Wednesday, June 25, 2008

High fuel prices are having an effect

It has long been a matter of debate about whether increased energy costs actually make us change our behaviour or just put up the cost of living. Obviously if you are on the breadline then fuel costs will influence whether you put the heating on or not - this is known as fuel poverty and is thought to be responsible for the premature deaths of thousads of old and frail people every year.

But there is increasing evidence that the soaring oil prices are affecting the rest of us, with the Times reporting that two thirds of respondents to a survey saying that they had cut car trips. 47% of them said this was due to the cost, 13% due to the environment and a mystery 30% reporting 'change in lifestyle'.

This last category intrigues me - are people just getting fed up with the daily grind of commuting and changing their home/job to suit? Or do some of the 33% who haven't cut their car use balance this out? We may never know.

The Times article also suggests that the proportion of people showing 'ethical' choices in their shopping has dropped from 63% to 56% since January because of economic worries. Take that one with a pinch of salt - the 'ethical' market is tiny compared with the mainstream.

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