Joseph Romm, writing at grist yesterday, tries to put the argument to rest - finally, hopefully - with his post "Prius easily beats Hummer in lifecycle energy use; 'Dust to Dust' report has no basis in fact."
Romm specifically says he's tackling the story because the original study, by CNW Marketing Research, that claims a Hummer is better for the environment than a Prius keeps echoing around the Internet while "a couple of good debunking studies -- by the Pacific Institute (PDF) and by Rocky Mountain Institute (PDF) -- haven't gotten much attention, according to Technorati."
Romm's done a lot of work in his post, and I want to give him credit by sending readers his way. The important thing to takeaway from the post, though, is this:
I am mocking this [CNW's] report because it is the most contrived and mistake-filled study I have ever seen -- by far (and that's saying a lot, since I worked for the federal government for five years). I am not certain there is an accurate calculation in the entire report. I say this without fear of contradiction, because this is also the most opaque study I have ever seen -- by far. I defy anyone to figure out their methodology.
All in all, Romm debunks like the best of 'em. Whenever the Prius v. Hummer debate comes up again in the future, we'll just point people to his post. You wouldn't think it'd be so hard to convince people that a car that gets 45+mpg is better for the environment than a vehicle that gets ~17, but with marketing firms like CNW mucking the waters, common sense sometimes has a hard time finding the light.
[Source: grist, h/t to Dan K.]