Bloomberg reports that “If oil prices fell from their 2008 peak as far as solar component prices have, a barrel of oil would cost about $10 – a 93 percent drop.” The fall in price of cleantech and the soaring prices of the 20th Century’s solutions is the basis for Earth 2017‘s projection of a $10 Trillion global economy in sustainable goods and services by 2017. Solar is the latest example that sustainable solutions are on a path of pricing parity at the pump, meter and cash register.
Market research continues to affirm that consumers want to buy smart, healthy and green solutions. They just don’t want to pay more. But at price parity 85% of consumers claim they would buy the more sustainable good or service rather than a less sustainable product offering.
I have reported on test drives of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf where the cost of energy was a $1 per day! For example, I drove the Chevy Volt 35 miles one Saturday running errands. The cost to recharge the batteries was $1. I heard from a Volt owner reporting he had gone 3,900 miles on $60 of gasoline and a $1 per day of electricity.
It is cleantech examples like the drop solar prices and emerging electric car technologies that I am an optimist regarding America, the economy and our environment. The price of doing right measured in terms of Energy Independence, our economic growth and the environment is rapidly becoming price competitive with products like imported oil.
There is a path for accelerating this success. In fact, the best path can be executed by American consumers without any government action. We just need to begin buying high mileage American made hybrid and electric cars. Doing so will restore our economy by adding jobs (car manufacturing is the single largest job creator in American history). And it will cut our importation of oil that drains our growth potential with each jump in global oil prices. If oil were a country our imports would be second in size to what we buy from China!
I am always ask what one thing I would recommend to government to get us out this economic mess plus help restore our environment. My answer is a strong incentive in support of American made hybrid and electric cars. The price of these cars are now a barrier to accelerated purchases. What if there was a $20,000 immediate cash rebate given for every American made hybrid or electric car that got at least 50 miles per gallon? Or what if we added a 20% sales tax on all cars sold that were not an American made hybrid or electric cars with at least a 50 mpg rating? My projections is this type of public policy is the single best action that could be implemented for restoring jobs, our economy and environment.
Bill Roth is the founder of Earth 2017. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles case studies of best practices used by businesses making money going green. During 2011 he is implementing Green Builds Business coaching business owners in 11-cities on best practices for making money and a positive difference within 120 days that was created by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation with funding by Walmart.