September 27, 2005

More on Hybrids

I got this comment on one my past posts ... while I don't usally respond in my blog to that sorta thing, I'd like to. First off thanks for the comment, and your blog is quite interesting.

You make some good points, and in some respect I stand corrected ... however ... I don't think it really effects the basic point I was making.
I live in Los Angeles and very rarely do I average 70 mph. In fact, in urban LA, I never hit 70 mph. In fact, my entire commute is stop and go. In that type of driving a Prius can achieve as much as 60 mpg.
Well I live in Orange County, and I do all the time --- but that's kinda unscientific eh? But, wow sucks for you, of course, I said that "unless you go during rush hour" --- and further I'm talking about freeways like I said, not urban LA with the worst traffic conditions in the country. Further, I'm not saying it doesn't make sense --- in some cases it does, like yours --- but for the general person around the country, it doesn't seem to.
The CNN study, and most hybrid critics, use EPA data in their criticism of hybrids. The EPA is off by as much as 50 percent. A more reliable study is Consumer Reports.
Wow 50% ... made me want to check that out. So I went to your blog, and checked out the press release from Consumer Reports. The 50% number you refer to is talking about "Jeep Liberty Diesel" ... now no one in their right mind thinks that Jeeps or SUVs get good mileage, but as to the 50% --- they are sure not talking about a Collora or something.

Now clearly it wouldn't be fair to stack up a SUV or Jeep next to a hybrid and say "see it gets better mpg" well of course it does.

Further from that same CR report:

"Hybrid cars and the diesel version of one small SUV are among the worst offenders, costing consumers hundreds of dollars more in fuel per year than they were led to believe."

"Ironically, hybrids, whose selling point is fuel thriftiness, had some of the biggest disparities with fuel economy, averaging 19 mpg below Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) city ratings."

All that meaning that, while yes --- "normal" cars fair worse (as they always do) in CR testing then by the less strict EPA testing --- hybrid cars do to, and were among the worse disparities!
For city driving, according to Consumer Reports, the Prius achieves 45 mpg. The Ford Focus - Ford's fuel economy superstar - achieves 17 mpg. Is that hype? (
Well the article wasn't comparing Ford Focus' it was comparing, for example --- a Honda Accord Hybrid with a normal Honda Accord, seemingly those numbers aren't effected much when accounting for the CR "corrections."
Plug-in hybrids and experimental hybrids have achieved as much as 250 mpg, at far less cost than million dollar fuel cell vehicles.
Okay, first off power costs way too much as it is (and lots of it is produced by coal) why would I want to plug in my car? And second, if an affordable hybrid comes out that can get 250 mpg, that's wonderful --- but just as owning a house saves you money --- but you might not have the money to buy a house --- the same goes for high priced hybrids.
Now is the time to invest in hybrid
Actually, apparently --- it's not time, at least not yet. Believe me, I think they are a step in the right direction, and tax breaks for them are a wonderful idea.

I'm actually still very excited about hybrids, just kinda let down so far with what I see as the "real world" usefulness.

However, hybrids do have some real world uses --- but not for everyone --- and that, to me --- is hype.


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