Monday, February 9, 2009

The Myth of the Efficient Car

Let’s get something straight about green industry: in its basic form it means we all have to buy new stuff … lots of it. As an industrial policy that will create jobs and increase spending, it’s pretty sound. As an environmental policy, it’s largely a fraud.
Bravo.

...and what you might not think about:
But there’s an even more profound problem with building more efficient cars. In 1865, English economist William Stanley Jevons discovered an efficiency paradox: the more efficient you make machines, the more energy they use. Why? Because the more efficient they are, the better they are, the cheaper they are and more people buy them, and the more they’ll use them. Now, that’s good for manufacturers and maybe good for consumers, but if the problem is energy consumption or pollution, it’s not good.