How would you like $108 million a day?
That is what Exxon Mobil made last year folks, a record
profit of USD 39.5 billion. And that's about 1.37 trillion
if you need it in Thai currency. That is also USD 108
million a day. And this is the nice friendly folks at Exxon
who are wringing their hands on our behalf as the price of
oil goes up. And the price of petrol at the pumps.
you believe that we are about to run out of fossil fuel any
day now, then Exxon Mobil are probably just making their
final killing. However, if you believe that there's a few
years worth of oil still to be pulled out of the ground,
then that same company is making that killing at our
To put everything in its correct perspective, that USD 39.5
billion is the highest profit ever recorded by any American
corporation. Ever! And that is while they are trying to look
like the "good guys" who are doing everything they can for
us to keep prices down at the pumps, while those nasty OPEC
guys are pushing oil prices up. Don't make me weep, I'm
running out of hankies.
If the said Exxon Mobil really believed that the oil crisis
was nigh, then they would be spending some of that daily 108
million dollars in developing the delivery systems for
hydrogen and CNG and anything else we need to replace
gasoline. But are they? No they are not.
This either makes them stupid, which I am also sure they are
not. After all if I think I am more clever than they are,
why am I not making 108 million dollars a day? No, they are
more clever than I, and yet are doing nothing alternative
fuel-wise. Why not? Because the oil isn't about to run out,
and the higher the barrel price gets, then previously
unsustainable oilfields become profitable again. Including
some in Texas, right George?
No, if you want to know what is going on in the world (or
going up), then read the financial pages of your newspaper.
It was there that I read of Daniel Barcelo an energy analyst
from the Bank of America who said that Exxon's figures (both
production and profit) were the result of "long term
planning and execution" and he expected Exxon Mobil to
continue to increase production right through to 2010. So
that black stuff under the ground will be with us for a few
more years yet.
Trust me. Exxon said it!
The Italians make a back to front Tuk-Tuk
Life-JetWhile three-wheeler machines are not
uncommon, especially in Asia, the Italian Piaggio MP3
features two front wheels, rather than two rear wheels, and
they tilt, which is uncommon, says the factory.
Piaggio claims the MP3 provides safety, road grip and
stability levels that no two-wheeler can match. It features
an electro-hydraulic suspension locking system which means
it stays upright when parked without the need for any stand.
It is also claimed that the MP3 also requires less braking
distance than other scooters as it is fitted with three disc
While Piaggio may think they have something revolutionary,
take a look at this other photo, being of the F-300
Life-Jet, designed and built by Mercedes Benz and revealed
at the Frankfurt Motor Show 10 years ago! This had two
wheels at the front and they leaned into the corner also.
By the way, the Piaggio was shown at the Brisbane Motor Show
in Australia where the entry price for the public was $16
for adults, $10 for children and $24 for a family, making it
over B. 400 per ticket for an adult. This makes the very
cheap Bangkok International Motor Show even better value for
Last week I asked what did a Chrysler Town and
Country, and an MGTC have in common? Hint, think bodywork.
The Chrysler TC and the MGTC both had wood frame bodies,
though the Chrysler's was exposed and the MGs was hidden.
According to my mate Jerry Coffey, who owned a Chrysler, the
wood was ash, which it was, and it was supplied by Perkin
Wood Products of Helena Arkansas. The MGTC was also ash wood
framed, and we used to claim that the only thing that kept
MGTCs together was the fact that the termites were so
terrified that they all hung onto each other!
So to this week. And nobody will get within cooee of this
one. Four of the most significant F1 cars in Michael
Schumacher's career were the Jordan 191 (his first GP), the
Benetton B. 191 (his first world championship points), the
Benetton B. 194 (his first world championship) and the
Ferrari F2002 (his totally dominant year). These four are
currently on sale as a set. How much is the asking price for
the set in US dollars? Get within USD 50,000 to be the
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email auto [email protected]
BMW 1 Series looking more like a Yaris
New BMW 1
BMW are upping the ante in the small car
stakes with a revised 1 Series, previously the ugly duckling
in the BMW sedan models. All through the range, the BMWs are
looking 'greener' than before, though performance is still
there for the asking.
The new three- and five-door BMW 1 Series models will be on
display at the Geneva Motor Show in March and will go on
sale in the UK at the same time. There will be a
multi-engine line up that includes what the factory claims
is the most fuel efficient production vehicle BMW has ever
The technological side of BMW remains an important factor
with Brake Energy Regeneration, Automatic Start-Stop
function and Electric Power Steering all combined with lower
rolling resistance tyres and a gearshift change indicator to
encourage economical motoring. These innovations are in
addition to the use of variable valve technologies and
High-Precision Direct Injection engines on some 1 Series
models that boost power output but cut fuel consumption and
The fuel miser is the 118d, now BMW's most economical car,
manages its record 60.1 mpg figure courtesy of these
features in conjunction with the use of further lightweight
engineering. The car now has an aluminium crankcase to save
weight. Aside from the BMW Hydrogen 7, the BMW 118d also
posts the lowest ever CO2 emissions of any BMW recording 123
Other engines in the new 1 Series range record economy
improvements of up to 24 percent compared to the previous
model, while emissions have also been cut by up to 21
Brake Energy Regeneration (iGR) makes its debut on the 1
Series. The system uses an Intelligent Alternator Control
(IAC) and an Absorbent Glass Mat battery to recycle
previously lost energy, in turn saving fuel. This is
achieved as the IAC reduces drag on the engine by only
engaging when required to charge the battery, whereas a
traditional alternator is always pulling power from the
engine. Additionally, the energy generated by the engine on
over-run (under braking or descending a hill) was previously
wasted. Now this lost energy is utilized by the IAC to
charge the battery. The factory claims that the iGR alone is
responsible for a three percent improvement in fuel economy.
The new 1 Series comes with Automatic Start-Stop function to
cut fuel consumption. This system automatically switches the
engine off when the vehicle is stationary and the driver
puts the car into neutral. Pushing the clutch in is the
signal for the engine to restart, ready to drive off.
Electric Power Steering results in a 90 percent energy
saving compared to conventional mechanical hydraulic power
steering system. The power assistance is now provided by the
electric motor that works only when required, such as
turning a corner.
Other fuel saving enhancements have been made, such as the
air-conditioning power supply being disconnected from the
drivetrain when not in use. Even variable flaps behind the
grille improve economy, closing up for improved aerodynamic
efficiency should the engine require less airflow. This
feature also improves cold starting times.
All BMW 1 Series models come with Dynamic Stability Control
with Dynamic Traction Control for the best combination
driving pleasure and safety. DSC+ system for enhanced
convenience and driver safety includes Hill Start Assistant,
Brake Pre-tensioning, Brake Drying, Brake Fade Compensation
and Soft Stop.
The technology also embraces audio and the new 1 Series has
MP3 and USB stick capability for the best in in-car
entertainment. Customers with their favorite music loaded on
an Apple iPod or a USB stick can now plug these into the car
to continue their listening. Tracks are selected via
steering wheel controls or the unloved iDrive system that
BMW, Godblessem, continues to persevere with.
All BMW 1 Series have six airbags as standard, the Brake
Force Display function on the rear lights to highlight sharp
braking and Run-flat tyres with Tyre Puncture Warning
The exterior styling of the five-door model has many
changes. These include a larger grille for improved airflow
to the engine. At the rear a restyled bumper gives the
impression of a wider, lower car. The rear lamp cluster now
features a new arrangement of lights, but retains its
The new three-door 1 Series features the same styling cues
but its side view is naturally different. The passenger
doors are longer than those on the five-door model and are
also frameless in the style of a coupe. Inside, customers
will also be able to choose between either a four-seat or a
five-seat configuration. In the four-seat arrangement rear
passengers are separated by a central storage compartment
and sit in more sculptured seats. As a no-cost option the
five-seat layout offers the traditional bench seat standard
on the five-door 1 Series.
Since there will be a large price differential between the
German car loaded with technology and say, the
not-so-technical Toyota Yaris, it will be difficult to
justify the additional expense. Unless you are a dyed in the
wool greenie, for whom fuel consumption is your