Sunday, October 01, 2006

On the Rebound???

In December 2003 I wrote off my Ford Ka in a smallish prang. I replaced it with a Golf TDi, for two reasons:

a. I want to have the option of using biodiesel (but that's another story...).

b. It did 55mpg compared with the Ka's 40mpg.

Brilliant - cut my fuel consumption by 28% and saved £250 each year.

But....

£250 is exactly the cost of a return flight from Newcastle to New York. Given my love of travel, this is a real option. If I take it, then I've just doubled the annual carbon emissions I had in the Ka.

This is called the "rebound effect". If we save money through efficiency, we can easily wipe out the eco-benefits by choosing to buy or do something even more environmentally damaging with the windfall.

This is why we need Green Taxes - to make sure damaging practices are expensive. Airlines don't pay any tax on fuel, so flying is an extremely cheap way to damage the planet (and I've got previous). Getting expensive haircuts with my cash would be a much better option, but isn't really my thing (see profile pic).

The choice is ours.

1 Comments:

At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Tyler Kinch said...

Interesting. I never thought of that before. I may blog about this (of course giving you credit)... but not tonight as I am tired and I should be working on my homework :P

 

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