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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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Markets work

For all of the chat about how expensive implementing Kyoto - which will do little or nothing to actually reduce world wide carbon emissions in anycase - the one thing which people never seem to mention is price. We have goofy Rick Mercer yapping about the 1 tonne challenge but no politician is willing to double the price of gasoline. But, if you really want to encourage conservation doubling that price is about what it will take. And, hey, consumers will respond....

Sales of Toyota's Prius, the most popular gas-electric hybrid car on the market, nearly tripled compared with April of last year, to 11,345.

General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. sales were down slightly, while DaimlerChrysler AG showed a nearly 9-percent gain. Leading Japanese and Korean automakers, however, posted big double-digit increases.

Industrywide, passenger car sales were up 11 percent in April, while light truck sales rose only 1.3 percent. SUVs, particularly large ones like the Ford Expedition and GMC Yukon, seemed to be hardest hit. With a 28-gallon tank, it can cost $60 or more to fill up an Expedition.
Consumers do indeed respond to price signals.

Now, the interesting question is whether or not the US car companies will also respond or if they will keep making cars which no one wants to buy because they are too expensive to run...History, in the form of the near bankruptcy of the big car makers during the early 1970's oil shock does not make me very hopeful.