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Tuesday 8th March 2011


PH FLEET: C63 AMG GOING NOWHERE...

With 97 RON at £1.40 a litre, do we care? Yes, and no.

The PH M-B C63 AMG - just back from Geneva with the travel stains to prove it
The PH M-B C63 AMG - just back from Geneva with the travel stains to prove it
Having spent 45 painfully congested minutes driving the length of the Strand in the PH fleet C63 AMG estate this morning, I was naturally drawn to a press release that arrived at work some time before me...

When the going gets tough...
When the going gets tough...
Rush hour drivers are spending almost half their journeys - 43% of the time - sat in stationary traffic, an increase of 13.7% compared to five years ago, it says.

The new research found that over a one hour journey at peak times, the average inner city commuter could be spending around 25 minutes 39 seconds - or 43% of their trip - at a complete standstill. The study was carried out by Citroen to promote the new C4's e-HDi 'Stop & Start' diesel engine technology (whatever that is!), and the findings reveal that London and Manchester have seen the biggest increases.

Drivers in the Capital were static for 19 minutes 20 seconds on average in 2006, but this had risen to an amazing (sic) 36 minutes 28 seconds at the start of 2011, says the press release. Manchester leapt from 21 minutes to 28 minutes 39 seconds but in contrast, Cardiff saw an average 10 minute reduction in the time spent stationary.

Not only are many urban roads feeling more congested, motorists are also paying significantly more on fuel costs. Since 2006, the average price of a litre of diesel has risen by 46%, from 93.5p per litre to 136.38p. (As if we hadn't noticed!)

"Our continued research shows the overall congestion in UK cities is not getting any better for traffic weary drivers. The spiralling cost of fuel is a raw issue and an idling engine in stationary gridlock only adds to the bill," says a Citroen spokesman who predictably thinks we should all drive e-HDi thingammies as a result.

...there's always the wireless.
...there's always the wireless.
Having just spent over £1.40 a litre filling up the C63 with posh petrol, at least my lesson in commuter-nomics was less painful than it might have been thanks to the super snug leathery seats and an upmarket wireless that made it sound as though Justin Webb and Sarah Montague could have been sitting in the back seats.

Finally released from the bottle neck into an empty Pall Mall, I turned down the radio and spent most of £1.40 on a few seconds reminding myself why not everyone wants an e-HDi. Seriously, for the sort of visceral thrill this car provides at the dab of your right foot, petrol almost seems cheap.

Riggers has had the best of it recently though, returning full of praise for the car after blasting it down to Geneva and back on the PH expenses account. More on that soon.

Author: Chris-R