Rural drivers deserve a break

I don’t know if they still sell it, but they should.

When I lived and worked in northern Alberta a million and a half years ago, there were no devastating wildfires in Slave Lake (but there was one that destroyed three buildings in Hondo just down the highway – and that amounted to half the town), and there was an entity known as purple gas – marked farm fuel.

It was marked because it was intended to be sold and used to farmers as a way of lowering the cost of running their tractors and such.

I was reading up on gas prices the other day and how prices were so high in Vancouver (cue the violins) and thinking about what seemed like no way to escape ever increasing gas prices in rural towns.

I mean, we don’t have any of the opportunities they have in cities. I never owned a car when I lived in the city. I walked, rode my bicycle or took the bus.

As rural residents, we MUST drive to get many of the same services that people in the cities take for granted.

That’s not a new argument, but it’s still valid, nonetheless.

So when all of these too-smart-for-their-own-good city dwellers toss out mindless phrases like “walk to work” or “use a bus” in order to offset the high cost of gas, they’re coming from a global perspective that doesn’t extend beyond their nose.

Up until now, we’ve been at the mercy of the gas companies and whatever price they decide on. Usually, the farther north you are, the more you pay for goods because if costs more to truck them even if they’re pulling it out of the ground and processing it five miles away.

But why not different prices for rural and urban centres? If you live in a city with alternatives to driving, you pay more. The more isolated you are, with less choices, the less you pay.

Does that make just too much sense? If that’s so, then it’s beyond the comprehension of the guys who make up the policies.

Wendy Coomber is the editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal