The Cost of What You’re Not Doing

Should energy oil companies continue to receive government subsidies at a time of record profits? Seems like an easy one: No! Congress does’t agree, but there’s certainly a case to be made.

But what about us? Our highways are heavily completely subsidized. Gas taxes are relatively low, encouraging us to drive. Single-family, detached houses with minimum lot requirements? Check. Minimum parking requirements for new business? Ccchhheccckkk. The government requires all of these things of us, or we do of ourselves, through our government, that in turn compel us to, um, consume mass quantities, in the common parlance. And of course, when we do some things, we don’t do others. If we drive, we can’t also bike, sure; but what about all those other things we might be doing to save money or use less energy that we’re not doing – and our government is not forcing us to not do them… we’re just not. Hey, wait a minute! They can’t not make us not do something! But they are.

JR has this post on energy efficiency as a resource… not a resource but the resource.

Energy efficiency is the most important climate solution for several reasons:

  1. It is by far the biggest resource.
  2. It is by far the cheapest, far cheaper than the current cost of unsustainable energy, so cheap that it helps pay for the other solutions.
  3. It is by far the fastest to deploy, without the transmission and siting issues that plague most other strategies.

People on the right freak about this all the time – although they seem to believe with 1st century zealotry in eliminating government waste, they are wholly ambivalent about their own. Anything but being told what to do, ha. As if. It’s true that energy companies and their legions of shills have to demonize efficiency all-day every-day because if people found how easy it is – we would soon begin taking on the harder stuff. But that would be good, right? What are they/we so afraid of?

Even without the government subsidies, we could do it. We could pay our utilities more for selling us less – or at least incentive them properly in that direction. As it is, the more we use the more they earn. Like everything else. But maybe this is our greatest resource, the one we’re not using.