Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hummers Good, Hybrids Bad

Contrarians will be delighted and politicians heartbroken by the news that a Hummer uses less energy in its lifetime than a Civic hybrid.

I've long suspected this - my Tahoe cost peanuts to service, was made out of bits that had been around since WW2, and had the same gas mileage as the BMW 5 series it replaced. Plus, unlike the BMW, it was a great weapons platform. Now someone has run the numbers, hat tip Tim Blair:
Spinella spent two years on the most comprehensive study to date – dubbed "Dust to Dust" -- collecting data on the energy necessary to plan, build, sell, drive and dispose of a car from the initial conception to scrappage. He even included in the study such minutia as plant-to-dealer fuel costs of each vehicle, employee driving distances, and electricity usage per pound of material. All this data was then boiled down to an "energy cost per mile" figure for each car (see here and here).

Comparing this data, the study concludes that overall hybrids cost more in terms of overall energy consumed than comparable non-hybrid vehicles. But even more surprising, smaller hybrids' energy costs are greater than many large, non-hybrid SUVs.

For instance, the dust-to-dust energy cost of the bunny-sized Honda Civic hybrid is $3.238 per mile. This is quite a bit more than the $1.949 per mile that the elephantine Hummer costs. The energy cots of SUVs such as the Tahoe, Escalade, and Navigator are similarly far less than the Civic hybrid.

If you follow the links, you'll see hordes of enviros howling that the study's author hasn't published his base data & computations. But since when has that stopped said enviros demanding we halve our living standards based on their own whacky predictions?

Anyway, this news will make this nannyish Blairite as sick as a parrot:

David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, yesterday backed the idea of carbon rationing for all, based on smart credit cards that record an individual's energy use.

"Imagine your neighbourhood. Each neighbour receives the same free entitlement to a certain number of carbon points.

"The family next door has an SUV and realise they are going to have to buy more carbon points.

"So instead they decide to trade in the SUV for a hybrid car. They save 2.2 tons of carbon each year. They then sell their carbon points back to the bank and share the dividends of environmental growth."

But now what if the family next door has - say - a Challenger 2 MBT? It has poor gas mileage & 37 MPH max, but compensates by crossing town, country, and traffic jams in a straight line. It also lasts forever, and gets no parking or speeding tickets. Under the proposed scheme, the proud family gets a carbon tax credit!

What's not to like?