In re: Skiing in the Emirates

So I am sure some of you who are on office email systems have a few of the ‘Forwarders’ people who feel the need to send on every little email quiz, or story or tidbit that comes across their inbox out to the entire section.  Now I recognize the urge to forward on interesting things, but I fight it, and instead I post it up here where it doesn’t clog up already full inboxes. 

So the newest incarnation of the forward was a series of pictures depicting the construction of an indoor ski slope in Dubai, including some captions pointing out the palm trees and the 100+ degree heat.  So yeah, I was intrigued, indoor ski slopes are pretty cool, Tokyo was probably the first place to build the things, but the email went on to a final sentence, proclaiming “Why does gas cost $3.00 a gallon?  So they can ski in the DAMN desert”  First off I want to add that ‘damn’ was written in caps and for some reason it was also in blue?  Well needless to say I was a bit amused by this, you may remember (or not) that I agreed with Thomas Friedman’s column in which he advocated taxing gas.  So remembering that and also remembering my interest in the confusion of correlation and causation (from Freakonomics and other places) so on both these accounts I was interested.  Clearly the reason that gas is expensive isn’t so that they can build ski slopes, the reverse is true, high gas prices do allow them to build ski slopes, but gas prices are much more complex (and involve many American oil companies raking in those profits too). 

Okay, okay you say, its a silly email, why you making such a fuss?  Well part of the reason is that I hear folks bitching everyday about gas prices, $3.00 a gallon is too much they say.  These prices are still a bargain compared to many places in the world, where they’ve adapted to high prices by building mass transit (gasp!) and more efficient cars.  Similarly we knew gas prices were going to rise (limited supply, growing demand in developing nations – doesn’t take a PHD in econ to predict this) but we chose to ignore this, build houses that are spaced out on 1 acre lots, buy the biggest SUV in the neighborhood, move to cities that are unliveable in with A/C and then have the nerve to send emails with blue fonts.  Well I may be in the minority on this issue, but I hope gas prices rise, because with only the ‘small increase’ we’ve had, I’ve already seen Ford, who can’t build a fuel efficient car to save themselves, advertising about the environment, new fuels etc. (bold moves they claim) so we will see, if Ford can change, maybe we can too, but lets try and keep the inbox clutter free.

Update: I briefly looked at the website for Ski Dubai – doesn’t seem like too bad a deal, less then $40 for 2 hours.

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3 Responses

  1. Thank you for leaving automatic transmission off of your latest list of things wrong with America.

  2. I just think you’re jealous of people who build houses spaced out on 1 acre lots.

    Studies also demonstrate that using all capital letters and the color blue will create a stronger impression with the reader.

  3. […] Marketplace on NPR had a nice piece on why it is a stupid idea and there are a number of articles (including a Fox News article) that rip the idea apart as well, so I am not too worried that it will gain traction and garner a chance of becoming law.  That said it is a bit troubling to see a supposedly grounded in economics (at least his advisers were?) candidate turn against what is most certainly a smart tax.  While debatable, many would agree that it is best to tax inelastic goods so as to decrease dead weight loss, or secondarily to tax items that you are wishing to discourage consumption of – sin taxes etc., gasoline falls into both camps and I would argue that we don’t tax it enough – as I have mentioned before In re: Skiing in the Emirates. […]

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