"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Cutting Costs, saving fuel ....

As the fuel cost for vehicles rises, different strategies are being adopted by manufacturers and users to contain costs.

The Mercedes Benz smart car (now celebrating it's 10th birthday!)has been available (depending on the market) with what they confusingly call the "microhybrid " = mhd which means the the 52 kW (71 bhp) petrol engine stops automatically when it reaches an idling phase – at traffic lights, level crossings or in stop-and-go traffic – and shuts down the engine completely. On releasing the brake pedal the engine restarts and (say Mercedes) there is no noticeable delay.

The start stop function is not a new idea but has been improved and updated with modern electronic engine control. Now the Wuppertal-based independent institute Öko-Trend has provided an environmental certificate of approval - one of the first cars to receive it.

Mercedes claim this system leads to 8% lower fuel consumption overall and up to 20% in urban traffic.

Using the world's smallest diesel engine with state-of-the-art common-rail direct injection yields a consumption of 3.3 litres (NEDC) per 100 kilometres ( 86 M.P.G UK 69 M.P.G US) and CO2 emissions of just 88 grams per kilometres, the lowest CO2 emissions worldwide. In the US they sell from US$11,590, and the coupe at US $13,590. Review

Sacramento Police cut use of cars - cut fuel usage

In the 2006-07 fiscal year, the Sacramaneto Police Department spent US$1.5 Mn. on fuel. This year, the budget has swelled by 60 %, to US $2.4 Mn. Like everyone else the cops want to save gas and have a handy hints website page.

So for the month September they are going to try pairing patrol officers as part of a month long experiment in cutting fuel and vehicle maintenance costs. That means fielding 30-40% less patrol cars at any time.

The change does not affect sergeants or other command positions, or speciality units such as the Parolee Intervention Team.

Potential costs of the new policy and its impact on effective policing remain to be seen but - 90 % of calls require two officers, so efficiency could be boosted.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department has been steadily moving toward two-officer units, with more than 60 % of patrol deputies on the swing shift riding with a partner. Many deputies ride double on graveyard as well.

The reduced visible presence of patrol cars on the streets could be the biggest variable in how the Sacramento Police experiment plays out.

Crime is a key concern in the forthcoming mayoral election, Kevin Johnson ses the move as mistaken priorities. More money and attention, he said, should be spent on public safety.

"City government is about saving lives, not saving gas,"

UK Trans Pennine Trains cut the engine to cut the fuel costs

First Transpennine Express (a joint operation between First Group (55%) and French based Keolis (45%.)controlled by Axa Private Equity, the Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec and Pragma chaired by Michel Bleitrach) have successfully tried out a way to cut fuel costs by instructing drivers to shut off engines on downhill sections to save money. They run 4 trains per hour between Manchester and Leeds.

The company claims a saving of 7% on fuel consumption without compromising passenger comfort or safety.

The companies operate Class 185 and Class 170 trains with 3 diesel units and can operate on 1,2 or 3 engines. Electrical supplies and controls allows all the control and passenger comfort systems to be maintained even if an engine is shut down.

If everything is OK, one engine will be switched off and the train, which normally runs on three engines, can run on two. An override facility enables the driver to re-engage the idle engine.

Fleet software helps improve fuel savings and costs

Middlesborough UK based Social housing group Erimus, part of the Fabrick Housing Group has over 100 building maintenance vehicles. They now use Masternaut vehicle tracking with GreenerFleet to vehicle and driver location . Greenerfleet connects to the vehicle's engine management system and provides monitoring and analysis of driving styles with delivery of accurate data on variables such as engine idling (which wastes fuel), accurate CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

With GreenerFleet the behaviour of drivers can be directly monitored (distance travelled, driving and idling times, fuel consumption, braking (including number and harshness of braking occurrences), speeding and also over and under revving) which should result in safer, greener and more economical driving styles = which can then be encouraged and rewarded - such as a league table of the most fuel efficient drivers. Accurate inter vehicle comparisons are also easily and regularly achieved.

This also improves response times for maintenance calls and so improves lower vehicle usage.Mark Robson, Head of Property Maintenance, claims: “The GreenerFleet element of the system has helped us sell it to the workforce as our staff understand the need for us to use an environmental management tool." he says they can show reduced fuel usage , with flagging up of excessive idling . Rapid location of key workers is also enabling efficiency improvements in general. You bet it does.

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