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'Fuel crisis' could be a blessing in disguise

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 nearly a full day at petrol stations.

I had never seen anything quite like it before. Many flights into Nepal still face lengthy delays, last minute 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.

Do you try to use transport besides a car?

This poll ended on 18 October 2017.

Current Results

Yes, I use cycling or public transport regularly.

0%

No, cutting back on car use isn't a priority for me.

33%

My home is too isolated for anything besides a car.

66%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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 subside 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 our are buses always half empty and our 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 who 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.

Topics:  letter to the editor opinion petrol


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