SEARCH BLOG: ENERGY
I am an unbeliever... not one of the new faith... of course I'm talking about CO2-inspired global warming.... I am a believer in the value of an energy-efficient economy, however.
That said, I believe energy-efficient products are not necessarily economical products from consumers' perspectives. Why? The economic equation is not only the cost of operation, but also the cost of acquisition. Too often, the premium tacked on to a product because it sports an "Energy Star" label or uses an "alternative" energy source isn't justified by the energy operating savings.
But suppose we have the choice between two products that have different energy consumption curves and the more efficient product has a lifetime cost advantage over the less efficient product. Does that mean consumers will be rational and select the more energy efficient product? Of course, the answer is "not necessarily."
Cost is one aspect of a product decision. How about factors such as...Suppose a manufacturer successfully developed a reliable, efficient, stunning-looking, hydrogen-powered car that was cheaper to own and operate over the lifetime of the vehicle than a conventional gasoline-powered car. And suppose the only two drawbacks were lack of filling stations and lack of qualified mechanics? What do you suppose the purchase decision would be? I mean for everyone other than Greenpeace members.
Sure, we can legislate production of certain products. We can legislate 35 mpg trucks.
We can give enormous tax incentives to purchase those trucks [everyone subsidizes everyone else so it doesn't cost anyone anything extra].But I'm not sure that we can convince buyers that they really want underpowered, hybrid, Ranger-sized pickup trucks that are unsuitable for their needs. Hey, there are either physics or sleight-of-hand calculations here. I suppose if we say you have to have the "equivalent of 35 mpg gasoline" performance that would mean something different from "35 mpg if you use gasoline."
The latter is a giant loophole that says "we don't care whether your vehicle is energy efficient as long as you don't use petroleum products."That's the problem with mandating economic performance in the guise of energy-efficiency. You really have to have loopholes or you are just mandating problems.
The former might be problematic.
I'd rather be on the lookout for products that actually save energy and money while improving performance. Those products are out there... and the marketplace recognizes that they are winners... not just someone else's favorites...