Swedes embrace green motoring

Americans might still be enchanted with the idea of picking up groceries at the local market in 16-wheeled tanks, but it seems Sweden has fallen in love with environmentally friendly cars.

New registrations of such green cars went up 390 percent last month compared to July 2005. With gas prices shooting past 12 kronor per litre, it’s no wonder green cars now make up 13 percent of all new registered cars in Sweden.

Some 2,423 environmentally friendly cars were registered last month, nearly 13 percent of those cars sold this year.

“It is great that there has really been the success that we had hoped for with diesel, ethanol and hybrid cars,” said Bertil Moldén, head of Bil Sweden, according to Dagens Industri.

He said the government should be praised for the measures taken to make it economically feasible to drive green cars.

“We often get questions from Norway, Denmark, and Finland regarding the Swedish mentality,” Moldén said. “I think the answer is that we like to get carrots instead of the whip, and the authorities are not deaf to the car industry.”

The five most registered green cars are the Saab 9-5 Biopower, Ford Focus Flexifuel, Volvo V50 Flexifuel, Volvo V70 Bi-fuel, and the Toyota Prius.

Moldén said he expects diesels in Sweden to make up 50 percent of those vehicles on the roads, similar to elsewhere in Europe, within three years.