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  1. #1

    Hybrid vs. compact

    Is there an environmental advantage to driving a hybrid as opposed to a high-mileage compact car? In other words, if Hybrid A gets 40 mpg and Compact B gets 40 mpg, is there any difference in the carbon dioxide emissions?

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  3. #2

    Hybrid vs. compact

    I can't tell you for sure other than my 04 HCH is rated ULEV.
    But I can tell you that my car emits zero emissions while stopped at a light and the Civic (And other vehciles) next to me continue to run and contribute to the aura of smog which seems to envelop the intersection. (Which flows downwind)

  4. #3

    Hybrid vs. compact

    There's a lot of confusion about this issue because it is fairly complex.

    If you're just talking about going from Point A to Point B, you'll burn the same amount of fuel for both vehicles and the same amount of CO2 (global warming gas) will be put into the atmosphere.

    As HotGeorgia says, the hybrid will put out fewer emissions or pollutants (CO, SOx, NOx, particulates), since they are generally cleaner-burning than non-hybrid vehicles. (the Prius is SULEV)

    The confusion can come in because emissions are measured as "milligrams of pollutant" PER gram of fuel burned, e.g., mg CO/gm fuel. This is not the same as per mile travelled. That's why it is possible to have two vehicles with the same mileage, but one of them puts out more pollutants. Since CO2 is not considered a pollutant, people tend to forget it is still a global warming gas, so it is still important.

    The only way to reduce CO2 is to get more mpgs because CO2 is directly proportional to how much fuel you burn. Pollutants are also proportional to how much fuel is burned, but that constant can vary from vehicle to vehicle.

    Driving a diesel would be good in reducing fuel use and also global warming gas, but they put out more particulates, which adversely affects children and the elderly and health care costs.

    I think the bottom line is to get a vehicle with the best gas mileage you can, so that you will save money and help reduce health care costs and global warming. I know people with Honda hybrids and Priuses, and they are getting the published gas mileage. I don't know anyone with the hybrid SUVs, so I don't know how well they're doing--but there are some threads on this website for that info.

    Hope this helps........?

  5. #4

    Hybrid vs. compact

    Probably compact

    Here's why:
    Hybroids' demand is so high that there are long waiting lists to buy them for well over msrp (priuses can go for ~27k).

    Even VW diesels are in so high demand that they are excluded from VW's Leasefurnaughten, that traditional Mexican (they say German) holiday where everyone gets a great deal on VW's. (of course, most VW's are made in Mexico, not Germany)

    Regular small cars (like Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Scions, and Toyota Yaris) are about half of that, and they usually aren't sold over msrp, let alone 7k over. There shouldn't be a waiting list for these kind of cars. Of course, there are also a bunch of Korean cars that are even cheaper and should get almost asw good mpg (and they have that 10-year warranty!)

    Yet another alternative is the not-quite-as-famous Civic HX. It has a lean-burn VTEC-E engine that gets almost as good mpg as the hybrids from the epa, they come even closer in the real world. Best of all, they have been offering it for about 10 years, and it is available with a 5-speed manual or CVT. This means you can find used ones kind of easily, and they won't be too expensive.

    Hybrids have not been out as long, so there are few used ones on the market, and their demand is also high like the gas prices. The same goes for used VW diesels. However, the later has been around longer, so there are more of them on the market.

    Any of them will save at the pump, but my vote goes to the HX or Yaris

  6. #5

    Hybrid vs. compact

    There could be an emissions advantage with hybrid over a compact with the same mpg, were they designed correctly. This is because the gasoline (or diesel) engine could be tuned to only operate in its cleanest/most economical performance band. The electric motor could then do all the surge activities (startup or hill climbing). The ICE could shut off completely during low-demand times.
    This would very likely reduce most emission problems but probably wouldn't affect CO2 or H20 (greenhouse gas) emissions much since they are natural combustion products.
    Unfortunately, today's hybrids still have the primary propulsion coming from the ICE so they rev the ICE to accelerate and climb hills. They also don't completely shut down the ICE whenever the battery is full, but instead, throttle it down. This forces the ICE to have to vary it's load and RPM's so it probably doesn't always have optimal emissions.
    A serial hybrid would be one candidate to take advantage of this potential emissions benefit for hybrids.
    Overall though, mpg generally is proportional to greenhouse gas emissions.
    I, of course, prefer the hybrid because it enables better mpg with a larger car that I may actually fit in - of course, the GEO Metro had really good interior space for a small car and had awesome mpg.

  7. #6

    Hybrid vs. compact

    As Vince says, there is no difference between a hybrid's and a conventional cars CO2 emissions if they get the same mpg.

    Nothing complicated about it unless one gets into tiny things...

    Hybrids are generally much cleaner in terms of other pollutants, though.

  8. #7

    I just did some research on

    I just did some research on automobiles, and while hybrids do offer lower levels of particulate pollution such as nitrogen oxides, they still cause the saem amount of greenhouse gasses; 20lbs of co2 for every gallon burned. To make matters worse, the reduction in emissions only comes in traffic and at idol, not on the open road. As for fuel milage, there is a fleet of compact cars from 1979 to 1981 that get as good or better mpg than even the Prius, and they are all carborated......

    so, how effective is hybrib technology? short answer, it's not.

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