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Month: January 2011

How to get petrol prices down!

Early in 2010 someone suggested we should boycott petrol stations with a regular ‘not buying petrol’ day as a way of forcing suppliers to reduce the prices. More recently there’s been hints of a campaign to boycott the two largest suppliers i.e. Esso and BP and buy from someone else but this is naive at best.

In the first instance, oil companies do not drill for petrol they drill for oil, bit of a give-away in the name! Petrol is what’s left after all the good bits have been drawn off and oil goes into the manufacture of far more than petrol. For example, Ammonia, Anaesthetics, Antihistamines, Artificial limbs, Artificial Turf, Antiseptics, Aspirin, Auto Parts and Awnings are all made from oil! All of these products have higher profit margins than petrol which is only profitable when sold in high volume.

Secondly, there are literally hundreds of refineries throughout the world most of which people have probably never heard of i.e. Silver Eagle Refining Inc., Wyoming. They’re one of the top 140 in the US, wonder where their petrol goes? Most of the BP stations are not actually owned by BP but are small businesses in their own right. BP petrol has a few additives that make it the brand BP but these are often not put in until the last moment so that the ‘raw’ petrol could be sold to someone else such as Asda or Texaco. Yes, oil companies buy from each other! Outlets such as Asda, Sainsbury and Tesco might buy petrol from several suppliers so you’ll never know whose petrol they are selling today.

If you stop buying BP petrol they’ll simply sell it to someone else and you’ll get it at Asda or one of thousands of other outlets.

The ONLY way you can lower the cost of petrol is reduce the amount used. Lowering the demand will push the price down.

Taxpayers protest!

Well, not really but we should! After all, the students are protesting about fees going up but who pays for their education? Correct, the taxpayers do – that’s us. Shouldn’t WE be protesting about the waste of money that is the education system? After all it’s OUR money. Government budgets are just like household budgets except there are more noughts on the end – lots more. The same rules apply, however, spend more than you earn and, eventually, you’ll hit the rocks and be forced to balance your books – that’s where the Country is right now.

Students complain about their ‘right’ to a free education but what about my right to have my contribution to society used in an equitable manner? For example, if the Country needs particular skills then why not offer incentives to students to study in those areas? Thus, it would cost more to study degrees that were of no interest to anyone but the student. Another thing, all this hot air about ‘baby boomers’ pulling up the ladder of opportunity is just that – hot air. The proportion of ‘baby boomers’ studying for a degree was around 4%, nowadays the proportion of the population has risen to 40% yet there is no evidence that the Country has fully benefited from it’s investment given the proportion of degrees in useless subjects.

Additionally, the blinkered approach by many learning institutions leads to a glut of graduates who simply cannot think laterally. In other words, if it’s not in the book it must be wrong! Furthermore, there’s a great deal to be said for not taking a degree in the first place! We seem to be building a World where no-one can actually do anything and have devalued those people who can work with their hands. Yet, the local electrician can’t be outsourced – well, would you bring one in from Delhi?

I think students should consider very carefully whether the degree they desire will be of any value, they should stop assuming that they have a right to an education and then a right to a well-paid job when they graduate. They should consider that tax-payers have a right to object to their money being wasted – who pays for Student Unions that organise protests? Tax-payers. Maybe if students could decide whether they wanted to support Student Unions those unions would have considerably less funding. Sadly, ALL students are automatically ‘conscripted’ and tax-payers automatically pay.

I suggest the students, and their unions, keep it down – if tax-payers protest they might find themselves unceremoniously pitched out of of their cushy life and looking for a job at minimum wage!