Jevons’ paradox

As a note, parts of this post are from an older essay I wrote awhile back which was in reply to a recent Obama initiative at the time to put huge amounts of money into “making cars more efficient” or perhaps “increase their MPG” is the better way to phrase it.

Either way, it’s not that cut and dry.  Jevons’ paradox goes back to 1865 when economist William Stanley Jevons noted then that coal efficiency improvements had not just increased the amount of work done, but had actually increased the overall amount of coal used as well.  This process is rather well-known in that although increases in efficiency will result in more efficient usage of energy, it will almost always result in more usage of the said resource needed due to lower costs that in turn drives economic progress.

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William Jevons

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