Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Gas Wars

Interesting poll in the Star yesterday. Here's the lead:

MONTREAL: Almost half of Canadians wanted to see their petroleum resources and their gas companies nationalized as fuel prices hit record levels, a new poll suggests.

The Leger Marketing telephone survey of 1,500 people was conducted between Aug. 24 and Aug. 31, the bulk being done before the devastating effects of hurricane Katrina were felt.


No doubt this will lead to even more saber rattling in Alberta and more talk of a new NEP.

My view? The higher gas prices go, the better. Prices in Canada are still far lower than Europe and the only way we'll ever get people to reduce their fuel consumption is by higher prices at the pump.

That said, energy use and gas prices have traditionally had a lot of impact at voters come election time, so there's definitely some room for any of the parties to make huge political gains with an appealing policy on this.

15 Comments:

  • NEP! NEP! NEP! :-P

    By Blogger daveberta, at 7:20 PM  

  • Yeah, more grist for the Ezra Levant everyone-hates-Alberta NEP-o-matic.

    I bet most of the people who answered the question about "nationalisation" don't really know what it means.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:24 PM  

  • Hear hear! Higher gas prices fix so many problems, from environmental issues up to and including the federal debt and budgetary problems.

    By Anonymous ryan, at 12:13 AM  

  • Agreed re the high energy prices, though we may yet have to worry about inflation.

    Personally, I'm just happy to see the owners of gas-guzzlers squirm. The market takes its revenge on irresponsible behaviour! :-)

    By Blogger The Tiger, at 7:46 AM  

  • This Ontarian has no problem with seeing gas prices this high. Let Alberta celebrate its winfall, I say. In our case, it's good for us because we finally have incentive to use public transit, and develop alternate technologies.

    Though it comes in the form of short-term challenges for some, in the long term, I think everybody wins.

    By Blogger James Bow, at 9:02 AM  

  • I'm with James on this. Hell, even the NDP isn't considering "nationalization" - that's just stupid (if this ever became the NDP position, I would resign the party immediately).

    The faster we break our addiction to gas and oil the better. If high prices help, so be it.

    I hope Alberta invests their winfall wisely so they can still be a "have" when the oil is gone. Smart money would be for some of that windfall be used to develop Alberta based alternative energy and fuels, so that the province can be the "energy" patch not just the oil patch.

    By Blogger Mike, at 10:39 AM  

  • I VANPOOL from Duncan BC to Victoria BC. There are 7 of us in the van so that takes 6 vehicles off the road. Prices here on the island average at about 1.20 litre. Going to work this morning I counted 4 (four) vehicles which had 2 or more people in them. So the price still hasn't changed peoples habits.
    I wish that somebody in the fed/prov governments would take that tax windfall and start a serious push for public transit. Also the worst thing Canada did was pulling up all the old railways. Do you not think it is more efficient to use one motor to pull the same amount of frieght that 100 trucks pull? If the price of fuel goes over 2.00 we may see industry force the economy to revist the whole idea of "just-in-time" delivery which is based on the trucking industry/cheap fuel/expensive real estate. Companies may be forced to rebuild wharehouses and keep more inventory because the cost of trucking will go out of sight, while the use of railways to transport goods become more economically viable.

    By Anonymous D Mitchell, at 12:18 PM  

  • On gas prices:

    1. This appreciably alters the proportion of disposable income which finds its way into government coffers, without debate. I don't like that. There are great things to put the money towards, sure, but as yet no discussion about them.

    2. This will really hurt air travel. Which hurts Canada, being a country on the frontier of the world and a geographically diverse one.

    By Blogger matt, at 1:57 PM  

  • Higher gas prices may cause gas consumption to dip with positive environmental outcomes. It really depends on whether alternatives are available. However, oil is crucial to many products (in various ways) ranging from pharmaceuticals (an "ingredient") to vegetables (transport and pesticides). The problem with higher oil prices is that it impacts so many areas of the economy. With the oil price rising so dramatically, inflation is almost inevitable.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:55 PM  

  • I don't mind the higher price of gas. My problem is the amount of profit reaped from it. I like the idea floating around to have a 50% tax on profits made from over $40 a barrel oil. However, as a resident of Canada I would like to see the heating oil remain at a cost affordable to everyone. Gasoline may be a commodity that we can cut out by using alternative methods of transportation but non-affordable heating oil will kill people.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:34 PM  

  • Higher gas prices are sure fire way of getting people to drive more fuel efficient cars. However, the more gas costs the more everything costs. Food prices will go up and travel costs will go up. So there is real limit to how far one can take such reasoning.

    At some point the government should be intervening. Among other things the government could give people a tax rebate for buying fuel efficient cars, or punish people who buy less fuel efficient cars. They could also demand that the car industry produce more fuel efficent cars.

    By Blogger Koby, at 8:33 PM  

  • At some point the government should be intervening.

    I disagree with where you go with this statement. Tax rebates for fuel efficient cars is not a good idea. The cars still use gas and still pollute. Government intervention should be directed at funding research and innovation in alternative technologies. A lot of this research is not viable if left to the market. Government intervention is the only way to move beyond endless reliance on oil.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:52 AM  

  • How about splitting the difference and saying that multi-passenger vehicles, which would include airlines and public transport are exempt from certain taxes which then would be transferred onto single passenger vehicles which would have to pay more?

    By Anonymous toujoursday, at 10:36 AM  

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