• Apr 1, 2006

The results of a new study conducted by CNW Marketing Research Inc. is sure to generate some arched eyebrows. The firm's report stems from their two-year effort to collect and analyze data on the "energy neessary to plan, build, sell, drive and dispose of a vehicle from initial concept to scrappage." CNW then assigned their findings a new comparative metric - "dollars per lifetime mile" - or, said another way, total energy cost per mile driven.

The findings? America's most expensive vehicle in calendar 2005 was the Maybach (presumably a 62), tallying up at a staggering $11.58/mile. The thriftiest? Scion's boxy xB, just $.48 cents/mile.

But here's where it gets interesting: CNW's findings indicate that a hybrid consumes more energy overall than a comparable conventionally powered model. It judged showed that the Honda Accord Hybrid rang up an Energy Costs Per Mile of $3.29, while a gas-powered Accord was significantly cheaper at $2.18/mile. The study concludes that the average of all 2005 U.S. market vehicles was $2.28/mile.

The reasoning goes that hybrids use up more energy to manufacture, as well as consume more resources in terms of the assembly (and eventual disposal) of things like batteries and motors. By CNW's reckoning, the intrinsically lower complexity of, say, a Hummer H3 ($1.949/mile) actually results in lower total energy usage than any hybrid currently on the market, and even a standard Honda Civic ($2.42).

While the study's findings don't take issue with what vehicles are more financially economical to own (read: those with better mileage), it does pose some interesting questions about total energy usage in hybrids.

Obviously, in order to best judge the merit of CNW's findings, a clearer explanation of the study's criteria and processes is in order.

[Sources: CNW via Yahoo Business, QCNetwork.com]



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  • 31 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think Art needs to give us some specifics on the study. Given Art's excellence in providing accurate data to the auto business in the past, I'd cut him some slack on his numbers. Without the significant subsidies, Hybrids don't look great financially. My personal feelings - a bicycle seems ideal. Burn calories, eat healthier and less funding required for USMC overseas adventures in countries that resemble gigantic beaches without water. (Anyone other than me see the irony in that?)
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's not April 1st is it?
      • 8 Years Ago
      CNW marketing research that conducted this study is suspect in legitamacy. Their website looks like a teenager made it, and likely is one of those paid "research" organizations that are hired by special interest groups.

      Much like those Microsoft funded "studies" that says Linux sucks and is more expensive than Windows.

      http://www.cnwmr.com/
      • 8 Years Ago
      There is a big difference between "how much energy does it takes to produce, run and dispose of a car" and the impact on the environment... Even if today it costs more to drive a hybrid than an SUV, there is no doubt that an hybrid is a better environmental solution for now... No pain, no gain...

      #3 (Ken): Just keep your M3 stock rims or buy some nice M5 rims... forget those ugly "DUB Edition" rims dude; you are driving a nice M3, not a Civic. Just my opinion... ;)
      • 8 Years Ago
      According to CNW's website;

      "Clients include major automobile manufacturers, banks and lending institutions, Wall Street brokerage firms and consultants."

      http://www.cnwmr.com/sv001data/

      So this study was likely bought and paid for by an auto manufacturer. Possibly one highly dependent on sales of large SUVs like GM or Ford?

      This study is so bogus it is laughable. If you buy a regular Honda civic and drive it 150,000 miles you will have to pay a total of $363,000 for the privilege. Huh???
      Now if you get a regular Accord and drive it the same number of miles you should pay $327,000. WTF???
      The civic and Accord both being from Honda go through a similar design and build process and are of a very similar construction. The Accord being the larger more powerful vehicle will cost more to build, purchase, fuel, maintain, and eventually dispose of. Somehow this study found the Accord would cost MORE than the Civic?

      The Hummer H3 driven for 150,000 mi would come in at the bargain cost of $292,350. Thats $34,650 less than the civic.
      Marketing whores are funnay. They must think I was born yesterday

      • 8 Years Ago
      I have to re-post.. it's APRIL FOOLS day, gang. You all actually believe this article? It's like saying a candle burns as much energy as a forest fire.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is what I've been saying for a while. You have to take into account the entire energy usage.
      • 8 Years Ago
      O.K. they say regular honda civic costs 2.42 per mile. Such a civic gets ~30 mpg, or $0.08 per mile for gas at 2.40 per gallon. This says that their "analysis" doesn't really depend on fuel economy, as 97% of the energy for this civic is not in form of gasoline!

      Also typical car goes 150,000 miles. They are saying that this regular civic will require $370,000 worth of energy? Man how can just regular people afford this!

      Put another way, civic drivers putting ~15,000 per year on their rides must be rich to afford $37,000 per year for energy.

      Consider a Hummer H3 is heavier than convential civic - uses more steel. Also I don't think an H3 is that much simpler, it might be more complex (4WD adds complexity, has more cyl in engine, etc)

      A google search of "CNW market research" shows a half-baked web page that appears to sell auto marketing research. I don't see any engineering or eco links.

      This is likely April-1 joke. No problem, I think it points to how studies such as this are useless.

      There have been many pro- and anti- ethanol studies looking at energy balance. I say just look at price: ethanol costs lots more and gives worse mileage, it must use more resources to drive a mile.

      • 8 Years Ago
      One additional comment. We also have subscribers among environmental groups. And this study was funded totally with our own resources and funds. No one outside of the company had foreknowledge of the field work or that we were conducting this research.
      Billy Barnes
      • 8 Years Ago
      It appears that the only valid comparision of energy cost would be in comparing a car for which there is different technological variants (eg- Honda Civic or Accord). This BS of comparing a Hummer H3 and a small Hybrid compact qualifies as a red herring. Of course, Hybrid technology is new and requires more expenses in the short-term. However, bare in mind a conventional petrol powered vehicle (like the Hummer) has over a 100 years of development behind it! Also, what is exotic about the materials of a Hybrid engine outside of the extra battery pack? I mean to certain extent a hybrid will use similiar materials (plastics, metals, glass, computer components) as a regular combustion engine. For that matter, what we call a "hybrid" is really just a modified gas engine! ( I think one day ALL cars will have hybrid tech to keep up with the public demand for raising fuel economy and horsepower)

      In the end, the plus side of the report is the point that auto manufacturing requires a lot of energy and that fact may diminish the "green-friendly" appearance of a Hybrid.( slow news day?)
      • 8 Years Ago
      Over the lifetime of who or what?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Curious about the logic (how long, basic "cost per energy unit") used in the study. However, if ones goal is to minimize *overall* energy consumption, then buy a small, efficient *used* car and run it for several hundred thousand miles, thus avoiding the large up-front energy costs involved in forging, casting, stamping, welding, etc, etc. for a new car.
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