19 March 2012

Gas prices and political popularity #nlpoli

In some other places, gasoline prices have a political impact you can identify and measure.

That isn’t the case in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The reasons?  We don’t have anyone doing the research, for one thing.

For another thing, the marketing job that one pollster does like clockwork every quarter is so inaccurate a device that it can’t measure anything but the equivalent of a political tsunami.  Even then, it isn’t clear that CRA’s quarterly omnibus could detect it.

And for a third explanation, none of the province’s political parties identify consumer costs as a political issue they want to talk about.

That’s one of the more curious things.  Political parties in other places actually talk about things that piss off the average voter.  In newfoundland and Labrador,  even if we knew that voters were fried about gasoline prices, there’s no party that would likely raise the issue and try to do something about it.  This is just a variation of the Echo Chamber theme your humble e-scribbler raised in the last election:  the political parties didn’t talk about the issues opinion polls identified as stuff that bothered voters.

- srbp -


rod said...

The government makes a rip roaring amount of money on gas taxes. The Liberals made an attempt at trying to regulate prices, but Danny ripped the guts out of that when he gained power. Danny turned the PPPC into a joke. Listening to the spokesman for the Petroleum Products Pricing Commission explain the most recent hike in prices, quoting UNREST IN NIGERA as the most recent cause was
painful at best. Even taxi driver George Murphy sounded more credible.

There is going to be a revolution in this country. I don't know which straw will break the camel's back.

Edward Hollett said...

Actually, Rod, the petroleum price fixing scheme we have today is the same one the Liberals introduced.

It makes money for government and retailers and ensures consumers never get a break.

rod said...

It seemed to start out as a rate stabilization scheme, but lost potency when "interruption formulae" were thrown into the mix.

I know the government would lose revenue, and the oil companies would scream blue murder, but I'd like to see Hibernia crude refined at Come by Chance, and fuel at our pumps be lowered to a buck per litre.

Edward Hollett said...

Interruption didn't do anything at all to change the shaft to the consumer. They got screwed because the government-run price fixing scheme is not designed to benefit consumers. People thought it was, but it wasn't.

If you want to lower consumer prices, drop the taxes.

But my question would be simpler: why would you want to encourage people to waste energy by lowering prices? You'd be benefiting people with gas-sucking trucks and rich people who can afford gas anyways. Meanwhile, the people on low and fixed incomes wouldn't be any better off, relatively.

Gas price fixing is a bad idea no matter how you do it. Let the market set the price. And by the way, government would scream blue murder: the average voter would when government didn't have the cash to pay for health care and education. Having a politician remind you that you pissed your benefit away in your quad or your F-150 wouldn't make any difference. People are funny like that.

rod said...

I wouldn't have a Ford if you gave it to me!