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Musings on elections and energy matters

The new Cabinet, which even the prime minister admits is "ugly looking", may have gathered an early bad name because its members and their potential abilities are not well accepted by society.

Published on February 20, 2008

Musings on elections and energy matters

But let us not forget, in our scorn, that they were elected by a democratic process. It seems that while most people believe that democratically elected governments are best, they close their eyes and ears and fail to consider how dirty and complex elections are.

As a consequence, Thailand now has an industry minister who was appointed simply to avoid a party break-up, a transport minister who is accused of filling in for a person who is banned from politics, an energy minister who is there because her husband is banned from politics (what would she know about energy, other than that gas is used to boil water for her coffee or to fuel her car?), a deputy prime minister who led the party's economic team while campaigning but who was not given the finance minister's job, and a deputy finance minister who was appointed because her husband is also banned, but holds enough power to pull strings.

I am curious to know what the pro-democratic powers of the West think about Thailand now. They're always keen to boycott countries whose elections cannot be labelled "democratic".

Speaking of energy, I received the following e-mail:

In Chiang Mai, benzene 95 [95-octane petrol] is more difficult to obtain, so can you recommend a good-quality octane booster to add to benzene 91? Where can I buy the octane booster if [it is] available?

Is it true that only gasohol will be available in three years time? My car is a 1995 BMW 525i fitted with a Toyota 1J 2500cc twin turbo [engine] and I am worried about its future. Can it be modified to run on gasohol 95? Can I convert it to LPG [liquefied petroleum gas]? If I change the engine to a Toyota 2J 3000cc twin turbo, will this be a better option?

My friend has a 2001 BMW 523i and a 2000 BMW 740i. Can he use gasohol 95 safely in both cars?

Kind regards

Peter Thorp

There are many motorists in Thailand who share the same concerns as you. There has been news that sales of unleaded petrol will be banned and only gasohol will be allowed, so people who think that their cars will not run on gasohol are becoming very worried.

I have been working with the Energy Ministry, and according to the former energy minister, there will definitely be no ban on sales of unleaded petrol. Sales of various fuels will depend on market demand.

When the time comes, if sales of unleaded 95 (95-octane petrol) are not high enough and retailers decide to stop selling it, there will still be unleaded 91 which you can use without causing any problems with the engine.

If you want to raise the octane level, octane boosters can be purchased from the automotive section of large department stores.

You can also choose to switch to E10 gasohol (petrol with 10-per-cent ethanol) without fear of damage to the engine or other parts, especially in the BMW models you have mentioned. I have tested them with E10 gasohol for 20,000 kilometres and have not run into any problems.

All of the cars you mentioned can run on gasohol 95, even the one with the 1J Toyota engine. You can also go for natural gas, whether LPG or CNG (compressed natural gas), but make sure that you use a fuel-injection system, which causes fewer problems.

I hear that in Chiang Mai there are many garages that are as good as those in Bangkok in their ability to perform LPG conversion, while LPG is also readily available. However, I think you may have to wait a little longer for CNG, until there are more refuelling stations in your area.

n E-mail your motoring questions to Pattanadesh@nationgroup.com.

By Pattanadesh Asasappakij

The Nation

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