Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath invites you down to his clinic for an inoculation against this week’s stories and headlines on issues affecting our freedom.
This week: In praise of gas guzzlers.
- DOMPOST: ‘Petrol heading for record high’ – The price of 91 octane petrol threatens to exceed the previous record of $2.19 set in 2008…
THE DOCTOR SAYS: Firstly, let’s not forget we’ve had a blowout in the money and credit supply of 8% since that record petrol price in July 2008, so the “record price”—adjusted for the inflationary policies of Labour and National governments—is actually $2.33 in today’s fiat currency. So don’t get your panties in a lather just yet.
There’s also no need to go out and buy a scooter, or other form of two-wheeled transportation. One of my surgical colleagues refers to motorcycles as the fast track to a bed in the orthopaedic ward of your local hospital. A donor cycle, if you will. If you’re confident on a motorbike then go for it, and good luck to you, but a lot of inexperienced motorists turning to scooters for the first time will suffer injury and lose time from work as a result of slipping over in the rain, skidding on ice and being shunted by bigger vehicles that don’t see them. Witness the huge ACC levies on motorbikes. There must be a reason for that, eh?
Hybrid vehicles are an expensive gesture with no savings in fuel costs if you drive them on the motorway (unless you love driving in gridlock at rush hour).
Diesels are noisy, cost more in maintenance and road user charges than petrol vehicles, and aren’t economical unless you do big mileage. I was the owner of a diesel vehicle for eighteen months. Last month I sold it, as I had reservations about the long term durability of the (French) diesel engine.
I am now the proud owner of a gas-guzzling V8—a 1995 ex-Singapore Lexus LS400 that cost me just $8,000 by the time I had some work done on the body. I don’t need to tell you that the engineering standards and refinement of these vehicles are top-notch. But this vehicle is cheaper to run than my Suzuki Vitara 1.9 litre turbodiesel!
When you factor in depreciation, interest on money invested in the vehicles, fuel costs, road user charges, maintenance costs, registration and obtaining warrants of fitness, the Lexus will be a thousand dollars cheaper to run this year than the Suzuki. (And that’s without adding in the cost of sorting the starter motor in the Suzuki when it broke down while on holiday in Taupo last year.)
If you want a tidy looking V8 Lexus, officially a Toyota Celsior (which is how Lexus vehicles were originally sold in Japan), you could do a lot worse than clicking here.
So don’t let events in the Middle East and the Greenwash about peak oil panic you into buying dangerous or expensive vehicles – splash out on a safe, luxurious and beautifully crafted second-hand Lexus. Large-engined Nissans, Mitsubishis, Toyotas or Hondas are even cheaper. With petrol prices as they now are it’s a buyer’s market, and these vehicles are so cheap!
- DOMPOST: ‘80% rate rises in quest for fairness’ – Rural ratepayers could be stung with massive
usurious rises in property taxes…
THE DOCTOR SAYS: As mentioned in a recent column, the late conservative American commentator William F Buckley once opined that anyone who used the word ‘fair’ in conjunction with income tax should be electrocuted. The same should apply to other taxes.
In defence of the Carterton District Council however (a phrase I very rarely use) it appears a lot of money they extracted from property owners (via threats of physical retaliation) is being spent on roading in the countryside, with urban ratepayers effectively subsidising rural ones.
I have a solution: user pays.
Gift the roads to those who live on them using any title system you like, and make the owners responsible for their upkeep.
Allow electronic tolling to maintain the necessary funding.
Allow the road-owners to build (or allow) roadside retail and the like to bring in customers.
Maintenance would be contracted out as it is now. Administrators would be accountable to shareholders. Heavy vehicles that mince up road surfaces could be charged accordingly.
If you’re a member of the Green Party, you should support such a move, as surely this would discourage people from making unnecessary trips in their motor vehicles. Best of all, it would stop the Carterton District Council from clipping the ticket on the way in order to feed the bureaucratic ant-farm in Holloway Street.
That’s all for now.
See you next week!
Those who expect to reap the blessings of liberty
must undergo the fatigues of supporting it.
UPDATE 1: To put the “record price” for oil in context, reader Dinther sent me a graph based on these figures measuring the cost of a barrel of oil since that 2008 high (or very near it) measured against an ounce of gold (an ounce of gold rising roughly reciprocally to future expectations of price inflation). Instructive, don’t you think?