A New York Times article says that market forces can make an impact on energy efficiency.
There are reasons for optimism. One is that market forces can help provide solutions: higher prices, on their own, can make people cut back. Just how responsive consumers are to price changes – what economists call the elasticity of demand – has been the focus of much research. Today, economists believe that they have developed a pretty good rule of thumb for energy use. In the case of electricity, which is relatively easy to measure, they have found that when the price rises 10 percent, electricity use falls roughly 3 percent. At the gas pump, a 10 percent increase in price leads to a decline of around 2 percent in demand.
Here is my favorite part of the article:
How much more energy-efficient can we become? Amory B. Lovins, chief executive of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit energy research group in Snowmass, Colo., says that a barrel of oil today already does twice as much work as it did in 1975.
Energy efficiency makes a difference! And technology can help increase energy efficiency by substantial amounts.
Now I guess we’ll see if today’s high energy prices will result in another giant leap forward in efficiency, like the energy crisis in the 70s helped create.