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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
i wanna hold you in the bible black pre-dawn / you're quite a quiet domino
— Wilco, I am Trying to Break Your Heart
May 11, 2007
The NDP’s Environmental Disconnect

The NDP consistently tries to portray itself as the party of the environment, which makes headings like this, from the latest e-newsletter, all the more astonishing:

Canadians pumping profits into big oil’s pockets

A new study this week confirms the NDP’s charge that ordinary Canadians are getting hosed at the pumps. For every litre of gas Canadians buy, 15 to 27 cents is being pumped right into the pockets of big oil and gas. The NDP is challenging Stephen Harper to stand up to his big oil buddies, set up a monitoring agency and launch a public inquiry to ensure fairness at the pumps.

Doesn’t this contradict the NDP’s environmental platform?

Cars are a favourite target of the environmental movement, sometimes unjustly. I own a car—it hasn’t moved in….six days, or maybe seven. I can’t remember, but it’s getting nice here so I’m cycling everywhere every day. Still, I haven’t given it up. At least I’m not buying gas needlessly.

Everybody knows fuel in North America costs dramatically less (even now) than it does in Europe. Historical prices of US$2.50 per gallon in the US fuelled demand for large, fuel hungry vehicles that are completely unnecessary. Fuel prices rise in the summer and fall in the winter and sometimes, although not always, they’re higher on weekends and lower during the week.

All of this is a perfect illustration of one of the most basic of economic realities: supply and demand. Quite simply, when demand is high prices rise. This is particularly true in the case of a finite resource such as oil: supply is constantly diminishing.

The problem is that to date, at least in North America, demand for fuel has remained fairly elastic. People love to complain about prices, but they keep buying more fuel.

There’s a really simple answer, and it doesn’t mean giving up your car: it just means driving only when you need too. Of course the word need has a slippery definition for some people, but the point is simple: if North America stopped driving so much, we wouldn’t be eating into our supply as quickly.

Walking doesn’t consume any fuel. Neither does cycling.

Posted by skooter at 1:23 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
This entry is tagged: Cars, Environmentalism

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