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The Real Price of Petrol

So this morning I spotted something on a car I’d not seen before, which is not really saying much because my life is basically carless in every way.

However, what I saw said a whole lot. A whole lot about where car drivers are at when it comes to their relationship with reality.

It was a sticker on the windscreen of a newish looking 3 door that said “Fuel Consumption” and then below was a list of facts and figures on the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

At first glance the sticker looked important, you could tell a lot of time and thinking had gone in to it.

Lots of testing and measuring and calculations done by some very clever engineer, and lots of money spent on a graphic designer to make sure the sticker looked important and the information was displayed clearly for all to read the very important facts.

I could even hear the car salesman spriuking the the car’s green credentials based on the sticker: “oh we’ve thought about the green thing and we’re taking responsibility for addressing the issues, look this sticker answers that all important question of how much fuel this cars consumes”.

That was at first glance.

On second thoughts my response is what the hell is anyone doing spending time and money on answering that question?

That is not the question that needs answering!

On this planet we are really not concerned about how much fuel goes in to the petrol tank and how much petrol you use to get you from A to B. Nope, not interested!

On this planet we’re not interested because that is not the problem. Great, so your car uses less fuel to go from A to B than someone else’s. And…

No, on this planet the question that needs answering is why the hell is one person using a vehicle, that spews toxins in to the air, to transport themselves, an average distance of 5km, when there is another vehicle that does that same transportational job at no health cost to others?

That is the question that concerns us on this planet!

On another planet it would be another question, but on this planet we require the air we breath to be clean, or we get asthma and lung cancer, and the atmosphere to only have a limited about of certain gases, or it becomes rather unworkable to deal with the bad weather.

We’re not interested how much fuel goes it to your car, we’re concerned by what come out!

Which raises another question, why do we have laws like the mandatory wearing of helmets, which police insist is to protect the health and well being of the bicycle commuters, yet we don’t have any law that protects the bicycle commuter, and everyone else, from the major health and well being problems caused by cars exhaust fumes?

The health and well being problems that result from car exhaust fumes are mind boggling. Children living near major roads suffer significantly more from asthma, and as adults from heart disease and lung cancer, just to name a few.

Yet, car drivers and police get visceral that I choose not to wear a helmet and shout obscenities at me (the police just fine me), when the only person affected by the choice is me, while they spew Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen dioxide, Sulphur dioxide, Benzene, Formaldehyde and Polycyclic hydrocarbons in to the air I and others require to breathe.

Carbon monoxide (CO) binds to hemoglobin two hundred times more avidly than oxygen and distorts the release to the tissues of any remaining oxygen. CO poisoning is a form of suffocation. 

Benzene has a suppressive effect on bone marrow and impairs blood cell maturation and amplification, leading to a diminished number of blood cells or total bone marrow loss. Low concentrations of benzene causes drowsiness, dizziness, and headaches.

I’d say those are some health and well being issues worthy of a law outlawing them and worthy of tax payers money to enforce the outlawing law.

In fact, those are some facts and figures worthy of a clever engineer’s time, worthy of money for a graphic designer, and worthy of being printed on an important looking windscreen sticker.

And the stickers should read, “This vehicle is not for use for trips under 15kms”.

Or may it should just say, get a bicycle.

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