A hybrid world
- 14 Aug 06, 02:40 PM
Well my colleague Paul Mason couldn't have been more frank about the difference between a blog and a diary. He says it is that "people who think you are an a*****e can say so immediately and have it hosted by the BBC!". Quite an opportunity, I'd have thought.
So I was pretty pleased with my first haul. Most of my correspondents seemed to look fairly favourably on my ethical endeavours. Even my very first respondee, Kate, who wrote to tell me "this "ethical man" crap has to be one of the worst ideas newsnight (sic) has ever had" - rather paradoxically concluded her message by wishing me good luck with the blog.
So here's another one of my ethical confessions...
I've made quite a do about giving up my car for the project and yet as SPL noticed I said in my report on the Big Green Gathering that I drove to the festival. As SPL says "something smells fishy - and not just your compost heap."
So here's the mea culpa. We did indeed drive to the festival. The Big Green Gathering is scattered across some fields in the soft Somerset hills and is a good few miles from the nearest town. The event lays on buses from the station but with two toddlers and a two month old baby we can’t travel light. Bee and I reckoned we were justified in hiring a car.
My first thought was to get a hybrid car. Wouldn’t this be the ideal opportunity to test one out? The problem is the only hybrid that might pack us all in is a Toyota Lexus. It is an SUV but uses hybrid technology. In fact, it’s the car that David Cameron uses. It had to be the most ethical option, surely.
I couldn’t find a rental company that stocks the Lexus so I decide to try Toyota themselves. But when I called they didn't seem keen to help me get back behind the wheel. “You’d be better off with the diesel Avensis Estate”, Alan in the press office tells me, “it will give you up to 45 miles to the gallon on long journeys. The Lexus is based on a 3.3 litre V6 engine,” he explains, “You might get as much as 30 miles to the gallon in town but if you are driving on motorways a diesel would be better.”
For all warm words we hear about hybrid technology it clearly has its limitations – certainly when it’s used in a big four wheel drive SUV, as Toyota seem to acknowledge.
Instead we hired a roomy, cheap and fuel efficient 1.6 litre Vauxhall instead. Meanwhile my car is still gathering dust in a car park.
I don't think I am cheating on the project. When I gave up the car I said the idea was to see how the family got on without one. We said we would look at what alternatives to car ownership there are and hiring a car is one of them.
Of course, if you think I am being an a*****e feel free to use the box below to tell me and - yes - the BBC will publish your reply (so long as it is not too obscene).