I’ve mentioned to a few people that I’m not looking forward to going home to a cost of living that is not only higher than here, but also higher than what I left in the US. I hear about the rising prices there continually on CNN. I hear the presidential candidates talk about an energy policy and whether or not to charge federal taxes on gas purchases over the summer. I see that SUVs are no long selling. So, I’m wondering if Indianapolis might maybe consider creating a few more bus lines??? I mean how can a major (yes, Indianapolis is a major city) in the US exist without viable public transportation?? How can the US continue to not have regional or national transportation systems that working people can afford??

We have it here. Pingtung may not have buses but Kaohsiung just got a metro system. In fact, this entire country has a network of buses and trains that make transportation extremely affordable. Competition between the new high speed rail system and the airlines has even brought down prices of rapid travel.  And there are scooters!!

As of 2007, Taiwan’s energy mix was primarily comprised of oil (50.9 percent) and coal (32.3 percent), followed by natural gas (8.1 percent), nuclear power (7.3 percent) and hydroelectric power (1.4 percent). Since 2007, Taiwan has been diversifying to reduce its dependency on oil. Its exploring reusable energy sources, primarily wind and solar. Developing a stronger reliance on these sources is important to this country that has very produces little of its own energy resources.

Oil is refined by three refineries belonging to the state-run China Petroleum Corporation and the privately operated Formosa Petroleum Corporation (FPC), a subsidiary of the Formosa Plastics Group. The state run Petroleum companies have been able to subsidize the oil industry to keep prices low, but as the cost of each barrel continues to rise the new government will have to either increase taxes to continue subsidies or let the market prices continue to rise. At present, gas costs about $4.50.

The value of the Taiwan dollar has not been too strong lately. In fact, its exchange rate has decrease against the dollar since I have been here. The growing economy had been supported mainly by the growth of mom and pop business throughout the island. Families one or two generations removed from the farms move to the cities and open breakfast shops, tea shops, clothing stores, 10 dollar stores, repair stores or any variety of business to support the family. They save fiercely and make sure the children go to college. Increasing fuel costs, food costs… costs of living are slowing growth in this sector. The people are waiting for the new government to develop and implement economic programs to keep them on track for growth.

If I were still in the US, if I had never come here, I would not realize how much the entire globe is suffering at the hands of petroleum companies who are able to pass their increases on to the consumer. The US gets more coverage for their higher costs, but no one is hurting any more or less. On this issue, we’re all pretty much in the same boat.

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