The recent turmoil in the world stock markets has been attributed to the low price of oil which, we are told by all the clever people, is bad for us.
Excuse me? Since when has the low price of fuel been bad for us? Granted, if I worked in the energy industry, or had investments in it, I might be bricking it but, as I verge on the brink of old git-dom and have a birthday with a big zero at the end this year, I can remember the chaos and disruption big hikes in the cost of energy caused to ordinary people’s lives.
Only a year ago, in the run up to the UK General Election, the opposition Labour Party was talking about a ‘cost of living crisis.’ Now, however one voted on that occasion, it was not a claim without foundation. The energy suppliers seemed to be hiking up prices on a regular basis, making life hard for millions in post-banking crash Britain. And there seemed to be no respite.
When the Arab oil-producing nations first hiked up the price of oil in October 1973, it sent the western world into panic mode. The media branded it an ‘Energy Crisis’, UK car sales dropped 30 per cent, petrol rationing was introduced in Britain, the world was racked with inflation and various hare-brained alternative energy sources were investigated.
By 1979, the West had realised that nothing could compete in terms of convenience and price with extracting oil from the Middle East, transporting it across the seas and refining it into petrol and diesel. Even the further oil price rise resulting from the 1979 Iran –Iraq war did nothing to dispel this notion, although millions of people across the world found themselves thrown out of work as a consequence of the resulting recession, and many probably never worked again.
More recently the hike in oil prices has been attributed to demand for cars from China and India. I presume we are supposed to think that the oil is on the verge of running out and that the West is engaged in a bidding war with China and India? More and more people switched to diesel-powered cars in the belief that they were better value for money.
Once again alternative sources of energy have been investigated, though the electric car seems to have progressed little since the Central Electricity Generating Board experimented with a Mini Van with batteries installed in the load carrying area.
Anyway, back to my original point. Having a nasty, cynical old mind, and remembering the chaos caused by hikes in the cost of oil, I refuse to accept that low oil prices are bad for us, or is it just me?