Sunday, 1 May 2011

Where will you use your 15 miles?

Apparently Fuel Rationing will be needed before 2020, hence the title of this post. Obviously I have no way of knowing just how exactly rationing would be implemented, nor what the actual limits would be, so the title's 15 miles may well be 150 or 1500 miles.

But still...

Fuel rationing! Please read the parliamentary group's report - they propose a system called TEQ's (Tradeable Energy Quotas) as a fair means to control access to diminishing resources.

I don't want to re-hash everything they say on their site. Instead, I want to focus on the implications this may have for our societies. For starters, motorised transport will obviously be heavily affected. Aside from the obvious, like private cars, this has potentially major implications for road haulage - and cost increase for road haulage always leads to increased prices. Obviously this ignores a sudden increase of alternative fuel usage.

Increased food prices will always result in demand for locally produced food to soar, thus boosting local economies at the expense of more exotic items.

As cities evolve, they tend to follow a predictable pattern. More people means more houses are needed, so suburbs are added. People move out to the nice new homes in the suburbs, leaving older properties closer to the centre. In time, this exodus develops into what is known as inner city rot, and entire neighbourhoods can become slums.
Later still, commuters from the suburbs get fed up with lengthy (and often expensive) commutes, and start looking at run-down properties closed to the city centre, to do up and move into. Slowly this leads to slums being turned around, and often become quite trendy neighbourhoods.

With fuel rationing, the cost of fuel may well rise significantly, while the total amount of fuel you can buy will be limited, regardless of your bank balance. This will see the cost of private motoring rising very much, so travel distance to work will become a major factor, and a great deal of people will want to move closed to city centres again. This will probably lead to an increase in price to properties near centres of work, and a drop in price for big, thirsty cars.

After all, if you'd be limited in how many miles you're able to drive each year, you wouldn't want to waste those miles commuting, now would you? And you also wouldn't want to waste your precious fuel rations on a huge, uneconomical engine!

The world has been heading in this direction for some time now, with increasing numbers of people telecommuting and more work being done over the Internet, so it wouldn't suddenly be the end of the world.

And besides, there would be some major benefits! For starters, there'd be fewer cars on the road, meaning reduced congestion, reduced pollution and safer roads for everybody. Alongside this, more people will be cycling.
After all, it's not as if the government can ration cycling miles!