Thursday, April 27, 2006

One way of fixing it

Readers interested in climate change will know that transport emissions are a key part of our current Kyoto problem. Transport is responsible for around 18% of total CO2 emissions - and emissions from the sector are growing at around 4% a year. Last week, when browsing the Ministry of Economic Development's Energy Data File, I was wondering whether the current sustained high petrol prices would have any effect on this trend. The answer, it seems, is "yes". With petrol hitting $1.70.9 a liter, consumption growth has basically disappeared:

Despite the soaring prices, Kiwis have yet to desert their cars in droves. An oil industry insider said industry-wide sales figures for the year to March showed little change from the previous 12-month period.

This represents a slight decline as overall consumption usually rises 1 per cent to 2 per cent a year.

(Emphasis added)

We'll have to wait a couple of years for people to do the figures to see if this is reflected in CO2 emissions, but it looks good - and the longer prices remain high, the more effect it will have. While petrol usage is notoriously "sticky" - short-term rises have little effect - in the longer term high prices do encourage people to buy more efficient cars or shift to public transport. Which is exactly what needs to happen if we are to get our emissions under control.


You want people to use Public transport then somebody needs to spend quite alot of effort fixing the current problems. Most of the time stagecoach is OK but others it makes me wonder why I stopped using a car.


Posted by Anonymous : 4/27/2006 02:40:00 PM

the only down side is that the oil industry is making a killing off of us at the same time.

And yes, the public transport system does have a long way to go.

Speaking from what happens here in AK, IMO a single ticket system is needed. One where you pay your fare upon entry to the system. This ticket is then valid for the length of your journey even if switching from one bus/train/ferry to another bus/train/ferry.
We also need to shift the focus away from the "only the spokes of a wheel" model (where all routes lead into the CBD and out again) to one that includes many ring routes at various stages.

I have always wondered how many public transport designers actually use the services they create. The leaky glasshouse bus shelters and the link bus are a perfect example.


Posted by Anonymous : 4/27/2006 04:10:00 PM

What is wrong with the Link Bus - worked OK for me but I only used it a couple of times.

However I agree with the spoke layout being a problem, connections to North shore are a laugh


Posted by Anonymous : 4/27/2006 05:01:00 PM

"the longer prices remain high"

There's several trillion dollars invested in the oil future market, and it is betting that prices aren't coming down.

Unlike previous oil price spikes, where the oil futures market predicted the price spike would drop away after a few years, currently the oil futures market predicts prices over US$70 a barrel 5 years out.

This ain't some aging hairy hippy-greenies saying that the era of cheap oil is over. This is the view of in the dealing rooms where dealers in their ties and neatly-ironed stripey shirts try hard to keep their VaR down and profit up.

Posted by Icehawk : 4/28/2006 11:11:00 AM

No, we need a no-ticket system. Public transport needs to be subsidised anyway, so why not go the whole hog? You eliminate the administrative cost of fare collection and accounting, and get a better travel experience through less queuing up to pay and friendlier relationships between drivers and passengers. Car users benefit from decent public transport too, since it eases road congestion for them.

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 4/28/2006 04:35:00 PM

Public transport in NZ is a joke. Everything's late, stops for ages, and often breaks down. I rode the Victorian systems as a kid, one ticket uses any public vehicle as much as you like for the duration, everywhere, always punctual, and always full and cheap to use as a result.

The rail companies here aren't interested in having passengers unless the line doesn't run goods anymore.

icehawk: Welcome to the oil crash, with the USA occupying all the world's oil fields (soon enough), and China hording the world's supply of good coal.

CMT: nice concept. It'd be an interesting study to compare the ultimate costs to the taxpayer of free, fully utilised public transport systems, with the various benifits from less imports, less roading, less medical costs, and so on, against the current rubbish.

Posted by tussock : 4/29/2006 08:30:00 PM

the oil industry makes a killing from volotile prices not "high" prices if you refer to the shell/mobil of the world. iran and saudi arabia make money from high prices (and yet somehow manage to squander it).

> icehawk: Welcome to the oil crash, with the USA occupying all the world's oil fields (soon enough), and China hording the world's supply of good coal.

occupying places like iraq/iran makes your oil ten times as expensive as just making it out of coal or something - unless you are wiling to kill all the locals.

So I'd say China is going to win that game. I advise learning chinese.

ni hao? ni shuo hanyu?

Posted by Genius : 5/01/2006 07:35:00 AM