Monday, 17 January 2011

Rural Fuel Discount - More Pie in The Sky to Stop Dissent?

The BBC has regurgitated yet another "quick, lets head off the fuel protests" government memo. Apparently the coalition is considering cutting fuel duty in rural areas. 

Bit of an own goal this one and one reason why it won't get off the ground is Labour can shoot it down with the "its pandering to Tory toffs in rural constituencies" line. So don't expect it to go far.

Basically I see it as another soundbite, put out into the media in order to sound like they're considering doing something, anything to help people adversely affected by fuel price rises, which have shot up in the past month thanks to increased fuel duty and VAT.

I'm convinced this is all a smokescreen, because all the government needs to do rather than a complicated, unworkable rural rebate is simply cut fuel duty at least back to the rate it was before Christmas and preferably even lower.

One way to get the country moving back to prosperity is to enable mobility. To restrict mobility to any section of the population denies them the chance of improving their lot, of getting on in life and making progress and thereby helping growth.

Something which the stone age battery vehicle people seem to have forgotten, along with the government. Both are wedded to the current eco-loony philosophy that seems intent on impoverishing the poor.


  1. The current cheapest costs PER MILE to charge/fill & run a car on are around..

    Petrol @50mpg: 12p
    Liquid Hydrogen: 10p
    Electric(Battery): 1-2p

    So potentially you can reduce fuel costs for a family driving 12,000 miles per year from £1440 to £120 using a battery-powered car.

    Or nearly £13,500 over a ten-year life span.

    And then on top of that you can remove the annual servicing costs for the vast majority of a ICE cars mechanical items such as the oil changes, filters, clutch, gearbox, exhaust, spark plugs, fuel pump - and even brakes as the electric motor itself is used for 80% of the braking you need.

    So how is the fully electric car (battery) going to impoverish the poor exactly?

    Even if you pay 15k MORE for the car in the first place you'll break even.

  2. How exactly is a poor person supposed to afford a brand new car? Or do you live on another planet where they're given away free?

    Aside from the cost to change from fossil fuel to electric power, there's also the not insignificant problem that the poor live in accommodation without assigned parking spaces, totally unsuited to installing charging points.

    So even if they won the lottery and bought a battery car, they'd have the problem of relying on someone else to supply the electricity (eventually) to charge the thing.

    The way the poor will be impoverished is by having to pay punitive taxation on their fossil fuel and vehicles while being denied any way to change to electric power.

    I suppose the answer (to mis-quote Marie Antoinette) is to "let them use public transport". But then that further impoverishes the poor by denying them mobility: they can only get jobs where public transport goes and at times public transport runs.

    There isn't anything progressive about hitting poor people that can't escape their predicament with punitive taxes.
    There isn't anything progressive or fair about taking that taxation and using it to give freebies to the better-off that can afford to change.
    There isn't anything progressive about denying the poor job opportunities because their mobility is limited.

    Thats why I still maintain battery power is a retrograde step and is a dead-end both technically and socially.

    Hammer a square electric peg into a round fossil-fuelled world if you must, but don't pretend the outcome is going to be some sort of utopia, because it won't

  3. So why are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles not the same retrograde step then?

  4. Because hydrogen can be burnt cleanly in internal combustion engines AND eventually be used in fuel cell vehicles. That provides an easier entry into low/zero emissions technology than a limited range battery powered toy.
    Yes it might be expensive to convert an ICE vehicle to hydrogen, but nowhere near as expensive as buying a completely new car.

    You see, rather than giving freebies to people that can afford to buy into new technology (i.e. government funded discounts on a new battery car), I think its better to use grants to help those who can't afford new technology to upgrade their existing cars to cleaner fuel.

    Eventually over time, those people using hydrogen ICE cars will change to fuel cell powered ones as their cars wear out.

    Hydrogen power doesn't require massive investment in charging points either, so the money saved there can be used to provide the grants for hydrogen rather than cluttering up our streets with more detritus.


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