An Essay Considering the Implications of a Rise in Government Petrol Prices and the Effect on the Most Dependent Parts of Society

Topics: Greenhouse gas, Elasticity, Price elasticity of demand Pages: 6 (2494 words) Published: August 1, 2013
The Government introduces a high rate of tax on petrol. This tax may have negative effects on many drivers. Should the Government repeal or relax the tax?

Contents

1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….1
2. Findings………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………2
3. Conclusions…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………4
4. Recommendations………………………………………………………………………………………………………4
5. References…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..5

Introduction
The issue of taxation on petrol within the United Kingdom is becoming ever more prevalent in contemporary society; this issue is growing in significance highlighted by the average household spending 10.3% of weekly income on petrol and the signing of 110,000 signatures to an online e-petition calling for the scrapping of fuel duty headed by Robert Halfon MP. The real question however is there any actual evidence that the burden of petrol prices today is any more costly to the average person than twenty years ago and what is the real impact of this? Aspects of petrol taxation within the United Kingdom hold many implications to consider also as many scholars of today arguing the eco-authoritarian stance that with depletion of resources, pollution contributing to climate change and an imminent ecological disaster imminent can there be any justification for not raising prices at the pumps to reflect the actual ecological cost of consumption of petroleum totalling 13.9 million tonnes in two thousand and eleven, further more can we honestly keep consuming at such as rate while increasing government spending on the environment fourfold in fourteen years2. I will attempt to consider the predominant issues of today’s government and consequently society by analysing the key issues related to a petrol tax rise. To do this I will utilise and compare the stance of two ethical theories, this in turn will allow me to survey the question and reach an ultimate conclusion upon which to base a recommendation. The two key ethical theories I will be using are those of Utilitarianism and Egoism these theories will help me to reach a conclusion through applying the overriding themes of each to a number of case studies, news stories, statistics and economic theories. Firstly Utilitarianism this theory focuses upon happiness as the main goal this defining a good character as a valuable asset as this contributes to happiness; As published in Frazer Magazine by John Stuart Mill he concluded that “The great happiness principle holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to promote the reverse of happiness”16 and this gives a key spring board by which to guide the analyses of the topic through a utilitarian lens. Egoism defines that people are motivated to avoid pain in pursuit of happiness as solely an endeavour of self-interest this is contrary to utilitarianism as Egoism does not require a good character as a qualifying aspect of the theory.

The issue at hand then is one of necessity to curtail petrol usage consequently cutting back the effect of greenhouse emissions as is required under law through the Kyoto Protocol and Climate Change Act 2008. These requirements are demonstrated below.5 Kyoto Protocol:

 | EU ETS cap(2008-2012)| 2008| 2009| 2010| 2011(p)| Cap (MtC02)|  | 245.6| 245.6| 245.6| 245.6|
Reported emissions (MtC02)| 1228.1| 265.5| 231.9| 237.9| 220.6| Net units sold/purchased|  | -19.9| 13.7| 7.7| 25|

UK Carbon Budgets:
 | EU ETS cap (2008-2012)| 2008| 2009| 2010| 2011(p)| Cap (MtC02)|  | 246| 245.3| 245.3| 245.3|
Reported emissions (MtCO2)| 1227.2| 265.3| 231.8| 237.7| 220.4| Net units sold/purchased|  | -19.3| 13.5| 7.6| 24.9|

From this data we can see that both by Kyoto protocol standards and...

References: 16. 2012. Theories of Ethics, Good Business Bad Business and Sustainability. University West of England, Unpublished.
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