Thursday, July 20, 2006

The fact that hybrid cars are so expensive should make one suspect they might not really be that good for the environment. Research has confirmed this is the case.
For instance, the dust-to-dust energy cost of the bunny-sized Honda Civic hybrid is $3.238 per mile. This is quite a bit more than the $1.949 per mile that the elephantine Hummer costs. The energy cots of SUVs such as the Tahoe, Escalade, and Navigator are similarly far less than the Civic hybrid....

But by and large the dust-to-dust energy costs in Spinella's study correlate with the fanciness of the car – not its size or fuel economy -- with the Rolls Royces and Bentleys consuming gobs of energy and Mazda 3s, Saturns and Taurus consuming relatively minuscule amounts....

One of the most perverse things about U.S. consumers buying hybrids is that while this might reduce air pollution in their own cities, they increase pollution – and energy consumption -- in Japan and other Asian countries where these cars are predominantly manufactured. "In effect, they are exporting pollution and energy consumption," Spinella says.

I don't think it's "perverse" to export pollution to other countries in this way. Other countries make their own choices about how to balance pollution costs with manufacturing benefits. Still, a lot of folks profess concern about the environment, not just their environment. Such globally-minded people should prefer cheap cars. Price is a good if imperfect proxy for environmental impact.


Blogger Mike said...

I'm a little late here, but that article has completely blown my mind.

8/03/2006 12:26 AM  

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