Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-08-2009, 01:21 PM   #21
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,049
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I'd look at it this way - Did that $1,000 save so much energy that it reduced demand so much that the cost of energy was pushed down by $1,000? That would be "worth it" economically.
Since the cost was recouped, apparently so. What part of the math don't you understand?
__________________

__________________
eridanus is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-08-2009, 01:28 PM   #22
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by eridanus View Post
Your "some people" argument leaves a lot to be desired. Who are "some people" and how many are there?
Of course it leaves a lot to be desired, there is no way we can come up with accurate, timely numbers.

But there can be no doubt that *some* people will and do take that approach (just read some forums) and to *some* degree, it offsets the conservation savings. So the savings will be less than the numbers would indicate. I don't think there is any question about that, though the actual amount is questionable.

You can use this forum as an example - a number of us have commented that after putting in a CFL, there is a little less tendency to turn it off when leaving a room. The thought it - well, it's not really using much energy, I'll leave it on for 5 minutes... It is still worth using them (where appropriate), but the savings is not as great as a simple calculation on efficiency.

Here is something that is unquestionable: When gas went to $4/gallon, people used less of it. Period. It wasn't because of CAFE standards, or hybrids, or carpool lanes. It is measurable and it is real.

-ERD50
__________________

__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 01:38 PM   #23
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by eridanus View Post
Since the cost was recouped, apparently so. What part of the math don't you understand?
I was taking T-Al's example as given - 15 year payback, but the house burned down in 10 years. So no, the cost was not recouped.

I'll add a bit to my "some people" case in the previous post - the savings on tankless appear to be in the 10-15% range in general. So a few people taking 20 minute versus 10 minute showers, and a few hot tubs used mote often can offset that marginal saving quickly. It doesn't take much.

That is part of what bugs me - they are looking at funding devices that provide such marginal savings. I'm all for conservation, I think there must be bigger fish to fry and more effective means to get there.

If they really want to play games and motivate with "credits", then they ought to make the credits match the goal - energy usage. Credit people for keeping their total energy bill lower than the average for their community. Of course, that gets complex to manage, hey wait a minute, what if we just raised the price of energy with a tax that was returned to the people? Then people would actually have an incentive to conserve energy in whatever manner is most effective for them. Maybe it's buy a new furnace, maybe it is put on a sweater, or turn off heat in unused rooms, etc, etc, etc. What an idea!

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 01:56 PM   #24
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,049
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I was taking T-Al's example as given - 15 year payback, but the house burned down in 10 years. So no, the cost was not recouped.
Yeah, but most of us don't plan for such unlikely possibilities. Did you use fiberboard siding in case the house burns down in 10 years? Anything else wouldn't be worth it. Did you space the wall studs 30" apart because the house might burn down before it collapses? A 16" spacing is a waste of money.

Quote:
If they really want to play games and motivate with "credits", then they ought to make the credits match the goal - energy usage. Credit people for keeping their total energy bill lower than the average for their community. Of course, that gets complex to manage, hey wait a minute, what if we just raised the price of energy with a tax that was returned to the people? Then people would actually have an incentive to conserve energy in whatever manner is most effective for them. Maybe it's buy a new furnace, maybe it is put on a sweater, or turn off heat in unused rooms, etc, etc, etc. What an idea!
Energy companies wouldn't like it.

This brings up an interesting aside. For-profit energy companies want to sell as many kwH a possible. Energy conservation is anathema to them. This led to PG&E running ads claiming that fluorescents were bad, Bad, BAD (during the early 80s oil crisis). Eventually, someone figured out that they needed to pay the power companies money for efficiency improvements. In other words, the free market wouldn't encourage energy efficiencies on its own, so the government had to create a market.
__________________
eridanus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 03:11 PM   #25
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by eridanus View Post
Yeah, but most of us don't plan for such unlikely possibilities.
Hey, it was T-Al's fabrication - I was just playin' along


Quote:
Energy companies wouldn't like it.

This brings up an interesting aside. For-profit energy companies want to sell as many kwH a possible. Energy conservation is anathema to them.
...

In other words, the free market wouldn't encourage energy efficiencies on its own, so the government had to create a market.
But of course.

I'm too lazy to preface every single one of my posts on this subject with it, but I often add the caveat "if we think the govt should be involved in conservation efforts at all"....

So what we are talking about is messing with the free markets. No question about it.

I'm not going to take the time to look back, but in this thread or one of the other recent ones, I mentioned that I think govt involvement can (if done properly - big IF), help to smooth the path for people, so they don't get whip-sawed by big swings in energy prices.

so... "if we think the govt should be involved in conservation efforts at all"... then I want them to do it in the most effective means possible. I don't see putting money upfront for a possible 15 year *break-even* point (not counting interest on that borrowed govt money) on technology which is advertised as being able to help you use more energy than ever before as being effective.

A revenue-neutral tax on fuel is messing with the free markets, but in the most "hands-off" way possible. It motivates people to save energy, but then the free market figures out how to do it.

Now, if you want to argue that the free market does a lousy job of conserving energy, and that is why we had Hummers and SUVs, OK. But that free market was just responding to cheap energy. Make energy expensive and the free market will respond - that was proven with $4 gas.

Now just imagine if the govt in the 70's set an ever-rising and well publicized floor on gas prices. People would have adapted slowly over time and the markets would have responded to the demand for more efficient product and they would modify their behaviors. All that without Congress trying to play Automotive, Electrical, HVAC engineer. They do a lousy job at that, among other things.


-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 03:42 PM   #26
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Romney, WV
Posts: 729
Quote:
Originally Posted by freebird5825 View Post
It's a Federal tax deduction, as follows:
Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency : ENERGY STAR
Thanks, good information- are these credits subject to being reduced based on income or available regardless of income?
__________________
davemartin88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 04:13 PM   #27
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
tryan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,449
Seems to me the feds are pushing on a string ... I installed a geothermal system under the guides of a 7 year pay-back. First winter had a freon leak: $1100. Second winter the mother board went on the hot water system: $1000.

PITA factor aside ... the pay-back on these technologies is WAY longer than advertised. Every year of a major repair (and EVERY repair is major) shifts the pay-back out an entire year.

FWIW, with gas under $2 the hybrids will fall apart well before the pay-back is achieved, imo.
__________________
FIRE'd since 2005
tryan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 04:31 PM   #28
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,526
I wish they would offer $1500 tax credits for buying heavier coats and more blankets and thicker socks.

I definitely agree with the ERD50 position that it is better to have an energy tax that allows everyone to conserve in the most economical manner. Then make it revenue neutral by refunding it in a progressive manner - ie $200 per household flat refund regardless of how much energy you actually used. Heck, charge a 100% tax on energy across the board and simply refund it evenly across all households. Think about how that would change the payback period on geotherm heat systems, added insulation, energy efficient windows, tankless water heaters, CFL's, solar water heaters, solar panels, etc. And it would not cost us, the taxpayers, a penny overall. It would also encourage conservation, smaller, more efficient houses and businesses, etc.

Well, gotta go! Those hour long scalding hot showers aren't going to take themselves!
__________________
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 06:11 PM   #29
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,666
Quote:
Originally Posted by tryan View Post
Seems to me the feds are pushing on a string ... I installed a geothermal system under the guides of a 7 year pay-back. First winter had a freon leak: $1100. Second winter the mother board went on the hot water system: $1000.

PITA factor aside ... the pay-back on these technologies is WAY longer than advertised. Every year of a major repair (and EVERY repair is major) shifts the pay-back out an entire year.

FWIW, with gas under $2 the hybrids will fall apart well before the pay-back is achieved, imo.
I am sorry to hear about your experiences. I would blacklist your installer as I have never heard of anyone having that many issues in so short a time.
Our 2 year old system has had no need for repairs and is on pace to pay for itself just shy of 6 years.

As for hybrids, I value getting the nation off foreign oil for national security reasons. How soon does a persons leather seats or sunroof pay for itself?

To bring this back on topic, I agree with ERD that the BEST way to encourage conservation is through higher fuel/energy prices. However I feel tax credits for typical efficiency improvements is better than nothing.
__________________
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
(Ancient Indian Proverb)"
Zathras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 06:52 PM   #30
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 113
I think many people are missing the secondary aspects of a tax credit.

In the example of energy-efficiency tax credits, the primary purpose is to allow purchasers/adopters to reduce initial costs and hopefully reduce long-term energy use.

Now for the secondary aspects which haven't been mentioned: purchases created due to tax credits increase viability for the companies producing goods, allow them to reduce manufacturing (and ultimately consumer) costs through mass-production efficiencies, and promote additional research and engineering in energy-efficiency arenas relevant to the tax credit. Increase prevalence and exposure of these goods in mainstream society also increases sales even after tax credits expire.

These additional benefits may not completely counteract some of the arguments made against tax credits, but they are something that needs to be taken into account when examining the overall efficacy of the concept.
__________________
cho oyu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 07:07 PM   #31
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by cho oyu View Post
I think many people are missing the secondary aspects of a tax credit.

In the example of energy-efficiency tax credits, the primary purpose is to allow purchasers/adopters to reduce initial costs and hopefully reduce long-term energy use.
I hope not. If the technology is any good, then the purchasers/adopters will already have sufficient incentive to buy the product (i.e. theyll get to save energy). The government has no business taking money from all of us for the benefit of a few people who buy a product that benefits them anyway. The only way the tax credit makes sense is if we as a whole benefit enough from each individual implementation of the new technology to make this "uncompensated taking" from other taxpayers worth it--to society as a whole. That's a high standard and I personally doubt these incentives meet that standard.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cho oyu View Post
Now for the secondary aspects which haven't been mentioned: purchases created due to tax credits increase viability for the companies producing goods, allow them to reduce manufacturing (and ultimately consumer) costs through mass-production efficiencies, and promote additional research and engineering in energy-efficiency arenas relevant to the tax credit. Increase prevalence and exposure of these goods in mainstream society also increases sales even after tax credits expire.
I understand what you are getting at here. Still, don't we want the >>most beneficial<< new technologies to get the most business? And hasn't the marketplace (rather than DC lawmakers and powerful lobbyists/entrenched interests) proven itself to be a far better mechanism for determining technological superiority and technical merit?

Let the market decide. If the market doesn't properly value things (due to uncompensated externalities) and this is deemed to be a detriment, then we should make a conscious decision to include these costs in prices via some mechanism, but continue to let the market pick the winners.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 07:21 PM   #32
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
I hope not. If the technology is any good, then the purchasers/adopters will already have sufficient incentive to buy the product (i.e. theyll get to save energy). The government has no business taking money from all of us for the benefit of a few people who buy a product that benefits them anyway. The only way the tax credit makes sense is if we as a whole benefit enough from each individual implementation of the new technology to make this "uncompensated taking" from other taxpayers worth it--to society as a whole. That's a high standard and I personally doubt these incentives meet that standard.
I understand what you are getting at here. Still, don't we want the >>most beneficial<< new technologies to get the most business? And hasn't the marketplace (rather than DC lawmakers and powerful lobbyists/entrenched interests) proven itself to be a far better mechanism for determining technological superiority and technical merit?

Let the market decide. If the market doesn't properly value things (due to uncompensated externalities) and this is deemed to be a detriment, then we should make a conscious decision to include these costs in prices via some mechanism, but continue to lt the market pick the winners.
I haven't run the numbers for these specific credits, nor do I think that this is easy to do - so I don't have a specific opinion on whether these are good or bad.

But the concept of government providing some type of long-term societal direction through tax policy is, I think, important. It has been repeatedly shown that the market is incredibly shortsighted and long-term gains and efficiencies are strongly discounted as compared to near-term gains (i.e. take a quick look at the state of international finance). Ideally, government takes a slightly longer-term view and promotes ideas and concepts that won't have immediate financial payback but will maintain future economic and societal viability.

Most basic research in the US is now sponsored by the federal government; megacorp has essentially eliminated all blue-skies work because of the immediacy of required payback. Why would research into energy efficiency and energy efficiency in consumer products be any different?

I suppose one could say that elimination of government from the whole process would force the free market back into the area of research. However, many large-scale capital projects (and I think that large levels of short-term research funding for relatively quick results fall under the same type of purview) are simply not feasible without government support.

In this specific instance of energy efficiency credits I simply don't see the government as being a malicious entity being guided solely through campaign contributions. Some of the credits may be misguided, but the overall concept of reduced energy consumption is a positive trend.
__________________
cho oyu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 07:21 PM   #33
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zathras View Post
As for hybrids, I value getting the nation off foreign oil for national security reasons. How soon does a persons leather seats or sunroof pay for itself?
Is the government taking money from everyone so that some people get a subsidized purchase of leather seats and sunroofs? Tell me more!
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 07:22 PM   #34
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Hey, it was T-Al's fabrication - I was just playin' along




But of course.

I'm too lazy to preface every single one of my posts on this subject with it, but I often add the caveat "if we think the govt should be involved in conservation efforts at all"....

So what we are talking about is messing with the free markets. No question about it.

I'm not going to take the time to look back, but in this thread or one of the other recent ones, I mentioned that I think govt involvement can (if done properly - big IF), help to smooth the path for people, so they don't get whip-sawed by big swings in energy prices.

so... "if we think the govt should be involved in conservation efforts at all"... then I want them to do it in the most effective means possible. I don't see putting money upfront for a possible 15 year *break-even* point (not counting interest on that borrowed govt money) on technology which is advertised as being able to help you use more energy than ever before as being effective.

A revenue-neutral tax on fuel is messing with the free markets, but in the most "hands-off" way possible. It motivates people to save energy, but then the free market figures out how to do it.

Now, if you want to argue that the free market does a lousy job of conserving energy, and that is why we had Hummers and SUVs, OK. But that free market was just responding to cheap energy. Make energy expensive and the free market will respond - that was proven with $4 gas.

Now just imagine if the govt in the 70's set an ever-rising and well publicized floor on gas prices. People would have adapted slowly over time and the markets would have responded to the demand for more efficient product and they would modify their behaviors. All that without Congress trying to play Automotive, Electrical, HVAC engineer. They do a lousy job at that, among other things.

-ERD50
Well said.
__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 07:38 PM   #35
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by cho oyu View Post
. . but the overall concept of reduced energy consumption is a positive trend.
I agree that it might be a good thing. We're just talking about the means at this point, not the value of the goal itself. Suggested alternate approaches: Target tax credits for specific (politically-favored) technologies or artificially increasign the price of energy (through taxes) so that the market demands and gets more fuel-efficient technologies.

But, I don't agree that the government should necessarily be in this business of reducing US energy use at all, at least unless we make a decision to do it based on a real cost/benefit analysis, not some feel-good bumper-sticker-level reasoning. I could list 30 reasons why ot might be >>good<< to decrease our energy use, but here are a few reasons why it might NOT be a good idea to artificially decrease our energy use (as a matter of national industrial policy).
1) There's only so much "cheap" energy out there (oil, coal, etc). The countries and industries which use this energy now get a (fair? unfair?) advantage over others. I'd rather that this advantage go to US industries
2) American pollution laws are tougher and our fuel use is more efficient than in many other countries (e.g the PRC). So, the US is really doing the ecosystem a huge service if we are the ones who burn these resources rather than allowing them to be burned by less efficient/responsible entities.
3) Saving energy has other costs. I can list scores of ways that saving energy will cost lives and reduce the quality of life in our country. We should understand and enumerate these costs carefuly, and reduce them in a conscious manner, not just pretend that they don't exist.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 08:30 PM   #36
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
tryan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,449
Quote:

I would blacklist your installer as I have never heard of anyone having that many issues in so short a time.
Less about the installer ... more about the manufacturer (Water Furnace). Problem is parts are 10-14 days away. Much of my costs was bringing in back-up. It was 20 below zero one night of the heat outage (came damn close to loosing the pipes!). Then the second year, 2 weeks without hotwater ... simply unacceptable.

Glad your's still works ... but you need to prepare for when it doesn't. I am just not sure the gov can "push" this stuff into prime time.
__________________
FIRE'd since 2005
tryan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 08:56 PM   #37
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
BTW, my tankless water heater cost $1,700 installed, and with propane over $2.50/gallon, it has already paid for itself in the few years I've had it.
I just realized how perfectly this makes my point.

1) I am hesitant to install a higher eff water heater, even with a 30% tax credit.

2) You were motivated to install a higher eff water heater, even with a smaller tax credit ($300 at the time?).

And what is only the difference? The price of fuel. It encourages conservation in many ways, not just the technology, but in behaviors.

note - T-Al's propane costs ~ 3x per Therm as my Natural Gas supply.

-ERD50

edit - sorry, I didn't see all the posts since my latest - sorry if I repeated anything, I'll go back and read now
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 09:12 PM   #38
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
I'm a big believer in government incentives, especially tax credits. Our photovoltaic system was 57% funded by federal/state tax credits between 2004-2007, and we'll break even in about 18 months.

Hawaii has the nation's highest per-capita use of solar water heaters-- 35%. The system cost, roughly $5K-$6K, can be repaid within 5-8 years. However very few people would pony up that capex because-- they don't have it! The ability to get most of it back from the state through credits is the incentive it takes to get them off the fence.

And yet there's still not enough compelling financial payback to make the average homebuyer demand a solar water system in their home. So the big bad govt interfered once again by mandating that all new homes have solar water systems starting next year. The retail installers are up in arms at this loss of individual market opportunity, but a bigger builder/developer will surely find mass-production ways to bring down the unit cost-- especially when the system is built-in instead of added on.

Hawaii also has a system of tax credits for investors in certain high-tech and media businesses. I can support that too-- I'd rather put my tax dollars directly into an incentive than give it to a govt bureaucracy and trust them to do right and to do it efficiently.

BTW another compelling govt incentive to get involved in energy conservation is to avoid the construction of new generation plants. Our local utility would have to spend years of study, feedback, and bureaucratic red tape to build yet another electric plant. In fact I'd say it's extremely unlikely to happen. But initiatives for private companies to build generators through burning trash, solar (both PV and hot oil), geothermal, and deep ocean cooling have sailed right on through. The local utility also pays rebates and monthly incentives for various energy-avoidance and conservation schemes, and will soon invoke time-of-day metering. It's all intended to avoid having to waste the money on attempting to build another plant, and I think it's great to send some of that money my way to motivate me to use less energy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tryan View Post
PITA factor aside ... the pay-back on these technologies is WAY longer than advertised. Every year of a major repair (and EVERY repair is major) shifts the pay-back out an entire year.
I agree that the advertising promises more than it delivers, just like a new-car salesman or a retail furniture store. And you're equally screwed if you happen to buy a lemon.

However each buyer has to be able to do their own math for their own situation. In our case the payback was quite a bit less than advertised. I wouldn't give up on a technology or apply a pessimistic correction factor solely because it didn't work out for one particular system.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 09:44 PM   #39
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
I'm a big believer in government incentives, especially tax credits. Our photovoltaic system was 57% funded by federal/state tax credits between 2004-2007, and we'll break even in about 18 months.
Sure, it's great for Nords the recipient, but what is the benefit to the rest of the nation who paid for that tax credit?

Are you saying you would not have put in the solar panels if it was a 42 month payback ( 18 months/(1-.57))? I suspect you would. So why ask the rest of the taxpayers to subsidize you.

I can't find anything that is a 42 month payback for me, if I could I'd take it. I wouldn't need a tax credit to do that, I'd just do it.

Not computing for me.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2009, 09:52 PM   #40
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
I agree that it might be a good thing. We're just talking about the means at this point, not the value of the goal itself. Suggested alternate approaches: Target tax credits for specific (politically-favored) technologies or artificially increasign the price of energy (through taxes) so that the market demands and gets more fuel-efficient technologies.

But, I don't agree that the government should necessarily be in this business of reducing US energy use at all, at least unless we make a decision to do it based on a real cost/benefit analysis, not some feel-good bumper-sticker-level reasoning. I could list 30 reasons why ot might be >>good<< to decrease our energy use, but here are a few reasons why it might NOT be a good idea to artificially decrease our energy use (as a matter of national industrial policy).
1) There's only so much "cheap" energy out there (oil, coal, etc). The countries and industries which use this energy now get a (fair? unfair?) advantage over others. I'd rather that this advantage go to US industries
2) American pollution laws are tougher and our fuel use is more efficient than in many other countries (e.g the PRC). So, the US is really doing the ecosystem a huge service if we are the ones who burn these resources rather than allowing them to be burned by less efficient/responsible entities.
3) Saving energy has other costs. I can list scores of ways that saving energy will cost lives and reduce the quality of life in our country. We should understand and enumerate these costs carefuly, and reduce them in a conscious manner, not just pretend that they don't exist.
First, Nords brought up an excellent reasoning behind credits/subsidies that shows the consumer side of the equation: even if there is a short-term payback, many people don't have the increase in initial outlay money for more efficient technologies.

I'll play a bit of devil's advocate to your three points:

1) Decreasing fuel consumption in non-critical areas lowers overall demand and prices. It also extends the period of time in which cheap fuel exists. With the US arguably the nation with the most general technological expertise, this gives us the longest time to figure out how to maintain long-term societal viability, be it through eventual required decrease in energy consumption or inventing the new cheap energy source.

2) If all we do is use energy and stop innovating, then your point is valid. However, what is being proposed is devising cheaper, energy efficient methods to live. It takes quite some time to mature a technology - why not start now and try to propagate our knowledge (for money and goodwill) when other countries determine that externalities (pollution) have to be addressed with high energy consumption? China, for example, is going to have some serious issues if they don't figure out how to control pollution (clean water is already a serious problem).

3) I agree. This needs to be an engineering problem to a large degree. It will ultimately end up being political, though, because of macroscopic environmental and economic effects (cross-border pollution, global warming, etc.).


For this specific issue, it seems to come down to whether someone has actually tried to do a non-partisan economic and environmental analysis of the effect of tax credits/rebates on energy efficient systems and what those results were.
__________________

__________________
cho oyu is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
M*'s Sue Stevens: "How Two New Tax Laws Will Affect Your Bottom Line" Nords FIRE and Money 5 09-28-2006 01:44 PM
Helping in-laws sell long time residence Da Nag FIRE and Money 15 08-01-2006 11:20 PM
Forclosure Lein Laws modhatter FIRE and Money 3 06-15-2006 01:21 PM
In-laws may need my money - how to cope? justin Other topics 23 03-19-2006 01:43 PM
401K discrimination laws ? Cut-Throat Other topics 15 01-15-2005 07:14 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:31 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.