Readers of the South Bucks Star may be familiar with the “Me and My Motor” section towards the back pages. The Star is a free newspaper produced by the Bucks Free Press every Wednesday and distributed (at least in our neck of the woods) on a Thursday night. One day in January this year we spotted an appeal on Facebook by the “Me and My Motor” journalist Lawrence Dunhill for more people to tell him about their cars. So we thought: why not? So I penned the following request to local Transitioners: “I have thought this might be a chance to promote alternative transport. So I am putting a call out to anyone who drives any alternatively-fueled vehicle, ie, electric, hybrid, LPG, LPG-Hybrid, bio-diesel, whatever to put their names forward” to the Star – “it would be nice to have sensible people talking about good driving practice, pumping your tyres up, lift-sharing, not using a car for short trips, etc. Today’s “alternative” is tomorrow’s “normal”.”

Now, initially we assumed this would only apply to cars but when we got in contact with Lawrence he seemed genuinely interested in anything with an interesting story attached. He said: “we could do a bicycle as a one-off, and certainly a bus”

So myself and two other local volunteers wrote off the Lawrence with tales of one Prius, one LPG-powered Prius and one LPG-powered Toyota Aygo.

What does it involve to get your alternative car in the paper? Actually Lawrence sends you the questions by email and you fill in the blanks. You can even send in a photo although, in my case, the BFP sent a photographer around. Although my article didn’t get into the paper until May the picture was taken in the February snows. Although the photo was closely cropped to remove the snowy background you can see the snow on the tyres and in the reflections in the paintwork. The fact I am dressed in five layers of clothes is also a bit of a clue!

My friend Spencer and his son got their autogas-powered Prius into The Star in mid-April. For anyone who missed it this article did have a very special story wrapped up inside it. As Spencer described it: “I got the car from Neales Taxis owner Abrar Hussain. Abrar owns Auto Clinics in Great Kingshill that does LPG conversions and he runs a fleet of LPG hybrid Prius taxis.”

Have you ever wondered why there are so many Prius Taxis in High Wycombe? Now you know. This is important because, as far as we know, there is no LPG conversion kit for the Toyota Prius. You can’t just go anywhere and get it done. It has to be engineered by ingenious people. Only a handful have been done around the UK with an over-whelming cluster in High Wycombe for our Taxi fleet. Isn’t that an incredible story of success and brilliance? Really clever. Clever on four wheels – a High Wycombe success story to be proud of. But have we read about it in the papers? To our knowledge – no. (But please prove us wrong.) Whilst we still await our third member to get his car in the paper, Lawrence contacted Transition Town High Wycombe again in May to ask if we had any more such great stories? So we have asked around again but we aren’t getting much reaction. Maybe our local green-folk are ashamed of their cars? Maybe it’s a guilt thing? There is no such thing really as an environmentally-friendly car, but we live in a real world of transition. So, although the invitation is open to get a bus and bike into the section we have had no takers. Let’s widen the net. Can you help?

Beyond that we are still on the look out for anyone who has an electric car. Now we have seen them in the town. They do exist in the area but their owners have not contacted us. High Wycombe is also the home of at least two biodiesel companies (Biofuel Refineries and Goldenray) and we have met one wood fuel supplier who runs his truck on home-brew biodiesel. THAT would be another great story if YOU run your car/truck/business-fleet on biodiesel.

We will see more change in the cars we drive in the next twenty years than in the last twenty. Already the Motor Show in Geneva this year displayed small hybrid vehicles that would have double the fuel-efficiency of current models. Beyond that the major manufacturers have been experimenting with hydrogen fuels for donkey’s years (although I wouldn’t hold my breath). Then there are alternative ways to use cars without owning them such as as car-clubs and taxi-flexi-buses.

So how about re-imagining a Bucks Free Press Motor Show on the Rye in the next few years? We could have a Transition Town High Wycombe “Alternative Mobility” stand with information on walking, cycling, taxis, bus routes, alternative fuels and alternative car schemes. We could supply at least a couple LPG-powered vehicles (after all Neales Taxis use a lot!) for people to look at as well as on-hand expertise on biodiesel. THIS town has it all. This future is happening before our very eyes and already High Wycombe is leading the way. The future will be very clever indeed.

If you have a bus, taxi, car-scheme, bike or alternative-fuel vehicle, and want to tell other people about it, then please drop us a line!

To respond to this blog go to http://www.post-carbon-living.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/20/wanted-stars-in-cars/ or drop us a line on Twitter (twitter.com/TTWycombe) or Facebook (facebook.com/TTWycombe) or via our web site at www.transition-wycombe.org.uk. You can hear Mark talk about the future of transport in High Wycombe as part of his talk to the HIgh Wycombe Society on the 6th July at the Guildhall. You can next meet Transition Town High Wycombe at the Hamilton School Fete on Saturday 16th June. We look forward to meeting you.

Readers who submit articles must agree to our terms of use. The content is the sole responsibility of the contributor and is unmoderated. But we will react if anything that breaks the rules comes to our attention. If you wish to complain about this article, contact us here