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  1. #11
    The original article is an opinion piece (i.e., no fact-checking) for a college newspaper that publishes wild claims in a pathetic attempt to draw attention to itself. In February, The Recorder published "Rape only hurts if you fight it" and now in March, "Prius outdoes hummer." This newspaper and this article are garbage.

    1. Regarding new EPA mileage estimates, Demorro claims the Chevy Aveo's mileage puts it within "spitting distance" of the Prius. The new EPA combined mileage put the Chevy Aveo at 26 mpg, the Toyota Prius at 46 mpg. So I guess 20 miles more per gallon is "spitting distance."

    2. The "Dust-to-dust" study is from a marketing firm, not a science journal. It arrives at an artificially high cost for the Prius by assigning it an arbitrary lifespan of 100k miles, and a Hummer 300k miles. There's Prius being used as cabs that have over 200,000 miles on them now.

    And, insofar as a car lasting, what car do you expect to repair less? A Toyota Prius or a GM Hummer? You can check Consumer Reports for the answer to that one. A good analysis of the flaws in dust-to-dust is available from TrueDelta.

    3. The Sudbury info is seriously outdated, and the comment about moon buggies (like, when did Nasa test moon buggies — early 1970’s) ought to have given the author a clue. Sudbury was polluted by a century of mining (1870 on). In fact, some of Sudbury’s nickel went into making the Statue of Liberty. Currently, the mine is owned by INCO (not Toyota), and produces 100,000 tons of nickel a year, of which Toyota buys 1% (1000 tons). Blaming Toyota for the pollution at Sudbury is ludicrous. Nickel, by the way, is primarily used to make stainless steel. The Mail on Sunday newspaper, which ran the story the college article's Sudbry info is a thin re-write of (visible here), used a stock photo you can buy online taken in 1994 to illustrate the pollution (visible here). There were, of course, no Prius in existence or being manufactured in 1994.

    Furthermore, Sudbury is no longer this polluted, as INCO and the city have planted over 8 million trees there since 1979. A really good history online of the Sudbury devastation/reforestation comes from GM Canada -- that's GM, maker of the Hummer, ahem, writing about how Sudbury was polluted and how it has come back. Really, one should blame Chicago more than Toyota, as Sudbury's trees were all cut down in 1871 to help rebuild Chicago after the fire. GM provides telling photos of some of the reclamation from 1979 to present.


    Canadian news recently broadcast a show on Sudbury's regreening (the acid rain problem David Martin of Greenpeace is talking about is the situation pre 1972).


    The author of this article, Demorro, is so fact-challenged that in his follow-up piece, wherin he admits "Dust-to-Dust" is suspect, he continues bashing the Prius by saying people should instead buy a Tesla Roadster for $30,000. The Tesla Roadster actually costs $92,000. Demorro can't even get the list price of a car right; I seriously wouldn't trust his opinion on hybrids.

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  3. #12
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    I think you missed the dust-to-dust point. The article (whether it is valid or not) states that the Prius costs more per mile to run including the energy and materials used to build the two vehicles. Yes, the more miles you drive the lower the cost but since most of the cost is up front, driving an extra 100,000 miles will likely not lower the actual cost by much.

    Personally I think hybrids are bad for one reason - they are a crutch. Regardless of whether global warming is man made or a natural cycle we need to get off the oil train for political reasons. Hybrids merely allow us to feel like we are 'doing something' when we are only prolonging the agony.

  4. #13
    I agree, hybrids won't save us. They're only a step in the right direction. We can't stop here. Demand plug-in vehicles from your dealer. Demand an alternative way to run your car other than using oil.
    Drive whatever you're driving for as long as it runs while saving the car payments. Tell the dealers that you'll buy the plug-in when it comes out.

  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ex-EV1 driver View Post
    I agree, hybrids won't save us. They're only a step in the right direction. We can't stop here. Demand plug-in vehicles from your dealer. Demand an alternative way to run your car other than using oil.
    Drive whatever you're driving for as long as it runs while saving the car payments. Tell the dealers that you'll buy the plug-in when it comes out.
    I like the idea of giving less money to governments who are not friendly to the west but I have a question about hybrids. Should I buy one now or keep driving my '98 Dodge truck for awhile longer? I'm getting an honest 14.5mpg and hoping to increase it a little with the driving tips I've found on this site. Or should I wait until we get a car with a plug on it? I like my truck and it runs fine...I can afford gas....or a new car.

  6. #15

    its all good

    Here's the way I look at it. If you get rid of your '98 truck, someone will buy it and continue to drive it until the wheels fall off so the gas will be consumed either way. From the planet's viewpoint, it doesn't matter which human is producing the emissions. This makes this a personal decision. I'd say you have 2 choices:
    1. keep driving the 14 mpg truck until you can get a plug-in.
    or
    2. buy a hybrid (I'll assume Prius) today and a plug-in whenever they're available and affordable.

    detailed analysis of #1:
    I don't expect a huge number of plug-in vehicles to be available until after 2010 unless you make a huge effort to get into the line. The Tesla's going to set you back $100K, the eBox $70K, a Tango ~$100K, an NmG $25K, or the Phoenix SUT $45K in California (I'm not sure where you live). Assuming you haven't cashed in your entitled mid-life crisis car, I'll assume that if you wait for the plug-in, you'll go for the Tesla. It's the most real of the cars on the above list and will probably be available first. If you put $30K down today on a Tesla (assuming you have that kind of cash laying around), you'll probably get your car in 2009. This gives you about 2 1/2 years of driving your truck, during which time you'll probably spend about $5,800 on gas (assuming $3.25/gal and 10K miles per year). This plus the cost of the Tesla will set you back $105,000.

    detailed analysis of #2:
    You buy the Prius for $25,000 (maybe get $4000 for your truck for a total of) $21,000. You'll burn $1,800 worth of gas in the 2 1/2 years for a savings of about $4000 in gas. Maybe in another 2 1/2 years an affordable plug-in will be available (or maybe not) for $35K so you will have spent about $58,000.

    Clearly #2 is the cheapest approach but it risks your never getting a plug-in if you and everyone else take this sit and wait approach.

    Obviously, there is a #1A where you just drive your truck for 5 years, in which case you'll spend $11,600 on gas and the $35K for the plug-in for a total of $46,600.

    On the other hand, this is probably the only time in the history of the planet when a person can justify spending $100K on an exotic supercar in the name of saving the planet (it gets the equivalent of over 130 mpg but can out handle and accelerate any Porche or Lamborgini and most Ferrari's).

    Are you sure you want to pass up this opportunity :-)

    Of course, if your just dying to get a new car and you've got your sights set on hypermiling in a Prius, HCH, FEH, etc, there's no shame in just going for it either. You're still sending a very clear message the auto makers that you want economy and you're willing to spend the money for it.

    Any option is a good option. (how often can you say that :-)

    Good luck with your decision. The very fact that you and enough other people are making these concious decisions is scaring the daylights out of the gasoline automakers and spinning venture capitalists and investors into a frizzy to invest in plug-in vehicles!

  7. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by jacktav View Post
    I think you missed the dust-to-dust point. The article (whether it is valid or not) states that the Prius costs more per mile to run including the energy and materials used to build the two vehicles. Yes, the more miles you drive the lower the cost but since most of the cost is up front, driving an extra 100,000 miles will likely not lower the actual cost by much.

    Personally I think hybrids are bad for one reason - they are a crutch. Regardless of whether global warming is man made or a natural cycle we need to get off the oil train for political reasons. Hybrids merely allow us to feel like we are 'doing something' when we are only prolonging the agony.
    There was no point to miss in "Dust-to-dust." It's a thoroughly discredited study put out by a MARKETING company. Dust to dust by CNW is just a way of getting fake science published in uncritical magazines for later use in advertising.

    There have been a number of peer-reviewed life-cycle assessments (the following paragraphs reproduced from a post by Dave Rado):
    On the other hand, there are several peer-reviewed studies which flatly contradict the CNW findings, concluding that the lifetime energy, emissions and pollution costs are much lower for hybrids and for electric cars than for their nearest petrol and diesel equivalents; here are four:

    1) The 2001 MIT study called On the Road in 2020: An Assessment of the Future of Transportation Technology used a life cycle analysis that concluded that increasing fuel efficiency with hybrid technology, is a net energy and global warming pollution winner.

    2) Andrew Burnham, Michael Wang, and Paula Moon at the Center for Transportation Research of Argonne National Labs recently gave presentation called "Energy and Emission Effects of the Vehicle Cycle" at the 2006 SAE World Congress. One of the key the conclusions is "Total energy cycle energy use *decreases* for advanced powertrains & lightweight vehicles. Improved fuel economy offsets increase in vehicle cycle energy."

    3) Heather L. MacLean and Lester B. Lave of Carnegie Mellon University published a 1998 life-cycle assessment which concluded that 85 percent of energy use associated with a conventional vehicle's life cycle is attributable to operation. Only 15 percent is attributable to manufacturing and disposal. The CNW report reverses these percentages).

    4) Sophie Nicolay of the University of Leige in Belgium, published a lifecycle study in 2000 that concluded that the lifecycle environmental impact of electric and hybrid cars is much lower than that of petrol and diesel ones.

    Not one peer reviewed study has ever backed up the conclusions of the CNW report.
    For further info, see Prius Versus HUMMER: Exploding the Myth .

    To say presently-available and affordable hybrid technology with its drastically lower emissions should not be embraced is simple foolishness. Electrics are either expensive (ebox), expensive and not available (Tesla), extinct (NmG or EV1), or expensive and limited and not available (Phoenix SUT, 100 mile range). While we can hope that the efforts of companies like Tesla and Phoenix lead to mass-produced electrics in the future, they're not much of an option for the general car buying populace now. Hybrids are a way to start lowering emissions today rather than at some hypothetical point down the road.

  8. #17
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    its funny that you bash marketing companies... Toyota's latest Prius commercial (marketing) claims that you can save somewhere around 13 thousand in fuel savings. How is this possible?

    If you are realy for saving the environment, you would look at things like how much energy it takes to recycle. There is a reason they are willing to pay you for aluminum and not for paper or plastic after all, because it takes less energy to recycle aluminum then it does to dig out and process the bauxite into aluminum... hence, they pay you for their savings in energy. Paper, plastic, and most things people recycle, uses more energy to recycle then it saves... otherwise they would pay you to bring in your paper bags.

    Also, if you were REALY REALY for saving the environment, you would not buy a hybrid at all. what you would do would be perhaps, buy a a Salvaged automobile and repair it? instead of re-processing the material for a huge energy loss, you would Re-Use the entire thing. In one action, you would do more for the environment then you could ever do with a lifetime of recycling Aluminum cans (the one thing that takes less energy to recycle remember).

    Or perhaps instead of spending 20k on a Prius, you would spend 5k on a used economy car, and spend 15k in a donation to an environmental organization... which I don't believe is a good choice, looking at the sizes of most of their "non profit" headquarters...

    bottom line, you actually have to think for your self when it comes to doing good for the environment. I have several cars...

    01 Pontiac Trans Am with 350 wheel horse power (which believe it or not, kids, is an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle. Look it up.)
    95 Chevy Tahoe (with 290k miles, doesn't burn any oil)
    04 Pontiac Grand Prix Supercharged
    99 Dodge Neon (purchased the shell of the car on its way to be crushed, and am rebuilding it using parts from other cars)
    93 Chevy Cavalier (purchased with engine problems, the owner was going to junk it. Its running fine now)

    So, you can see, even though I own alot of vehicles that burn a reasonable amount of dead dinos (the trans am gets about 16mpg the way I drive it) There is far more to think about when it comes to the Environment then just how much gas it uses...

    Otherwise you are like one of those suckers who thinks CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas. (Water Vapor accounts for about 80% of the greenhouse effect, yet some think hydrogen cars that exhaust nothing but "harmless water vapor are grand). You need to look this stuff up for your selves... and don't be so quick to claim "oh, they are just a stooge for the automotive industry" or "big oil." Otherwise, every time someone brings out something published by an environmental group, you need to point out that group's extreme Bias as well. its best to look at all the data and come up with your own conclusion, not to ignore data because you don't like what it says. Toyota, after all, is the largest (now) automotive company... have you started looking into their CEO's profits lately? Where is the Critism section in wikipedia like there is for GM or Exxon or Nestle?

  9. #18
    Towshar,
    Thanks for clearly stating things. I pretty much agree fully with everything you say. I would only add that IF one MUST buy a NEW car, it should be the one with the smallest ecological footprint.
    My stable includes a '52 MG, a '91 Buick (my daily commute car), an '01 Xterra (only used for utility and off-road), and an '03 HCHm5 (the wife gets a reliable, newer car).
    Not everyone is able to keep old cars running (the auto manufacturers work hard at that) so most people will eventually have to buy a new car but I agree that most buy them well before any reliability problems surface.
    I push for new cars to be fully electric since they are 2 - 3 times more efficient (well to wheels) than even the best hybrids and less polluting (even taking upstream generation into account). Pure electrics can also be run directly off of solar on your roof for a super low environmental footprint. They also require minimal maintenance because of a lack of moving parts. The only regular replacement is tires on the 50kmile interval and batteries somewhere between 150K and 200K miles. Zero oil changes, transmission work, brakes, pumps, or alternators (unless the planned-obsolescence folks work extremely hard) because they either don't have these things, barely use them (brakes), or they aren't subjected to the harsh vibrations and loading that they would get under the hood with an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE). Unfortunately, the major automakers refuse to make any more pure EV's and the startups are still trying to get going.
    Hydrogen is worse than just an H2O generator: It doesn't make any sense for consumer automobiles at any level. It's just a well engineered distraction from the true solution (today) to our planet's transportation problems - the battery electric vehicle.

  10. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXatheist View Post
    The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.
    And, as we all know, NASA has tested a ton of moon rovers since the Prius was released.

    Okay, so maybe it's still the same factory that NASA used to test moon rovers in the sixties. Is it really still using the same mining techniques? If the area was made a "dead zone" by the mine before half the folks designing the Prius were even born, can we really blame the Prius?

    That, off the top of my head, suggests that the "evidence" being pushed in this article is empty rhetoric disguised by a jumble of misapplied and distorted facts.

  11. #20
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    One of the things overlooked

    One of the things overlooked in this arguement is the abillity to recyce the nickel batteries of the Prius after 100,000 miles. Is this possible or are you putting these lovelies into landfill?

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