On the drive back from Wales yesterday a couple of things struck me... again whilst I was cruising along the M40 at 70mph a Prius with a bike rack on it came thundering past me. I'm lost if you buy a Prius aren't you saying "I care about the planet"... but then you flog a 1.4l engine to death over 80mph and even better stick your I'm-so-green mountain bike on the back to act like the air brake on an old Russian freighter! Bonkers.
My new car - is a lot like the old one... I like the Peugeot 407 SW we'd had for 4 years that when I saw a "brand new" one for sale as a 2nd hand one at a knock down price I snapped it up. Now previously the 50mpg performance of the old one had impressed me, it is a large estate car after all. Well don't know what they have done in the intervening 4 years but the new one manages as near as damn it 60mpg! In fact the bit between Newtown to Shrewsbury which is all twisty A roads I managed to get 75mpg - why'd you buy a Prius? Funny just before Shrewsbury Mr I-have-a-car-that-looks-like-one-that-once-won-rally-world-championship came bounding up behind me - all revving his engine through the "throaty" exhaust on every bend to be thawted by an oncomming car, van, lorry, tractor. He inevitably zoomed passed me and dashed the 200 yrds in front of me to then slam on his brakes to sit behind the car in front to repeat the performance for us all to marvel at his driving ability... Well if you've a car that can excellerate twice as quickly as pretty much everything else on the road you ought to be able to overtake so frankly pal not that impressive. I checked my mpg thinking "I doubt he is getting 75mpg" and guess what at that very moment he pulled into a petrol station... I nearly had to pull over for laughing!
Now I checked at Shrewsbury as anyone who knows the A5 there will know that it is the secret location of one of the worlds largest roundabout collections. It goes something like.... Roundabout ahead, slow, drop to 2nd or more likely 1st gear, wait for gap or green light, round the roundabout onto next stretch, accelerate up to 60 or 70mph and get into cruising and ... Roundabout ahead, slow... etc. etc. I think there are 6 or 7 on the stretch I do.
So before going through that lot my mpg was as I say a staggeringly good 75mpg then once through and on the clear A5 heading toward the M54 it was 66mpg.
So I mused, how much concrete to make the flyovers to carry through traffic like me over this lot would you need to cancel out the carbon emissions the acceleration/braking cost? Love to be clever enough to work that out... Probably need a long pay back time, I know someone has calculated that the concrete making for the windfarm off the Kent coast recently erected actually creates more CO2 than the wind farm saves in it's expected lifespan compared to a gas fired power station ... that is before all the rest of the building emissions and the maintenance ships etc.