Friday, March 20, 2009

a greener fuel subsidy

World over, fuel prices are a sensitive issue and almost in every country trasportation fuel is subsidised. But it has its own problems like sharing the subsidy burden, depletion of a fossil fuel, air pollution, etc.

Revamping the system of subsidies can do a lot to solve most of the problems. The following idea may be worth trying.

Instead of giving subsidy to all consumers, subsidised fuel should be restricted to operators of public transport and carriers of freight. All private vehicles should be charged rates related to the ruling crude oil rates converted to local currencies. Thus those who are using private vehicles will have to pay more or they may choose public transport to have cheaper rates.

The subsidy provided should be such that running the vehicles is more profitable than selling the fuel in the black market. To ensure this all vehicles may be charged the same price and those eligible reimbursed the subsidy subsequently based on distance travelled. The distance should be calculated scientifically based on parameters like route plied by the vehicle, fuel used, frequency of journey, etc.

Such a system will ensure lesser subsidy burden for oil companies, more efficient and cheaper public transport and lower inflation rates due to reduced freight rates. Moreover as more people use public transport, air pollution and traffic congestion will reduce considerably. Oil is a non renewable energy resource getting depleted fast and unless we consume it more responsibly, diesel and petrol vehicles will be soon off the roads.

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