Saturday, 16 March 2013

Bending those Rules

Up until I worked through Melanie Fennell's rather excellent, and indeed life changing,  three part Overcoming Low Self-Esteem Self-help Course I was terrified of being told off.  Perhaps it was because I grew up in the 1970s, an era where violent punishment that was entirely disproportionate to the  misdemeanour was still de rigueur.  I once got whacked around the head by a teacher as the intended recipient ducked out of the way and I caught the blow.  Her response?  Well, she justified her attack by saying that I probably deserved it for something that I'd down and got away with!  Miss Brown loved kids so much that she did Guiding in her spare time.

Now thanks to a bit of cognitive behavioural therapy I'm an out and out rebel.   Don't worry too much though.  That spate of robberies in your neighbourhood isn't down to me.  Nor am I trying to pep up my thrifty lifestyle by buying from the back of lorries or suchlike.  I'm as straight as a die when it comes to those matters.  What I am doing much more is taking a chance when I'm now sure what the rules are. Am I allowed to take a picture of a piece at an exhibition?  I snap away until I'm told off.   Is it all right to stand/park/sit here?  I'll do so until I'm moved!

And so in the same vein we move onto my money saving tip of today.  If you're thinking of buying a car and considering a Ford  Econetique, take their mileage figures with a very big dose of salt.  My model, chosen for its fuel efficiency only used to average 53mpg, a figure that the bloke in the local dealership service department thought was pretty good   That's way under the 76.3mpg published combined fuel consumption figure.  Let's hope that there's action on these money grabbing car companies after they've been exposed using loopholes to manipulate figures.  I might be talking about bending rules here but I don't exploit others.

What I am doing to increase fuel consumption is rather a lot of coasting.  That's putting the car in neutral and letting it roll downhill.  And up a bit at the brow too! It doesn't feel at all risky and I still have full control of my steering.  As soon as driving conditions look more hazardous I just pop the car back into gear.  I never did it before because I thought it was illegal in the UK but it really is a grey area.  What is against the law is losing control of your vehicle.  This government website suggests that coasting increases the risk of this but doesn't tell you in an out and out way not to do it.  It's a grey area and someone living colourfully between black and white likes those!

So by adopting this practice when its safe to do so I've increased my fuel consumption by over 10%.  That's £200 a year saved on diesel cost or half a ferry trip to France with the motorhome in spending terms.   I'm expecting better results as the weath gets warmer.  Obviously you won't find me careering out of gear down an icy stretch of road, on really narrow winding country lines or driving like this when my concentration is more at risk of waning- at night for example.  But I'll now do this until someone tells me I really shouldn't!

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