• Feb 13th 2007 at 10:01AM
  • 16
First, you have to read the clever article by a newbie Prius owner that is linked in the first sentence of biodiversivist's latest Grist blog. Then you must take a good 15 or 20 minutes to digest another view of a premise suggesting hybrids consume the same "dust to dust" energy as a Hummer H3. That means the total energy needed to assemble, operate, service and recycle a vehicle. Based on exhaustive data compiled by CNW Marketing Research, a Scion xB is the greenest at just .49 cents per mile while a Mercedes-Benz Maybach is the worst at just under $16 per mile.

Biodiversivist read the entire 400-page report, admittedly through green-colored glasses. He accepts that a hybrid such as a Prius (shown being assembled in Toyota City, Japan) would use more energy during its lifecycle, given that CNW has placed its lifecycle at 109,000 miles while giving SUV 197,000 miles. But he also acknowledges that the cost and energy required to build and maintain these specialty vehicles will come down as production numbers increase.

Bio's report is long and involved, and I'm not going to condense it any more. I found nothing out of order with his position, and I also found nothing I could personally challenge from the report. CNW will not release all the raw data, so an independent review is out of the question.

Snob or not, bio certainly isn't ready to give up his Prius.

[Source: biodiverersivist / Grist]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I just read all of this garbage,...all of it.

      Pointless drivel, bickering needlessly, and reiterating incessantly and all. For what?
      Well, for an assignment of course. I wouldn't have forced myself to endure such mindlessness if I wasn't forced in turn.

      You argue like children who have the presence of mind to know you sound like children. You call it a reasonable conversation, when neither side is Truly willing to see the other side's point and admit a failure of any kind. Even if the elitist environmentalist was blindsided by the holy trinity of truth to gas/energy consumption(presuming the gas-guzzler was capable of presenting it) He would not see it, or if he saw it, he would not admit it. And the gas guzzler, even if hit by a freight train of failure in his views, would not recover in a hospital bed with thoughts of changing his mind on the very same subject.

      Why argue to begin with then? Because, no matter what you tell yourself, you weren't really holding a conversation...

      So all of this that I forced myself to read, because I was forced to read it, has been read just so one side can say the other side isn't right? And in the end no one gets ANYWHERE?

      You all should be ashamed of yourselves.

      I am a child likely, by comparison to your ages, (seeing as I'm still just going through school, don't own a house, nor even a car) and even I can see you're all sophisticated enough to NOT behave like children. And yet, you pretend to politely act as if you're somehow not behaving like children.

      All I can say, really, is that from a standpoint that DOESN'T care either way, whether you drive a suburban or a motorcycle or a hybrid freak of a car; (and don't kid yourself, I truly don't care either way...I'm young, why should I care, right? I'm just a dumb kid putting in his two cents where he doesn't belong and doesn't KNOW anything.)....you're all wrong.

      You're all spending more energy than necessary to get much of anything done. Plain and simple.
      Especially the guy who lives in the country.
      If you live in the country, then live off your land, the animals you possess, etc etc.
      If anything, you could learn that history didn't grow up to the NOW with electricity being ever-present, and certainly not with gasoline or whatever else.
      Go out into the country and stay there, because you have everything you need, and what you don't have, you can get before staying there...then you'll have everything you need.
      Hell. Life for Mankind started in a cave, or some equally dismal place, and it survived to become what it is. So, it could likely survive in a cave again if it had to.
      The problem is. None of You are willing to live in a cave anymore. You're all Fat from the creature comforts being supplied to you. Just a bunch of children suckling at the tit of the country you live in. You would truly RATHER die than live a hard honest life without all the things you WANT. And before you start to argue it, let's face it. YOU truly don't NEED, all the things you possess, in order to stay alive. Thus, you're all gluttons of the most glorious materialistic sort.
      You've all exchanged NEED with WANT in your feeble adult minds, and will never see the truth unless a child shows it to you.
      So, here I am to show you.

      Just shut up, enjoy what you have, and let the world rot. Because, whether you buy a hybrid or a sixteen wheeler for your daily commute to the grocery store or work or wherever, the end is the same. You're still using a fossil fuel, no matter how little you're using or how much. You're still burning energy of some sort. You're still suckling at the tit, and yes, you're still acting like an idiot child. The world is still falling apart, and the polar ice caps are Still going to melt, because its already too late to save them anyhow. It wouldn't be cost-efficient to save them. The corporations, the governments and yes, the fat, greedy children who suckle at their tits wouldn't have it that way, even if they proclaimed to truly care.

      So, the point is.
      You're all wrong in the end.
      If you're in an suv, run over someone in a hybrid and kill them. If you're in a hybrid, please run over someone on the sidewalk, or better yet, a bicyclist(either of whom actually are using the least energy of all travelers), because our forefathers and now we have already doomed ourselves anyway.
      AND if you ride a bicycle and live a simple localized life and you like it....then just keep on doing what you're doing, but watch out for any hybrid vehicle who wants to run you down, or any suv that might mistake you for a hybrid meal.

      Oh, and why not buy more supplies to build our wooden houses, cuz we could always use more deforestation to HELP the whole global warming/pollution thing.

      Jesus. You people make me weep for t
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is all very interesting to me.
      Being at a plant in the middle of nowhere, where employees commute an average of 100 miles a day, we have considered hybrids and fuel efficient cars, large capacity vans etc.
      Being engineers, we have roughly calculated the most efficient and cleanest cars from many standpoints: from the drawing board (hours to design), from the steel refinery (raw material fabrication), point of manufacture (part assembly), and from consumer purchase up until death and disposal.

      in the end, we determined that regardless of how you look at it:
      less $=less energy=less emissions

      from a global standpoint, the more complex the design, the more expensive for design, mfg, operating, and disposal

      on the global standpoint, no hybrid can touch the efficiency of a bus or 15 passenger van. Ever considered the energy used to design the system? all the computers and lights to accomodate the engineers? how about to create the chemicals to make li and NiMh batteries? how about the disposal of the production byproducts or disposal of the battery?

      we figured a HEV is useless when it comes to mpg unless one drives 70% stop and go without accessories.

      if you care about emissions, there are many other SULEV cars that get just as good all around gas mileage, cost less to design and mfr (remember this=less energy=less emissions)

      In the end, to maximize efficiency at the consumer level, one must look at his or her driving conditions.

      phevs like the volt and higher capacity batteries and more efficient 'clean' energy collection technology can change all that though, but its quite a way's away from coming main stream.

      BTW PETER: How many large mfg plants have you seen that run off of 'Clean' energy? NONE!! That is because a business is in business to min cost and max profit

      And for all you motorists that are really concerned about being "GREEN", if you want to minimize energy consumption and you must motor, buy a used car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      A Scion xB is the greenest car available? You guys really need to import different cars.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So the orginal point is valid #10, interesting info. I have to say that it seems common sense is spurned by most of the die-hards, it's not convenient. They're saving the world after all.

      Although we should never abandon the search for new tech, we should never force it on the masses. If it has a place, it will prosper.

      The automobile was invented (gas powered) around 1880 something. It wasn't until the model T that it became available to the masses. Considering performance, practicality, economics and availability of fuel, it didn't officially replace the horse until the early 30s. Technically speaking, the great depression delayed the complete demise of the horse as transportation for another ten years. So, it was about 60 yrs. from inception to the commonality of the automobile.

      Someday in the future, man will be traveling self sustaining (maybe fission or fusion? I always get them mixed up) anti-gravity vehicle. The descendants of the environmental movement will be claiming that the sheer number of vehilces are throwing the earth out of orbit. They will look down their noses at everyone else while trying to drive 100 yr. old hybrids on what's left of the relics of our highway and road system. HA!

      This movement has little to do with the state of the environment and everything to do with advancing a political theory.
      • 8 Years Ago
      And Doug, not to get into a flamefest here, but frankly your 2x4 argument is ludicrous. The amount of fuel saved by driving a more efficient car over the lifetime of a vehicle is staggeringly greater than any margin you'd have over the delivery vehicle for those few occasions you happen to buy oversized items.

      And I don't know what vehicle you're driving, but if it's a Suburban and every time you use it you're filling it with enough people and cargo to warrant a second trip in a compact, you must have accumulated an astonishing volume of stuff.

      Obviously having a fuel efficient car is no excuse for poor trip planning, but you're setting up a ridiculous straw man by saying that. You have to assume equal habits for the vehicles in question, certainly not basing it on your stilted view of "elitist environmentalists" (whatever that means- what about all those elitist consumerists?).

      The apples-to-apples comparison is blindingly obvious - a more fuel-efficient car uses less fuel and puts out fewer emissions. There is no way around this.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Their report states that they measured energy used in terms of cost of energy, not actual units of energy such as kJ or kWh. This means that their results favor cars built with and operated on cheap energy, not clean energy.

      The problem is that clean energy is expensive while dirty energy is cheap.

      Imagine one automobile plant running on solar power and another running on coal power. They use the same amount of energy to produce a car, but the coal plant pays much less for that energy.

      This report would claim that the cars built at the coal plant were greener because they cost less to produce, but it is obvious that with all other variables held equal, cars built with solar power are greener.

      This is not good science and not even good research.
      • 8 Years Ago
      My Toyota Highlander gets well over 50 percent better mileage than my smaller Jeep Liberty under all driving conditions. Yes the battery may be expensive and hard to dispose of, but we make manufacturing progress by building stuff and gradually improving it. We are on a great spot on the learning curve for hybrids -- everything is rapidly getting better, and the more that are built, the better it will get.

      And yes, it feels great to reach the bottom of a hill knowing I've stored up enough electricity from the braking to make it at least halfway up the next one without burning gasoline.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This report's been debunked by Toyota. While they're obviously not impartial, they raised some good points about clearly flawed data that doesn't lend much credibility to the rest of it.

      E.g. in the report the Scion xA and xB vary in energy use by about 50%, yet they're based on the same chassis, are built in the same plant, have the same engine, weigh almost the same, and are essentially the same car.

      And that's not even taking into account the ridiculous numbers they assign to vehicle life for the Prius...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Doug R,

      I don't buy your argument.
      90 something percent of the time I see a Surburban it's not carrying any plywood or more than four people.
      They could just as well be driving a Scion xB.
      Building materials can be delivered. Don't carp about delivery costs, they're a lot cheaper than the incremental cost of owning and fueling a Surburban over a Scion.
      If suddenly everyone were driving Scion sized cars there'd be a helluva a lot more space on the roads.
      If they're weren't so many Suburban sized cars on the road it wouldn't be so dangerous to drive a Scion sized car.
      Your clap trap is a pathetic effort to make yourself "feel good" about your conspicuous consumption.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #8, I make frequent trips to the hardware store. My house is paid for and I do most improvements and updates myself. Many of which make my home more efficient. This is more of an issue than fuel consumption when we're talking about energy conservation. You guys don't do alot of do-it-yourself stuff do you? I can guarantee you that I'm saving fuel, but Turbofrog and George seem to be so smart that they know more about what I use my vehicle for than I do.

      Technically speaking, I never said I owned a Suburban. The Suburban was used as an example for my point since it's probably the least fuel efficient of the SUV class. And yes, I do know folks who legitimately use Suburbans. I actually drive a Durango 4X4. I'm sure I'm going to get elitist environmentalist flak for the 4X4 that I don't need. The equipment that I've used several times in very bad weather. If you look up "elitist" and "environmentalist" in the dictionary, it's not hard to figure it out #8.

      Again I would have to re-emphasize that unless you follow these people around all day, you don't really know whether or not they're truly using these vehicles or not do you? I'm sure there are those who drive SUVs because they like the bigger feel and the higher ride height. I am probably one of them. However, would it be my vehicle of choice if there was no need? No, and I seriously doubt that sentiment is rare among larger vehicle owners. If I could afford it, I would probably have something like a Mustang GT, a MX5, a Solstice GXP, etc., etc.. on the side. I haven't seen many retirees whose kids have flown the coupe driving Suburbans or full size vans.

      Years ago I owned a Ninja motorcycle that I loved to ride, but I ended up selling for 2 main reasons. The first was that I didn't ride it enough. I had a tank bag, saddle bags and a bag for behind the seat. The vast majority of the opportunities to ride were quelled by the need to carry cargo that was non-conducive to a motorcycle. The only exception was driving to work on Monday, leaving what I needed and riding the rest of the week. This period lasted all but about a year. I loved riding, liked saving the gas but 90% of the time the bike was good for joy rides and that was it. As time went on, joy rides were something I had less and less time for.

      The other was the tiring of the near death experiences graciously afforded to me by inconsiderate and unaware drivers. Defensive driving takes on a whole new meaning #9 and it certainly isn't limited to folks who drive larger trucks or autos. Which brings me to the point that if you choose to drive a compact then a required sense of higher awareness come with the territory. Although everyone should be more aware no matter what you drive, "carping" about larger vehicles because you choose to drive a smaller one makes no sense to me George.

      As far as my "accumulating an astonishing volume of stuff" goes. I live in the country, I have a family and we like to get what we need in 1 trip. We can easily fill the back with groceries. I have my own "free to live" since people have seen fit to dump their unwanted pets out here. This requires a large amount of pet food and I have chickens that eat corn chops.

      I find myself explaining all this because you are elitist environmentalists. Since you can't logically debunk my point, you fel the need to question my lifestyle. This sort of common sense thinking rains all over your parade so you get upset and your true feelings and character reveal themselves.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I applaud any study that at least attempts to compare the "dust to dust" energy cost of vehicles. It's the only way to compare the true eco-friendliness of any car or any other product for that matter. It seems not only plausible but likely that an high-tech energy efficient vehicle such as the Prius would be less "green" than many vehicles that guzzle more gas during use when all factors are taken into consideration.

      The same could be said of so-called "clean" fuels. Solar panels may produce "clean" energy but they also take vast amounts of energy to design and manufacture. They also have limited life spans. In the end you don't get much more energy out of a solar panel than you put in to make it. That's why "clean" energy is so expensive and not really so "clean". Using the "cost" of the energy to produce the vehicle seems like a fine comparison as I'm sure all car manufacturer's use the cheapest source of energy they have available. Coal is cheap because it doesn't take much energy to get it out of the ground and use it. Tar sands are much more expensive because it takes so much more energy to get it out of the ground and process it. Wind and solar energy are even more expensive because of the huge cost of building the wind generators and solar cells. Hopefully at some point a technology will emerge that dramatically increases the efficiency of solar cells........but we would still have to check it's usefulness on a dust-to-dust basis to know whether it was cleaner. If a solar cell produces twice as much energy during its life but its the energy to produce it also goes up twofold then you are no better off.

      I wish similar research would be done to compare other new technologies such as the new fluorescent light bulbs. I assume they are better than conventional incandescent bulbs but I'd rather see a dust-to-dust comparison to be sure.

      Thanks to CNW. I love the concept of their study, but I wish they'd release the raw data so that other experts in the field could give them feedback and help to improve their methods, numbers and assumptions (if in fact CNW have indeed made any erroneous assumptions in their calculations) and people could tweak the assumptions to see how it effects the outcome.
      • 8 Years Ago
      There are medications that can help you, Shalon.
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