Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Scientific Blogging - Despite major costs to taxpayers in the U.S. and Canada, government programs that offer rebates to hybrid vehicle buyers are failing to produce environmental benefits, according to a new University of British Columbia study.

The study finds that hybrid vehicle sales have come largely at the expense of small, relatively fuel-efficient, conventional cars, rather than large SUVs, trucks and vans, which produce substantially greater carbon emissions. Even worse, the study also finds that the majority of consumers who purchase hybrids were not motivated to do so by government rebates.

"Our estimates indicate that two-thirds of people who buy hybrids were going to buy them anyway," says says Ambarish Chandra, a professor at UBC's Sauder School of Business and study co-author. "So for the majority, rebates are not changing behaviour - they are subsidizing planned purchases.

"If the intention of rebate programs is to replace gas guzzlers with hybrids, they are failing," says Chandra, who notes that large vehicle sales have risen steadily since the introduction of hybrid rebates.. . .