Call our Sales Team on 0208 912 2120


10th January 1918
Page 20
Page 20, 10th January 1918 — PROBLEMS AND POSSIOILITIES.
Noticed an error?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.

Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

No. 3.—Fuel Futures.

6 '0 YOU KNOW," said Smithers, "whenever it is borne in upon me that the war must end some day; there is still one thing that keeps me a bit unhappy."

" And that is-7" Hambledon inquired. "The question of fuel. I don't like the look of it." "Personally, I've almost forgotten what it looks like," said Hambledon, ." but I don't think you commercial users have so much to grumble about." "Oh, all things..considered, we've been fairly well treated," Smithers admitted. "Nowadays, you have to be thankful if you can keep things moving at any cost ; but, when the war is over the job will be to do business at competitive prices again." But you'll all be in the same box," Hambledon objected.

"All of us in this country" Smithers amended. 'But if our transport costs heaven knows what, how can we compete with •Lhe foreigner ?"

"The vehicles will We better than ever," remarked

Rayburn, "and that will reduce the cost of maintenance and the depreciation allowance."

"Very likely," said Sraithers," but there's no end to 'the possible—the probable—rise in fuel costs." "Take to steam," suggested.Hambledon. "Or electricity is a possibility for some people," Smithers added. "But not for me. My journeys are too long and irregular." • . " And that applies to coal-gas too, I suppose I" queried Hambledon. .

"Yes," said Smithers "I'm afraid there will never be a gas bag that Will fill my bill." • "But surely," remarked Rayburn, " you are assuming no progress at all. What about compressed gas 7 " "I'm not happy tibout it," said Smithers. "I believe a lot of the.gas companies won't be bothered with it. Besides, it would mean big expense for containers."

"But look here," said Rayburn. "Supposing you put your, depreciation of containers and interest on their first cost at 220 a vehicle per annum, it wouldn't take long to save that amount off the fuel bill. Yours are three-tonners, aren't they ?" "Some of them," said Smithers.

"Well," Rayburn went on. "Suppose we put petrol at two shillings a gallon—after-war price—and reckon eight miles to the gallon. That's threepence a mile. . Put coal-gas at the equivalent of a shilling a. gallon—•" "Highly compressed, remember," Hambledon put . " Well, allow, a margin and call, it one-and-four. That's a saving of a. penny a mile, or about 24 a, thousand miles. -In five thousand you would have got your money back," . " That's all right up to a point," Smithers argued. "But I used to get petrol at eightpenee." "And you never will' again," added Hambledon.

"Probably not," Rayburn agreed. "But-the price will have gone 'up all over the world. So long as we can prevent it rising .here any more than it does in other countries, we are not at a competitive disadvantage." .

"Perhaps not," Smithers admitted. "But if your motors east more to run, you'll have people going back to horses, and that won't suit you.'

'I'm I'm not afraid of it," replied Rayburn. "We shall gradually reduce operating costs—in spite of clearer fuel—and the working costsof horsed vehicles will rise. Horses will be more expensive, and so will labour."

"But that hits the motor as well."

"Not so much," said Rayburn. "One man with a motor lorry can get as much carrying done in a day ci50

as four or five men -with horsed vans or grays, so the higher the cosI of labour goes the more people will buy motors."

"If—I " said Smithers. "Whatever way you look at it, you come back to the fuel question sooner or later, and generally sooner."

"But really," Rayburn protested, "I can't see that things are so desperate as all that. As I said, there's every chance 'of relief, by using compressed gas." "But it's not a certainty," Smithers maintained. '" Well, personally I think it will be a big permanent factor in the situation," said Rayburn. But even if • it wtsn't, there are 'other alternativesL-loenzole, for example. Then there's paraffin." "It gives rotten results, up to the present," aicl.• Smithers.

1' 'wouldn't go so far as that," replied Rayburn. " Teough 1 admit it's not perfect." "You think it can be made to give really good results in our climate'? " Harabledon inquired. '1 do.," said Ra,yburn. "And the farm motor people are going to help in that direction." " Help!" exclaimed Smithers. " Quite the reverse, I should have thought. Why, they'll make the de mand so big that the stuff will cost nearly as much as petrol. Besides, paraffin and all the other fuels of that kind are contralled by the same crowd. And they are the people I'm afraid of." "The oil wells of the world don't all belong to ono man," said Rayburn. "I believe we shall develop immense supplies inside the British Empire. Besides, there is a whole range of likely home-made fuels, and our coal isn't finished yet."

"Which reminds me," Snaithers answered, • " that even coal won't last for ever."

"Before that time," put in Hambledon, "we may be using alcohol." Many of us," Rayburn agreed. "Without doubt, alcohol is the fuel of the future for all tropieal coun tries. They will drop right out of the market so far as -other fuels are concerned. And that will ease the position here very considerably." "Do you think we shall grow alcohol craps here ? "

"Personally, I don't. At any rate not on a large scale. Because I think it will always be cheater for us to import it."

"But we don't want to be dependent on imports." "Which is the only reason why we may grow a cere

tain amount;' perhaps in Ireland. But it will have to be backed up by a bounty or something.of the sort." "It's a poor fuel, isn't it ? " Smithers asked. "Well, it's not good in an ordinary petrol engine," replied Rayburn. "At least, not alone. Half and half with benzole it isn't at alrbad, and in a speciallydesigned engine it can be Made to give a very high efficiency."

"Anyhow, it's very much in the air at present," Smithers maintained. "And I don't see that it will ever, do me much good."

"What you aught to do," said Rayburn; "is to look at the whole broad question•of supply and demand. Any fuel added to the supply helps to keep down the price of every other fuel. If motor owners get robbed in the future, it will be their own fault. They have , only got to keep their eyes open, and to refuse to be lulled to sleep. You fellows are always willing enough to tell us manufacturers to buck up and keep awake. Well, here's your opportunity of practising what you preach. It's' up to you to keep on encouraging all the

alternative .fuels. )Don't give them up just because petrol gets cheap fora bit. it would soon get dear again when it had the field to itself. There's no need for any, of you to get scared about fuel if only you'll pull together and watch your own interests."



People: Rayburn, Hambledon, Ra

comments powered by Disqus