I've been reading with avid interest the reactions to the 30 sen hike in petrol prices in Malaysia. I know that petrol prices in Malaysia have been heavily subsidised by the government for the longest time. The prices do not reflect the current market rates.
So Doug and I got to talking about the varying prices we have to pay for our gasoline every time we fill up our gas tanks. The last time (last week) I filled up my mini-van, I paid $2.29 per gallon. The price I see at the nearest gas station, for the last two days has shown $2.54 per gallon. See what a difference a week makes in the price of petrol here? And this is just where I live, elsewhere it is different - could be more, could be less.
In the UK, people pay a lot more for their petrol compared to other places in Europe, and compared to the US. In the UK there is a heavy tax on petrol. The reason for this high rate on petrol is to encourage conservation. People are forced to adjust their lifestyle ... drive smaller cars, take public transportation or car pool to work.
In the US the government has resisted putting too much taxes on the price of petrol. The taxes that are attached to the petrol prices are mostly towards building and maintaining roads. In California, the additional taxes are for producing cleaner fuel for vehicles, i.e., by adding additives that supposedly help keep the environment cleaner.
I remember, when the price of gasoline was over $3 per gallon. We drove less. We drove our smaller cars and kept our gas guzzlers in the garage.
In the oil rich Arab countries/states petrol prices are only a few cents a litre. When you pay less for a litre of petrol than a litre of bottled water, there is bound to be wastefulness. There is no incentive to conserve.
In Malaysia, every time, there is an increase in the price of petrol, prices of other necessities go up too. What I am most unhappy about is the rate of increase is never proportional to the increase in the petrol price. Every business person uses the excuse of the petrol price hike to up the prices of their products and services! Grrrr!
No wonder people are protesting the 30 sen price hike!