The Bullroarer - Monday 26th May 2008

Hard to know where to start; if only they had all been reading The Oil Drum.
We'll start with some productive articles before more pandering..

The Age: Oil fat cats in cahoots to rip off motorists?

The reason prices fluctuate is the four major oil companies are at war in the fuels market. People see service station petrol prices rising and falling in unison, not as the locked antlers of fighting bucks in the rutting season, but rather as a romantic dance — good friends colluding in order to rip off their customers.

It's not just members of the general public that are blindsided by this ignorant, simplistic rubbish — there are senior public servants, journalists, leading politicians and even regulators barking on about corporate bogymen without ever producing a single fact to back their accusations.

AAP: Axeing fuel excise GST 'shortsighted'

Axeing the GST on the fuel excise is a populist move that will not solve a long-term fuel crisis, the Australian Greens say.

"What we need to do is not take money from the states now when they need that money to invest in public transport and give a few cents to motorists which is going to disappear immediately." Mr Rudd was no better than his predecessors by not delivering long-term solutions, Senator Milne said.

The Age: Plan first, tunnel later, says ALP

THE controversial $9 billion east-west road tunnel may not be built unless the State Government develops a comprehensive public transport plan.

A policy motion passed by the Victorian Labor Party's state conference at the weekend, and supported by Roads Minister Tim Pallas, called for a ban on building new freeways in inner Melbourne without a transport plan.

ABC: Govt on the defensive over 'tax on petrol tax'

Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce says the cost of petrol was by far the most talked about issue in his Queensland electorate over the weekend.

"It is the number one issue. Fuel is definitely it," he said. "If we don't acknowledge that we've got a fuel crisis, then we're really living on another planet to where the punter on the road is."

The Australian: Rudd has a few reviews to ease fuel price sting

THE Rudd Government is holding the line against Brendan Nelson's attack over petrol prices, and his populist policy to reduce excise by 5c a litre. But the Government is also taking out a little bit of insurance.

Herald Sun: Clean fuel needs a break

AS the national debate on carbon emissions intensifies, a top fuel executive has called on the government to scrap a tax on natural gas.

The Age: Living within our means

Barcelona provides a sustainable city model that we can follow.

SMH: Rebound in supply to curb runaway oil

ABC: Nelson goads Rudd to 'make decision' on petrol tax

SMH: Labor under the pump over petrol

ABC: Low paid Canberrans feeling the pinch of petrol prices

SMH: Air NZ to save fuel by changing planes

Herald Sun: Petrol pain to hit household items

Slower Domestic Flights Attempt to Save on Fuel

We've still got a long way to go, as long as rubbish like this is being printed:
Herald Sun: Oil's well, and prices will fall again

Alarmists also say that the world's oil supplies have passed their "peak", that the world has consumed half of all its oil and that the remaining one trillion barrels will be gone by 2025.

This is quite simply tosh. No one it seems is willing to proclaim the truth: there is no oil shortage. The fact is that we are all being forced to pay an artificially high price because of a combination of factors.

First there is the greed of the oil traders, bankers and speculators in the world's financial centres who are pocketing billions from our misery. Then there is the venality of oil producing countries, whose economies profit massively from artificially keeping the oil price high.

From the Institute of Public Affairs: 'Australia's Leading Free Market Think Tank' (that should be all the warning you need):
ABC:Taxes key to petrol prices

Consumers should be wary of hollow promises to reduce petrol prices by Government. The real obstacle to keeping petrol prices low is government taxes. And if you think they are bad now, just wait until the cost of a carbon trading scheme hits you when you fill up.

Brisbane folks really should check out this cartoon.. "What to use in Campbell and Anna's tunnels"

Some other stories from the Brisbane Courier Mail late last week:

Northern Link's tunnel torment

Bligh pledges $2m to get public servants cycling

MPs dodge petrol pain

Aussie petrol's cheap - Shell

A complete rethink of fuel taxation.

Removal of one of the government charges on petrol doesn't bode well for the Emissions Trading Scheme. Of course if you subtract one tax then another on a fossil fuel the next step is to negative-tax or subsidise it. I don't know how LPG or CNG works out on tax per say kilometre or kilogram compared to petrol. Petrol is more energy dense but higher in carbon. Perhaps the whole basis of fuel taxation should be revised consistent with carbon reduction. If the overall cap including vehicle fuel is on track to meet targets then the carbon charge could be low.

The next step is then to accelerate the move away from fossil carbon by handing back fuel revenue for approved purchases. For example solar hot water, photovoltaics, home insulation, ground source heat pumps, smart meters. Don't hand back the fuel tax in lower PAYE taxes as it will be spent at the pub. I suspect we'll mull over these issues until it becomes critical.

5c off or dropping the GST both are self distructive. this is a primarily a supply/demand problem - the arguement rages on in the media if this is really the case as columnists seem to insist that that heavy and unconventional oil can be easily processed just as light sweet is. otherwise appearantly stock players are driving off with millions of barrels of oil to stack in the backyard. logic says market drivers can only have a margin of effect or a short term large effect if the market is infact wrong. otherwise you see reserves increase, crude output drop without maintenance, crude prices drop as orders become easy to fill. this is not whats happening.

If we do drop the price, demand remains and the price goes up anyway.
If we dont drop the price of oil then china will end up with more,
. . . . . . but atleast australia doesnt feed an addiction that needs to be broken.

i agree with the greens here, we should not be taking money away from the government when it will have no effect. a long term solution is needed. like developing our own LNG inwards to power, trucks and trains to keep our primary services running. if a billionaire can drop 40mil and build an electric car for mass production, where is the lead from the government.

its going to near impossible to make the changes fast enough, so its not helping that we arent making a noticable effort to even take a step towards a fix, not a patch.

leaders will go down in history as morons if they keep listening the phone polls to drop the price,
leaders will go down in history as heros if they commit polical suicide and make the changes we need.

hindsights a B!@^#, so why are they closing their eyes when this ride is looking pretty dam obvious.

Barcelona a model for sustainable cities? I think not if they have to ship in water from other countries

Damo, your right on the mark. I simply cannot believe that we have both a government and an opposition who appear to not have a clue about responding to increasing petrol prices when we have such well thought out policy responses from Hirsch (US) and even our own senate inquiry into Australia's Future Oil Supply and Future Alternate Fuels. Rudd must know better. The greens would have been in his ear for sure and he's a smart man. It seems that the rapid recent increase in prices have taken them by surprise (as it has most people). You'd have to assume even the Peak Oil aware polly wouldn't have expected the sudden barage from the community, given predictions that PO wouldn't impact for at least another 5-10yrs.

The reality is that the top of the bell curve, being where we most probably sit now, is beginning to open the gap between supply and demand. Yes, sure, the speculators have increased the prices, but its obvious that you'd need to know what the split of investment is for the purchase of futures contracts to have a better understanding of how this accurately affects the market and the price. If the bulk of speculation is for futures contracts for delivery much further down the track to as far out as 2016, then effectively they are bringing the peak oil price increases forward. If the bulk of futures contracts are for delivery in the next month, common sense would suggest that there must be alot of both buying and selling as the sellers off load the contracts so they don't have to take physical delivery of the oil thus revealing strong fundamental demand for oil.

Much of what we are seeing now has been predicted by Heinberg and others. The lopsided dumb reactions from Government is unbelievable. Rudd's 2020 summit could have heard these views. Its all very well to not want to hear about things which may have a negative impact on our society, but not at the expense of reality. Despite negative economic consequences of PO, surely it offers amazing opportunities to re-connect with our local communities such as Rob Hopkin's Transition Towns in the UK. Swan's war on inflation should really be a war on Peak Oil. To Rudd I say: "Get on with the broad based policy responses and embrace the opportunities.