Petrol prices are on the up – but it’s not all bad news for motorists

Price of petrol falls for fourth consecutive month

Petrol Price

The average price of a litre of petrol has fallen for the fourth consecutive month, with unleaded sat at 107.82p as October drew to a close. This is down from 109.45p at the start of the month, saving motorists 90p on the cost of filling up a car with a 55-litre tank.

The figures have been released by RAC Fuel Watch, which is reporting the 1.6p litre drop, along with a minimal reduction in the price of diesel. A litre of diesel will now cost an average of 109.95p, which is close to being the lowest since December 2009.

£5.08 less to fill a family car

All of which means it now costs £5.08 less to fill up with unleaded than it did in July. There’s even better news for diesel drivers, with the cost of a full tank dropping by £5.87.

This is despite a 2% rise in the cost of oil, which remains below $50 a barrel. A strong pound certainly helped matters, with a 2% gain on the dollar helping to keep the whole price of petrol and diesel lower.

RAC fuel spokesperson, Simon Williams, said: “We are currently enjoying a sustained period of lower fuel prices as a result of the long-term deflated oil price which has been brought about by OPEC – the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – looking to stop competitors taking its share of the market by overproducing and keeping the barrel price low.

“A year ago motorists had probably become accustomed to only ever seeing prices go up so having four consecutive months of the petrol price coming down is a pleasant surprise. Fuel is without doubt the biggest cost of motoring and the forecourt price is a constant cause of concern for drivers which makes this relief at the pumps all the more welcome.”

Prices to stay low?

The RAC is forecasting little change in pump prices over the next fortnight, fuelling speculation that we could be in for a fifth consecutive month of lower prices. Good news for Britain’s motorists.

Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz: Two-Minute Road Test

Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz: What is it?

The Honda Jazz has always been more mini-MPV than traditional supermini. This third-generation car, launched in 2015, doesn’t mess with a highly successful formula. Its ‘one-box’ shape equates to class-leading interior space and versatility. And you can expect outstanding reliability, too – past versions are among the most dependable cars on the road.

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Honda Jazz: What are its rivals?

The bestselling car in this class (and, indeed, the UK’s bestseller overall) is the Ford Fiesta. It’s more fun to drive than the Jazz, but nowhere near as practical. The Skoda Fabia and Toyota Yaris are perhaps a better fit for buyers interested in sensible, value-for-money motoring. Unlike the Honda, the Toyota is available as a petrol/electric hybrid (the Jazz Hybrid has been discontinued).

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Honda Jazz: Which engines does it use?

The Hybrid is no more and Honda has never offered a Jazz with a diesel engine. So your choice is limited to a 102hp 1.3-litre petrol engine. Yep, just the one. It propels the Jazz to 62mph in 11.2 seconds, or 12.0 seconds if you opt for the CVT automatic gearbox (more on that shortly). Honda’s i-VTEC variable valve timing boosts performance higher up the rev range, without the pronounced ‘step’ in power delivery that characterised VTEC engines of old.

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Honda Jazz: What’s it like to drive?

The Jazz isn’t a particularly fun car to drive, but it’s far from unpleasant. The controls are light and the boxy shape offers good visibility for parking. Ride comfort is noticeably better than the old Jazz, too. Its 1.3-litre engine is adequate around town, but feels a bit breathless on the open road. That feeling is exacerbated by the CVT auto gearbox fitted to our test car, which holds the engine at constant revs when you accelerate. It make for rather noisy and lethargic progress – opt for the six-speed manual if you can.

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Honda Jazz: Fuel economy and running costs

The CVT gearbox may blunt performance, but it has a positive effect on fuel economy. The basic S model returns 56.5mpg with a manual ’box and 61.4mpg with the CVT. Likewise, CO2 emissions are 116g/km or 106g/km, which equates to annual car tax (VED) of £30 and £20 respectively. The Jazz is cheap to insure and its famed reliability should mean low maintenance bills.

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Honda Jazz: Is it practical?

Oh yes. It’s apt that the photo above looks like a huge black hole, because this car will swallow almost anything. With the rear seats in place, boot capacity is 354 litres – about the same as a Volkswagen Golf (a car from the class above). Fold the seats flat and that expands to a whopping 1,314 litres. A Ford Fiesta manages just 914 litres. The Jazz also has Honda’s brilliant ‘Magic’ rear seats, with flip-up bases that create a floor-to-ceiling loadspace.

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Honda Jazz: What about safety?

The latest Jazz hasn’t been subjected to Euro NCAP’s crash tests yet, although the old car scored a maximum five stars. An automatic emergency braking system is now standard, and all cars apart from the entry-level S come with the Driver Assist Safety Pack. This includes a lane-departure warning system, traffic-sign recognition and automatic high-beam headlights. The latter were quick to react and very effective on dark country lanes. However, we’d put a black mark against the new touchscreen media system; its clunky menus force you to take your eyes off the road.

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Honda Jazz: Which version should I go for?

There’s no choice of engines, but we’d avoid the sluggish (and £1,100 extra) CVT gearbox – especially if you drive mostly outside urban areas. Trim levels start at S (£13,495 with a manual gearbox), then rise through SE (£14,595), SE Navi (£15,205), EX (£15,715) and EX Navi (£16,325). We’d opt for the well-equipped SE and spend £100 on a portable sat nav, rather than forking out a hefty £510 for Honda’s built-in nav.

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Honda Jazz: Should I buy one?

Fans of the old Honda Jazz (and there are many) will find much to love in this practical package. And if reliability matches the two previous models, it should be utterly painless to live with. Is that enough? It depends what your priorities are. If you crave driving enjoyment, the Fiesta remain the obvious choice. Equally, the Skoda Fabia offers a better all-round blend of quality and refinement. However, the Jazz is still the most sensible supermini you can buy.

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Honda Jazz: Pub fact

The Jazz is Honda’s bestselling car worldwide. The original (above) was launched in 2001 and immediately won the Car Of The Year award in Japan, where it’s known as the Honda Fit. A stretched version of the car, called the Fit Shuttle, was also sold in Japan.

Defeat device now detected in VW, Audi, Porsche 3.0 TDI models

8_Porsche_Macan_S_DieselThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revealed that other diesel engines may be affected by the Volkswagen emissions scandal after finding evidence of a defeat device on 3.0-litre TDI Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen models.

The defeat device “increases emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) up to nine times EPA’s standard,” says the U.S. agency – which has issued a second notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen AG.

The EPA states the following models are affected:

  • 2014 Volkswagen Touareg
  • 2015 Porsche Cayenne
  • 2016 Audi A6 quattro, A7 quattro, A8, A8L, Q5

“VW has once again failed its obligation to comply with the law that protects clean air for all Americans,” said the EPA’s Cynthia Giles.

The latest violations affect around 10,000 cars sold since the 2014 model year, plus “an unknown volume of 2016 models”.

Volkswagen has since released a statement denying the allegations. The firm said it “wishes to emphasise that no software has been installed in the 3-litre V6 diesel power units to alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner”.

Random testing

The latest Volkswagen Group Clean Air Act violation was discovered during a randomised screening process of U.S. diesel cars conducted by the California Air Resources Board.

“These tests have raised serious concerns about the presence of defeat devices on additional VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles,’ said CARB executive officer Richard Corey.

“This is a very serious public health matter. ARB and EPA will continue to conduct a rigorous investigation that includes testing more vehicles until all of the facts are out in the open.”

The first notice of violation was issued to Volkswagen AG by the EPA on 18 September, after it discovered the presence of emissions test cheat code that caps NOx emissions during official testing – but lets vehicles emit up to 40 times the legal limit during on-road use.

The EA 189 2.0-litre TDI is the engine in question.

Since then, Volkswagen’s share price has plummeted as the firm has found 11 million vehicles worldwide contain defeat device coding.