The “Tails” of Clean Products

Posted: April 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

Do you remember the initial “hoopla” regarding the hybrid cars? Think about the overwhelming sentiment that was associated with them, maybe you are thinking of polar bears or global warming or how guilty we should be if we drove a gas powered vehicle, God forbid those hummer drivers! The point behind this is that the reputation these cars had in the market was related to saving the earth and the fight against global warming, which I have referenced before, immediately made for opponents. It was almost as though with every purchase of a hybrid the buyer got a bumper sticker that said something like “Evil….”. Of course I am exaggerating a bit, but the idea is still real. Perhaps it was the marketing decisions of manufacturers, and that they believed the best thing to do was to market to the environmentalist. Maybe.

But why? We have this list of reasons as to why it would be beneficial as a total economic entity like being less dependent on oil, especially foreign oil. I don’t have a problem with marketing to the environmentalist, as that is valid. But why let that be the dominant position? Again, maybe this wasn’t the case in marketing, but the media made it the case. I am not trying to blame the manufacturers, but just saying as the whole society, we kinda dropped the ball on that one, and we now have to almost change people’s perception of these alternatively fueled cars, thank you Tesla.

What if we would have made it a pertinent issue about where are foreign oil dollars are spent? Of course, not all imports are from Middle East and potentially hostile regions, but some of it is. I would expect that if instead of thinking of global warming, and therefore Al Gore, the conservative/republican would have thought of funding hostile regions and very possibly terrorist activity with every purchase of gasoline, they would have been more receptive to the hybrid.

The point is not that every dollar of gasoline funds terrorism (because that is false) or that every person that bought a hybrid was an “tree-hugging-environmentalist” because that is also false. I just want to point out that often times we allow society to pigeon hole an idea and that political association can be detrimental to making decisions. The hybrid was created to be a fuel efficient car that people would want to buy, and then society and political media turned it more into a global warming protection car. I do think the perception is changing or has already largely been changed, but I think this example can be useful in future issues.

In terms of the hybrid vehicle, the opposite tails have been mostly done away with, and people like hybrids. However, price is not so great for it and so the important thing now is to find ways to make the hybrid much more affordable so that we don’t have to subsidize them in order to get people to purchase them.

We don’t have to be either either an environmentalist or the anti-global warming person when deciding on whether certain ideas or products are acceptable. A car like the hybrid is a good purchase for many people, not even considering the social consciousness associated with the purchase. When we are going to factor in the social consciousness, then again there usually benefits to both ends of the tail. Follow me on Twitter @devinxcombs

 

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