Friday, January 15, 2010

I only fly because it's cheaper than driving

Incentives matter. Even for rich people. Here's a guy who has a car (the Bugatti Veyron, which is really quite a car) that is so expensive to drive that he ships his car to the places where he wants to drive, then he flies there is a private jet so he can take a spin. Whoa! That dude has one big carbon footprint.

While this arrangement is bad for the planet, it's perfectly rational for an individual. In this case, it is cheaper to fly than drive the car (see link for details). It's sort of funny that the reason the car is so expensive to drive is because the tires and wheels have to be frequently tested for safety at 253 miles per hour, the top speed of the car and substantially faster than the landing speed of whatever plane this dude flies to his car.

This is an absurd example of travel choices, but instructive nonetheless. People respond to the price of travel, and will generally choose what is cheapest (which involves a variety of factors). I think the surprising thing about the Veyron owner is that all Veyron owners don't do this.

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