If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 24 February 2011

I blame that Gadaffi chap

As I was leaving for work yesterday evening, I noticed the central heating boiler had locked out. On inspection, no oil in the tank. I left Anna with a pile of logs and a roaring woodstove and made a mental note to order more today.

When I got up at lunchtime, she had already ordered 1000 litres. Good thing she did. The delivery arrived this afternoon as I was washing the XT down. The driver told me that I was wise to order when I did, as the price had risen by 5p per litre since the morning. A quick calculation shows that, by being prompt, Anna just saved us £49. She ordered 1000, but there was room for more, so I asked the driver to put in as much as he could. We ended up with 1266 litres (in a 1250 litre tank, durr), so it is to be hoped that we don't have to do that again very soon.

At well over £700 for the fill, we won't be able to, for one thing.

Batten down the hatches, folks. If Libya goes up in flames, this is only the start.


  1. Hope I'm not about to disappoint you Richard, but look at the calendar. It's nearly Spring; and Summer is just round the corner.

    The Climate Change Lobby tell us the world is getting warmer.

    Guess what happens to the price of oil in warmer weather, when no-one wants it?

    There was probably an economic case for buying just enough for a few months; then filling up at Summer prices.

    [Unless that is, you've got a bloody big boiler and 1,200 litres last you just a few months.] ;-)

  2. Petrol is already creeping up by a penny or so at local independent stations... :(

  3. I do know what month it is, Joe! 1000 litres has lasted us just over three months in the coldest winter I can remember in many years, and because Anna is fairly immobile the heating has been on most of the day, 7 days a week, as she feels the cold more these days. If the weather does the ususl thing, then this fill will last us until the Autumn. With the situation in the Arab states, I'm not going to gamble on the usual seasonal fluctuations in price, though. I have a horrible feeling the price is about to go through the roof.

  4. Richard. I hope it's well secured. Lots of stories of oil thieves cashing in. They just hammer a stop cock and tap into the bottom of the tank and use it like a beer barrel. Even coming back later when it's refilled and the owner didn't even notice. I wondered why it was so popular for thieves then found out it's just standard deisel so is useful for self employed builders and plumbers etc for their vans.

  5. I've got a good idea. That Gadaffi chap almost certainly still has WMDs so why don't we invade Libya to look for those and all the Libyians will be happy and so grateful they will give us the oil very very cheap.

  6. Thanks for the warning, Don. It's not secured at all, but there is someone in here almost all day and night, so I reckon we would know about it if anyone tried.

    Standard diesel, eh? Are you sure? No tracers? If so, 54p per litre is very interesting.

  7. They are similar, but NOT the same.
    A quick Google reveals many similar enquiries. Here's a couple of answers:

    Heating oil (A.K.A. Kerosene or Parrafin) is 28 second oil, whereas diesel (red or white) is 32 second (redwood scale) The viscosity (and lube properties) of heating oil can be increased by adding a little lube oil. Some of the older (style) diesel engines could be operated on parrafin with a set ratio of lube oil(Gardner specified this in the handbook!) Heating oil is now tinted yellow,so it to can be detected by the customs man!

    I once ran my diesel on 50.50 heating oil. It creates hot spots and eventually the cylinder head blew a hole. The removal of colour may prove impossible. Red diesel has the same agent. I believe Irish farmers filter the red diesel through charcoal to remove the 'red'. However the colour agent can remain detectable if lab checked .... a quick dip at the roadside may get a 'pass'. I will be interested if someone knows how to convert 'heating oil' into diesel ..... nice 600 gals sitting outside my door!
    PS .. that's now 46p per litre .... time to turn to burning straw!

    The second comment was from 3 years ago - only 10p/litre cheaper?

    So either don't do it, or get a Gardner powered vehicle! Chances are Patricroft's most famous products will still be chugging away somewhere in the world long after I'm gone. The old buses I went to school on went round the clock every year for 25 years! And those engines are probably still powering a fairground ride today...

  8. Panic! Panic! PANIC!

    Doh! US media reporting that Gaddfi is dead... and the price of oil has dropped (that is gone down) $2 already.


  9. Kerosene will last at least a year so you're ok for the next heating season. Ironically, with summer more people fly and Jet-A and Jet A-1 are similar products to heating oil. So hedging won't hurt. At least you'll have some in if the delivery lorries are stopped by snow drifts.

  10. Can I just second the comment about securing it? Apparently nicking the stuff is the new growth industry for the underclass.

  11. micro..

    Thanks for that. I suppose when things become desperate people will start using heating oil in cars more and more. 'Mod kits' will become available to clean up the oil for use in cars.

  12. I'm not sure about the exact difference between kerosene, paraffin and heating oil, but I know that the oil that goes in my heating is definitely not rhe same as the paraffin I clean my drive chain with. Interesting that it has the yellow dye - so the risks of being dipped are the same as with red diesel. I happens now and then round here - a lot of farmers and a lot of lorries from the Irish ferries, so the cops have regular stop-and-dips in a layby near here. Not worth the risk IMO. Also, my car is a modern common-rail diesel, so I don't really want to risk using anything that might wreck it.

    OK, think again ...

  13. @ Voyager: the rumours are that he has been *shot*, nopt that he is *dead*, and in any case ...

    "There was no immediate indication of where the rumor had originated or any news report to substantiate it."

  14. If he is not dead already, he soon will be.

    The point being, that you missed by going off about the sky falling on your head, is that oil price will drop back once the area settles down.

    But if oil prices are too high, if supplies are irregular, if travel to work and heating your house is getting to be 'too expensive' then *you* have to do something about *your* oil use, as it has long been clear that the future is not likely to return us to an era of cheap oil.

    Moaning about it will achieve nothing and anyone who has failed to spot that it is coming is pretty dim.

  15. Whilst you might not want to run heating oil in your common-rail vehicle, I'd like to suggest you get friendly with your local chippy-owner.

    (When) you get your Landy up-and-running, you may be able to run it on used-frying oil.

  16. XX We ended up with 1266 litres (in a 1250 litre tank, durr), XX

    Hmmm. Watch that. We had a load of prosecutions here, two years ago, where heating oil delivery men, were not zeroing the gagues before comencing delivery. Then the cashed in on having sold the same couple of liters twice.

  17. @Voyager - I'm sure in the long term that prices will settle. If it takes a year, I've done the right thing. If it takes two weeks, I've lost out. And I wasn't moaning, just expressing alarm at a very sharp price rise.

    @Joe - it wouldn't do much good as it is a petrol engine :) Your comment was spam-trapped, by the way. Blogger isn't keen on links in comments, it seems. Thanks for letting me know.

    @FT - I've dealt with the firm, and this particular driver, for about 20 years now, and they are sound. We even joked about it, as the tank label reads '1250 litres nominal, equivalent to 97% of brimful capacity'. I work that out to 1288 litres total, which makes the 1266 seem about right. But your warning is a good one.

  18. The biggest risk when using "non diesel" in diesel engines is the lubrication aspect. All the injection components rely on the lubricity of diesel to keep them going. Without this wear takes place. Hence the advice about adding oil in that Gardner story I found.

    Whilst it's fair to say no injection parts are cheap, you might want to enquire about the cost a set of common rail injectors and the high pressure pump before you start pouring chip fat or anything else in the tank...

    Some years ago a friend who runs a Bosch agency told me they were £300 each, and the pump £200.

    And now that "proper" winters are back in fashion, fuel waxing is also an important consideration. Diesel road fuel is blended differently in winter, and people who still have "summer" grade in the tank can get caught out in sub zero temperatures. The old trick of lighting an oily rag under the engine and fuel tank is not much use with modern vehicles!

  19. I went into the chipfat thing in some detail when I had the Td5 Disco, and decided it wasn't worth the hassle - or rather the palaver involved in adding things to the fat to get it workable, against the (small) risks to the engine was not something I could be arsed with, long-term. I've I'd still had the old diesel Landy (2.5 n/a), it might have been a good idea. But I think a new injector pump for the Disco was around the £600 mark, and that's serious money.

    I sold the Disco on economy grounds, and the Mundaneo that I replaced it with gives me between 40 and 55 mpg regardless, which is roughly twice the mpg and much better performance, so the urgency has gone out of the equation.

    Plus I'm not all that keen on driving round smelling like Sweaty Betty's Chipeteria, to be frank.


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