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Ford Say - Never Mind the Hybrids Here's the Econetic

Aug 10, 2008
It cost me 83 English pounds to fill up my old Land Rover at the petrol station today. The attendant had to almost prise my hand open to get my debit card to pay for the fuel. As I stood there in shock and close to tears thinking about what else I could buy for that amount of money and more to the point how long it would take me to earn it back it suddenly dawned on me that in the words of the Stranglers (something better change).

In my case I think I need to change my vehicle pretty damn quick before we go broke. Not just because of the Land Rover you understand but we also have a 2001 Ford Mondeo 2.0 Petrol which was hardly considered a "gas guzzler" when we bought it some three years ago but due to the retrospective tax bandings coming out next year it falls into a high polluting bracket. Blimey I feel like I'm solely responsible for the destruction of the planet and in a way I suppose I am or certainly contributing towards it.

I guess we're in no different a position to a lot of people but by rendering our current vehicles practically worthless it will be quite hard to buy a new low polluting vehicle with effectively nothing to trade-in. The Government which is renowned for countless different "initiatives" usually in response to a crisis could have incentivised a scheme whereby you get discount off the price of a new low polluting car in return for trading in your old vehicle like a sort of amnesty.

Unfortunately it is always the less well off that suffer as a result of new legislation and this is a good case in point. I remember a couple of years ago Government Ministers were smugly parading around in hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius (whilst still having the Ministerial bullet-proof Jaguar waiting around the corner to whisk them away when the cameras had stopped rolling)

When thinking of polluting cars you automatically think of large 4x4's and such like but surprisingly the newest generation of high performance vehicles, especially the one's emanating from the USA where they have been working to reduce emissions for a while and as usual are way ahead of us, are much less polluting than you would imagine. I read about a 5.7 litre V8 Petrol that hardly registered on VOSA's equipment! Compare that to my Diesel Land Rover which would have them all reaching for their resuscitators! That's not to say that the V8 won't still use loads of fuel but those who would buy such a vehicle wouldn't care.

It always makes me chuckle when people see someone in an expensive car and say stuff like "imagine the insurance costs". Well guess what they don't care 'cos they can afford it in the first place and so will continue to drive whatever they like whereas the rest of us who could easily spend a day's wages just filling up the tank need to have a drastic rethink .

I need to stop ranting on now and turn to what seems to be the future for the car market and the saviour for us all.

Ford has unveiled the Fiesta Econetic at the motor show in London. It comes with a 1.4 litre diesel engine that emits just 98g/km which puts it pretty much into the top slot for the lowest polluting four-cylinder car on the market. Fuel economy is claimed to be over 76 miles per gallon.

Ford have stated that it is the low emission high economy Diesel engine that will deliver cheap running costs for the masses and not the petrol electric hybrids.

In a statement Mark Ovenden, Ford's UK Marketing Director puts it "Making available for the many what's been available for the few", who points out that the petrol electric hybrids pioneered by Honda and Toyota remain expensive when compared with conventional petrol or diesel engines. Other car makers such as BMW, Mercedes and VW have also acknowledged diesel to be the way forward at least in the short term.

With that in mind Ford's assembly line in Dagenham is churning out diesel engines at a rate of knots with some 575,000 units expected next year.

With technology moving so fast no-one can predict what we will all be driving in five years time but you can be sure in my case it won't have an eighty litre fuel tank and will probably be an Econetic
About the Author
Jon Barlow looks at recent trends in the motor industry especially in the UK which has led to the unveiling of greener cars like the Fiesta Econetic currently available at Cheap Ford
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