Americans can't get enough of their big utes

Mark Schneider | 24/03/2016 9:07:14 AM

Everything’s big in America – especially those utes. One of the myths about the collapse of the American auto industry in the global financial crisis is that it was largely brought about by manufacturers sticking to huge gas-guzzling dinosaurs that no one wanted. The sales figures for 2015 should go a long way to dispelling that idea. The top three places are filled by the Ford F-Series, the Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge’s Ram 1500-3500. They’re all crew-cab utes (or p...

Petrol Prices Down World Wide

Mark Schneider | 22/03/2016 9:17:25 AM

The falling price of oil may have the world’s oil producers all hot and bothered but it’s a fair bet you’re smiling a little more at the pump each week with petrol prices dropping below $1 in some parts of Australia early this year. It’s a similar story all around the world with falling prices for petrol and diesel, with at least one notable exception: in Venezuela the price of petrol has gone up dramatically! By 6000 per cent, no less, and it’s all to do with th...

Biofuels' Environmental Promise Falls Well Short

Mark Schneider | 16/03/2016 2:09:51 PM

Biofuels promised plenty of environmental benefits when their use became common in the US, Europe and elsewhere, but so far that promise has fallen well short of the reality. The idea of a carbon-neutral fuel that could be readily produced from plants, partially replacing non-renewable liquid fuels, spurred the Europeans to make a percentage of biofuel mandatory at filling stations throughout the continent. The EU wasn’t alone, with many other nations, including the US, mandating that a...

Self-driving cars may be a boon for older drivers

Mark Schneider | 15/03/2016 8:00:00 AM

The conventional wisdom that young people are the early adopters of new technology while older folk struggle to come to grips with it may be turned on its head when it comes to self-driving cars. Tech giant Google, a leader in self-driving cars, believes the technology will be a godsend for older drivers who can no longer drive or who lack the confidence to get behind the wheel in city or suburban streets. The oldest person so far to travel in one of Google’s cars is 94 year-ol...

7 tips to become more mindful on the road

Mark Schneider | 10/03/2016 8:00:00 AM

Have you ever arrived somewhere and, as you’ve stepped out of the car, reflected that you can’t actually remember how you got there? Following a familiar route, perhaps a daily commute, without even realising it you slipped onto auto-pilot? Caught up, perhaps, in other, more immediately demanding thoughts or conversations? According to a recent study in the USA which analysed over 42,000 hours of driving, 78% of crashes and 68% of near crashes unsurprisingly had some form of d...

Crumple Zones Save Lives

Mark Schneider | 8/03/2016 8:00:00 AM

The aftermath of car crashes is not a pretty sight. All too frequently the car or cars involved are a tangled mess of metal on the back of a truck even after relatively low speed collisions. The bad news is that the car may be a write-off, but the good news is that these days the driver and passengers are highly likely to have survived the crash relatively unharmed. It wasn’t always this way. In the bad old days when cars were rigid and strong drivers and passengers would freque...

Pay as you drive proposed for better infrastructure

Mark Schneider | 1/03/2016 8:00:00 AM

With Australia’s population now more than 24 million and growing rapidly, the country’s under-funded infrastructure – especially its road and rail networks – are groaning at the seams. From Sydney to Perth our cities’ roads are increasingly clogged, with traffic gridlock costing an estimated $16.5 billion in 2015, a figure that could soar to a staggering $53.3 billion by 2031 on current trends. Australia’s roads are funded through a combination of f...