The Corner

Hummers To the Rescue

I suspect these numbers will receive a lot of scrutiny, but this strikes me as a pretty interesting set of factoids:

It’s easy to focus exclusively on gas mileage when making an environmentally conscious car choice. But there’s more to the story.

CNW Marketing Research Inc., an Oregon-based auto research spent two years collecting data on the energy necessary to plan, build, sell, drive and dispose of a vehicle from initial concept to scrappage. They call it a dust-to-dust analysis of the environmental impact of a car.

You may be surprised if you thought hybrids were the obvious winners.

“The Honda Accord Hybrid has an Energy Cost per Mile of $3.29 while the conventional Honda Accord is $2.18. Put simply, over the “Dust to Dust” lifetime of the Accord Hybrid, it will require about 50 percent more energy than the non-hybrid version, CNW claims.”

And you may do a doubletake after reading this:

“For example, while the industry average of all vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2005 was $2.28 cents per mile, the Hummer H3 (among most SUVs) was only $1.949 cents per mile. That figure is also lower than all currently offered hybrids and Honda Civics at $2.42 per mile.”

Basically, when considering all relevant variables such as materials, fabrication, plastics, carpets, chemicals, shipping, and transportation, gas mileage turns out to be significantly less relevant than many people assume.

Me: This is from 37 Signals who has more comments and the link to the full study.  It seems to me that pro-hybrid car types would make the argument that they’re trying to create a market for new technologies which would bring these energy costs down and would help wean us of our “addiction” to foreign oil. Both of those are good arguments but this study  — and this is just one study — does seem to undercut some of the sanctimony we occassionally hear about how hybrids are good for the environment right now. 


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