Source: Jevons paradox – Wikipedia
In economics, the Jevons paradox (/ˈdʒɛvənz/; sometimes Jevons effect) occurs when technological progress or government policy increases the efficiency with which a resourceis used (reducing the amount necessary for any one use), but the rate of consumption of that resource rises due to increasing demand. The Jevons paradox is perhaps the most widely known paradox in environmental economics. However, governments and environmentalists generally assume that efficiency gains will lower resource consumption, ignoring the possibility of the paradox arising.
In 1865, the English economist William Stanley Jevons observed that technological improvements that increased the efficiency of coal-use led to the increased consumption of coal in a wide range of industries. He argued that, contrary to common intuition, technological progress could not be relied upon to reduce fuel consumption.
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I’ve been thinking about efficiency. Efficiency talk is everywhere. Car buyers can purchase ever more fuel-efficient cars. LED lightbulbs achieve unprecedented efficiencies in turning electricity into visible light. Solar panels are more efficient each year. Farmers are urged toward fertilizer-use efficiency. And our Energy Star appliances are the most efficient ever, as are the furnaces and air conditioners in many homes.