Fuel ‘cri­sis’ claims ex­treme

Prices may have gone up but some parts of the world have a real cri­sis

Sunshine Coast Daily - - YOUR WEEKEND | OPINION - — BRIGID MUIR Alexandra Headland

DECLAR­ING that the Sun­shine Coast is fac­ing a fuel cri­sis is a bit ex­treme.

Whilst we have ex­pe­ri­enced a sig­nif­i­cant price hike, and in com­par­i­son to the other parts of Aus­tralia, our fuel prices might not seem fair, we are cer­tainly not verg­ing on a cri­sis.

Travel re­ally puts things into per­spec­tive.

Res­i­dents of Hong Kong pay just shy of $2 per litre for their fuel, and many in Nor­way, Den­mark and Swe­den choose pedal power over pay­ing $1.78 per litre to keep a car run­ning.

Fol­low­ing the cat­a­strophic 2015 earth­quake in Nepal, ac­cess­ing fuel across the coun­try, es­pe­cially in the re­gional and re­mote ar­eas, is still nearly an im­pos­si­bil­ity, with cars and trucks queu­ing for al­most a full day at petrol sta­tions.

I had never seen any­thing quite like it be­fore.

Many flights into Nepal still face lengthy de­lays, last­minute can­cel­la­tions or reschedul­ing as fuel is ex­pen­sive and very hard to come by.

It would be fair to say that Nepal has (and still is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing) a fuel cri­sis.

On the other hand, of course, there are places where fuel is very af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble, es­pe­cially the United States, where the car is king and it costs just $1 per gal­lon (3.78 litres).

Cars rule and cities such as Los An­ge­les are de­signed to cater for this pre­ferred mode of trans­port with sprawl­ing, spaghetti-like com­pli­cated road sys­tems and multi-lane high­ways mak­ing rid­ing a bi­cy­cle or walk­ing far too risky to even con­tem­plate in most parts of the city.

In Viet­nam, the gov­ern­ment helps to sig­nif­i­cantly sub­sidise the cost of fuel to en­cour­age com­muters to travel into the over-pol­luted cities from the re­gional and ru­ral town­ships, which has boosted their econ­omy rather dra­mat­i­cally in re­cent years.

This has all come at a cost to the en­vi­ron­ment, with smog re­ports in­cor­po­rated into daily weather re­ports, just like our UV rat­ings dur­ing the sum­mer months.

Air pol­lu­tion is com­mon­place in many cities around the world, with res­i­dents often hav­ing no mem­ory of life be­fore the smog.

Over­seas vis­i­tors to the Sun­shine Coast often com­ment on our blue sky and clear, starry nights.

Per­haps our “fuel cri­sis” might be a bless­ing in dis­guise. If peo­ple are re­ally feel­ing the pinch at the bowser, why are our buses al­ways half empty and bi­cy­cle lanes dur­ing the daily com­mute so va­cant?

The tyranny of dis­tance is one of the main rea­sons why Aus­tralians are so re­liant on their mo­tor cars.

We are a coun­try of ed­u­cated, in­tel­li­gent, ini­tia­tive thinkers, with dis­pos­able in­comes and an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion that will be­come less mo­bile and car (or mo­bil­ity scooter) de­pen­dent as time goes on.

Now is the time to come up with some cre­ative so­lu­tions which will see us re­lin­quish the shack­les en­slav­ing us to the ever-volatile cost of petrol.

❝If peo­ple are re­ally feel­ing the pinch at the bowser, why our are buses al­ways half empty and our bi­cy­cle lanes dur­ing the daily com­mute so va­cant?

PHOTO: NOEL THOMP­SON

CRI­SIS? WHAT CRI­SIS?: We might be pay­ing more for our fuel on the Sun­shine Coast but it’s hardly a “cri­sis”, says reader Brigid Muir.

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