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Carl Hage
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John, I wonder if people will really understand the title of this post-- yes, microwaves are going to cost more-- but not because someone has strange assumptions in social cost. BTW, it was really hard to find the actual requirements-- microwaves will now only be allowed to waste 2.2W 24x7 while not being used. According to the PR, it will save $3B in energy bills (not counting social cost of carbon). So instead of wasting $200 of electricity, it will now waste only $50! So yes you'll pay more for your microwave, still, than the sticker price. But I'm an EE not economist and wonder, if I can buy a watch for $3 (including a $5 battery) that lasts for 7 years, why would it cost more than $3 retail to manufacture a microwave that wouldn't waste $50 over it's lifetime? My microwave has a mechanical switch-- it was cheaper, but don't know if it still would be. But I know how to design a microwave clock, touchpad controller, and on/off that needs <0.01W for only some cents more than any current microwave control. The semi-libertarian solution would be to require energy price stickers on all plugin devices-- then people could decide if a lifetime cost of $5 energy is a better deal than one at $50 or $200. The product marketing guys would then bother to ask the engineers to make it use <$5 in vampire power-- probably for about the same cost.
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