CASE 1. THE DEMAND FOR GAS
The freezing cold spell at the beginning of 2010 not only increased demand for road salt, but it increased demand for gas in the UK. Usage reached 454 cubic metres; the previous record was 449m set in January 2003. The National Grid which is responsible for energy in the UK issued several warnings in a matter of days that demand could outstrip supply and asked supplier so increase the supply. The National Grid also told major gas users, such as power plants, to reduce demand. Big generators, such as EOn have both gas-fired and coal-fired power stations and are able to choose between the two. In total, 27 large gas users were asked to switch - 12 in the East Midlands and 15 in the North West.
Question: Analyze the effect of the cold spell on the demand for gas using a demand curve diagram.
CASE 2. ELASTICITY
In the United States, taxes are imposed on cigarettes at the state level. As a result, there are large differences among states. As of July 1, 2010, three states had cigarette taxes in excess of $3.00 per pack: Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Washington. Seven more had rates between $2.00 and $3.00 (including the District of Columbia). Missouri had the lowest rate among the 50 states at $0.17 a pack. The following article describes a proposal to raise taxes by $1.00 per pack in the state of Washington. We would expect an increase in the tax on cigarettes to increase their price to consumers. An interesting question from the point of view of health and tax revenue is how much a price increase lowers demand. One of the commentators in the article claims that increasing cigarette prices by 10 percent reduces youth smokers by 6–7 percent; this is an implied demand elasticity of –0.6 (6%/10%). How do you think this compares to what we would expect from adult smokers? Many people would argue that because more young people are new smokers and because they have less money than adults, their demand for cigarettes would be more elastic. On the other hand, if peer pressure favors smoking, this could lower demand elasticity for youths. One problem that states face as they increase their cigarette taxes is that people will seek cigarette substitutes from cheaper areas. In Washington, the state pressured Indian tribes to raise the tribal tax rate on cigarettes to the overall state level. By making these substitutes to state-taxed cigarettes more expensive, the loss of customers in response to the state tax increase would be less.
Question: Analyze the given case and find that who Are the Elastic Smokers? Provide justification to your answer in your own wording.