Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Hamsafar
People who have these should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves ;o)

Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage
By Chris Demorro

The Toyota Prius has become the flagship car for those in our society so environmentally conscious that they are willing to spend a premium to show the world how much they care. Unfortunately for them, their ultimate ?green car? is the source of some of the worst pollution in North America; it takes more combined energy per Prius to produce than a Hummer.
Before we delve into the seedy underworld of hybrids, you must first understand how a hybrid works. For this, we will use the most popular hybrid on the market, the Toyota Prius.

The Prius is powered by not one, but two engines: a standard 76 horsepower, 1.5-liter gas engine found in most cars today and a battery- powered engine that deals out 67 horsepower and a whooping 295ft/lbs of torque, below 2000 revolutions per minute. Essentially, the Toyota Synergy Drive system, as it is so called, propels the car from a dead stop to up to 30mph. This is where the largest percent of gas is consumed. As any physics major can tell you, it takes more energy to get an object moving than to keep it moving. The battery is recharged through the braking system, as well as when the gasoline engine takes over anywhere north of 30mph. It seems like a great energy efficient and environmentally sound car, right?

You would be right if you went by the old government EPA estimates, which netted the Prius an incredible 60 miles per gallon in the city and 51 miles per gallon on the highway. Unfortunately for Toyota, the government realized how unrealistic their EPA tests were, which consisted of highway speeds limited to 55mph and acceleration of only 3.3 mph per second. The new tests which affect all 2008 models give a much more realistic rating with highway speeds of 80mph and acceleration of 8mph per second. This has dropped the Prius?s EPA down by 25 percent to an average of 45mpg. This now puts the Toyota within spitting distance of cars like the Chevy Aveo, which costs less then half what the Prius costs.

However, if that was the only issue with the Prius, I wouldn?t be writing this article. It gets much worse.

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 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.

The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles. That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use less combined energy doing it.

So, if you are really an environmentalist - ditch the Prius. Instead, buy one of the most economical cars available - a Toyota Scion xB. The Scion only costs a paltry $0.48 per mile to put on the road. If you are still obsessed over gas mileage - buy a Chevy Aveo and fix that lead foot.

One last fun fact for you: it takes five years to offset the premium price of a Prius. Meaning, you have to wait 60 months to save any money over a non-hybrid car because of lower gas expenses.

Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Quinny100
In the past 3 weeks I have counted 5 Prius that have breezed passed me on the motorway when I've been cruising along at 80mph with the CC on.

The only people who buy these things are those who consider themselves green, yet there is nothing green about tanking down the outside lane at 90mph! I bet they don't return anything like 60mpg when run like that.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Avant
There are so many arguments, both pro and con, in respect of each type of engine - petrol dieael and hybrid (and knowing my fellow Backroomers, no doubt we shall see them). Personally I think there really isn't much in it - nothing conclusive - so let's just drive what suits our needs, but maybe think carefully about the most economical and environmentally-friendly way in which our needs can be suited.

I've had a good long test drive in a Prius and could be tempted - fairly sprightly performance, good handling, comfortable and roomy, with near-diesel economy (agreed, nowhere near 65 mpg) without that godforsaken noise. If I can't afford a 6-cylinder diesel, that is.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
This student journalist has helpfully collected every falsehood about the Prius from the last 3 years and put them in one handy article. Although the MPG one is new, I think.

It's certainly one way to get your work spread round the internet, as every Prius-hater forwards it to every forum they can find.

Firstly, the MPG "comparison" involves comparing the Prius under the new EPA test to the Aveo under the old test. The Aveo on the new test has also been revised down to 27mpg, compared to the Prius' 45mpg. Hardly "spitting distance".

The nickel plant stuff is similarly nonsense. The environmental damage from the plant was caused decades before the Prius was built; some proper environmental legislation is now in place. The Prius is a pretty minor customer of nickel, considering how much goes into consumer electronics batteries and stainless steel. But one important difference in the Prius is that its battery pack gets recycled.

As for the shipping of the components and materials, there's no evidence the Prius is any more of an offender than all the other cars in production.

As for the energy to build the car, yes the Prius takes more than a similarly sized car, although I doubt the comparison to the Hummer. But it recoups it several times over during its life. Oddly enough, studies have been done on this...

The CNW "cost-per-mile study" is self-evidently flawed, given that they've plucked a life of 100,000 miles for the Prius but 300,000 for a Hummer out of their ass. Correctied to give equal lifetimes, that makes the Prius a factor of two cheaper.

The "long time to recoup initial cost" argument is the only thing that makes the slightest bit of sense. Even then, that's no doubt assuming petrol prices don't go up at all in the next five years. Yeah, right.

But hey, if it makes you feel better to bash cars you're afraid of, whatever...
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
Oh, and don't forget that's US mpg. So 32mpg for the Aveo and 54mpg for the Prius in sensible units.

And I've just noticed he's even lying about the Prius's EPA figure. It's actually 46 US mpg, so 55 UK mpg.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
Just found out a bit more detail on the nickel plant. I'd certainly seen the story, but not that much follow-up.

Turns out the photo and doing the rounds, courtesy of the Mail On Sunday, was taken in 1994, before the Prius was even shown as a concept car. There has been massive clean-up, reclamation and tree planting in the last couple of decades, and it no longer bears any resemblance to the photo or description.

So, the usual level of journalistic integrity from the Mail, then.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - stunorthants26
I know its a minor point BUT the Prius is an auto and while is may not be that economical ( there are petrols that can better it let alone diesels ) it is FAR more economical than any petrol auto car of similar size.

Bear in mind that this makes it a great purchase for older buyers who want an auto but one that doesnt guzzle fuel. There are loads of these cars local to me and almost exclusivly driven by 60+ owners.

As an economy car, not good, as an econimcal automatic, it has its place.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - moonshine

KMO - An excellent response to yet another poor quality tabloid article doing the rounds. What I found worrrying is the level of ignorance that we see in the world today and how easily people fall for what is obvious propaganda. There are big bucks to made in the oil industry and plently of people have incentive to write and promote these kind of stories.

I'm all for a debate, and I also have reservations about the Prius but I wouldn't go so far as to write misleading articles. It's important that we look at the real facts before drawing any conclusions, once angain thanks to KMO for providing the other side of the story.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - DP
>>there are big
bucks to made in the oil industry and plently of people
have incentive to write and promote these kind of stories.

Ditto the global warming industry. It might not be comparable yet, but look at the growth in the last 5 years, and the growth likely in the next 5. Carbon offset companies, environmental consultants earning big bucks off governments, research, development and sales of carbon capture technology, research, development and sales of renewable energy technology, research, development and sales of carbon storage methods .... the list goes on. Not to mention the opportunity for governments to make a fortune in higher taxes on fuels and "undesirable" environmental behaviour by the public.
It's important that we look at the real facts before drawing any conclusions, once angain thanks to KMO for providing the other side of the story.

I completely agree, but with so many vested interests on both sides, the real facts aren't so easy to come by. Every argument I've read from either side seems to have more than a hint of self interest or bias.

I'd rather concentrate on the fact that fossil fuel supply will not be able to keep up with demand at some point in the next 10-20 years, and that we need to find alternatives before that happens. Sadly, the Prius is not the answer, as various road tests have shown it returns less than 50 mpg in realistic daily driving conditions. My aunt has a by comparison "primitive" diesel Renault Clio that does over 60! Based on what I've seen, it's going to come down to a combination of fuel cells and conventional IC engines running on biofuels or even hydrogen if a suitable source of renewable energy can be found to produce it.


Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
The Prius certainly isn't the answer, but it's a step in the right direction. My primary motivation for choosing it was that it was the closest thing to a battery-electric vehicle available. The more hybrids like the Prius are sold, the more work is going to be expended on bringing all the battery & motor technology needed for real EVs closer to mass-market reality. The most feasible looking car technology for the future looks like battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids. We just need a few more increments in battery technology to give the cars practical range. And the current hybrids are spurring that on.

The transition from a hybrid like the Prius, through plug-in hybrids, to electric cars with back-up generator, to pure electric car, is a pretty continuous one.

Obviously, we also need to get more electricity made from renewables too; but electric cars actually have the potential to solve part of the problem with renewable energy - demand smoothing. Historically electricity suppliers have controlled consumers' electric storage heating systems and similar remotely to smooth demand. This could be extended to remote controlling of cars' charging cycles, and even requesting the cars to inject power back into the grid - mini electricity storage stations in every garage.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Altea Ego
and even requesting the cars to inject power back into the grid - mini electricity storage stations in every garage.

err No.

1/ You cant take power from the grid, stick it in a battery, and then send it back to the grid. This is so far not green as to be better driving a Hummer. Power gets lost, you might as well direct it down a drain.

2/ Mini generators in (ie semi hybrid in garage?) again no, Far too much transmission loss of power, again better throwing it down a drain.

Nice idea but technically DEEPLY flawed.

Now a garage at home with a solar panel roof and wind turnine charging your car? NOt so far fetched
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Big Bad Dave
"Now a garage at home with a solar panel roof and wind turnine charging your car?"

Windmills on the roof?! That's gonna go down well in Hampstead Garden Suburb. You're not even allowed to have a satelite dish.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Altea Ego
"Now a garage at home with a solar panel roof and
wind turnine charging your car?"
Windmills on the roof?! That's gonna go down well in Hampstead
Garden Suburb. You're not even allowed to have a satelite dish.

AH no but yes but no but yes but.....

This is for the environment, Sat dish for Money in Murdoch pocket fund? No Sir, but to appear green? then yes indeedy. Specially in hampster Garden.
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
Course you can. If you have solar panels or wind turbines the infrastructure exists to feed excess energy into the grid.

The point is that renewables are often accused of being inconsistent, plus you have the problem of a need to meet peak demand. There are pumped storage "power stations" in Scotland and Wales that spend their off-peak times pumping water up-hill, then run it back down again to generate power at peak times. So they're not generating net power (except a small amount from rainfall into the upper reservoir), but they're avoiding the need to run extra real power stations just for peak demand. This is exactly the same principle - but using more local storage to meet peak demand, or to fill in if your wind/sun/whateer is sagging.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Altea Ego
> Course you can

you misunderstood, of course you can put power into the grid, BUT the energy you are putting back you have ALREADY taken out earlier from the grid when you were charging it up. In effect you are borrowing it, throwing some away, and putting it back, And that you put back you take out again later. Each time you do that you loose some. If everyone did that all your power would be lost. If you then leave your motor part of your hybrid running to charge the grid, that has to be the most wastefull way to generate electrickery.

TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
Well, obviously it loses energy. This isn't generating electricity. It's smoothing demand, and covering supply fluctuations. One of the hardest things about supplying electricity is that demand jumps up and down all over the place during the day, as every turns their kettles on in the advert breaks in Corrie. If a lot of electric cars were hooked up to chargers, and the suppliers had remote control of the chargers, they could greatly smooth demand. Even more if they could request energy to be pumped back from batteries to cover the highest peaks. Even with the 20% energy loss from charge/discharge, this could well be economically viable.

And I'm NOT talking about leaving the motor running.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Altea Ego
Good argument this

Of course its not economic to borrow power, stick it in a car, expend power to move it around london, hook it up and put it back?

Smoothing demand does not work from gazzilions of small devices, but does work with big major stored water ones where *instant* power is available from a know place on the grid, with a know switch path at the touch of a button.
Demand is actually pretty smooth during the day, or at least with well known and timed/defined cycles most of which are when the very cars you need are not at home availble for supply, The worse unpredictable peaks is in the evening. Caused by us unpredictable private consumers.

TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
Of course its not economic to borrow power, stick it in a car, expend power to move it around london, hook it up and put it back?
That's not really what I'm talking about. You certainly wouldn't come home and routinely discharge your car into the grid, then charge it back up again later.

The point is that a large number of cars will at any time be hooked up to their chargers. With remote control, you can manipulate the charging cycles of that mass of cars. Charging can be deferred, initiated, or reversed. With a large number of cars, that's a significant demand sink/source that can be manipulated to make the electricity supplier's job easier.

All this would be done under remote control from the supplier. The user would have to have some sort of control that said "I need a 95% charge by 8.00am"; the rest would be down to the supplier, and intelligence in the charger. As to "borrowing" charge, you'd need some sort of option for the user - something like "allow power to be borrowed, as long as charge remains about 80%". The user enabling this option would have to be appropriately reimbursed, of course.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
FWIW, I do agree to a large extent on the pumping energy back. It is inefficient, so you'd do it as a last resort. The main benefit is from stopping and starting the charging cycles.

But, what if the energy supply was nearly or totally renewable? In that case, you may well at some times have excess energy from wind/solar, and there's no point in throwing it away by shutting down the generators, so you may as well pump it into batteries, even if you only get 80% back.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
Ah, just to clarify - you may have slightly mis-understood. I wasn't talking about running the engine to generate power. I was talking about:

a) telling cars to start charging, to smooth demand
a) telling cars to stop charging, to lower demand
b) telling cars to feed energy back, to help cover peak demand

The first two are straightforward, and this technology is already fairly widely used with electric storage heaters. Radio signals are sent out by the electricity suppliers - they can raise and lower demand by turning on and off thousand of peoples' heating. For short-term peaks this is easier and more efficient than turning on and off power stations.

The third I've already explained.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Garethj
Journalist in 'telling lies to make a name for himself' shocker!

It must be difficult to get the true environmental costs of something with as many parts as a car, so it's difficult to verify what's written.

I see lots of hybrid cars zipping down the M1 every morning, I think they're exempt from the London congestion charge?
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
Stu - good point on the automatic. I have a Prius as a company car, and we wanted an automatic. If you're excluding all manuals, the Prius suddenly looks a lot better. You can't get many automatic diesels outside luxury barges. And it's a _good_ automatic; totally seamless CVT-like behaviour, no dodgy shifts at the wrong time. The company car tax helped too - around 10-12% rate (depending on year - it's going down to 10% next year) - that offset the higher cost. And of course automatic is a cost option on other cars, reducing the gap.

As for the journalist - note he's a student journalist writing in his university paper. But he's certainly got off to an interesting start...
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
Yep, exempt from the congestion charge, if you fill in a yearly application form with a £10 fee. So there are loads of them in London. I read somewhere last year that Jemca - a big Toyota dealer in London - reported that the Prius was their biggest-selling model, about 1 in 3 cars sold.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - tyro
So, if you are really an environmentalist - ditch the Prius.
Instead, buy one of the most economical cars available - a
Toyota Scion xB.

I fancy one of those. Are there any xB's in the UK?

And when will they start marketing them here?
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Altea Ego
This problem with this tripe is that, if believed, it kills inovation and alternative power units. Sure everyone knows that until alternate battery technology is proven, existing electric cars are not viable. Hybrids are an attempt to overcome the shortcomings of current battery technology, and as such are therefore a compromise. Any compromise is not ideal BUT at least its a workable alternative.
And as they are probably no worse or better environmentaly wise than a well sorted european car then any alternative is good. They are streets better for the environment than any US car, thats for sure, and in part are responsible for the septic tanks waking up to that fact - And that has to be good in anyones book.
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - geoff1248
Well said TVM. Every advance in technology will involve risks. The question is whether the benefits outweigh the risks. I really do believe that the future will see us driving nuke powered cars. The technonogy is already in place but fear of "nuclear" word is holding development back.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Lud
Well said TVM. Every advance in technology will involve risks. The
question is whether the benefits outweigh the risks. I really do
believe that the future will see us driving nuke powered cars.
The technonogy is already in place but fear of "nuclear" word
is holding development back.

Quite agree with you on TVM and creative attitudes to technology, but what do you mean by nuke powered cars? Hydrogen or battery are the only ways of doing that at present, unless someone has come up with a tiny, safe reactor without my being aware of it... The reactor that powers huge submarines through the water at 40 or 50 mph is about the smallest viable one. Bit big for yr Focus.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - geoff1248
"Hydrogen or battery are the only ways of doing that at present, unless someone has come up with a tiny, safe reactor without my being aware of it..."
The "at present" sums it up, who knows what is going to be developed in the years ahead. 30 years ago I worked in the computer facility for a very large company. The computer occupied the whole of the ground floor in an air conditioned room that required you to go through an air lock before you entered. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that 30 years later I would now be sitting in my kitchen writting this on my WiFi enabled laptop which has more computing power than that original dinosaur. But so will it be with nuclear power smaller and smaller reactors--unless of course you have a supply of dylithium crystals.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Big Bad Dave
"But so will it be with nuclear power smaller and smaller reactors"

Your reactor might fit into a tea cup, but the shielding still needs to be metres thick.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Hamsafar
My MP says that 86% of the fossil energy 'consumed' by power stations is lost in generation and transmission inefficiency before it reaches the user. I see no point moving it back which would require expensive inverters and phase syncs etc... Keep it simple - is the key to not wasting resourse, lots of small windmills counter-productive and bad for the environment, the same goes for solar voltaic panels.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - cardriver
I would treat the OP and associated articles with the contempt they deserve.
Alot of people above have given good reasons to support the Prius and disagree with the article.
As said, when you consider the nickel alloys that go into aeroplanes and engines and also the electronic industry you will realise the automotive industry uses very little in comparison.
Toyota themselves are a very environmental conscious company and do what they can to minimise their impact.
Also when you consider the true cost of oil with the massive subsidies paid to US oil companies by the US government and the cost of the war in Iraq then I would suggest that trying to build cars that reduce fuel consumption must be applauded.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
I must say I'm cheered by the lack of respect the article has engendered here. Normally most car nuts lap this sort of thing up.

I guess the author's just over-egged it, and come off sounding more than a little biased. They'll have to mark him down on his journalism course...
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
I partly agree. But as far as I can see it is almost routine to fit domestic solar installations with the option to feed back to the grid. It honestly doesn't seem to be much of an issue.

But all this home generation stuff is very expensive, compared to the more obvious first step - energy efficiency measures. Only when you've got all your insulation and lighting up to scratch does it make economic sense to start on generation.

As for efficiency of power stations - 86% is still a hell of a lot more efficient than physically transporting the fuel around in trucks to petrol stations, to then be fed into cars with engines that operate at something like 40-50% efficiency... That's why battery-electric cars still win even if using dirty electricity - their drivetrains are >80% efficient; so fossil fuel going into a power station, via the grid to the car still achieves nearly 70% efficiency.

Contrast that the nonsense about hydrogen fuel cells - there you make losses generating the hydrogen, compressing it, transporting it, and then the fuel cell only operates at 50% efficiency or less, giving an overall efficiency of < 25%.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - barchettaman
..... their drivetrains are >80% efficient.......

No they´re not.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - barchettaman
Ignore that last post - thought you meant the Prius hybrid drivetrain. Sorry
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
Okay, maybe slightly less, but not much. According to Wikipedia, the Tesla Roadster cites a charging efficiency of 86%, and average motor efficiency of 90%. That gives grid-to-wheel efficiency of 77%.

Got any contradictory references?
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Sofa Spud
All the evidence I've read in the motoring press shows that a Prius is a very economical car in most conditions and only begins to lose out during high-speed cruising. If a selectable mechanical drive was added that cut in at, say, 50mph AND when the battery is fully charged, the Prius would be even more economical. Swap its petrol engine for a VW 1.4 TDI 3-cylinder and what would it do? 85mpg?

To say that a Hummer is more environmentally friendly is clearly stupid. All this person has found is one or two greener aspects of the Hummer's production process and its longer life expectancy and used that to claim it's more environmentally friendly!

However, the Toyota Prius has probably written its own death warrant since its success has led Toyota to announce that it plans to offer the Synergy hybrid drive system across it's entire range eventually. When that happens the Prius will become irrelevant unless they keep it a step ahead as a market testbed for other new technologies.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
It's not that it's not efficient at cruise, it's just that it's only on a par with a good modern diesel. The engine is efficient, but the geartrain is such that a certain amount of power has to be shunted through the electrical system, with resulting losses.

Some of the later hybrid designs incorporate some clutches allowing the gear ratios to be adjusted, removing the need for so much power to be shunted through the electrical system at cruise.

The new GM/DaimlerChrysler GHC system also has a fixed path, giving it Prius-like full hybrid behaviour at low speeds, and Honda-like mild hybrid behaviour at cruise. Don't know much about it though.

I suspect Toyota will hang on to the Prius name for their most efficient family car, and any moves towards plug-in hybrids.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Altea Ego
Its going to be a sad day tho. Having driven the lexus RX 400h it is a very antiseptic and uninvolving experience. Electric motive units rob the drive of any feedback both feeling and aural, and turns driving into riding a london tube train
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - cheddar
So a Prius takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer to build?

I reckon that is OTT, I have read that it takes 50% more energy to build a Prius than an average comparable diesel saloon/hatch, it also takes 50% more energy to dispose of a Prius than an average comparable diesel saloon/hatch

So the real failing of the Prius is that it takes much more energy to build and dispose of than the average comparable diesel saloon/hatch that in use achieves comparable fuel consumption and better performance.

It is not Toyota knocking, the average comparable diesel saloon/hatch could be an Auris D4D.
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - KMO
You've got to be slightly careful with the numbers though. The production+disposal energy cost of a vehicle is only about 10-15% of the energy it uses during its life. So even if that is 50% higher (and I still think that's OTT - what exactly is so complex about the Prius?), that's only an extra 5-7% on the lifetime energy. You don't need to be much more efficient when running to recoup that.

And also, comparing petrol to diesel is always somewhat iffy. Diesel has 11% higher energy content than petrol, so naturally a diesel car will tend to go further on 1 gallon of the sloshy stuff - you've fed it more energy (and paid more for it). And a gallon of diesel produces 14% more CO2 than a gallon of petrol.

People seem to widely understand that a gallon of LPG is less calorific than a gallon of petrol, and hence you pay less for it and need more, but they are generally less aware that a gallon of diesel is more calorific than a gallon of petrol.

So I'm certainly not convinced that a Toyota Auris D-4D produces less CO2 or consumes less energy during its life.

(Figures plucked from a few quick web searches, so I can't testify for absolute accuracy).
Priu$ Worse Than Hummer - Kiwi Gary
I can't comment on the "dust-to-dust" efficiency, but I am an over-60 Prius owner/driver. Bought because it best fitted the bill for what I wanted - comfortable, reliable, and minimising the donations to the treasury. Whilst I would have preferred a diesel, such vehicles are separately road-taxed here, making them uneconomic unless they run over about 50,000 miles per year. My actual fuel consumption on a 50/50 split between city driving { including traffic jams } and motorways is 64 mpg over about 15,000 miles. On long-hauls, return journeys of 400 miles each way, I achieved only 57 mpg. Nobody has ever accused me of going slow, or being slow off the lights !! Last year, I drove a rental Pug 307 1.6 HDi station wagon over 4200 km in 3 weeks in France and Italy under all types of roading, including driving the passes instead of using the tunnels. [ As a tourist, I want to see things, and you don't see much inside a tunnel.] That returned the equivalent of 65.5 mpg. I drove the Pug generally at the speed limits, and was agreeably surprised at how well it handled 150 km/hr on the autostradae.

Ask Honest John

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