Increased technological efficiency and technological innovation are discussed as strategies that could mitigate climatic gas emissions and reduce energy use in the transport sector. Examples of such mitigation strategies are: more efficient engines, lighter materials, catalytic devices for cleaning exhaust, and the use of alternative fuels. However, during the implementation of new technology and innovations, rebound effects or unintended consequences could occur; i.e. technological improvements could lead to increased consumption of energy and thereby offset the gain from the technological improvement. My thesis will investigate rebound effects in the hope that understanding them will help us mitigate them. My study will analyse the impact of technological improvements and new innovations in the transport sector. In order to see the effects of new innovations and technological improvements, it is necessary to analyse the environmental consequences of every step in the life cycle, from the acquisition of raw materials (”cradle”) through manufacture, use, and eventual disposal (“grave”). Often, proposed solutions to one environmental problem simply transfer the environmental impact to other life cycle stages or emission categories.
The thesis will be written as a collection of five articles. The expected outcome is that the thesis will foster an in‐depth discussion of how life cycle approaches could be used to give a better understanding of rebound effects in the transport sector. This could provide a better foundation for policy‐makers attempting to reduce energy use and emissions from transport.