demand for road transport fuel has been examined against the background of a growing awareness of the need for conservation as eventual depletion of world reserves of natural crude oil comes closer. the world price of oil was projected to grow in real terms at between 2.5 and 4 per cent annually with reserves becoming virtually exhausted in the period 2010 to 2020. uk indigenous oil is likely to follow a similar path. if road transport were to move to synthetic liquid fuel made from coal then by 2020 90 million tonne of coal would be required each year to meet the road transport demand. spread over the thirty years from 1990 to 2020, the necessary additional investment in coal mining and the associated plant for converting coal to liquid fuel is equivalent to 5p a gallon on the price of petrol. leaving aside taxes this was predicted to rise from 32p in 1975 to about 50p by 2000 and between 50 and 75p by 2020 (all in 1975 prices) when it would be made from coal. other considerations appear far more important than the financial ones: in addition to any non-transport linked expansion of coal mining capacity, the equivalent of nine mines like selby each with its associated liquefaction plant would have to be developed before 2020 or else coal would have to be imported.(a)

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