Friday, July 11, 2008

CSIRO warns of future petrol nightmare

2018. Hmmm..... just in time for the opening of the East-West link car tunnel...

THE price of petrol could soar to a crippling $8 a litre over the coming decade, according to CSIRO-sponsored research to be released today.

The nightmare scenario says the weekly family fuel bill for a medium-sized passenger vehicle could rise to $220 by 2018 -- taking $12,000 a year out of family budgets.

Australians would be forced to radically change their lives and seek alternative forms of fuel and transport.

A rise in fuel prices of this dimension would also rock the nation's tourism and mining industries.

Petrol costs will impact most on low-income earners and people in the outer suburbs and the regions, according to the report.

"Modelling undertaken for the Future Fuels Forum projected prices in the range of $2 to as high as $8 a litre by 2018 for petroleum-based products in Australia," says the CSIRO-led forum.

This compares with the painful $1.69 a litre motorists were paying at most petrol stations in Melbourne yesterday.

The predictions are based on claims of a global peak in international oil production resulting in dwindling future oil supplies.

The rise in fuel prices will occur without the impost of an emissions trading scheme, which is likely to add just 25 cents a litre to the cost of fuel, according to the report.

The good news is that the high oil prices will eventually drop to current levels or even below current levels by 2025 as alternative fuels and new technology replace today's petrol guzzling vehicles.

CSIRO's Dr John Wright said a serious rise in the price of fuel would eventually see a take-up of hybrid and full electric cars, and greater use of gas and alternative fuels.

"The rise in the price of fuel so far has not changed people's behaviour, every time it goes up another notch there is an outcry, then it settles down again," he said.

Dr Wright, who is the director of the CSIRO's Energy Transformed Flagship, said eventually there would be a huge public reaction to rising petrol costs.

The CSIRO's fuel price modelling was conducted over nine months along with a group of 18 leading oil companies, motoring and environmental organisations including Holden, Caltex, NRMA, Woolworths, the Australian Automobile Association, the Victorian and South Australian governments, and the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Read the whole article here -,21985,24001593-661,00.html

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