Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Oil is like tobacco, so increase prices!

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-05-24

Why should governments work to decrease the price of petrol at the pump: oil use for transport is perhaps even damaging to society than smoking is for individuals, yet we don’t hear governments talking of decreasing the cost of cigarettes to make it easier on working families with smokers – indeed everyone applauds governments when tobacco excise is increased.

The only area where the impact of rising oil prices should be softened is to minimize the threat to food supply – and even then, this is only appropriate in the very short term, as wasteful use of fertilizers are creating dead zones in oceans – which of course, harms food supply.

Hydrocarbon use for anything other than real products (e.g. plastic, pharmaceuticals, which trap the carbon rather than release it into the atmosphere) is a vice, patently an addictive one, and harms others rather than just the user.

The quicker prices rise, the sooner the addiction will be cured.  Any excises on hydrocarbons used for transport should not be dropped, but increased every year.

Or would we rather run out of reasonably long hydrocarbon chains that allow relatively cheap synthesis of goods we need, rather than need to expend vast amounts of energy rebuilding those chains?


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