Hybrid Cars Negative Environmental Impact

Hybrid Cars Negative Environmental Impact

If you take the total environmental cost of a vehicle as the point from when the car was first designed to when it is dismantled, or hopefully recycled, hybrid vehicles don’t quite match the hype they are currently getting.

A hybrid is a complicated vehicle, requiring lots of new technology and high tech components. A hybrid vehicle is harder to build because of its complexity, which means more energy is used in building the car. Some hybrids can charge their batteries from mains power, and this could be generated by ‘dirty’ technologies such as coal fired power stations or nuclear power. This is especially true for the pure electric cars on the market – it depends on how the electricity is produced as to what end effect your car is having on the environment.

While hybrids are considered clean technology by most people, any hybrid with an internal combustion engine will still produce pollutants. Catalytic converters handle most of the contamination, but there’s still that good old greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. Even hybrids pump this out, they just pump lower amounts of it, and mostly because most hybrids have engines that stop when the vehicle comes to a halt.

Another thing to consider with hybrids is the battery that stores the electricity. Most hybrids use a nickel metal hydride system, which requires nickel mining, which is often done in open cast mines with all the attendant pollution that goes along with excavating large holes in the ground. Luckily, nickel metal hydride batteries are non toxic and they can be recycled, but at a cost.

A hybrid also requires plenty of copper wire for the electric motors, further increasing the actual cost and environmental effect of constructing the car. Hybrids are also commonly 10 percent heavier than a similarly sized car, which means more power has to be produced than usual to achieve comparable performance. This is why many hybrids these days are actually mild hybrids, with a generator that produces electricity as the vehicle slows down, taking weight off the alternator, allowing it to work less, and therefore save fuel. Not as much as a hybrid, but the system is much simpler and easier to produce.

Once the car is built and on the road, the popular perception is that you are ‘doing your thing for the environment’ and this is true to some extent because a hybrid will use less fossil fuel than a conventional car, regardless of the way you drive it. Remember that a hybrid will probably never match the listed fuel efficiency because of the way the efficiency test is done, and because unless you only ever drive on heavily congested streets you won’t be utilizing the hybrid system effectively. Drive on the highway, for instance, and the petrol engine will be working all the time, negating the effect of the hybrid system.

Above all, remember you are not saving the planet by driving a hybrid or even a fully electric car, you are merely minimizing your impact on the environment.

Note: This is however one side of the coin. Hybrid cars do have some negative environmental impact but it is far less then the the positive aspects of the car.

77 Comments

  1. I’ll disagree that hybrids are a negative overall environmental impact vs a regular car, at least until further, exhaustive studies are done. I think once tests are done ( if ever ), we’ll see definitively that hybrids are “less bad” environmentally than regular cars. Who knows though.

    But good point about hybrid drivers not saving the world. Remember, no matter how efficient / clean your car is, it *is* doing damage to the environment – just less than other cars. So you’re not saving the world, you’re just killing it less quickly.

  2. M. Duvall says:

    I am currently researching the negative and positives of hybrid vehicles and I was interested in your sources for the nickel mining, the building process, etc. because I am finding it quite difficult to find info on the mining and the energy that is required to build these “energy efficient” vehicles.

    Thanks.

  3. Pingback: Hot Air » Blog Archive » Scientist silenced by politician for his position on global warming

  4. pat nolan says:

    Gosh, and here I thought I was doing a good thing driving a vehicle that gets 400% better gas milage than a Hummer H2. I’l have to rethink the whole thing!

  5. All true. Hybrids are more hype than reality. Also one should consider how long they are predicted to last and the maintainence costs. I seriously doubt there will be any on the road in 30 years.

  6. R. Hoglund says:

    There is so much misinformation about hybrid vehicles out there. Much of it I am sure is propagated by the American auto industry, which is lagging far behind foreign companies that began embracing hybrids ten years ago. The assertion that a Prius has a greater environmental impact than a Hummer is ludicrous; the article that initially proposed this has been widely discredited (a Prius costs $325,000 to drive over 100,000 miles???). Nickel metal hydride batteries have a much lower envionmental impact compared to lead-acid based ones. Consider that the average traditional vehicle replaces the battery 2-4 times over its life. Yes, the hybrid battery is much larger, but last longer. Nickel is no near as toxic as lead. AND they do last! Lithium-ion, more efficient and even safer than Nickel is the next step. Hybrids are not new anymore; they’ve been in Japan since 1997. People less enthusiastic about hybrids will try to put hybrid owners down by saying that they are not “saving the world.” Many hybrid owners are certainly concerned with image. I agree, but every step individuals take to minimize their impact can produce substantial results if others begin to adopt similar changes. Also, the Prius DOES get 46+ miles when driven correctly. Be optimistic. Hybrids represent the best immediate solution to our carbon addiction. A band-aid, yes, but its a start!

  7. Anonymous says:

    If we do all start driving hybrids in congested traffic areas, the impacts on local smog and global warming will lessen for a much extended period of time, leaving us to further develop better technologies. Cars aren’t the only thing destroying the environment, but if we can develop a popularity for environment- friendly products, then we can slowly reshape the environment.

    It’s like going on a diet, why don’t more people do it?

  8. I have been doing some work on finding the any truth in this whole Hybrid hype. So far I can’t find one study or fact base article on the negative impact of the car.
    I have found that to make the car is much more of a production than that of a ‘regular’ car. But day by day Toyota and other makers are upping the production of the cars and thus making the process more concentrated and refined. Any time there is a “new technology” there are problems producing it but if you buy one today you are furthering the production in the future and thus the efficiency of the manufacturing.
    All in all my car has 699 miles on it and I have filled up my tank ONCE from the dealer and still have gas (an 11 gallon tank)! So there is a little bit of truth.

  9. anonomous says:

    i like my car, its not a hybrid but it can beat the shit out of all your cars bitches……

  10. I new a Suburban was a more friendly environmental vehicle all along… Go figure!

  11. Lucy Anderson says:

    How come some information states that hybrids are better for the environment but your article says the opposite??? huh??huh????

  12. Rob Low Down says:

    There is a lot of positive and negative info about hybrid cars. My questions is… what do you have to lose? Is it really that bad they people are trying to come up with solutions to serious problems. I see the energy problem in three areas. (1) recycling (2) renewable resources (3) conservation.

    The nickel batters can’t be reused, which will lead to other problems in the future. Though this does give us a short term solution. There also is the fact that lead does have serious effects on the human body and that is what it all comes down to, “me” we all care about.

    Yes, hybrid cars run off of energy that could be produced by “dirty” resources, but not all will be powered by that. While all non-hybrid cars are fueled by “dirty” resources. Not only are they dirty, but they are not renewable.

    Hybrid cars might be harder to make, but consider Toyota averages a car being built in 28.8hrs while all American cars takes at least ten more hours to make. Thats ten less hours of energy. I do have to say I’m getting tired of all they studies; hell, excerising causes global warming. So why lose weight?

    So here is the bottom line, it’s been about 90yrs since we were getting from place to place on the backs of animals. We’ve been around killings each for thousands of years using swords, knives, axes. Then arrows to bullets, so maybe this is the natural progression of things. United States is the greatest nation in the world because we pushed for change. So don’t drag your feet, try to see just how good we can make these cars. God, I’d love to go 4 wheeling in Moab without worry about running out of gas. A bit of sun and Im set.

    By they way, it could help if the cars weren’t do damn ugly(Prius)

  13. ok the person who wrote this article has no common sense. Its people like this who are ending our world. Now that something so revolutionary has come out, that helps our environment there are idiots like this one who has to put it down. The hybrid car is the future…whether u like it or not!! IDIOT!!

  14. thats crap hybrid cas are great and they are better then just any normal car!! so ya

  15. im no business owner but i have some comments on other peoples comments yes we are not “saving” the world but we are slowing down the process of killing it and isn’t that better than doing it quicker. Also if everyone adopted this way of living then we could probably slow it down some 100 years and maybe eventually stop the process of harming the world. Yes we are not saving the World but we are helping it!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    The big question with hybrids is where does the electricity come from? If you recharge your battery from an electrical outlet in your house and your house is powered by a coal-burning plant, are you really helping? The power must come from somewhere.

    Also, is the cost of recharging your battery less than the cost of filling your tank? Yes, gas prices are rising (believe me, I know). But the company that supplies my electricity is upping their rates for the first time in well over a decade because of rising oil prices.

    One major draw back to hybrids and many of the fuel-efficient vehicles is their size. I don’t mind driving a little car. My current vehicle is a 1989 Honda Accord. But I am 5’9″. My 6’5″ brother-in-law barely fits in my vehicle. What is he supposed to do?

    Finally, how am I supposed to afford a hybrid car? My husband and I have never purchased a new car. We scrimp and save to buy a 10-15 year old car that still runs (only barely some days). Yes, I would love to have a new car; but unless you’re going to give me one, it probably won’t ever happen. That puts a hybrid out of my price range for at least another 5 if not 10 years.

  17. my wife and I drive a prius…our average fuel economy for an entire tank of gas is 46-51 miles per gallon….no joke (the car really does ‘teach you’ how to drive in a more fuel efficient way). The ‘dust-to-dust’ study sited that a prius is worse for planet than a hummer….part of the studies asumptions were the hummer would last 300,000 miles, and the prius would only last 100,000 miles….the study is rediculous…and not much of a study at all. This car is just a first step…there’s no question it could be manufactured better (I’m just glad US auto makers are finally starting to ‘get it’)…and when we buy another car down the road…it may not be a prius, it will be whatever is the most fuel efficient main stream car on the market…I truely hope it’s American made too.

  18. I totally agree with R. Hoglund, unfortunatly i can’t afford one.

  19. Ryan Rogers says:

    Hey,

    I have been exploring the differences between hybrid cars and traditional fuel efficient cars, because I want to sell my gas-guzzling truck and trade in for something economical. Maybe someone could direct me as to the best place to do this. I have looked at a lot of sites similar to cars.com, and I came across a new one the other day, everycarlisted.com. It says that I can sell a vehicle myself for no cost. If that is correct then it would be different then any of the others I have looked at. Is this a scam? I saw a lot of media coverage for them, and was just wondering if it was legitimate. Thanks,
    Ryan

  20. You have successfully made a ton of claims with no evidence or proof to any of them. Congratulations, no one should pay attention to your article. You should check out the Aptera (www.aptera.com). They are the first company I’ve seen to break away from the problems that both hybrid and gasoline cars run into. Aptera is different because they utilize an aerodynamic design that is about 1200% more efficient than the average SUV. Oh yeah, and don’t forget that their hybrid gets 300 mpg!

  21. Justin Behrens says:

    Like some of the others said…

    You might be getting 40 some mile to a gallon but…
    What you are saving in fuel you are paying some in electricity.
    Energy cannot be created or destroyed. So either you are filling it through a hose or a chord it doesn’t matter which.

    Very small way that the hybrids help the environment.
    If the electricity you are plugging your car into is made by nuclear, wind, hydroelectric, or solar power plants. This you have no control over. Powerplants in general are held to strict emissions regulations so if you own a hybrid you might be buying a small amount of cleaner energy (only the electricity). If the electricity comes from a coal or natural gas burning plant there is nothing to control the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere. You will be putting the same amount of CO2 in the air whether it comes from your car or not.

    Basically no matter how you slice it, buying a hybrid to help the environment isn’t justified at all.

    Electricity is more efficient. The average electric motor puts out about 90% of the energy that is put in whereas the internal combustion engine is only 30% efficient. This efficiency is what could make the hybrid financially considerable.

    The only reason to buy a hybrid is if your electricity usage is cheaper than your gasoline usage. Than you have to factor how much it will cost you to change the batteries. If the car saves you $1000 dollars a year but you have to change a $3,000 dollar battery every two years than it wouldn’t be worth it.

    To figure it out you need to do an energy balance. How much electricity in KWH and how much fuel in gallons. Find out some battery info. Add it all together to get your monthly hybrid bill. Chances are you might not be saving yourself any pennies at all. I don’t own a hybrid so I don’t care to do the study myself.

    Justin Behrens
    Mechanical Engineering Student

    If you want to gripe at me… kartracer77t@gmail.com

  22. The negative effects of hybrid cars isn’t to do what-so-ever with the actual driving of the vehicle, but rather the construction cost of the vehicle.

    I saw on top gear a little while ago an episode where they stated that if you were to add up the total emissions of the construction and lifetime motor emissions of a hybrid and a land rover, they end up being equal. this is because the nickel and copper get transported through huge cargo ships from continent to continent as large amounts are required to construct a hybrid.

    If car companies want to make their claims true, then they have to go right back to the source, find innovative ways to transport the nickel and copper with lower emissions and approach this problem at every angle;

    -reduce the effects of the mines
    -reduce the effects of the cargo ships
    -reduce the emissions of factories

    and so forth

    until this is done a hybrid does almost nothing to help the emissions destroying our earth.

  23. OK tree huggers cruising around in your Prius’…nickel for the hybrid batteries is mined in Canada in open pit mining that leaves a huge gaping scar in the earth. The nickel is then sent to Germany for further processing. Then to China for battery assembly. Then sent to Japan to be assembled into the precious Prius. In all of these intermediate steps I’m sure the transportation mode is not “green”. Then your little environmental savior on wheels is put on an evil fossil fuel burning ocean liner and sent across the ocean to you. I’d suggest you take some time and calculate your “carbon footprint” after all of that. Plus you spend $5,000 or more and with gas prices around $4 it will take you almost 6 years to make up the difference of buying a standard 25MPG vehicle and that 6 year figure doesn’t even take into account the interest on the extra $5,000 in your loan. So not only are you not really saving money, but you’re not really saving the environment either. I’m all for being a good steward of the earth, but this is all just a bunch of marketing hype by the major auto manufacturers and you’ve all been suckered into it.

  24. An often overlooked aspect is the battery life expectancy of a hybrid. All rechargeable batteries eventually fail and have to be replaced. Replacing a battery that can comprise 1/3 of the weight of the car is no small affair. Yes, a lead acid battery from a conventional car contains lead, but (at least in the U.S.), there is a comprehensive recycling program for that lead. Hybrid car producers have not put in place the infrastructure for large-scale nickel battery recycling. So, if the nickel batteries that make up a huge portion of your vehicle fail, you will have to pay through the nose for new ones with no guarantee that the old ones will be recycled, or buy a new car and send your hybrid to salvage.

    But hey, I work at a copper mine, so keep buying hybrids. That extra copper in each is job security for me.

  25. I am doing research on hybrids at my school for a speech.The thought of mine is why spend more money going to build hybrid cars for people who love the environment…. Look at the real matter of hand we owe 1.2 trillion dollars and were having to pay for this stupid crap. We are going into a collosal United states of America.

  26. Hmmm. How about a car with 60 cubic feet of cargo space that produces 236 lbs of torque and gets 40 MPG running on McDonalds used fry oil? It does need a battery to start it.

  27. this is the most awesome car Ive ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. yoyoyoyoyoyo this is acool as car luv it isnt coolio i want one but my momma wont give to me this chrostmas

    hahahahaha thats how cheap it is

    i hope

    nah justt kindding this is an magnificint car because i think people should help our environment and so i am very pleased with that idea i want people to drive them so we can not harm our environment well BYE …………………….. no thats it BYe……

  29. cool car i love it. It is so cool i will totally buy it when i get my license if i get my license

  30. you guys are all dumb tree hugging hippies. good luck getting laid in a prius drive a hummer and do the world some good

  31. Andrea is right. They are mad ugly. Why can’t they make them look nice? My car is sick nasty/kick ass. I have a corvette with butterfly doors. It gets mad good gas mileage too. 35mpg. I’m not buying a hybrid. My car is already bitchin’.

  32. AWSOME!!!!!!!

  33. All this hand wringing about the batteries in a hybrid car? And then the bogus comparisons of a Prius and Hummer?

    Has anybody actually considered the impact of all the after-market “bling” that people add to their Hummer’s, Escalade’s, Navigator’s and other boats. If you want to check out nasty chemicals, check out the stuff used for chrome plating. There’s a reason why most plating is done in the far east…

    Simply put there is an environmental impact in producing any kind of vehicle. Mark and Kris don’t seem to understand that moving stuff around by ship and/or rail is incredibly efficient compared to road transit. Averaged over the life of a vehicle the carbon footprint of getting all the components together in one place assembled and to your driveway is relatively small. This goes for all vehicles as well as a lot of other consumer goods. That’s the reason why it is possible to buy Chilean grapes in North American supermarkets in January for lower prices than California grapes in September.

    Sure the hybrids use nickel, lithium, and copper more than a standard vehicle, but whether you mine nickel or iron out of the ground you still end up with a big hole. And the process of turning iron ore into steel typically uses about 2 tons of coal per tonne of steel, so that isn’t entirely “green” in itself.

    I don’t see how anyone can say that the NiMH batteries are not recycleable. If you can extract nickel ore out of the ground, usually with lots and lots of contaminates, wouldn’t it be logical to assume that it would be possible to extract the nickel back out of the batteries? The only problem with recycling is collecting the batteries and breaking down the components?

    Justin Behrens for some reason has confused plug-in electic cars with hybrids. Simply put hybirds don’t use electricity from the grid unless modified to be “plug-in” hybids. Very few hybrids are of this type. I share his concern though about use of coal to produce electricity. The US seems to be one of the ‘worst’ nations for the portion of it’s electricity produced form coal. If global warming is a serious problem and if it is caused by carbon dioxide emissions, then you have to stop burning so much coal.

    Coal is bad news. There is no such thing as ‘clean coal’, at least for producing electircity. Coal and oil are much to valuable commodities to not get everything we can possibly get out of them. A lot of the products that we appreciate in our everyday lives are derived from oil or coal. Imagine a world without plastics for instance. That might sound great at first until you realize that every single electronic or electrical device we use has plastic parts. Then consider that most of our food is packaged in plastic, and that’s one of the reasons why our food is so affordable.

    Before today I was a bit uncertain about whether hybrids are better or not, but after checking out a couple websites and especially reading through the comments from the nay-sayers, I’m convicned that hybird is a reasonable option. If you want to make an arguement that hybrid is worse than conventional, you’re going to have to do better than speculation that because it is different it is therefore more complex and because it is more complex it has a larger negative environmental impact. A multi-layered argument like this needs substantial support. None is provided.

    If what you are doing isn’t working, maybe it’s time to try something else.

  34. andrea addressed the real issue (no. 3) renewable energy…the fact of the matter is, with out CLEAN renewable energy grids to plug these cars into, we are still burning fossil fuels and thus, catalyzing the overall carbon levels in the atmosphere. I DO agree that getting on board with green technology NOW regardless of the negatives will eventually lead to a more planet-wise, eco friendly populace…you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. The bottom line is making the power grid green(wind,solar,SUSTAINABLE, ZERO IMPACT..or low anyways). Anybody that doesn’t understand this is a wanker or even a plonker…and i’m not even english. hahahaha HELLO MIDDLE AMERICA!!! sorry, just blurted that one out me mugg

  35. I got bored reading all the bashing. Open your mind and don’t reject an idea (that’s where everything is born) that perhaps you should take a step back and think about the bigger picture. I would have been bashed for saying that these energy efficient light bulbs weren’t all they’re cracked up to be. GUESS WHAT?!? They’re not all they were cracked up to be which in fact cracks me up after reading much of this shit. Mercury is harmful, these bulbs contain mercury and need special recycling/disposal. You’d have to convince me that our impact on the Earth is as substantial and specifically harmful as claimed to be. Sorry I think higher of myself than to be educated by movies produced by Al Gore, a huge profiteer of the ‘green movement” And since it’s always about CO2 emissions, educated yourself, the amount of CO2 produced by our oceans absolutely dwarfs any human produced CO2. Global Warming is hysteria that was constructed to get you to buy an UGLY POS (prius). I don’t drive an H1 2 or 3 but I own a truck which friends and acquaintances often ask to borrow. I bought a truck as my primary vehicle to avoid being at the mercy of rental companies and such. Quit being so god damn egocentric and realize the world will destroy you before you ever have a chance to destroy it by driving a less fuel efficient vehicle. America is about choices, respect mine and I’ll respect yours but don’t think for one second you’re doing me a service by driving a hybrid, which in the end might not be all it was cracked up to be! You CAN do me a service by getting the fuck outta my way so I don’t have to brake as much.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Everybody should read about Bolivia and Lithium before jumping to that technology.

  37. Semore Butsse says:

    Yeah, well i dont drive a hybrid or a gas powered car. Who needs that crap? I drive a solar powered spaceship everywhere i need to go. Since these energy efficient vehicles travel so fast, it minimizes the exhaust since i do not have to have my vehicle on for very long. I think everyone should throw away their gas-guzzling hybrids and get a solar ship!
    Lets get crunk

  38. As far as maintenance is concerned, most hybrid components need no regular maintenance. Of course, you’ll have to change the oil in the gas engine every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, just as you would in a conventional car.

  39. Jonathan says:

    I love these places, so much rubbish is spoken by those on both sides of the argument. Hybrids ARE more expensive environmentally to produce, but have a LESSER impact on the environment in use (as long as the user is careful where they source their electricity from of course). How long they’ll last is purely speculative, since the most popular one, the prius, has only been around for a few years.

    Me? I drive a 16 yr old diesel Land Rover that’s got 176000 miles on the clock, taken me across Africa, still manages 28mpg fully expedition laden and in general use produces around 1.9 tonnes of co2 a year. An amount I’ve saved by doubling my house insulation (although I could (and will) do more obviously).

    All vehicles are bad for the environment, whether a hybrid, a gas guzzler or an old but good one. It’s how you use them and what you do to offset their use that matters until a non oil-dependant replacement is produced in a sustainable fashion.

    As for those who STILL think climate change is fantasy or hysteria? Go bury your head under a rock and sing to yourself to drown out the sound of humanity dying…not the planet, just us, it’ll still be around in 100 million years, we won’t.

  40. D. Ferguson says:

    All vehicles are going to cause pollution in the environment for their production,use and recyclement(new word). The point is the extent of the pollution; unless you want to forgo the whole point of modern transportation which is fine but please get off the computer because it is a corruption of your fine environmental standards. The lessening of pollution is the goal while increasing the modernization of society for most people. Hybrids and total electric cars are less detrimental to the environment because of the long term usage. Using even dirty energy for an electric car is more environmental friendly than both hybrids and regular vehicles because of the amount of pollution the dirty coal uses per mile of vehicle use is probably less than 50% of even the hybrid and 35% of a regular car. Also the lack of maintainance for a total electric car is great for the environment; no oil chances, gas spillage etc.. The batteries of hybrids and total electric can be recycled or even used for other applications until they are finally exhausted and then they can be recycled so I applaud the transportation industry for there new direction.

  41. I am fan of the diesel car myself. They get the same or better millage than a prius does. All this while not using batteries that are really hard to recycle. And diesel technology has come a long way so it has become much cleaner than it was in the past. I am interested in a diesel series hybrid, I think VW is working on one. Uses the same technology that locomotives use. Efficient and do not require the use of batteries.

  42. More people will buy hybrids for the fuel savings than for environmental reasons. The same reason trucks and SUVs were the choice when fuels were cheaper. Why not a large vehicle that could potentially carry an entire family or ball team or living room suite?
    Global warming is a given, but how much of it if any is caused by man? The oil that is pumped out the artic circle was the result of once tropic environment. Ask the scientist what a few sun flares do to our climate.
    But I guess people have to make a living one way or another.

  43. Rome wasn’t built in a day… Although there are still downsides to building hybrid cars, they do not compare to those of the continued production of SUV’s running 18 mpg.

    The alternatives to electricity production will come in time, hybrids are a good stepping stone.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Hybrids make people feel warm and fuzzy inside. They transfer the sin of the environmentally religious away from the user so its out of their sight. Its true that we need to stop using fossil fuels because its a waste of money and the wrong people are getting that money. I’m no tree hugger, but producing juice without pollution (ie through solar, wind, etc), is an admirable goal.

    No one has said the word diesel. Similar sized diesel cars can get up to 70 MPG, which blows hybrids out of the water. They also can look nice, and can have some power under the hood. That’s economic. That’s responsible. Unfortunately only a few European brands make these kinds of cars.

    Global warming is not a given. There is no such thing as the Earth achieving or having achieved environmental equilibrium. Did you know that the sun doesn’t output the same amount of energy from year to year? Might that big fireball in the sky be responsible for Earth’s temperature variations? Did you know that Enron wanted the government to enforce stringent environmental regulations because they knew how much money they could make off of the gullible? Ask a search engine…you will see.

    Hybrids are a stepping stone, thats a good thing. In the end, though, they are no more “environmentally responsible” because they just move the pollutants elsewhere.

  45. I just took a long trip up into the NC Mtns, my Suzuki SX-4 crossover AWD, crusing the interstate at about 65 to 70 mph up and down the mtns roads, if the on board comper is right the car got about on average 31.7 mpg. I know around town I get over 25 MPG. I would what it would do down in FLA on those flat roads. Now its no hybrid, but for a 143 hp GAS motor,
    A Prius gets 40 to 50 mpg, I get almost 32 on interstate mtn roads… I keep my Gas unit.
    Look, once a hybrid gets over 200 mpg and can perform like a normal car, and priced right, and gas at $4 a gallon then hybrids be worth a damn.

    Hope the Chevy Volt is worth more then hype…

  46. It’s going to take will power for me to restrain myself to flame no one.

    Fact: In 1960 my VW Bug got 30 mpg.
    Fact: In 1970 my Subaru got 35 mpg.
    Fact: In 1980 my VW Rabbit got 40mpg.
    Fact: In 1985 my Chevy Sprint got 53mpg.
    Fact: From 1997 to present my Geo gets 51mpg.

    Fact: Ford has for years now built the second
    most fuel efficient car in the UK. Ask
    a Brit. I think it’s the Festiva.
    Fact: VW makes the most fuel efficient UK
    auto a diesel hybrid that gets 69mpg.

    Fact: If we continue to import more than we
    export we will go bankrupt as a nation.
    Fact: This will remove our ability to do
    anything about global warming!

    Question: Do the powers that be care one lick
    about anything other than their own
    personal checking accounts?

  47. anticommie says:

    Fact: there is no such thing as Global Warming
    Fact: sun emits more energy on earth in one day than man has ever used throughout our history
    Fact: Obama is a marxist
    Fact: Obama is a liberal
    Fact: Liberals want to control our lives

  48. Jonny McHardmember says:

    I’m not one prone to using profanity because of the degradation it has on ones intelligence but I have to comment on all the ignorant assholes who posted on this article saying that they are superior because they drive a big car. Not that all you Hummer drivers are wrong, more power to you, I drive a Porsche myself and couldn’t give a second thought to gas milage. But to all you people that think you are saving the planet by driving a hybrid need to reconsider your motives. The energy required to charge hybrids equates the amount of fuel they save.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I would like to think that I’m helping somewhat by using a car that is 37 years old rather than junking it and buying a new car, but thats just me. Once a hybrid gets over 100 mpg and moderately priced I don’t think I will be getting one any time soon.

  50. Fact: The Earth revolves around the Sun
    Fact: The Earth is spherically shaped–not flat like a pancake
    Fact: The lifestyles of the enormous population of humans on Earth DO have a measurable impact on Earth’s systems
    Fact: We live in an enclosed environment and a disproportionate level of CO2 in our atmosphere caused by mass global deforestation combined with the burning of archaic substances will undoubtedly lead to an increase in global temperatures, changes in weather patterns and acidification of the oceans
    Fact: We are currently in the midst of what is so far the sixth largest mass extinction in Earth’s history
    Fact: Today, six giant corporations own and control the vast majority of our media
    Fact: America is no longer a democracy–but a corporatocracy whose overseers are operating to establish, maintain and further their control through manipulation of government as well as public attitudes and the policies which result

  51. Oh, and yea–I drive a 2005 Prius I bought used for under $10,000. Performs great and it looks the way does, Rob Low Down, because it is not using 40% of it’s energy just pushing air–it is called aerodynamics. No, it is not an ideal vehicle–but it is one of the best, we, as Americans, have wide spread access to. Mining and drilling of anything is dirty business–this is true. Consumption of just about any product has an adverse impact on the planet’s ecosystems. The Earth can no longer (not since the mid 1960’s) sustain our civilizations level of consumption. For those worried about leaving the “next” generation a staggering national monetary debt–perhaps you should worry if this level of consumption will leave them a world which can sustain life as we know it at all. The ideal vehicle, as well as any product, would be one made entirely out of recycled materials with energy created from clean renewable sources–and, obviously, would run on a clean, renewable energy source.

    No–I know my decision to drive a Prius will not “save the world” and one person driving a Hummer or one family clearing a few acres for a monocrop were not entirely responsible for our current dilemma, either–but we live in a huge society on a small planet and is is imperative that we all start thinking more clearly and behaving more responsibly as individuals while we still have the ability to make such decisions. Oh, and I most certainly prefer the image of thoughtful conservation over one of mindless and liberal consumerism.

  52. Some people are really revealing their ignorance here when they say that the electricity used in a Prius causes environmental damage. What do you fools think, that you plug a Prius in to the electric grid? These are hybrids, not electric cars (perhaps there are some exceptions, but by and large, no). In a hybrid car, the electricity is made by the running of the gas engine. That means that while the car is using some gas, it is also storing up extra energy in the battery. It’s not taking away any of the usefulness of the gas, it’s just multitasking. Then, the car can partly run on the battery power. Get it?

    • you are dumb
      how do you think the electricity is generated?
      it takes energy of the gasoline to exert force turning the drive shaft and, thus a turbine or alternator that generates electricity as you are coasting or whenever the gasoline engine is not in use
      you are correct that hybrids are a great step towards being greener, but energy is not just magically made, it is taken/sort of switched for the gas

    • The Phantom Scribbler says:

      1) If I remember high school science, isn’t there at least a small loss of energy just about every time there is a conversion from one type of energy to another? If so, wouldn’t that detract somewhat from the overall efficiency of an electric vehicle, especially one that needs to be plugged in? Since the energy created/used by a standard car come directly from burning gasoline, and the energy created/used by an electric car has to be converted back-and-forth through miles of wire?

      2) I also remember someone mentioning that around the manufacturing plants which create the batteries for electric cars, there are huge toxic zones where plants cannot grow. Does anyone have any idea if this is true?

    • Samuel Rhys Dorrington says:

      Dear Sheila
      That is impossible, a fuel can not multitask. Due to the laws of conservation of energy if the fuel was also powering the electric engine then to achieve the same output the car would need to consume more fuel. Thus the car would create the same ammount of emissions per a unit of fuel burnt. HOWEVER the electric engine is not only powered by burning fuel, it is powered by reverse gyroscopes in the engine. This means that the electric engine is powered by the wheels turning when the engines arent being used, i.e. slowing down, free wheeling, changing gear, braking, and engine braking (all of which normally waste energy as heat) charge the electric engine. Thus hybrids can achieve a higher mile per gallon.

      Sincerely
      Samuel Rhys Dorrington
      Director of Environmental Reduction at Honda

  53. yall need to take a chill pill =\

  54. Maylaunim says:

    I’m 19 and I don’t drive yet, I don’t want to untill I can find a good car that is compatable with the envirment and has great milage, untill then I think I’ll stick with my legs or a 2 weeler, no moter, bicycle. I’ll be doing my homework with cars before I consider buying or getting my drivers license.

  55. I’m just thinking that the zero land fill subaru may be worth as much environmentally as the hybrid.

  56. Less efficiency than a diesel, less performance than a petrol engined car. The amount of enviormental damage caused in the sourcing, production & disposal of lithion ion battieries far outweigh any claimed green credentials. Buy & maintain an old car, even a sports car. In the long run it does far less damage to the enviorment than building a brand new car & THEN sourcing lithion ion batteries for it. People who purchase hybrid cars do nothing more then advertise their own ignorance to the world.

  57. It is true that the dust-to-dust study was not done correctly, but if they did a study with a car in the same class size as a Prius it would likely conclude the conventional car is better for the environment. The d-t-d study said that Hummers were like $1.49 and the Prius was $3 something. If the difference was that great between a car with 50 mpg and 7 mpg I can only imagine that the gas car will beat the Prius

  58. anonymous says:

    Can you just accept the fact that nothing in this world is perfect? All things have certain limitations.

  59. Christopher says:

    I’m coming in late on this discussion. Something I think what is overlooked with hybrids is the fact that their entry price (Toyota and Honda)has been heavily subsidized by sales of less “environmenally friendly” vehicles (think Tacoma trucks). Without that subsidy the cost of a hybrid could easily rise 50%. So yes YOUR car is green, but it is probably just a dirty getting into your hands as the guy driving a non-hybrid.

    I think what also gets lost in these discussions is the financial stakes at hand. Typically “Big Oil” comes to mind, but there are groups on the “Green” side which have just as much to lose if hybrids don’t pan out. Some people (Al Gore ex) could lose or gain hundreds of millions of dollars. Make no bones about it folks this is about $$ first and the environment second.

    From a public policy perspective there are some serious problems regarding the taxation and overall cost of fuel. It’s something worth thinking about outside of the “green is good” mantra.

    What do I drive? I drive a clean diesel.

  60. Anonymous says:

    i cant believe i just read every single post

  61. I have a question about hybrid SUV especially Fords.

    A friend recently purchased used 2008 Ford Hybrid. I think it is the Escape model but I am not sure. The one I looked at is again the 2008 Escape that does not have a mid step side bar to help people get in easier and my friend had that in his SUV. It could be another Ford Hybrid model. His is a 4 cylinder,automatic with a great built-in GIS, Satellite internet and all the bells and whistle! Again, I am not sure it is an Escape only because of the side step bar along the SUV. I only looked on-line..

    He paid 25,000 or more for the 2008 dark silver with the whole lot of options. I really like what he purchased and I am thinking of buying a hybrid too.

    Yah! Sorry for the jabber. MY QUESTION pertains to Ford Hybrids or maybe all Hybrids in general.

    My mechanic of 32 experience reacted negatively about Hybrids. When I told him I was thinking of purchasing one, he said it not worth it based on his personal reasons but more so, THE FACT that he tells me the Electric Engine has a life span of TEN years! To replace the Electric Engine, it would cost to date, SIX Thousands Dollars for a new electric engine!

    IS THIS TRUE? I mean you can sell it before it reaches 10 years but you will need to disclose the truth about the electric engine or be one of those jerks and not say anything and pray the victim does not find out. I am not like that so that is why I am asking.

    Again does the Hybrids Electric Engine have a life span of TEN YEARS? I am not savvy about car.so PLEASE, would someone confirm what my mechanic said. Have you heard of this and is there a warranty solution?

    Thanks
    Lenora

  62. Hybrid and electric cars are MUCH MUCH WORSE for the environment than standard cars or trucks for a variety of reasons. First to consider is lifespan. Which has a greater environmental cost: a truck which has to be replaced after 15 or 20 years, a car which has to be replaced after ten, or a hybrid which loses most of its value after THREE YEARS???!!! That should be enough to convince you right there. I won’t even get into the environmental costs of strip mining for all the rare earth metals needed to make the batteries.

  63. Justin Bieber says:

    this is stupid the pros out weigh the cons sooo much

  64. bob bobrowske says:

    This could be right, it could be wrong. We will see in the future

    Why would you want to buy a hybrid. There is no power to haul things, and no leg room!!!

  65. Justin Bieber you sure know how to put up a convincing argument.

  66. Anonymous says:

    All this because someone decided to look at both sides of the coin on this issue. Wow.

  67. Hybrids Will Not Last Long says:

    In the end the argument for hybrids is not going to win. 500Ibs of battery in a Prius…where do you think this comes from…look up nickel mining. It is a process involving strip mining the earth you guys think you are saving. It leaves craters in the planet large enough to fit several football stadiums. I am sure you think “but you can recycle nickel.” Well that sounds nice but if the average conumption per person of nickel with a regular car is 50 Ibs…and suddenly 1/2 of the world…roughly 1 Billion families of 3-4 people think getting a hybrid would be a great idea…now 1 Billion families need to consume 500Ibs of nickel….consumption of nickel will be up by 450,000,000,000 Ibs……Thats a giant hole considering you have to move 5 Ibs of earth to get 1 Ib of nickel….so enjoy saving the planet.

  68. perhaps if we developed an entirely solar powere/nuclear powered electrical grid and only used battery powered cars we wouldn’t relase any greenhouse gasses when driving, but since nickel mining straight rapes the earth that probably won’t happen. Until there is a viable solution I will continue to ride my motorcycle (80mpg) and drive my 2000 Jetta 1.8T (30mpg if driven normally) since they’re both older and it takes less money/resources to keep an old vehicle working than it does to buy a whole new car and It’s not like either of them are gas guzzlers.

  69. dogs dinner says:

    I think a good point was raised early in the thread where someone questions the logic of a hybrid being more damaging to the environment than a hummer.
    I think the point is being slightly missed. In my opinion, if we’re talking about buying a new car then, like for like (compact vs compact) a hybrid is more damaging due to the manufacturing processed and potentially the way it’s used minimizing the advantages.
    However, compact vs suv isn’t the same. Do you really need a hummer???
    The point i make is the best way to limit your impact on the environment through motoring is to keep your current car longer.
    Regardless if it’s a 10 year old V8, by keeping it and not buying a new car you WILL be reducing your impact.

  70. I wish that all cars and other devices (maybe everything including food and clothing) were labelled with a verified TEC (Total Environmental Cost) value, (like a nutritional value label) so that the manufacturing costs (including the administrative overhead) could be compared. In this way, better built cars and operated companies would have an advantage over poorly built and operated ones.

    It is my understanding that the environmental costs of building the car far outweigh the environmental impact of driving a 1970’s large automobile driving 1,000,000 miles. (I got this statistic at a local automotive museum) This would imply that if we could get a car that would last a lifetime, we would make a much greater impact environmentally than having solar powered cars… although, without the consumer renewal, we would all probably be without jobs… or be farming on organic farms within a bicycle’s distance from our homes… Please hand me that hoe and clippers…

  71. EVs suck says:

    Doesn’t recycling that stupid battery do even more environmental damage? And taking all of this into consideration, you’d be saving the planet more if you drove a supercharged Range Rover

  72. Diesel earth movers to mine(all metal components).Diesel freighters to ship overseas.diesel trains,diesel trucks to ship to p.o.s. Including all toxicity created in manufacturing of “hi-tech” gadgetry!majority of profits retained overseas and what happens when your involved in an accident? Ever looked into what that “new car smell” really is?

  73. Nuclear is a dirty technology? Plus in order to make the batteries as it says you have to:
    1) Mine the nickle
    2) ship the nickle ore to europe for refining
    3) ship the refined nickle to china
    4)make the batteries
    5) ship those batteries to the plant to be put into cars

    The end result is a car that (usually) has two engines and two drive trains in it, making it crazy heavy on top of the extra weight of the batteries, making the car get the same highway mileage as a regular small car. If you do all your driving in the city then it makes sense, but if you are in a more rural area and do a lot of highway driving then you’re better off with a Camry or some other 4 cylinder.

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