Fuel protests, history effects & and famous incidents
Fossil fuel is the backbone of any economy regardless whether it is a developing or developed nation. This is because transportation and the fast paced life would never be possible had there been no ready supply of fuel in our lives. Those economies are considered strong & powerful that have huge proven oil reserves for themselves for many more decades to come. However, given the current political and economic turmoil going on in the entire world, fossil fuel has become a hot topic of protests leading to social, political and economic unrest to the country's entire system. Not only the oil rich oil consuming countries like UK or USA are resettles with these protests, but also the Gulf Oil producing countries including Libya, & Iraq. Whatever the motive be, here is a snapshot of the famous fuel protest incidents in history and their effects on the respective country's economy:
The Oil Crisis
1. Oil Crisis of the 1970's (USA & Oil Producing Giants) - Perhaps the worst ever oil crisis, fuel protests and economic damage that ever could take place in the history of mankind was reported in the 1973 oil crisis. This oil embargo was placed by the members of OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries including Tunisia, Syria & the Egypt) in retaliation of the US supplying military equipment, aid and oil to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. It lasted from October 1973 till March 1974 resulting in sky rocketing rise in unemployment, hyperinflation, and extreme political, social and economic unrest. Long queues of vehicles could be seen from the petrol pumps till several kilometers waiting for their turn to fill up fuel tanks. The fuel price hike could be evident from the fact that the adjusted fuel price for inflation jumped from merely $18 to over $100 per barrel bringing the worst ever economic effects after the Great Depression. It had been analyzed that a spark in public protests took place resulting from drastic public spending and sky high fuel prices. The stock market crash of 1974 - 1975 and the Energy crisis of 1979 had also been linked to the 1973 Oil Crisis.
Spanish Fuel Protest
2. Madrid, Spain (October, 2008) - A massive blockade of trucks caused disruption in traffic and brought the economy to a complete halt in Spain, Portugal and France in an effort to protest against sky rocketing fuel prices. The fishermen located on the France-Spain border ended their strike after 3 weeks of zero economic activity. It was estimated that this was the worst ever protest by trucks in Spain that represented around 70,000 trucks out of the total 380,000 at that time. Madrid & Valencia experienced the worst ever traffic jams causing delays and halts in economic activities of people & businesses.
Fuel Protest in York
3. York, United Kingdom (2000) - Fuel prices in the Kingdom have been witnessed historically from being the cheapest to the most expensive in entire Europe (it won't be wrong to say that UK ranks in the top 5 countries selling most expensive oil). Regular reviews of increments in GST and VAT on fuel oil by the government had been causing sparks and civil unrest amongst the people at large. However this spark got ignited and torched the entire economy when unexpected level of frustration between goods transporting companies and farmers took place in the autumn of 2000 resulting in blockade and halts of oil refineries. Even though the protest was ignited by these two groups, it was prominent from the scene that both of them enjoyed substantial amount of support from the public. Politicians and analysts were shocked to see the sky rocketing figures of protestors blocking roads and main highways resulting in disruption of transportation. Series of lives and incomes connected with the stream from manufacturing till reaching final consumers got severely affected hurting the economic performance in a matter of few days only.
UK Fuel Protests
4. UK (2011) - As oil prices continue to rise in UK, yet again the start of New Year 2011 brought economic unrest and civil disobedience amongst the citizens of Britain to raise their voices and get in line with protests. Government tax on fuel (Flat rate of tax per liter + VAT on overall cost of fuel per liter) hovered at around 72.8% in 1993 that jumped to 81.5% in 2000 and currently stands at around 84.2%. Surveys conducted recently in the UK evidenced more than half of the people (52%) getting furious and ready for action against rising oil prices whereas 48% reported as taking action against drastic public spending cuts in the health & education sectors. The government had been undertaking these steps in order to avoid its increasing public debt but also resulting protests and anger amongst the public.
Final Analysis & Effects: It had been noted from the above mentioned famous fuel protests that oil is a vital commodity and the powers dominating its supplies have great control over the entire world. Inflation, unemployment and deprivation of using basic necessities of life like health & education have brought peoples' lives at stake and misery even in today's fast pacing world.
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