Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Tuesday 26 February 2008

What a Waste

And another thing that makes me angry...

No, I do not mean traffic jams, I am referring to the stupid laws many countries have concerning car lighting.

Many countries insist that headlamps must be on all the time that the car is moving. This is completely unnecessary except of course in rain, snow, fog etc. or perhaps in the north where in winter daylight is dim. I recall being bawled out by a Slovenian customs officer who looked as though she had been chewing quinces all day: "Headlamps!" she snarled as I passed in from Italy, where the same law applies but nobody took any notice.

To illustrate my point about the stupendous waste this involves, imagine say 1,000,000 cars on the road. This is not a great number: there are about 27,000,000 registered vehicles in the UK alone.

Each pair of headlamps is rated on dipped beam at 110 watts; to this must be added the combined wattage of all of the other lamps on the vehicle; let us say 20W although it could well be a bit more. All right: we have 130 unnecessary watts being consumed on each of 1,000,000 vehicles - 130,000,000 or 130 Megawatts to use power industry parlance.

How is all this unnecessary consumption supplied? With petroleum fuel of course; petrol/gasoline/diesel fuel: that expensive and declining resource, which when burned produces all sorts of waste products that the Greens tell us is warming up the planet and which requires considerable energy to produce and to ship.

How much petrol? Well a car engine is about 20 -25% efficient - let's be realistic and say 20%. Subtract the generating losses and I suppose a reasonable guess would be 17% and probably much worse whilst idling in a traffic jam. This means that our 1,000,000 cars with their unnecessary lighting are burning petrol equivalent to 765 megawatts of energy, or if you prefer horsepower, 1,025,000,000 horsepower.

And I remind you that this is just 1,000,000 cars with their lights on.

Michel de Montaigne said:

"Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens." *

Man is mad and he doesn't even have to invent a god to prove it.

Until the next time

*Quote corrected - apologies for the error
**Picture source: here

No comments: