So it came to my attention that we are still getting some stick – I’m getting stick for being a derv (diesel – but derv as I call them) driver. I was interested to see what Mr. J. Clarkson had to say on the subject… and here it is;
Diesel engines are for mealy-mouthed, penny-pinching open-toed beardies in Rohan trousers. They’re for people who absolutely don’t care about cars or motoring, only the need to do it as cheaply as possible.
Diesel Man yearns to be a parish councillor. He fits yellow headlamp covers and a GB plate when driving in France. He studies road maps before he sets off rather than on the motorway, and he always fills up when the tank is still quarter full.
You can always spot the son of a Diesel Man in the playground at school. While all his mates are telling one another how fast their dads’ cars go, he is warbling on in a nasal whine: ‘yes, but my dad’s car does 50 miles to the gallon.’ And then they steal his milk, and rightly so.
Because despite the wild claims of Diesel Man, diesel cars rarely average more than 35 mpg. If he says he’s getting 50 or 60, you can tell him from me that he is a liar. And then punch him in the face.
…It should have been OK. I’d only gone five yards before I knew it wasn’t. My foot was welded to the floor, and there was enough noise to cause an earthquake, but the speedometer was climbing with the verve of continental drift: 0 to 60 takes 14 seconds.Aware of this shortfall, I planned my overtaking manoeuvres with great care. But time and again I’d pull out and sit on the wrong side of the road, going nowhere, until a flurry of flashing lights coming the other way forced me to get back in line….
So it’s all very well saying I got there and back on one 17-gallon tankful, but you’re bound to do 23 mpg if you spend the entire time stuck behind old people in Rovers doing 40.
I’d like to introduce you to Diesel Man. Diesel Man is less well defined than the others in that he could be 17 or 70, blue-collar or middle management. Strangely, Diesel Man might even be a woman.He’s not easy to spot in ordinary life because he behaves just like you do. He’s ordinary. He blends…right up to the point where he climbs into his diesel-powered car. And then he is more bitter and twisted than the lemon you put in your gin and tonic last night.
In the past, it was hard for Diesel Man to fall into a catatonic state while driving up the motorway because of the engine noise, but these days diesels are pretty silent at speed, so he nods off as surely as you and I.
However, when he becomes aware that another car is keen to come by, he reacts in an unusual fashion. He drops a cog to get that hideously inefficient engine into the upper echelons of its miserable power band, and buries his foot into the carpet.
From behind, it’s hard to tell he’s done this because, obviously, there’s no discernible change in pace. Put your food down in a diesel at 70 mph, and it can take ten or twelve minutes for you to be doing 71.However, there will be a puff of carcinogenic smoke from the exhaust, and that’s the sign. Diesel Man is going to prove that his car is just as fast as yours.
Psychologically, it’s easy to see what’s happening here. His boss has heard that diesel engines are more economical than their petrol-powered counterparts, and that because they tend to be less powerful, accidents happen infrequently. So he decides that his staff, from now on, will have diesels.
Now we all know that you can call a man’s baby ugly and he won’t mind. We know that you can take a man’s wife to bed and it’ll all be forgotten in a week or so. But laugh at a man’s wheels, and you’re in serious trouble.
Diesel Man is well aware of his car’s shortfalls. He knows it’s pitifully slow, and that it makes the most awful din when he starts it up in the morning. He also knows that he doesn’t benefit one jot from the lower running costs. Basically, he knows that the car is a worthless pile of junk, but is he going to admit this in public? Hell no.
To admit that his diesel is a step down is tantamount to admitting that he had taken some kind of demotion. So he’s going to prove, no matter what the cost, that his diesel is superior in every way to a petrol-powered car.
And it’s the same story with private buyers who’ve been enticed by the promise of 45 mpg, only to discover that the downsides easily outweigh the few pence that are saved each week. But are they going to say so?
Only after they’ve owned up to being hung like a maggot.
So to summarise, buy a diesel. – On a more interesting scale, I have some pictures to blog about too, Mr. Hedley will enjoy one of them, I’ll do that today – at some point.