Brad Feld

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Unintended Consequences of Hybrid Vehicles

Jun 26, 2008
Category Random

I heard a "superb" cynical statement today.  I have no idea if it is factually correct, have no data (empirical or anecdotal) to support it, but it is such a great potential example of unintended consequences that I thought it was worth putting out there.

The statement was "While hybrid vehicles make us feel better, they actually do more harm than good because they result in more driving." 

The follow up thought is that for hybrid cars to really work (at today’s efficiency levels), people still need to modify their behavior and drive less (e.g. relying on public transportation or carpooling.)  However, once you’ve bought a hybrid, you suddenly feel like you are doing your part and subsequently drive more!  This additional driving adds up across the system and increases total system fuel (and other resource) consumption.

Ponder that the next time you get in your hybrid.