Sunday, June 08, 2008

Petrol's up. So is Glover

In arguing against a cut in the fuel excise, Richard Glover tells us to get used to higher prices, and that it is a good thing. He's right of course, on both counts. Oil just hit a new high.

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. Public transport is booming; and there's fresh funding for alternative fuels.

The market is doing what the market does best: sending a crystal-clear message in the form of a price rise. Supply and demand are out of kilter and the price will keep rising until they're back in lockstep. No emotion, no rhetoric, just reality.

All around the world, the message is being received and is being acted on with remarkable speed.

In the US, car-pooling in some areas is up by 88 per cent. In Britain there are waiting lists for energy-efficient cars, such as the Prius. In Sydney, the past year has seen a million extra passengers on the bus system.

If a Bob Geldof save-the-world concert had achieved one-millionth of the impact, we'd be thrilled and amazed. The hip-pocket nerve is, as always, easier to pluck than the conscience.

The solutions to global warming will be hatched in the market.

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