Bulk oil buying scheme

Oxfordshire Rural Community Council is calling on churches to get involved in their new bulk oil buying scheme. The scheme aims to keep fuel costs as low as possible in rural areas, where many households don’t have mains gas. The scheme will source better prices for oil deliveries and also help to reduce the carbon footprint of the actual delivery system.  Every time a tanker comes out to make a delivery, it uses fuel – a full tanker may only get about 8 miles per gallon – so if deliveries are organised so that one tanker can reach as many customers in as small an area as possible, fuel consumption is reduced.

ORCC is asking for people to help get the scheme going by becoming a local coordinators. Their job will be to garner support locally so the scheme can start in your local area. ‘We’ve made it as simple as possible because we know people are busy’ said ORCC’s Chief Executive Linda Watson, ‘Local co-ordinators are going to be vital to the success of the scheme.  They won’t have to do the negotiating with the oil suppliers and won’t have to deal with any money, so we don’t expect this to take much time.’

Further details via ORCC News – and  Local co-ordinators’ leaflet and Members’ leaflet.

* Update * The bulk oil buying scheme offered by ORCC in Oxfordshire has now been extended to Berkshire and Buckinghamshire – details below:

Oxfordshire – contact Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (ORCC) at www.oxonrcc.org.uk/home/bulk-oil-buying-scheme

Berkshire – contact Community Council for Berkshire (CCB) at www.actionforall.org.uk/CCB/ccb_oil_club

Buckinghamshire – contact Community Impact Bucks at www.communityimpactbucks.org.uk/pages/work-with-commu-bulk-oil-buying-scheme-159.html

Reading area event: How to use your community building to generate clean energy – 23rd November

An information evening for voluntary, faith and community organisations to explore how you can use your community building to generate clean energy and get paid for it.

On the night there will be:

  • Impartial advice from an Energy Savings Trust expert plus local project study from Park United Reform Church
  • How to save money making your building more energy efficient; a case study from Friends Meeting House
  • Don’t own your building? Expert advice on how to convince your landlord to help

Please book a place by emailing chair@gren.org.uk or call 07828 498 315

Time: Tue 23 November 2010 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Venue: Friends Meeting House, 2 Church Street, Reading, RG1 2SB

Organised by GREN (Greater Reading Environmental Network)

Car clubs – a way to reduce carbon emissions and congestion

If you can’t cover your travelling entirely by public transport, cycle or on foot, you still don’t need to own a car: join a car club instead! Members get access to a fleet of cars parked in designated bays in local streets without any of the hassle or cost of ownership. Once a member, you can book a car, online or over the phone, for periods upwards of half an hour, and you’re charged according to the length of booking and distance travelled. Members each get a smart card to open the car when they have a booking, so there’s none of the hassle of collecting a conventional hire car.

Oxcar's first birthday celebration - Photo: Oxford Mail

One such car club was set up in East Oxford just over a year ago when a local residents’ group, Oxcar, joined forces with a national not-for-profit car club, Commonwheels. An innovative move was to lease suitable cars from residents, which has made a mix of cars available – small runabouts (including new fuel-efficient Polos), medium-sized hatchbacks and a 7-seater MPV – as well as allowing lower than conventional booking rates. Any car that is leased to the club is fitted with the necessary electronics and becomes part of the fleet, available for use by all members. In return the Club takes on the costs of the car (tax, insurance, service, cleaning etc) and gives the owner free driving hours per month (mileage fees still apply). This can offer the owner significant savings. (For anyone living in East Oxford, Oxcar / Commonwheels are looking for more cars to adopt!).

But crucially, this is not just about saving money – it is about reducing carbon emissions. An independent survey of the first year of the East Oxford scheme, conducted by Carplus, showed that with growth to over 200 members and 8 cars (more on the way) each Commonwheels car had reduced by 10 the number of cars on the roads of Oxford. There’s no doubt that more thought is given as to whether a car journey is really necessary. Congestion and dangerous overparking are reduced too! This is encouraging the County and City Councils to offer more parking bays to the car club which, provided there are more offers of cars to lease (or loans to buy new cars – with the promise of a small return on the investment) will attract more members, in turn providing the resources for more cars, attracting more members ….. . A growing success story!

So why not explore starting a community car club in your area? Perhaps, if needed, you could offer a parking place on your church’s property? Join the discussion about Car Clubs in the comments below.

If you want to hear more, you are welcome to Oxcar’s first AGM: Tuesday, 9 March, 7.30pm at the Gladiator Club, 263 Iffley Road (corner of Percy Street) 0X4 1SJ. There will be an opening address by Monawar Hussain, Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Oxfordshire, followed by reports of activities to date and discussion of possible directions in the future. For further details, email: oxcar2@yahoo.co.uk

Or you could go to websites: for information about the Commonwheels Car Club (which has cars in Reading, High Wycombe, and Headington as well as East Oxford): www.commonwheels.org.uk

For Oxcar details: www.oxcar.org.uk (currently being rebuilt and updated) – for details of the car adoption scheme, write to oxcar2@yahoo.co.uk

For general information about car clubs: www.carclubs.org.uk and www.carplus.org.uk