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Increase In Efficiency Decreases Demand In Energy-- Good Thing Or A Bad Thing?

Updated on September 25, 2011

At least 15% more efficient in energy than the federal standard

The Khazzom-Brookes Postulate.


More efficiency in product design should result in less demand for energy. Or does it?


Take the fuel-efficient car.  Manufactures have made vehicles less polluting ( adding the catalytic converters) and more efficient on  fuel consumption.   As the price of gasoline goes up, the more likely that consumers will purchase a fuel-efficient vehicle.  As the demand for such vehicles increase, the price of the vehicles will drop.  You would think that consumption for gasoline and reduction of air pollution would decrease. But it hasn’t.


The number of vehicles on our highways has increased exponentially.  There are more cars than ever.  Because people are saving on gas, they can move further to the suburbs and commute to work.  They travel further distances and people prefer to drive their own vehicles instead of car pool.  Old habits are hard to break.  With more vehicles on the road, the more roads (or more lanes) have to be built.  The tendency is for more vehicles on the new roads.    With increase traffic (and especially during rush hour), the more cars are idling creating more air pollution for longer periods of time.


This exponential increase of vehicles on our highways has outstripped any gains by more efficient vehicles.  The demand for energy actually has increased (and rapidly) not decreased.  This is known as The Khazzom-Brookes Postulate.


Another example is the tar sands.  Government and oil energy “experts” claimed they have reduced the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by 38% over the last two decades.  What they fail to report is that the production of the tar sands is increasing exponentially.  The production of oil coming from the tar sands will increase seven times within the next decade!  This far outstrips any gains in efficiency made by the oil companies.


The key here is effiencey will not be effective unless the consumption of our energy demands decreases immensely. This principle can be applied in many aspects of our lives.  Economics has made products cheaper and more efficient but consumers, seeing that they have more money on hand, tends to spend on more items that adds to the consumption of energy.


We must find a way to decrease our appetites for energy consumption.  Then we can produce energy at more modest and environmental friendly ways.



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