Thursday, May 29, 2008

Petrol prices

Ok, I'm really not getting this.

Why is everyone jumping up and down demanding the government must do something about the petrol prices? Both sides of parliament are carrying on about what they're doing to either bring the prices down or keep them stable.

What I'm not getting is why the government has to do something about it? Why aren't we questioning ourselves, and our own petrol consumption to see what we can do individually to reduce our own use?  I mean to say,  oil is a finite resource, there is only so much of it out there, it's going to get rarer and petrol is only going to keep on getting more expensive. So why aren't we as a culture thinking more about how to reduce our own consumption?

I know there are plenty of people out there who have reduced their consumption; we as a household are certainly one of them. And yes, I know that rising petrol prices are a serious issue for transport companies and the like; and I do feel for them. But my main concern is your average Australian, who really hasn't done a great deal to reduce their own consumption. Our society is still very much reliant on cars and petrol as a necessity, most families I know think it's a necessity to have two cars (we do have two cars but have garaged one and rarely use it because of the cost of petrol). I actually had a woman asked how I  possibly coped at home with a child if I didn't have access to a car, what would I do if there was an accident ~ umm, call an ambulance.  This wholesale reliance on cars as the only possible mode of transport is quite disconcerting; there are still so many people that drive such short distances it's ridiculous.  We view so much here in Australia as a right; the right to cheap petrol. How many people actually stop to consider the carbon cost of their petrol consumption? 

I actually think it's time we started thinking of cars as a luxury and look at what other options there are for travel; walk, ride a bike, catch public transport, carpool, convert to biodiesel or gas, downsize to a more fuel efficient car, or simply do without some of the luxury trips. It does take more time to take other options than to drive, but it is so much more worth it; and to be honest, the slowing down is probably just what a lot of families need.  You can turn a one kilometre trip to the supermarket or library into a bonding and discovery  trip by loading the kids in the pram and walking. When we go on our walks we discover all sorts of wonderful things, and we stop all the time to pick up eucalyptus flower and curly leaves and to talk to the ducks; to really just indulge in our surroundings. It's a beautiful feeling and so much more relaxing. 

But you know what? I'm just not seeing any of this being raised in the media discussion.  At some stage we all have to shoulder the burdens and responsibilities of living on a planet whose resources are already over-stretched.

So take a challenge; and go car free for a week!


  1. I totally hear you. Infact I harp on about this daily to my hubby LOL. I am secretly happy when prices go up...even though my car costs a lot to fill (thankfully I only do it every 2 or 3 weeks).

    I too feel sorry about people who are reliant on fuel, especially for example those who have had to move to the outskirts of Melbourne to afford a house, and yet don't have the public transport infrastructure to have a real alternative.

    The government should be doing far more about alternative transportation. Individuals too of course...but I don't think the average bloke on the street really thinks about this stuff in depth...and if they did they wouldn't be buying a new Ford Territory would they (you don't own one of those do you LOL ;))?

    Life is going to be very different in the next 20 years I'd say. What a shame we couldn't have given up petrol as a car fuel 30 years ago so we could save to be used for the next few hundred years...

    Anyway as I said I could go on and on and on...

    BTW have one of those boston buns in the oven right now ;). Will let you know how it turns out!

  2. i like your stand - I may not entirely agree with everything, but I do find it annoying that people seem to blame 'the government' when they could be taking a little more personal stock.


  3. I agree with some of your points but for some people a car is a necessity. I have to drive to work because there is no way I could get my daughter to and from school on time and get to work on time without a car. Having said that we are looking at downsizing our car so we use less fuel. I agree we shouldn't be looking to the government to change fuel prices but they should be doing more with public transport and making it more accessible, more affordable, more reliable and more often.

  4. We're a one car family :) And our Honda Jazz consumes very little petrol (30-40lt I think?)Sometimes I wish I drove to make my life a bit more convenient. But all in all, I'm coping perfectly fine with walking, taxi and public transports :) I've also heard people asking me numerous times what I'm going to do in emergency. Hmmm..ambulance? And I did call an ambulance LOL when Becky was ill and we needed to go to the hospital (DH was at work).

    I agree with Rach, the government should be doing more about alternative transportation. I'm often cranky that there aren't many buses around and they're often late.

  5. I agree Rach, the average bloke on the street doesn't think about this sort of stuff, and that's the big problem. I too, want to see the government saying, "hey yes, petrol is going up, it's inevitable, but here's the thing, we're going to pour money into PT to make it accessible and usable for everyone." It really just seems soo logical as a long term goal. LOL, no ford territory here! We drive a Toyota Corolla ;)

    Cass, I totally understand the necessity of car travel to work, it's a huge issue in the outer suburbs and even out here in the sticks. PT is just not an option for my husband to get to work; so he drives, carpools and rides the 60-70 km round trip a couple of times a week on his bicycle. my concern is rather with, non-essential car travel, and the way people take it for granted and will drive 500 metres to the local shop rather than walk, and then complain about the cost of petrol without actually considering how they could reduce their own usage. And yes, quite often do it in their Toorak Tractor.

    I'm pleased to see our local council is putting public transport in our area on its major agenda list for this budget. Lily and I catch the bus often to the centre of town (it takes us about 40 minutes to walk) and it's amazing how few people actually know the service exists, and how few actually use it. It's really only pensioners and students; and a couple of the mothers and kids from our playgroup now we've introduced them to the bus LOL

  6. My thoughts exactly Tikki! I don't drive at all and get the "what would you do in an accident?" comment sometimes. I'm sick of hearing the question of what's the government going to do about the cost of petrol. Um, what can they do? They can take their excise and put it into better PT systems.

  7. I am sorry but I only agree in part with what you are saying!
    Also think of those that live in the "real sticks", out in the real bush. Those of us that live where there is NO public transport and never will be!! We have to rely on our cars as our only means of transport and our livelihood!! We are the ones paying the really high fuel prices and we have no other option on how we can get around unless we go back to the days of horse and cart.. we realisticly can't just put the kids in prams and walk to our nearest shopping centres for essentials, which are 160+ round trips and then try and lug everything home again.. I just can't see the kids lasting the distance... we have for years now been conserving our trips to 'town', we do everything possible at the one time and don't have the spare time to feed the ducks or smell the flowers.... we very rarely get the time to stop in and say hi to rellies and friends.... we try and fit everything from groceries, farming essentials, banking, personal shopping,post office etc, (you get the drift) into the one full day..
    We don't drive a Ford territory but do drive a Holden Captiva, which has good fuel economy.. can't see a family of 7 fitting into a corolla or anything less but we also do have it on diesel.. which now costs .20c a litre more than unleaded...why? when it is less refined and costs less to produce than petrol????
    we do our bit with recycling and trying to conserve our world.. yes we are farmers but we are also organic farmers as are a lot of dinky die farmers... a lot of people don't realise but they probably use more chemicals etc in their everyday households than what farmers use on the lands... and we have to sign stat decs to this so we can sell our cattle for food consumption.. next time you are chomping down on that steak or enjoying your sandwich or biting into your fruit think of where it came from and how it got to your plate.... all of which costs farmers huge $$$$s in fuel....and yes I feel strongly that the government should be doing something about the rising cost of fuel.... as it will have detrimental consequences across the whole of Australia..
    I for one would like to be able to feed and clothe my children.. without having to sacrifice food for myself... as it is now we pay exuberant prices in comparison to those in the cities for food and clothing and which the cost of is rising again..... we can't just go to our neighbours dairy and pick up milk anymore..why? cos the government and dairy companies have put a stop to it!! more money for them...
    And before you bag me and say we have a choice in where we live, tell me what is a farmer of year 10 schooling going to do for a job if we moved to the city, or a mum of 7....... not go on welfare that is certain...who would provide the food if all the farmers up and left the land? and a lot of them are now thru no fault of their own.. family farms are being repossessed by banks etc and sold off to international companies who don't care about chemical usage destroying land and atmosphere, they only care about the dollar at the end of the day and how much profit they can make for their investors.We see this everyday. The condition of their stock is shocking, a real farmer cares for his animals.....

    Everyone when they buy fuel is paying a tax on a tax......why? this should not be when we are paying gst on almost everything..this tax should be abolished by the Government and this would lower the price of fuel..
    I for one can't see the point in pouring huge $$$$s into PT, yes I do agree it is something that needs to be fixed but PT isn't available everywhere and is not economical everywhere..... the government also needs to look at options for those in the country or else there will be no one left in the country, farmers can't continue to wear the rising costs of fuel, and everything else especially when our income does not go up either. we are still receiving the same dollar amount for our cattle as what we were 5 years ago but you can bet you pay 5 times as much in the butcher, supermarket etc than what you did 5 years ago... WHY???
    This is something close to my heart and I am sorry if I offend anyone, but people need to look at the big picture not just what is in their back yard!!! they need to look at the consquences of high fuel costs not just for themselves but everyone across the whole of Australia whether they live in the outback or in the bush or in the cities...... AND I BELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT ACROSS THE WHOLE OF OZ!!!!!! not just where public transport is available as it affects a much broader scope than just city people..

  8. I was thinking the same thing, why is no one talking about looking at alternate sources of transport or alternate ways of powering cars, then the other day I was watching the 10 mid-morning news and Maxine McKew did actually bring that up, that it is something we all need to be looking at.
    Even if public transport isn't the answer for all of us, why not put more money into R & D of cars requiring alternative sources of fueling them other than petrol.
    I can understand some people complaining about rising costs of petrol, people who genuinely need the car to get around, but for most people there are alternatives.

    It's got me thinking anyway, I rarely use the car now, and I'm now considering buying a secondhand bike and putting a kiddie seat on the back for Jayda.

  9. Juwles, I feel for you...I do.

    Problem is fuel *is* running out, and if it doesn't go up in price, then you can bet that it's going to be used up a lot faster, and mostly by city folk who should be on PT (if it is available and/or improved).

    Maybe the government could find a way to subsidise those in the 'real sticks' such as yourself. I'm not sure of a real solution to your problem though to be honest (well aside from a new technology being enforced so you no longer had to rely on oil).

  10. You're right Jwules, people do need to look at the bigger picture and not just what's happening in their own back yard; but to be honest isn't that what you're doing by focusing on your own plight?

    We are ALL going to be affected by the dwindling petrol resources, not just farmers but everyone. And to be honest, for the MAJORITY of people living in Australia making public transport more accessible and available will make a huge difference. And freeing up petrol resources means that leaves more of a dwindling resource for where it is needed.

    I think you've completely missed the point of my whole post. My focus is on the fact that the average Australian is not that conscious of their petrol consumption and can do more about it; if you already do, that's great! But to be honest, the average person in Australia certainly doesn't. The average Australian still makes far too many unnecessary car trips, and maybe this doesn't apply to you, as it doesn't apply to some of the other people who responded here. But the problem needs to be addressed in terms of what is best for the FUTURE of the planet and just bringing prices down, and therefore encouraging people to continue with their complacency with their petrol wasting ways does not solve what will be a long term very serious problem if something isn't done now.

    I certainly don't think bringing down prices across the board is the answer, certainly increasing petrol subsidies in industries where fuel is essential, such as transporting and farming, would be a much better option.

    I think you also know me well enough to know that; I don't eat steak, I certainly think about where all our food originates from (hence our choice to eat organics, free range and fairtrade) and our house certainly contains no chemicals.

    I'm certainly not going to bag you for where you live, as I understand the importance of farmers. But you may want to compare petrol prices where you are, to those that are really "in the sticks" in outback NSW, NT, QLD and WA.

    I can assure you the prices here for food and clothing are NOT considerably less than in south west Victoria where you live. Infact, I can honestly say the prices at supermarkets in Warrnambool and Hamilton are less than here, our Coles actually has the highest average prices in the state ~ but then again I guess it is a smaller regional centre than Warrnambool or Hamilton.


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