Barnaby Joyce's free petrol for everyone
- I heard in the news this morning that Senator Barnaby Joyce is
pushing the government to do more about lowering petrol prices.
On the face of it, this looks like a noble goal, "looking out for
the battlers", that sort of thing. Certainly there are many people
who are hurting pretty badly with high fuel prices.
But let's look at it objectively for a moment.
The average car in Australia consumes approximately 12L/100km and
carries an average of about 1.7 people.
There are cars that have been available (although not widely
marketed in Australia) since the 1980s that will average 6L/100km.
And almost all cars are capable of carrying at least 4 people. There
are more recent developments that have enabled 4L/100km. There is
even a company in Germany that is developing a 1.5L/100km 4-seater
Half the fuel consumption and double the passengers equals four
times the fuel economy per person-kilometre.
So if the efficient options are there, then why have we allowed
ourselves to become so inefficient? Cheap fuel. There has been no
incentive to conserve.
Joyce is right to suggest that the Aussie battlers will need help to
cope with high fuel prices, but simply bringing down the price of
fuel (supposing the government could somehow do that!) will only
contribute to the cause of the problem. We MUST face up to the real
problem, and that means recognising that resources need to be more
expensive. In the absence of any currently viable/scalable
alternatives to oil, the best advice is to conserve this resource.
We should all write to our local politician and tell them (to their
surprise, no doubt) that we do NOT want them to lower petrol prices,
as price is currently the only mechanism we have to ensure that the
resource is conserved!