Gas Guzzling Grapes?

It may look like we are eating Chilean grapes, he [Pollan] argues, but in fact, once we
consider transportation costs, we are guzzling petroleum. Economics offers a
clearer view of what is going on. We do need to save energy, but it is difficult
for a central planner (or for that matter a food commentator) to identify what
is waste, relative to the costs of eliminating it….If fuel becomes more expensive, we’ll likely adopt peak-load
energy pricing, and drivers may scrap their SUVs for hybrids. But we probably
won’t plant grapes in our backyards. While we must conserve energy, we cut back
where it makes the most sense; grape-shipping is not the place to start. Global
trade does involve transportation costs, but it also puts food production where
it is cheapest, again saving energy by economizing on costs of labor,
irrigation, and fertilization, relative to the alternatives.

That’s the ever-wise Tyler reviewing the Omnivore’s Dilemma in Slate.


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