FTLComm - Tisdale - Sunday, January 5, 2003

policy low
gas prices

The extremes of the market place have an incredible impact on our lives and individually we are powerless to exercise any control over these radical changes. The price we pay for motor fuel is the lowest in the world. This is a policy of the governments of Canada and the United States. The development of the auto industry in the first part of the twentieth century had such a big effect on the economy of North America that politicians have considered this one industry as the controlling factor in the development of the society in general.




So much of what we identify with as American culture is related directly to the independence and apparent freedom that relates to the use of a personal motor vehicle. But, to make the car the cornerstone of a culture has some interesting ramifications, among them the need to develop an infrastructure that supports such a technology. First and foremost in that order of infrastructure is inexpensive and easily obtainable fuel. The second requirement is of course roads to drive on and then of course we must consider the complex financial structure needed to support an economy that depends so heavily on the consumption of expensive cars with a life span of about five years.



car is king

The social and demographic affects of such a culture are truly remarkable so that North American industry, the location of the population, the design of cities and access to the vastness of the countryside all evolve around the vehicle.




This topic is to large for us to work through all of it today, but it is important to remind ourselves of the extreme interconnectivity between this technology and what is consider the modern standard of living. Perhaps we can understand better why the acceptance of the Kyoto Protocol was so upsetting to those people who most closely with American culture and why the United States itself rejected the concept.




Fuel prices are somewhat market driven, although other factors are definitely involved. The laws of supply and demand are extremely imperfect and in the case of petroleum, the lag time is in excess of eight full months, from the time that well head prices are reflected at the gas pump. In the mean time the affects of speculation, political consideration that relate to future supplies and the level of consumption, all play a vital role in determining what you will have to pay to go visit Gramma.




The higher well head or spot market prices of April of last year are now in effect and rippling across North America from East to West is a tide of increased prices. From 80¢ a litre in the Maritimes and spreading to Southern Ontario. Meanwhile the West with secure levels of bulk fuel and no reliance upon imported crude has lower prices which the oil companies will definitely raise to reflect the true value of the commodity. Our fuel price in Tisdale today is 72.9¢ while most of Saskatchewan is 74.9¢ and an upward trend to 78.9¢.




Moose Jaw has had a price war in effect for more than two months with Wal-Mart having installed a gas station and this resulted in remarkably low prices. We filled at the SuperStore for 59.9¢ on Thursday and Friday night.




Everytime we see the price of gas vary we also hear the politicians drag out their concerns which come from constituents who have built their lives around the availablity of low cost private transportation. Living in suburbs, their means of recreation, the way of shopping and working all related to a car and cheap fuel. It takes you only a moment or two to realise what they heck is going on in the world with a Texas oil executive as President of the United States and the realisation that so goes pump prices so goes his popularity. This explains his chumminess with the arch enemy of North America, Saudi Arabia, this explains why invasion of Afghanistan was necessary to get a Russian supply of oil through a pipeline through that country, this explains the ridiculous excuses to invade Iraq which has a sizeable oil reserve and it also explains the creating of domestic trouble in Venzuela for a democratically elected leader simply because of his desire to turn his national resources toward benefitting his people rather than Americans.




Figured into the cost of fuel is the large amount of taxation which accompanies each litre and you can almost certainly expect the level of taxes to rise considerably on gas to pay for various Kyoto repercussions like bale-outs for Alberta and a whole range of things as fuel is essential to a culture based on it and any excuse is a good excuse to slip on a hidden tax.



more to

There is a need to examine this topic much more fully and another day we shall look into what effects the focus of a society on cars and trucks has on the way we think about things. "So goes General Motors, so goes America."

Timothy W. Shire



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
306 873 2004