Via Mark Thoma
"Tim Haab at Environmental Economics explains why he drives an SUV:"
I'm packing up my big honkin' SUV tomorrow with my oversized family of 5 and driving 280 miles (one-way) to Lake Cumberland, Kentucky to visit with friends from Atlanta--who will be driving their oversized family of 5, 330 miles (one-way) in their big honkin' SUV. Based on the paltry gas mileage we will get--about 18 mpg--I'm figuring our family will consume about 31 gallons of gas.
At $3.50 a gallon that's $109.
[snip for "fair use"]
So I ask myself, am I willing to pay $6 per hour to have my 3 kids separated by 2 feet each--two in the middle row, one in the back--rather than be touching each other the whole trip.
Ummm...can I get a big 'Hell Yeah'?
*For those of you wondering who will pay for the externalities I create, that's an easy one...YOU. That's why they're called externalities. Voluntarily internalizing my own externalities would ruin my faith in rationality and cause me to have to completely reinvent economics. I'm just too lazy for that right now. Yes, I'm a jerk.
Mr Haab has a point there (no not the last statement he is just an ordinary person).
Unsurprisingly, I agree with Matthew Yglesias and many others that Gas in the US is waaaaay to cheap, although (rubbing my eyes with disbelief) I do believe it currently cost more than half as much in the USA as in Italy.
The crazy SUV driving is not taking energetic Kids on long trips. It's commuting to work in one. I've seen single occupant SUVs in Italy (recall roughly $7 a gallon) and the idea of a very large, very heavy vehicle being driven by someone who is clearly insane makes me very very nervous.
I even saw a canary yellow hummer twice last Wednesday, at least I assume that it was the same canary yellow hummer. I mean there will be two canary yellow hummers in Rome the day before doomsday and it was Wednesday. I didn't sleep through the apocalypse did I ?