Why fuel efficiency might not help reduce gasoline consumption

I’ve been happily espousing the cause of greater fuel efficiency in this blog over the past few months as a way of reducing fuel consumption. I may have been wrong. I’ve just discovered the Jevons paradox.

To cut a long story short: making things efficient reduces the cost of the input per unit of output,. So less gas get you further. That sounds like a good thing, but the flip side of this is that because engines are more efficient then more people will use them. So the overall distance travelled will rise. Looks like the only way to cut consumption then, is a very big price rise… No one’s going to vote for that.

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