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Unformatted text preview: Dietrich Riepen
Econ Honors: 1st Story
Professor Hamermesh The Economics of the Drive to Torchy’ s Tacos Staring into the empty refrigerator in my apartment near 22“" and Leon, I decide that
Torchy’s Tacos, located at 28m and Guadalupe, is on the menu this evening. As I get into my
car, I remind myself that time is a scarce resource that I must allocate efficiently to obtain the maximum output of homework tonight. Of course, the trip includes ﬁxed costs such as time lost to slow or incompetent drivers
and entering, starting, and exiting the car. The decisions begin, however, as several tradeoffs
confront me as variable costs. What route is best? To take 22'Id east to Guadalupe and turning
north toward 28th minimizes the distance travelled and fuel consumed, but it is least time-
et‘ﬁcient due to the high number of trafﬁc lights and jaywalking pedestrians. I could also drive
the side streets (22“ west —+ Leon we 26‘“ —+ Rio Grande Ma 2811‘ -—> Guadalupe) to save time and
avoid stoplights and the risk of catching one of the daily trafﬁc jams on Guadalupe. The ﬁrst
path provides a more ﬁieluefﬁcient — and therefore cost~efﬁcient m route, while the second
consumes less time. I must weigh my priorities and choose either to limit greenhouse gas
emissions and spending at the pump or to save time. I pick the latter. I conclude that the extra
time I coold put towards doing homework tonight due to taking the faster route outweighs the
monetary losses and environmental impacts. More simply, the opportunity cost of the more
direct, yet slower route is too great in this case. IfI did not have so much homework to do, I might have taken this course. For making the trip from my apartment to Torchy’s, there is deﬁnitely a Production Possibilities Frontier (PPF). On one axis is the time required using the Guadalupe route and on the other, the time required for that of the side streets. The inﬁnite amount of alternate paths that
combine the two comprises the curve connecting the intercepts on the axes. This PPF could be
improved (in this case drawn towards the origin) if every driver in the world took an efﬁcient- driving course, making any route faster since one’s time would not be wasted by inefﬁcient or incompetent drivers. After navigating the side streets to Guadalupe, i arrive at Torchy’s and order the special.
On my way out, I stop at the door and see an advertisement: “Free Delivery for Students!”
Frustrated, I drive home, lamenting the opportunity cost of the journey ~— the unnecessary time
and effort that could have been allocated to homework. Nevertheless, I ﬁnd solace in the fact
that no market is perfect, For me, the market for efﬁcient trips to Torchy’s was ﬂawed because of imperfect information about delivery options. ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/03/2011 for the course ECON 304K taught by Professor Ledyard during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.
- Spring '08