Sure enough on the news this morning people were asking what the New Orleans catastrophe has to do with rising petrol prices in the UK. Another spokesman for the union that crippled the UK in 2000 with the fuel strikes, is talking of more strikes unless the Govt cuts the taxation on our fuel.
They also talked about Hybrid cars, and this got me thinking of a potentially vicious but good cycle that could start:
1) People realise that if they buy a hybrid car they will spend less money on fuel, thus saving shitloads
2) Demand for hybrids rockets
3) Car companies respond to the demand cos they can see £££££££ profits from hybrids
4) Hybrids are churned off the production line and bought in the thousands
5) Petrol usage starts to drop slightly cos all the commuters are now chugging around on battery power, and need half the amount of fuel
6) We finally start to save the environment - yay!
7) Petrol companies get pissed off cos their profits start to dip, so prices rise
8) People who can't afford hybrids are stuck paying £2/gallon to fill up their old Jalopies
Is this too simplistic a view on the future? The spread of hybrids can only help the environment which is great. But what will happen if petrol prices DO go up because we are buying less of it and the greedy petroleum people still want their profits (or the Govt still want their taxes on it). What will happen to all the vintage car owners who can only use petrol, all the military vehicle enthusiasts who need gallons of it for their thirsty American jeeps (speaking as the GF of a jeep owner I can verify they ARE thirsty!), all the truckers who probably can never run a huge heavy lorry on battery power, all the bikers too (is there a hybrid motorbike anywhere or plans for one???)
The Government will also be worried if fuel consumption drops, as their tax cut will also drop. So how will they tax us to make up the deficit? By screwing the petrol buyers, or imposing a special tax on Hybrids, or just applying a dozen stealth taxes on other things instead?
The price of diesel here in Norwich is at 98.9p. I remember the days when diesel cars were considered dirty and smelly, and nobody drove them except for trade people/builders/electricians etc etc. Diesel fuel used to be screamingly cheap back then. Now suddenly diesels are everywhere, the trendiest cars are diesels, and oooh look, the price overtakes that of Unleaded, once the priciest fuel.
Now tell me if the price rise is linked to "oil production" or just the Government's greed because they realise that everyone wants a diesel now, so hey, let’s screw them for their fuel prices and get more taxes!!!! Diesels are meant to be more economical in MPG, but if the price continues to rise, people will go back to their unleaded cars, or start using chip fat as fuel (it works too!).
That's something I'd love to see - a car that runs successfully on oils and fats ... how would Blair deal with that? Would he start charging £10 for a bottle of chip fat? He'd never get away with it! So as a result, is the development of oil-powered cars being pushed? I guess not.