Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Which is Greener: the Prius or the Hummer?

The Recorder argues that when the environmental costs of building a Prius are factored in -- such as mining the nickel for its battery -- the race between the Hummer and the Prius for the Green Riband isn't even close. (hat tip: Samizdata) A quotation from the article demonstrates the power with which a change in perspective can alter the accounting of what seemed at first glance to be an easy decision.


As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.

The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius’ battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare.

“The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,” said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.

All of this would be bad enough in and of itself; however, the journey to make a hybrid doesn’t end there. The nickel produced by this disastrous plant is shipped via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. From there, the nickel hops over to China to produce ‘nickel foam.’ From there, it goes to Japan. Finally, the completed batteries are shipped to the United States, finalizing the around-the-world trip required to produce a single Prius battery. Are these not sounding less and less like environmentally sound cars and more like a farce?

Wait, I haven’t even got to the best part yet. When you pool together all the combined energy it takes to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship car of energy fanatics, it takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer - the Prius’s arch nemesis.

Through a study by CNW Marketing called “Dust to Dust,” the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles - the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.

One of the most subtle problems in public policy is to decide what exactly one is trying to optimize. By changing the definition of Green-ness to include total pollution rather than simply minimizing a "carbon footprint" it may well be the case that a Hummer is Greener than a Prius. But given that Canada is a friendly country an energy security case might be made for being more dependent on nickel from Ontario than oil from Saudi Arabia. By that measure a Prius might be better than a Hummer. The sage advice of all public policy professors is to redefine a problem until it is expressed in terms favorable to one's self. And, faced with the energy security argument, it might be countered that since a Prius is made by a "foreign" corporation, then that additional factor might make it "better" to buy a Hummer after all. And so on.

The sad fact about most of these environmental question is that it may require us to trade off one set of objectives against another. Maybe the "world" should decide which it values more. In the case of "Global Warming" for example, many of the policies designed to reduce "Greenhouse Gases" may exacerbate poverty in the Third World. How does one rank different goals -- such as for example reducing "greenhouse gases" and reducing hunger -- and combine them into a single policy?

What is nearly certain is that the process of arriving at the tradeoffs will be hard. Nobel Prize Winner Kenneth Arrow formulated what would later come to be known as the Arrow Impossibility Theorem in 1950. "In voting systems, Arrow’s impossibility theorem, or Arrow’s paradox, demonstrates that no voting system based on ranked preferences can possibly meet a certain set of reasonable criteria when there are three or more options to choose from."

The need to aggregate preferences occurs in many different disciplines: in welfare economics, where one attempts to find an economic outcome which would be acceptable and stable; in decision making, where a person has to make a rational choice based on several criteria; and most naturally in voting systems, which are mechanisms for extracting a decision from a multitude of voters' preferences.

The framework for Arrow's theorem assumes that we need to extract a preference order on a given set of options (outcomes). Each individual in the society (or equivalently, each decision criterion) gives a particular order of preferences on the set of outcomes. We are searching for a preferential voting system, called a social welfare function, which transforms the set of preferences into a single global societal preference order.

Arrow's theorem says that if the decision-making body has at least two members and at least three options to decide among, then it is impossible to design a social welfare function that satisfies all these conditions at once.

So it turns out that it is hard to create a consensus of our acceptable tradeoffs even in principle. Which is why some wags have remarked that "the only voting method that isn't flawed is a dictatorship," which would suit the Greens just fine. So maybe we do need some nature "activists" like Frank Albrecht of the preceding post to simply tell us what Gaia thinks. And it seemed like buying a Green-friendly car was a simple task.

32 Comments:

Blogger Doug said...

The EPA has recalculated the way they determine the mileage, also, with the Prius losing several mpg.

Now about equal to our 81 Chevette/Mitsubishi Diesel which required a fraction of the resources to build, and eventually maintain, and finally, bury.
Oops, Recycle.

3/21/2007 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

" "The only voting method that isn't flawed is a dictatorship," which would suit the Greens just fine. And it seemed like finding a Green-friendly car was a simple task. "
---
Now that we have Saint Algore to lead us to safety, all these concerns can be put behind us.

3/21/2007 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

One of the commenters at Samizdata describes how some eco-shop owners drove a Prius down to Nicaragua to buy traditional kiln-fired pottery and observed that the firewood had to come from somewhere, probably the forest.

Of course there's wood and there's wood. Deadwood lying on the forest floor or huge, old trees which are at the end of their life can be taken (assuming you skyline the bucked logs out) without altering the demography of the forest. Why you can even grow wood in forest plantations, provided you can get the Greenies to sign off on the dangers of monocultural plantations to the environment.

But it does get complicated. I wish being "environmentally friendly were as simple as driving down to Central America and buying a few clay pots.

3/21/2007 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Now here's where politics gets mixed up with religion. Or do I have it the other way around? According to Reuters:

Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Wednesday that fighting global warming has turned into a 'religion' that replaced the ideology of communism and threatens to clip basic freedoms. ...

'Communism has been replaced by the threat of an ambitious environmentalism,' Klaus wrote in response to questions from the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce.


Does that make Klaus a "climate change denier" or worse "a climate criminal"? I actually happen to think that there are real environmental issues. That pollution and negative externalities exist. But just as phoney preachers are the worst enemies of real spirituality, these "nature" activists are the worst spokesmen for genuine environmentalism that you can find.

3/21/2007 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The 70's gave us limousine liberals, the new millennium gives us Gore atoning for his four houses by buying Carbon Credits from a Company owned by Al Gore!
...and he just CAN'T be expected to not stuff his face, can he?
Edwards, having talked to embryos in the Womb (NOT for the purpose of getting a Multimillion Dollar Settlement, of Course) enabled Superman to walk again, now prevaricates about having a $400 utility bill in his 20,000 ft2 house!
That and the bills for his beach house more than made up for, of course, by CARBON CREDITS.
Oh to be so pure as to be Carbon Neutral!
---
Jane Harman has proposed making incandescent light bulbs illegal!

3/21/2007 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

When incandescent lightbulbs are outlawed, only dim bulbs will have light.
---
Had Edison only known.

3/21/2007 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Tom_Holsinger said...

Things like this are always about accounting games involving hidden costs, cost-shifting, etc.

As another example, nuclear power plants produce cheap power only if you ignore the decommissioning and radioactive waste disposal costs. Figure those in and suddenly the puppies are financially unfeasbile. So their proponents ignore decommissioning and radioactive waste disposal costs in determining the rates to charge for the electricity they generate.

3/21/2007 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I read recently that Al Gore hooked up with MoveOn.org to promote "The Day After Tomorrow," a movie where the new ice age blows in over the period of a week or two. That makes sense, right? You could boil the ocean with a bunsen burner by that logic, but it does explain why my liberal buddy took his kids to see it and declared it "thought provoking."


Former Vice President Al Gore was to join environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak at a public forum about global warming. The Monday night event was sponsored by the liberal-minded political group MoveOn.org.
The title of the forum?
"Town Hall on Global Warming and Hollywood's 'The Day After Tomorrow."


It does provoke thought. Methinks "The Terminator" is a much more likely and realistic future scenario than Al Gore's global cataclysm. Robotics and artificial intelligence are a hell of a lot further along, with a much firmer basis in established principles and working models, than Al Gore's fantasies.


The Terminator is real, I saw him in person, and you can, too!

3/21/2007 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

GreenPeace:
Nuts Fruits & Flakes of the Anti-War Rally
If you missed the war protest at the Pentagon this weekend, I have provided a video montage below representative of the event. The crowd was sparse, the speakers laughable and the crowd most probably on drugs. This is really a hoot and well worth watching. For the sake of time, I didn’t include the Islamic groups, illegal alien groups or ex-foreign 3rd world country cabinet members who spoke.

3/21/2007 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Perpetual Green Machine:
The American Taxpayer.
---
U.S. to Ease Illegal Immigrants' Children's Access to Medicaid
In response to concerns that some babies may be missing out on essential health care, the Bush administration will issue a rule making it easier for the infants of noncitizens to gain access to services covered through Medicaid.

3/21/2007 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Wretchard,

Your use of Arrow's paradox outside of the voting context is very interesting. You're basically saying that optimization is a lot more complex than we have imagined in the past, which is a good point.

I do want to make a few point in the defense of the Prius, however. For one thing, this CNW study is disputed. Wikipedia mentions a second analysis by the same group where the numbers have reversed.
Briefly, without the bankruptcy of multiple nations and car manufacturers, the large figures associated with lifetime vehicle costs are highly suspect.

In any case, the less publicized but more recent report for 2006 vehicles (summarizing spreadsheets available only) has adjusted the figures considerably. According to CNW Marketing, hybrids now cost less per mile than large SUVs: the 2006 Prius is reported at $2.87/mile, Chevy Tahoe is $3.76/mile, and Ford Excursion is $4.04/mile. Regardless, until the vehicle lifetime costs can be verified more completely, these reports should be considered with healthy skepticism.


Another consideration is that buying a Prius is more than a self-conscious life-style statement. It also has an impact on all the markets feeding into the end product. It is less mature technology than the standard vehicle and any added dollars will encourage the refinement and enhancement of that stream of technologies.

Finally, a large part of the energy cost involves stationary facilities that may currently be obtaining their power from fossil fuels, but could be supplied by nuclear or other low-carbon source. While this wouldn't lower the energy cost, it would make the energy mix much more palatable from a Green viewpoint. Sooner or later we're going to have to go nuclear, at which point the investment in hybrids will begin to pay off.

3/21/2007 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Not that this was a study not by engineers or scientists, but by copy people at a marketing company doing business with Hummer distributors.

That should be enough to signal what a pile of crap it is. But it was seized on by Right-wingers who associate wasteful gas-guzzling with "sacred American freedom" or such.

The report does several dishonest things, holding every Prius to a 100K vehicle lifetime and Hummers to 300K, then claiming the purchase cost per lifetime mile is somehow equivalent to energy use.

Then they get into a lovely misleading spiel about how awfully energy intensive and environmentally destructive nickel production is - ommitting the Prius has only 50 lbs of nickel in the battery, the Prius weighs 1/3rd what a Hummer does, and the extra weight of the Hummer is 2 extra tons of mined and refined and melted and milled metallic STEEL.

Finally, the energy savings of the Prius are obvious not just in manufacture but in use. CNW marketers say milage claims are overblown and the Prius "only" gets 45 MPG on average. But the Hummer gets 8. Meaning that in 100,000 miles, a Hummer uses 12,500 gallons of gasoline. For the same 100K, a Prius uses 2,222 gallons.

Enough savings that if we went hard with hybrids and elimination of other oil usages like too much frivolous air travel, and slapped a 50 cent a gallon tax to provide capital for oil substitute R&D and infrastructure, we could end ME imports, restore KSA having "surge capacity" just by actions in America, until Rising China's use replaces our past SUV/Hummer squandering - but by then we could have substitutes ready....

Global warming aside - be that true or not - it makes absolute sense to "force the market" to go with better MPG vehicles that will reduce global oil price, lessen our dependency on and payments to radical Muslim nations.

Nor should the Hayek and Ayn Rand devotees say that only price at the pump and those with the wealth free to drive or fly whatever they want in the "genius of the free market" = cuts it. Not when Americans of lower socioeconomic classes are dying and being maimed mainly to ensure oil goes for that "freedom of the rich".

3/22/2007 02:09:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The big flaw I see in the argument is that the nickel mine already exists, has existed for at least 65 years and produces a product that is used for a great many other things than just Prius batteries. Like, for example, building the engines for the airplanes we used to defeat the Nazis and the Commies - and carry rich Greens around to their environmental conferences and movie premieres.

The marginal environmental cost of making the Prius batteries is utterly insignificant.

But we should not lose sight of the fact that these kinds of analyses are used by the Greens every day to justify Politically Correct actions - like the guy we read of whose mom would not buy grapes because of the plight of the Latino grape pickers, would not buy oranges because of Gen Franco, etc. These are the people who proudly hold aloft the 60's activist slogan "the personal is the political." Except when you point out what their own personal choices mean and then it becomes "That's a private matter and only my own business

3/22/2007 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

I'm starting a business selling nickle credits. Each one will cost a dime. So, if you bring me two nickles I'll bury one of them in secret location (minimum purchase: 10,000 credits).

I recall that Bjorn Lomborg (The Skeptical Environmentalist) gave NGO types an imaginary budget and asked them what they would spend it on, selecting from a list of needs. The global warming "we are all going to die" stuff came out at the bottom.

3/22/2007 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

"Not that this was a study not by engineers or scientists, but by copy people at a marketing company doing business with Hummer distributors.

That should be enough to signal what a pile of crap it is. But it was seized on by Right-wingers who associate wasteful gas-guzzling with "sacred American freedom" or such.
"

You know, of course, that none of this is necessarily negates the result of the study. A study can be conducted by an interested party, yet still yield correct results.

I'm not saying it shouldn't be viewed with a critical eye, just making a statement on the meme that any study conducted by an interested party is flawed by default.

3/22/2007 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

"a large part of the energy cost involves stationary facilities that may currently be obtaining their power from fossil fuels, but COULD be supplied by nuclear or other low-carbon source"

Would of, could of, should of. Reality, unfortunately, doesn't play that game. Yes, we could supply Prius with "Green" energy to recharge its batteries, but we don't. When was the last nuclear power plant built in the US? My seventeen year old son is younger than the youngest US nuclear power plant. Now that the greenies have their panties in a bunch about global warming finally there is talk of building something that in the past was their bane. As time goes on we will soon discover to our dismay the true costs of going "green" MTBE anyone?

3/22/2007 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Everything is a tradeoff. I am an Engineer. I drive a '77 Turbo 'Vette which runs on 93 Octane gas. I have also worked in the Nuclear Industry for the past 25 years and have avoided so much in Carbon Dioxide emmisions that I am willing to sell Carbon Credits to any liberal who wants them. Assuming $100/ton CO2 avoided, I should soon be richer then Mr. Gore in spite of his zinc mining revenues.

From the NEI website:
Annual emissions avoided. In 2005, U.S. nuclear power plants prevented 3.32 million tons of sulfur dioxide, 1.05 million tons of nitrogen oxide, and 681.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the earth's atmosphere.

Longterm emissions avoided. Between 1995 and 2005, U.S. nuclear generation avoided the emission of 41.0 million tons of sulfur dioxide, 16.9 million tons of nitrogen oxide, and 7.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

Over one-third of total voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reductions. According to the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, nuclear power plants were responsible for 36 percent of the total voluntary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions reported by U.S. companies in 2005. Nuclear plants reported avoiding 138 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalant that year. In 2004, nuclear power plants were responsible for 36 percent of total voluntary reductions, avoiding 143 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalant.

Global benefits of nuclear energy. Worldwide, 435 nuclear power plants in 30 nations produce 16 percent of the world's electricity. By replacing fossil fuels in electricity generation, nuclear plants in 2005 reduced CO2 emissions by more than 2 billion metric tons.

3/22/2007 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger John B said...

Re: "The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles."

I'm going to call bullshit on this report (I have no axes to grind with the Prius although I personally wouldn't buy one). Sudbury was an environmental mess 30 or 40 years ago but has made tremendous improvements in pollution reduction since then.

"Pollution control measures applied in the 1970s and 1990s reduced local emissions by about 90 per cent and produced remarkable improvements in the chemistry of some lakes in the area."

http://www.nwri.ca/sande/jul_aug_2001-e.html

3/22/2007 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Modern industrialization technology trends greener as is illustrated by the reduction in energy use per capita in the United States. This would suggest that any energy policy that is regressive economically to those who live on the edge of poverty would most likely reverse the trend towards greener energy use. Expect burning more hydrocarbons to cook meals that were poached from various protected species.

What is good for society may be up to debate but market forces and threat of arms will rule the day as a balance of greater of goods and the lesser of evils.

The social status of the Prius verses the Hummer stand as a perfect analogy to such forces.

3/22/2007 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger warhorse said...

Having been to Sudbury about five years ago, and seen the Inco plant and environs with my own eyes, I echo and endorse john b's sentiments. The immediate vicinity is not as healthy as areas 100 miles away, but there's plenty of life there none the less. Accordingly, while I have no strong feelings regarding either the Prius or the Hummer, I would suggest taking the report with a grain or two of salt ...

3/22/2007 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Something about this report simply doesn't pencil, anyhow. The Prius somehow "costs" $3.25 per mile over a lifetime of 100,000 miles? You can buy a Prius for $22,000. The 2,000 gallons of gas to drive 100,000 miles will cost you an extra $6,000 even at $3.00 a gallon.

A $50,000 Hummer will cost you $37,500 in gas to drive you 100,000 miles.

That looks like the Prius owner is saving almost $60,000 over a 100,000 mile vehicle "lifetime".

Where did they get $3.25 per mile for a Prius?

And how many retards who buy a Hummer drive it for 300,000 miles? Have *any* Hummers got 300K on the clock?

JR

3/23/2007 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Thought provoking?

Eco-friendliness requires connectedness.

The real discussion should be about the cost of getting to a position where most work from wherever they are, vs. any other path involving all the combined expenses and tradeoffs to achieve incremental gains in efficiencies from antiquated technologies.

It's not that we shouldn't make reasonable efforts to improve on them; it's that none can compete with the fact that bits are essentially free and real-time.

Rational conservation, huge energy savings, faster.

3/23/2007 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger marty said...

Scott--
A Prius costs well over $30K to produce. Toyota sells them at a big loss, to build market share, establish their technology as the standard, and garner CAFE credits.

A few years ago I worked for a transit agency doing a pilot project with fuel cell buses. In developing the project justification I got pretty deep into energy accounting, looking at the methods to extract hydrogen from natural gas and refined petroleum products, on-board reforming vs. having a big hydrogen tank at the garage with H2 trucked in, the energy efficiency of fuel cells vs. internal combustion, etc. I was discussing this with one of our SAIC consultants, and he said that all this stuff is nice, but in the end, unless there are major distortions, the market prices of the inputs and therefore the market cost, is the best measure of the burden something places on society.

hmmmm...

3/23/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

The area around Sudbury still looks like an environmental disaster. Pity we can't zoom in any closer.

"Prius" is a coined word that means pious and righteous. They are crap cars to drive in the snow-belt. Hummers fare somewhat better, especially with the latest round of Gore-effect snow.

Hybrid technology is worth exploring.

The real scandal is ethanol where the energy inputs come close to the energy output, and the price of corn is going through the roof.

3/23/2007 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger wallofcheese said...

The original article is an opinion piece for a small college newspaper. The whole article is garbage.
1. Take the "spitting distance" mileage, for example. The new EPA combined mileage put the Chevy Aveo at 26 mpg, the Toyota Prius at 46 mpg. So I guess 20 miles more per gallon is "spitting distance."
2. The "Dust-to-dust" study is from a marketing firm, not a science journal. It arrives at an artificially high cost for the Prius by assigning it an arbitrary lifespan of 100k miles, and a Hummer 300k miles. There's Prius being used as cabs that have 200k on them now: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8839690/
And, insofar as a car lasting, what car do you expect to repair less? A Toyota Prius or a GM Hummer? You can check Consumer Reports for the answer to that one. A good analysis of the flaws in dust-to-dust is available at:
http://www.truedelta.com/blog/?p=48
3. The Sudbury info is seriously outdated, and the comment about moon buggies (like, when did Nasa test moon buggies — early 1970’s) ought to have given the author a clue. Sudbury was polluted by a century of mining (1870 on). In fact, some of Sudbury’s nickel went into making the Statue of Liberty. Currently, the mine is owned by INCO (not Toyota), and produces 100,000 tons of nickel a year, of which Toyota buys 1% (1000 tons). Nickel, by the way, is primarily used to make stainless steel. The Mail on Sunday newspaper, which ran the story the college article is a thin re-write of (visible here http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=417227&in_page_id=1770 ), used a stock photo from 1994 to illustrate the pollution (visible here http://www.photoboy.com/bin/Cklb?vmo=1173985067754 ). There were, of course, no Prius in existence or being manufactured in 1994.

Sudbury is no longer as polluted, as INCO and the city have planted over 8 million trees there since 1979. The best history online of the Sudbury devastation/reforestation comes from GM Canada (the trees were all cut down in 1871 to help rebuild Chicago after the fire), and it provides telling photos of some of the reclamation from 1979 to present.
http://www.gmcanada.com/inm/gmcanada/english/about/MissionGreen/Daily/Sep22.html

The acid rain problem David Martin of Greenpeace is talking about in is the situation pre 1972. INCO on regreening and SO2 emissions
http://www.inco.com/development/community/profiles/sudbury/default.aspx

3/26/2007 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Curt said...

The "study", apparently commissioned by Hummer distributors, makes several ridiculous assumptions.

First, it takes the 100,000-mile battery warranty period of the Prius as the expected vehicle lifetime. That's like saying a car with a 60,000-mile drivetrain warranty is expected to be junked before 70,000 miles. (Even if the battery pack is expected to be replaced at 100,000 miles -- which it is not -- that's a far cry from saying the car would have to be junked.)

Second, it amortizes all of the R&D costs and factory capital costs over only the cars built so far, not over the expected lifetime of the technology and the product line. No new technology or product could ever be justified under those assumptions.

(But by these assumptions, the R&D and capital costs are now fully written off, so each subsequent Prius will now be ridiculously cheap to build...)

3/26/2007 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger THINK said...

So, this is the sleight of hand of this "article." Not exactly a level playing field when the notoriously-costly-to-maintain Hummer is magically allowed to spread it's cost over 300,000 miles while the famously low-maintenance Toyota is only allowed 100,000.

Guess what? The Hummer comes in at $5.85 on a level playing field! And the Prius number is actually under $2.90.

No question that the batteries present a negative for this stage in the technology [though you should ask yourself "How much of that mine's production does Toyota buy? Is it 90%? 20%? 2%?

The article gives the Prius the single handed responsibility for all of it.] In fact, the Canadian mine suffered the environmental damage due to nickel smelting about 100 years ago. And Toyota recycles all Prius batteries as part of the purchase price.

But the main thing to tip you off is that the "report" was written buy a marketing firm. They wont show their research calcs [unacceptable to scientists, and other Homo Sapiens].

But it’s absurd on the face of it. Initial costs
Hummer: $ 50,000
Prius: $25,000
Cost to operate:
Hummer: 0.47 per mile
Prius: 0.22 per mile

Life expectancy:
Gimme a break. They are the same.

You gotta REALLY want to believe. I mean you REALLY gotta want to IGNORE REALITY to think this PR flack could be true in any stretch of the imagination.

Be smart.

4/09/2007 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Brent said...

Everyone has their personal opinions of what they wish to beleive. The 100k compared to 300k is dependent on maintenance & several other factors.
I noted several inconsistencies & once of name calling. for instance a Hummer gets 8mpg "which one are you speaking of H1, H2, or H3, must be the H1 "diesel engine". Why don't we compare apples to apples & not apples to oranges. If we riding down the street & we per say in a head-on collision, I think I would want to be in the Hummer, on the other hand if I was taking a long trip & "I was paying for the fuel" it wouldn't be a Prius but something good on fuel. These vehicles are for different purposes & once you understand that you might just get the bigger picture. I do agree with one thing though, if you want a dictatorship move to a country that has one.... Why do you think that so many people "illegal immigrants" are coming here?/! It's not just for the money, but then they try & change it to make it like it was where they came from.

Here's another question we as Americans are held to such a Higher standard when it comes to world issues on almost everything, & everyone expects us to change to satisfy them. Why? Meet them half way & they can come the other half.

Last but least our good old friend "Al Gore" this is man that speaks of pollution & several other issues in which our great country & several other countries are having, but how does he get there to speak? Definitional terms alone in his name speaks for itself.

Last but least "Remember opions are like!`@#$%^&, almost everyone was born with one & most of them stink..!"

10/15/2007 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Nelly said...

I always feel sorry when I hear about pollution because of progress. Technical innovations improved people's life a lot, but spoiled nature unfortunately. And I like that producers of hummer limo and Prius try to decrease bad influence of making these cars.

11/22/2007 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

"Prius" Coined from "Pius" and "Righteous"? I always throught it was shortened from Priapus...

1/25/2008 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Arrow's theorem says there is always the potential for paradoxes in voting systems with respect to certain criteria, not that every situation will present them. Most situations won't.

Moreover, decision-making is not the same as voting for political candidates. It's more about defining costs and benefits and trying to weigh them, and usually you have more flexibility than in an election. You can't elect 20% of candidate A and 80% candidate B. The fact that one candidate has to win is essentially what causes paradoxes. In other situations, it's almost certain that an optimal strategy will exist. Even when it comes down to certain all-or-nothing decisions, there are going to be multitudes of these that come into play, and one can generally expect things to be roughly continuous. And even when various people have different priorities, these can probably be averaged instead of one person's policies dominating.

All this is to say that I don't think you know what you're talking about. Yes, it's possible to bury your head in numbers and come up with different ways to crunch numbers so that they agree with you're point, but that doesn't mean the conventional wisdom is always wrong. Usually the obvious really is obvious. And invoking some theorem you don't understand doesn't validate your need to feel contrarian about it.

Hummers are wasteful excesses. Period.

Other than the batteries, Priuses are quite green. Batteries have been the main drawback of electric cars since the early days, and that's still the case. Now that there's a market for them, one expects that battery tech will improve.

I'd say there's no contest between the two. Smaller conventional cars can probably do quite well, or even better than the Prius. No big surprise there.

In any case, there's no need for silly hyperbole.

1/25/2008 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Dennis said...

Building a Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage than a Hummer that is on the road for three times longer than a Prius. As already noted, the Prius limo is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.

4/08/2008 03:05:00 AM  

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