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Mr H

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  1. Indeed you're right, the only problem is that maintaining a constant 35 mph is nigh on impossible in urban/city areas, as the car is accellerating/decellerating frequently. This favours cars with less mass (I won't say smaller as small cars are still pretty heavy now), as less energy is required to effect a speed change, and it's accelleration that uses significantly more fuel than constant speed (Until aerodynamics become the major factor at much higher speeds).
  2. It's not really that simple unfortunately: Efficiency (conversion of fuel to mechanical energy rather than heat) is dependent upon engine speed and load. Every engine is different in that respect and has a peak efficiency at only a limited point within the engine's working speed. However, peak efficiency comes at peak load, ie full throttle, and so can be somewhat confusing, as of course at full throttle the engine is producing most power and correspondingly consuming a lot of fuel. At limited throttle openings, for example when traveling at a steady speed, the engine efficiency is quite low, but as little power is required to maintain a steady speed (within reason) fuel consumption can be fairly low. As a general rule of thumb, for a given vehicle fuel consumption theoretically increases by a factor of 4 when the speed is doubled (due to wind resistance). That is, 70 mph requires 4 times as much fuel as 35 mph. Obviously this in practice is dependent upon engine revs/gearing of the car, and also is only a valid comparison at steady constant speeds (which, realistically, cannot be attained at 35 mph). You're right though, if we wanted to save fuel we'd just reduce speed limits. The Government's tax income would be seriously reduced though, not sure they'd want that.
  3. Got to disagree with that I'm afraid, the left hand lane is the safest place to be, there's a nice, empty hard shoulder to your left (in the UK) to use as a refuge should an incident occur ahead. Also, you're more likely to be encroaching on a truck's blind spot in the middle lane so at risk of being hit from the side, although an alert trucker should be aware you're there anyway. Having said that, everyone has a responsibility to ensure that other road users are aware of their presence. Anyway, any competent driver should be on the left unless overtaking, unless to do so would be dangerous (ie if traffic is very heavy), this keeps the middle and right hand lanes clear for faster traffic. If everyone adopted this strategy on multiple lane roads (excepting at peak times when it's not so viable), congestion would be much reduced. To respond to another thread, removing trucks from the roads wouldn't help congestion much as a significant proportion of people don't use the left hand lane anyway. Also, as there are close on 30,000,000 cars on the roads, and 420,000 trucks, with 70 or so cars per truck, getting more commuters onto the railways is the answer. To add further fuel to the debate, a majority of truck journeys are transporting consumer goods (ie things you buy in the shops), which is difficult by train. Inter depot movements are more feasible, although it would require significant changes to the railway infrastructure. Finally (I hope), while it would be fairly straightforward to limit the speeds of all traffic to the speed limit (via GPS so that all limits can be enforced), this would significantly reduce income generated through speeding fines, which is being used as a funding strategy for the Police forces and Government. It won't help road safety by much (if any) as most accidents (90%+) are not caused by excess speed (although any speed can kill, regardles of the advertisements).
  4. Fair comments, but you're missing the point. I agree we need more houses to lower prices, however, this wasn't the point I made earlier. The point, for what it's worth, is that regardless of the planning permission (which the big boys can get pretty easily anyway), these big developers won't build 5 million houses next year, because that will have exactly the effect we'd all like. That is, devalue the housing market. As the houses they are building represent (I'm guessing) massive profits for these developers, why would any semi-sane builder deliberately devalue them? Maybe I'm not expressing myself particularly well here. My point is that high property price represents big profits for builders, and they have these land banking strategies in place to protect themselves. Relaxing the regulations, whether you see that as a good thing or not, will not change this basic premise. Simply, oversupply in the market will lead to a loss of profits for developers. Can you honestly see them (the developers) allowing that to happen? Of course, we haven't even touched upon the masses of empty BTL's in some parts of the country, also contributing to the lack of supply.
  5. Yes, we could easily increase the number of houses we have without ill effect, but it's cheap and easy to knock the planners, when there are many, many other factors involved. Big developers sit on their massive land portfolios for years, and then launch one application for an entire development, compared to independents just extending their property, building a granny flat etc. I'm sure I mentioned before the reason for the backlog. Not that it justifies it, but it's the reason.
  6. I'm not a VI anything, don't be presumptuous. Presumably you've never tried living in somewhere like Spain, longer term? Yes, what food you can get is cheaper, so is the alcohol, by a long way. However, the level of choice is nothing, absoloutely nothing compared to what we have here in the UK. That's fine, if you are happy with creating meals from what's available in a normal Spanish supermarket, but to go from the UK to there is actually quite difficult, which probably reflects badly on our consumerist lifestyle, but there you go. Not sure about the resort areas, but they're not my cup of tea anyway. Anyway, Spanish property is in a bigger mess than ours right now, they have massive oversupply, based upon silly Brits buying in their droves without thinking. Oh, and if you think relaxing property rules is a good thing because it speeds up productivity, just take a close look at the build quality of the stuff being built on the Costas. DOn't get me wrong, I like Spain, in the main, but it's so different from the UK (neither good nor bad) that it can't objectively be compared.
  7. Maybe I'm just privy to inside information. Puppet I'm not, more than capable of thinking for myself. Relaxing standards will lead to exactly the same kind of crisis we now have with banking. I'm not really interested enough to argue, but USA and Spain have considerably more land mass than we do (way more than 3x, or whatever), so go figure. Compared to the debate we had a few nights ago, your arguments here really do not hold water.
  8. Ok fair point. Planning permission perhaps doesn't help, although in practice the developers ride roughshod over the planners, and force through (with their expensive lawyers that the planners don't have) pretty much anything they want, almost regardless of the objections. There are a few issues with relaxing planning further than they are already: Firstly, the developers would then build houses so compact that today's modern shoe boxes would seem palatial by comparison, standards would really suffer. Secondly, there aren't enough planners around to even keep up with the backlog of applications, because no one can afford the wages to tempt decent staff from private industry. Finally, the existing planners that are left are now in a situation where they are paid a proportion of their salary as a bonus depending on how many (and a lot is good!) applications they rubber stamp. Unfortunately, much as people love to criticise civil servants, many of them are perfectly ordinary people like you or me, that are trying the best they can, stuck between a rock and a hard place, between Government budget cuts on one side, to developers demands on the other.
  9. Actually, I have it on pretty good authority that the big developers aren't helping the housing issue, regardless of what the Government does or doesn't do. Apparently these developers own huge portfolios of undeveloped land (not sure if it's green belt, brownfield, or both), but only build on a small proportion of it at any given time, in order to 'drip feed' property onto the market, and thus artificially keep prices inflated. By all accounts, it's practically a cartel. Unless the Government force these guys to build more property, nothing much will happen. Unless of course, the Government were to set up it's own house building company and build a few thousand properties.
  10. Sorry for hijacking the thread. The same flats are now around £150k for a 3 bed. Laughable. I still wouldn't give £50k for them. The OP is right though, at least when I first left Uni (although I had no debt) in the mid to late 90's, buying a property was reasonably feasible, even though interest rates were much higher. Even then, I thought £55k was a huge burden for a young 20 something to take on. The repayments for a proper mortgage (not interest only...) were quite a significant chunk of the takehome pay.
  11. It's interesting what we now consider either affordable, or not. Back in 1998/9 I was a mid 20 something living in a 2 bed rented flat in Hayes (just north of Heathrow for you non-south easterners), and not a million miles from Ealing as it happens. Now, bear in mind that I'd moved there, for a job, from Staffordshire. Hayes was, at the time, a real sh*t hole. I mean, almost every night there were incidents in the street, or neighbouring apartments, shouting matches, car windows being broken, you name it. No killings or anything quite that bad, but it was pretty unpleasant especially when I'd been used to a nice, quiet, semi-rural upbringing. Thing is, as we moved out in early 1999 (Shared it with a colleague), the flat went on the market for (if I recall correctly) £55k. At the time, this was practically unaffordable on my £17k salary, especially as I was driving back to the Midlands once a week to see the girlfriend. Not only that, but I thought it was way overpriced, but that was roughly what the market in that area was worth at the time. Equivalent place back home would have been around £20-30k at best. I've not checked out prices in the Hayes area now to see what things are going for, but I'd imagine they're a little more than £55K. And these are I guess what you'd consider to be a first time buyer's property. I just find it incredible that now people talk about studio flats being £150,000. To me it's incomprehensible that ANYONE could even consider buying one of these, especially when wages haven't kept pace with the price rises.
  12. No worries, I probably asked it wrongly in the first place.
  13. Perhaps I didn't explain myself particularly well. I understood the principles you outline in the paragraphs above, and am well aware of how it works, including the newer methods of raising funds. Is it not true also that even unsecured loans are assetts as far as the lending bank is concerned, and thus, if it wishes, can sell that asset to anyone who's willing to take on the risk (regulations aside). What I was originally questioning was the method behind the so called fractional reserve process, but I believe I understand it now, thanks everyone.
  14. Either I'm not understanding you (quite likely), or you're leaping to a bit of a conclusion that perhaps isn't correct. As I understand it, the funds a bank loans out come from either deposits (from savers), or from loans from other banks, which is in essence the principle behind frational reserve lending. In short, they're borrowing short and lending long. They're not creating money from nothing, they're creating it on the premise of either raiding someone's deposit or borrowing from elsewhere. It's kind of circular, in that all the banks borrow from each other to meet their short term needs (ie the difference between their deposits and loans). The only additional monies come from central banks as and when they're authorised to release those funds.
  15. Excellent first post Mr Rat, it's refreshing to read an informed comment that doesn't hinge on wild conspiracy theories and conjecture.
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