this is what is to come

The rise in the price of electricity At all times, it is the Government’s energy measure to encourage consumption at times other than peak hours and thus have a flatter and more sustainable demand curve. This has been accompanied by a reduction in the fixed costs of the invoice that will hardly compensate the rise in the variables.

This increase will benefit those who manage to schedule their consumption in off-peak hours and those who manage to reduce their electricity consumption. In other words, it is a measure that will benefit the environment (since peaks in demand are usually covered with technologies that emit a lot of CO2 and because if we reduce consumption we emit less) but it is quite regressive, since the most affected will be the disadvantaged : people with less income than they cannot plan their consumptions well (Putting the washing machine at dawn in a chalet is not a problem, doing it in a small apartment will surely go against Community regulations), who only have one property (this reform lowers the bill for second homes by having a fixed lower) or that you cannot change your appliances frequently for more efficient ones.

And it is not the only reform that we are going to see in the coming years that, trying to benefit the environment, it will hurt low and medium incomes. We will see more reforms in this regard that are pro-environment and clearly regressive.

More expensive trips

The recovery plan documents sent by Spain to Brussels indicate that there will be new taxes on flights. This will be the starting gun for tax air travel, an industry with many CO2 emissions.

And this may not be the only measure. In France all domestic flights have been banned that can be done in less than two and a half hours by train. If this measure were applied in Spain Routes such as Madrid-Barcelona (the one with the highest air traffic) would be prohibited and the exclusive alternatives would be train or road.

The clear alternative to flying is to use the train, which right now has excessively high prices for low incomes, being in many cases much more expensive than flights. It remains to be seen the impact that competition in the train market may have in prices.

What is clear is that pro-environment measures will end the golden age of travel, where all social classes could afford (within their means) to make trips to relatively distant destinations. Tourism for the lower and middle classes will be less far-reaching.

Displacements

The recovery plan also indicates a increase in fuel taxes. Besides, there is a plan for old cars cannot enter the center of large cities and that the fossil fuel engines are a thing of the past in two decades.

What’s more the highways will be paidFor who else uses the vehicle, pay more for their maintenance. This without counting that the renewal of old vehicles by modern electric ones, apart from the associated cost, will give advantages to those who have a garage to recharge it, to much lower prices than charging stations. Do not forget that about 2/3 of the vehicles in Spain sleep in the streete.

All these measures lead to lower rents in public transport, which is effectively more sustainable, but which prevents, for example, access better jobs further from home or that the children of these classes can afford to go to better schools other than the one closest to home.

Feeding

Another pro-environment measure that will affect the most disadvantaged classes will be the rising food prices. On the one hand is that the new anti-displacement measures will make the transport of food more expensive and therefore its final price in supermarkets. But on the other hand we will surely see anti-meat measures soon.

Low income will not be able to continue with their lifestyle due to pro-environment measures

Just like we have seen a special tax on sugary drinks (for health reasons, not for the environment) in the future we may see special taxes on meat, since livestock is especially polluting (although it has its detractors). In fact, in the document Spain 2050 presented by the Government a few weeks ago they were already aiming for a lower consumption of meat in the future.

The lower classes will not be able to afford to eat as much meat as they do now. This, apart from being good for the environment, may even be better for health, since the base of the food pyramid is vegetables, fruits and legumes. However I doubt it will have a significant impact, in the end the cheapest food is ultra-processed and this is very harmful. Hopefully there is no substitution of meat and fish for this type of food.

The truth is that low and medium incomes are going to be harmed by all these measures. Low income will not be able to continue with their lifestyle due to pro-environment measures and middle income may be able to continue the same but with a significant effect on finances. The highest rents will escape, since the impact of these new taxes or prices will not be very high on their income and they will be able to continue traveling by plane, traveling in their electric cars, programming the dishwasher at dawn (in a kitchen that is very far from the bedrooms) and eating meat whenever they want.


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