Only Planet

One Child, One Year, One Planet. A family of three traveling around the world...

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

London, United Kingdom: It’s not easy being green

Our friend Amanda, who’s currently using our blog as a teaching tool for her 4th and 5th graders, emailed us with a question from her class, asking us what’s the price of gas in London? Good question class. Here’s your answer:

That’s 94.9 pence per liter. 94.9 pence is US$1.74. There are almost 4 liters to a gallon, so that ends up being US$6.96 per GALLON, kids. This is the most expensive we’ve seen. New Zealand and Australia were almost US$4 per gallon. Not only does gas cost a fair bit, but there is also a surcharge on cars found within the city limits of London during the prime hours (7am-6:30pm Monday-Friday ) of US$15 because there are so many cars on the road that they figure charging a lot will help deter drivers and relieve congestion.

Here are a couple of other interesting things we’ve noticed about London that you wouldn’t find in the guide books. It’s not the most environmentally green place. For one of the largest, richest capital cities in the world, there are a few things that leave us floored. There are signs that say recycle your cans and bottles but we’ve found no recycling receptacles anywhere. There are no trashcans in the Tube, but more than anything, I think that is an anti-terrorism measure. Trash is left in plastic bags on the side of the street, to be picked up every morning, and as far as we can tell there are no charges for the number of bags you leave. In Portland, we are charged by the amount of trash we throw away, as judged by the size of our garbage can, and a separate truck handles paper, glass, and other recyclables, which are free. In fact, there is a heavy demand among Portlanders for recyclable soft drink cans since they are worth money, but no such luck here.

There is no charge for water usage here. Britons are not on metered water systems, so no matter your use (refilling the hot tub every other day, having toilets that flush for 5 minutes, watering the garden during one of the omnipresent rain showers), no one is the wiser. And unlike other European countries, there are no charges for bags in the grocery store, like we found in Germany and Switzerland.

I guess I’m not the only one who’s felt like London is quickly becoming America. Andrew Sullivan wrote this article in yesterday’s London Times, which mirrored many of our thoughts, down to me facetiously calling the UK the 52nd state (after Canada—ooh, I’m gonna get some glares for that one…), though I wasn’t aware that some Americans loathe the US more than the British who were polled. Remember kids, play nice. It’s a small world we live in after all. Off to the greener hills and a wee bit of the blarney in Ireland.


Anonymous Don Eggert said...

That was some interesting math there, guys! I get (94.9 pence/liter) * (US$0.0174/pence) * (3.7861 liter/gallon) = US$6.25 per gallon. I can't let a fellow alum (especially one with a PhD in engineering) get away with that!


May 05, 2006 10:41 AM  

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