Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Forget about peak oil and the future, high fuel prices is here today.

Oil prices have spiked again due to the recent turmoils and uprising in Egypt and Libya. When I filled up my tank on the weekend, it took $71.76 before my thirsty car was satiated !! The shock and the horror o_O This will eventually mean I'll have to switch back to public transport again with the trains. 

I wouldn't be surprised if it will take $100 and more to fill up my tank before 20011 is out. I'm hoping it won't, but with the current turmoil close to Saudi Arabia...

Are countries around the world experiencing fuel price rises?

Or is it just Australia? It's difficult to say whether Woolworths and Coles have increased fuel prices because their supply cost has increased or because they need to maintain their margin due to their discount fuel vouchers that they offer to shoppers when a certain amount is spent at their supermarkets. 

Have you decided what you'll do if fuel prices becomes unaffordable?

For the fortunate few who live near public transport facilities (trains/buses/ferries), they can always substitute driving their cars and use public transport but for the unfortunate ones who do not have any nearby facilities, they'll need to make plans for what they plan to do if fuel becomes increasingly unaffordable. Fuel prices are up. Fresh food prices are up. Processed food prices are up. Electricity prices and gas prices have gone up beyond the CPI rate. 

What can the Reserve Bank of Australia do? 

Pretty much, nothing. They can try and increase interest rates but that will just cripple mortgage holders, cripple investment loans, cripple small businesses who have borrowed funds to run their businesses. The problem is that the RBA and their monetary policy is mainly used to control consumer spending and reduce discretionary spending. No matter how high they increase the interest rates, they can't control electricity, gas, food or fuel prices because they're necessities and as such, demand won't reduce simply because the RBA has raised interest rates.

What can you do to help yourself (and incidentally help the environment)?

There are a few things that you can do if you find yourself in a similar boat in terms of rising living costs:

* Plan your travels using public transport
* Don't waste food, plan your meals, check your pantry and don't overstock nor overbuy. Australians buy too much food and waste a lot of it unnecessarily
* Unplug anything that isn't being used because they draw power 
* Insulate your home, install blinds and or curtains to keep heat out during summer, and retain heat in winter
* Install solar panels and solar hot water systems

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