Government's Role in Energy Efficiency

In the Opinion page article "Government-Imposed Energy Efficiency - a Bad Idea," June 30, the author ignored a wealth of data in two assertions he made. First, he asserts that corporations and individuals will make profitable investments in energy efficiency without government mandate. According to the author, consumers should make these investments, but many have not.

There are many reasons why consumers do not always make profitable investments in energy efficiency. Often the volume of information and the rapid pace of technological change make it difficult for consumers to use all available information on energy-efficient technologies. The lack of information on energy costs make energy efficiency less significant than other factors which influence consumers, such as purchase price, styling, performance, comfort, and simplicity.

The author's second questionable assertion is that efficiency improvements in the United States economy from 1970 to 1990 had little to do with government policy.

This ignores several pieces of federal energy legislation, including: the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which mandated corporate average fuel efficiency (CAFE) standards for motor vehicles, and efficiency testing and labeling requirements for home appliances; the Energy Conservation and Production Act of 1976, which set new building energy efficiency standards; and the National Energy Conservation Policy Act of 1978 and the Synthetic Fuels Act of 1980, which required utilities to promote re sidential energy conservation. The states have also implemented energy policies.

Despite the author's view to the contrary, there is a significant role for public policy to promote economically justified investment in energy efficiency. Bruce E. Rittenhouse, Oakton, Va. Vouchers for private schools

Regarding the article, "Bush Unveils Plan for School Vouchers," June 29: A plan to give private schools in the United States money from the US Treasury is not only in defiance of the constitutional mandate for separation of church and state, it will completely destroy the greatest tool for Americanizing Americans - the public school system.

Since the greatest number of private schools are operated by churches, private school vouchers will promote a religion. N. Thompson, Las Vegas, Nev. Clean air can be expensive

Thank you for your editorial, "Who Shapes the Laws," July 2.

I just spent over $1,000 to comply with California emission standards to bring my 1974 VW van up to snuff. So, I complied with the law and I'm doing my part to keep our environment cleaner.

I wish I had had President Bush in my corner to give me an extension to help me fix my VW at a more reasonable price. Why should industry be allowed to circumvent the law? John Axel Hansen, Capitola, Calif. O Canada

I was shocked and saddened to learn in the Monitor series on Canada that Canadians dislike and mistrust Americans.

I love Canada, every mile of it from Vancouver to the Gaspe Peninsula. Its scenic beauty compares with any in Europe, I'll wager. Its history and diversity make a visit to Canada mandatory for every American.

As a ten-year-old with my brother, mother, and aunt, we took the Canadian Pacific from Vancouver to Banff and Lake Louise, then across the mountains and plains of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. My brother and I vowed to return someday! Carolyn C. Chubb, Murrysville, Pa.

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