The Anonymous Widower

The Selfish Fuel Protestors Are At It Again!

I’ve said it before but energy prices are too low, if we are to meet our commitments to our descendents to stop global warming.

So what do those who object to fuel prices do?  They blockade Ellesmere Port and demand that fuel prices are lowered by 24p a litre. They should probably be raised and more money put into the provision of much-needed charge points for electric cars and also subsidies for those like the disabled to buy electric cars.

After all, I used to drive 40,000 kilometres a year, but now because of my stroke I can’t and manage very well on public transport.

I could also argue that the real selfish ones are those that live a long way from their work and do hundreds of kilometres a week ferrying children to schools in the other direction, before they burn up the motorway to London or Manchester, when they could easily live in the city or work over the Internet.

After all cutting the miles you drive by 25% would be equivalent for you as a similar drop in the price of fuel.

Here where I live, I get the impression that many walk or cycle their children to school and then carry on to their place of work, perhaps by taking a bus.

If I can manage public transport after a stroke, that some say nearly killed me, then others who are fit and well surely can.  Or are they more unfit than I am and just too selfish?

I shouldn’t worry about it, as in a couple of years time, we will all have to make those lifestyle changes, that circumstances have forced me to take.

May 8, 2011 - Posted by | News, Transport | ,


  1. Some are more unfit because they dont bother to walk. The only time my girls ever got taken to school in the car was when it was raining very very heavily and they were still tiny. Apart from that it was on foot, by bus or by train.

    If I want a hybrid car for my next motability car I have to pay over £2,500 in downpayment, as against £300 for the same car with a petrol engine. With a mileage of under 5,000 a year, it isnt worth my while, even if I could afford that. I spend a total of around £350 a year on petrol, even at the prices they are now.

    Comment by liz | May 8, 2011 | Reply

    • There is some points to be made here.

      1. We make buildings, houses and in London’s case most buses disabled friendly, but the streets aren’t in many places. Where I live they are different to most places in that the terrain is virtually level, the pavements are unckuttered and wide, there are quite a few crossings and lots of bus routes, one of which is actually a hybrid. Better disabled-friendly streets will increase the range of your wheel-chair or buggy. So in theory, if you have local shops, cafes, pubs and ither places in range, there will be less need to use the car.

      2. I believe you drive a fairly new Honda Jazz. As performance to you is probably not of great importance, who’s to say that clever engineers won’t come up with add-ons to increase your fuel efficiency.

      3. They will also reduce the cost of the next generation of hybrid or electric car, so that your changeover point will come earlier than you think.

      4. I have seen people with ordinary wheel-chairs having tremendous trouble getting in and out of cars. Isn’t it about time, someone created a better solution for those using cars and wheelchairs? Someone surely can come up with an affordable integrated solution!

      Comment by AnonW | May 8, 2011 | Reply

  2. Point by point:

    1. It is surprising how many disabled toilets are not accessible in a scooter! I can walk, but if the scooter could come in with me, I could leave my shopping on it! There are also lifts in shops which wont accomodate a scooter. Some of them wont take a wheelchair and friend pushing – friend wheels chair into lift, then runs up or down stairs to meet the lift when it arrives! And some lifts are impossible to call from a chair or scooter. Oh, and thick carpet and anything wheeled is not good. They dont try out these things first with people who actually are disabled!

    2. I do drive a Honda Jazz. Motability says it has to be changed every three years, I would have happily had this one longer. Comfort and ease of driving is the most important thing to me. I am now able only to drive automatic, and I need to have a seat which can moved up and down as well as backwards and forwards, and ideally a steering wheel which also moves. Because of facial pain, I need air con, as I cant drive with the window open.
    3. I hope I will be able to get a hybrid the car after the one I am due soon.
    4. You can have a WAV – a wheelchair accessible vehicle, so that you remain in your chair in the car. The install moving decks to lift you into it and slide it across to the driving or passenger seat. It costs thousands and the disabled person pays. YOu can have a rotating seat, they are very expensive too. However, if someone uses a wheelchair all the time, they need to try out lots and lots of cars to see which is best. And of course a lot of people have just gone into mobility shops to buy a wheelchair, especially older people, and they have no idea at all on how to do a safe wheelchair transfer.

    Comment by liz | May 8, 2011 | Reply

    • 1. I’ll take what you say on trust. but think of this. Boeing and Airbus take tremendous trouble to make sure that an average cross section of people can get out of their planes if the worst hsppens. Surely someone could do the same to make sure disabled toilets and lifts were the right size. On the London Overground, they haven’t used any escalators, but large 10-12 person lifts in step-free access stations. This is a more cost effective solution and coupled with wide staircases for the able-bodied they seem to work well.

      2. My friend came for lunch today in a 1990 Honda Civic that still works, so surely they need to change the regulations to keep you driving it longer if you want. It might even be cheaper for the government and they could spend the money on those with greater needs. Also changing cars can be a pain, as often you’ve spent a couple of years to get it to fit you better.

      3. With the miles you do a hybrid might not be worth the expense, but an electric might be. In the near future, electric cars won’t need you to get out to plug them in.

      4. I agree with what you say. The design of WAV and wheelchairs is bad and they are too expensive. Is there a specification for a scooter or wheelchair that will fit in a London taxi or bus? Surely we need an EU standard and all buses, taxis and WAVs should be designed to take it. That way the cost of wheelchairs and scooters would probably be less and there might even develop a viable industry in creating vehicles that would take a wheelchair. Imagine being able to take a taxi to St. Pancras, Eurostar to Paris and then get a French taxi to your hotel.

      Comment by AnonW | May 8, 2011 | Reply

  3. 1. I agree, a lot more could be done but companies wont spend the money. Then there are places like M&S which have suitable lifts but put display units in front of them so you have no room to get in and out!

    2. We have to pay for the cars, they are not free as some people seem to think, you can have the benefit or the car. Some cars you have to make an initial payment as well, some you have to pay more than the benefit. They are basically fleet cars, when they are swapped over the used ones go to auction I believe. I could buy the car if I wanted to, but wont do, as I then have to pay insurance and maintenance. I imagine some calculations have been done to see what is the optimum time for people to have them, over the whole scope of the scheme. NOrmally, I have bought a car new and kept it for the whole of its life.

    3. If I could charge it easily, I would happily have an electric car. The snag is I dont have off street parking.

    4. The issue with scooter and chair size is that people have different needs, particularly with scooters. Certain of the large ones are allowed in the cycle track of roads. There are some amsll cheap ones called “boot scoots” which fold up very flat and fit in a car boot in one piece. BUT they are very small, and very low to the ground – you could realistically only use them on a very flat surface, they wouldnt deal with kerbs or footpaths. Very many of the people who use them have bought them out the adverts in newspaper, and they are far to big/wide/heavy and look very unsafe with them on it, but some are under £1,000. Again, you need to buy these from someone who knows about them. As for Eurostar, I would first have to get to St Pancras. Originally, it was going to be possible to get on the train here in Stockport and get off at Gare du Nord.

    Comment by liz | May 8, 2011 | Reply

    • 1. The display cabinets in awkward positions is not just a disabled problem, it’s a problem for everyone. In London, when it was raining to get from Oxford Circus station to John Lewis, you used to walk through BHS, as it was quicker and dry. But BHS put paid to that by filling it with display cabinets. I don’t shop in BHS or any of the other shops connected to it now!

      2. I’ll not make too much comment, except to say that a better system for all could and should be developed. As you say, when you bought your own car, you ran it into the ground. Perhaps that should be an option.

      3. The car park near me has two charging points and on checking on the company, I could put one by my garage that would reach a car in the road.

      4. It strikes me that there needs to be some regulation about scooters. From what you say, a lot seem to be unsuitable for their owners. And quite frankly some are a danger to all. It’s not too bad here, but in Suffolk, you regularly had idiots driving a couple of miles to get snashed in a pub. I’ve also had taxi-drivers complain about some scooter owners, who complained because taxi-drivers wouldn’t take them because they were inebriated or their scooter was dripping oil. A friend who runs a taxi company said that they have banned some scooter users for all sorts of reasons.

      As to your Stockport problem, I was using St. Pancras as an example, but you could take a London taxi from Euston to St. Pancras. In fact there are rumours that the authorities might create a safe and friendly route between the two stations. In my view this would be possible, but Euston is a disgrace for a pedestrian compared to St. Pancras or LIverpool Lime Street.

      Comment by AnonW | May 8, 2011 | Reply

  4. High fuel prices are a big problem for people who live in the country and have limited means. It is only too easy for those who live in large towns and cities to tell the rest how they should live, but many people find themselves where circumstances have encouraged them to be. With cheap fuel for many years, local transport systems have been withdrawn, and people in the country rely on their cars. New electric cars are very expensive and beyond the means of many people.
    Personally fuel prices make little difference to me, as I can afford them. I minimise my fuel usage by driving a car with a relatively low fuel consumption and I keep my cars for a long time to spread the 50% of carbon usage due to manufacture over many years.
    I like living in the country and all my family live close (I have 7 grandchildren), and so I have no plans to move back to the smoke. I enjoy walking and gardening, and so the country suits me best. I have enough space to have a large garden, 2 workshops, and a large garage to pesue my other hobbiess. Unfortunately, that means I have to buy fuel to go to the supermarket.

    Comment by John | May 8, 2011 | Reply

    • I liked living in the country, but I had to move because of the stroke. If you want to live in a village with no public transport, then you have to pay either the cost of taxis or the high fuel prices.

      Transport could be improved in many ways in rural areas.
      1. Taxi regulations seem to be for the benefit of the large firms for a start.

      2. Surely too, Internet-based taxi and lift sharing could be developed.

      3. Strangely trains can be made to work. The line between Cambridge and Ipswich is having a renaissance with new trains and collectors have told me they are seeing lots of new passengers. Often couples are using one car instead of two, with one partner using the train.

      But as I have said many times, people have to think how they organise their lives.

      Comment by AnonW | May 8, 2011 | Reply

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