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* Posts by Martin

108 posts • joined 9 Jan 2008

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Engineers are troublesome 'expert loners', says prof

Martin
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That IS what engineers do

Why am I thinking of the IT Crowd "Team team team team team- I even like saying the word 'team' "?

In my experience as an engineer, of university and the workplace, the breaking-down of "team"work into individual chunks is the ultimate safeguard against 'deadwood' team members contributing little to the project. Individual responsibility creates accountability if that chunk of work doesn't get done. The engineers I know/have known also prefer to have the opportunity to think about a problem in depth on their own, without being distracted endlessly by others. This of course does not preclude collaboration when appropriate, eg when they get 'stuck' or are touching on an area of another engineer's/person's expertise.

Sounds to me that some pointy-haired bosses are bemoaning the fact that engineers generally don't take to their faddy management practices, and this Prof is taking their complaints at face value.

I can't talk at all about procrastination (I'm one of the worst), but I thought that was a problem with students in general rather than especially engineers.

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Blighty’s barmy for e-cars, poll discovers

Martin
Go

@AC 10:25

Sir, as a fellow ST driver I have to congratulate you on your superb choice of car. However, if they came up with a leccy version as fast as the ST, costing substantially less than the current £0.16/mile to run, I for one would jump on it.

Oh, and the government is planning to replace the petrol revenue with Road Pricing; up to £1.34/mile with the added bonus of Orwellian GPS tracking of all. Even though 1,800,000 people said 'NO'.

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Blog homeopathy horror hammers hippy herbalists

Martin
Coat

@Mark 15:14

And have you ever jumped off a cliff? You can't knock it 'till you've tried it ....

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Tough on e-vehicles, tough on the causes of e-vehicles

Martin
Flame

@blackworx 13:54

Yeah- nobody needs a car. We're all just too lazy to walk 20-odd miles twice a day. Unless of course you're subscribing to the 'everybody in the world lives in London Zones 1&2' worldview.

I think it's your "habitual unthinking mentality" that needs to be broken.

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Ford faces tax bill for unsold cars

Martin

@AC 10:28

VAT is, by definition, applied all the way up the supply chain as a tax on the 'value added' by each company. A "VAT" applied only to consumer purchases is just a "sales tax".

I just tried thinking about the VAT rules for intra-EU trade and it gave me a headache.

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Tesla Roadster runs for 241 miles in Monte Carlo e-rally

Martin
Go

Average speeds

Those speeds actually look pretty normal. 56mph on the motorway is lorry speed. 37mph and 19mph on main roads and mountain roads respectively look pretty normal as well. Remember these are AVERAGE speeds, not 'average cruising speed' or something else. The average speed includes stopping at traffic lights, crawling round hairpins etc etc. Put it this way, I believe my all-time average speed over the past year is about 35mph, and much of the time I drive on the motorway, off-peak, at speeds the local constabulary probably wouldn't approve of.

241 miles of 'normal' driving is pretty good range, and puts it in petrol car territory.

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BMW opens up to haptic car doors

Martin
Alien

@AC 14:23, "Beemers"

Hmm let's see, 99% of the population say "Beemer" refers to any product of BMW, 1% of the population says "Beemer" applies only to motorcycles.

Result: "Beemer" refers to any product of BMW (usually cars).

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Boffins invent automatic net-hookup roboffinry machines

Martin
Dead Vulture

I've always said;

"DO NOT connect advanced AI to the Internet"

/tombstone for humanity, not El Reg

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Wally found on Street View

Martin
Coat

*says something about

waiting for a bus on Slade Road being equivalent to "pissing in the wind"*

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ISS crew flees flying space junk

Martin
Coat

@Shield, 00:00

It doesen't need to be ferrous to have a current induced in it, after all non-ferrous copper seems to work quite well in just about every induction-based machine there is...

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Screeching rails close London Tube station

Martin
Coat

*motorist stands corrected*

I thought that closing vital transport links for flimsy reasons in the middle of rush hour was a Highways Agency speciality, but obviously I was wrong.

Isn't there somewhere we can send the hi-vis wearing jobsworths who seem to have infected so many positions of responsibility? Can we use them in the military to infiltrate enemy infrastructure as some kind of 'impotence cannon'?

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Data Protection Act 'is not enforced'

Martin
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@ Steen Hive

"private sector losses are invariably socialised"

Except for 99% of the time, when theyre not. It's only high profile chums of politicos who get bailed out.

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Wanted: £160k-a-year Twittercrat

Martin
Coat

Minister of 'jams'?

That'll be a job for an ex-transport minister then...

Maybe Darling, as a reward for his successes in transport and the economy!

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Abba star slates 'lazy, stingy' Pirate Bay fans

Martin
Coat

Can I still be paid for stuff I did years ago as well?

I'm sure that some things I've done/made/'created' are still being enjoyed; can I expect a regular royalty cheque until my death?

If these people want to live off their sucesses early in life, perhaps they should have visited their local bank and enquired about their finest savings accounts, you know, like everyone else has to.

Or to quote someone else; "thou shalt not put musicians and recording artists on ridiculous pedestals, no matter how great they are or were"

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Freeway-averse Peapod runabout to go on sale in April

Martin
Stop

I think

I'll stick with my 350-mile range 150mph petrol car for the moment, thanks.

Like another poster said, I do wonder whether some organisations/designers/engineers intentionally design crap, useless electric cars; either to promote conventional cars (for the established MoCos) or to cast doubt on the future of cars in general (for certain hyper-'greens').

And yes indeed, Tony Hoyle. What some people don't realise is that in many situations a proliferateration of 'abnormally slow' vehicles (yes cyclists, I'm looking at you) increases overall fuel consumption, as hundreds/thousands of motor vehicles are forced to slow to 15mph before tentatively overtaking.

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Digital Britain: A tax, a quango and ISP snooping

Martin
Thumb Up

@Recaffeinated 17:19

You sir, get a commendation from me.

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Birmingham drops the possessive apostrophe

Martin
Stop

As a Birmingham resident

I would (very weakly) prefer the apostrophies to be there rather than not, but it's not something that bothers me.

As for databases and so on, just because the road signs have punctuation (or not), what bearing does that have on databases? Surely the dbase should be apostrophe-less regardless of whether the road signs have them or not?

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Coming soon: Pills to 'turn down' your ears at clubs

Martin
Unhappy

In my experience, 'morning after tinnitus'

is caused by DJs and sound engineers who have no clue what the f*ck they're doing. The worst sort is the DJ who thinks "louder == better" and cranks the *mixer* up to 11, resulting in clipping and general distortion, which generates high frequency harmonics that damage your hearing.

The better clubs have experienced techs who keep a firm grip on all the crucial controls, resulting in a better experience for everyone. I've even heard of techs patrolling the dancefloor of a certain London club with microphone-equipped PDAs, allowing them to adjust levels and equalisation on-the-fly.

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Obama urged to relax US tech restrictions

Martin
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I have encountered this directly

In a previous job, I needed to obtain a batch of solid-state barometric pressure sensors, made in Germany, and advertised by the manufacturer as so sensitive that they could be used as an altimeter. I phoned a certain well known USA supplier, and all they wanted to do was ask me many idiotic questions to ascertain whether I was a terrorist..

"Are you going to use them to build a missle?"

"err... no" etc etc and once I had answered all of their questions they never followed up or delivered the order.

In the end I just ordered them from a German supplier, job done.

Yes, these regulations ARE costing the US economy.

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Tech industry still leaving dirty great footprints, says Greenpeace

Martin
Coat

"Greenpeace still a pain in the arse, says me"

"Independent charity 'me' issued a release yesterday saying "Greenpeace still persists in issuing annoying press releases to be gobbled up by a hungry media, although thankfully numbers are down on last year." A spokesman added "organisations like Greenpeace need to wake up and stop with this nonsense, it's the sanity of the planet at stake". In a recent survey (of 2 people), 100% said they wanted Greenpeace to "STFU", and 50% expressed a liking for "Steak and Kidney pie". Later, 'me' issued another release drawing attention to the fact that detectable quantities of 'chemicals' are present in Greenpeace releases, adding "In large quantities, some 'chemicals' can be dangerous, and can even be found in cancer in babies. Chemicals are also linked to smoking and crack cocaine. A recent study revealed that when rats are injected with chemicals, there is a slight possibility that they may turn into giant walruses that sing Auld Lang Syne". We asked the government for their response on this sensitive issue, and they claimed that "34% of chemicals are caused by speeding. All large companies should be nationalised immediately." "

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Speeding Oz teen may face 'gorillas in the mist'

Martin
Flame

FFS, plain 'speeding' != dangerous driving;

thats why they are 2 different offences.

That young gobshite being threatened with jail, fair enough if he's genuinely driving like a twunt and giving the cops the run-around (which it seems he is).

Someone driving at 100mph on new years day (when the roads were no doubt quieter than a Woolworths next week) is NOT in the same category whatsoever.

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Ofcom warns telcos over hidden customer penalties

Martin
Coat

Using 'embiggen' in that way

is perfectly cromulent.

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Remaining UK plods to get mobile-data gadgets

Martin
Happy

@AC 13:10

I don't know about "iPlod", but the West Midlands police certainly do have a "Plodcast"

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BBC: Top Gear Tesla didn't run out of juice

Martin
Flame

ahem; they DID show a petrol car running out of fuel;

Jezza's very own Ford GT several years ago, a car with similar on-track range to the Tesla (and generally very poor fuel economy, which they mentioned at the time repeatedly).

If they show all cars which last for less than 80-odd miles before running out of (whatever) fuel as stopping on the track (which is the pattern so far), then that's fair isn't it?

And to all the people who genuinely believe that running out of fuel in a dead-dinosaur powered car is a serious business requiring £100s worth of mechanic's attention, then I suggest you apply a similar pinch of salt to Kwik-Fit mechanics proclamations as you should to Top Gear.

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DfT spends £81m to save £57m

Martin
Coat

I know exactly what went wrong-

The DVLA computer suffered from water ingress, while it was on a bridge over a major dual-carriageway, looking menacing to passing motorists.

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Microtune boots up for in-car TV

Martin
Coat

@Stuart 11:47

I thought they meant 210,000 mph!

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Raids net police £1m in pirate game and movie discs

Martin
Coat

Another blow to Midlands manufacturing...

Seriously, we need all the working factories we can get at the moment...

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Helmet makes you 'feel' in-game head shots

Martin
Coat

Hmmm

*mutters something about needing this product about as much as a hole in the head..*

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Tell Santa to bring more assault rifles

Martin
Flame

'Liberals'

Please, please please can everybody stop using the word 'liberal' to refer to left-wingers, without regard to whether they are actually liberal or not.

Thank you.

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'Bloody' is an offensive word, declares ASA

Martin
Coat

I find The Sun's existence to be socially irresponsible and offensive

Ban please?

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Dixons plunges to loss

Martin
Dead Vulture

Whats the point of Woolworths?

We were discussing this at my work the other day, Woolies has no place or market whatsoever in the modern world. There is no product that they sell a wider range of, or cheaper, or better than someone else. AFAICR they sell a few toys, a few CDs, a few clothes etc, but nothing particularly well. They have even lost the 'under one roof' aspect to the supermarkets, these days Woolworths is just an ASDA without food, and people generally need to eat and so go to the supermarkets anyway, where all the products that Woolworths sells are available cheaper.

I USED to occasionally visit 'Big W' (when such a place existed) because they sold motoring sundries (washer fluid etc) cheaper than Halfords. Nowadays all the supermarkets do as well.

DOOMED

/grave icon, not for The Reg (which will last for eternity) but for Woolworths

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Ofcom exempts road users

Martin
Coat

I think an optical system would be ideal

Road signs could output a spatially modulated signal in visible light, and cars could have optical transmitters built into them by law, giving a frequency modulated visible light output when certain vehicle actions are taking place, eg braking, changing lane, reversing etc. It would also be possible to build roadside 'dynamic optical transmitters', receiving information from a control centre as necessary and retransmitting this information in optical form. In extreme circumstances signals could be exchanged as physical oscillations in the air ("sound"), with a distinctive signal reserved for emergency vehicles. All of this information would be received by an organic control system in every vehicle, capable of real-time assesment of the output of a high resolution binocular camera system assessing the road ahead of the vehicle.

Of course every organic control system would need to be individually tested and licensed.

Hang on...

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Preventive policing? Don't even think about it

Martin
Unhappy

@Gareth 17:04

Yeah, I thought that as well, until I was arrested (and my DNA taken etc etc) for carrying a 1.5 inch folding penknife with a locking mechanism. Apparently the lock turns a perfectly legal penknife into a blunt 1.5-inch long weapon of mass destruction, or "NO, it's an ILLEGAL *LOCK* KNIFE" as the coppers said to me.

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DVLA: A licence to bill

Martin
Happy

AFAIK all of these 'private' parking fines are unenforcable

as unlike the government, private individuals/companies have NO right to fine the *owner* of a vehicle for something the vehicle was involved in. Any action must be taken against the DRIVER at the time of the alleged incident. Also unlike the government, they have no right to demand to know who was driving; that is up to them to prove.

If you recieve anything like this (eg a 'fine' for overstaying in a supermarket car park) just write back saying "prove who was driving".

Of course if your vehicle has actually been clamped or towed away all bets are off, and you will likely have to pay to get your car back.

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Tiny MyCar named electric vehicle of the year

Martin
Thumb Down

Rubbish

As others have said, a lead-acid based rollerskate that does 40mph *or* 40 miles on a charge is just rubbish. I don't personally find the design too visually offensive, but any EV (and I DO support EVs) would need a range of 100+ miles, *AT* 60mph (with a top speed of more like 90+mph) to be sucessful.

And @netean (13:48); the BUS IS NOT GREEN. Even in London, where buses are fuller than elsewhere and the traffic is godawful, fuel consumption (and hence CO2 emissions) per passenger mile are the same for buses as for cars. For other cities/regions with convoluted bus routes and (relatively) free-flowing roads cars are actually more effecient.

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BitTorrent crackdown cops fail to pay music copyright fees

Martin
Unhappy

@Matt, 19:01 "How long before..."

They already ARE going after such places; that's the point. As far as the PRS are concerned just about anywhere that's not a private home is a 'public place'; including offices, canteens etc open only to employees.

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Martin
Flame

It's not "the law" to pay the PRS, so STFU

The vultures have decended on our workplace also. "The Law" the PRS rely on to put the frighteners on people is clearly framed with entertainment venues (pubs, clubs etc) in mind, where their business IS music; NOT the average workplace with an incidental radio. I have yet to hear of them actually winning a court case about radio fees- I have only ever heard of firms settling with them. The radio stations themselves already pay royalties to the PRS based on how many listeners they get- why do companies (or the police) have to pay the same royalties AGAIN because a radio isn't situated in a private home? It's BROADCAST, FFS.

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Chinese lorry-crash bee swarm kills six

Martin

@AC, 12:30

I wonder what the correlation is between the likelihood of pedestrians/cyclists darting out in front of cars; and the likelihood that they could receive cash for being hit?

Just a thought.

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EA free petrol stunt triggers north London gridlock

Martin
Go

I used to live round there;

and its fair to say the locals would queue for £40-worth of manure, never mind petrol.

That being said, the next time anyones planning on giving away fuel in the Birmingham area, please let me know ;-)

And @ Richard Kilpatrick, absolutely correct mate; every car has a different 'economical speed'. Ive had cars where its been 85mph, and others where its been 50mph. Can everyone PLEASE stop quoting 55/56mph as the universal magic figure; it was pulled from the bums of American politicians in the 1970s.

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Dabs.com courier goes titsup

Martin
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Good riddance

Amtrak (round here at least) were a bunch of absolute amateurs. Parcels turned up days late (even on 'next day' delivery) and were often damaged.

I also wonder (along with a previous poster) WHY someone chose to name their company after the American nationalised passenger rail operator. Is there a 3rd-rate courier firm in the USA called "British Rail"?

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Nokia 6210 Navigator phone

Martin
Unhappy

@Trialware

I agree.

I have a 6110 Navigator, which includes (the use of, not updates) maps and full navigation for life. Why on earth would I want to 'upgrade' to the 6210 when the nav functions only last for 6 months?

I bought the phone specifically for the satnav, as I dont use it anywhere near enough (probably 10 times in the last year) to justify purchasing/carrying a dedicated satnav device. Nokia's offerings become a whole lot less attractive if the nav expires after a period; and anyway, with this government's attitude to roads its hardly as though map updates are essential to keep the nav up to date with the thousands of miles of new motorways opened every year, is it? ;-)

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Road Pricing 2.0 is two years away

Martin
Stop

"Unaffordable road building"

As one of the people who signed the No.10 petition against Road Pricing, I read Tony Blair's email (at the close of the petition) with interest.

IIRC, taking into account the price Mr Blair put on building a mile of new motorway (to illustrate how 'unaffordable' it would be), and the estimates in the press of how much full road pricing would cost to implement, Road Pricing would cost the same as DOUBLING the current motorway network.

Please don't tell me that RP would be the cheap option.

And anyway, I never quite understood how RP could be 'revenue neutral', AND cover the cost of its implementation, AND be suffeciently more expensive to deter road use; and how these mythical clear motorways will be any use to me if the reason they're clear is that I can't afford to drive on the bloody things.

/cue lots of "ZOMG evil cars, you should all ride a bicycle like me" comments

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Google will eat itself in 202,345,117 years

Martin
Alert

@DrG

You hit the nail on the head there.

Scamming google advertisers (like ME) != scamming Google.

Hang on, according to this diagram on THEIR OWN SITE http://gwei.org/img/diag_gwei_overview.gif they full well understand they're scamming the advertisers.

Only a fscking artist would consider screwing thousands of small businesses (like mine) with fake clicks, and generating profit for Google in the process, to be "screwing Google".

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Hull falls off the internet

Martin
Unhappy

@Roger; Be Unlimited

I thought it was just me!

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Lies, damned lies and government statistics

Martin
Go

@AC "Morons"

It could possibly be that motorists really don't see the relevance of (for example, the 70mph motorway limit) a speed limit introduced in 1965, by a non-driving transport minister, for cars with drum brakes and cross-ply tyres, in response to accidents in fog; when that limit is applied in 2008 to modern cars in good weather.

Added to this is the recent fetish for local councils to drastically cut the speed limit on many roads without good reason (quite often from 60mph to 30mph) and then put a shedload of cameras up, some of which are 'accidentally' hidden behind a convenient tree or road sign, and all of which are on the straightest, safest and most downhill sections of the road, where most people (perfectly safely) can exceed the limit by at least 10mph. This is what happens when policy is set by people in London who think that every road in Britain is a busy high street where 30mph is actually quite fast for the conditions.

When speed limits are set to a genuine 'maximum safe' speed, rather than merely as low as they think they can get away with, THEN talk to me about not speeding. Until then I and most other people will take the signs (in most cases) as a suggested minimum speed, rather than a hard maximum.

/gets the coat with the clean licence in the pocket

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IBM solves world's 'paper or plastic' crisis

Martin
Flame

Soon this invention will be obsolete anyway;

thanks to the banning of carrier bags by Gordon "must be seen to be doing something in my last months in office" Brown.

I for one will be so glad when the perils of 21st century British life; (smoking indoors anywhere ever, free carrier bags, people enjoying themselves whilst in a car) are eradicated for good. That's exactly what our government needs to concentrate on.

/anger

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El Reg nails Street View spycars to Google Maps

Martin
Paris Hilton

Spotted in Coventry

2 identical camera cars, both in the immediate area of Foleshill Road

/Paris, because she needs to be sent to Coventry

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Chinese takeaway biodiesel man in garage explosion horror

Martin
Flame

@ Matt West, & other "why don't pros do it?"

They already do- there are several firms local to me that reprocess waste oil into biodiesel.

The reason they are not more popular than they are, and that people tend to brew their own;

1) Doubts about the quality of the product. If you're going to use a fuel that could well knacker your engine, many people want to oversee its production themselves.

2) Price. As stated by others, commercial production attracts fuel duty, and ameteur does not. Also some people have a source of 'free' (or very cheap) waste oil, resulting in VERY cheap fuel if they do the chemistry themselves.

/unhappy owner of low-MPG petrol car

/flames... in reference to story

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Morgan shows 'light & slippery' fuel-cell car concept

Martin
Alert

@ JonB

errr, no. If you were right then the USA would be paying £1.139/L for fuel as well despite their lack of any substantial fuel tax, but they're paying about 50p/L, the same as our tax-free price. In a competitive market prices stabilise at a point that gives a 'reasonable' profit compared with other industries. Any absurdly profitable industry receives an incoming flood of investment and new players, prices fall due to all the new competition until such a point as there is no 'unusual' level of profit to attract them.

Anyway, people don't care how 'stable' the price of something is, they care far more about how much it actually costs. The fact that in percentage terms American fuel has risen by far more than it has here is little comfort considering that in cash terms the price of a litre/gallon/mile has risen more here (thanks VAT) and was much more expensive here to begin with (68.9p/L during the 2002 oil price slump IIRC)

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Martin
Stop

@ Andrew, petrol as a byproduct

I do VERY seriously doubt that.

For example, I use upwards of 45l (10 gallons) of petrol every week, my workplace uses hundreds of gallons of diesel. How much plastic do we go through in a week? Not much.

The old 'road fuel isn't profitable' thing is a nonsense- the oilcos sell the fuel to themselves (ie the refining arm sells to the retail arm) at a huge markup, and then the retail arm (the petrol stations) sells the fuel at a very small profit or even a loss. This way they can claim "we don't make money on petrol" and also keep smaller players out of the business, as it is VERY difficult for an unfavoured small fuel retailer to make a profit. When was the last time you saw an independent garage?

All told of course most of the price of fuel is still tax, with fuel at 113.9p/L coming out at 46.6p/L without VAT or duty.

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