H.L. Mencken once remarked that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. That statement might be considered a bit harsh, but a press release I received in my inbox the other day has me thinking that maybe Mencken wasn’t harsh enough.
As more people have become concerned about the potential negative impacts of climate change, interest in things such as hybrid cars and energy efficiency has grown accordingly. However, if a set of efficiency tips I received from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers is any indication, getting the majority of Americans to use energy more efficiently in their daily lives may be an insurmountable task.
The Association’s press release begins by noting that “Replacing an eight year old refrigerator, dishwasher and clothes washer with new appliances of average efficiency will save consumers about $95.00 per year in energy bills.” Fair enough. But then, perhaps with Mencken’s quote in mind, the release notes:
If you are replacing your refrigerator, do not use the old refrigerator as a second refrigerator. This will not yield energy savings.
Lord. Have. Mercy. If people really need to be told that running two refrigerators will use more energy than running just one, then you might as well say good bye to the polar bear now and stock up on that beach front property in Ohio while prices are still reasonable.