Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Predictions – not if I can avoid them

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I was called early this morning by News 1130 who wanted me to talk about the carbon tax and how people would react. I pointed out that the recent oil price increase was much more dramatic than any impact of the new carbon tax, and would have a much more dramatic effect. The point really is that the carbon tax revenues go to government, which could use them to run energy efficiency programs or invest in transit. But the profits from high oil prices just go to the oil producers who are not doing very much to help cope with high energy costs.

So that got us into the rate at which oil prices will climb. And at that point I did my schtick about the crystal ball being taken back to Canadian Tire. Yes it will get to $200 a barrel, but no-one can forecast when. The expectation of higher energy costs has already started to affect people’s behavior – vehicle miles travelled have started dropping in the US, more people are riding their bikes or transit, and that holiday in Cabo San Lucas looks less doable when the budget is stretched. Will people move from the suburbs? Well some will, but condos in Kits are already unaffordable for many. And anyway, in a mulitiple earner, whose commute is the most imporatant?

Just talking off the cuff, with no resources to hand (I was putting up a rail in my son’s closet at the time) I managed to burble on quite a bit. But I am not sure I want to sit here listening to the constant yammering of news radio just to check that what i said made sense. Let me know if you listen.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 17, 2008 at 9:32 am

Posted in energy

Tagged with ,

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