In theory, there are several basic economic and psychological motivators that motivate people to be more sustainable. It is easy assume that providing people with information that using less energy is more cost-effective would motivate a shift toward conservation. However, Fischlein observed that there is often an “energy-efficiency gap,” or a difference between what is economically efficient and what actually gets done. Fischlein stated that “more information alone is not enough,” as increasing awareness has been shown to increase knowledge while motivating little behavioral change.
According to Fischlein, even raising the price of energy might not promote a decrease in consumption because energy exhibits low price elasticity. She also observed “psychological licensing” related to energy use, which effectively means that people lose a sense of moral responsibility for their actions because they have to pay to consume. Motivating altruistic conservation is also difficult because energy use is not visible, so people cannot see the impact of their actions in any direct way.