American Elephants

Coming to America… by American Elephant
August 2, 2009, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Energy, Freedom, Politics | Tags: , ,


Germans hoarding incandescent light bulbs:

As the Sept. 1 deadline for the implementation of the first phase of the EU’s ban on incandescent light bulbs approaches, shoppers, retailers and even museums are hoarding the precious wares — and helping the manufacturers make a bundle.

The EU ban, adopted in March, calls for the gradual replacement of traditional light bulbs with supposedly more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). The first to go, on Sept. 1, will be 100-watt bulbs. Bulbs of other wattages will then gradually fall under the ban, which is expected to cover all such bulbs by Sept. 1, 2012 (see graphic below).

Hardware stores and home-improvement chains in Germany are seeing massive increases in the sales of the traditional bulbs. Obi reports a 27 percent growth in sales over the same period a year ago. Hornbach has seen its frosted-glass light bulb sales increase by 40-112 percent. When it comes to 100-watt bulbs, Max Bahr has seen an 80 percent jump in sales, while the figure has been 150 percent for its competitor Praktiker.

“It’s unbelievable what is happening,” says Werner Wiesner, the head of Megaman, a manufacturer of energy-saving bulbs. Wiesner recounts a story of how one of his field representatives recently saw a man in a hardware store with a shopping cart full of light bulbs of all types worth more than €200 ($285). “That’s enough for the next 20 years.” [read more]

No, it’s not unbelievable Werner, it’s what happens when you ban things that people want. Black markets will follow.

Democrats have passed an identical ban in the United States where incandescent light bulbs will become illegal starting with the 100-watt bulb in 2012, and ending with the 40 watt light bulb in 2014.  The same hoarding will happen here. I know. I intend to buy enough incandescent light bulbs to last a lifetime.

What’s unbelievable is that American’s are allowing the nonsensical ban to begin with.

Addendum: According to a recent Rasmussen poll, only 18% of Americans think it’s the government’s job to dictate what kind of light bulbs people can use, while 72% think its none of the government’s damn business.

Precisely why the GOP should make the dictatorial nature of the Democrat party one of their chief campaign issues — starting yesterday.

7 Comments so far
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hardly surprising about the German (and other European) hoarding…

Europeans and Americans choose to buy ordinary light bulbs around 9 times out of 10 (light industry data 2007-8)
Banning what people want gives the supposed savings – no point in banning an impopular product!

If new LED lights -or improved CFLs- are good,
people will buy them – no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (little point).
If they are not good, people will not buy them – no need to ban ordinary light bulbs (no point).
The arrival of the transistor didn’t mean that more energy using radio tubes had to be banned… they were bought less anyway.

All lights have advantages….
The ordinary simple light bulb has for many people a pleasing appearance, it responds quickly with bright broad spectrum light, is easy to use with dimmers and other equipment, can come in small sizes, and has safely been used for over 100 years.

100 W+ equivalent brightness is a particular issue – difficult and expensive with both fluorescents and LEDS – yet such incandescent bulbs are first in line for banning in both America and the EU

Since when does Europe or America need to save on electricity?
There is no energy shortage.
Note that if there was an energy shortage, the price rise would make people buy more efficient products anyway – no need to legislate for it.

Energy security?
There are usually plenty of local energy sources,
Middle East oil is not used for electricity generation, 1/2 world uranium exports are from Canada and Australia.

Consumers – not politicians – pay for the energy used.
Certainly it is good to let people know how they can save energy and money – but why force them to do it?

Most cars have emissions.
But does a light bulb give out any gases?
Power stations might not either:
In Sweden and France, as in Washington state practically all electricity is emission-free, while around half of it is in many European countries and in states like New York and California.
Why should emission-free households be denied the use of lighting they obviously want to use?
Low emission households will increase everywhere, since emissions will be reduced anyway through the planned use of coal/gas processing technology or energy substitution.

Also, the savings amounts can be questioned for many reasons:
For a referenced list of reasons against light bulb bans, see onwards

The strange EU and industrial politics behind the EU ban

Even if a reduction in use was needed, then taxation to reduce consumption would make more sense since government can use the income to reduce emissions (home insulation schemes, renewable projects etc) more than any remaining product use causes such problems.
People can still buy what they want, unlike with bans.
However taxation on electrical appliances is hardly needed either, and is in principle wrong for similar reasons to bans (for example, emission-free households are hit too).


Comment by peter dublin

Hear hear! Very good points, Peter, but you remind me of something else, the poor, as with most liberal policies, will be hardest hit. The new light bulbs, while they may be more energy efficient, are much LESS cost efficient. Sure, they last longer and use less energy, but the dollars to hours of light ratio is actually lower.

If the ban isn’t repealed before it goes into effect, I will be one of the people hoarding light bulbs!


Comment by American Elephant

Yes AE, I think there are many of us that will!
(and even if their usage did cost more, simply for a greater future choice of what to use).

The “cash for clunkers” auto scheme is wrong for similar reasons.

[ why all energy efficiency bans are wrong, from light bulbs to buildings, and the alternative ways to deal with any emission problems ]


Comment by peter dublin

Mandating efficiency improvements doesn’t decrease energy use, it makes using energy cheaper, which increases use. Make engines more fuel efficient,and people (and industry) will drive more because it costs less.

As for the cash for clunkers program — aside from the fact that government is spending our childrens money to destroy perfectly good cars — I have a sneaking suspicion that the greatest beneficiaries of the program are car dealers, buying up the clunkers on their own lots for far more than they were selling them for.


Comment by American Elephant

you are more than right!

As you may know, there are many overall reasons why energy efficiency bans backfire
– regardless of all individual product reasons…

1. Energy efficiency = effectively cheaper energy = use more energy, that you mention
Scottish and English research bears this out too, as described.

2. If energy efficiency does succeed at first in reducing energy usage, it reduces the price of oil, coal and gas sources, which either
— gives another bounceback effect increasing their use, their emissions, and their price, again
— makes a switch to renewable energy (then being more expensive) more uneconomical to make
This is seen in current (mid 2009) energy markets

3. The opposite possibility with electricity:
Electricity bills higher!

The lack of competition in grids means that any reduced use means reduced sales for the supplying electricity company, which simply raises the standing charge or the price per kWhour, to cover its costs, of which the purchase of fuel is only a small part, compared to plant and grid maintenance, wage bills, and so on: energy regulators are hardly going to deny such a legitimate cost covering request.

But doesn’t that keep energy use low?
Sure – but also means people paying more – not the “big money savings” for customers, that politicians like to trumpet!

A “Heads I win tails you lose” scene!


Comment by peter dublin

And while Democrats command and control tactics do nothing to reduce usage, at the same time they are intent on smothering supply!


Comment by American Elephant

Yes, smothering supply….

There are 2 ways forward
A negative cut down and save America
A positive get up and go America

There is no energy shortage.
Any energy needed can and should be provided,
with any emission criteria you care to put on it (light bulbs don’t give out any gases, remember…)

Your desire for energy is no better or worse than your desire for a nice shirt or a nice loaf of bread, and in each case it’s you – not any politician, not President Obama – that’s choosing to pay for any power stations, factories, or bakeries involved.

The ultimate cut down and save logic is to live in caves and use candles.
Zillions of dollars savings, megatons of gas.
As long as we don’t bring any cows with us.


Comment by peter dublin

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