[ExI] Rationality and Irrationality

Kevin Freels kevin at kevinfreels.com
Tue Dec 18 15:09:48 UTC 2007

> If we can give up our oil addiction and guilt the world into believing
> in the "green" program, we can further raise the price of the dirty
> habit for those who can't afford the switch to carbon-free
> alternatives.  (You know, like charging $4.50 for the same box of
> cigarettes that was < $2.00 only ten years ago:  the more people quit,
> the more they can charge the remaining recalcitrant smokers) 
Has there been any research that shows that this method actually reduces 
the number of smokers? Or do they just alter other parts of their lives 
to compensate? Except for myself, everyone I know that smoked  10 years  
ago still does. I quit because of my father's emergency bypass surgery 
and subsequent coma.  (He still smokes).
I know that several years ago when the gas prices spiked for a while, a 
lot of people switched to driving smaller vehicled and SUVs took a 
beating in the US. Since then it appears on the surface that people have 
went back to buying the SUVs despite gas being twice what it was 7 years 
ago. Instead they have found other ways to deal with it such as cutting 
back entertainment, buying cheaper Chinese made products, and cancelling 
their gym memberships.
>    I have
> little doubt the US will tap Alaskan oil fields, but not before the
> selling price is five times what it is now.  In order to make that
> happen, some changes are obviously required.  Americans will not pay
> that much to drive, 
Prove it. I think you are wrong. Americans have a love affair with the 
independence that driving a car brings. They cannot all afford to go out 
and buy a new vehicle. The average commute is 45 minutes meaning that 
they can't just walk to work. Most of the working population has a car 
payment that goes along with the car and that would still have to be 
paid whether or not they were driving the car. The cars they have now 
would lose their value and they would not be able to trade them without 
incurring a huge additional amount of debt which is already a severe 
problem in the US. The problem is on the manufacturing end. If someone 
suddenly started releasing cars that were comfortable, attractive, safe 
(both real and perceived), that would do 75 mpg - or even 100, they 
would jump on it. But even then you have the used car problem to 
address. Any real alternative to make a difference will have to include 
all the used vehicles already out there.

Also, this still doesn't address the problem. The oil in Alaska, if not 
purchased by the US will be bought from us by other countries. It will 
be sold to whomever is willing to pay the most.
> it wouldn't be worth it to go to work - so an
> artificial 50% increase now is just enough pain to adopt hybrid and
> electric vehicles so we can tolerate another 300+% increase tomorrow.
More money needs to be spent on R&D to make these products available. I 
like where you are going with this though. How about a $1.50 per gallon 
gas guzzler tax on all passenger vehicles that get less than 30 mpg and 
use that money to directly fund alternative R&D.

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