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“In twenty years' time there will be more cars in China than in the United States -- about 200 million of them. Ten years after that, India's car population will also overtake America's. Within twenty years Russia and Brazil will each have more cars than Japan. We are headed for a billion-car world (unless all the wheels fall off first), and that means permanently high oil prices.”

> Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs don’t make any mention of Indonesia, but the number of vehicles here will undoubtedly increase further provided that the economy doesn’t go pear shaped again like it did in 1998.

Indeed, current data shows that around 350,000 new motorcycles are added to the streets each month!

Along with around 30,000 to 50,000 new cars.

Not that there’s anywhere for them to go off course; the streets are getting increasingly congested, meaning longer jams and even more consumption of petrol…

No wonder then that Indonesia is the only member of OPEC to be a net oil importer!!!

So what does this mean?

Most probably an oil crisis, or at least huge hikes in oil prices.

According to Goldman Sachs, the "new range" within which oil prices will fluctuate is now $50-$105 per barrel. (The old range, still used by most of the oil industry when deciding if a given investment will be profitable, was $20-$30.)

And if the US launches military strikes against Iran then all bets are off. Prices would go much much higher.

Of course something will eventually have to give.

And it will.

That is petrol prices will soon become beyond the reach of the poor.

So Mr Fauzi Bowo, just forget about replacing the filthy and noisy bajaj with newer kancils. Cos now is the time to retrieve those becak that you dumped into the Sunda Straits, and get them back on the streets of Jakarta again!

Being a becak driver ain’t as bad and demeaning as the authorities make out. You get a workout as good as in any top-notch gym, fresh air, sun on your back, and even the opportunity to chat to nice young girls like these…

becak girls





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