit of up to $9billion in bridge financing" [www].)

19 December 2008: "Land Rover has today confirmed that it will cancel the Land Rover G4 Challenge programme in order to focus more on product launches in 2009. 'Given the severity of the global economic downturn and trading conditions,' ..." - LR [www]['12/'08].

18/12/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.08, min $0.97 ([Perth] avg $0.99, min $0.94); oil us$40/b
17/12/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.00, min $0.98 ([Perth] avg $0.98, min $0.96); oil us$44/b; au$1.00=us$0.70, £0.45, €0.49, ¥62

17 December 2008: Perth, with [fuelwatch], led with lower petrol prices than Melbourne, without. Diesel however just seems to get more and more expensive relative to petrol -- Melbourne avg $1.29/l, min $1.26/l, Perth avg$1.34/l, min $1.24.

17 December 2008: Shelby Super Cars [SSC]['08] recently unveiled its 1287hp 2009 Ultimate Aero which "will be able to reach world-record speeds of 270mph". The current model holds the record for the world's fastest “production” car at 412.28km/h (256.18mph) 13/9/2007 (Guinness World Records). Previous recent contenders were "the Koenigsegg CCR at 388km/h and the Bugatti Veyron's unofficial speed of 408.47km/h." Not very green then, although SSC claimed to be working on an prototype electric vehicle for 2009.

17 December 2008: The British Government is said to be in talks with Jaguar Land Rover (now owned by Tata, India) over possible financial assistance due to the “global financial crisis” -- Daily Telgraph [www][17/12/'08].

15 December 2008: The Australian Labor Government released its white paper on carbon trading and greenhouse gas reductions [www]['08]. Target reductions for 2020 were set at 5% to 15% of 2000 levels depending on global action, 5% being unconditional, a greater reduction being conditional on a "global agreement under which all major economies commit to substantially restrain emissions, and advanced economies take on reductions comparable to Australia." The measures, which were labelled as being much too weak by environmental groups, are certainly very conservative.

14 December 2008 (Sun.), uk: The Race of Champions, Wembley Stadium, uk -- "... 16 drivers will compete in a series of knockout heats in their own division to determine their class champion. Then, in a shoot-out to determine who is the master of motorsport, the winners from the two divisions will go head-to-head in a super final. ..." -- [www][11/'08] with drivers from F1, rallying and Nascar.
Race of Champions: 1. Sebastien Loeb, World Rally Champion (5 times), 2. David Coulthard (F1).
Nations Cup: 1. Michael Schumacher & Sebastian Vettel, .de.
11/12/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.09, min $1.00 ([Perth] avg $1.00, min $0.98); oil us$44/b
10/12/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.03, min $1.00 (Perth avg $1.01, min $0.99); au$1.00=us$0.66, £0.45, €0.51, ¥61

11 December 2008: Oil bounced around in the low us$40s per barrel and even dipped to ~us$40/barrel (was us$140/b in June/July) and the au$ strengthened but petrol stations in fuelwatch-free Melbourne seemed to take the chance to widen their profit margins.

5 December 2008: Citing the global financial crisis, Honda announced that it would withdraw from Formula One racing and would put its F1 team [www][5/12/'08] up for sale: "... The RA109 ... 2009 F1 contender, ... confirmation that Honda will provide the necessary support to complete the car in time for the first race in Melbourne, I am sure that we can still have a very successful 2009 season if a new owner can be found. ..." You would have to suspect that Honda's lack of success in F1 also played a large part in the decision. [The team became Brawn GP, and Mercedes powered, in 2009, the team then winning the constructors' world championship and driver Jenson Button winning the drivers' world championship!]

4/12/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.14/l, min $1.00 ([Perth] avg $1.04, min $1.00); oil us$48/b
3/12/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.04/l, min $1.00 (Perth avg $1.05, min $1.00); oil us$48/b; au$1.00=us$0.65, £0.43, €0.51, ¥60

4 December 2008, .au: "Official VFACTS data released today by the [FCAI] shows that 71,647 cars, trucks and light buses were sold in November - down 22.2%" v. Nov. 2007. -- fcai [www][12/'08].

3 December 2008: For the "fourth year in succession the Land Rover Discovery 3 [won] Australia's Best Cars All Terrain 4WD of the Year Award. The Discovery 3 SE TDV6 ... [and D3] was also voted the Best Luxury 4WD in the Carsales Network People's Choice Awards ..." -- LR.

3/12/2008: Chrysler submitted to the USA Senate its plan (request for money) to survive the economic crisis [www][12/'08]. Ford [www][2/12/'08] and GM [www][2/12/'08] also made supplications.

2 December 2008: "Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) USA Inc. today reported November sales of 130,307 vehicles, a decrease of 33.9% from last November on a daily selling rate basis. ..." -- Toyota [www][2/12/'08].
"American Honda Motor Co., Inc., posted November sales of 76,233, a decline of 31.6%, compared to record November 2007 results. ..." -- Honda [www][2/12/'08].

2 December 2008: The RACV [www][12/'08] warned drivers "to exercise extreme caution if encountering Australian plague locust swarms" in N. Victoria and S. NSW. Also see [dpi.gov.au][2/12/'08].

1 December 2008: Cash-strapped Ford will "re-evaluate strategic options for Volvo ... in response to the significant decline in the global auto industry particularly in the past three months" [www][12/'08], not to mention Volvo's disappointing sales even before that. Does that mean sell? Ford recently sold other “Premier Automotive Group” brands - Aston-Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover - with what seems to have been pretty good timing.

1 December 2008 (Mon.), Olympia, London: Bonhams auction of collectors' cars and related items [www]['08], including lot 347 registration number AU1 dating from 1903 and as adopted by Auric Goldfinger in the Bond film, lot 624 a 1925 Bentley 3-litre, and lot 679 a 1976 Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me (remember one under water). The Bentley sold for £276,500, the Lotus for £111,500 (inc. of buyer's premium). (Also see 29 October 2008 below.)

29 November 2008 (Sat.):   "GM Holden will mark the 60th anniversary of Australia's first locally developed car, the Holden 48-215 on Saturday 29 November. ..." -- GMH [www]['08].

27/11/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.15/l, min $1.04 ([Perth] avg $1.10, min $1.06); oil us$55/b
26/11/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.07, min $1.03 ([Perth] avg $1.11, min $1.07); oil us$52/b; au$1.00=us$0.65, £0.42, €0.50, ¥61
26 November 2008: In its latest tests, "... Euro NCAP's top scorers for adult occupant protection ... were the Alfa Romeo Mito, Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 308CC, VW Golf VI, Renault Megane, Honda Accord, Opel Insignia and the Volvo XC60. ..." -- NCAP [www]['08]. In 2009 Euro NCAP will start using a new safety rating scheme, with the first results due next February.

26 November 2008: Porsche made record profits in 2007/2008 (31 July) of €8.569billion, of which €6.834 billion (!) was from trading shares in VW which Porsche now controls. Porsche "expects a significant drop in sales in the current business year 2008/2009" due to the world financial crisis. -- Porsche [www][11/'08]. (See 12 Nov. 2009.)

25 Nov 2008:  On "19/11/2008 [UK Defence Secretary] John Hutton announced the three distinct categories of Tactical Support Vehicles (TSV) and their Preferred Bidders:  Wolfhound TSV (Heavy) - Based on the Cougar 6x6 flatbed made by Force Protection Industries Inc. ...  Husky TSV (Medium) - Based on the International MXT-MVA made by Navistar Defence ...  Coyote TSV (Light) - Based on a 6x6 derivative of the Jackal designed by Supacat Ltd, Devon; will support our go-anywhere, high-mobility Jackals ..." [www] & [www][11/'08]. (Also see Jackal April 2008 below, [www] & [www][11/'08], and Supacat [www]['08], especially the HMT.)

23 November (Sunday): 27th Annual Display Day of the Historic Commercial Vehicle Club (HCVC) [www], Sandown Racecourse, Springvale, Victoria, .au, Melways map 80 C9.

6 by 6, green and red
AEC

22 November 2008 (Sat.), .au: Bad weather continued in SE [Queensland], and upto 150mm (6”) of rain with "damaging winds averaging 60 to 80km/h with peak gusts up to 120km/h" were forecast for Gippsland and Alpine areas of [Victoria].

21-30 November 2008: Los Angeles Motor Show [www], Los Angeles Convention Center (press 19-20 Nov.).
Including Chrysler/ Dodge electric concepts & Jeep Wrangler EV (electric & small petrol engine) concept; Ford 2010 Fusion (and hybrid) [www]['08] "balanced" by the revised Mustang; Mazda's new Mazda3 [www]; Mini E (electric); Nissan Cube Mk II & the 2009 370Z; Porsche updated Boxster and Cayman; Toyota CNG Camry hybrid concept, & Lexus 2010 RX 450h hybrid & RX 350, 2010 IS convertibles & 2009 Lexus LS 460 & LS 460 (AWDs); VW Touareg "clean" V6 TDI, & 3 fuel-cell prototypes.
Ford is in a bad way, and there is a real prospect that General Motors and/or Chrysler may go broke in the near future -- fuel inefficient line-ups and the credit crunch.
20/11/2008 Thu melb ULP avg au$1.22/l, min $1.11 ([Perth] avg $1.18, min $1.14); oil us$53/b
19/11/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.16/l, min $1.11 (Perth avg $1.19, min $1.14); oil us$55/b; au$1.00=us$0.64, £0.43, €0.51, ¥62

20 November 2008: Oil has been under us$53/barrel, a price last seen in 2005/2006. ULP has also been at 2006-ish prices.

19 November 2008: The latest James Bond 007 movie, Quantum of Solace, released in Australia.

18 November 2008: "Mazda ... and several of its strategic business partners will acquire a part of [Ford's] shares in Mazda through market trading. ... Ford's ownership of Mazda stock will be reduced from 33.4% to just over 13%, with the new agreement allowing the 2 companies to continue their strategic relationship that spans nearly 30 years." -- Mazda [www]['08].
(Ford is short of cash.)

14 - 16 November 2008: Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham uk, near junction 6 of the M42, [www]['08].

13/11/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.28/l, min $1.20 ([Perth] avg $1.24, min $1.19; oil us$56/b
12/11/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.23/l, min $1.21 (Perth avg $1.26, min $1.19); oil us$59/b; au$1.00=us$0.66, £0.43, €0.52, ¥64

13 November 2008, .au: The Opposition seems to have stopped a Government plan to introduce a nation-wide fuelwatch scheme like the long-running one in [WA] where prices are posted the night before and must stand all day. There has been a lot of political nonsense (surprise), but if you have watched petrol prices in WA and in Melbourne, say (see right), prices are generally lower, and more dependable, in the smaller WA market. Too bad.

10 November 2008, .au: A recall on certain Subaru "2007MY & 2008MY turbo Liberty, 2008MY Impreza WRX (except STI) and 2009MY turbo Forester models ... turbo charger oil supply pipe ... If the pipe is deformed, vibration experienced during normal driving could result in a crack developing in the pipe over time, causing an engine oil leak." [www][11/'08].

10 November 2008, .mil, .au: "The ADF has ordered 1200 Mercedes-Benz G-wagens under a au$350million contract to replace the ADF's Land Rover fleet. ... meet the lightweight/light capability segment of Land 121 Project Overlander ... Six different types of G-wagen ... 4x4 GP station wagon, two 4x4 cargo variants, 6x6 cab chassis, 6x6 dual cab truck, 6x6 specialist surveillance. ... next item on Overlander ... is the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV)" [www]['08].

7 November 2008: "... GM reported a net loss of $2.5billion or $4.45/share for the third quarter, including special items. That compares with a net loss from continuing operations of $42.5billion or $75.12/share in the third quarter of 2007, which included a non-cash charge of $38.3billion to establish a valuation allowance against some of the company's net deferred tax assets.
On an adjusted basis, GM posted a net loss of $4.2billion or $7.35/share, compared with a net loss from continuing operations of $1.6billion or $2.86/share in the same period last year. ..." [www]. Ouch! Also see GM, 1 August below.

7 November 2008: Ford reported a "net loss of [us]$129million, or $0.06 a share, for the third quarter of 2008. ... remains on track to achieve $5billion in cost reductions in NA by the end of 2008 compared with 2005..." [www]['08].

7 November 2008, .au: Rain in the south of the Northern Territory [www] caused the normally dry Todd River to flow.

6/10/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.37/l, min $1.26 ([Perth] avg $1.31, min $1.27); oil us$65/b
5/10/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.30/l, min $1.26 (Perth avg $1.32, min $1.29); oil us$70/b; au$1.00=us$0.69, £0.43, €0.54, ¥68

6 November 2008, .au: "Official VFACTS data ... show that 79,105 cars, trucks and buses were sold in October - down 11.4% [v.] same month last year." -- fcai [www]['08].

5 November 2008: The FIA decided to revise stewarding arrangements in F1 for 2009, [www]['08]; there were some "controversial" decisions in 2008.

5 November 2008: Barack Obama (Democrat) won the USA Presidential Election.

4 November 2008, Tuesday: Melbourne Cup Day (.au). The race was won by ‘Viewed’.

khaki

4 November 2008, replacing the Hummer: "... BAE Systems, through its Ground Systems line of business, and team mate Navistar Defense, LLC have been awarded a [us]$40.5m to participate in a 27-month technology demonstration phase of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program. ... The BAE Systems-Navistar JLTV proposal is named the Valanx. [www]['08] ..." --BAE S [www]['08].
Other groups to build demonstrators are General Tactical Vehicles [www]['08], and Lockheed Martin Systems Integration [www]['08]. Improved protection against mines and improvised explosive devices, IEDs, is an important aspect of the JLTV - think Iraq. Also see army.mil [www]['08].

2 November 2008, Sunday: London to Brighton Veteran Car Run for pre 1905 cars [www], with an associated auction on Fri 31 Oct., and a Concours in Regent Street, London on Sat 1 Nov.. The run commemorates the Emancipation Run of 14 November 1896 which celebrated the Locomotives on the Highway Act which lifted the speed limit for light locomotives from 4mph to 14mph.

2 November 2008 (Sun): Brazilian F1 Grand Prix [www]['08], Interlagos [www]['08], Sao Paulo (practice from Fri 31st Oct).
In the last race of the year, with the F1 Drivers' World Championship very close, Massa needed to finish 2nd or better if Hamilton was out of the points, and Hamilton needed to finish 5th or better if Massa won. A shower delayed the start and dampened the track. Massa led and Hamilton worked his way to 4th place, then light rain started to fall with 5 laps to go. Most, but not all, of the lead group pitted for wet tyres and Hamilton fell to 5th. Then Vettel passed him and the championship seemed to be Massa's. But on the last lap, Glock who was now 4th, due to gambling by staying on dry tyres, slowed in increasing rain and Vettel and Hamilton passed him giving Hamilton his necessary 5th place. F1 is always more exciting in the rain.  Results: 1. Filipe Massa (Ferrari), 2. Fernando Alonso (Renault), 3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), 4. Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso), 5. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes), 6. Timo Glock (Toyota). Drivers' Championship: 1. Lewis Hamilton (98pts), 2. Filipe Massa (97 pts), 3. Kimi Raikkonen (75 pts). Aged 23, Hamilton is the youngest ever world champion (was Alonso @ 24). The last British World Champion was Damon Hill (Williams Renault) in 1996. Constructors' Championship: 1. Ferrari (172 pts), 2. McLaren Mercedes (151 pts), 3. BMW Sauber (135 pts).

31 October 2008:  The latest James Bond 007 movie, Quantum of Solace, released in the UK (USA 14 Nov, .au 19 Nov). (007 drives an Aston Marton DBS, for rather longer than in Casino Royale (2006), and a Range Rover Sport. Bond girl Camille (Olga Kurylenko) product places drives a new Ford Ka.) Sadly, two Land Rovers get trashed -- a police SWB at the start and a LWB station wagon near the end.

30/10/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.42/l, min $1.34 ([Perth] avg $1.38, avg $1.34); oil us$68/b
29/10/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.38, min $1.35 (Perth avg $1.39, min $1.35); oil us$65/b; au$1.00=us$0.64, £0.40, €0.50, ¥62

29 October 2008, Wed.: RM Auctions 'Automobiles of London' includes lot 253, a 1924 Bentley 3/8 litre Sports Roadster, chassis no.458, pre-auction estimate £600,000-£680,000 [www]. The Bentley was passed-in at £475,000. (Also see 1 Dec 2008 above.)

27 October 2008, .uk: "... average UK petrol prices dropped through £1/litre [$au2.54/l] over the weekend for the first time in almost a year ..." [www] -- the AA, 27/10/'08

25 October 2008: The 30th anniversary of the GM Holden Commodore passenger car. "More than 2.5 million Commodores have been built since the first VB series sedans went into production." --GMH.

24 October 2008, .uk: The Bloodhound SSC project [www] aims to raise the World Land-Speed Record to over 1000mph, Mach 1.4. Some of the team were involved with Thrust SSC, including project leader Richard Noble and driver Andy Green. Thrust SSC reached 763mph and first broke the sound barrier on land on 15 Oct 1997. The “car” will be 12.8m long. weigh 6,422kg, and be powered by a Eurojet EJ200 jet engine and a Falcon rocket engine. The project was officially launched "at the Science Museum [by] Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation." Apparently "the low altitude speed record for aircraft [is “only”] c.994mph."

23-26 October 2008, Thurs-Sun: National 4x4 Show, Melbourne, Vic .au, [www].

23/10/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.51/l, min $1.43 ([Perth] avg $1.45, min $1.41); oil us$67/b
22/10/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.45, min $1.44 (Perth avg $1.45, min $1.42); oil us$71/b au$1.00=us$0.67, £0.41, €0.52, ¥66

22 October 2008: Oil fell below us$70/barrel, less than half of its July peak, but the au$ was us$0.96± then; it is about 2/3 of that now.

22 October 2008: "... Mini E: a 100% electric, zero-emission [car] ... seeking up to 500 pioneers to lease the Mini E for a one-year period ..." [www]['08], "... 150kW electric motor ... lithium-ion battery ... range >150 miles ... 0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds ... 1,465kg ... California, New York and New Jersey ... [and maybe] Europe ..."
And the electric e500 (Fiat 500) was at the British Motor Show, 23 July.
And "the CSIRO-invented ‘UltraBattery’ is set to have a global impact on greenhouse gas emissions after Japan's Furukawa Battery Company, which has already begun production of the UltraBattery, and US manufacturer, East Penn [signed up]..." -- ref: 08/173 CSIRO [www][23/9/08]. This is a lead-acid battery, relatively heavy but cheap, combined with a supercapacitor to smooth out high demand, and charging, for  l o n g  life.

21 October 2008: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released "retail unleaded petrol prices in the five largest metropolitan cities and Singapore Mogas 95 unleaded prices - seven day rolling averages - 17 July to 17 October 2008" [www]; Singapore and .au prices track each other closely. Figures from the Australian Institute of Petroleum (AIP) [www] suggested that wholesale suppliers' margins jumped in the few days before 19th Oct..

20 Oct 2008, .uk: Mid October average UK prices, petrol £1.064/l (au$2.64), diesel £1.177/l (au$2.92) (v. 17 July peak, petrol £1.197/l (au$2.97), diesel £1.333/l (au$3.31)) --the AA.

20 October 2008: Top price at Shannon's Sydney Motor Show auction was au$105,500 for a 1985 factory-RHD Ferrari Testarossa; the pre-auction guide was $80,000 - $95,000.

19 October 2008 (Sun): Chinese F1 Grand Prix, Shanghai [www]['08] (practice from Fri 17th).
Hamilton held a comfortable lead, with Raikkonen second and Massa third, apart from when pit-stops dictated otherwise. Towards the end Raikkonen let Massa past for the sake of Massa's championship hopes. Kovalainen had a puncture, and later retired with "a problem with the pneumatic system" on the engine. Results: 1. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes), 2. Filipe Massa (Ferrari), 3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), 4. Fernando Alonso (Renault). Drivers' championship, Hamilton 94pts, Massa 87pts; constructors', Ferrari 156pts, McLaren 145pts.
16/10/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.57/l, min $1.44 ([Perth] avg $1.49, min $1.41); oil us$74/b
15/10/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.46, min $1.44 (Perth avg $1.48, min $1.45); oil us$79/b; au$1.00=us$0.70, £0.40, €0.51, ¥71
12 October 2008 (Sun): Japanese F1 Grand Prix, Fuji Speedway [www]['08] (practice from Fri 10th).
Hamilton, on pole, had a bad start and then outbraked himself at the first corner, as did others. The championship contenders ran wide and fell back several places. A lap later, Hamilton overtook Massa going into the chicane but Massa cut the exit and hit Hamilton causing the latter to spin and fall to last place; Massa received a drive-through penalty. Hamilton received a similar penalty for the opening lap, 1st corner, action. Late in the race, as Bourdais (Torro Rosso) left the pits, Massa tried to overtake him, for position, at the 1st corner but instead hit the Toro Rosso and spun. Results:: 1. Fernanda Alonso (Renault), 2. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), 3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari). Massa finished 8th (1pt) but was elevated to 7th (2pts) when the stewards astonishingly penalised Bourdais 25 seconds, apparently for being run into by a Ferrari.

12 October 2008, .au: Ford drivers Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup won their third straight Bathurst 1000 race for V8 Supercars [www].

9-19 October 2008: Sydney International Motor Show, Darling Harbour. Including Elfin Type 5; Ford's new Fiesta; GM Chevy Volt; Honda City concept; Isuzu D-Max ute; Kia's new Cerato; Koenigsegg CCX; Lexus LF-Xh SUV hybrid concept; Mazda Taki concept; Nissan GT-R, new Murano SUV, and Mixim electric concept; Renault Koleos SUV; Subaru Imprezza WRX; Toyota Camry Hybrid (to be built in .au from 2009/2010); VW's new Golf and Passat CC.

8 October 2008: The Steampunk Contraptors, Erico Guizzo: "... Steampunk is a burgeoning subculture that draws on the elaborate aesthetics and romantic worldview of 19th-Century England to envision how things might have looked had a few key technologies been developed further. It conjures a gaslit cityscape filled with steam-powered robots, mechanical computers, ray-gun-toting aeronauts, and monocled mad scientists. ..." [www].
And for more steam, the British Steam Car Challenge (BSCC) group (world speed record attempt) [www] is ironing out teething problems.

4-19 October 2008: Mondial de l'Automobile (Paris Motor Show) [www]. Including Aston Martin DBS and One-77 model [www]; BMW X1 SUV concept; Citroen GT & Hypnos concepts, and new C3 Picasso; Ferrari California convertible [www]['08]; Ford's new Ka; Honda Insight concept hybrid 5-seat 5-door hatch; Hyundai i20 hatch; Kia Soul, and hybrid & fuel-cell concepts; Lamborghini Estoque 4-door concept; Mazda Kiyora urban concept; Mercedes Fascination "shooting brake" concept; Mini Crossman (a "crossover", not angry) 4x4 prototype; Peugeot RC Hymotion4 GT concept, hybrid, 4 door; Renault electric ZE concept; Saab 9-X Air (as in open air) concept; Vauxhall's new Insignia; Volvo DRIVe models, <120gm CO2/km, <4.5 l/100km, >60mpg; VW's new Golf (Mk 6) inc. GTI.

3-4 October 2008: The 10th Deni Ute Muster, Deniliquin, NSW, .au [www] (6,235 utes in 2007, 7,242 in 2008). The next muster is on the 2nd and 3rd October next year.

3 October 2008, .au: "80,938 cars, trucks and buses were sold in September - down 3.1% (2,551 vehicles) compared to the same month last year." -- Vfacts [www].

3 October 2008: "Tata Motors has been obliged to take the hard decision of moving the [Nano small car factory] out of the state" [West Bengal, India]. There have been riots because of land disputes over the site of the new factory. -- Tata [www].

2/10/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.58, min $1.46   ([Perth] avg $1.52, min $1.41); oil us$99/b
1/10/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.46, min $1.40 (Perth avg $1.56, min $1.47); oil us$102/b; au$1.00=us$0.80, £0.45, €0.56, ¥84
30/9/2008 Tue Melb ULP avg $1.47, min $1.45 (Perth avg $1.47, min $1.41); oil us$96/b

29 September 2008, Monday, 7.30pm: The Australian edition [www][9/'08] of the motoring programme Top Gear started on SBS TV [www][9/'08] with local presenters Warren Brown, Charlie Cox, and Steve Pizzati.
The programme made a sound start; it should do OK if it can maintain a good supply of cars to test and stars to embarrass. The barriers and barrels marking out the test track look reasonably solid -- if someone should over-cook things.

28 September 2008 (Sun): Singapore F1 Grand Prix [www]['08] (practice from Fri 26th) -- the first Formula One Grand Prix to be held at night, starting 8pm local time: "nearly 1,500 lighting projectors ... powered by 12 twin-power generators. An overall average of about 3000 lux levels is required to illuminate the circuit, which is enough to meet [HDTV] broadcast standards. ... the track will be almost four times brighter than a typical stadium."
A crash by Piquet on lap 14 brought out the safety car, just after Alonso's early pit stop but shortly before most the two-stoppers' scheduled stops. In the pits, Ferrari released Massa, who had been leading, into the path of Sutil (as at Valencia, 24 Aug.) and with the fuel hose still attached so that it tore off the rig; he had to wait while mechanics ran to the car and wrestled the remains off and he later received a drive-through penalty. A crash by Sutil on lap 51 brought out the safety car again, and Raikkonen crashed from 5th place on lap 58. Results: 1. Fernando Alonso (Renault), 2. Nico Rosberg (Williams Toyota), 3. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes), ..., (13. Filipe Massa).
23-25/9/2008 (Tue-Thu) Bendigo ULP au$1.48/l not bad for country Vic, but diesel $1.68/l; 25/9 Thu oil us$106/b; 24/9 Wed au$1.00=us$0.84, £0.45, €0.57, ¥89

25 September (Thu) - 2 October (Thu) 2008: 62nd IAA Commercial Vehicles Motor Show, Hanover [www]: "The central focus of this IAA is on the efforts promoting sustainability in transport ... CO2 emissions per tonne-km from road freight traffic in Germany have come down by over 1/3 since 1991. ... regard a further reduction of 20% by the year 2020 as realistic ..."

23 September 2008: "Chrysler LLC announced today that the Company and its ENVI organization have new production-intent, advanced electric-drive technology packaged in three different vehicles -- one for each of its brands, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge." -- Jeep [www].

22 September 2008: The FIA International Court of Appeal rejected McLaren's appeal against the 25 second penalty imposed on Lewis Hamilton after the Belgian F1 Grand Prix (7 Sept 2008) which dropped him from 1st to 3rd. He was robbed. Hamilton leads Massa by one point in the drivers' championship.

19 September (Fri) - 21 Sept (Sun) 2008, Goodwood Revival, [www].

16 September 2008: "Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Stuttgart, acquired a further 4.89% of the Volkswagen ordinary shares [and] the total stake in the Wolfsburg-based car manufacturer now amounts to 35.14% of the voting rights. ... Porsche will acquire de facto control of [VW] ..." -- Porsche.
And Porsche is running web ads for its upcoming 4-door Panamera Gran Turismo [www]['08].

18/9/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.58/l, min $1.47 (Perth avg $1.48, min $1.42); oil us$98/b
17/9/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.48/l, min $1.47 (Perth ULP $1.47, min $1.41); oil us$93/b; au$1.00=us$0.80, £0.45, €0.65, ¥85
15 September 2008: The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP HY is a long-distance sports race car with hybrid diesel/electric power which may appear in the 2009 Le Mans series depending on the future regulations for LMP1 cars. Braking energy is recovered and stored in "600 lithium-ion" batteries to be fed back into a 60kW electric motor/generator. This can boost total power or conserve fuel by 3 to 5%. [www]['08]
Lap times broke 3min 30s at Le Mans this year (race 14-15 June), so peformance in 2009 is to be pegged back by smaller restrictors (2×37.9mm) and reduced boost-pressure (max 2.75 bar) on turbo-diesels (Audi, Peugeot), and lesser reductions on petrol engines to even up competition. Major rule changes are held back to 2011, but the 24 Heures du Mans, and some other races, will allow "teams to participate with hybrid cars as from 2009, upon invitation, but without being classified." "They will be allowed to race with other cars from 2010 onwards." [www]['08].

14 September 2008 (Sun): As part of its 60th Anniversary Celebrations, Lotus Cars is having an Open Day at its Hethel Factory [www][8/'08], £13/adult inc. 2 children u16 if booked in advance from [www]['08], or £15 at the gate & subject to availability.

14 September 2008 (Sun): Italian F1 Grand Prix, Monza [www]['08] (practice from Fri 12th).
Rain during practice, qualifying, and the race really spiced things up, with Vettel on pole, and Raikkonen and Hamilton 14th and 15th on the starting grid.  Results: 1. Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso), 2. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren Mercedes), 3. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), 4. Fernando Alonso, 5. Nick Heidfeld, 6. Filipe Massa, 7. Lewis Hamilton, 8. Mark Weber, 9. Kimi Raikkonen, ... .

12 September 2008: The FIA will hear McLaren's appeal re last weekend's Belgian F1 Grand Prix in Paris on 22 September.

11/9/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.59/l, min $1.47 (Perth avg $1.46, min $1.42); oil us$103/b
10/9/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.48, min $1.47 (Perth avg $1.46, min $1.41); oil us$103/b; au$1.00=us$0.81, £0.46, €0.57, ¥85

11 September 2008: The Australian dollar has fallen about 20%, v. the us$, since July.

7 September 2008 (Sun): Belgian F1 Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps [www]['08] (practice from Fri 5th).
Results: The last three laps were exciting as rain started to fall. Raikkonen held a shrinking lead from Hamilton with Massa third. At the end of lap -2, Hamilton made a passing move on the outside at the final chicane. He was just ahead as Raikkonen forced him to the outside kerb. Hamilton took the short-cut apparently to avoid the looming collision and then slowed so as not to keep the advantage and to allow Raikkonen back in front. H. then retook the lead by outbreaking R. at the hairpin. Both cars later "scattered", H. onto the grass, to avoid a spun Nico Rosberg. A little further on R. spun and hit the wall. Crossing the line were 1. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes), 2. Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 3. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) who had stopped for wet tyres.
Surprisingly, the stewards later penalised Hamilton 25 seconds, dropping him to 3rd place, for gaining an advantage at the chicane. McLaren are to appeal to the FIA [22 Sept] and seem to have a strong case.
Races in the wet greatly increase the excitement in F1 -- it makes you wonder if sprinklers shouldn't be installed at circuits.
5 September 2008:  The Garnaut Review (.au) released its Supplementary Draft Report [www]['9/'08] Targets and Trajectories -- on climate change and CO2 trading. It describes four scenarios by 2020 ranging from "waiting-game" $30/ton, to "450ppm" 25% reduction (40%/person) $60/ton (prices in 2005 $) equivalent, for example, to 7c to 15c/litre on fuel.
4/9/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.60/l, min $1.47, if you can find it, diesel avg $1.65, min $1.61 ([Perth] ULP avg $1.46, min $1.40, diesel avg $1.70, min $1.63); oil us$109/b
3/9/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.47/l, min $1.46, diesel avg $1.65, min $1.61 (Perth ULP avg $1.46, min $1.40, diesel avg $1.70, min $1.45); oil us$110/b; au$1.00=us$0.83, £0.47, €0.57, ¥90

3 September 2008, .au: VFACTS shows that 77,324 cars, trucks and buses were sold in .au during August 2008, 12% less than August 2007 -- FCAI [www]['08].

3 September 2008: "For the second year in a row, PSA Peugeot Citroen leads the [CO2] rankings, with the lowest average emissions: 141gm/km for Group vehicles sold in Europe in 2007, compared with a global average, all models all brands, of 158gm/km." -- PSA Peugeot Citroen.
Also see the European Federation for Transport and Environment [www]['08],
Manufacturer CO2 gm/km 2007 fleet avg
PSA Peugeot Citroen 141
Fiat 141
Renault 146
Toyota 149
Honda* 156
General Motors 156
Hyundai 160
Ford 162
Suzuki 162
Volkswagen 163
Nissan* 167
BMW 170
Mazda 171
Daimler 181
Average 158
(*  big gaps in data)
The 2008 report recommends that "any excess CO2 over the target for the average car should be charged at €150/gm/km per vehicle sold." (€150~au$250) However the EC currently proposes that the fine should be €20 in 2012 rising to €95 in 2015.
Also see the 2007 results for 2006, and the (Dec) 2011 results for 2010.
The Federation also notes that "The 1948 and 2008 Volkswagen Beetles, separated by sixty years of advances in automobile design, [share] the same level of fuel efficiency." The reason is that while engines have become (just) a few percent more efficient in turning fuel into work, it is very hard to beat smallness and lightness when it comes to cheap motoring. Cars have become big and flabby. After the oil-shock of the early 1980s, cars became more efficient, but when the price of fuel (in real terms) fell back, they soon put on weight and "features", negating the improvements.

2 September 2008: "Tata Motors Ltd. [of India] has been constrained to suspend the construction and commissioning work at the Nano plant in Singur in view of continued confrontation and agitation at the site..." -- Tata [www]['08]. The dispute is over land, the land that the factory sits on. Tata may even "relocate the plant and machinery to an alternate site [ ] under preparation." The Nano is a new small car announced with much fanfare this year. [Also see 3 Oct. above.]

1 September 2008: Aston Martin will revive the Lagonda name, presumably on a large, luxury car: "In 2009 Lagonda is about to celebrate its 100th birthday and in its centenary year we are confident that we will show the first concept of a car which could be in the market in 2012" -- [www][9/'08]. The last use of the Lagonda name was on a large 4-door, 1979-1989.

1 September 2008, .au: "GM Holden is tackling rising fuel prices head-on by capping the price of fuel at 99 cents per litre for all new Holden customers. ... up to 20,000 kilometres ..." -- GM Holden

30-31 August 2008 (Sat-Sun), .be:   Tanks in Town, Royal Mons Auto Moto Club in collaboration with the City of Mons, Belgium [www]['08].

28 August 2008: Phil Hill (1927-2008), 1961 Formula One world champion (Ferrari), died; he was 81. Hill also won Le Mans three times.

28 August - 1 September 2008: 12th Moscow International Motor Show [www][8/'08].

28/8/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.57/l, min $1.41 (Perth avg $1.47, min $1.41); oil us$118/b
27/8/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.45/l, min $1.41 (Perth avg $1.46, min $1.41); oil us$116/b; au$1.00=us$0.86, £0.47, €0.58, ¥94

28 August 2008: ULP fuel prices under [fuelwatch], in Perth, remain generally lower than in Melbourne, and the price won't have gone up by the time you've driven to the best petrol station.

27 (Wed) - 31 (Sun) August 2008: The 40th Great Dorset Steam Fair, .uk, [www].

24 August 2008 (Sun): F1 Grand Prix of Europe, Valencia, Spain [www]['08] (practice from Fri 22nd).
Results: 1. Filipe Massa (Ferrari), 2. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes), 3. Rober Kubica (BMW Sauber). After the race, Massa was reprimanded and fined €10,000 for being "released unsafely into the path of Force India's Adrian Sutil" in the pits on lap 37. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) had an engine failure on lap 46. (Championship: Hamilton 70pts, Massa 64, Raikkonen 57.)

August 2008: Helen and John Taylor [www]['8/'08] hold the current fuel-economy record of 90.75mpg (imperial), 3.13 l/100km, for the coastal road route around Australia (14,580km, 9,059 miles), driving a Peugeot 308 HDi diesel. The fuel cost au$703.

August 2008: Land Rover has been testing Freelander diesel-electric hybrid experimental prototypes [www][23/8/'08].

21 August 2008, Thurs: Melb ULP avg au$1.58/l, min $1.43/l;  Perth (with [fuelwatch]) avg $1.45/l, min $1.41/l and you know exactly where to get it.
20/8/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.45/l, min $1.43/l; Perth avg $1.45, min $1.40.
Lately, oil us$112-$116/barrel. UK ULP £1.13/l, diesel £1.26/l. au$1.00=us$0.87, £0.47, €0.59, ¥96.

August 2008: Four grandchildren of 1930 taxi-driver Charlie Heard recently spent seven weeks retracing the longest taxi fare in history. The fare involved taking three ladies from Melbourne through Adelaide, Alice Springs (via the Old Ghan line), Darwin, Brisbane, Sydney, and home, Geelong. The reenactment used a 1929 Essex, a close match to the original 1928 Hudson -- ABC [www][8/'08].

14/8/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.56/l, min $1.44 (Perth avg $1.45, min $1.41); oil us$117/b
13/8/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.45/l, min $1.42 (Perth avg $1.46, min $1.41); oil us$113/b au$1.00=us$0.87 £0.46 €0.58 ¥94

14 August 2008: Crude oil fell as low as ~us$113/barrel so fuel prices are down with Melbourne ULP at au$1.45-$1.55/litre, but a stronger us$ and the hint of possible future interest-rate cuts in .au meant that the au$ fell from us$0.96± (July) to us$0.87 so local ULP did not fall as far as it otherwise would have.

8 August 2008: Steve Burgess and Dan Evans "sailed" across the Bering Strait (Siberia - Alaska) in a LandRover Defender equipped with floats (not unlike those on the old military amphibious prototypes, but more sea-worthy!) [www][8/'08].
(The amphibious Jeep (Seep) Half-Safe completed a full round the world trip, all on its own wheels and hull, between 1950 and 1958.)
8-24 August 2008 (Fri 8 - Sun 24): Beijing Olympic Games [www], opening ceremony 8 Aug., athletics 15-24 Aug., swimming 10-17 & 20-21 Aug., closing ceremony 24 Aug. [www] (and a good time to take a quiet holiday somewhere if you are not into sport).

5 Aug 2008, .au: "83,976 cars, trucks and buses were sold in July - down 2,315 vehicles (2.7%) compared to the same month last year." -- fcai [www][5/8/'08].

7/8/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.56/l, min $1.44 (Perth avg $1.48, min $1.42)
6/8/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.45, min $1.44 (Perth avg $1.47, min $1.42); oil us$119/barrel; au$1.00=us$0.92, £0.47, €0.59, ¥99

5 August 2008, neat: The Lotus Evora, recently shown at the British Motor Show, can soon be test driven on ... "a special demo of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue on PlayStation 3,"  before the real thing goes on sale ~March 2009.

4 August 2008, .au: GM Holden has dropped the price of its new-car LPG conversions so that "private customers can now buy dual fuel LPG-powered Holden Commodores for as little as $400 more than their petrol equivalents" when the "Federal Government's current rebate of $2000" is taken into account. -- GM Holden 4/8/'08.

3 August 2008, Sunday: Hungarian F1 Grand Prix, Hungaroring [www], (practice from Friday 1st).
Results: 1. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren Mercedes), 2. Timo Glock (Toyota), 3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).  Filipe Massa (Ferrari) had an engine failure while leading with 3 laps to go. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren M.) had a puncture while in 2nd place with 29 laps to go; he finished 5th.
Apparently most F1 teams would like KERS, which is to be optional in any case, to be delayed beyond 2009, apart from BMW and Williams whose 2009 KERS plans are well advanced.

1 August 2008: With big cars and SUVs on the nose because of high fuel prices, General Motors (GM) reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2008 with a "reported net loss of us$15.5 billion" ("adjusted net loss of $6.3 billion") [www][1/8/'08]. That is a lot of money to loose in 90 days. (Also see GM and Ford, 7 Nov above.)

1 August 2008: Production, ie assembly, of 500 MG TF LE500 sports cars began at Longbridge, price £16.4K (pilot production had started in 2007).

31/7/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.57, min $1.48 (Perth avg $1.50, min $1.45); oil us$126/b
30/7/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.50, min $1.47 (Perth avg $1.50, min $1.46); oil us$122/b; au$1.00=us$0.95, £0.48, €0.61, ¥102

31 July 2008:   Crude oil has bounced around at us$122 - $126/barrel for a week or so, down from us$145+ in early July. When oil was last us$124±, in mid May, ULP was au$1.45-$1.55/l. ¿What happens after the Olympics when China's businesses switch back on, or not?
For all the Opposition's anti-.au-wide fuelwatch nonsense, Perth's ULP (with fuelwatch) has been generally cheaper than Melbourne's (without), and it is easy to find where to get the best deal.

30 July 2008: Theo Rosmulder, 52, who "was missing in Western Australia's Goldfields Region [near Laverton] for 4 days survived by eating termites and bugs" [www][30/7/'08]. When not prospecting, Mr. Rosmulder is a pest controller.-)

30 July 2008: There is something odd about the British car road tax bands for cars registered after 1/3/'01 [.gov.uk]['08] [AA]['08] announced in the March budget. The bands are based on CO2 emissions, starting at £0/year for band A, ≤100gm/km, rising to £440 standard rate (£950 1st year rate '09-'10) for band M, >255gm/km. The thing is, if the problem is CO2 then the tax should be on the cause -- on (the C in) the fuel. As they stand, the bands cause a high-band low-mileage driver to subsidise a low-band high-mileage driver who may well emit more CO2 per year. So the bands are really a big-car tax in eco clothing (and they are retrospective too).

27 July 2008 (Sun.), Melbourne .au: Tolling starts on Eastlink [www].

24/7/2008 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.65, min 1.56/litre (Perth avg $1.57, min 1.51); w.tx oil us$124/barrel
23/7/2008 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.58, min 1.56 (Perth avg $1.57, min 1.52)
23 July - 3 August 2008: British International Motor Show, ExCeL, Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1XL, UK [www]['08].
Global debuts include Alfa Romeo MiTo, Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed, Ford Focus RS & Fiesta ECOnetic (<100gm CO2/km), Land Rover Disco & Rangie ('09), new Lotus Evora 3.5 l V6 (project Eagle, on sale ~March '09), Vauxhall (GM) Insignia, and a number of electric cars (attracting zero road tax in the UK), e.g., the e500 (electric Fiat 500) through Nice Cars [www]['08].
Citroen C-Cactus (change that name for .au) concept is an 83mpg diesel/electric hybrid.

July 2008: Monash University Accident Research Centre studies real accidents -- as they happen, to new and old cars, on the road. Report #280, 2008 update [www]['08], covers Australian and New Zealand crashes during 1987-2006. As a market group, medium four wheel drives have the best crashworthiness rating of 2.50±0.19 serious injuries per 100 drivers involved, and light cars the worst of 4.88±0.14 (p.28).

22 July 2008, Jerez: "A BMW Sauber mechanic has been injured after suffering an electric shock ... [testing] their Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS)" -- [www][22/7/'08].  KERS recovers braking energy; it will be allowed in F1 from 2009. Some teams are developing mechanical systems rather than electric ones.

22 July 2008: Crude oil at us$132/barrel, fell to us$129 at the end of last week. (And the .au greenvehicle guide has been spruced up [www][7/'08].)

21-26 July 2008: 100th Year Model T Ford Celebration, Wayne County Fairgrounds, Richmond, Indiana, US, [MTFCI] or [MTFCA].

21 July 2008: "Chevrolet Unveils the 2010 Camaro" [www][21/7/'08], 3.6L V6 or 6.2L V8.

20 July 2008: Race Day, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, CO, USA [www]['08]. Nobuhiro Tajima recorded 10min 18.250secs for the 12.42 mile hill climb in his twin turbo Suzuki special. (His 2007 record is 10m 1s.)

20 July 2008, Sunday: German F1 Grand Prix, Hockenheim [www]['08], practice from Friday 18th.
Results: 1. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes), 2. Nelson Piquet (Renault), 3. Filipe Massa (Ferrari). It was an eventful race with lots of passing.
Thu 17/7 Melb ULP avg $1.70/litre, min au$1.58, ([Perth] $1.55-$1.60)
(w.tx oil $135/barrel)
Wed 16/7 Melb ULP $1.60+/-; Perth from $1.54
16 July 2008: The Australian Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper, [www][7/'08] or [www][7/'08], proposes tradeable permits to emit CO2, starting 2010, fuel taxes to be reduced to offset the price rise for the first 3 years, and transitional support for coal power stations, aluminium smelters etc.. (Also see the white paper, 15 December above, and the Garnaut report, 4 July, below.)

16-20 July 2008: The War and Peace Show (military vehicles), The Hop Farm, Beltring, Kent UK [www]['08].

14-20 July 2008: Farnborough Air Show, uk (Sat 19 - Sun 20 open to public visitors) [www]['08].

13-22 July 2008: North American Solar Challenge (NASC) [www]['08], from Piano, Texas to Calgary, Alberta (~2400 miles), for solar-powered cars.
1. University of Michigan (51h 41m 53s), 2. Principia College, 3. Hochschule Bochum (.de).
(Also see the World Solar Challenge, in October 2009.)

12-13 July (Sat-Sun) 2008: Flying Legends Air Show IWM Duxford, UK.

10/7/2008: w.tx crude oil us$140±/barrel; au$1.00 = us$0.96. £0.46, €0.61, ¥103.
Thu 10/7/2008 Melb. ULP, au$1.69± ([Perth] avg $1.59)
Wed 9/7/2008 Melb. ULP $1.59±

11 July (Fri) - 13 July (Sun) 2008, Goodwood Festival of Speed, [www]. The 2008 theme is "Hawthorn to Hamilton -- Britain's Love Affair with World Motor Sport."

July 2008: In 2002 Volkswagen demonstrated an experimental two-seater car than achieved better than 1 litre/100km -- the "1-litre car." The car is a 21C reimagining of a micro car: the passenger behind the driver, 1-cylinder 299cc diesel engine, "an output of 6.3kW at 4,000rpm," "3.65m long, 1.25m wide" and ~1m tall, a weight of "290kg ... maximum speed of 120km/h/75mph," "braking energy is fed into the generator and thus recovered." -- VW [www][9/7/'08]. (Not sure that I'd care to mix it with semi-trailers in one however.)

6 July 2008, Sunday 1pm: British F1 Grand Prix, Silverstone [www]['08] (practice from Fri. 4th).
Results: 1. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes), 2. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber), 3. Rubens Barrichello (Honda). The winning margin was 1min 9secs. The race was wet and there were many incidents, some drivers spinning multiple times. Hamilton, Massa and Raikkonen each have 48 point in the world championship.
(The GP moves to Donnington Park, Castle Donington, Derby, DE74 2RP (M1 junction 23a) [www]['08], in 2010.)
4 July 2008: The Garnaut Climate Change Draft Report was released [www][7/'08]. This is a step towards the .au Government introducing carbon-trading, and other measures. (If Australian CO2 were to be charged at $4 × X /ton, that would add about X c/litre to petrol if there was no compensation; X is likely to be small.) (Also see the green paper, 17 July, the supplementary draft report, 5 September, and the white paper, 15 December above.)

July 2008: A record 542,695 new vehicles were sold Jan-June in .au (v. 524,376 Jan-June 2007). There was a big increase in medium SUV sales (+18.5%). The #1 car for the period was the Toyota Corolla (24,415) --[www][7/'08].

29 June 2008 (Sunday):   Opening date for the EastLink tollway [www] Melbourne, Vic., .au (free for the first four weeks).

28/6/2008: w.tx crude oil us$140+/barrel
Thu 26/6/2008 Melb. ULP, au$1.70 ([Perth] min $1.55, avg $1.60)
Wed 25/6/2008 Melb. ULP $1.59±

28 (Saturday) - 29 (Sunday) June 2008: Tankfest 2008 [www]['08], at the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset, UK.

27 June (Friday) 2008, .au: Red Nose Day charity appeal [www] in aid of SIDS research.

25 June 2008: The RACV (.au) annual survey of car ownership and running costs [www][6/'08] shows that "the Hyundai Getz S at $122.83 per week was the cheapest Light Car" and "the Hyundai i30 SX CRDi turbo diesel at $151.55 per week was the cheapest Small Car to run." A 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser GXL turbo-diesel costs $401+ per week. The calculations include depreciation, interest, registration, insurance, servicing, and fuel costs, averaged over 5 years' ownership, driving 15,000km/y. Even with the recent rise in petrol prices, standing costs still make up 70-80% of total costs, pretty much as in 2005, say.

24 June 2008, uk: "Average diesel prices ... [topped] £6/gallon" reaching "132.03pence/litre. ... petrol also hit a record 118.65pence/litre." --AA [www][6/'08].

22 June 2008 (Sunday): French F1 Grand Prix [www], Magny-Cours [www] (practice from Friday).
Results: 1. Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 2. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), 3. Jarno Trulli (Toyota).
Thu 19/6/2008 Melb. ULP, au$1.70±, min $1.61 ([Perth] min $1.54, avg $1.59)
Wed 18/6/2008 Melb. ULP, am au$1.55 - $1.58/litre, pm $1.70 ([Perth] min $1.52)
oil, w.tx us$133/barrel; au$1.00=us$0.94, £0.48, €0.61, ¥102

June 2008: Even Ferraris get recalls (clutch sensor, 2008/10079) [www].

15 June 2008 (UK Fathers' Day): Military Vehicle Show IWM Duxford, UK.

14-15 June 2008: 76th Le Mans 24 Hours race, [www]; both Audi and Peugeot fielded diesels.
Results: 1. R.Capello, T.Kristensen, A.McNish, #2 Audi R10 TDI, 381 laps; 2. M.Gene, N.Minassian, J.Villeneuve, #7 Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP, 381 laps; 3. C.Klein, F.Montagny, R.Zonta, #9 Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP, 379 laps.
Wed 11/6/2008 Melb. ULP, am au$1.54, pm $1.65/litre
oil, w.tx us$137/barrel; au$1.00=us$0.94, £0.48, €0.61, ¥101
10 June 2008: The .au PM, Kevin Rudd, was in Japan and, happily, Toyota announced that it will build 10,000 hybrid Camrys per year at Altona, Vic., from 2010; TV news footage suggested it might be a plug-in hybrid but that could have been a stunt.
The 2008 model Camry hybrid available in the USA [www][6/'08] has a nickel metal hydride battery weighing 150lbs (68kg), of about 1.5 kW hr capacity (244.8v × 6.5 amp hr), probably enough for a few minutes driving without the petrol motor, and good for smoothing out load and storing recovered braking energy. Prices are from us$25,200, against non-hybrid prices of us$18,570 (base 4-cyl) to us$28,120 (top V6) [www][20/7/'07]. Also see 19 May below.

9-15 June 2008: Motorexpo, Canary Wharf, London, UK [www].

8 June 2008, Sunday 1pm: Canadian F1 Grand Prix, Montreal [www], practice from Fri. 6th.
Results: 1. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), 2. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber), 3. David Coulthard (Red Bull). (At the 1st pit-top, under the safety car, Lewis Hamilton rear-ended Kimi Raikkonen who was waiting at the red light at the end of the pit lane.)
7-9 (Sat-Mon) June 2008: Queen's Birthday Long Weekend (.au).
7-8 June 2008: Echuca Steam, Horse & Vintage Rally, Vic., .au, [www].
6-9 June (Fri-Mon) 2008: Finke Desert Race, NT .au [www].
Wed 4/6/2008 Melb. ULP, am au$1.50, pm $1.60/litre

2 June 2008, Monday: Series 10 of Top Gear started on SBS TV (.au), 7.30pm [www] (also with news in the coming Australian series).

June 2008: The British Steam Car Challenge [www]['08] (BSCC) hopes to raise the steam-powered World Land Speed Record to 200+mph later this year.

June 2008: Australian combat troops started to withdraw from Iraq.

Thu 29/5/2008 Melb. ULP au$1.60/litre.  Perth (with [fuelwatch]) $1.56 avg.
Wed 28/5/2008 Melb. ULP am $1.50, pm $1.60;
oil us$130/barrel; au$1.00=us$0.96, £0.49, €0.61, ¥100
29 May 2008:   The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released details of its economic modelling of the effects the fuelwatch scheme [www][29/5/'08]. (There is a load of political hot air about fuelwatch in parliament and in the media just now. Also see [WA].)

28 May 2008: Publication date of the latest Bond novel, (by Sebastian Faulks) which continues the adventures of 007. Set in 1967, Bond drives a Bentley, as in Ian Fleming's Casino Royal, Thunderball, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. [--Bentley]. Also see 17 April below.

28 May 2008: "Volkswagen has entered the thriving Compact SUV segment in Australia for the first time with the all new Tiguan" choice between a 2-litre TDI and 2 petrol engines, 6-speed manual or auto., 4MOTION (4x4), priced from au$33,990 -- VW.

26 May 2008: Race day, 92nd Indianapolis 500 [www]. 1. Scott Dixon, 2. Vitor Meira, 3. Marco Andretti.

25 May 2008: 66th Monaco F1 Grand Prix [acm.mc] [www].
Results: 1. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 2. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), 3. Felipe Massa (Ferrari). Early rain caused many incidents. Hamilton now leads Raikkonen in the championship.

24-25 May 2008: Historic Winton [www], historic cars and bikes, at Winton Raceway [www] near Benalla, Victoria, .au.

24 May 2008, .uk: Greenpower's Formula 24+ (F24+) is a new electric car racing class "for 16-21 year olds" which complements the "F24 series for secondary schools [run] since 1999" [www]['08]. Cars are propelled by a "24 volt electric wheelchair motor" drawing from 2 12v Yuasa 100T Elite batteries. Teams must compete in 2 out of eight rounds held "during June, July and September 2008 ... plus the final round of the season held at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in October." (The 2007 winning F24 entry from Seaford College covered 129-miles in 4-hours, not bad on a couple of car batteries.)
Thu 22/5/2008 Melb. ULP au$1.40 to $1.50/litre
Wed 21/5/2008 ULP au$1.41 to $1.62;
w.tx crude oil us$130+/barrel; au$1.00 = us$0.96, £0.49; €0.61

22 May 2008, Thurs.: Melbourne ULP prices had been less obviously cyclic over the previous couple of weeks, in the au$1.40 - $1.47 range, perhaps because of plans to introduce a WA-style "fuel watch" scheme, and despite crude oil (w.tx) heading over us$130/barrel. However on Wed. 21st ULP touched au$1.62/litre at a few outlets. [23rd, 24th: ULP generally au$1.50/litre.] Some are predicting oil to reach us$200/barrel in 2009.

19 May 2008: GM Holden said it would sell a petrol-electric hybrid version of the Holden Commodore "within two years." (Holden and CSIRO built an experimental hybrid ‘EcoCommodore’ [www][5/'08] around 2000.) Toyota .au is hoping to build the hybrid Camry locally from 2010+. Also see 10 June above.

17 May 2008: The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS) [www] celebrated the 80th anniversary of its first "call for help from the remote town of Julia Creek."

May 2008, in Plugging Away in a Prius Continued, IEEE Spectrum [www]['08], John Voelcker writes about a modified Toyota Prius Hybrid with a much larger battery and "plug-in" ability, "in the car's first 2 months of operation, it ran more than 1000 miles, and he still had some gas sloshing around in the 45-litre (11.9 [US] gallon) tank from his first and only fill-up. That works out to roughly the magical 100mpg figure (2.35 L/100km), obtained by religiously plugging in the car every night and driving it mostly in urban areas and on short trips." Charging the battery takes 3-4kWh (3-4¢) v. us$3/gallon (11/2007). But as a strictly financial investment, due to the cost of the Prius + conversion it is still not worth doing the same, yet. (Over one million Toyota Prius hybrids have been sold since the car was launched in Japan in 1997 [www][15/5/'08].)

15/5/'08 recently, Melb. ULP au$1.41±/litre, & crude oil us$124±.
(In 1930, outback, petrol up to 5s 9d/gal., $0.13/litre -- see left.)

14 May 2008: The ABC (.au) 7.30 Report reported the story of the world's longest taxi fare. "In 1930, taxi driver Charlie Heard accepted the world's longest taxi fare, driving an elderly spinster [Ada Beal] and her two companions from Melbourne to Darwin and back" -- [www][14/5/'08]. The taxi was a 1928 Hudson soft top. In 1930 the 7,000 mile trip from the Great Ocean Road, through Alice Springs to Darwin and back via the east coast was a real adventure. The fare is unknow but guestimated to be about £300, equivalent to au$19K today. Heard's descendants are planning to recreate the trip in June, driving a 1929 Essex. (The reenactment took seven weeks and was completed in August.)

13 May 2008: Petrol (gas) prices must be really hurting SUV sales in the US -- "Chrysler LLC today announces ... an exclusive gas price protection policy that eliminates the risk of further spikes in fuel prices. With the U.S. purchase of eligible Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles, customers can enroll in the "Let's Refuel America" program and receive a gas card that immediately lowers their gas price to $2.99 a gallon, and keeps it there for three years." -- [www][5/5/'08]. (There's a limit on volume!)

11 May 2008: Turkish F1 Grand Prix, Istanbul Park Circuit [www].
Results: 1. Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 2. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).

8 May 2008: W.Texas crude oil rose above us$120/barrel this week, currently ~ us$123+. au$1.00=us$0.94, £0.4813, €0.6137.

6 May 2008: "Super Aguri Formula One Team has today announced its withdrawal from the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship." [www][6/5/'08].

5 May 2008: Financial wobbles or not, a record number of new motor vehicles, 84,061, were sold for an April in .au [www][5/'08].
April: #1 Toyota Hilux 3,814 (adding 4x2 and 4x4 together), #2 Corolla 3,722, #3 Holden Commodore 3,324 - Vfacts [www][5/5/'08].
This year, January-April: Toyota 81,062, GM Holden 44,037, Ford 34,533 - FCAI.

3-4 May 2008: Heritage Land Rover Weekend [www][4/'08] at the (British) Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, to celebrate the Land-Rover 60th Anniversary.

29 April 2008:   Williams F1 [www] has bought a share in Automotive Hybrid Power Ltd, renamed `Williams Hybrid Power Ltd', "a company developing high-energy composite flywheels for use in energy recovery systems", with a view to the introduction of KERS to F1 in 2009.

27 April 2008, Sunday: Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Catalunya [www] (practice from Friday 25th).
Results: 1. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), 2. Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 3. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren).
24/4/2008 Thu Melb, ULP au$1.45-$1.54/litre
(Perth from $1.39, avg $1.51)
23/4/2008 Wed, am $1.40, pm $1.55/litre (Perth avg $1.46)
22/4/2008 Tue ULP au$1.39±/litre
(Perth from $1.38±, avg $1.42)
22/4/2008 Tue. oil w.tx us$117; au$1.00=us$0.94, £0.48, €0.59

25 April 2008, Friday: Anzac Day (.au).

April 2008: The US Army is in the "Technology Development Phase" of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) project [www][4/'08], "a multi-service initiative for a family of future light tactical vehicles." The JLTV will be a successor to the HMMWV and, going way back, the Jeep. (Also see 4 Nov 2008, above.)
And the British Army has begun using its new Jackal 4x4 patrol vehicles [www][4/'08] in southern Afghanistan. The (open) Jackal is based on the Supacat (UK) [www][4/'08] HMT 400 design, crew 2+1, l. 5.39m, w. 2.0m, h. 1.97m, wt 6,650kg, 5.9-litre diesel.

24-27 April 2008: National 4x4 Show, RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane, Qld, .au [www].

23-28 April (Wed-Mon) 2008: Caravan, Camping and Touring Show, Caulfield Racecourse, Vic., .au [www]

22-28 April 2008: Beijing International Automotive Exhibition (Motor Show) [www].

20-26 April 2008: Central Europe Rally. "This new rally organised under the `Dakar Series' certification ... in Hungary and Romania." [www].

17 April 2008 - 1 March 2009, .uk: The Imperial War Museum, London, is holding the first major exhibition [www][3/'08] devoted to the life and work of Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, 007.
Ian Fleming wrote 14 James Bond books: Casino Royale (1953), Live and Let Die (1954), Moonraker (1955), Diamonds Are Forever (1956), From Russia with Love (1957), Dr. No (1958), Goldfinger (1959), For your Eyes Only (1960), Thunderball (1961), The Spy Who Loved Me (1962), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963), You Only Live Twice (1964), The Man With The Golden Gun (1965), Octopussy and the Living Daylights (1966). He also wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and had the idea for The Man from Uncle.

16/4/2008 Wed pm. Melb. ULP au$1.52±/litre
16/4/2008 Wed am. ULP au$1.39±/litre
oil w.tx us$114/barrel; au$1.00=us$0.93, £0.47; €0.59

16 April 2008: As the Federal Government said that it would introduce a West Australian-style Fuel Watch system [www] (see 30 March below) across Australia, ULP reached $1.52.9/litre at many petrol stations in Melbourne. Fuel Watch has operated successfully for several years in WA and is reckoned to save the average motorist 2c/litre and indeed ULP was available (all) this day for $1.37.4/litre in Perth with a metropolitan average of $1.40.8/litre! (City ULP first breached au$1.00/litre in August 2000, as oil rose to us$32/barrel, but then fell back. At that time au$1.00 = us$0.58, £0.39, €0.65.)

15 April 2008: The BBC reports [www][4/'08] that "All petrol and diesel which is sold at UK pumps now has to include at least 2.5% biofuels." The minimum proportion will rise to 5% by 2010 although there is much debate about the current, and future, effects of biofuels on (i) CO2 emissions (when production is included), and (ii) the price of food, particularly in poor countries. (ULP-95 petrol prices in the UK are currently about £1.05/litre.)

15-17 April 2008, uk: The Commercial Vehicle Show [www], NEC, Birmingham, .uk, included demonstrations of Modec [www]['08] electric commercial vehicles (3.5 tonnes + 2 tonnes payload).

April 2008: First the green news "Chevrolet Volt development charges on ...", and then the bad "the 2009 Hummer H3T ... debuted the brand's first pick-up truck [ute] [at] the Dallas Auto Show", from GM. (Dallas Auto Show [www] 2-6 April 2008.)
And Volvo are testing a hybrid (7-litre 320hp diesel and, mixing units, 120kW electric) garbage truck with regenerative braking [www][4/'08]. Apart from the fuel saving, I really like the bit about "emitting low noise".

10/4/2008 Thu Melb. ULP au$1.48±/litre
9/4/2008 Wed ULP au$1.36±/litre
oil w.tx=us$109/barrel; au$1.00 = us$0.93, £0.47, €0.59
6 April 2008, Sunday: Bahrain F1 Grand Prix [www].
Results: 1. Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 2. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), 3. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber); Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) finished out of the points.

3 April 2008: The first pictures of the wreck of HMAS Sydney, were taken by the Finding Sydney Foundation [www][4/4/'08] using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). "Both funnels and masts were gone and all the lifeboats were missing from their cradle stands, but all four turrets were retained in place." Pictures of the wreck of the Kormoran were released on 8 April. Sydney, and the Kormoran, were recently located by side-scan sonar (see 17 March below).

3-6 April 2008: Man From Snowy River Bush Festival, Corryong, Vic, .au [www]. As of 1/2008, reported "postponed until 2-5 April 2009" due to equine influenza.

3/4/2008 Thu Melb. ULP au$1.47±/litre
2/4/2008 Wed 11am: ULP au$1.33±/litre

2 April 2008: Sir Rod Eddington's* report on the `East West Link Needs Assessment' (EWLNA) for Melbourne is out [www][4/'08], e.g., #1 an E-W rail tunnel, #2 a rail link fom Werribee to Sunshine, ..., #4 an E-W road tunnel from the Eastern Freeway leading to the Western Ringroad, ..., #7 more cycle links, ..., #15 ... bring [.au] into line with Euro. CO2 emission standards for motor vehicles [see Dec. 2007]. It seems to give every interest group something to like, and something to hate. (And winds up to 130km/h disrupted transport in Melbourne this day).
[*] Sound familiar? It was Paul Eddington who played Jim Hacker in the BBC's Yes Minister [www]. In series 3, episode 5, The Bed of Nails, Jim is asked to formulate an Integrated Transport Policy - a political minefield.-)

April 2008: Entry is open to apply for the next LandRover G4 Challenge [www][4/'08].

30 March 2008:   There are suggestions that the Western Australian Government's Fuel Watch system [www] for monitoring and publishing petrol prices (wwweb, email & phone) could be extended to other states. Sounds great. FuelWatch "provides advance notice of retail fuel prices", and by law "retailers [must] notify their next day's retail price for each fuel type by 2pm. Price boards and bowser prices are changed by the retailer at 6am and remain unchanged for 24-hours." FuelWatch is claimed to save most motorists $2.50/week. Best and average prices, and various statistics are posted, e.g., the best in Perth on Sunday 30th were ULP $1.339/L, PULP $1.399/L (95 RON), 98 RON $1.442/L, LPG $0.599/L, diesel $1.509/L, B20 $1.529/L (B20 is a biodiesel blend). The country data is very useful to interstate travellers.

30 March 2008: Weird wrecks [www], [www][30/3/'08] is that what it looks like?

27 March 2008, .au: Mitsubishi built its last 380, its last car, at its Adelaide factory. Cars were first built at the site by Chrysler in 1964.

26 March 2008: After much anticipation, Ford and Tata Motors of India announced that Ford had agreed to sell Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors for about $2.3billion, "The transfer of ownership to Tata Motors is expected to close by the end of the next quarter...," and "Ford [will] contribute up to approximately $600million to the Jaguar Land Rover pension plans." Ford bought LandRover from BMW in 2000 for about us$2.7billion.

23 March, Sunday: Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, Sepang [www][23/3/'08].
Results: 1. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), 2. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), 3. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren), 4. Jarno Trulli (Toyota), 5. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren); Massa (Ferrari) DNF, spun out. Reliability was much better than in Melbourne with 17 of the 22 cars finishing. The two McLarens were penalised 5 places on the starting grid for their fuel-conservation slow-down laps impeding the Q3 flying laps of Heidfeld and Alonso. These very slow slow-down laps are an unfortunate side-effect of the new qualifying system.
21-24 (Fri-Mon) March 2008, Easter long weekend.
60th anniversary of Land Rover celebrations, Cooma, Snowy Mountains, Australia [www][1/'08] jointly organised by Land Rover Owners Club of Victoria, Land Rover Owners Club of Sydney, Land Rover Club of the ACT and Range Rover Club of NSW.  After: "Over 750 Land Rover vehicles and 1300 enthusiasts from Denmark, England, New Zealand, the USA and every State and Territory in Australia descended on the region."
Blinman (LRRSA) [www] -- Land-Rover Register of South Australia.
7th Australian National 4x4 Gathering, Mitta Mitta Recreation Reserve [www][3/'08].
39th Jaguar National Rally, Geelong, Vic., .au, 21st-24 March [www]['08].
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), [www] [email][3/'08], warned that it would be on the lookout for any unjustifed jump in petrol prices around the Easter holiday.

20 March 2008: The X Prize Foundation and Progressive Insurance announced the $10 million dollar Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize to build a "production-capable, 100MPGe (miles per gallon energy equivalent) vehicles that people will want to buy and that meets market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance." [www]['08].

17 March 2008: The Finding Sydney Foundation [www][17/3/'08] announced that it had located the wrecks of the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney II [@navy][3/'08] and the German raider HSK Kormoran "approximately 112 nautical miles off Steep Point, Western Australia" at a depth of about 2,500m.
(A documentary is to be screened on ABC TV, 8.30pm, 15 April.)

16 March 2008: GM Holden Utes (an Australian institution, also see 3-4 Oct. 2008) are to be sold in the USA as Pontiac "pickups."

16 March 2008, Sunday: Australian F1 Grand Prix, Melb., [www] (practice etc. from Thurs., the 13th). The teams: [Ferrari], [BMW Sauber], [Force India], [Honda], [McLaren], [Red Bull] & Toro Rosso, [Renault], [Super Aguri], [Toyota], [Williams][3/'08].
Results: 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes, 2. Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber, 3. Nico Rosberg Williams Toyota. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) would probably have finished 2nd, rather than 5th, but for the unlucky timing of a safety car outing. Only seven cars were running at the end, although an 8th, Sebastian Bourdais (Toro Rosso), was classified. Neither of the Ferraris finished. Traction control having been banned this year, the cars are sliding much more in corners. (With ING having naming rights to the event, some of the signs seemed to be for the F1ING Grand Prix.-)
15 March 2008, Saturday: The Sebring 12-hour sports-car race [www] featured diesel Peugeot 908s which joined the diesel Audi R10 TDIs.
Results: 1. Dumas, Bernhard, Collard (Porsche RS Spyder, 3.4 l V8, LM P2 class), 2. Franchitti, Leitzinger, Lally (Porsche RS Spyder, LM P2 class), 3. Capello, Kristensen, McNish (Audi R10 TDI, LM P1 class).
(And "the victorious R10 TDI in Le Mans [2006] used approximately 20% less fuel than the [petrol] Audi R8 during [the R8's] 1st win [in 2000]", and "Shell GTL Diesel ... GTL (Gas-to-Liquids) is extracted from natural gas. ... synthetic Diesel fuel" --[Audi 3/'08]. But there again, diesel contains 10 to 15% more energy, and C, by volume.)
13/3/2008 Thu: ULP Melb. au$1.47±/litre
12/3/2008 Wed: ULP au$1.35±/litre

12 March 2008, (cringing and) reading Prof. Bernhard Schlag on psychology and the car: "If I can afford useless things, I've reached the top. SUVs symbolise this feeling in a particularly apt manner. ... another well known psychological phenomenon [that] people are willing to invest [a lot] just to gain options that they will never use. ... with the German Assurance Association GDV we carried out an evaluation of 10,000 claim reports. The results were quite clear: most of the accidents surveyed were caused by male drivers. This remained true even after we adjusted the findings for the difference in the total number of [km] driven by men and women." -- pp.4-9, (Siemens) Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) Magazine, [pdf@www][1/'08].

Monday 10 - Sunday 16 March 2008: The 29th Annual GPA Swim In & Ex Military Vehicle Rally, Corowa, Vic., .au [www] or [www]; this year's special theme is the tracked vehicle. Also see Corowa30 [www].

10 March 2008: LandRover sold 226,395 worldwide in 2007 --[LR].

10 March 2008, Monday, .au: Labour Day.
8-10 March 2008: Scoresby Steamfest, Melbourne Steam Traction Engine Club, [www].
7-10 March 2008: Port Fairy Folk Festival, [www].
Spell-binding: Jake Shimabukuro [mp3] [CD/DVD].

7-9 March 2008, .au: Shannons Phillip Island Classic [www][3/'08], classic racing cars.

6-16 March 2008: 78th Geneva International Motor Show, [www]:
Audi R8 V12 TDi (diesel) concept & TTS (270bhp), BMW X6, Jeep Cherokee permanent-4x4, Ford Focus in many guises & the (compact) Fiesta replacement's debut, Jaguar XKR-S coupe (4.2 l V8), Mazda Furai concept, Mercedes SL makeover, Mitsubishi Lancer prototype-S, Nissan GT-R 3.8 l twin turbo., Peugeot Partner MPV, Rinspeed sQquba (think electric, submersible Lotus Elise!), Saab 9-4X 4×4 (petrol or E85) concept, Tata Nano micro car & Indica, Volvo C30 plug-in hybrid concept (looks plausible), VW Passat CC coupe & Golf Variant 4motion, and much much more.-)
Bentley (VW) claimed its "average fleet emissions [will] fall by at least 15% by 2012" and foreshadowed a "new powertrain ... by 2012, delivering a 40% reduction in fuel consumption." The European Commission's (EC) 2012 limit of 120gm/km CO2 looms large!
6/3/2008 Thu: ULP Melb. au$1.45±/litre
5/3/2008 Wed: ULP au$1.35±/litre

4 March 2008, Qld, .au: "Flood warning for coastal streams between Cooktown and Cardwell..." --[www][4/3/'08].

2 March (Sunday) 2008, .au: DRFWDC 4x4 Swap Meet, Yarra Glen Showgrounds, Melways ref: 275 A2, buyers $3, u12 free [www].

2 March 2008: Assoc. of Motor Clubs [www] (AOMC) - RACV Classic Showcase, Flemington Racecourse, Members Car Park, Melb., .au.

29 February (Fri) - 10 March (Mon) 2008:   Melbourne Motor Show, [www], including
Audi TTS, RS6 station wagon & new A4, BMW X6 & series-1 convertible, new (Australian) Bolwell Nagari, Bugatti Veyron (for the 1st 3 days), Fiat 500, new FG Ford Falcon sedan (see 17 Feb. below), GM Holden 6 litre V8 (petrol or E85) Coupe 60 concept & new (station-) sport-wagon model of the VE Commodore [www][29/2/'08], Land Rover LRX concept 4x4 [www][29/2/'08], Nissan's latest GT-R, Peugeot 308, & Subaru's new Forester.

February 2008: Last year the then PM was a climate change sceptic, now it's panic stations. The Australian Greenhouse Office reports that Australia's total 2005 emissions of 559.1 m.tons CO2 equivalent were made by: stationary energy 50% (inc. power stations), agriculture 15.7%, transport 14.4%, fugitive emissions 5.6%, industrial processes 5.3%, land use & forestry 6%, waste 3% -- [www][26/2/'08]. Passenger cars contributed just 7.8% of the total. (Fugitive emissions include coal, oil & gas production.) The total corresponds to about 27.3 tons equiv. per person given an Australian population of 20,452,300 in [2005][26/2/'08].
In comparison, the UK's total 2005 CO2 equivalent emissions were 655.5 m.tons [www][26/2/'08], about 10.9 tons per person of [60.2m][26/2/'08]. (Note, there is a strong argument that if .au, say, generates power to mine and smelt aluminium which goes to China to make saucepans for Europe and the USA then the CO2 generated should be counted under the totals of the countries of final cause, except perhaps for any divergence from best practice along the way.)
But don't worry too much: At the .gov.au Green Vehicle Guide [www][2/'08] the 3 greenest are the Toyota Prius (I'm sceptical), Fiat Punto and Citroen C3 on 5-stars but nearly as good, on 4.5-stars, is the Lotus Elise; it's practically your duty to drive one. (The Ford Falcon & Holden Commodore only get 3-stars, the Toyota Camry 3.5-stars.)

23-24 February 2008: Pajero Challenge, Vic., .au, [www].

19 February 2008: Tropical Cyclone Nicholas remains off the West Australian Pilbara coast [www][19/2/'08].

17 February 2008, Sunday: .au, Victorian 4WD Show, Wandin (Melways 119 G7), 9am-4.30pm, adults $15, u16 free [www].

17 February 2008 (.au): The new model FG Ford Falcon sedan and ute came out on the [www][17/2/'08] prior to the Melbourne Motor Show (see 29 Feb., above): XT, G Series (G6, G6E & G6E Turbo), and XR (XR6, XR6 Turbo & XR8); 4-litre I6 (195kW at 6000rpm, 391Nm at 3250rpm), I6-turbo (270kW at 5250rpm, 533Nm at 2000rpm - 4750rpm), & 5.4-litre Boss 290 V8 (290kW at 5750rpm, 520Nm at 4750rpm); 6-speed manual, 5-speed auto., "6-speed automatic transmission on G6 and G6E." (An LPG version of the I6 engine continues.) There is no FG station wagon -- the previous model s/w continues or there is the 4x4 Ford Territory.

15-17 February 2008 (Fri-Sun): Trucks in Action, Lardner Park, Warragul, Vic, .au [www].

12 February 2008: Organisers of the Dakar Rally "announced that the 2009 Dakar would take place in Argentina and Chile from the 3rd to the 18th of January." The move is in response to terrorist threats which caused this year's event to be cancelled at the last minute.

Weather [Qld][2/'08] & [flood][2/'08]
7/2/2008 Thu: ULP Melb. au$1.43±/litre
6/2/2008 Wed: ULP au$1.33±/litre

11 February 2008: At the Shannons Motor Auction following the Brisbane Int. Motor Show (below), a 1971 Ford Falcon XY GT-HO Phase 3 sedan was passed in at $730K, a 1968 LHD Shelby Mustang GT500 fastback sold for $180K, 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S cabriolet $170K, 1962 Mercedes-Benz 190SL convertible $100K, 1965 Ford Mustang convertible $60K, restored 1954 Holden FJ Special $24K, amongst others ($au).

5 February 2008: Mitsubishi announced that it "has taken the decision to close [its] manufacturing plant in [Adelaide] South Australia and cease production of the 380 passenger car in Australia at the end of March this year" [www][5/2/'08]. The large V6 front wheel drive 380 sedan has run a poor 4th behind the Holden Commodore, Toyota Aurion/ Camry, and Ford Falcon.

1-10 February 2008 (Fri-Sun): Brisbane International Motor Show [www], Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Qld, .au, includes the BMW turbo 135i coupe, Citroen C4 HDi (diesel), new Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Fiat Ritmo sedan.

31/1/2008 Thu: ULP Melb. au$1.43±/litre
30/1/2008 Wed: ULP au$1.36±/litre

February 2008: Diesel Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer and Outback went on sale in Europe with a 2-litre flat-4 "boxer" turbo-charged engine [www][2/'08], a configuration favoured in Subaru petrol engines.

26 January 2008, Saturday:  Australia Day, including
NRMA Motorfest, Macquarie and College Streets, Sydney, NSW,
Historic Vehicle Display, King's Domain, Melbourne, Vic. .au.
red
still sex on wheels -- E-type in the Domain
24/1/2008 Thu: ULP Melb. au$1.45±/litre; au$1.00 = us$0.87 = €0.60 = £0.45
23/1/2008 Wed: au$1.36±; w.tx=us$88/barrel, tapis=us$92

And then a low on Wednesday with the price jump on Thurs...

23 January 2008: In Queensland, continuing flood warnings include Burdekin, Fitzroy, Condamine-Balonne, Warrego, Paroo, Bulloo, Thomson, Barcoo, Cooper Ck, rivers and others -- [www].

January 2008: "ACCC takes action against GM Holden Ltd over Saab 'green' claims ... [Saab ads claimed] Saab would plant 17 native trees in the first year following a Saab vehicle purchase as a carbon offset." The ACCC believes that the ads implied this would offset lifetime CO2 emissions but it actually corresponds to only "a single year's operation" of a Saab and is thus misleading [www][18/1/'08].

January 2008: Recent Motor Vehicle Recalls at [.gov.au][1/'08] include Holden VE and WM (fuel lines) and Chrysler Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Commander (brakes).
(Also see [DSA] [VOSA] or [AA] UK, and [US].)

19 (Sat) - 27 (Sun) January 2008: North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Detroit [www]:
Daimler's Maybach Landaulet could use the smart fortwo as a life-boat. The Mercedes S300 Bluetec is a diesel-electric hybrid due ~2010, the 3x3 ML450 Hybrid a V6-petrol-electric hybrid due ~2009 [www][1/'08].
Ford had the 2009 model F150 on show (on sale late 2008) with "an all V-8 engine lineup. This lineup begins with a 4.6L 2-valve[/cyl] engine ... ." No woosy hybrids there, although the concept Ford Explorer America [www][1/'08] did feature a 2-litre 4-cylinder direct injection engine.
General Motors had the concept electric car the Chevy Volt [www][1/'08] (planned to go on sale ~2010) which "can be configured to run on electricity, gasoline, E85 or biodiesel." Also a related Saab BioPower Hybrid concept 9-3 (ethanol E100/ electric). The Hummer HX concept will be controversial if it goes on sale but its 3.6 litre V6 can run on ULP or E85.
LandRover showed a hybrid diesel/electric, 3-door, concept, four wheel drive, the LRX [www][1/'08], at NAIAS. LandRover claims 120 gm C02/km (see [2007] for the EC's plans on car CO2 emissions). In looks, think LRX:Freelander as Range Rover Sport:Range Rover.
Mazda's CX-9 SUV was "named North American Truck of the Year" [www][1/'08].
Mini (BMW) "...hinted that Mini will launch a crossover [read 4x4] vehicle in the near future..."[www][1/'08]; it is thought that Magna-[Steyr] will do the 4x4.
Volkswagen [www][1/'08].
17 (Thu) - 27 (Sun) January 2008: 86th European Motor Show, Brussels [www] including
Audi prototype of the A1.
Fiat Panda concept "runs on petrol & on a mixture of natural gas & hydrogen. CO2 emissions of barely 69 grams/km."
Ford Kuga a compact SUV due mid 2008.
Mercedes' research F700 "with an innovative DIESOTTO engine which combines the advantages of a low-emissions petrol engine with the economy of a diesel vehicle." This dispenses with spark ignition for auto ignition under low to medium load and rpm [www][1/'08].
Even Porsche is working on "development of a hybrid motor" and a hybrid Cayenne 4x4 "will go into production by the end of the decade" aiming for "less than 9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres (31.0mpg)."[www][1/'08].
16/1/2008 Wed: ULP Melb. au$1.46±/L
15/1/ Tues: au$1.39±/L
14/1/ Mon.: au$1.41±/L
12/1/ Sat.: au$1.46±/L
10/1/ Thurs: au$1.48±/L
8/1/2008 Tues: au$1.37±/L;
8/1/2008: w.tx crude us$95/barrel, tapis us$102; au$1.0 = us$0.88, £0.44, €0.60

Of late, Tuesday has been the day to buy fuel in .au (right).

16 January 2008: Flood warnings, Don, Dawson, Balonne, Diamantina rivers [Qld].
 
10, 11 January 2008, Vic., .au: 41°C forecast -- v. high fire risk [DSE][1/'09].
9 January 2008: Flooding in northern NSW continues to ease gradually [NSW][9/1/'08]; also see [Qld].

7 January 2008, car sales in Australia: "...1,049,982 cars, trucks and buses were sold in 2007..." [FCAI][7/1/'08], which is 9.1% more than 2006. The GM Holden Commodore remains in #1 spot (57,307); the Toyota Corolla is in 2nd place (47,792).

5 January (Lisbon) - 20 January (Dakar) 2008: Lisbon-Dakar [www], in [English].
The Dakar is on SBS TV (.au) every night at 6pm from 6 Jan [www]['08].
"... the organisers of the Dakar have taken the decision to cancel the 2008 edition of the rally ... Based on the current international political tension and the murder of four French tourists last 24th of December ... threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organisations, no other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken by A.S.O. ..." --[www][4/1/'08].
Dakar 2009 took place in South America.
3/1/2008: ULP Melb. au$1.46±/L; w.tx crude us$100/barrel; au$1.0 = us$0.88, £0.44
2/1/2008: ULP Melb. $1.35/L
5 January 2008: [Ex T.C.] Helen is wandering around the north of N.T., .au, causing flooding etc..
And in Victoria .au, "... The Mt Victoria fire, north west of Buchan is 28.2 hectares in size. The Erikson Skycrane is attending to a spotover on the steep northern perimeter of the Mount Victoria fire. Crews are on site to black out and patrol the spot. ..." and
Road Closures due to in E. Gippsland: ... Yalmy Road ... and Deddick Trail south of ..." --[DSE] at 12.30 5/1/'08.

January 2008: Many are tipping [Tata] of India to buy Jaguar and LandRover from cash-strapped Ford this month; March 2007 Ford sold most of Aston Martin to a consortium of investors.

January 2008: For some interesting and plausible fuel-consumption figures for various modes of transport see [www]. In typical use, cars ~ air per passenger km with rail doing much better. (With air there tends to be a few long trips per individual.) So don't agonise too much about flying v. driving from Melbourne to Sydney but take the train if you can.
 
And the F1 rules for engines in 2009 (next year) specify naturally-aspirated, petrol, 2.4-litre V8 plus an "optional" kinetic energy recover system (KERS):
"5.2.3 The max. power, in or out of a KERS must not exceed 60kW. Energy released from the KERS may not exceed 400kJ in any one lap. ..."
and two wheel drive. --[pdf][5/1/'08].
On KERS development for year 2009, at least one group, Flybrid [www][2/'08], is going for a flywheel (60,000+rpm) energy storage system with a CVT drive. Toyota and Honda make electric hybrid road cars but that does not necessarily mean they will go electric-KERS (battery or super-capacitor) in F1? It does seem daft that 4WD will remain banned given that most of the braking is through the front wheels.
 
The FCAI .au has some guidelines on the use of E5 and E10 ethanol-blended petrol with current and older cars [FCAI][1/'08], and similarly for biodiesel [FCAI][1/'08].
www:

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