Yes the US government wants your dollar bills, all of them as in a recent article the authors shared that the US Government is spending too much money replacing them. As the typical life expectancy of George Washington is only about 40 months at best before the former commander and chief is sent to the shredder to become some form of novelty fodder while the mint represses a new version for your wallet.
The replacement for the venerable general’s paper is metal yes good ole coinage to clink around in your pocket, get stuck in the dryer drum and form yet another nuisance in ones pocket. However the government believes it can save 5.5 billion (yes with a B again) of our tax dollars as the new George Washington 1 dollar coin will have an average life span of 30 years! With this the GAO (General Accounting Office) wants Congress and the Treasury to help yank the $1 note from circulation.
The results of several surveys commissioned by the GAO not surprisingly suggested that the public is not in favor of giving up their paper Washington’s, for this simply is what they grown comfortable with and because they are reluctant to carry around more coins in their already bulging pockets. Even when explained to survey respondents the replacement of the paper bills would eventually save taxpayers a lot of money each year, the opposition was still at 64 percent.
So how are other nations such as Britain and our neighbors to the north Canada dealing with the same issue? In short they found the same popular challenges when they replaced their lowest-denomination notes in the 1980s with coinage. However once the notes were withdrawn, the 1-pound coin for example quickly became the accepted norm in Britain as what choice was there. Additionally the European Union, Australia, Japan and Russia, as well as others have similarly done away with their paper notes for their lowest denominations, and have claimed to have benefited financially from the change.
However everything as we have come to learn has an equal and opposite reaction so what are the system impacts which will result from this? One which comes to mind is fuel costs, yes “fuel” cost as there is no such thing as a free ride. To move an object it takes energy and the more mass the more energy it will take and a metal dollar bill will have quite a bit more mass then its paper predecessor. Ok, snicker if you will as in the micro you have the right to but for example U.S. airlines carried 58.1* million scheduled domestic and international passengers in November 2010 (one month). So each of these flying people is assured to have been carrying at least one dollar (on average) in their pocket when they boarded the plane. So what will this cost the airlines in additional fuel costs?
Laughing are you, well not so quick as I’m sure many of you have read that Continental
Airlines is doing away with pretzels and at first blush you might say a lot of things including they are saving the cost of the pretzels. However it’s not that, as the “pretzels” cost more in fuel to fly then they do to buy! Yes strange but true as its out there on the internet** and I even spoke to a Continental flight staff to confirm. What we miss in life is little things when multiplied by big numbers add up quickly…
**Note: Hungry air travelers could blame rising fuel costs, said global aviation consultant Mike Boyd of Boyd Group International.
“It’s to be expected when the price goes over $3 a gallon,” he said. “They’re going to be doing whatever they can. I don’t know what they’ll cut next, but I’m sure they’ll find something.”