When green isn't Thursday November 16, 2006, 3 comments

I was reading this article about cost-per-mile and ownership of hybrid cars over at 37 Signals and feel slightly vindicated.

I’ve been maintaining for a few years now that hybrid cars are not more energy efficient than other cars simply because they have lower fuel usage costs.

It’s great that we’re using less fuel in cars – I think mileage is a fantastic thing to continually improve. It means we use fewer gallons or litres of gas (or diesel) and can stretch our already stretched dollars more.

But to say that a low-mileage car is intrinsically better for the environment than any other car is fallacy. The cost in energy to product a far must be taken into consideration, as must the cost of maintaining and disposing of the vehicle.

I’ve used the same argument about wind power. By some reports, it takes more energy to create the carbon-fibre blades of a large three-blade wind generation tower than the tower will generate in the lifetime of those blades (no, I cannot find any corroborating link to this, but I read it somewhere, National Geographic, or Scientific American or something, I can’t remember). This is not energy efficiency. This is NOT good for the environment.

Cars are bad for the environment no matter how you slice it. In terms of energy cost per mile (or kilometer, for us metric types) bicycles have cars beat by several orders of magnitude. We can do better with cars. Can and should. There must be better solutions out there.

But to claim hybrids are better for the environment is wrong. As the article states, by all means buy a hybrid. Hybrids are shrewd business decisions. Lower your cost of ownership. Just stop waving your environmentalism flag in our faces while you drive by the rest of us at the petrol station.


Comments

el tigra Thursday November 16, 2006


One thing that has been pointed out to me is that the replacement of the energy cell in hybrid cars is a completely unknown factor. It’s too soon for it to have come up. If they’re a real hit (not yet) then it’s likely to be reasonable. If not… So not even a shrewd business decision perhaps, betting on such a factor.

Dug Friday November 17, 2006


How about this poorly written example about a new 7 Series ride from BWM?

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,448648,00.html

Mike Friday November 17, 2006


Isn’t odd that in the metric system we have no real equivalent for the term ‘mileage’. My American wife really gets at me about this and I have no defense.

Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

If I had known I was going to live to 100, I'd have taken up violin at 60.”
- Unknown centagenerian, on her 100th birthday

Twitter

  • Emojis are not innovation. I don’t think this is what he meant when he said make a dent in the universe. Friday August 4, 2017
  • It's kinda surreal when the power is out in one's office. Thursday August 3, 2017
  • “This Is How Your Fear and Outrage Are Being Sold for Profit” by @TobiasRose t.co/USlBc2bup8 Tuesday July 25, 2017
  • t.co/kFOlRCeusb isn't about the subject, but the photographers relationship to the subject. t.co/1ixyhdniux via @YouTube Tuesday July 25, 2017
  • Thriller, Dragon's Lair, Ghostbusters, Vincent Price.Peak 80s or just a flashback to my childhood? t.co/1AgPFOb8Xc via @YouTube Monday July 24, 2017
  • “…entrepreneurship seems like a sport. And the score depends on scale. How big can you get? How fast?” — @jasonfried t.co/hgcUyO87yL Monday July 24, 2017
  • “…20-somethings on the Upper West Side in enormous apartments who almost never seem to actually work?”  — @AmyAndSir t.co/nYjnsLvCkz Monday July 24, 2017
  • I didn't know they were making a movie. Great book. Looking forward to seeing how it translates. t.co/uzysPeR1PW via @YouTube Monday July 17, 2017
  • An F-18 just flew over our house. Sunday July 16, 2017
  • From a wookie's perspective, Chewbacca is the handsome rogue and Han is the dumb sidekick communicating in animal noises. Friday July 14, 2017