Have you noticed this refreshingly honest ad about the real purpose behind much of the push to implement taxpayer subsidized energy efficiency programs?Let me translate how I read the words in the ads that are popping up all over the place (on line, in the DC metro, in Union Station, and on street corners all over the country). According to the way I read the ad, the Shell Oil Company, a multinational petroleum extraction company with annual revenues of approximately $378 billion (approximately 2 times the US Navy’s annual budget) is pleading with the public, saying “Let us (all of us and Shell) make what we (Shell) have got go further. Let us (all of us and Shell) go.”
The reason I say that Shell is asking all of us to help make their assets go further, cementing their oil and natural gas based revenues for as long as possible, is that few of the rest of us actually have more than a few gallons of fuel in our list of assets. We might have a little oil company stock, but the majors have been rather poor investments for the rank and file shareholders for the past ten years and have paid out niggling dividends. Corporate managers, on the other hand, have been paid better than talented major league shortstops.
On the other hand, energy efficiency programs only work if a lot of people participate, mainly by doing less with less.
Of course, if you have an inefficient home that needs a more insulation or weather stripping, you can make some gains, but after you have done that task, there is little room for improvement other than taking actions like using dimmer lightbulbs, driving smaller cars, traveling less frequently, turning up the thermostat in the summer while accepting more sweating, turning down the thermostat in the winter and accepting a little more clothing or shivering, and taking shorter showers.
Update: (December 23, 20110) I noticed this attractive ad on the New York Times web site a few minutes ago. Doesn’t it make you think that Shell has suddenly become an alternative energy company?