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Swedish Green, Mean Road Machines Quadrupling By 2012

Mayhem in the Middle East suggests the timely cut off of petroleum dependence. The hovering prices of gasoline also suggest the same thing. Another reason to curb oil reliance is the hazardous effects of vehicle emissions to the environment. This is the reason why industry observers predict that by 2010-2012 Swedish flex-fuel and other ‘green’ car sales could nearly quadruple. Automakers are now going “green” and they will be greener in the near future.

American motorists are now considering environment factors in their choice of vehicles. When they intend to purchase cars, crossovers and trucks, they are also pondering on their effects to the environment. Automakers are also absorbed in manufacturing hybrids; electric SUVs; diesel commuter cars; ethanol and fuel-cell autos; and vehicles powered by alternative fuels. The use of these vehicles is preferred because of reduced fuel bills, decreased harmful auto emissions and trim on foreign oil dependence. However, along these advantages is a set of downsides. Two of the notable downsides include exorbitant prices and reduced tax credits.

According to a recent forecast, the “green” market could reach 150,000 units which is up from the 40,000 units last year. The figure is about half of the overall Swedish car market, which is expected to grow to 300,000 units in 2010 from a 285,000-unit forecast this year.

In Sweden, the government is actively encouraging the manufacture of green cars. Mattias Goldmann, a spokesman for the Swedish Association of Green Motorists said, “The government is considering introducing a series of measures to boost the greencar trade, already heavily subsidized. We don't know exactly what the government will do but we know there will be new incentives."

Sweden is the leading market in Europe’s green movement. Green car owners are also given privileges to enjoy. As a fact, Swedes pay no parking or congestion charges to drive flex-fuel, biogas, hybrid or small cars emitting less than 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. Swedes also get a significant tax credit on models purchased for work. The state could also introduce a EUR1, 100 tax credit for flex-fuel purchases or half that credit and double it to EUR3, 300 for higher-priced biogas models.

Goldmann said the government is likely to double the biogas incentives to grow the market, especially after Volvo said it would scrap its biogas line due to slumping demand. He noted, "The incentives are too small to make biogas worth it and we can't allow Volvo, a national car maker, to discontinue production." Goldmann is positive that the subsidies will increase but doubted whether the market will grow to 160,000 units without further government and business action. This is because of the expensive fuels used to complement Volvo exhaust, engines and other auto parts.

For one thing, ethanol costs 2 percent greater than gasoline and prices must go down to entice consumers to buy flex-fuel cars which account for over 70 percent of the market and could make up even more in future, Goldmann said, "You can convert petrol models to flex-fuel for just EUR1,000." Swedish government is expected to introduce a regulatory framework for this market soon.

So far, the best selling flex-fuel car in Sweden is the Saab 9-5 Biopower. It is followed by the Ford Focus and the Volvo V50. The number of models must increase to tweak gasoline-powered cars to run of biofuel.

About the Author: Glady Reign is a 32 year old is a consultant for an automotive firm based in Detroit, Mi. she is a native of the motor city and grew up around cars hence her expertise in the automotive field.

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