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The approaching fuel crisis: what if we no longer needed so much petrol?

Written By: - Date published: 10:20 am, April 13th, 2022 - 93 comments
Categories: climate change, Economy, public transport, sustainability, transport - Tags: , ,

Firstly, something to sharpen our minds (or perhaps focus our hearts),

It is not however an invitation to turn this thread into a debate about the Russian war on Ukraine. I want to open a discussion about what we can do in New Zealand to shift our reliance off oil-based transport fuels. Because be it war, GFC, the climate emergency, peak oil, or our own damn ethics, we are extremely vulnerable not just for transport but because our whole economy is based on oil supply on demand.

The government’s temporary (3 months) fuel subsidy notwithstanding,

One key aspect of transitioning to a sustainable and resilient society is the ability to imagine a better future. We have plenty of stories about the end of the world presented to us, almost daily now. We have a few utopian scenarios, and we’re not short on what we think should happen. What we are short of is stories where things work out, and that tell us how we get there.

Taking that one simple current stressor – rising transport fuel costs – can we imagine how we might change for the better in New Zealand? What if increasing prices where the opportunity to shift off fossil fuels because we need to for climate mitigation (and fast)? What if we no longer needed so much petrol? What would society and our communities look like?

We can see the mini set-up in the three tweets at the start of the post. Two look at the stressor/problem that disrupts our security and appears to be a block to living good lives. The other looks at one solution we already know about (EVs and ebikes).

Julie Anne Genter goes further. In response to the AA piece, she pointed to what we could have done, but we still have the power and capacity to do now,

Imagine if we had invested in making public transport, walking, cycling, e-bikes a more viable form of transport. And brought in Clean Car policies 10 yrs ago. Global oil price wouldn’t as much if an issue. Still worth doing for the future!

The most obvious, easy to reach solutions are public transport and ride sharing, things we could be setting up and improving right now. But what if those happened in a broader, whole systems context, that included meeting the needs of people and transitioning to a low carbon society?

This seven minute video showcases a new city being created within the old city of Vienna. This is integrated urban design, providing housing, local facilities, and public transport and infrastructure, so that 80% percentage of movement around the city will be walking, cycling or public transport.

It’s not just replacing internal combustion engines, it’s changing how spaces function and our own behaviours. Working from home, having essential retail and services close by, making our neighbourhoods desirable places to spend time in, all are as important at reducing fossil fuel miles as public transport and alternative transport.

So what would less oil dependency look like in New Zealand?

Hattip Barry for the video.

93 comments on “The approaching fuel crisis: what if we no longer needed so much petrol? ”

  1. SPC 1

    A lot more E-bikes (not so much public transport in the provinces). And via subsidies for students and those on CSC's.

    And less provision of car-parks with urban housing – E bikes, PT and occasional use emergence of self-drive uber cars.

    • weka 1.1

      Living rurally, I'm wondering if a company that provided occassional use vehicles, alongside council provided PT, would be the go.

      In some places if they made the hire vehicles 4WD EVs, even better uptake (seriously).

      Farmers markets in each smaller area too, and a decent dairy.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    what would less oil dependency look like in New Zealand?

    Driving on electric power. When I bought my hybrid 5.5 years ago I'd already spent a few years frustrated waiting to sell my home in Auckland, so it felt late. I realise many still can't afford the transition, so the govt has to help make it happen.

    Neoliberalism dictates govt thinking – they do progress in the slow lane & do incrementalism instead of being proactive. Therefore they must be pressured to speed up.

  3. DB Brown 3

    Pay more attention to the pedestrian and self propelled experience. Line of sight, safety, lighting, shelter from weather where feasible.

    E-bikes and walking, scooters, unicycles – self or self-assisted transport is fantastic till it rains. If people are using these modes for work they'll need reliable public transport, or covered routes, for bad weather.

    There's always those willing to brave a storm on a cycle in their wet weather gear but I'm sure it's not that many. Wet routes and cycles are not so great together.

    So planners might create transport systems that monitor, and adjust according to, weather. Too hot or too cold, too windy, wet, muggy, etc – need more drivers/runs and/or vehicles/carriages. As we're relatively good at seeing weather coming now, it shouldn't be too hard to implement something that works in real time in the real world.

    So we're not standing in the rain waiting for buses that don't come. That's what kills transport uptake. That's a poster child for automobiles.

    Again. Some will embrace the extremities of weather under their own steam. But those of us in the centre of the bell curve most likely will not.

    • weka 3.1

      weather seems a significant design challenge for many parts of NZ. I'm thinking about a solo mum with a couple of sick kids who needs to go to the supermarket in the middle of a Dunedin winter. PT may not even be appropriate.

      Resiliency of systems comes from diversity. PT, occasional use rentals (be good to have a more ethical system than Uber), taxis, grocery deliveries, shopping services (there's a job creation opening), putting essentials closer to where people live are all things government and local bodies can be involved in, definitely design but also affordability. I'm also thinking about neighbourhood ride shares or pick ups.

      • DB Brown 3.1.1

        Those car sharing services will be an important intermediate for anyone with, pardon the phrase, significant baggage. Ha!

        Hire an EV for an hour or two. As these services roll out and link up it will be feasible to never own a car, but always have access to one.

        https://www.cityhop.co.nz/?

        https://www.zilch.nz

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          Funny branding. Zilch prices up there with regular car rentals at $119/day, or $16/hr.

          Good to see Cityhop doing van rentals, that's smart.

          • weka 3.1.1.1.1

            Zilch don't even say where in NZ they are, that's just stupid.

            • DB Brown 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah it's a new space. There's lots more players but people can search for them themselves – my job is done!

            • Craig H 3.1.1.1.1.2

              They are in Christchurch and Auckland (it's not nearly as obvious as it should be, but there is a line on the front page).

              IMO Mevo is the best of these I have trialled as they offer cars by the minute but with maximum hourly and daily charges as well, and instead of specific locations like Zilch (in Christchurch, their cars are in nominated parks in parking buildings and at the airport), they are just parked in standard street parking (mostly in the CBD) and don't have to be returned to a set location, and the app tells you where the nearest one is, and allows you to reserve them temporarily while you walk to the car.

              • DB Brown

                Just imagine these services once the cars are self propelled. Too easy. We can't be that far away, though listening to a local expert Tesla has a tendency to overplay their hand.

                • Craig H

                  Tesla and Uber talk a good game, but from watching from a distance, my impression is that Google (Waymo) is probably further along than anyone else in the autonomous vehicle field.

          • lprent 3.1.1.1.2

            Cityhop doing van rentals

            I've used the van rentals from city hop a couple of times for furniture moving and recycling old white ware. Pretty damn useful, especially when the first time I used one was after I'd rented a van at a car rental place resulted in a confirmation – followed by a realisation that they couldn't provide.

        • Belladonna 3.1.1.2

          Carseats for kids (properly fitted, and sized for the child) are a significant barrier to using Uber-type cars for parents of pre-schoolers.

          • DB Brown 3.1.1.2.1

            Good point. Solutions certainly do need to be flexible.

            Someone out there, one might hope, has seen this problem and is coming up with decent adjustable child safety seats. A fold down option out of the back seat would be brilliant. Taking seats in and out while juggling children and groceries doesn't sound much fun at all.

            There will be other groups that, for one reason or another, struggle with access to transport modes. Proximity, mobility, hordes of children…

            Could be well worth talking to those who struggle with access today, about ideas for tomorrow.

    • SPC 3.2

      The weather issue with bikes will diminish with working from home and 4 day weeks, this will increase flexibility as to travel to workplaces.

      PS It also releases space on PT to allow half price to students and those on CSC;s permanently.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    Ongoing subsidies (hefty ones) on efficient EVs and bikes, extension of the charging network, fare free frequent and extended public transport, will help. Low income people get hit now because there is a big ticket clip for an EV or bike. Dunno if there is some hidden industry tariff in there, as well as research and platform development–and savvy marketing of course.

    On the edge of retirement, we are getting an EV next month, one that can take max charge and charge other stuff too. And an E Bike for partner, standard bike for me, and I’ll be keeping my old Ford for a while yet but basically a Sunday car only. The premium is worth it in our view for getting around petrol pricing, and, availability if the tankers stop coming. The NZ hydro system and solar power will keep on happening. And it actually feels good for once to be part of the future with personal transport rather than just an endless money pit. EVs have less moving parts, need less maintenance.

    Somethings got to give though, and soon. In provincial areas like the Far North people have actually been giving up employment because of fossil fuel and vehicle associated costs. So what do you do in remote areas? Well surely, we move to solar and other sustainable power and run vehicles off that. Bad news for Groundswell–even Utes can be EV! https://rivian.com/

  5. Francesca 5

    I biked all around Vienna a few years ago with a young Austrian friend.It was wonderful!!

    I would bike a lot more in my rural area if the Fonterra trucks etc weren’t such a hazard.I remember the Opec crisis ?1979?.In this same rural area,as now, people travelled distance to get to work .We had carless days,..how totalitarian of us so there was quite a rapid mindset change. Carpooling was the thing.A car with a single occupant was very much looked down on.It was amazing how quickly people organised to share transport to work and shopping centre.There was a feeling of collective action, it wasn’t all about saving money.

    I expect carless days would be greeted with the same freedom protests we recently witnessed.

    • foreign waka 5.1

      Francessca, Vienna's public transport system is second to none. You can bike in the summer months but not during winter by minus 30 deg. Believe me, I grew up there and lived there for quite some years. So no, this is just another paint the picture story.

      NZ has nothing even close to the transport system that any larger European city has. If any of the large cities here would have that kind of system, you would not need a car – at all- I can promise that or I eat my hat.

      What needs to be taken aboard right now are those in the community who are NOT fit and healthy and older,or have very young families. Those, who have no means of buy buy buy all the new gadgets and 60K-100K cars and who live far away from any center due to cost of living unable to reach easely any supermarket, doctor etc. Of cause the well to do have no issue. But a city has to cater for everybody. NZ is stuck in the last century and has never made any financial plan to change its approach.

      When I moved to Wellington, the city had electric buses. Yes, the overhead cables slid out sometimes, but no diesel or petrol fumes. How forward looking! And then those officials got their hands in the honey pot called rates, hiked those by 17% over some 10 years and we are left with diesel buses and nothing is "moving" in Wellington. Except the city council pay above inflation. What a sham.

      Whoever is and has designed the infrastructure has a lot to answer for. Mind you with the math's results coming out from schools we can't expect any engineering going over and beyond, can we.

      But hey, all good.

  6. As Churchill said: "Never let a good crisis go to waste".

    Changes we haven't been willing to make are going to be forced on us soon I think.

    • Craig H 6.1

      Agree, better to make changes now with some level of choice about what is changed and to what extent, than to be forced into more drastic changes later with much more limited choices.

  7. Adrian 7

    EVs are brilliant and I’m sure that governments are even more motivated by transport fuel security ( electricity is a fuel ) now, but subsidies long term for EVs almost certainly ensures that EVs remain expensive, it is just more corporate welfare. A better solution is if the government was to bulk buy EVs through an entity thus making sure they get a hefty discount and then lease to own, we would be starters to buy one but bugger paying 70+ thousand for a car. I get by on 1k shitboxes on their way to the wreckers and get a couple of years out of them, I’m also lucky that I can do most repairs on them, but only the seriously cashed up or on a company car deal can really afford one. Most cars lose 50% of value just driving out of a dealership and only the deluded can afford that, a long term lease deal may be as cheap as the savings in a lot of cases. The other thing that is the elephant in the room is how much per hundred kilometres will future running costs be when road user charges inevitably come back on. All comparisons on running costs now are seriously dishonest.

  8. Ad 8

    Get rid of 50% of fuel tax and replace it with each car owner getting x litres of petrol or diesel free per year.

    After that it's $10 a litre.

    Similar to Winter Fuel Allowance.

    Just don't call it rationing.

    • Poission 8.1

      Wait to the low overnight electricity rates are removed,and EV pay the true cost of electricity redistribution.

      https://www.ena.org.nz/resources/electrification-of-nzs-energy-needs/document/1105

      Also the EV will have to pay road user charges,not only for the road but the ACC component,to pay for the higher salaries of medical care.

      • weka 8.1.1

        PT, urban redesign, and relocalisation looking better and better all the time.

        • Poission 8.1.1.1

          Urban design will not happen,it is both cost ineffective,and requires essentially destruction of established CBD,increased costs,and destruction for small business,so consumers can get faster PT to get to big business at the mall.

          • weka 8.1.1.1.1

            only if it's done incredibly stupidly.

            Instead, design for people and their needs in the context of transition to a low carbon society.

            • Poission 8.1.1.1.1.1

              it requires digging up existing infrastructure,demolishing existing buildings including housing,electrical services etc,it destroys existing small buildings and existing communities,and it increases costs.

          • Ad 8.1.1.1.2

            Auckland Council and NZTA just rebuilt the entire CBD of Auckland and constricted car use down to one lane each, or one way. Total cycling and public transport focused makeover.

            And now it's so dead and crime infested we're likely to see the right take a majority at Auckland Council.

            Great intentions.

            Cost: Light rail $6b, rail upgrade $500m, Ferry and Quay Street upgrade $400m, Waterfront and Wynyard Quarter upgrade $300m. Stormwater and utilities upgrades $100m.

            Fucked for years.

            • DB Brown 8.1.1.1.2.1

              Covid smashed central city. I used to be in there a couple times a week and spend money. Last time I was in central city was for a covid shot.

              Covid smashed towns everywhere. Infrastructure projects didn't help.

              • Ad

                It was both.

                I was working on most of the key infrastructure projects in the Auckland CBD from November 2015 to December 2020, so I saw it all unfold each day.

                • DB Brown

                  I felt real sorry for Hobson street. So hard. Would deliberately go eat there but then covid.

                  A lot we could learn from that project on how not to engage, and how not to assist, community.

                  Or vice versa.

                  • Ad

                    Hobson. Quay. Albert. Swanson. Victoria. Queen. Lorne. Customs. Mt Eden. Princes. Mayoral D. Wellesley. Wyndham. And more.

                    It was not until 2019 that the government recognised the damage it had done and set up a fund. That's after multiple reports onto TV1, NZHerald, etc.

                    • DB Brown

                      Interesting. Clearly we need infrastructure. From my neck of the woods the scale was not so apparent but I do recall a lot of people getting pissed off after projects ran on and on.

                      Is this all symptomatic of a longer and larger problem, namely ignoring and underfunding infrastructure for a period? Till people are picking up their pitchforks. Then we get this over-compensation of government bodies 'being seen to be doing things' – till people are picking up their pitchforks again.

                      The left-right to and fro causing more pain than it's worth?

            • weka 8.1.1.1.2.2

              this is bad design then (assuming it's not mostly the pandemic). It happens, but it doesn't have to. If we want to have a different future, we have to be able to imagine how it can happen, not simply reference the things that haven't worked.

              I haven't been in Auckland for a long long time, but when I looked at some of the South Island cities and towns I know, I see mistakes being made because the people who have the power to make those decisions don't understand sustainability, how to make things good for people who live there, how to transition, how to adapt. They can't 'see' it. I think we have expertise in NZ, but I don't think we are that good yet at making these kinds of changes.

              I see a similar pattern in tourism. It's a lack of imagination, and it's how the power is held and who has it.

              But we that there are places in the world where urban design works better right?

              • weka

                (and maybe don't start with the CBDs?)

              • Ad

                Time you visited where 1/3 of NZ's people, 40% of its economy and 40% of its fuel carbon is generated.

                Then you won't keep posting useless European comparisons.

                • Sanctuary

                  Out of curiosity Ad, how many years do you think it is going to take the CBD to recover from the CRL and other work and COVID (if ever)?

                • foreign waka

                  If only! Have you ever seen the infrastructure of today's European Cities? NZ is so far behind its shameful.

                • weka

                  what are you saying? That NZ can't transition?

                  If you cannot imagine things differently and better, in the context of transition, then you cannot help transition.

                  I'm curious though, why you think NZ is so bad at this? Does it have something to do with not looking at other places and adapting for here?

            • Subliminal 8.1.1.1.2.3

              Is it a case that the rents charged to any business operating in these areas is so exorbitant that the only successful survival strategy is price gouging of some fantasy wealthy tourista class? If the rents aren't made to conform with the operation of a business that is sustainable through the custom of normal local members of the community then nothing good will ever come. Until it is made clear that prices paid for the physical spaces where we work, play, sleep are not an avenue for get rich schemes, we will be trapped in a neoliberal nightmare. These physical spaces either trap us with high rents or free us to focus on our communities

            • lprent 8.1.1.1.2.4

              And now it's so dead and crime infested we're likely to see the right take a majority at Auckland Council.

              Most of it isn't – just particular areas mainly on the ridge north of Queen Street – that has been a desolation for decades. But basically you appear to be talking bullshit to a local. I live just up the road from the CBD* and done so for the last 30 odd years.

              I don't think that recent deterioration in parts of the general CBD had anything to much to do with transport changes.

              The recent changes have more to do with the almost complete lack of overseas students for the last couple of years. They were the main occupants of the massive number of micro-apartments (< 50 sq m) in that area and other parts of the CBD. Many of those apartments were and still are being used to house homeless during the pandemic.

              After 2 years of pandemic responses, people simply don't work in the central city as much as they used to during the day, or stay to socialise in the evening. That has nothing to do with transport changes.

              Removing all of those people has merely made the underlying "dead and crime infested" more visible – even to the unobservant casuals. Being a bartender at a popular night club downtown made me quite aware of how much of sleaze pit it was 40 years ago. Working down there for a number of years made it obvious just how terrible the shops and retail outlets were.

              It simply hasn't changed much.

              It always had awful transport issues, limited, outrageously expensive parking, and hasn't had anything of special interest to go to. I can go to movies and eat where the transport and parking is easier. There are no special speciality stores worth looking at unless you really want fashion or tourist traps. These days I buy most things online and get them delivered.

              People who expect a CBD to be a place that you go to to shop or socialise just feel to me like people who are a bit retarded – the kind who use land-lines or still know what a cheque book is.

              In the last 10 years about the only times I have gone voluntarily into the CBD or to the waterfront was to go to the Federal. The wedges of pastrami are a bit unique. For that I was willing to take taxis (no point in taking a bike because there wasn't any place to lock them around Skycity), and to pay the price. There isn’t any other food in the CBD that I’d do that for.

              The over-priced food at the viaduct was interesting after they did it over – but mundane compared to my locals. But it picked up mating behaviour business down there over the last couple of decades – reduced now because of the pandemic.

              The transport changes downtown, when they're finally finished may achieve what I see happening in K Rd at present. Even during the pandemic, after they largely finished the roadworks, it is going upmarket fast.

              * I live by the corner of Ponsonby Road and K Road. Even with a buggered big toe, I can walk, ride, and even park at local places of more interest than anything in the CBD or the viaduct or the tank farm.

          • McFlock 8.1.1.1.3

            Oh, little changes can happen, and they add up.

            First Dunedin transitioned to a bus hub system. Now they're cutting main street traffic to one lane to make it more pedestrian-oriented. Next step will be a performing arts precinct in the Octagon – multiple venues, all working together and complementing each other's purposes.

            Sure, the old guard of Dunedin businesses have opposed the elimination of car parks and traffic on the main street. There were bureaucratic barriers to the bus hub.

            But progress can happen, and as fossil fuels get more expensive and the EVs and public transport get cheaper and more efficient, the resistance to change organically dissolves.

            • Poission 8.1.1.1.3.1

              You have the estimate ,wait to you get the final pricing.What efficiency estimates are there for energy savings etc.

              Blowout is the new reality,the steel pricing which is underway for the new Dunedin hospital will require a defibrillator present at the QS stage for the minister.

              Hint.

              • McFlock

                And yet the urban redesign in Dunedin is still happening.

                • Poission

                  And the population is unchanged,lots of empty retail with more to come, ok 24m$ on underground services is an investment,outdoor seating in a wind tunnel sighted north to south would have some practical use like stonehenge at the solstice.

                • DB Brown

                  Timber builds just got a lot more attractive. If we grew the timber, harvested and treated the timber, built with the timber…

                  Or are we bound to let international markets push timber prices to stupid heights?

                  Are we even allowed to keep resources 'in-house' if we wanted to?

                  We could push timber, not prices, to stupid heights. 280 ft!

                  "To construct the tower, builders used glulam and laminated timber beams; both are strong enough to replace carbon-intensive concrete and steel, and require less energy to produce."

                  https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/worlds-tallest-timber-framed-building-finally-opens-doors

                  • weka

                    some of the buildings in that Vienna example are made from wood, multi-story (it's in the vid).

                    Timber builds just got a lot more attractive. If we grew the timber, harvested and treated the timber, built with the timber…

                    And in time (especially if we started now) we could be growing a range of timbers, some of which don't need treating at all, they just take longer to grow.

                    Which leads us to two things:

                    1. mixed forestry done regeneratively. This we could be doing now.
                    2. how do we shift to an economy where one of our main, sustainable resources takes 60 years or longer to grown? And how does that economy (and society) then manage housing that lasts 500 years instead of 50? We'd make better decisions about a number of things.
        • foreign waka 8.1.1.2

          You do realise that we talk about billions of dollars, who is going to pay for that in a low wage economy?

          Its not just the urban design for transport but all other infrastructure too such as business premise, entertainment, apartments, parking, fueling stations (no matter whether its EV or whatever) and all the water/power to and fro.

          Other countries have started planning and implementing after the WWII. So NZ lost some 80 years of actually doing something, anything.

    • weka 8.2

      how would you decide the amount of fuel per year?

      • Ad 8.2.1

        Per number of licensed drivers in the house.

        • weka 8.2.1.1

          why? Why not per car?

          And what about someone who lives 30km from a supermarket and someone who lives 5km?

          • Ad 8.2.1.1.1

            You don't reward the number of cars. It's profligacy.

            You don't reward people who live a long way from town. It's energy-inefficient.

            • weka 8.2.1.1.1.1

              Are you suggesting people who live a long way from town should move closer? Where would they live?

        • foreign waka 8.2.1.2

          If it wouldn't be so sad it would be funny. What about those 40 000 that drive around without a licence or learner licence? Will this increase as the charges going to bite?

          I personally know of quite a number of "learner" drivers having been on that for decades(!). Nothing ever will happen on that one. And as we have seen with covid, you can control anything.

      • pat 8.2.2

        We (NZ) currently use around 1600 litres of crude per person each year….allocate that to every individual and allow them to trade it….and reduce the allocation by say 10% per annum.

    • Gosman 8.3

      Do you really think just not calling it rationing would mean noone would point out that it is in fact rationing and we don't want to live in a Socialist country?

      • Ad 8.3.1

        It's worked fine for the Winter Fuel allowance.

        Don't tell them it's healthy and they'll eat it by the boxful.

      • pat 8.3.2

        We have always had rationing ….only the method differs.

        We currently rely on wealth/income to ration.

  9. Brendan Waugh 9

    Cold Hard Cash.

    Case in point. Wendover Productions on Youtube did the numbers for an electric short range aircraft.

    Electric power reduces fuel costs and repair costs by an extreme amount and resulted in a profit margin of $100 per passenger (up from $1).

    Interestingly enough this if applied to New Zealand would mean a lot more domestic short range aviation.

    • weka 9.1

      where would the electricity come from?

      • Brendan Waugh 9.1.1

        Easy – buy a solar pannel or a few. Suddenly the price of your electrons drops even further.

        • weka 9.1.1.1

          show me the analysis of solar powered generation for an air fleet in NZ and I'll take this more seriously. Afaik we're going to struggle to just power the car and road transport fleets.

        • Christopher Randal 9.1.1.2

          The Government should equip every house in NZ with Solar panels and batteries. That will save a lot of coal and oil powered generation

          • tsmithfield 9.1.1.2.1

            I agree other than not all houses are suited to solar energy. But plenty are.

            I think it makes perfect sense to subsidise solar energy for houses. I don't know why the government isn't doing this already. There are so many upsides.

            Firstly, we will need a lot more electricity generation for charging a rapidly increasing number of EVs. Any other alternative such as building a new dam takes years to plan, get approvals etc. And has large envirnomental impact. Whereas solar energy is a relatively quick and easy way to get more power generation.

            Secondly, subsidised solar energy will reduce power bills for Kiwis and help them with the increasing cost of living.

            I haven’t seen any comparative costs. But I imagine any large scale power generation project is going to be hugely expensive. So, it probably gives plenty of headroom for solar energy subsidies.

            So it seems a no brainer to me.

            • weka 9.1.1.2.1.1

              we could also mandate solar hot water, and solar panels on every new build (commercial and residential), adjusted for region.

            • Graeme 9.1.1.2.1.2

              Got to get the lines companies to play nicely around this. Most of them see electricity flowing two ways on their network as an opportunity to charge the customer twice.

              Otherwise any incentive to get solar on roofs really should have happened years ago, even a soft loan arrangement like was done for lpg and cng conversions in late 70's – early 80's

              • Poission

                solar needs to go into areas with little local generation ,such as the Westcoast and Nelson,there is already a transpower cost margin,of 25$mw to the coast and around 15$ mw to Nelson.

                • Graeme

                  Also in Queenstown, less than 5% local generation, and one Transpower feed, and that goes through very dodgy country. Also quite high demand.

                  There's a bit of solar around the district, but it's more of a vanity choice as the lines company does you over if you try and sell any surplus. If you go all the way and get a good battery then you can tell the lines company to go fuck itself, and get a win but the payback period is lengthy.

                  • Poission

                    More to do with the high dividends and under investment by Aurora,the clawbacks under the Commerce have meant higher lines charge inland,and the additional government penalty on low users odes not help.

                    What solar does do is smooth day time power flows,covering the dinner peaks in summer,when there is less wind,and reduces the need for large hydro flow in the days.

                    • Graeme

                      It's hard to see the Aurora outcome as much other than legalised theft. From a Central Otago perspective it stinks, DCH ran down the network to pay dividends to reduce Dunedin rates, then get approval to charge consumers to rebuild the fucked network.

                      That benefit to the network from solar comes at the householder's expense. The householder pays the cost of the solar installation, then picks up the cost of outgoing transmission so they're getting very little for what they supply.

                      If that situation is allowed to continue their needs to be some sort of group buy / supply on the installations and supply back to the network that balance the interests of the householder and network.

        • foreign waka 9.1.1.3

          To power a household and any EV car parked in front, you would need a field of solar panels and the conversion needs batteries that create another waste mountain that we can add to the ones from the EV's. I think that once the smelter is gone we have plenty of power for EV’s that currently are so unaffordable that I cannot see any urgency unless the price comes down
          substantially.

  10. Stuart Munro 10

    E vehicles are less attractive given the aggressive pricing of power we see from semi-privatised powercos. But the short answer is that the vanity subsidy on electric vehicles should have gone to e-bikes first. Not keen on commuting to work on one in winter, mind – open road with 6 degrees of frost, not to mention all my work gear – but make 'em cheap enough & I'll try it.

    • foreign waka 10.1

      Will your granny get the groceries with it that is the question. Any change that affects the whole community needs to take into consideration…. yes all members, very young, vulnerable, handicapped, older, unable for reasons of distance etc…

      • Stuart Munro 10.1.1

        Well there ought to be E scooters available – not the injury bait Lime or other company type, but something like a small Vespa or stepthrough – adequate for modest grocery shopping. I know there are petrol versions all over Asia.

  11. peter sim 11

    Aeroplanes, ships need petroleum products to reach or leave NZ.

    Rising CO2 levels are blamed for global warming.

    Petroleum products are the primary source of CO2 emissions.

    Aeroplanes, ships pump enormous amounts of CO2 travelling around the planet to remote places like NZ for commercial reasons.

    OBTW plastic is derived from petroleum.

    How much plastic packaging do we dump and/or burn?

    A thought from outer space; how about using Harakeke to make fibre to replace plastic strings and plastic bags. It can be done, and has been.

    • tsmithfield 11.1

      A good option instead of dumping or burning plastic is to use it instead of aggregate to create light weight concrete.

      The benefits of this type of solution is that it locks away the plastic from polluting the environment and putting it to a useful purpose instead. I assume another benefit of the concrete being lighter is that it would reduce the carbon impact of transporting it to site as concrete trucks would probably use a little bit less fuel transporting the lighter product and also less use of machinery to dig and transport aggregate from river beds.

      I am all for solutions that kill a number of birds with one stone.

  12. pat 12

    "The best strategic response for ordinary people would probably be to build grassroots horizontal power networks and get out ahead of the failing elites by doing whatever will minimize the crisis ahead. This makes sense especially at a time when global integration is unraveling, supply chains are broken, and there are plenty of opportunities and incentives for substituting local products for imports. Nevertheless, institutions of horizontal power—coops, citizen assemblies, intentional communities—take time to organize."

    https://www.resilience.org/stories/2022-04-12/the-failure-of-global-elites/

    It will mean different things to different people and as always it requires that most limited of assets…time.

    • Gosman 12.1

      That's great until the people you disagree with take over the running of these "grassroots" organisations and you get conflict.

      • pat 12.1.1

        That is the history of the human race and migration

      • Incognito 12.1.2

        Conflict and conflict resolution build resilience. A totalitarian dictatorship builds resentment.

        Avoiding conflict because you’re ill-equipped to handle it means you need to equip yourself better, not walk away from it.

  13. Mike the Lefty 13

    I am a driver so I witness a lot of different driving behaviours on the road.

    I could forgiven for assuming that petrol was still $1 litre based on the kind of silly need-for-speed idiot driving I see constantly every day.

    Try driving at the maximum speed limit and you will be one of the minority, within a minute you will have at least a dozen cars up your arse all constantly swerving around trying to get in front of you.

    Has anyone or any organisation ever done a study on how much fuel could be saved if New Zealand drivers didn't base their entire driving experience on how fast they could go and the gambles they take in doing it?

    Perhaps the Dog and Lemon Guide has done some something but – no-one would be interested anyway because the motoring industry has over the decades transformed driving from a necessity to a lifestyle choice, and any one who advocates reducing speed limits or driving more economically is immediately labelled a spoil sport. Plus there is a fairly large element in New Zealand who regard electric cars with suspicion and scorn – like they are not "real" cars at all.

    The AA, although it claims to represent drivers, really represents the driving industry. It complains about congested roads and then advocates building more roads so they can become congested too. Surveys like this are so superficial that they mean virtually nothing.

    • foreign waka 13.1

      Firstly drive to conditions, keep the recommended distance and these two items will give you a better result than we see right now on the roads.

      Secondly, most cars these days are very well suited to the speed allowed on roads and the ones that are really making things dangerous are those driving 40 in a 80 zone getting everybody behind looking for a means to pass.

      Thirdly, get every driver on a valid licence not learner or whatever that are never checked and if so, the person gets just a warning and off you go, untrained and dangerous.

      The driving I watch is, to say it politely – atrocious. As for the roads, they are in some areas in a condition not dissimilar than those in Crete in the 70's to be honest.

      • Mike the Lefty 13.1.1

        "The ones really making things dangerous are those driving 40 in a 80 zone.."

        That is the stock excuse for those who think speed limits should be whatever speed you want to go. In my thousands of hours clocked up on the road I don't see many cars doing this. Tractors yes, e-bikes yes, but hardly any cars.

        No, it is speed that kills, whatever spin you want to put on it.

        On another subject, I noticed when visiting China that every major road has a median strip. Chinese drivers when they come to NZ are amazed at how we have most of our major highways divided with only a painted line allowing vehicles to approach each other at a combined force of 200 km/hr plus.

        • Foreign waka 13.1.1.1

          No to your first response sentence. I have been driving in major cities overseas commercially and private. What really is different in NZ is the ease with which one is allowed into a car and never checked whether you actually are able to drive. Middle line, barriers will not prevent misjudgement of abilities. And therein is the reason why o many end up dead on NZ roads. When is the law to be changed that a/ a driver has to have a valid licence and is properly (!) trained and b/ every car has to have basic insurance.

          https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/128356968/reckless-driver-jailed-for-three-years-over-northland-crash-that-killed-13yo

          If a driver is properly trained and conditions allow, 80 is not fast. It is not. It becomes a danger when a driver is not trained and allowed to be on the road. I am not part of the political correct brigade making excuses for negligence to obtain the necessary skills and proof to operate a vehicle. Responsibility is still part of the equation.

  14. DB Brown 14

    Just pondering the prices of e-bikes locally. As price is supposedly some measure of quality…

    Will I really need to spend > $4k to get a half decent one? More? Less?

    Keen on a town cycle, that I can take on a train to other towns. Able to carry a bit of stuff on a carrier. HILL ASSIST blush

    I could buy several POS cars for the same money but I'm hoping not to buy a POS e-bike.

    Dick Smith online is selling one today for $1800 that, according to reviews, was on special for $700 in 2020.

    Someone's having a laugh, aye. Demand goes up, supply goes up, right? Hell No. Price goes up.

    That model is SOLD OUT. But, place your orders quick!

    Hard to know where to go and not get gouged.

    Local servicing is also important. But bike shops should service any model?

    I don’t know. Shank’s Pony, me.

  15. Ian 15

    All very well for all you good folk writing policy and attending meetings in Wellington.In the real world paddocks are cultivated,mown and harvested using Diesel.Unit loads of Cattle ,sheep ,deer,milk and potatoes are carted to the processing plants using Diesel .The fishing boats have caught all that lovely fish for Good Friday ,using Diesel. Give Diesel a break because without it now we would be fighting each other for survival.

    • pat 15.1

      Of the 46 million barrels of crude a year NZ uses how much is used for those purposes?

    • Graeme 15.2

      They said the same things about horses, then everyone was driving a car or a tractor. And the change happened very quickly .

      The same will happen to diesel and other fossil fuels. A much better way will come to market and very quickly everything changes. Unfortunately we'll only know that's happened once it's happened but we may be very close.

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