Time to get ready?

It seems that within Parliament at least one group are trying to get ready for the future taking into account the reducing supply of fossil fuels.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas have released a report on TEQs – A Policy Framework for Peak Oil and Climate Change. In it the recommend an electronic energy and fuel rationing system. Hat tip: Parliamentary report: Fuel rationing may be necessary by 2020 « Make Wealth History.

Cynically, at first glance it looks far too fair as a system for our government to consider.

However, it does suggest that by 2020 there may need to be some rationing of fuel and energy. It seems to me that less than 10 years is not a very long time if, as individuals, we want to protect ourselves from the impact.

For example 10 years is not a very long time in housing terms. Some houses and places to live are heavily dependant on the current low cost of motoring (remembering the real cost of motoring has dropped over the last 10 years). If much higher prices become the norm and if rationing is introduced then there may be significant shifts in pricing.

Suddenly the “investment” in a faster, bigger, more comfortable car does not look so good. If fuel rationing is introduced the value of such cars will plummet, as wiser people look ahead so those price drops will start well before rationing actually gets introduced (as nobody wants to be stuck with an expensive, fuel guzzling car the day rationing is introduced). Maybe now would be a good time to reduce the risk by downsizing in numbers of cars as well as move to more economical ones.

If electricity costs were to include the full carbon footprint then maybe the losses in the national grid and the less than green production of many forms of power generation might put a sudden end to the desirability of an electric car.

When we are 10 years older we will find physical change more difficult. Losing weight,  getting fitter and less dependent on a car for transport will be easier now than in 10 years time. Maybe now is the time to start easing gently into cycling and walking for more of our journeys so that when it becomes a financial necessity we are prepared.

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  1. The value of gas guzzlers already has plummeted. I have relatives who live in the countryside and have a 4×4. They don’t drive very often but when they do it’s for longer distances (or to rescue friends in the recent snow this year and last). They really don’t like what it costs to fill the tank. They have tried to sell it and even two years ago no one wanted to buy it. The amount they could sell it for and the amount they’d lose on it is way more than the extra cost it takes to fill the 4×4 tank over the years they’ll have it, so they’re stuck with it.

    • Adam,

      It is sad when people get stuck in that situation. I think it is very common to kid ourselves into replacing a car to save money but given huge depreciation it is rare when it happens. Plus we usually ignore the high environmental cost of a new car even if it is never driven anywhere.

      It seems to me that the way we respond to peak oil is going to be critical for rural communities. Are we going to continue to abandon them or re-instate services (public transport, shops, post offices, smaller and more local schools/hospitals/doctors etc) to avoid them being trapped by rising fuel costs? Sadly so far I see little from local or national government to give much hope.

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