It appears that we have found an MP in the UK Parliament who has a bit of sense.
…no, listen, stop laughing. By the law of averages it had to happen one day.
Karl McCartney, MP for Lincoln, was questioning Transport Secretary Grant Shapps over the Government’s plans for more people to change over to electric cars at a hearing of the Commons Transport Select Committee.
Mr McCartney said: “Some of us believe that the best form of transport, car wise, and perhaps most environmental friendly, is to keep older cars on the road.
“You will admit that even electric cars actually do produce pollution, not only in the raw materials and energy used to manufacture them, but also in the fact the electricity has to be produced somewhere ? “
Shapps, not surprisingly, just churned out the party line that analysis by the Department of Transport showed manufacturing and running an electric car is: “far more environmentally friendly than petrol or diesel.”
Well, he would say that wouldn’t he ?
Many, many, years ago I wrote a column that argued the same point as Karl McCartney, although not necessarily electric, but all new cars.
The oft-quoted statement that 70 per cent of all Land Rovers made are still on the road is, of course, a load of b*ll*cks or what those of us with some knowledge of polls and statistic gathering call “a wild guess”.
However, what is definitely not guesswork is a walk around any gathering of Land Rovers at a show.
Old Land Rovers last a long time. Even my “modern plushmobile” L322 Range Rover is 14 years old – it was built before any of my great-grandchildren were born.
There they are at any gathering. Rows and rows of “old” vehicles helping to save the environment by not using new materials or energy.
Many of them are kept on the road by scavenging used parts – another saving on materials and energy (although the energy Dennis Taylor and I used thirty years ago to strip an old Range Rover of its side frames when rebuilding my 1972 classic, OSM, was considerable, it was a different sort of energy).
And most are repaired or maintained either at home or in smaller garages where the electricity bill for lighting is a tiny fraction of that used by new car showrooms and manufacturing plants.
And, of course, it isn’t only Land Rovers that are a part of this environmentally friendly world. From real classic vehicles that go to shows to fifteen-year-old saloons owned by young girls and kept on the road by dad or boyfriend every single one of them is contributing to that saving of raw materials and energy.
And very year that goes by makes your old motor even more environmentally friendly!
From some good news to some not-so.
A few weeks ago Boris Johnson announced that the ban on petrol and diesel cars in the UK is being brought forward by five years from 2040 to 2035.
And not only has it been moved five years but it also includes hybrid cars, so every new car sold after 2035 must be full electric or hydrogen.
Now, that nice little 15-year-old Corsa or Micra with the pink steering wheel cover that is maintained and repaired by daddy or boyfriend that I mentioned above, aside, not many family or smaller cars last much longer than 15 years.
So, when the ban comes into effect – in 15 years time – every car that is scrapped will be replaced by an electric one.
And every year after that there will be fewer and fewer petrol and diesel engined vehicles and more and more electric vehicles.
And where do you suppose those of us still driving our Land Rovers, Range Rovers and various classics will be buying our petrol and diesel ?
If the majority of cars on the road don’t need petrol or diesel then the fuel companies will stop selling it.
Wouldn’t you ?
It seems electrocar owners are as mean and stingy as the rest of us – no, sorry, I mean careful – about spending on fuel.
An email I read said that the ecotricity company is cheaper “by some margin” than geniepoint. “A typical fill up at ecotricity is £10.50 whereas geniepoint are (sic) £11.50.”
Like any safety-conscious motorist I reverse into my drive so I can drive out forrards onto a busy road.
Last week while I was reversing up the drive, I had my usual quick scan of all the dials and lights on the dashboard and was greeted by the temp gauge heading inexorably towards the red.
I was out of the way of traffic and people so shut down the engine straightaway.
Got out, had a look under the front and watched gallons of orange coolant pouring out onto the concrete.
It’s a good job I use an OAT coolant as well ‘cos the flow led to the rhubarb…
I let the motor cool down for an hour then started up and moved back the ten feet that puts my Rangie where it lives, behind six-foot high gates.
Shut it down again, before the gauge had even moved in fact, and waited for it to cool down again so I could “weigh the job up”.
Then Bill Jones turned up for the “social distancing boys night in” that has replaced our regular boys night out at the pub. We have our beers on camping tables in my garage which is plenty big enough for keeping well over the two metres distance apart. Alternate weeks at his…
Obviously I mentioned the earlier fun and games so he suggested we have a quick look. Of course I was expecting all sorts of horror stories like radiator or water pump.
…and there it was… a rusted and broken jubilee clip that should have been attaching a hose to the bottom of the coolant reservoir. Bill had the correct size in his gas plumbing kit in the back of his motor.
What ? Five minutes to pop the clip on and tighten it up, if that.
As my anti-freeze was pretty low I had to go get another five litres the next day and then started the slow process of topping up with anti-freeze and water.
It took two effing days to top up, bleed, top up, bleed…
I do miss the old days. Take the great big radiator cap off. Top up with whatever. Turn the engine on. Watch the water disappear down into the radiator, top up again. Watch a few bubbles appear, top up until the water starts to warm up. Squeeze the top hose a bit as the thermostat opens…
Oh, and don’t forget, before all this, to turn the heater on to high…
About a thousand years ago I didn’t know that I was supposed to turn my heater up when refilling the V8 in my SD1… in December…after replacing the water pump…
A 230 mile journey without a working heater (air-locked in case anyone needs it explained) in winter served to teach me to never do that again.
The local police in Blackburn, Lancashire, where I live, pulled a van with false plates recently.
Nothing odd about that, you might think, except the plonker who made up the plates used a number that will not be issued for four years !
…and finally, although nothing to do with motoring as such – is it possible to cut cheese, for any recipe, without eating a piece ?