Does green really equal clean?

Over the last few years we’ve seen the introduction of the ‘green’ car by the majority of large car manufacturers. The new way to show that you are doing your bit for the environment has been to get yourself one of these machines. Not only are you cutting your CO2 emissions, but you’re also getting more km’s out of your tank. Now really, who doesn’t like that?

When you need to get somewhere (particularly a fair distance away) do you think “how much is this drive going to effect the environment?” Or is it more like “how much petrol is this drive going to use?” In all honesty, probably the latter, right?

Cue the news coming out of Sweden - a place well known as a world leader in greener auto sales. Although the large number of greener cars has decreased CO2 emissions on a per car basis, people’s driving distance and hours have actually increased, therefore causing a rise in emissions! So what initially started out as a product producing less CO2 emissions has in fact had the opposite effect. Buyers might be doing the right thing by purchasing a ‘green’ car, but they’re driving further than ever before. Kind of defeating the purpose, isn’t it?

It looks like the excellent fuel efficiency of these vehicles got the better of the drivers. And when you think about it, it seems to make sense - if your car is good on petrol, you don’t mind driving that bit more (as the fuel won't cost you as much as it would have in the 4WD you used to own).

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So this poses the question - is it just green car purchases alone that we should be encouraging? Should it maybe be coupled with more efficient driving? If we want to make a permanent change to the environment we need to aim for a significant drop in emissions rather than just stabilising the current level. And to do this you need to change people’s behaviour. Not that it can happen overnight. We all know that takes time, however if car manufacturers and government bodies got behind this, maybe these green cars could really equal a cleaner environment, and achieve what they set out to do?

How do you think people could be encouraged to drive more efficiently?

Do you think green equals clean?

Please share your comments and thoughts below.

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