Transport, Cost, Convenience, Trains, Busses, Cars
Invention of self propelling vehicles was revolutionary. It literally changed the world. It made huge difference in all kind of travelling on land, sea and in air. To summarize in a common phrase, the world got shrinked. Distance means less than ever. From personal lives and relationships to business to international affairs, everything got dramatically changed. Getting there, in most cases, is not a problem anymore. The change is not restricted to humans, either. All kind of goods and cargo and even mail is now being transported to literally every part of the world, in very short periods of time. Where ever you are producing, your products can be shipped and sold anywhere.
For our convenience and needs, we invented different modes of transportation. If you are traveling to long distances, air travel is your best bet. For middle and short distance travel you can choose between car or taxi, buss and trains, depending upon your affordability, convenience, need for comfort, purpose of travel and your concern for environment. Your cargo can be transported through trains, trucks, ships and cargo planes, depending upon urgency, affordability, convenience, volume, size and goals. Your short commute to work is best served with your car. For longer commutes, busses or trains may be best. Business travel to other states or countries may require air travel. Leisure travel may be best done on a cruise.
Everything was going perfectly fine until the major concerns regarding environment started to be raised. The adverse effects of fossil fuels keep becoming more and more obvious. Do not get me wrong. I do not believe on global warming hoax, at all. But, keeping our environment clean is everyones responsibility. None of us want to breath in a polluted air, and get sick. No one wants an increased incidence of heart attacks and lung diseases. We want to leave a better environment for our next generations.
Many different schools of thought appeared, as far as the solutions for environmental problems are concerned. From state and global regulations to individual and business responsibility, there is a whole range of views exist out there. Of course, there are serious problems attached to regulatory solutions. First of all is cost. Most major technologies, right now, are based, directly or indirectly on burning of fossil fuels. Even electric cars and trains run on electricity produced mostly in coal burning plants. Bio-diesel in many cases burns precious bio-fuels, and raises questions about its effects on the prices of life saving and maintaining food commodities.
Wind, sun and water are still on very preliminary stage, and are by no way sufficient to support the huge global energy infra-structure and demand. At least, for now, these are very expensive, too, in both capital and operational costs. Nuclear energy has its own opponents, as well. Under these circumstances, these are some of the common problems with, so called, green regulations. In many cases, these regulations are mostly benefiting the the people who are already rich and do not need any assistance. For example, tax credits for electric cars are going to luxury car builders like Tesla, building hundred thousand dollar cars, not affordable for common tax payers, who are financing those.
Green products related business financing for research and development is mostly going to multinational companies like GE which have rich and powerful lobbies in D.C. A very large proportion of tax payer subsidized green products is out of reach for an average tax payer. So, you and me are getting no benefits. Only rich and well off companies and people are getting most of advantages. This does not stops here. The subsidized products are then competing with non-subsidized privately produced products and forcing those out of business at the cost of average tax payers and average consumers.
When non-subsidized non-green competitors go out of business, the competition for subsidized products decreases and prices go up. In many cases like light bulbs, non-green products may even get outlawed. The net result is that the consumer is left with few choices and have to buy the more expensive products, regardless of quality and service. This increases the sales of green products, though. But, now there is another problem. With increased sales for subsidized products, more tax payers’ dollars need to be spent on subsidies.
This is how things work when government picks winners and losers. Now, consider the alternative free market solutions for this problem. We live in the world of limited resources. All natural resources are limited including fossil fuels. The fact is that faster the demand for and consumption of fossil fuels is increasing, quicker their reservoirs are being depleted. Lesser availability, slowly decreases supply, as opposed to sudden change in supply and demand by government regulations. Decreasing supply and increasing demand gradually increases the prices, as it has been the case with oil in last few decades.
Wit gradual rise in prices, not only the consumers and their wages, and their consumption habits get time to adjust, but, the researchers, developers, inventors, producers, distributors and sellers also get time to build and develop alternatives for changing demands. With the prices of existing products going up, and wages and consumption getting adjusted to those, the ongoing research and development finally gets to a point where the alternatives become feasible in terms of cost, quality, marketability and usability. No burden on tax payers, no upward trickling of wealth, needed. No inconvenience of sudden changes and adjustments, no immediate effect on cost of living, as compared to incomes and wages.
We still thousands of years away from irreversibility of climate change. Markets are already showing a change in trends. This change will accelerate overtime, as oil gets more expensive. People who want to sell and make profits are coming up with, and there will be more of those offering alternative competitive products. The key words here are alternative and competitive. Most tax payers subsidized fast track alternatives are not competitive in terms of cost, quality, feasibility and usability. These are just being forced down the throats of consumers and buyers.