Leb’ wohl, Bio-Ethanol

Ford Focus FlexifuelIt is now four years since I started driving a car powered by bio-ethanol.  Those four years ended yesterday when I returned the car to the dealer with only a few days left to run on the lease.

The car that I have replaced it with no longer runs on bio-ethanol (E85), although it does use the new E10 fuel.

So how have those four years been and why did I switch back?

Well, whilst on the one hand it was nice to try something new [Read more…]

Mixing fuels for the first time

This week it happened for the first time since I starting using bio-ethanol: the petrol station where I normally fill up had a sign saying “Tankstelle defekt” on it – ie. “Out of order”.

Rather than start working out if I would make it on the litres that I had left to the next available bio-ethanol retailer, I decided to do something that I had managed to avoid until now:

I mixed Super (95 Octane) with Bio-ethanol (E85)!

Actually, that probably isn’t such a big deal.  But it was a strange experience after almost 2 years to drive to a normal petrol station and put normal petrol into the car.

Not only was I slightly apprehensive as to how the motor would react to the next mix, but I was also slightly shocked at the price.  I’m used to the litres counting up faster than the Euros, only this time things were the other way round.

But everything worked out fine, and as expected the fuel efficiency (litres per 100km) even improved slightly.  All the same, I hope it doesn’t happen too often.

Filling up with petrol – a robot’s job?

I’m sure that many readers will remember the days when petrol stations had attendants that put the petrol into the tank for you – before the days when “self service” became the modern way of filling up.

Well, perhaps we are going to return to that kind of service. I’ve been fascinated today by a video of a petrol station in the Netherlands, that uses a robot arm to fill up the cars.

The robot knows from the type of car how to open the petrol cap, and presumably whether or not to put diesel in. I wonder how it copes with bio-ethanol?

It looked rather slow at the moment, so I guess the queues at the petrol station near here would just get longer. I also didn’t see anywhere to pay for the petrol – does the robot arm swipe your credit card as well?

As fascinating as it is, I’m still not too sure what to make of it all. It may be nice not to have to get out of your car, but it doesn’t help the unemployment figures!

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