The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

22 October 2004

Save energy or else

Eric Scheie, riffing on this Thomas Sowell column, suggests that maybe mandatory motion sensors and fluorescents aren't enough:

[W]hy stop with electricity? Couldn't body temperature sensors be used to determine how much heat we need? Timers on all faucets so that we don't spend too much time showering or brushing our teeth? A time limit on running all automobile engines, enforced by a shutoff switch after a certain period of time? A limit on how many times a toilet can be flushed during a day?

It might save even more energy to simply have mandatory power blackouts whenever the bureaucrats see fit.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is one step ahead of you, Eric.

Meanwhile, as always, the marketplace is at work. Oklahoma Natural Gas allows customers to hedge a bit by offering to sell them gas for the next 12 months at a fixed price per unit. At the moment, the price offered is higher than the rate being currently charged, but if prices should rise more than 18 percent, not at all implausible in these days of spiraling energy costs, you've beaten the system.

Being the cynical type, I must point out that it's not likely that you'd get the full 18-percent price peak until midwinter at the earliest, by which time you've already "overpaid" for a few zillion Btu, but for someone who has a lot more gas appliances than I have — only my furnace and water heater run on gas — this could be a far better deal later in the year.

I know, I know: "alternative fuels." Hey, I buy wind from OG&E, remember? But as a practical matter, nothing will speed the adoption of alternative fuels quite as efficiently as having to pay through the nose for ordinary fuels.

Posted at 11:30 AM to Family Joules


Yep - good old market forces. Adam Smith was right.

That's why it steams me up when a 100-pound woman who drives a gargantuan SUV complains about gas prices. I feel like screaming, "IF YOU DON'T LIKE GAS PRICES, BUY LESS GAS!"

Now you can even buy a hybrid mini SUV (2005 Ford Escape Hybrid).

My evil Republican ideals dictate that everyone should be able to buy as much gas as they want and drive whatever wasteful, stupid, security blanket (for women) or phallic fetish (for men) that they want.

But if they do, they should SHUT THE HELL UP ABOUT GAS PRICES.

Phew.. Sorry about that. And finally - Don't forget "Warmth for winter" if petroleum prices go too high. If it gets too cold, some people in Oklahoma can't afford to heat their homes.

Posted by: Dan at 12:26 PM on 22 October 2004

Thanks for the link Charles. Jeez, the LA bureaucrats are a step ahead of me? (Maybe I shouldn't be offering them new ideas....)

Posted by: Eric Scheie at 1:48 PM on 22 October 2004

You buy Condor Cuisinart electrons?

I'm so dissapointed...

Myria

Posted by: Myria at 5:41 PM on 23 October 2004

Actually, where these things are located, the few birds that get mulched are generally fairly prosaic — but I suspect flying over a coal-burning power plant doesn't do their lungs any good, either.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:31 PM on 23 October 2004

Speaking of power plants, when is "It Can't Rain All The Time" coming back?

(Okay, not a great segue.)

Posted by: CGHill at 6:32 PM on 23 October 2004

But if they do, they should SHUT THE HELL UP ABOUT GAS PRICES.

It'd be nice if market forces alone determined the supply of gasoline. *cough*ANWR*cough*

Posted by: McGehee at 6:50 PM on 23 October 2004

Bah, coal fumes are good for avians :).

If I decide to bring it back it'll probably be sometime after the election when hopefully the dink factor will be way down and my patience not nearly so tried.

Myria

Posted by: Myria at 12:02 PM on 28 October 2004