By on July 8, 2017

2016 Chevrolet Volt

If the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius are presented as solutions to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it may be a toss-up as to which one wins.

This is according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s fueleconomy.gov website, which lets consumers determine tailpipe plus upstream emission. The difference on a nationally averaged basis is negligible, while regional variations see one car or the other pulling ahead.

To get terms clear: “tailpipe” emissions are self-explanatory. That’s a measure of CO2 from vehicle exhaust, while “upstream” emissions have to do with getting the energy to the vehicle.

Since the Volt is a plug-in hybrid with 53 miles EV range, its 51 grams/mile tailpipe emissions are paltry as the engine is not running much of the time. However, its electricity, when coming from powerplant-fed grid energy — which varies by region — must be factored to arrive at a carbon footprint. Nationally, it’s estimated at 151 grams/mile with most of this being from electricity generation, and a tiny bit from the emissions generated to supply for the Volt’s gasoline. The EPA also figures 171 grams of tailpipe emissions per mile for the Prius Liftback, and 34 grams/mile “upstream” emission figure for the gasoline used by the hybrid, based on nationally averaged numbers.

That said, going just by the simple online tool the government provides, the Volt averages 200 grams/mile and the Prius averages 205 grams/mile in total tailpipe plus upstream emissions.

Based on an assumed 15,000 miles per year, and 45 percent highway/55 percent city driving, the EPA says the Volt edges out the Prius by a mere 165 pounds of CO2 emitted per year in its imaginary textbook world.

When cars are measured in terms of tons of CO2 per year, 165 pounds is not a huge edge.

2017_toyota_prius_prime_premium_014_8d5a6573abb048f9ab660135c367b951ccab9f15

Asterisk

Of course, no one lives in an imaginary world, and before anyone pounces on the EPA for being “misleading,” it does let consumers drill down by zip code to get a better grasp of the upstream emissions for plug-in electrified cars in their region.

In a place where more coal is used, such as Akron, Ohio, a 205 gram/mile Prius emits less CO2 than a Volt, which the EPA estimates at 230 grams/mile.

If one lives, say, in Hartford, Connecticut, as noted by Mark Renburke, Executive Director of Drive Electric America, the Volt scores well with a cleaner 150 grams/mile while the Prius stays constant at an estimated 205 grams/mile.

A similar advantage is found in Long Beach, California, which has a cleaner grid, in which the EPA says the Volt nets 140 grams/mile while the Prius stays constant at 205. Though cost of said energy may be another matter, here we’re just looking at greenhouse emissions.

The takeaway, notes Renburke, is it all depends on where you live.

“If you live in California or Connecticut, the Volt is the clear lower emissions champ,” he says. “But if you live in Colorado or Kansas, the Prius edges it out with lower CO2 per mile driven. And if you live in Tennessee or some parts of Texas, it might just be a wash.”

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, EVs – which the Volt essentially is, with extended range – produce fewer emissions in 70 percent of the country compared to a gasoline car that gets 50 miles to the gallon (the Prius gets 52-56 mpg).

“On average, today’s electric vehicles are as clean as gasoline cars that get 73 miles to the gallon,” says the UCS whose updated stats map out greener and less green regions of the country assuming local grid energy.

Further, says Roland Hwang, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Energy and Transportation Program, both the Volt and Prius are both great choices for the environment, but the Volt holds an edge.

“In many if not most places, Volt is clearly better due to the cleaner grid,” said Hwang, adding data should be viewed as a “snapshot” of an improving grid. As the EPA’s Clean Power Plan moves forward – either through courts or post Trump Administration, he observes, the powerplant sector will only improve.

“The key here is that oil production is only getting dirtier,” he said referring to oil sourced from tar sands and fracking, while power generation is only getting cleaner due to reduced coal reliance, and that renewables are the fastest-growing source.

Renburke likewise notes the grid is getting cleaner year by year, “so the Volt is passing the Prius with lower emissions in more and more states and regions.”

Beyond this, a host of other variables come into play as to which car is a better solution, but that they are represented as such is a fact.

When the Volt was released, it was often presented as out-Priusing the Prius, if the key metric was fuel and emission savings.

And the Volt’s fuel savings are without a doubt better in local driving, but there’s something to be said for the Prius whose engineers sought to make it their best fuel sipper to date.

Speaking of which, the Prius Prime should also be mentioned, which gets outstanding efficiency numbers, but seats only four, and has only 25 miles EV range, notes Renburke.

“There is a very, very narrow window where the Volt still barely beats the Prime by staying off gas altogether when the Prime can’t, and that’s something like if you drive between 35 and 53 miles a day,” says Renburke. “That’s my commute, in the Prime I’d run out of battery two-thirds of the way to work!”

Mary Barra and Chevrolet Volt at NAIAS 2015

52 mpg versus 42 mpg

The Volt uses no gas for the first 53 miles on the combined test cycle, says the EPA, but afterwards it averages 42 mpg – which means a tad more emissions as well.

The Prius in most trims gets 52 mpg, so on longer journeys its advantages start to come into play. Typically a Volt driver, depending on how the drive goes, is still better on trips up to and over 100 miles, but this is a factor to be aware of.

Beating the Averages

As noted, nationally averaged numbers are only of some value, and local numbers are of better value, and then there’s the prospect of using the Volt for all it’s worth.

General Motors has noted OnStar data proves Volt drivers go over 900 miles on a tank full, so in their real world usage, they are mostly operating on electricity.

Also Voltstats.net has made it a game for Volt drivers to keep their cars in EV mode as much as possible, and data from that site indicates hundreds and even thousands of miles traveled with little or no gas use.

But that’s about gas and, coming back to emissions, the Volt, like any car, offers pros and cons, and even used as a pure EV, its carbon footprint remains.

When propelled purely by electricity, the EPA estimates a Volt is good for “106 MPGe” or 31 kWh/100 miles. Its pure electric footprint is still 149 grams/mile if one deducts the 51 grams/mile tailpipe emissions from the 200 national average.

This comparison, by the way applies to all plug-in cars. A 2017 Nissan Leaf, for example, which is more efficient at 112 MPGe or 30 kWh/100 miles, has 180 grams/mile upstream emissions according to the U.S. EPA. A Chevy Bolt – 119 MPGe or 28 kWh/mile – is estimated at 170 grams/mile.

Local numbers in Long Beach for either gas-free car are just 100 grams/mile, but our example of in Akron, Ohio, they’re at 200 grams/mile or right there with the Volt on a national basis, and only a wee bit behind the Prius at 205.

2016 Toyota Prius Touring

EVs Still Win

The above said, the UCS maintains EVs are still superior in most of the country in its a cradle-to-grave analysis.

“Over their whole life cycle — from manufacturing to driving to disposal — electric vehicles produce half the emissions of a comparable gasoline vehicle,” says the UCS. “By far the largest share of emissions comes from driving, which is where electric vehicles have a big and growing advantage.”

The UCS also has an interactive online tool that lets drivers learn how clean different plug-in vehicles are where they live, as well as a map showing how electric vehicle emissions compare across the country.

Other Factors

While the Volt – or other EVs – may emit more tailpipe plus upstream emissions in some regions than a 52-mpg Prius, this is of course not the only reason why someone buys a car.

“The Volt and Prius are not comparable in performance,” says Renburke. “The Volt performs very similar to an upscale V6 sedan while the Prius is still clearly in econo-car territory. So when they are at break-even at least in emissions, the Volt still has that advantage simply as a driver’s car.”

Beyond that, a total cost of ownership analysis comes into play, as does which car simply suits your sensibilities and personal needs the best.

[Images: General Motors, Toyota]

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138 Comments on “EPA Says a Chevrolet Volt Is Barely Greener Than a Toyota Prius...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Can we factor in the ugly, and how the current gen Prius is the Pontiac Aztek of hybrids?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Exactly. Lets factor in sight pollution, the Prius is a gross polluter, the Volt is mildly unsatisfying, but looks like a Chevelle SS compared to Prius.

      And other sensory pollution, the Volt still excels, as they said, with a better interior and decent driving performance, whereas the Prius is a strictly coach class experience.

    • 0 avatar
      69firebird

      No Kidding? What kind of mileage does the Prius get doing 75-80 mph? Because most of them are either blocking the road on a 2 lane or they’re hitting the highway at that speed or better. I guess maybe trying to wipe off the ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      Please, don’t insult the Aztek like that.

      2005-2009 was the sweet spot for Prius. LARGE and easy interior for humans, and easy to get into and out of. Perfect height for older people, not unlike the original Scion XB (not quite as easy, but almost).

      2010-2015 screwed up the front seat area big time, making it a tight squeeze.

      2016 brought this abomination of juvenile design, full of “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO COMPETE ANY OTHER WAY LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” mishmashed cues and plastic cladding–

      –all of which COULD be ignored, if only the car were not now significantly SMALLER inside than before.

      The back seat in the 05-09 was huge, and very easy to get into and out of thanks to the taller roofline and the door portal design. The current Prius is now tight like a Corolla in there, PLUS that “LOOK AT ME!” design of the roofline makes getting in and out of it like you’re Alan Shepard at the Mercury capsule. Only there’s no Werner to help you.

      If this is the best that Toyota can do, they’ve just about lost it like Honda has.

    • 0 avatar
      Ralph ShpoilShport

      Can we factor in that the you and I have had to pay people to buy the Volt and never had to with the Prius? Or that the Prius has been very successful (in the past, at least) and the Volt never has? Despite what I said first! Or that the Prius has been a mainstream vehicle and while doing that has been at or near the top in reliability?

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Originally, the Prius did get a tax credit. Currently, I believe the Prime qualifies for one. The tax credits are being phased out for the Volt, Tesla, and Nissan. Somewhere on the net there’s a chart with estimates for when things wind down for the various manufacturers.

        http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-06-03/business/0206030001_1_civic-hybrid-hybrid-technology-hybrid-vehicles

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        …Can we factor in that the you and I have had to pay people to buy the Volt and never had to with the Prius? …

        Can we factor in that isn’t true at all and that Prius had a fat stack of tax credits you and I paid for until the allotment was used up. Also the Volt has been pretty high on the reliability chart.

        Toyota has basically sat on the laurels, they are being passed up on electrification by a long list of makers, a Hyundai is the most fuel economical hybrid money can buy now, the plug-in Prius has been a complete and total sales flop, and Prii sales volume has been in decline for years.

        • 0 avatar
          Ralph ShpoilShport

          Phphbbbt. “Internal Revenue Code Section 30D provides a credit for Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicles including passenger vehicles and light trucks.
          For vehicles acquired after December 31, 2009, the credit is equal to $2,500 plus, for a vehicle which draws propulsion energy from a battery with at least 5 kilowatt hours of capacity, $417, plus an additional $417 for each kilowatt hour of battery capacity in excess of 5 kilowatt hours. The total amount of the credit allowed for a vehicle is limited to $7,500.” The Prius was a top seller long before this even became law.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            We didn’t have to pay people to buy the Prius, but the Japanese taxpayers funded its original development, which meant the development costs didn’t have to be passed along to the consumer, and kept it at a competitive price point. Is that so significantly different?

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            Gm wasn’t financially assisted by governments?

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            @Ralph:

            Research via Google does not make you a genius…

            http://www.hybridcars.com/federal-incentives/

            Energy Policy Act of 2005.

            But please, do try to school us on how the Prius never got tax incentives…please continue.

            https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-109publ58/pdf/PLAW-109publ58.pdf

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Ralph, you also pay business owners to buy trucks for their wife to drive. Example: allowing a business to fully depreciate a truck in one year. So Bob the Builder’s company buys a vehicle and his wife uses it*, and btw, the company pays for the gas and insurance. So there is plenty of freebies to the top earners. So I have no problem with a freebie for the Prius buyer. Then again, if it was proposed to get rid of all this giveback stuff for everybody, I’d be ok with that too.

        *happens all the time. As a kid I had a company car, replete with a credit card for gas/repairs and insurance paid for by Dad’s company. This is one of the best parts of self-employment…much of what W-2 folks pay for with post-tax earnings can be written off through your company….

        • 0 avatar
          Ralph ShpoilShport

          Not sure what this has to do with the price of tea in China. I pay business owners the amount requested for their goods or services, or not. What they do with it and whatever arrangements they have with the government I don’t know. I see the tenuous connection but we’re drifting…

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Again @Ralph – the Energy Policy Act of 2005 granted tax credits to hybrid vehicles. At a time when Toyota was darn close to the only game in town.

            https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-109publ58/pdf/PLAW-109publ58.pdf

            https://www.irs.gov/uac/highlights-of-the-energy-policy-act-of-2005-for-individuals

            …The tax credit for hybrid vehicles, which was enacted by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, may be as much as $3,400 for those who purchase the most fuel-efficient passenger automobiles and light trucks….

            Toyota has also gotten tax credits on their plug-in vehicles under the same program you listed.

            You should just admit you’re wrong at this point.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “So Bob the Builder’s company buys a vehicle and his wife uses it*, and btw, the company pays for the gas and insurance. ”

          I don’t think tax fraud (such as claiming full section 179 and 100% business use on a personal item) is the same as using the EV tax credit.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            No, its not. But my point was that there are plenty of places where the government gives away money, whether it be an EV credit or a gift to a business….that’s all. And everybody here focuses on the “green” gifts as being bad….

  • avatar
    brn

    So, according to the EPA: Volt > Prius

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah but according to headline o this article Volt == Prius. Why? Because it is GM: GM == Bad, Toyota == Good. GM simply cannot make good compact cars, e.g. Vega.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Inside, I’m onboard. This is not a response to you, as much as it is an observation.

        The Prius was an advancement. It wasn’t the first, but it took hybrids to the next level. The first few generations of the Prius were loss leaders and still didn’t make economical sense to the buyer. Kudos to Toyota (and Ford at the time) for pushing the tech.

        The Volt is a advancement beyond the Prius. It was first (in mass consumer cars) and is taking range extenders to the next level. The Volt is likely a loss leader and can make economical sense to the buyer. Kudos to GM for pushing the tech.

        Even discounting the EPA, Volt > Prius.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “The Volt performs very similar to an upscale V6 sedan”

    From 2002.

  • avatar
    2manycars

    I don’t care about “going green” and would not consider buying either of those vehicles. “Saving the Planet”(TM) is not a consideration for any of my purchases.

    Any gasoline-powered car is extremely clean at this point anyway (we reached the point of diminishing returns at least 20 years ago), and CO2 is not a pollutant.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Anything that makes a gas engine clean can be used to make hybrids even cleaner also. If you think gas engines are so extremely clean, would you leave even a new gas car running in your garage with you in it?

      Water isn’t a pollutant either. But you can drown in it or drink enough to kill yourself. Aren’t there any schools on the flat earth?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        “If you think gas engines are so extremely clean, would you leave even a new gas car running in your garage with you in it?”

        Well, I don’t usually drive my car to the store in an enclosed building.

        He didn’t say they are 100% non-polluting, only that the pollution they do emit is negligible in a real-world situation (and your situation is only “real world” to someone who could accomplish the same thing with a Prius if s/he wanted to). What they do emit does little to no harm.

        Maybe learn both sides of the science before attacking someone with a valid point.

        Emissions are far less of a concern than once thought for the Earth itself, and in case you haven’t noticed, you can lean on the back of an ideling 2017 Impala and not be choked to death (or pass out more likely) like you would a 1964 (or a 2017 Silverado and a 1995 K1500 lol, but that’s another story).

        Efficiency of combustion has improved quite a bit, and other technology to greatly reduce or eliminate emissions has been invented and consistently improved upon for a few decades now, a lot has changed. ICE vehicles very much improve the quality of life for those who have them, and more and more commonly, do very little if any real damage to the environment. Most people have oil changes done at shops that sell the used oil to recycler. Very few people are so ignorant as to dump it on the ground anymore, or let their car leak large amounts of it. Most decent people don’t smoke 2 packs a day and drink like a fish when pregnant like they may have 40 years ago, either.

        We have made progress, time to stop with the doom and gloom long enough to acknowledge that.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          GDI ICE engines aren’t clean. Far from it. The nastiest pollutants are the soot particles. They get into your body and never leave.

          https://www.empa.ch/web/s604/soot-particles-from-gdi

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            My blackened exhaust tips on my C7 would indicate that you are correct. I was quite surprised at how much carbon buildup there is – and it does not take too much driving to get the black to return after a cleaning.

        • 0 avatar
          bullnuke

          ^ This. I grew up in the ’50s – ’60s (a lie; I’ve never grown up) and I remember when coal was heating agood 30pct of my 70k resident community and I’d almost choke to death walking to school with all the cars along the way warming up. Numbers can be bandied about all day but minor percentages of mostly nothing is, to most of us, nothing to really squeal about.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            And there is that nice brown cloud that many metro areas perpetually have hanging over them when you fly in. That pollution didn’t come from bicycle delivery guys… ;)

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          JohnTaurus, you repeatedly take the position that if something, such as pollution from cars, happens in small increments, then the harm is insignificant or nonexistent.

          “What they do emit does little to no harm.”

          This is utter nonsense. Everything can be broken down to tiny increments. Doesn’t mean great damage is not being done by transportation or that the ICE engine wastes 65% of the fuel they burn.

          $10 would be and insignificant portion of your net worth, so please send me $10. It won’t affect you. Nor will it when 1000 others ask for it also.

          Doom and gloom? Arguing online is much more pleasant than when the water surges through your front door.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Washington state is ending emission testing because to your point, vehicles built after 2009 are so darn good it is pointless, and vehicles in the testing range of 1993 to 2009 are either aging out or just don’t fail.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        That’s surprising. Not the part about newer cars being clean. The part about a state giving up all that revenue. Emission testing has never been about clean air. It’s always been about the money. It’s one more tax. In the 15+ years I’ve lived in states that require emission testing I have never failed. And this has included cars, trucks, new, old, big, small, you name it. But even though I had a 0% fail rate, I had a 100% pay rate in $15-30 increments.

        So I’m shocked that the state would get rid of this cash cow.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          “So I’m shocked that the state would get rid of this cash cow.”

          They’ll find another tax. :)

          I googled Washington State and learned they have no income tax, but a high sales tax.

          Certain counties in Ohio are also exempt from emissions testing.

          I’m from NY and it’s inconvenient — I try to time oil changes and tire rotations (not always successfully) with emissions testing just to avoid missing time from work.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            I, too, am from NY. I have to get the emission/safety inspection once a year. It is no more inconvenient that having to get an oil change. Just plan ahead like you do – you invest no more time to get the inspection done. My friend in CT has to go to a state facility – that adds an additional trip. But it also eliminates the possibility of the repair shop from ripping off the driver by saying repairs are needed since the state does not do repairs….a trade off. If I was in charge I’d eliminate safety inspections for the first three years and emissions for the first five. But I’d make it 50 state wide. People here may be on top of car maintenance but plenty of people I know do not have a clue about servicing their car.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The state of WA doesn’t get any real money from emission testing, the bulk of it, sometimes all of the $15, goes to the private companies that do the testing. Then they have the regulatory costs of overseeing the authorized emissions repair facilities and auditing their actual success rate with repairs. It was not the state of WA’s choice to do emission testing, it was forced on us by the EPA due to not meeting clean air standards. It was expanded because we continued to have days where the clean air requirements were not met. (note a big reason for that expansion was the fact that one of the EPA monitoring stations was located between a freight train line and the busiest intersection in a town who’s zip code was not in the testing area. Now exactly how it was implemented was a choice by WA as the EPA gave options each time the standards were not met. So instead of expanding the testing area to include the location of the monitoring station they could have up the count of testing vehicles by removing the rolling exemption (which they did for a few years) or annual testing instead of bi-annual.

          However the reason that 2009 and newer cars, VW TDIs and some hybrids are exempt is the fallacy that those vehicles are cleaner, IE they bought the clean diesel BS and they somehow mistakenly believe that a car that is certified to meet CA emissions standards will not need repairs to the emissions system in the expected 25 year life span. In WA all 2009 and newer vehicles must be CA emission certified, but of course they didn’t include CA’s emissions warranty longevity requirements until recently.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        So they figured out how to reduce the amount of CO2 produced by burning gas? Or heat? Got any numbers to support this?

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          At least in Washington State, I learned the great majority of vehicles pass the emissions test. Cars less than 4 years old are also exempt, so they have people manning testing stations doing …not so much.

          The state figures it can make better use of its tax dollars elsewhere.

          So today’s ICE cars are indeed very clean (see PZEV), but greenhouse gases are still an issue. But greenhouse gases can’t be solved by continued emissions testing.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            True. Frankly I think that we would reduce pollution more by ensuring the durability of the emission system for the life of the car rather than cutting the emission level for new cars.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      In aggregate is where the whole issue with ICE powered vehicles stem. They can steadily improve emissions all they want but if the sheer number of dino juice powered vehicles on the road increases at a rate faster than they can achieve emissions reductions then ultra low emissions or not it wont make a lick of difference since the volume increase in pollution would negate any meaningful decrease in emissions.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    This article needs to be posted every week on ttac until the w&d stop saying stupid things about hybrids.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Lol why, its a toss up and makes no difference.

      People buy Hybrids because they get good mileage. Only the Al Gore drones are so scared of emissions that they buy them for that reason.

      And if they were really that passionate about it, they’d buy an EV that clearly does better than both of these, as per the article.

      People with differences of opinion from you may not be stupid or wrong, but I doubt your agenda permits such considerations.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        “People buy Hybrids because they get good mileage. Only the Al Gore drones are so scared of emissions that they buy them for that reason.

        And if they were really that passionate about it, they’d buy an EV that clearly does better than both of these, as per the article.

        People with differences of opinion from you may not be stupid or wrong, but I doubt your agenda permits such considerations.”

        What proof do you have that people who agree with Gore are drones?

        If they were REALLY serious about these issues they’d eke out an existence living in caves. Now, what should the folks do who profess to believe these matters have no basis in reality? Pour gas on the street to burn it? Drive tanks with worn out engines around all day? Are they hypocrites otherwise? This illustrates how ridiculous you argument is.

        People who disagree with me should at least try to make sense.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The problem with the Volt and other plug-in hybrids is going to come when/if they get widely adopted by “ungreen” consumers. I suspect that many of these “deplorable” people will simply run their Volt on gasoline all the time because they are too lazy, forgetful, or far away from a secure outlet to regularly charge up the battery from the grid. Running around in a Volt with a depleted battery is like driving a regular car with the trunk filled with concrete – all that extra weight significantly reduces economy and emission advantages over regular gasoline cars.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Not really. Even if you never plug it in you’ll charge up the battery significantly from regenerative braking and the car gets 43 city MPG and 42 highway MPG on the EPA cycle. It’s not quite Prius tier but it’s still very good fuel economy without plugging the car in.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      The only Volt in my neighborhood is always plugged in when it’s home. I think you underestimate the people who buy them. Not sure why you would do that.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        The top trade-in for the Volt is a Prius, so the only people that buy Volts now are eco-warriors and/or people that have fuel costs as their top priority. 95% of “regular” drivers don’t care much about emissions or getting super fuel economy, which is why the F-150 is the top selling vehicle, but if these people get forced to buy a Volt type vehicle many/most are unlikely to bother with the hassle of plugging in every time they stop driving.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @stingray: “unlikely to bother with the hassle of plugging in every time they stop driving.”

          While I’m not sure about the Volt, on my car I press a button to open the charging door, grab the connector, and plug it into the car. It only takes seconds. It’s easier than plugging in and charging a phone.

          You’re making comments about things you have no experience with. Have you ever plugged an EV in to charge it? Have you ever even driven one?

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            I dare say I know more about green vehicles than you do since I have published several peer reviewed papers on the topic. While I don’t own one, I do know dozens of EV owners, and while they mostly love their cars, they often grumble about having to deal with dirty/snowy power cords, out-of-service or busy charging stations, incompatible plug standards, etc. that increase the inconvenience of EV use. For some people EVs can make economic sense, and many are certainly pleasant to drive, but there are reasons why heavily subsidized electrics have such low market share.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            Where can these papers be found?

            It makes sense people would trade Prius’ for Volts. Having been reassured hybrid technology is ok by owning a Prius, it’s typical for people to trade up. A Camry Hybrid is a step up, but not in terms of electrification.

            The low sales of ev’s does not undermine their worth. Every such new technology starts with small numbers. Early in the ramping adoption it’s more risky to predict popularity of a technology. Many said the Segway would be ubiquitous. I said it would never be very popular. We’ll have to see what happens with electric vs all-gas cars. It’s getting hard to ignore the automakers’ plans and government regulations. Both are driven by people like you and me.

            Pickups? No problem with utility purchases. The rest of them are Caddies for folks who don’t want to be seen driving Caddies, bully weapons for the immature and statements for the Trumpsters trying to deny the inevitable. I wonder if that will raise a few hackles.

  • avatar
    Dan

    This is exactly the wrong way to sell hybrids of either kind. The only people who give half a chit about soda bubbles are brainwashed college millennials who largely don’t drive to begin with and those that do ARE ON YOUR TEAM ALREADY.

    Want to sell to Americans?

    “Coal money didn’t fund 9/11.”

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I guess you are referring to the 97% of the scientific community who disagree with you. Funny, the folks that talk down all the scientific evidence struggle to come up with real science data to support their position.

      There are plenty of people who drive hybrids that couldn’t care less about preserving our resources. They care about saving money on gas. If I get stuck with a Prius from work, I get a round trip mileage of 50 MPG with no hypermiling tricks. A dull appliance to be sure, but that is no fault of the hybrid power system. If that hardware was put into a similar sized car that was normal looking and had a suspension with some starch in it, add a great seat and better than average stereo, well that would be a great commuter car.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        The 97% consensus is a self-selected opinion poll, further massaged by those who solicited the opinions. This is nothing new under the ‘scientific’ sun.
        In the 1930’s there arose a strong consensus concerning physics among German physicists, including Nobelists. They were quite certain Einstein’s physics was wrong. You can read about that in, among other places, Steven Gimbel’s ‘Einstein’s Jewish Science’. One against the many – can you name one of those Germans?
        Further east, Trofim Lysenko was promulgating his Lamarckian inheritance ideas. He was backed by Stalin and that was all the consensus needed there. Both sides of the climate debate claim its the other side who are Lysenkoists.
        As for the struggle to come up with real science data to support a skeptical position, Michael Mann is involved in a Canadian SLAPP lawsuit against another climatologist where he may at last be forced to disgorge his data sets and programs so that they can be examined by skeptics, just as Karl Popper would approve.
        TL;DR – beware scientific consensus. Its difficult to put those two words together, no matter which side you are on.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          “The 97% consensus is a self-selected opinion poll, further massaged by those who solicited the opinions. This is nothing new under the ‘scientific’ sun.”

          This is a lie.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “This is a lie.”

            Plenty of that going around, starting at the top.

            If there were a “God”, he’d be down here (long white beard waving back and forth), kicking all these amoral ba$tard’s a$$es.

            I fear for the sanity of humankind.

            To wit: In a sane world, the Volt would be getting cleaner as more renewables go online, but there will be a temporary halt to sanity.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            chukers, then please provide some links of real scientists to support your claim. Breibart/Fox does not count, as I would not link MSNBC to you.

            Try critical thinking. It would be hard to not come to the climate change conclusion that virtually the entire scientific community has come up with. What that means for humankind, well that is still up for debate.

            here is an example of a good link, if T-Rump has not purged the science out yet: https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            shaker: “To wit: In a sane world, the Volt would be getting cleaner as more renewables go online, but there will be a temporary halt to sanity.”

            I agree with your point, but want to add forr the benefit of the many who commented without reading it, that the article describes how electricity is relentlessly getting cleaner.

      • 0 avatar
        whynotaztec

        G2H – I would suggest the Accord hybrid

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Science is not a popularity contest, it is based on models/hypotheses being proven by data. The climate models over the past 25 years have all been wrong and have greatly over-estimated actual warming – therefore they are disproven theories that should be tossed in the scrap heap.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          This is false.

          In fact the more recent and improved the analysis or data, the more evident that the models have been conservative. And even if that were not the case, we need to be cautious about unforeseen tipping points. This omlette is going to be as difficult to unmake as it will be unpleasant.

          • 0 avatar
            chuckrs

            We’ll find out whether the data and analysis is actually improved, or rather spoliated, if Michael Mann is compelled to disclose his data and his methodology in the court suit he brought. How far would many scientific discoveries and theories have gotten if access to examining and challenging them – by sceptics among others – was barred by claims that said data/analysis was proprietary? The Canadian court case has dragged on for 6 years so I’m not holding my breath on when or if this may happen.
            G2H – don’t know if Breitbart or Fox has ever mentioned Gimbel’s book on Einstein vs the Germans. The NYT certainly did and had a review, still online, and there are reviews on Amazon as well. Further, I have no idea if any journo has ever discussed Lysenko, although I assume some may have. I first ran across him in Robert Conquest’s book ‘Stalin, Breaker of Nations’. In any event, I don’t want to hear more sloganeering like 97% consensus or the science is settled. I’m not your teacher or your research assistant; a few minutes on a search engine will uncover some articles (filtering out the climate blogs) from WSJ, Forbes and (horrors) National Review. You might benefit from reading their heretical observations. You might also search the late Karl Popper and consider what he might say about juxtaposing the words science and settled or science and consensus.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “If that hardware was put into a similar sized car that was normal looking and had a suspension with some starch in it, add a great seat and better than average stereo, well that would be a great commuter car.”

        Albeit a rather expensive way to commute, given that you can get a 2 year old car for 2/3 or less of the price. And that’s a LOT to make up in gas savings.

        Anyway, back to your comment: yes, I agree, and that’s why I’m going to take a VERY close look at the 2018 Camry hybrid. And I might even wait for the 2019 Toyota Avalon/Lexus ES hybrid twins, to see what’s what–because I truly believe that it’s worth the extra to pay Lexus money, that you get what you pay for in terms of quality of build and materials.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    If they’re splitting these hairs shouldn’t they account for the differences in gasoline distribution energy used?
    The amount of pumping and trucking gasoline across the country likely carries widely.
    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=map+us+refineries&oq=map+us+refiner&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l3.5884j0j4&client=ms-android-verizon&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#imgrc=xp_5XwNTKvEXYM:
    I posit that the gasoline gram/mile number could be adjusted using regional avg has prices (after removing the tax differences).
    Eh?

  • avatar
    05lgt

    It seems TTAC’s B&B has reached a consensus that CO2 isn’t a pollutant. I’m just going to go be part of some other consensus.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      One look at new vehicle sales breakdowns, or new house square footages, or any of the other metrics of how people spend their own money would show that this consensus is hardly limited to our own B&B.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Nothing against hybrids. The Prius is really reliable and gets great mileage. Still, hydrocarbons are cheap and incredibly abundant. North America is awash in oil and we keep finding more. Abundant natural gas is making our power generation cleaner.

      All the peak oil hysteria was as phony as the catastrophic global warming hysteria. ICE vehicles are practical and will continue to dominate.

      When it all gets too expensive to extract, if it ever does, we have unlimited nuclear potential. Maybe then electric cars will rule.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        This sounds like stuff you heard at a beer hall.

        Oil sources are and will continue to be increasingly expensive to get and the crude will be of decreasing quality. There may be blips due to new technology such as fracking, but the trend is well known by the oil industry.

        Fracking to boost natural gas may push back when we have to pay the piper, but it comes with a host of problems that ensure the eventual price will be much higher. Such as: methane emissions, sealing old wells, earthquakes, groundwater contamination and carbon emissions.

        To call global warming “hysteria” actually sounds funny. ICE vehicles may predominate now, but to claim this will be so for a long time is to suggest you’re not paying attention. That’s ok, everyone takes a different amount of time to see what’s going on. Did you read the Volt vs Prius article?

        Nuclear? Seriously?

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Unfortunately, for the short term nuclear will have to be part of the equation in the path to lower GHG emissions. I hope to be alive when fusion becomes a reality. Then we can use electricity to replace combustion for most uses…a future where planes and ships are the last users of fossil fuels. A bright future to be sure, but I’ll miss a nice V8 rumble…

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            If we are not so lucky the last use of fossil fuels will be for food. Given how reckless humanity has been with fossil fuels, unlimited inexpensive energy probably would be a disaster of one sort or another.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            But you’re missing the point. GHG is one thing; simple heat emissions are something else.

            Humans eat food and radiate that energy back as heat. Oil is turned into heat energy. Nuclear power is the release of heat energy that was otherwise buried in the crust. Same with burning coal, and even natural gas, to generate electricity–it’s heat in addition to carbon.

            Eliminate GHG, you still have the heat of all the humans (increasing every day) going about their business, driving from home to work 40 miles away–individually, in their own cars.

            Change from coal to nuclear and you eliminate the GHG–but you still have the heat to deal with.

            At some point the planet will, in the words of George Carlin, shake us off like a bad case of fleas.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          To call global warming “hysteria” actually sounds funny.

          I did no such thing. Perhaps this is why watermelons are incapable of critical thinking. They don’t even try.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            thelaine: “All the peak oil hysteria was as phony as the catastrophic global warming hysteria.”

            brandloyalty: “To call global warming “hysteria” actually sounds funny.”

            thelaine: “I did no such thing. Perhaps this is why watermelons are incapable of critical thinking. They don’t even try.”

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            You did it again brand. “Catastrophic” is what leads to “hysteria.” You keep overlooking the key word. Without a crisis, you don’t get the power. There has been mild (and mostly beneficial) warming. There is no crisis. Hydrocarbons are the foundation of the world’s economy. Measure someone’s carbin dioxide output and you have a pretty good idea how wealthy they are. It will not change significantly in your lifetime. Coal plants are being built rapidly all over the world. People don’t want to be poor. There is a lot at stake. Driving a hybrid has no measurable impact on this reality.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “All the peak oil hysteria was as phony as the catastrophic global warming hysteria.”

        You forgot to mention the global cooling hysteria of 40 years ago.

        We’re all supposed to be in a new ice age right now, don’t you remember?

        Just go look out your back door right now and tell us what you see. Oh, wait…

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          I sure do remember. I also remember the Jonestown cult. I also remember the DDT ban, which has killed millions of the poorest and most helpless people on earth.

          The end of the worlders would make me laugh if they weren’t so tragic. Someday the world will end, but it won’t be because humans are burning hydrocarbons. The lefty watermelons want power, and a gaia-worshipping apocalypse cult has resulted.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          Jalop1991: “You forgot to mention the global cooling hysteria of 40 years ago.”

          There was a short and minor change in the rate of warming that caused some to warn of global cooling. The causes were identified. But, for instance, you cannot find evidence that any of the mainstream environmental organizations ever jumped on the global cooling bandwagon. Greenpeace never did.

          This story unfortunately gained traction with those vulnerable to flat earth theories, but it is basically a fraud. I wish it was not necessary to refute it over and over and over…

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            I’m referring to the Newsweek article in particular, which was social media for its time.

            It wasn’t just those vulnerable to flat earth theories; it was mainstream media telling the average reader that the next ice age was upon us.

            The public is suffering from hysteria fatigue. Everything that’s presented to us is done so in the form of hysteria, click bait hysteria. It happened in 1975 with Newsweek, and it’s even worse today with billions of blogs competing for trillions of eyeballs to hand to Google’s ads.

            “Something happened. Someone said something. Here’s what you need to know.” No, I don’t. I don’t need to know whatever it is you’re serving up. I don’t need to know that a Kardashian tore a fingernail, or is transgender, or whatever the pop culture theme of the day is.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            “There was a short and minor change in the rate of warming that caused some to warn of global cooling. The causes were identified. But, for instance, you cannot find evidence that any of the mainstream environmental organizations ever jumped on the global cooling bandwagon. Greenpeace never did.

            This story unfortunately gained traction with those vulnerable to flat earth theories, but it is basically a fraud. I wish it was not necessary to refute it over and over and over…”

            http://sweetness-light.com/archive/newsweeks-1975-article-about-the-coming-ice-age

            which starts out:

            – – –
            There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production — with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas — parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia — where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

            The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually.
            – – –

            Hysteria, created by someone and promoted in collusion with the mainstream media. Sound familiar?

            And people are fatigued from this kind of thing. People are NOT going to jump on bandwagons just because “someone said something!”

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            Jalop1991,
            Thanks for the link. It’s interesting to see where some of the cooling stuff came from. Did the Newsweek article cite any perr reviewed studies?

            I read your link, so you can read mine:
            https://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling-mid-20th-century.htm

            Just because some predictions are wrong does not justify dismissing all of them. Or just the ones we don’t like. Concern about ddt, freon and the polar ozone holes, acid rain, umpteen diseases, the Nazies; were all valid, and the concern led to solutions. Other concerns, such as endless amateur predictions of the end of the world have not stood up to scrutiny and have so far proven false.

            Because recently some misunderstood and/or misrepresented a climate issue, cooling, is not sufficient grounds for dismissing the current understanding of global warming. Unless one is desperately seeking validation of a very flimsy position.

            I don’t think people tiday are suffering any more or less stress from exposure to concerns than has ever been the case. Most of us don’t have to worry about survival matters such as predators, starving, eclipses, nasty gods etc.

            Whether to buy into movements, theories, concerns etc. is a subject all by itself and I hope I’ve provided some perspective on that.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I recently read somewhere that when you factor in the mining for the batteries EVs are dirtier than gas cars before they are even manufactured. When you figure in that EVs are going to continue to grow in market share, you can’t really factor battery recycling in across the whole fleet; especially at the rates govts are hoping to hit.

    Anyone who has pushed a car knows how much energy goes into hurtling one at highway speeds. Until we can find an energy storage medium we don’t have to mine or extract from the ground it’s going to remain a dirty game.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      My understanding is that this is true. You also have to factor into your equation that battery packs don’t always last the lifetime of the vehicle, and sometimes need to be replaced, doubling the pollution emitted during their production. And then there’s the matter of disposing of those battery packs at the end of their useful life. They do contain some stuff you’d want to keep out of the local landfill. These are not necessarily problems that can’t be overcome, and in time, I’m sure they will be, but if your primary concern is the overall health of the planet, it seems like you’d want to keep them in mind.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        smartascii, I hope you read through the comments below. You may have strong beliefs about hybrid batteries, but you should ask yourself why those beliefs have no basis in the real world.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      No, that can’t be. The nice young 24 year old recent college grad with a degree in Women’s Studies told me electricity is 100% clean.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “I recently read somewhere that when you factor in the mining for the batteries EVs are dirtier than gas cars before they are even manufactured.”

      And I recently read somewhere that Hillary herself was in charge of the enemy forces at Benghazi.

      Maybe you should do a *tad* more research on what you “recently read somewhere”.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Na, they can’t be bothered to do real research. Can’t work to find facts that would undermine what you know is the “truth”…the lack of critical thinking skills is mind blowing.

        • 0 avatar
          smartascii

          I mean, you’ll probably tell me the source isn’t valid, or that they have an agenda or something, but here’s a short read on the subject:

          https://www.wired.com/2016/03/teslas-electric-cars-might-not-green-think/

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            I read your link and no, I don’t consider it biased. In fact, it seems to be pretty well balanced and objective. It did show that the extraction and purifying of the rare earth materials to be the biggest negative in terms of offsetting environmental damage, with electricity generated from coal up next. The continuing cleanup of the nation’s generation capacity will continue to progress, which is good. Perhaps new technology will help with the batteries and needs for rare earth materials.

            All that still, the statement made above that EV’s are dirtier before they leave the factory is patently false. But “well to wheel” is certainly the way to evaluate whether the ICE replacement is really clean or not. Moving the problem elsewhere does not help on a global basis. Something Germany is guilty of. They sold their filthy steel plant to China where it continues to emit pollution and then they claim how clean their country is.

          • 0 avatar
            I_like_stuff

            Don’t confuse progressives with facts. It gives them headaches.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            EVERY vehicle, cradle to grave, costs X in money and in environmental impact.

            That’s what people are missing when they discuss these things. People have extremely limited attention spans, and can think only in immediate terms like “but I’m getting better gas mileage!” or “grams of CO2 per mile driven!”. (Witness the diesel drivers who can see only the “MPG number” and not the dollars per mile driven number, those who completely ignore the cost of diesel fuel vs. gasoline.)

            They can’t grasp the total costs: how far out of the population midst is the factory? (people have to drive to work you know.) How much to build this factory? What environmental costs did that have? How much to transport the steel, or is the factory where the steel mill is? Is the steel mill where the mine is? Etc, etc.

            Long term thinking is NOT the forte of the average American, including industry and government types.

            So you can think of it in terms of “but the battery!”, but you’d be missing out on a HUGE bit of the overall environmental impact from cradle to grave, from the mine to the shredder and beyond.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      While mining for lithium and other precious metals for batteries is dirty, it is still not as dirty as fracking or tar sands. Also worth noting is that Prius batteries age well enough; they won’t have the same capacity after 10 years, but they are still usable.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Lithium is generally extracted by brining rather than mining, and is one of the least environmentally damaging means of pulling raw materials out of the ground.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          And you may know that photo showing a vast “lithium” mine next to a simple oil wellhead? It’s a fake. No such lithium mine exists.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            “And you may know that photo showing a vast “lithium” mine next to a simple oil wellhead? It’s a fake. No such lithium mine exists.”

            BUT I READ IT ON HUMMERCHAT.COM IN THE THREAD ABOUT THE PRIUS!! IT MUST BE TRUE!!

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            Yes, I believe the “lithium mine” is really a picture of a copper mine. Extracting lithium is a different process as mentioned by @FormerFF.

            I find it both amusing and annoying. Amusing, that some are so threatened by EVs, hybrids, and renewables that they need to spread falsehoods. And annoying in that sometimes, it works.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        “Also worth noting is that Prius batteries age well enough; they won’t have the same capacity after 10 years, but they are still usable.”

        You’d think so. But my 8-year old awd Escape Hybrid is getting the best mileage ever, 35mpg us, while it used to get 33-34. This is not possible if the battery is degrading.

        So if the batteries ever lose enough capacity to be taken out of cars*, they are perfectly usable for electrical load balancing and standby power. And if they get too degraded for that, their components are valuable recycling. Anywhere along the way individual bad cell packs can be replaced.

        * Since hybrids get enhanced mileage due to a number of factors besides the battery, it would take a very large loss of battery capacity to have a significant loss of mileage. Hybrids still have relatively small engines running the Atkinson cycle and use cvt’s, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      “I recently read somewhere that when you factor in the mining for the batteries EVs are dirtier than gas cars before they are even manufactured. When you figure in that EVs are going to continue to grow in market share, you can’t really factor battery recycling in across the whole fleet; especially at the rates govts are hoping to hit.”

      I read that a Prius has a greater pollutiin inpact than a Hummer. Turned out the “study” was utter rubbish.

      There are more and more credible studies about the matter you raise. They all conclude that overall ev’s and hybrids lower the amount of pollution.

  • avatar
    hamish42

    How much of the energy savings realized on a day to day drive to work basis will be totally wiped out when in just a few years the battery pack needs replacing at a cost of several thousand dollars? It’s like the old add: you can pay me now, or you can pay me later.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Research, please. Hybrid battery packs in the Prius often outlive the car itself. Yes, there is some degradation, and yes there are those who had to replace the battery pack. But the odds are that your Prius will never need a new pack. Most ’95 Camrys can be driven for 200K or more with basic maintenance. That doesn’t mean that a few didn’t die early deaths…

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        The failure rate for Escape Hybrid battery packs is a fraction of 1%. Recycling facilities for the batteries never had to be set up since there was no need. Batteries available from wrecked hybrids exceeds the demand for replacements. There is an ’08 Escape Hybrid running around the US that had over 500,000 miles on it, several years ago, with the original battery and showing little or no loss of mileage.

        It’s amazing how pervasive misinformation is about hybrids. Doesn’t seem to matter how often it is soundly refuted, it just keeps coming.

        I fear ttac is heading to being a small backwater of flat earthers.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      @hamish52: have you even bothered to check asking prices for hybrid batteries on Ebay? How do you explain that so few are sold at such low prices?

    • 0 avatar
      tnk479

      I used to suspect that too but the batteries used in hybrids like the Prius and Volt have been lasting the entire lifespan of the vehicle. Hybrids are programmed not to deplete the battery entirely and this dramatically extends the useful life of the battery. There really are a lot of synergies between ICE and batteries with the biggest drawback being the weight and size of the system.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Even the weight is less of a problem than most assume. Because when they brake, hybrids and ev’s recapture most of the energy used to get their mass moving. Including whatever the batteries weigh.

        This is another example of how people are applying ICE-only thinking to electrified cars.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          “Because when they brake, hybrids and ev’s recapture most of the energy used to get their mass moving. Including whatever the batteries weigh.”

          Well, to be fair, there ARE losses inside the inverter as that energy is captured. The inverter sheds those losses via heat, just like brakes do.

          Oh, but wait–that heat is shed via coolant, not mechanical friction of brake discs. What does that mean?

          a) 200K miles or more on brakes. Seriously. It’s easily done, even on a Prius. So those are brake pads we don’t have to make and ship around the world.

          b) The hybrids aren’t generating all that brake dust, which itself is a pollutant.

          See? It’s a game. You can rig it with whatever individual stats you want, or you can examine the big picture.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            And to be fair I did say hybrids recapture most of the energy normally wasted during braking. Because I know the system is not 100% efficient. In addition fwd hybrids lose a little more energy when using the brakes because the rear brakes are applied a little, for stability. And there is no regen from the back wheels.

            Not even the Toyota hybrid suv’s regenerate from the rear wheels despite having an electric motor back there.

  • avatar
    Joss

    My EV curiosity isn’t so much to do with being green but more with simplicity. Fewer components should equate to better reliability and lower maintenance. + I wouldn’t have to be concerned about keeping a bunch of Arabs rich. An EV’s lower components count should run far far longer for far less.

    If you don’t drive on a regular basis with a gas burner you have to be concerned about the battery losing its charge or the fuel destabilizing. With an EV this just isn’t an issue.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I always wonder how far up the supply chain the researchers go when making calculations like this. If you’re using fossil fuels to generate electricity, the two common ones are natural gas and coal, and both come out of the ground impure, but in the form they will be burned as. Gasoline, on the other hand, is a refined product. From what I’ve been able to find, the average gallon of gasoline contains the equivalent of about 34 kwh of energy, but takes approximately 7 kwh of energy to refine, of which 4 – 4.5 kwh are electricity. Also, what about distribution? Electricity comes to my house whether I have an EV or not.

    When you charge makes a difference. If you charge overnight, sometimes you are using electricity that would otherwise go to waste. There are a number of electric utilities that have overnight rates that are dirt cheap for this reason.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Given that 95% of our electricity in BC is hydro-electric the Volt would be about as green a choice as it gets. A coworker has a new one and loves it, she has barely had to use the gas engine on her regular commute.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      The article says Volt drivers are averaging 900 miles per fillup. And probably they have a small tank. So most of their mileage is on electric.

      A full ev would be cleaner.

      (My awd Escape Hybrid can go 560 miles on a fillup in favorable driving conditions. It has a smaller than normal tank but is still 15 gallons.)

      • 0 avatar
        tnk479

        But I always wonder, after you adjust for the fact that hybrids run super skinny tires and are extra slow, what have you really gained in raw fuel economy benefits? IN other words, if you just instead used really small turbocharged ICE would you just about achieve the same fuel economy numbers at a lower price point? I think Honda just proved that is nearly the case with the new Civic 1.5T.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheatridger

          I like that option, but think about it: you have the complications of turbocharging, including premium gas, and the turbo sucks down gas when run hard. The city fuel economy will never match a hybrid, since so much kinetic energy is lost to braking.

          If you do the math, raising a low city mpg result lowers fuel consumption more than raising a high highway mpg. That’s where hybrids excel.

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          I cannot speak for the Civic, but I can speak for the 1.5t in the new Escape.
          We just got a new 2017 Escape at work. 1.5t, six speed auto. I consider the drivetrain to be near fail. It is clearly unpleasant. Perhaps at sea level the turbo lag is less problematic, but here at 9000 feet it is pronounced. Until the tach hits about 1500 RPM the damn thing barely accelerates. Smooth starts from a stop takes careful skill. Then there is the idle stop which adds insult to the injury. So often, here is the drill. Car stopped, motor off. Lift foot off brake pedal, motor starts, step on gas, the motor weak and worthless for about 10-20 feet of vehicular travel, then WHAM!the turbo kicks in like an on-off switch. Once moving things get better, but still, between down shifting and spooling the turbo up, throttle response is crap.
          For all of this, the work Escape gets mid to high 20’s mpg the way I drive.

          Contrast this to my 2016 Prius. It delivers instantaneous electric motor throttle response from a stop as well as on the go, it gets to 60 in the 10 second range, same as the Escape, and driven the same way I drive the work Escape I net around 70 mpg. I will add this fact, the Escape weighs in at 3700lbs, the Prius at 3000, but still.

          In summary the Escape drivetrain is quirky, jerky, and unresponsive. The Prius is swift hyper responsive and sublime.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          tnk479:”But I always wonder, after you adjust for the fact that hybrids run super skinny tires and are extra slow, what have you really gained in raw fuel economy benefits? IN other words, if you just instead used really small turbocharged ICE would you just about achieve the same fuel economy numbers at a lower price point? I think Honda just proved that is nearly the case with the new Civic 1.5T.”

          You are correct that some of the features used by hybrids could be adopted by non-hybrids. Such as we see with engine stop/start. (Although the non-hybrid implementation is inferior.) Low rolling resistance tires, higher tire pressure, cvts, Atkinson cycle engines, smaller engines, better streamlining. All cars could use fender skirts when the market is conditioned to like them.

          Hybrids, as demonstrated by F1 cars or the Rav4 Hybrid are not inherently slow.

          My Escape Hybrid runs the same tire size as the non-hybrid: 235/70R16.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The thing is that only Toyota and only on the Prius have they gone all out and used other means than the Hybrid system to increase MPG.

          However if you look at the Escape Hybrid there is nothing beyond the Hybrid system to improve MPG. No additional use of light weight materials, like the Prius, no undersized tires, and no LRR tires. The only thing you could say is that they all used aluminum wheels while the base Escape could be had with steel wheels. When you look at the first gen Fusion Hybrid again no crazyness like light weight seats as done in the Prius just standard Fusion parts. However they did come with LRR tires but they were wider than the base and mid range straight ICE Fusions. 225/50-17 instead of the 205/60-16 base size.

          Now look at the EPA numbers

          2010 Escape AWD (city, hwy, combined)
          4cyl at 20,26,22
          Hybrid 30,27,29

          2010 Fusion
          4cyl at 22,31,25
          Hybrid 41,36,30

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            Scoutdude:

            True that the Escape Hybrid is not and would get a mileage gain from, a dedicated design. The Rav4 Hybrid, also an adopted design, gets only slightly better mileage than the Escape Hybrid. I would expect it would get much better, benefitting from 10 years of design advancements and a more streamlined body. Ford must have done a good job designing the Escape Hybrid.

            The Escape Hybrid does have some other differences from the non-hybrid. It does have LRR tires. Uses the smaller of the two engines and running the Atkinson cycle. Engine stop/start. Some like mine have little rear wheel spats and a deeper front air dam.

            I suspect comparative EPA mileage ratings somehow put hybrid versions at a disadvantage. Non-hybrids seem to struggle to get epa ratings while hybrids commonly exceed them.

            You didn’t say whether you quoted US or Canadian mileages, so I’ll assume US. My ’09 awd Escape Hybrid is currently getting 35mpg US, whether in city traffic jams, at highway speed, or driving up and down 3000′ elevation gains. I don’t hypermile. It is 8 years old and is getting the best mileage ever. Amazing actually. I can see it could get even better if used for puttering around a small town with little traffic and low speeds.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            Oh, and I’ve weighed the Escape’s alloy rims and they weigh as much as steel rims. Not sure why.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        Cleaner, but less versatile. A 900-mile drive in an EV would require multiple recharging stops, with many hours wasted watching the meter run.

        • 0 avatar
          tnk479

          For sure there is no free lunch. And counter to my suggestion, Toyota just announced their new Camry Hybrid LE with a Lithium Ion battery gets combined 52 mpg. That is impressive for a car that is as large and comfortable as a Camry.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          Wheatridger:”Cleaner, but less versatile. A 900-mile drive in an EV would require multiple recharging stops, with many hours wasted watching the meter run.”

          A point often made. But it probably makes more sense than someone commuting alone in an empty 4×4 quad cab pickup. After all, they have to spent lots of time working to pay to operate a vehicle grossely unsuited to what it is being used for.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Ooooooo its Manbearpig!

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    My takeaway here is that, larger issues aside, the CO2 emissions of a plug-in hybrid are highly influenced by the power source that drives your grid. I looked up the C-Max Energi I’m shopping for, and it’s projected to emit 300 grams/mile, 1/3 less than the average vehicle’s 450. That’s in Colorado, a coal-dependent state that’s converting to gas and renewables. But If I lived in a place like Seattle where the grid is hydro-heavy, the car’s score drops to 210 g/m.

    These estimates depend on assumptions of how you use the car. They assume 45.1% of your driving will be electric-powered, but your mileage will differ.

    The figure that counts is the $4007 federal tax credit laid on the hood of most plug-in hybrids. That’s very persuasive to me, combined with my state’s additional $5000 tax credit.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Bear in mind that electrical grids are interconnected so it might be realistic to go by the national numbers for electricity generation. And the whole works is getting cleaner. Trump can’t even slow down that change since renewables are passing dirty sources in cost to add generation. Without even factoring in the eventual costs of dirty power sources.

  • avatar
    hpycamper

    Reading through these comments saddens me. Idealogically biased thinking and “facts” are corrupting us.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Yes but when I read your comment I can’t tell which side you are on:-)

      • 0 avatar
        hpycamper

        I’m on the side of reason, reality, if any side; or were you being facetious?
        I don’t want facts that are massaged or shaped to fit a “side”.
        What I’ve read here today is a reflection of our contemporary society. We are going down a bad path.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    You know what’s even more fuel efficient? Working from home. We spend 75 CAD a month on fuel (60 USD) for our minivan and a family of 6.

    I only say this tongue in cheek as I know for most people it’s not possible. But in seriousness, all the businesses that claim to be green, especially the ones with a high number of white collar jobs, should embrace remote work. The tech is available to make it a secure and integrated process. As far as global warming, emissions and fossil fuel dependency goes (all issues a virtuous company strives to eliminate), remote workers can make a huge difference to reduce all of them.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I agree with this post.

      Like you said, it won’t work for everyone, but most of driving miles in a week are going to/from a multi-story air-conditioned building where I sit at desk to do things at a computer, talk on the phone to people in other states, and IM people within same office space. I’m not sure how I couldn’t do the same job while being allowed to stay home 3 days a week.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Definitely. I’m retired and I’m always stunned when I see the commuters in the traffic jams. How do they keep their sanity? And annoyed when I get stuck in their midst.

      But if car commuting is undesirable, surely recreational driving would be also? Not a popular idea here.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Probably, but it doesn’t need to be all or nothing.

        I expect that advocating for telecommuting would have a larger environmental impact and get broader support than pushing to outlaw Dairy Queen cruise night or taking the scenic route.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          The simplest way to do it is to address the issue directly. Get rid of road tolling and ev subsidies and high occupancy lanes and cash for clunkers. Put a carbon tax on fossil fuels and adjust it to get the desired result.

          I live in an area where telecommuting has been promoted for at least a decade. Though many are doing it, the traffic just keeps getting worse. Expanding highways and bridges just costs a fortune and moves the jams somewhere else.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            Yeah, seems silly to move a million bodies to and fro every day, most by car, if some of them can work from home or even offices distributed around the city.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    They’re both hybrids, so this makes sense. They just operate in different modes at different times.

    The ugly Prius is more practical (no plug required), but the Volt is small. I wouldn’t take either.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I’d take a Ford Fusion plug-in. Two friends have them. Both like to do all their errands and their commute on electric and weekend out of town trips on gas. And its a good looking car.

      I’m over the idea that EVs and hybrids have to look like they rolled out of a sci-fic movie.

      Probably this is intentional. Let the enthusiasts make peace with the hybrid or EV while the rest of us stick with our traditionally styled gassers b/c the gassers are where the profits are.


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