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Tess at the derelict servo
Tess at a derelict servo. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

Cars

The Struggle with the Inner Scotsman at the Servo

This opinion piece by Greg Bray published in Regrow Queensland 22 June 2022 Issue 22 Vol 3 epitomizes what many car buyers are dealing with in Australia and beyond. Sourced and edited by David Waterworth and shared with permission.

Folks, like a lot of you, I’m pulling some interesting faces at the petrol pump each week, except my expressions are accompanied by grunts of exertion as I try to stop my Inner Scotsman from screaming the place down.

On the plus side, my old Camry (long may it run) has been pulling some sensational fuel usage figures of late. I can’t think of any major changes I’ve made to justify this wondrous rise in fuel efficiency, apart from replacing my cracked windscreen and taking my beach bag out of the boot for the winter duration. Sadly, the elation I’d normally experience at saving ten bucks from more efficient driving is sort of overwhelmed by the horror of having to fork out over a hundred of your Earth dollars every time I fill up.

So, when an electric vehicle (EV) owner informed me that the biggest bill they’ve had so far for a week of driving was $9, I was all ears, eyes, nose, and throat. Especially my throat, as that’s the area currently being squeezed by the fossil fuel corporations. Still, it’s slightly more pleasant than being gripped by the feet and shaken until every last cent drops from my pockets into the oil company and taxperson’s coffers.

Then the EV owner informed me their average “fuel” bill was less than a dollar a week, thanks to home solar and free curbside charging when they go shopping! At this point, my Inner Scotsman insisted (with much foot stamping) that I purchase a reasonably priced (i.e., “dirt cheap”) EV.

While I was delighted to find EV prices have dropped considerably in the past few years, I was stunned to learn I’m going to need more luck than a plump chook surviving Christmas lunch to get one into my shed. Because, right now, Australia’s demand for EVs is far outstripping supply.

Thanks to the previous government’s almost pathological hatred of anything that doesn’t run on steam, car manufacturers have severely limited the number of EVs being sent to Oz. So, the few which are shipped here are sold out within minutes of unloading. And it gets worse — among the blessed few who do have their hands on an EV’s steering wheel, many of them are choosing to “flip” them for a tidy profit. So, an EV purchased tomorrow can be resold the next day for anything up to $10,000 more (depending on how greedy you are), because there are a lot of people out there screaming for one and waving fistfuls of cash under the noses of those who have them.

Speculation runs rife.

Of course, I’m aware this situation will change in the not-too-distant future and that our roads will be filled with EVs silently gliding about powered by the sun and wind. And one day, I’ll experience the delight of driving mine past a closed service station, at which point I’ll wave farewell to the days of being exploited by fossil fuel companies. I can’t promise anything, but I’ll try and get my Inner Scotsman to raise the other four fingers too as I pass.

 
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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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