As Gas Prices Go Up, India Goes On General Strike
Know what to do next time you see a higher price at the pump? Don’t buy gas on May 15? How lame. Learn from the folks in India. According to the BBC, India’s opposition parties have called a general strike against fuel price rises, and “normal life has been disrupted in many parts of India.”
The government had announced fuel prices rises last month in an attempt to cut the budget deficit. The opposition said “hell, no, we won’t go” and India went on general strike. Businesses and schools were shut in Mumbai, Calcutta and Bangalore. A large number of flights were canceled, train services affected, demonstrators and police clashed in parts of the subcontinent. More than half a million trucks went off the roads after the main truckers’ union said it was supporting the strike.
The strike was fueled (so to speak) by commuters who stayed at home because the worried about getting stuck on their way to work.
According to The Nikkei [sub], Toyota suspended operations Monday at two factories on the outskirts of Bangalore due to strikes across the country over higher gasoline prices. Toyota said the factories were back online Tuesday.
I've already cut back my gasoline usage. I guess that doesn't really count as a "strike". Miles on the car since January ? 2300. Miles on the motorcycle ? 3100. And I didn't even start riding until late March.
I wonder if a general strike in India is anything like the end credits sequence of "Slumdog Millionaire"...
I suspect the strikes are more about the increase in the kerosene prices -- which are used for home cooking -- rather than diesel or gasoline increases. Gasoline/Diesel is going up 5%; Kerosene is going up 33%. And people would stay off the roads not b/c they support the strike but because they don't want their cars vandalized.
It'd be interesting to see a worldwide comparison of retail prices at the pump - adjusted to dollar equivalents. These prices would show the differences in tax and subsidy policies of various nations. IIRC, many nations (Venezuela and Iran come to mind) subsidize refined gasoline to such a huge extent that there's a big market for exporting it. Kinda like selling NC cigarettes in NY...