Monday, June 04, 2007

Mutually Inconsistent Answers

Think about how a majority of the general public would answers these 9 questions, let me predict their answers as follows:

Group A:

1. Is global warming a problem and do automoblies contribute significantly to it? YES

2. Is increased energy efficiency desirable? YES

3. Are alternative fuels like wind and solar desirable? YES

4. Should we encourage hybrid cars? YES

5. Should we try to reduce energy consumption as much as possible? YES

6. Should we try to promote increased energy conservation? YES

Group B:

7. Are higher gas prices, like $5 per gallon, a good thing? NO

8. Would you like to see lower gas prices this year, like $2 per gallon? YES

9. Should we legislate against "price gouging" by oil companies? YES

Bottom Line: The general public's predicted answers to Questions 7 - 9 are in direct opposition to their answers to Questions 1 - 6. That is, based on the predicted answers to Group A questions, people should advocate HIGHER prices for gas and NOT LOWER prices!

Higher gas prices, e.g. $5 per gallon, would lead to MORE energy conservation, LESS pollution, and INCREASED use of alternative fuels, whereas lower gas prices, e.g. $2 per gallon, would lead to LESS energy conservation, MORE pollution, and a DECREASED use of alternative fuels.

12 Comments:

At 6/04/2007 4:59 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Hmmm, yet another shinning example of how public schools have been abysmal failures for the last fifty years?

Whatever happened to critical thought?

 
At 6/04/2007 10:33 PM, Blogger Gregory said...

I disagree. Cheap gas, even cheaper alternatives, sounds like the optimal outcome to me. The people on the street are merely throwing out a wish for new technology to save us from such sub-standard outcomes as high gas prices.

As such, it would be irrational for the people on the street to advocate a bad outcome, high gas prices, just because the technology of today leaves us with a mutually exclusive cheap gas and affordable alternatives.

Come back in 40 years, the people on the street might be proven right by some clever developer.

 
At 6/05/2007 1:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are some ideas so crazy only an academic could believe them.

 
At 6/05/2007 5:53 AM, Blogger juandos said...

gregory says: "As such, it would be irrational for the people on the street to advocate a bad outcome, high gas prices, just because the technology of today leaves us with a mutually exclusive cheap gas and affordable alternatives"...

Wait a sec there Mr. Gregory but didn't the same people already act irrationally by electing Congress Critters to carry out the desires of those same said irrational people with N.I.M.B.Y syndrome when it came to building refineries and drilling for oil both on and off shore?

These same irrational people elected other irrational people to place more taxes on a gallon of gasoline than the profit the oil companies derive from selling that gallon of gasoline...

People only have themselves to blame when it comes to high gas prices by refusing to allow market forces to work...

 
At 6/05/2007 6:14 AM, Anonymous Walt G. said...

The problem is gas is a necessity because people's homes and their work are disconnected. When I grew up we had one car, but my dad could walk to work at Chevrolet three blocks away.

My next-door neighbor is car pooling to Detroit from Burton with two other guys to make $10 an hour. On top of that, they pay $80 a week for their health insurance.

It might be wrong for him to wish for cheap gas, but every dollar he spends takes groceries away from his two kids. It might be easy to blame him for his problems from a lack of ambition, education, or whatever; however, he’s not the only one in his position. He is a hard worker who was willing to chop wood and collect used pallets to burn in his stove when they turned this gas off last winter.

I’ve got enough time and money to rationalize gas prices. A lot of people don’t.

 
At 6/05/2007 10:30 AM, Blogger juandos said...

So Mr. walt g. what are we suppose to do for people who've made poor life choices?

(devil's advocate question)

Sadly many of the folks I work with moved twenty to fifty miles away from the airport where they work at and when these folks made the move there were many apparently good reasons at the time of their move...

Reasons ranging from housing choices to federally mandated desegregation and school busing (all coupled with the fact that gasoline was reasonably cheap) drove folks to the far suburbs...

Now those moves are in a sense coming back to haunt them and these same people are looking for someone else to blame...

 
At 6/05/2007 11:28 AM, Anonymous Walt G. said...

You can question my neighbor's choices or not, but I don't think his kids should suffer. And, they are. I don't see how a long-term solution of $5 a gallon gas will help them in the short-run. If you can't have a short-run, a long-run doesn't matter.

I think we can agree (well, maybe not), this blog probably is not a representative sample of American society.

 
At 6/05/2007 5:20 PM, Blogger Gregory said...

No one is going to starve because they are spending an extra $40 a month on gasoline. (assuming you burn two gallons a day, that's an extra two dollars a day from a dollar increase, for 20 days a month).

 
At 6/06/2007 6:19 AM, Anonymous Walt G. said...

"No one is going to starve because they are spending an extra $40 a month on gasoline."

Like I said before, this blog does not represent American society well. A lot of people do not have an extra $40 a month. They might not starve, but I personally know half-a-dozen families who went without heat in their homes last winter because they could not pay their heat bills.

I’m in the plumbing/heating/cooling field and was called to fix their furnaces and frozen water pipes. I couldn’t make a gas furnace work without gas. These were not all lazy and stupid people, and most had kids in the house. There are a lot of sad situations out there that should make the rest of us fortunate. Don’t think you could not have events in your life that puts you in their situation someday.

 
At 6/06/2007 3:08 PM, Blogger Gregory said...

Like I said, they will not starve. But going without heat is a real possibility. The problem in the scenario you describe is organizational. When it is 40 degrees outside, no one inside a house is going to die. The problem is, because they ran the heat when it was 40 outside and did not pay the bill, now that it is 15 degrees outside they are going to freeze to death for lack of any heat.

The optimal solution here is to allow the poor to use the heat in the same way they use the car: pay first, then use.

It is only in this way that they can avoid the trap; and it is a trap. They have money available, but to get the gas turned back on they need to pay the whole bill, perhaps hundreds, when all the need is $10 or so worth of gas; and they never would have burt so much gas in the past had they realized what they were doing. etc. etc.

 
At 6/07/2007 4:11 PM, Anonymous Walt G. said...

gregory,

I humbly disagree. When you have a kid crying that they are cold, you spend the money for gas now and worry about the bills later.

Next week is a long time away for some people. People who live paycheck-to-paycheck can't or don't always think very far ahead. These people live on hope and prayer.

Every increase in gasoline prices adds to the people who are just scrapping by.

 
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