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As little as possible of course, that is what we all hope. There are however aspects we should not forget. An incandescent bulb is just a wire in a glass bubble, with a connector to power it. Fluorescent bulbs are different already. The glass production alone is more costly, and there is some electronics involved to make the glass tube light up.

With LED, the demands towards electronics are even higher, the space that can be used even smaller. Plus, not only are LED themselves still relatively expensive, they also need cooling, so even more costs occur.

But there is yet another aspect. If we want to use LED lighting to save energy, we should not use more bulbs than we did before, so the total market for bulbs should not expand. And here product lifetime enters the stage. An incandescent bulb has a lifetime of about 1,000h. For a fluorescent cork screw bulb the standard is about 3,000h or 6,000h. (Let's use 3,000h in this example.) For LED, many companies advertise 60,000h and more, but let's stick with more realistic 30,000h.,

Imagine a store selling among other items light bulbs. In previous years it was always selling 1,000 incandescent bulbs each year, and for the sake of simpler mathematics let us assume that one such bulb cost US$1 (or use any other currency you like, but let us stick to one unit of it).

Now the store shifts its bulbs from incandescent to fluorescent. Due to the increased lifetime, the store only sells 1/3 of the previous volume, so simply to reach the same revenue, the store needs to sell them at US$3. This does not consider the actual cost of the bulb, or how much energy costs you can save.

Then the store shifts to LED bulbs. Due to the increased lifetime, the store now only sells 1/30 the number of bulbs compared to incandescent, so to stay profitable, the store needs to sell one LED bulb at US$30.

The same applies to manufacturers and everyone else in the chain between manufacturer and consumer. You may say that US$30 is too high, but see it this way: During the lifetime of this one LED bulb you would have needed 30 incandescent bulbs – for the same total price. Plus, the LED bulb helps you saving on your electricity bill, by consuming less energy for the same amount of light. You see, whether the price of a LED bulb is “high” or “low” is a little bit more complicated to determine.