A study by the University of British Columbia (UBC) found that government programs to provide rebates to hybrid car buyers fail to produce the environmental results expected, Canadian media reported on Tuesday.
The intention of the rebate program is to replace gas-guzzlers with hybrids, but the hybrid sales have come at the expense of smaller, gas-sipping cars, according to study co-author Ambarish Chandra, a professor at the UBC Sauder School of Business.
"The reductions in carbon emissions are therefore not great," he said.
The study also found that two-thirds of the hybrid buyers were not motivated by government cash back and they were going to buy them with or without rebates.
"So for the majority, rebates are not changing behavior -- they are subsidizing planned purchases," Chandra said.
The B.C. provincial government doubled its rebate to each hybrid buyer to 2,000 Canadian dollars (US$1,800) in 2005, and the Ontario provincial government recently increased the maximum rebate for purchasing a hybrid to 10,000 Canadian dollars (US$9,000). But Chandra argued that the higher the rebate is, the more inefficient it becomes.
He said governments could get greater environment benefits by buying carbon offsets or investing in green jobs and technologies.
(Xinhua News Agency August 5, 2009)