Things are officially nuts - diesel prices have surpassed already crazy gasoline prices here. When my parents bought their first diesel-powered SUV four or five years ago, they were delighted that they were going have to pay only a third of what they had been paying to fill up the tank.
Diesel prices, however, have been rising steadily, at a faster pace than other petroleum products including gasoline, as global demand increased. At the same time, the Korean government has been raising the domestic tax on diesel with a goal to make it almost - but not exactly - as expensive as gasoline. The idea is to protect the environment by curbing diesel consumption. Combine these two factors, the result is people being forced to pay more for diesel than for gasoline at the pump, although in theory, diesel is supposed to be cheaper than gasoline because of the quality differential.
Refiners must be having a field day - who would've thought they could sell diesel at higher prices than gasoline? Particulalry, Korean refiners are so-called "export-oriented" refiners, with products like diesel making up the bulk of their exports. So, as long as overseas folks like China buy, they will make money.
Meanwhile, SUV drivers like my parents are getting screwed, but more broadly, truckers and bus drivers will be hit hard, and eventually, the impact will be felt by consumers. As such, truckers' unions are threatening to walk out if the government doesn't do something about this. And the government is busy trying to come up with a solution, looking into giving subsidies to certain businesses or even lowering the tax.
But with oil prices trending up, we all know none of these measures will solve the problems fundamentally, especially given that using fiscal policies to control oil prices can only be detrimental to economies. So everyone's hands are tied. Perhaps it's about time to really give a serious thought to going green.