Media Releases

These are the most recent media releases from the Dog and Lemon Guide.
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Electricity shortage raises new doubts about electric cars

The current shortage of electricity raises further doubts about the viability of electric cars, says the car buyers’ Dog & Lemon Guide.

“The Minister of Energy wants electric vehicles to gain a 5% market share by 2020, rising to 60 percent by 2040. If that many electric vehicles were in use today, then New Zealand would probably not have enough energy to power them. Worse, we would probably be forced to burn fossil fuels in order to power these cars”

UN urges caution over biofuels

United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged a growing concern over the environmental effects of biofuels.

Speaking in Hungary this week, Ban Ki-moon said:

"We need to be concerned about the possibility of taking land or replacing arable land because of these biofuels."

Ki-Moon also said recently:

“Clearly, biofuels have great potential for good and, perhaps, also for harm.”

Until recently, Ki-Moon has favoured biofuels as a way around the global energy crisis. However, Jean Ziegler, the UN's special rapporteur on the right to food, called biofuels "a crime against humanity" because they raised the price of food and caused starvation in poor countries.

Achim Steiner of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) also recently warned that biofuels may be adding to the problem of climate change rather than alleviating it. Speaking recently on BBC Radio Four, Steiner said that increased demand for fuel crops had led to vast swathes of rain forest being destroyed and that international standards should be drawn up to protect them.

Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car buyers’ Dog & Lemon Guide, has also been a vocal critic of biofuels.

“Every man and his dog is currently coming up with quick fix solutions to the energy crisis and global warming. However, there’s no quick fix to either problem. In the longer term, we’re all going to have to use less energy, and that means smaller houses, less plastic junk that we don’t really need and less wasted trips in our cars.”

“Biofuels currently offer a feelgood factor, and little else. Biofuels globally are driving food prices so high that poor people in developing countries can no longer afford to feed their families. People are currently starving to death so that Western motorists can sit in traffic jams on their way home from work.”

“The fantasy behind biofuels says that it’s going to be possible to continue the Western lifestyle of the twentieth century by changing the fuel used to power it. That’s a bit like a fat person trying to lose weight by switching from hamburgers to french fries. The basic problem is never addressed.”

“Cars are the perfect transport for empty roads and the worst transport for busy roads. The problem is not the private car; the problem is the private car sitting in traffic jams while empty trains roll by.”

“Electric cars and biofuels are like the emperor’s new clothes; they seem great until you look closely. When you check the facts, you’ll find that most of this so-called alternative technology either isn’t economic, isn’t green, doesn’t work, or simply doesn’t exist and isn’t going to exist anytime soon.”

See also: Biofuels Fact Sheet

‘Green’ car conference a sham

New Zealanders shouldn’t be fooled by quick fixes to the current energy crisis, says the car buyers’ Dog & Lemon Guide.

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says yesterday’s EECA Biofuels and Electric Vehicles Conference in Wellington appeared to be a thinly disguised promotion for energy wastage.

Matthew-Wilson – who was not invited to the conference – said the event’s website made it very clear that the purpose of the conference was to promote the use of energy using fuels that appeared to be ‘green’ but were in fact often worse for the environment than the fossil fuels they replaced.

“If there was an easy way of powering the world’s cars on some alternative energy source, I’d be all for it. However, the current hard reality is that most of the world’s alternative energy industry is based on quick fixes to the current system, and many of them are an outright scam.”

“Electric cars and biofuels are like the emperor’s new clothes; they seem great until you look closely. When you check the facts, you’ll find that most of this so-called alternative technology either isn’t economic, isn’t green, doesn’t work, or simply doesn’t exist and isn’t going to exist anytime soon.”

“The energy shortage & global warming are real problems, but the hype surrounding these problems is not real. Many people have the impression that the world is going to run out of oil in 2015, but that hydrogen, hybrid, electric and biofuel powered cars are going to save us. Most of those assumptions are pure rubbish, but few people seem to have actually checked their facts.”

“It disturbs me to see politicians and business leaders promoting fantasy technology using fantasy economics.”

“There’s no quick fix to either the energy shortage or global warming. In the longer term, we’re all going to have to use less energy, and that means smaller houses, less plastic junk that we don’t really need and less wasted trips in our cars.”

“If we make decisions based on the wrong assumptions, we’re just going to make things worse.”

See also: Biofuels Fact Sheet

‘Green’ cars are mostly a sham

Australians shouldn’t be fooled by quick fixes to the current energy crisis, says the car buyers’ Dog & Lemon Guide.

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says most ‘green’ cars are worse for the environment than the technologies they replaced.

“If there was an easy way of powering the world’s cars on some alternative energy source, we’d be all for it. However, the current hard reality is that most of the world’s alternative energy industry is based on quick fixes to the current system, and many of them are an outright scam.”

“Electric cars and biofuels are like the emperor’s new clothes; they seem great until you look closely. When you check the facts, you’ll find that most of this so-called alternative technology either isn’t economic, isn’t green, doesn’t work, or simply doesn’t exist and isn’t going to exist anytime soon.”

“The energy shortage & global warming are real problems, but the hype surrounding these problems is not real. Many people have the impression that the world is going to run out of oil in 2015, but that hydrogen, hybrid, electric and biofuel powered cars are going to save us. Most of those assumptions are pure rubbish, but few people seem to have actually checked their facts.”

“It disturbs me to see politicians and business leaders promoting fantasy technology using fantasy economics.”

“There’s no quick fix to either the energy shortage or global warming. In the longer term, we’re all going to have to use less energy, and that means smaller houses, less plastic junk that we don’t really need and less wasted trips in our cars.”

“If we make decisions based on the wrong assumptions, we’re just going to make things worse.”

See also: Biofuels Fact Sheet

‘Green’ car conference a sham

New Zealanders shouldn’t be fooled by quick fixes to the current energy crisis, says the car buyers’ Dog & Lemon Guide.

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says yesterday’s EECA Biofuels and Electric Vehicles Conference in Wellington appeared to be a thinly disguised promotion for energy wastage.

‘Green’ cars are mostly a sham

Australians shouldn’t be fooled by quick fixes to the current energy crisis, says the car buyers’ Dog & Lemon Guide.

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says most ‘green’ cars are worse for the environment than the technologies they replaced.

“If there was an easy way of powering the world’s cars on some alternative energy source, we’d be all for it. However, the current hard reality is that most of the world’s alternative energy industry is based on quick fixes to the current system, and many of them are an outright scam.”

Time to seize cellphones used by drivers

The police should have the power to seize cellphones being used by drivers while a car is in motion, says a leading road safety expert.

Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car buyer’s Dog & Lemon Guide, says that simply banning cellphones won’t work because many users are prepared to risk a fine rather than miss a call. However, says Matthew-Wilson, most cellphone users would hate to lose their cellphone and this fear would eventually modify their behaviour.

“Cellphone use by drivers is banned in about fifty countries, yet drivers continue to use their cellphones regardless. Clearly, we need to move beyond simply giving drivers tickets to taking their cellphones away.”

Under Matthew-Wilson’s proposal, the police would have the discretion to return the cellphone after a certain amount of time, such as a week. Repeat offenders would lose their cellphones altogether.

“What cars and cellphones have in common is that they give us freedom. Take away that freedom and you give drivers a powerful incentive to modify their behaviour.”

Time to seize cellphones used by drivers

The police should have the power to seize cellphones being used by drivers while a car is in motion, says a leading road safety expert.

Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car buyer’s Dog & Lemon Guide, says that simply banning cellphones won’t work because many users are prepared to risk a fine rather than miss a call. However, says Matthew-Wilson, most cellphone users would hate to lose their cellphone and this fear would eventually modify their behaviour.

Holden urged to act over faulty handbrakes

Holden should follow the example of its British sister company and recall the recent Vectra model because the handbrake may fail without warning, says the car buyers’ Dog & Lemon Guide and Consumer NZ.

Dog & Lemon Guide editor Clive Matthew-Wilson said today:

“We called on Holden to recall this car last year. They denied there was a problem. Now its clear there is a problem and something must be done about it.”

Consumer New Zealand spokesman Hamish Wilson agrees:

Holden urged to act over faulty handbrakes

Holden should follow the example of its British sister company and recall the recent Vectra model because the handbrake may fail without warning, says the car buyers’ Dog & Lemon Guide and Consumer NZ.

Dog & Lemon Guide editor Clive Matthew-Wilson said today:

“We called on Holden to recall this car last year. They denied there was a problem. Now its clear there is a problem and something must be done about it.”

Consumer New Zealand spokesman Hamish Wilson agrees:

“There is clear evidence of a problem with these cars and Holden needs to take action now, before someone is killed or injured.”

There have been large numbers of overseas reports of Vectra owners parking their cars securely on a slope, only to have the vehicle roll away a short time later. In a typical example, Caroline Pearce from Northern Ireland wrote off a neighbour’s car when her eight-week-old Vectra rolled away.

“My driveway is at a steep 45 degree angle so I was careful to put on the handbrake. From the time of my setting the handbrake to the stage when it rolled down my drive was about 15 minutes,” she said.

‘When I got to the car the handbrake was disengaged. There are lots of young children who live around my home and it was lucky that most were in their own houses having their tea. If this had happened any later there would surely have been terrible results. This thought has haunted me ever since.”

Hamish Wilson said Holden had the opportunity to do the right thing and voluntarily recall the Vectra.

“If Holden acts now, they will retain their credibility with motorists."

Vauxhall, Holden’s British sister company, still maintains that the Vectra handbrakes are safe, but says it will modify the vehicles to 'reduce the possibility of a partial release when incorrectly setting the handbrake'.

Matthew-Wilson added:

“The Government has the power to force the recall of a vehicle with a known safety defect. If Holden does not take immediate action then the government must.”