Thursday, 8 May 2008

Errors, errors, errors!

It is hard for me - no matter that it has done a lot of damage to a critical assignment at RMIT which I could never work on even when it was due in the same day - to get over fundamental mistakes about petrol prices and keep laughing hilariously.

Talk of filling a tank for a tiny silver coin is not confined to 1968:

A petrol price of 0.75 cents per gallon would be equivalent to, as I checked on Google Calculator, 0.21 Australian cents per litre! At that price my mother's 1990 Peugeot 405 could be filled for ten cents, and the weekly cost of running a Hummer H2 would amount to no more than 70 cents even if its fuel consumption was as high as 28 litres per 100 km.

Looking beyond the obvious ecological catastrophe that would result from prices down in the earth's core - and even the fact that in the kind of free market advocated by the Right petrol even in Australia would never be that cheap and oil companies make no profit from selling a litre of petrol for a fraction of a cent - it is time that everybody who writes and debates how cheap petrol should be is much more careful to never confuse cents with dollars and give prices so far from what they really are. I of course have no doubts that all the four cases of seemingly impossibly high or low prices are neither deliberate nor real, but it still gives me so much entertainment that I feel as though I should point out the absurdity of some of the figures given in the WA Sunday Times, from which the claim of petrol for almost 154 dollars per litre comes.

I hope my last three posts will make people think, not only about Australian petrol prices, but about being careful with the $ and ¢ symbols when they talk about them!

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