Well, those of us that have been focused on the environment have known that petrol prices were likely to rise significantly, so all the hand-wringing and shouting comes as little surprise.
It’s a shame that the emphasis has been on short-term relief by the way of the government dropping the excise on petrol. Although I really feel for the folks that are finding it tough with daily commutes etc. I think that dropping the excise is a terrible idea.
Even if the petrol companies don’t see it as an opportunity to wrestle more profit out of the market (which is a likely scenario) – the price of petrol will only continue to rise, making this a very short-term solution.
Instead the government should announce that it is funneling the revenue generated from the excise into alternatives – public transport in particular, but also better planning of areas to alleviate the need for car transport in the first place.
Another area the government could invest in is building Australia’s R&D capacity in car manufacture. It’s a pet subject of mine – I’ve ranted enough on the topic here that regular readers will know my views. But in a competitive market I find it incredible that the industry, and government in general, continues to subsidise big car development for the middle eastern market at the expense of alternatives like hybrids and electric vehicles.
I did have to laugh, though, reading this article by Richard Glover a few weeks back: Here’s to high petrol prices. Some choice quotes:
HOORAY for high petrol prices. No one wants to say the unpleasant truth, so I’ll say it again. Hooray for high petrol prices. They are changing our behaviour faster than decades worth of hand-wringing over the environment.
… What’s frustrating is that there are real ways in which our politicians could help; not by making false pledges of cheap petrol but by helping us permanently adapt to this new world of highly priced energy.
… Whatever we do, we won’t be able to avoid pain. Australians of past generations showed great fortitude in the face of the global challenges of their time; they proved themselves to be resilient and adaptable.
… Will we need to make sacrifices? Of course. Will those sacrifices be as difficult as those faced by the generation who lived through the Great Depression, or World War II? Um, no.
The biggest irony, of course, is that when I viewed this article, this was the ad that came up:
An ad for a petrol hungry 4WD…