For the first time, drivers of electric cars were allowed to feel a little smug as the tables turned and diesel and petrol owners were the ones to experience range anxiety.
Last week’s stomach-churning feeling of not knowing if you’d make it to the fuel station or, even if you did, there’d be any fuel at the pump, was felt by millions of us.
Another bonding experience the nation could do without…
My anxiety levels reached a new high when I arrived 80 miles away from home for a job, with 12 miles of fuel left in the car.
Fuel supply issues
I’d passed a dozen fuel stations en route and most of them were closed, but I did join the long queue at two of them, hopeful I’d be lucky – only to reach the pumps and see that diesel was all the garage had left. I needed petrol.
Where was a staff member informing us of this at the start of each queue? Customer-relations had gone as AWOL as the next tanker. And so, anger joined my anxiety.
Petrol limits and range anxiety
At my destination, though, and with a gesture to restore my faith in humankind, a colleague took my car and queued for an hour-and-a-half for a £30 limit of petrol.
This allowed me to start the day’s “Historics Auction” on time (and sell many cars that run on petrol…!), and enable me to get home afterwards. I was so grateful.
There is another power source, though, that would let you pass plenty of petrol stations with a smile on your face – and that’s hydrogen.
You fill up the tank in the same way as normal, with a hose and a nozzle, and but it’s hydrogen that goes into the car. This combines with oxygen from the atmosphere in a fuel cell stack, which creates electricity to powers the car’s motor.
A plug-in alternative
I drove one of the few hydrogen cars on the market, the Toyota Mirai, which can go for around 400 miles between fill-ups.
But it’s not all perfect. There aren’t many hydrogen fuel stations in the UK – just 11 at the moment, with two in Scotland, both of which are in Aberdeen. Great news if you live around there!
And then there’s the question of getting the hydrogen in the first place – which requires energy – and to make that energy clean, you have to use wind and solar power.
The enthusiastic and dedicated hydrogen fraternity is working super hard to achieve more of this, and to make it as cheap as plug-in power. But there’s a way to go yet.
So what’s the best solution for the immediate future? Become an HGV driver and drive your own petrol tanker.