Do drivers with "green cars" put on more miles?

Sweden seems to be experiencing what experts call a backfire effect from the company's rash of green car sales. Swedish car buyers have been snapping up clean diesel and ethanol vehicles in droves thanks to sizable government incentives, but, according to reports, the nation has actually seen its emissions from the transportation sector increase by an impressive 100,000 tons. What happened?

According to statistics from the Swedish Transportation Agency, average emissions from new cars in the country decreased from 164 to 151 grams of CO2 per kilometer driven, Swedish drivers used their green cars to cover more territory than ever before. Thanks in part to better fuel economy and the idea that a green vehicle has a slimmer impact on the environment, the overall result is more fuel burned, more emissions spewed.

A similar scenario has played out here in the Land of the Free, where American drivers covered an additional 20.5 billion vehicle miles in 2010 compared to 2009. That number marks a .7 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which might be enough to offset any emission gains garnered by the controversial Cash for Clunkers program. Whether due to more efficient cars or an improving economy, we're driving more miles again, which means using more energy. Isn't there some sort of story that describes this situation?

[Sources: TreeHugger via Green Car Reports]

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