Friday, November 30, 2007From a Reuters story by Sharon Ho and Frank McGurty posted on EEN.com:
TORONTO (Reuters) - American consumers are driving bigger gas-guzzling cars and buying more air conditioners and refrigerators as the overall energy efficiency of such products improves, a report released on Tuesday found.
In what the study calls "the efficiency paradox," consumers have taken money saved from greater energy efficiency and spent it on more and bigger appliances and vehicles, consuming even more energy in the process.
This irony isn't just restricted to the United States, though. "The paradox is true for every developed country," said Benjamin Tal, senior economist at CIBC World Markets, which conducted the study.
The study concludes that stricter energy efficiency regulations aren't the answer to concerns over climate change and the depletion of oil supplies because consumers treat greater energy efficiencies as a tax cut. "Because you get a 'tax cut,' you drive more," Tal said.