Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Petrol emotion

There seems to be a lot of people venting steam about the recent petrol price increase, which finally took the average in Britain over £1-00 per litre. Thresholds like that don't really mean very much, of course. After all when petrol went from 66p to 67 p a litre, that was a bigger percentage increase than 99p to £1-00. It's all to do with the symbolism of the figures, rather than their inherent value.

People get very hung up on figures - the Millennium, wedding anniversaries that are a multiple of ten (or 5!), etc. It's interesting how some things capture our attention. Some people even get excited about Bible verse numbers, especially all the [Book of the Bible]3:16s Worth remembering the chapter & verse system we use was invented centuries after the text of the Bible was finalised. (Archbishop Stepehen Langton in the 13th century, I believe)

Back to petrol. I also notice that a lot of the people who complain seem to be drivers of pretty thirsty vehicles. There are a lot of well-powered, spacious and quality options that still return very good fuel economy (and CO2 figures). My son's encyclopaedic knowledge of cars available in Britain keeps me well aware of that! He'll provide stats for a small fee (or you could just buy What Car magazine*)

* other motoring magazines are available!

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I find myself strangely happy about the cost of fuel in the UK. I shouldn't be because we do a lot of miles, and it's money that could be spent on something else, but I think the high prices have the desired effect (on me anyway):
1. our current car (a non turbo diesel VW estate) has good MPG figures. The price of fuel helped me to deal with not having a turbo!
2. we now cycle to work more than we did in the past. A significant part of the motivation is money saving.

It's great if we can all act in accordance with our ethics, regardless of material cost. For the weaker ones of us, it's much easier if the cost of the less ethical choice is higher.