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Julian Lee

Governments Should Stop Trying to Make Gasoline Cheaper

Fuel prices will keep rising unless demand comes down. Policy makers are prolonging the pain by pushing people toward the pump.

Governments must stop subsidizing transport fuels.

Governments must stop subsidizing transport fuels.

Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

The oil market is screaming at consumers to rein in their use of fuel. Governments are doing everything they can to have us to buy, buy, buy. But there can only be one winner in this battle, and it won’t be our elected representatives — or us.

In March, just after the UK government announced a year-long cut in fuel duty, Javier Blas argued that governments were pursuing the wrong energy policies in encouraging, rather than curbing, fuel demand. He was absolutely right. Evidence of policy makers’ errors is mounting, yet they are doing nothing to correct their mistakes. If anything, they’re only making matters worse.