It’s not just the ads showing a baby-boomer couple sitting in matching bathtubs on a beach at sunset where you can find performance anxiety these days. Try looking in the hardware aisle and at the gas station.
Rather than ban inefficient incandescent light bulbs, for example, California lawmakers set an efficiency performance standard - - which was adopted by the feds - - so in 2012, you won’t be able to buy energy-wasting bulbs.
That spurred Phillips to develop and market their “Halogena Energy Saver” incandescent bulb that is 30% more efficient than conventional versions. The performance standard approach - - instead of government picking winners and losers - - clearly worked for both environmentally minded policy makers and bottom-line minded businesses.
The stealth performance standard that will hit another part of daily life - - your car - - relates to gasoline and diesel fuel. California adopted a “low carbon fuels standard” that says the carbon content of fuels sold in the state must decline 10% by 2020.
Fuel sellers can achieve that by slashing emissions from refineries ahead of other carbon regulations; by blending petroleum with lower carbon-content fuels like sustainable biofuels; by selling non-carbon fuels like hydrogen; or anything else that reduces the carbon content of the total portfolio of fuels sold.