I was helping on a PTUA stall back in January, at the Sustainable Living Festival. It was interesting to talk to the different people coming by.
One guy expressed disappointment about car pollution. He said some people would never want to part with their cars.
This is not an opinion I entirely agree with. People make travel decisions based on what’s quickest, cheapest, safest, and if you give them options that are as good, if not better, than driving, then they’ll take them. Some people also think about what’s cleanest, but that’s not often the first priority.
He didn’t seem to agree. Rev-heads will never give up their cars, he said. He sounded quite depressed about it. They don’t think about air pollution and global warming, he said. They just want to drive everywhere in their big grunty wasteful cars.
Personally I think the bigger problem is the government holding back on giving people alternatives. But I said something that cheered him up immensely.
“Don’t worry about it. Peak oil will sort ’em out.”
He thought about this and smiled. “Yeah.”
Petrol last week reached $1.629 per litre in Melbourne, a new record, and there are predictions of $1.70 per litre soon. Around the same time, crude oil also reached a new record, US$135 per barrel, with OPEC saying they could do nothing to prevent higher prices because they are pumping at capacity.
I know people who have no choice but to drive are taking a financial hit from all this, but amongst all the doom and gloom, I can’t help but smile when I see the silver lining in the cloud.
Because surely sustained rises in petrol prices, if nothing else, must force governments to stop blowing billions on freeways and start giving people real transport choices. (Like, actual quality PT services, rather than spending up big on ticketing systems… or spending up big on tiny petrol tax cuts.)
Before half the city goes broke.