VANCOUVER - A study out of the University of British Columbia has found that government rebates on hybrid vehicles aren't producing the environmental results expected.

The intention of the rebate program is to replace gas-guzzling SUVs, trucks and vans with the smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Instead 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 study also found that most of those who did buy a hybrid weren't motivated by government cash back and had been planning on buying them with or without rebates.

The B.C. government rebates doubled to $2,000 in 2005 and the Ontario government recently increased its rebate to a maximum of $10,000 per hybrid, but Chandra says the study found the inefficiency of the rebate programs actually rise when governments increase rebates.

He says governments could get greater environmental benefits by buying carbon offsets or investing in green jobs and technologies.

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