Gas company critics are hypocrites

Think the Quebec government isn’t doing enough with its time to pass meaningless laws that don’t change anything?

Well, I give you Bill 41: “An Act to foster transparency in the sale of gasoline and diesel fuel.” This bill will do two things:

  1. Force gas companies to justify increases to gas prices at the pump
  2. Force gas companies to display the minimum gas price calculated by the Quebec Energy Board at the pump.

This will accomplish two things:

  1. Waste a lot of time
  2. Waste a lot of money

It’s a stupid solution to a stupid problem. You see, Quebecers (and most North Americans) hate the sky-high gas prices they see at the pump every day when they fill up their car to go to work. They reject the idea of supply and demand and want the government to do something about it. Change the laws of economics I guess.

But they also care about the environment and want the government to step in to do something about that too.

News flash folks: the No. 1 deterrent to carbon-emitting wasteful motor vehicle use is high gas prices. It’s fair, it’s self-regulating and it’s transparent.

Yes, it’s a bummer for suburban soccer moms who use their gas-guzzling minivans to bring kids to school. And it sucks for the transportation industry, which will increase the price on goods (and especially fruits and vegetables). But it’s still the best method available.

The ADQ has quickly panned on the idea (not because they don’t pander to the lowest common denominator, but because they can easily criticize a plan without offering any better solutions). If they can convince the PQ, that’ll put an end to the bill.

Greener doesn’t mean green

Meanwhile, a think tank has argued that a federal “freebate” program, which offers economic incentive for people to buy less-polluting cars, needs to be extended to pickup trucks.

This program isn’t as obviously stupid as the Quebec gas plan, but it’s based on a faulty assumption: That the economic incentive will cause people to buy vehicle X who would otherwise buy gas-guzzling vehicle Y. That may be true for some people, but others will probably choose to buy a cheap hybrid car they can afford instead of not buying a car at all. That will have a net negative impact on the environment.

The problem is that while many of these cars are better for the environment than their non-hybrid, fully-gasoline powered cousins, they are not good for the environment compared to public transit, biking, walking and other methods of getting around.

If you’re interested in a zero-emissions car, you can look at Zenn Motor Company, which builds zero-emission, no-noise cars in Quebec. But their cars weren’t even legal in Canada until this month.

These are the kinds of vehicles that have to be promoted, not Toyota’s slightly-less-emissions hybrid car or a bus that runs on 3% biodiesel.

2 thoughts on “Gas company critics are hypocrites

  1. Denis Canuel

    Gas is not expensive. Gas is limited. You burn it, it’s gone. Forever. No more. Done with it.
    It costs less than 1.20$ per litre or so and costs a lot to produce.

    Milk comes from an animal which (in theory) could supply as much as we wanted.
    We have so much milk that angry farmers throw it away.
    It costs over 1.50$ per litre and doesn’t cost a much as gas to produce.

    So how do you feel about destroying something that will never be replaced for just 1.20$ per litre? Pretty (too) cheap to me…

  2. sean lavelle

    The “federal freebate” program is a good idea.
    The argument that people who are pursuaded to go by green machines might not buy at all but walk or use public transport if there were no freebate doesnt hold water.
    It assumes that buying new is the only choice! But with cheaper, older MORE polluting cars/pickups available for less money, thats where the person will likely spend their cash.
    I ride a bicycle when I can.
    I bought my first NEW car ever because of the $5000 rebate given in Oregon for the prius.
    I have owned about 20 or so USED cars through the years.
    These cars had large engines as preferred by those (who BUY NEW) that bought them.
    The more incentives there are to buy NEW green cars INSTEAD of gas guzzlers the BETTER since what is purchased NEW NOW, decides what is available USED in a few years time.
    And every prius sold now will occupy a space on the road that will Not be occupied by some v8

    USED car buyers have little influence on the market although they make up the larger portion of the market.
    They can drive UP the price of USED green cars, but CANNOT increase supply.
    Car manufacturers are only interested in what NEW car buyers want.
    Without that rebate I would have bought a USED car and had NO EFFECT on what car manufacturers produce,
    The rebate allowed me to cast my VOTE to car manufacturers to increase supply of green cars (through the NEW car market)
    Look at prius success with US fed rebate! Why do you think GM wants a piece of the action? REBATES!


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