Research conducted by Auto Trader suggests that money, not the environment, is the main driving force behind motorists’ interest in eco-friendly vehicles, at least in Great Britain. The majority of UK motorists (73 percent) would consider “going green” to save money on fuel, compared to just 41 percent of drivers admitting that environmental concerns would motivate them to purchase a greener vehicle.
This is good (if unsurprising) news for an efficient economy. In a competitive market, the best measure of the resources expended to make a product is price. When people base decisions on price, they are optimizing resource allocation.
The thing about price is it values all resources even-handedly, according to their scarcity. When environmentalists push us to spend more for a green product, they are encouraging sub-optimal resource allocation. Specifically, they want us to use increase our use of more-expensive (and therefore more scarce) resources in certain categories (such as labor or precious metals), in order to conserve less-expensive (and therefore less scarce) resources in other categories (such as oil). Green advocates feel that the latter categories are more important despite being less scarce.